~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

December 11, 2015
by countryfun
Comments Off on A Clear Dust Collection Hose + Children = Learning

A Clear Dust Collection Hose + Children = Learning

I’ve been teaching a long time and have a good file of teaching ideas to pull from, but I get excited by new ideas and approaches. For that reason I enjoy following the blogs and Facebook pages of others who work with children in many capacities. Play Counts has a clear tube that the children in her program use for exploring. I was able to add one to our space and have not been surprised by the usage. When children are allowed to explore their environment it’s exciting to observe where they go.

May 1, 2014
by countryfun
Comments Off on Peek into Our Morning

Peek into Our Morning

It’s raw and rainy, so that means a solid morning inside playing. Figured it was a good day to gather some photos and video of where the children are at. So much activity this morning headed off in different directions thought it was a good morning to share, so you can see first hand what happens here.

My morning started off gathering worms. It was easy with all the ones swimming on the driveway. We’ll be using them inside for some preschool exploration after lunch.


The morning started with questions (as usual), but one today offered a chance to learn a little more about changes in matter. “Why are the roads all cracked?” Our winter freezes and thaws which means the hardtop roads crack. Explaining this with water freezing, moving the ground and roadbed up, then thawing and everything settles back.  To show how water takes up more space when frozen we put water in a yogurt cup to a mark, then into the freezer. We’ll check to see how much above the mark it is once frozen. Then we’ll let it thaw and check the level again. Still needing more we headed to the rice box. I spread rice over a sheet of paper I held tight. I had the children push up on the paper, which caused the rice to shift. Once stopped pushing the rice settled back with a slight split.


December 1, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Blocks, Blocks and New Blocks

Blocks, Blocks and New Blocks

The value of block play….

It’s easy to see how building with blocks involves developing concepts in science and math.

  1. Counting out blocks and patterns.
  2. There is definitely work with some of the laws of physic – balance and gravity. Through their exploration with blocks, children learn how to make that wall steady, how to balance weight equally, how to adjust for height.
  3. They are also learning about three-dimensionality, measurement, and geometric shapes.
  4. They are classifying and mentally visualizing relationships.

Wow! That’s a lot for just playing with simple blocks. But we’re not done with our learning….

Playing with blocks allows for individual exploration and group play. In the group play there is language development and social interaction. Often block play is not done in isolation, but as part of a group which supports positive social interaction. There is also a deep use of language that is not part of what I would consider common conversation.  Social and emotional skills are developed as they share their block play with other children. They learn to cooperate in building together. During individual play there is development of attention span and self awareness.

Block play often involves dramatic play: children built a wall up and wait for another to “blow it down”; they make garages for their cars; build space ships, airplanes, rockets….

Having accessories like little people, animals, and cars available for inclusion in the play helps children move from just building walls and towers to creating imaginary playscapes. This play supports learning about the real world by allowing children to act out what they are exposed to in their lives. 

All motor skills are involved.

So much happens developmentally when playing with blocks. 

Block play grows and changes through repeated use and past experience. Blocks are materials that can be used by all ages at the same time. Because I believe in the learning value of blocks I want to always have a variety of them available within the space.

New Blocks…….

This past week saw a new addition to our wooden block basket. I took advantage of an offer from my husband to cut up some quality pine that remained from new window casing. Thinking “Lincoln Logs” I had him cut the wood strips into lengths of 6″, 8″ and 12″. I was interested to see how quickly these new additions would be found and what play would evolve.

  • Found immediately in the early morning and got used as walls for partitioning off garages.

block play 1 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

  • became more involved next day once old children joined in – zoo, house – check out the entrance way –


While this play was going on other wooden blocks were used in the kitchen area. Not a common use, but it seemed it was about wooden block play just now –


  • Over the rest of the week this play continued. There was also tower building and for others use of different building materials like the legos and bristle blocks.

block play from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.



October 31, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Sensory Play – First Exploration of Cracked Corn

Sensory Play – First Exploration of Cracked Corn

I love cracked corn for sensory tub play. With Fall here and bird feeders back up it was the perfect time to fill the sensory tub up with cracked corn. (If you haven’t played in cracked corn the softness experienced is a surprise.)

Playing in a sensory tub allows for so much learning that is child directed. Their imagination (brain) is engaged as they explore.

Fine/Gross motor skills:
Muscles are used without thought as they dig, pour, pinch, hold….

Cognitive development:
science concepts
make predictions
understanding about the world around them

Language development:
words that describe sensations and actions
question what they think about what is happening
social communication

Here’s a look at a recent first experience in the cracked corn. cheese! Before getting into the exploration need to get the camera greeting out of the way. Love how I always get a “Cheese!” whenever the camera comes out from L. Even if she is nowhere near the camera/photo being taken I hear “Cheese”.

Exploring alone is fun, but it’s interesting how it changes when a slightly older friend who has enjoyed this experience before arrives and joins in.

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