COUNTRY FUN

~ early education care ~ where our play supports our learning

January 28, 2016
by countryfun
Comments Off on No Snowpant Play

No Snowpant Play

With warmer weather and a clear driveway my young group wants bikes, cars and chalk when we head out to play. That means “no snowpants play” and much easier movement for young ones. But I want them to also explore the snow. How to combine the two depends on how I can engage the current interests. Often with this group I just need to start doing something and they want to know what I’m doing and try it.

That worked today!24521279442_33ea1732a0_o

 

Making and throwing snowballs. Grab a handful of snow from the edge of the drive. Smush it together and throw as far as you can.

 

 

Making a mini fairy snowman. I made the body and started to collect natural elements to finish it off. Then the children wanted to help which meant adding more snow. Watched a young one add, have it fall, add again, then take it off, add again. Smiles and laughs throughout each step. I’m thinking interesting way to learn about how snow sticks together, weight affecting it, push and pull and some fine motor work.

fairy snowman 1/16/16 from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

 

24334108230_b37600d0bf_o24521309252_9334138d10_oTopped it off bringing out the snow painting squirt bottles. Definitely frustrating for little hands, but they stick with it to see the snow change colors.

 

 

 

What happens when you use chalk in water?

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Why does ice and snow melt? How fast does it happen? Which disappears first?

All this between the bike and car play.

1/26/16 community helpers vehicle play from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

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.

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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.

That of course lead to rice box play. There we poured, explored volume of containers, estimating handfuls to fill, figuring out why I always filled with less handfuls, and on.

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The children were definitely engaged, but sitting, so wanted to get a little movement. The youngest were hopping around the room which lead to the inside hopscotch or jumping board to come out for play.

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When I see interest waning (as the play becomes less about jumping and more about wacky and wackier jumps) its time to pack it up for another day. With that the play split. Older boys headed off to the blocks and legos which have been a major activity this week.

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The girls and youngest got out the lavender scented playdough.

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As happens most morning, music was requested as everyone headed off to do their own thing. This always sees to lead to dancing. Just never sure who will join in, except for “Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”. That’s a whole group draw. 🙂

Busy, fun, learning always means the morning flies by.

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 –

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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 –

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  • 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.

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June 21, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on An Obstacle Course = Learning

An Obstacle Course = Learning

So much learning occurs while children play.

They may not realize it, parents may not realize it, but I find myself always checking off in my head what learning I see happening. Maybe this is because I totally believe that play equals learning.

The obstacle course today was a great example of this. The videos here only shows a small part, but I hope you get a view of what I mean.

During this play I observed communication, listening, personal/social development (self control, self concept, self competence), problem solving, initiative, persistence, reflection scientific process, creativity, motor skills.

Science with ring toss, frisbee throw, balance, body movement, figuring out speed vs points.

Technology was with the usage of their personal iPods for timing and music. Mine was the iPad for photos/video.

Engineering was how they set up the course to take advantage of the space and equipment available. Building a tower of cardboard boxes as high as could.

Math really came into the activity for the older children with the timing and point tallies for each run. These were then averaged out to see how each did. Following multiple runs the numbers were compared.

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June 18, 2013
by countryfun
Comments Off on Summer Begins

Summer Begins

With a mixed ages program summer break does change up the dynamics, but that’s not new and I’m ready.

With a creative bunch of school age girls I made sure the art supply closet is ready to explore.

I have been gathering ideas for quick inspiration on Pinterest. When the girls are looking for ideas they browse the board, then gather supplies and off they go.

That’s how this morning started. What caught the eye were pipe cleaner people from Parents.pal

Then of course there is just personal inspiration for one that really enjoys drawing………

and the first morning of summer break starts………….

 

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May 21, 2013
by countryfun
1 Comment

A Window into Our Morning

It’s raining out so it’s an inside day today. I’m going through my seasonal loss of voice. A perfect day to just let them play while I observe.

Thought you might like to observe with me.

 

Now you can see why our space can get really messy at times.

I also know that you saw all the learning happening – fine motor, gross motor, social interaction, language, problem-solving, imagination, exploration.

We picked up before lunch and story time. Wonder what it will look like for evening pick-up?

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