an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

January 30, 2014
by countryfun

Snowball Fight!!!

The weather has remained cold and we’ve managed to stay pretty activity inside, but it’s getting stale. How to mix it up? Everything has been snowmen around here for preschool, so I thought maybe an inside snowball fight might be fun.

In our block set I have a good collection of rolled odd socks that fit really nicely in small hands and wouldn’t hurt a bit if hit by. Snowballs figured out. Now how to surprise the kids, because the unusual was a big part of this.

I quietly made my way to the socks while the children were engaged in building a race track and garage for the cars. Got “C” to come help me and I explained what I wanted to do. Big smile! Knew I was on the right track.

We quietly worked our way to the other group and I let the “snowballs” fly. One of those times would have loved having a camera in place – the surprised faces were priceless. When I let the second round go and ran off they caught on and the snowball fight was on.

Finally found time to grab a camera~

Snowball Fight!!!! from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

Half hour snowball fight a perfect mix up for another cold day.


January 21, 2014
by countryfun

Wintery Play

Our morning started with some play on the snowbanks. With no sliding hills have to get creative.

I have 4 pairs of children’s snowshoes that can be used at anytime there is snow on the ground. There have been years when they were used a lot because the children were on the older side and could go off around the yard and surrounding year without me in direct attendance.

The young group I have now have not used them, so having a nice day with new snow and only 3 children it was a perfect time to expose them to the snowshoes and see where the interest went…….

It went farther than I expected.

Once they got comfortable with what I call “wide walking”, not giant stepping around the yard they wanted to explore farther afield. They waited patiently while I got my snowshoes out and on. Then off we headed……..

I ended up hiking the last half of the walk with a 3 yr old on my shoulders (snowshoes and all), but I was so pleased with the willingness of the boys to stay with it once started out.

I know the snowshoes will be used again this winter.

January 10, 2014
by countryfun

Have You Ever Wondered About Snowmen at Night?

In exposing children to books so that their world expands it is important as part of that to help them understand the parts of a book.  Title pages, author, illustrator, beginning, middle and ending are all easy to develop an understanding of. In many of the picture books used for infants through preschool there are no “dust jackets”, especially with an introduction (found on the inside lap – I always thought of as the fly) or opening question to get you excited about what you will find once you start reading. So when I find one you can be sure I use it.

Our library copy of Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner had a great one and it was nice to be able to start this reading and extension project off from there.

“Have you ever wondered about the secret life of a snowman? Maybe one morning his grin is a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have drooped, and you’ve thought…. what do snowmen do at night?”

How much more fun to peak the interest in a story, than to just start right in reading? Some interesting answers to this opening.

As a follow up activity we took black paper – a little different for a snowman picture – and some unusual painting tools to make a snowy night time background for our snowman.

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February 13, 2013
by countryfun

Winter Science

It’s all about taking opportunities to teach. Sometimes those short lessons get the most across. Today it was all about science lessons that 3′ of snow, blue sky and 40 degree weather allowed.

Shadow tracing:

  • Talk about the body parts as trace a body’s shadow
  • A little later re-stand at the shadow.   Does the tracing still fit? Why or why not? (The shadow is moving and getting smaller. The Sun is moving.)
  • We’ve guessed the direction our shadow will be this afternoon (head to the snowbank). We’ll be checking to see if we were right.

Our boots are sinking into the snow as we walk across it.  

  • Why?
  • What do we need to do to not sink in?


  • How do snowshoes work?  Our body weight is spread over a larger area of the snow, so we can walk on top of it.   Big people sink some even with snowshoes, but not all the way.


  • driveway is clear of snow and ice
  • little snow sculpture from yesterday is almost gone and the colors are all gone
  • ice found is in shadows

January 30, 2013
by countryfun

Snowflakes A Plenty

I love making snowflakes. Have always loved making snowflakes, but it’s not always the easiest project to do with young children with beginning scissor skills. It isn’t always easy with older children that see lacy, involved snowflakes in their mind, but cutting the design is not feasible. Then you have all that paper – scraps, waste? – newspapers or magazine just don’t work the same as white paper. But making snowflakes is part of the experiences we want for our children right? For me the answer is yes.

Here’s where technology has come in handy this year. I found a sight that allows one to design snowflakes for free with the click of a mouse ~ SnowDays – It’s Always Snowing. Now there are other sites online, but this one worked the best for us. Even my 2 yr old enjoyed. I handled the mouse click and she moved my hand where she wanted. She not only had fun controlling my hand, but the excitement as she saw what was developing. I just kept seeing a smile and hearing “Pretty!”

We all made multiple snowflakes, watched many fall, checked out where others that were made were from and even went on a snowflake search.

Don’t worry we gets lots of scissor time here. Making snowflakes is not about scissor time, but that finished lacy snowflake.

January 28, 2013
by countryfun

Snowball Sensory Tub

Using sensory tubs for exploring is a great activity for toddlers and preschoolers. We use them regularly around here, so the kids know to dig right in when one is out in the space. They may not be used for long periods of time, but they are visited repeatedly and always generate interesting language and conversations.

I was looking for a new sensory tub idea when Mountaintop Family Daycare posted about the sensory tub they had made to go along with their reading of The Mitten. This tub was filled with white items. Having never done a solid color sensory tub this appealed to me as a new experience for the kids. Where we were doing our activities around snow, snowflakes, snowmen and had also read The Mitten, I went with all white circles. Had to bury some white mittens to tie in with our literacy work around The Mitten folktale.

January 27, 2013
by countryfun

A Little Catching Up

Last week was not a good one for getting posts on our activities up, but believe me we stayed good and busy inside while the cold raged outside. This post will try to catch up on some of the activities we enjoyed this past week.

It’s been all about snowmen, snowflakes and mittens this month. This week we finally got around to using our class snow storm project as a background for our “construct a snowman challenge”.

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Too cold to make snowmen outside and wanting some “larger” movement means using some of our large sheets of paper and spreading out around the playroom and kitchen for enough floor space. Drawing on large paper is a totally different experience and uses one’s motor skills and muscle groups in a different way.

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Thought you might enjoy seeing how “school” happens when the school-age are leading the play.

Taking advantage of our earlier darkness and using the light box. Can you tell we have been doing a bit of work with “patterns” recently?

Yes, we get silly (what fun would it be with kids all day if you didn’t get silly?) and it often involves stories we are reading together. Tacky Penguin  is a perfect story to get silly with especially on a cold Friday (at the end of a cold week). The kids were having so much fun singing Tacky’s song I thought I’d try to get it on tape. (It was way better without the camera running, but you’ll get the idea.)


With mixed ages it’s also about finding time to be sure the developmental needs of everyone are being met. Placing beads on sticks is great fine motor practice for young ones. What I hadn’t expected was it becoming a birthday cake. Love seeing imagination in action.

We also managed to get in lots of practice with finding similarities and differences or matching between our homemade snowflake and mitten games and some iPad apps. (Postings on these in the speciality blogs in the next few days.)


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