Tuesday, August 30, 2011

A Playground Kind of Day!!

If I were to look back at our day, I'd say Wow... we got through it. It was a busy, whirl wind kind of day. It was the last day 3 of the kindergartners will all be here together, 2 go off to kindergarten full time tomorrow. We celebrated them going off to bigger and better things, we talked about the fun parts and the scary parts of being at a new place. I teared up a little, but smiled a lot. They have grown so much, almost like they have outgrown me :(

We went to the park today... the park is always fun. There is a lot to do and explore. We used all those gross motor skills that have to be kept dormant while we are having reading, circle, and quiet time. It was wonderful to see them climb, run, slide, investigate, and be daring.

Climbing high is always first priority!!

Miss Michelle look how high I can go!!

Even when your small, getting out there and using those muscles is a treat!!

Oh, I forgot hanging. Another favorite activity at the park.

Lil Bit here liked the grass on her feet.

Before we went to the park we talked about growing. Since we have a great age range this year at child care, we were able to make comparisons about how the Baby in our care is different than our Princess. How each one of us grows, like the flowers in the yard. We get bigger, we are able to do more things (like go off to kindergarten), and become more independent. We compared ourselves to each other, then got to do an art project. It was interesting to watch the different abilities as they worked...

Um, Little Man, you don't eat it :)

That's more like it... what a grasp.

Look at these big girls go... no help needed here.

(I have to confess, the big kids had almost the same amount of marker on their faces due to them being smelly markers, to funny)

She loved that purple!!

Now that Princess is going off to school, I think Sprout will miss her very much. I know I will!!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

A New Week

We have started our "All About Me" week and had fun singing some silly songs like the Hokey Pokey (we learned about body parts), we read "Me Too" by Mercer Mayer, and began some art work using our hands. The kids had fun listening to the story and singing the song and it was a great first circle time, short, fun and lots of movement :)

Sometimes you HAVE to have a princess gown to perform the Hokey Pokey

It was a beautiful morning today, a slight breeze in the air and lots of shade in the yard. So out we went. The kids had the freedom to run, kick the balls, swing, and climb...

This silly girl played with, crawled after, and threw this ball for what seemed like forever.

I think all those millions of dollars spent on Baby Toys each year is a waste, give a baby a ball (or several) a laundry basket (with some clean socks), and a box and your set for the duration!!

This Scamp was everywhere today... she just wouldn't slow down!!

I showed the Toddlers how to hit/kick the ball today.
It was a HIT!!!

Did you ever notice snack ALWAYS taste better outside??
Especially when it's not to hot.

We started an art project today where the kids dipped their hands into the paint, squished them together and then made hand prints on their papers. We will add a photo and laminate each one to make a little place mat, that will preserve their little hand prints as they grow.

Little Man had A LOT of fun!!!

The girls were going so fast I couldn't get a photo of their faces. I wish I could because the smiles were huge!!

I love the way Sprout always has that little tongue out while she's hard at work. Hand print Art is pretty hard work you know.

She told me, "It happenen to be lots of crazy hands."

I couldn't have said it any better myself :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Where Have We Been??

We are here!! We have been so busy this week learning about one another, painting, dancing, singing and playing outside. The beginning of the week we had some beautiful, cool mornings and we could be outside without it bothering our little ones, but as the week has worn on it has gotten hot, humid and "yucky" as one of the kids said this morning :) so our time outside has been done in smaller burst as the week goes on. I don't want to wish the warm weather away, but I can't wait for the Fall weather.

What a smile!!!

Painting is a great 1st art project for little ones. But even the old pros love it!!

Little Man really enjoyed painting, I think that his favorite part was when it would splash up at him.

Forming Friendships through play

The kids had a lot of fun making another "city" with their Cozy Coupes


We painted our Paper Mache creations

It has been a full and exciting week!!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Snap Shots of our Day

Another new week is upon us, our first full week of child care. It is a challenge to get a routine down when we still have our school age friends still home, but they will go back to school soon :)

My friends did a little of this and a little of that today...

Getting our own water has been a real treat!!

Ok, this photo was from last week, but Lil Bit here kept turning her head today and I couldn't get ONE picture with her looking at me today :)

The big kids did some paper mache bowls today, but some of them decided to take the cones from the water jug to make witches hats... cute!!

Working together

This one L!!

I like this Miss Michelle!!

Great Work O!!!

I was getting snack ready this morning and I could hear giggling coming from the bathroom and when I took a peak, these two were in there having a ball in the sink!!!

I taped this shelf to the sand table this weekend, hoping it would provide a little something extra to the kids play... I keep meaning to add some things like Tom from Sand and Water Tables, but I go looking around the house and can never seem to find anything... I'm working on it though :)

This little Scamp loved the shelf because she could touch the sand, move it and most of all swat it all over the room :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

A New School Year

Our first day back to Child Care was yesterday... and I do have some wonderful photos but of course in the rush of meeting and greeting I have misplaced it. Or one of my wonderful boys misplaced it, like they did the camera for 2 days :) What's a Mom to do!!

I welcomed 2 new faces this week. With the new arrivals came a flurry of separation anxiety, bonding, new rules, new surroundings, and a lot of getting to know each other. A huge welcome back to my Little Man, who brought Miss Michelle lots of hugs and kisses... how joyful it was that he still remembers me and loaded me up with lots of extra lovin!!!

Remember Moms and Dads... this is just the beginning of our journey this school year, it always comes together and that's when the fun really starts!!!

I promise to post those photos as soon as I find that cord!!!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Two Things I Love

With Back To School time here again, I have been overrun with catalogs, magazines, and emails depicting the next best thing for Child Care Providers. Well, if money was no object I would buy and buy and buy, but since it is... here are 2 things I just absolutely love!!!

I purchased this Color Changing Touch Board from the Lake Shore Learning Store!! I love it. The kids love it. The babies love it!!! The "magic" of it turning colors (it is like a mood ring, when it warms up it changes colors) is amazing to ALL the kids. Doesn't matter the age!! I also love the fact that it brings the big kids together with the little ones. They compare the size of their hands, the different colors that appear with each hand and what happens when they leave their hand on for a long time. It is fun to use and fun to watch them use it together.

This little "boom box" from Discovery Kids is another favorite of mine. I bought it about a year ago after visiting my sister and seeing her children totally enjoying it, but I never opened it. Just so you know, I bought it at The Christmas Tree Shoppe for about $12 or $15... I didn't pay to much for it. So, last week I opened it up for Roo and I can't believe I waited so long. I remember why I loved it in the first place. It has about 15 or so songs programed into its memory and all the kids have to do is hold the green button down to get it going and then push the little arrows to switch songs. It even has a memory disc slot that I can download more songs on if I want, though we are enjoying the ones it already has. Our favorite song is a Folky type one called "Bit by Bit" by Buttered Rum & Orange Sherbet (I think that's it). We play it over and over!! I need to find the CD and buy it, I think we'd like it.

I have lots of other things I couldn't live without, but this week these happen to be my favorite. We'll see what next week holds in store :)

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Wonderful World of Paint

Painting is such a wonderful medium for the kids to work with. It can be done with fine motor skills in mind or with gross motor skills in mind. Below the kids are using small brushes to create on small paper that I cut. They really explored the paint with the little brush, actually discussing how "tiny" the bristles (they used the word "top" for the bristles) were. They noticed that L's brush top was a little fatter than Roo's and that his marks came out bigger than hers. Little Miss M noticed that her brush was more like L's than Roo's. It was an interesting conversation for two early 3 yr olds to have, but one they were very comfortable having.

In the next photo you'll see Roo using her whole body to paint on the plexi glass easel. She was huffing and puffing as she reached for the top most corner of the easel. When she decided it was time to clean the paint off, she was very happy that the spray bottle's spray reached those corners, but she still had to reach with the squeegee to remove some of the paint. The amount of energy exerted was amazing... she needed a rest (in the reading tent) and a glass of water when she was finished. She felt very proud of herself, she accomplished what she set out to do, paint and clean the ENTIRE easel :)

Then we have Little Man here experiencing the paint with both his fine motor skills and gross motor skills. He starts out tentative and moves onto to a more robust way of manipulating the paint. He thoroughly enjoyed himself on that day, working with the paint for almost 20 minutes (which I deem almost a life time for a 1 yr old :)). I think the only thing better than the paint, was the cleaning up in the sink when he was finished.

Paint is a gift to any Child Care Provider/Early Child Teacher. It provides the children with rich experiences, that can be explored through utensils, brushes, hands, feet, elbows and spray bottles. You can paint on something smooth, rough, multi-dimensional, or yourself. We can paint above our heads, on the floor, or right at eye level. You see, there is no wrong way to use paint. Paint proves to be one of those early childhood tools that is never ending and multi- faceted, something that all children from infant to preschool and older (I love paint days!!) should have access to. Look around your providers home, or your child's preschool classroom... are there paints out, splatters on the floor or wall, creations on the wall?? I hope so.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Book Review

I was lucky enough to get a request from Gryphon House to review the book Family Child Care Basics: Advice, Activities, and Information to Create a Professional Program by Jennifer Karnopp.

This book was an easy read, giving a nice overview of what you need to get a Family Home Child Care going. I loved the ideas for setting up the home and outdoor space. Ms Karnopp did a nice job with outlining how to set up a daily schedule, implement a curriculum, and even forms you could use. She even has a nice, compact child development checklist/overview to give providers a quick review on what to expect at each stage. It was easy to read and even easier to understand and put into action immediately.

What I really enjoyed was the plentiful amount of activities she outlines. There was something for every stage and age. There was even some new ideas I hadn't heard of, so I am excited to do them with the kids.

Overall, Family Child Care Basics by Jennifer Karnopp is a great book for the new or experienced provider, giving up to date and informative information. It was an easy and enjoyable read.

For more information on this book or other great books like it visit the Gryphon House website.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's Friday!!!

Our first week back and oh what a week its been :) We have had such a wonderful time playing, getting wet, singing, dancing, painting, and just having fun that I can't believe the week went by so quickly!! With the weather so beautiful today we put those bathing suites back on today and went out to the yard to have some more fun!!

I took a little time this morning to set up the Princess Tent with a little floor (sheet), chairs and books in the shaded area of the yard, it was a nice relaxing place for the kids to go for a little quiet time. I also set up the outdoor easel, and the sprinkler again for the kids to enjoy.

These girls seem to be having fun!!

I have found that the kids really enjoy painting outside, especially on the plexi-glass easel. It is easy to rinse off, start over and basically make a "process" type of art, rather than a "product" type of art. All the kids took a turn and created something, even if it was just the joy of blending colors, using the squirt bottle or squeegee to play with, they all seem to enjoy their time there.

What was left at the end of the morning :)

It has been an awesome week and I look forward to the new school year. I have lots of great ideas from the NAFCC conference to implement, lots of places I would like to take field trips to, and lots of love to give... I am truly Blessed to be able to do this job.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Outdoor Sprinkler Fun

The weather was hot today, but not so muggy that you began to drip with sweat as soon as you were outdoors. The kids decided it was a grand day to get the sprinkler out and enjoy a few drops of water on their heads :)

The kids began with games of "jump through the water," "sprinkler limbo," and "chase the water," but it soon became apparent that the boys today would be the coordinators of the water play. The water area quickly became a highway, grocery store, mechanic's shop and bakery. The boys had all sorts of rules, boundaries and guidelines to follow and they created an environment that all three worked together to build (with no fighting :)).

The girls, who weren't quite as interested in the sprinkler part of the boys new "world," became the gas attendants and mechanics. Little Miss M and Roo promptly moved the "gas station" to an area close enough to be part of the group, yet far enough away to keep out of the "rain." Watching and assisting where needed, I was able to listen to conversations and redirect any intentional or unintentional slights directed toward friends. It was a wonderfully peaceful and enjoyable morning.

My son L, with lots of determination, found a bag of bubbles and got the girls blowing all sorts of bubbles and trying to catch them with their wands. Lots of giggles ensued and they even caught some of the bubbles, though they were just as content in making L catch them :)

At the NAFCC conference I was lucky enough to attend a 4hr workshop on Music and Movement with Sharron Krull. She has a blog called Sharin with Sharron, which is a great blog you should check it out. Anyway, during that workshop I not only got some great ideas, I was lucky enough to win a set of these Rainbow Dancing Wrist Bands. Oh how the girls (and my son L) loved them. We danced to specific movement songs, but the girls also used them on and off all day, with music and without. They really inspired them to get movin!! Thanks Sharron, we love them!!!

I think that our "Getting to Know You" week is going really well. The kids seem to fit together nicely, I can't believe the older kids will be leaving for school in only a week and a half. Wow... how the summer really does fly by :)