Monday, February 28, 2011


We learned about the Dentist and our teeth at the end of last week. We read Little Critter Going to the Dentist, by Mercer Mayer. We then painted a yellow tooth white to make it sparkle like our own clean teeth after we brush or go to the dentist and get our teeth cleaned.

Then we showed off our great big beautiful smiles. I think I am going to take the photos and make a bulletin board of my smiley kids.

Look at those sparkly teeth!!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Babies and the Sensory Table

Little Man is really coming into his own. He is a little Spit Fire. He is a third child in his family and the baby here at daycare, this means he has a lot of kids to keep up with. He is giving these kids (as well as me) a real run for our money :) Every day he gets faster and smarter!!

I put water in our sensory table today, Little Man was playing over by the windows, he heard the water hit the table and he was off and running (well, crawling). He came around the shelf and smiled so big. He pulled himself up on the sensory table, and looked at me.

Babies need the sensory experiences as much as the toddlers and preschoolers.

Some providers feel babies should be kept away from messy things. That wet clothing, or muddy play isn't for a baby, but how do they learn? What is a little dirt or wetness? Babies love to experience what the "big" kids are experiencing. There are so many reasons to let Babies experiment in the sensory table, with supervision please!! Babies learn through their senses, and touch is one of them. The feel of water, cotton balls, birdseed, rice with vanilla bean coffee grounds, or just plain sand gives our Babies vocabulary, pathways of knowledge, they are collecting data for later use, they are learning answers to questions that we don't even know they are asking. By allowing our Babies to make this "mess" we are giving them so much more than we may even know. We just have to tweak some of OUR notions about what a mess really is. Can it be more than me having to spend extra time cleaning up? I think maybe it is harder on us all to try and keep Little Man away from what we are doing, if I just create a safe environment or supervise and teach when he is playing with sand, then we all win.

I knew Little Man was going to make a mess with the water when I put it out there. I could have put him in the exersaucer or the jumper, to keep me from having to mop up water from the floor, or change his clothes... but he learned sooooo much.

He was introduced to sharing :)

He got a little lesson in patience.

He felt success in making something happen.

Can you imagine, figuring out that HE has the capability to make the water splash, all over himself and me.

And, if all the educational reasons to let Babies experience the sensory table (with supervision of course) aren't enough.... Will you please look at the joy on this particular Babies face!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Look at Me Go!!!!


Birdseed. I have birdseed everywhere. There is birdseed in the cubbies, on the lawn, in the Cozy Coupes, in the sandbox, on the patio, on the chairs, even in the kids hair. I know, there will be spills, there will be transporting, and they will have fun. I just didn't think it would be SO much fun :)

D-Man figured out how to get the seed into the tube and make it go around. He was very proud and pleased with himself.

We have been watching out to see if the birds figure out about the birdseed. I have 2 dogs and we don't get to many birds who are brave enough to try and spend time in our yard. But, the lure of all that birdseed may be to much for some of them. I am hoping for a brave soul or two, as if they don't eat the seeds, they will grow into weeds all over my lawn (which may not be so bad considering my yard is all dirt and mud most of the time anyway)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Outdoor Learning

Did you know that in Norway and New Zealand they have Preschool programs that takes place almost entirely outside. The children get dropped off outside 2, 3,even 5 days a week. They are exposed to the elements, they walk on wet rocks, they run and jump in the snow. They help make the fire in the fire pit, they widdle their own stick for roasting marshmallows with, can you imagine, here in the USA giving a 5 year old at a preschool program a sharp knife to widdle with. Insurance would be through the roof. I can't even get my Child Care Licensing Coordinator to license me with a few stumps in my yard. They may get a splinter, fall into one, or who knows what else. Is it because we are a sue happy nation?? That families in other countries don't take their children's accidents as opportunities to sue. I don't know the answer... I just know that I long to create an environment that allows the children in my care to be kids. To fall sometimes, to coexist with nature, in all her glory. Splinters and all.

If you go to Let the Children Play, Ms Jenny has some amazing posts on creating the most amazing outdoor environments for children to play in. I couldn't pick just one post, since she has so many... so hop over and just browse her site, if you aren't inspired than there is something wrong with you. Also, Earthplay has a slide show of the outdoor preschool, Open Spaces, in New Zealand. I went to You Tube and found a movie about the one in Norway. For some reason I can't link up to that one.

We have been trying to get outside right after breakfast. The kids are loving eating snack outside, and can't wait until we can eat a picnic lunch again. I know the cold weather will be back soon, but I don't want to let that keep us inside again.

I put out a sensory table full of bird seed... I also found the blog, Sand and Water Tables, where Tom (the teacher) makes the sensory table a vital part of his preschool program. It is amazing. He wrote that children love to transport things, almost anything. I know this. I watch as they transport all the kitchen things to the block area, and ALL the blocks to the kitchen area. I help them move all the pine needles we rake from one part of the yard to another (for no apparent reason). So, I know the need for toddlers & preschoolers to transport, I just didn't connect it to the sand table.

Where else can they experiment with this, than in the sensory table. The different material, the different weights, the different transport vehicles, the possibilities for learning are endless. We all use sensory tables I'm sure, but do we open them up to the possibilities of greatness that Tom does at Sand and Water Tables. He says, as a side bar, many times... "There will be spills." How many of us have said, "keep it in the table" before? I know I have, many times. I don't think I would have ever, ever thought to put ANOTHER bucket next to the table and let the kids transport the material to it (spills and all).

They had a ball, and I didn't even set up a chute to run the seed through, or a ramp to slide anything down. They loved putting their feet into the seeds (something they couldn't have done if they hadn't transported it to the lower tub from the higher one).

I brought the paint outside again today. This time I set up the easels, without any paper. They kids were stunned. They kept looking and waiting, I guess for me to put out the paper. I just kept busy with Little Man. Finally, Princess (my adventurer, my authority questioner) took the paintbrush, dipped it into the paint, and made a small mark on the easel. She quick looked over at me, shrugged her shoulders (with the cutest smile, like she got away with something) and yelled for her friends to come and try this new medium.

After painting, they got to use the spray bottle, clean what they made and do it again. The spray bottle was a lot of fun on it's own, of course.
After snack and Little Man's morning mini-nap, we went to the neighborhood park. Which always lends itself to explorations and investigations.

There are tree's to climb....

And slides to conquer!!

I didn't get a photo of the kids running & rolling down the little hill, or making Happy Birthday Cake with the onion grass and clover. I didn't get the photo of the beautiful plastic & metal play equipment that was used for a short while then abandoned for the trees, grass, and mulch. Kids seem to naturally find what's natural for them.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, Babies & Messy Art

This post will be a little longer than most... I have been away (from the computer) for 3 days so there is a lot to cover. I have to say, the weather here has been gorgeous and we have been taking full advantage of it. So beautiful that I haven't stopped to sit down and post. What have we been doing, you ask??

Princess turned 5 this week!! How time really does fly. I remember the day she ran through my house and yard, like she owned the place. Her parents came for an interview and she fit right in!! It was like she had been here before and was just away for a while, because it feels like that little girl belongs here :)

Birthday Friends get to be my helper for the day... she got to run Circle Time.

Doing ALL the important tasks!!

What's the Weather, Princess??? SUNNY!!!

The Days of the Week!!

Princess pointed out the pattern she made with the color and shape cards. She is one smart cookie!!

She even helped her friends counting gumballs!!

Princess and D-Man will be going off to Kindergarten next school year and I can't believe it. It is amazing how they have grown and matured. It will be with GREAT sadness that I send them off.
Ok, I am going to go off the beaten path a little here and talk about Babies in Child Care. It is hard having infants in Child Care. They beat to their own drum, they require a lot of attention, routines are non existent, and they never seem to sleep when you want them to. All that being said, the absolute joy they bring makes all that other stuff worth it!!
I am a Provider that believe in learning through play and lots of experiences. I am soooo lucky to have families that agree with me. Because I know many parents of an 8 month old infant would NOT take to kindly to me allowing their baby to do this...

This is just a shot of today... you should have seen him yesterday.

Little Man caught a glimpse of the kids playing... there was no holding him back!!

He stopped along the way to inspect anything that caught his attention. Looking at it, feeling it, and yes, even TRYING to taste it.

Almost there!!
Hey Guys!!!

I made it!! He stayed right there, in front of that door, for a good 20 minutes. "Talking" & Yelling at the kids. He would pull himself up to look through the window and laugh at the kids inside. He inspected the dirt, pine needles, sand, and anything the kids would give him to play with. When they realized he wasn't going anywhere, they started to include him in their pretend play... his most important character was being The King of the land... they made him "pies" to taste (thankfully I was there for that one) and stick salad (which he thought was out of this world!!).
Having a multi-aged group is really hard sometimes, but on days like today, when it all comes together, I can't help but stop and realize what an important job I'm doing. I have a lot more to say about Babies and how they explore... but I will save it for another day!!


I think I got this idea from Teacher Sheryl over at Teaching 2 and 3 year old's. I went over and can't seem to find the post, and I get A LOT of great art idea's from here, but I could be wrong. So, if I got this idea from another blog, please contact me and I will link to the correct one... and many sorry's !!! :)
Anyway, I thought a process over product craft was in order. We have been so busy practicing and reviewing our ABC's, 123's, shapes, concepts, etc... that with all this nice weather that being free to explore the paint and using large movements to cover these boxes would be a lot of fun. The kids had a blast... it was nice to just experiment, touch, smell, squish, and move the paint around.

It all started out innocent enough...

But that drive to experiment for some was to strong...

I love the paint in her hair!!! Working so close together was part of the fun... I thought they might start putting the paint on each other on purpose, but they didn't. Not to say it didn't happen, but it was all on accident.

Blending... "Look Shell, Thomas is BLUE!!! Always."

This is what they left. I didn't get a photo of the water tub after they were finished. It wasn't pretty. But, they had a grand time and begged me to leave it out so they could play some more after nap. They seem to think the school agers will want to experiment with it too. Which leads me to ask, "Why do the same children who, just last year, loved getting messy and experimenting, want nothing to do with messy art this year??" I wish schools allowed for more of that kind of experiences... but, that's why I must keep offering it here!!
We had a wonderful week, I hope you did too!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Day After Valentine's Day

Does it ever seem that the day after a party day is sluggish and the kids can be unmotivated?? Coming off all that sugar can cause us all to be a little out of sorts, I think. Yet, Little Man was having none of this sluggish business... he was movin, he was shakin, and he was playin!!!

Do you think babies evewn have a slow button?? Not this guy. I think what annoys him more is that he can't keep up with the big kids yet. He can't run after them outside... he is always yelling and trying to get down when we are outside. I think he'll be walking soon.

Today was a great day to build in the foyer, where all the sunshine just poured into the house. Even though the kids were not so motivated to do any of our learning activities, they had no problem building this Dinosaur/Zhu Zhu Pet Castle. They worked together, counted out blocks (so everyone could have an equal amount), problem solved when Sprout wanted to sit right in the middle of the castle, and a lot of communication between all of them. I even overheard D-Man giving Little Miss M the words she should be using when she wanted something from someone else. Ahhh, you have to love those moments.

Dress Up Time!! They wore these little dresses all morning. Through Circle Time, Snack Time, Play Time... they only took them off when I told them we were going to walk to the park.

Reading Books... Little Miss M told me she was the Mommy.
While Little Man took his early nap, we enjoyed circle time. We reviewed our ABC's (forward and backwards), Princess went through all the letters and gave the sound for almost every letter. We counted to 11, forward and backward... we found 11 things around the room and made patterns with some of the things we found.
Then we had a real treat, Little Miss M brought her Mixed Up Chameleon to school. Her Mom must have bought the Kohls book and stuffed animal for her and she brought them in to share with us. We got to read the book, while Mr. Chameleon watched from his perch on my chair. We even were able to move him around the room and pretend that he was sitting real still, waiting for his Fly to come by. Then we pretended we were Chameleon's and sat real still and quiet, only moving our eyes. Then we found a fly, out shot our long, sticky tongues... Yum, Yum!!
When Little Man woke, we got ready and took a nice walk to the neighborhood park. I love our park because not only does it have a nice climbing structure, but it has enough room for the kids to run in the grass, explore trees and dirt, and roll down little hills to their hearts content. That was how we spent the rest of our morning... now I am exhausted. They all get to take a nice nap after lunch... I have to wait until bedtime... they don't know how good they have it!!! I hope this weather lasts awhile :)