Thursday, March 31, 2011

V is for Volcano

This morning was a busy one. We had a doctor ship, a deep sea diving ship, and a cruise ship going. Using chairs, our cardboard boat, and shelves they played happily, without incident for over an hour. I didn't want to pull them away from their play, but we needed to have circle time and I really wanted to introduce them to Volcano's. So, I pulled them away from their play, leaving the makings of their fantasy world intact for when we were through with circle. Yet, when I began talking about Volcano's, reading stories, and then watching a National Geographic video on Volcano's erupting, they were hooked. I guess the Hot, Red Lava was to enticing. They loved the video, it was a Volcano 101 4 minute video we found on the Internet, and they loved watching and listening to it. We then talked about how Volcano started with a V and made the Va sound... but it was the kids who made the connection that some Volcano's looked like an upside down V. Brilliant!! On the art table today I had set out the letter V on a piece of paper with some different types of medium to create with. They of course turned it upside down and made volcano's. I loved that I didn't even have to suggest it. I did leave an image of an erupting volcano on the computer so they could see what one looked like. This is what they came up with... The white is supposed to be smoke & ash, not a Christmas Tree topper :) After we were finished creating, I thought they would go back to their play, but they did not. I felt bad about that. Instead some little disagreements broke out, I decided a nice walk would do us all some good!! During our walk we found a small pipe sticking up from the ground, left over from a street sign. We could have sworn we felt that hot lava just bubbling and boiling down there. Even feeling some of the steam on our faces as we knelt over it :) Again, I did not mention that maybe they could "see" the middle of the earth with all its lava bubbling... it was a connection they made on their own. I was very proud of them.
(Don't you just love all those little heads together trying to get a peek)
Sprout is thinking very carefully about what Princess had said about the dry parts of the road being where the lava is right underneath, drying the road faster there than where Sprout is walking. Huh...
Just a little snippet from our day... I wish I could capture it all.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

More Letter V activities & a New Sensory Table

Violet Vegetable V printing

(ok, purple, but we thought it could pass for Violet today)

We love open-ended art. Any teacher directed, "learning" type of art is always done, but not with the gusto as open-ended art activities. Each child spent just the right amount of time doing the Vegetable printing activity and quickly tossed those veggies (sweet potatoes) off to the side and got those hands in there. I managed to save the V paper and hung them up to dry while they got the Manila paper and went all out with the "pretty violet paint."

I love kids... I put out the "violet" paint, told the kids, "We will be making Vegetable V prints with Violet paint, what sounds do you hear??" Princess scrunched up her nose and said, "Isn't that purple paint Miss Michelle??"... "Yes," I said, "but Violet is another name for purple. Since we are learning about the letter V and it's sound, I thought we would call purple Violet today. What do you think?"... Princess said, "Oh okay, just as long as you really know it's purple." :) Love her!!

I love multi-age groups... Little Miss M is studying Princess, following her lead on where to put her hands.

I have been upgrading our equipment here at Kozy Kids... and I finally got our fancy, dancy new indoor sensory table up and going. I bought this one. I love it, except the shelf underneath. It seemed like a great idea, until I realized to get the water out I needed to find a small enough pitcher to get between the shelf and the bottom of the tub, open the faucet, let a little water out, stop it, dump the water into a bucket, and repeat. Many times. You would think for the amount of money it was, they would have thought that little snag through.

Anyway... I do love it, really. They kids did to. I purchased some great water exploring tools from here, and let the kids at it today. They spent at least an hour there this morning, all 4 of them. Little Man spent some time as well, but since he loves to splash and mouth everything, we had to limit his time there. He understood and had fun doing his own thing :)

(Love this photo, with the water gushing out of the pump Sprout has)

See, this kid can occupy himself with just about anything!! It did help that the kids were right next to him playing and talking to him and I was sitting on the floor playing peek-a-boo with him!!


During lunch this week, we have been trying new vegetables. I have been putting different types of raw veggies on each plate with a little dip for the kids to try. I just forgot to post/photo about it. Today was fun, I put on a beet, broccoli (trees), tomato, & radish. Sprout finished ALL of hers!! Every last bite and asked for more. Gotta love that girl. She has eaten every new veggie I put on her plate except for all of her sugar snap peas and orange pepper. Otherwise, she has eaten a carrot, cucumber, celery, lettuce, purple cabbage, and the things we tried today. She is a real trooper, at first she didn't like the look of some of the veggies, but our rule is we must take one bite to try it. If we don't like it, we don't have to eat anymore. We had a lot of "yucks" & "no ways" but, everyone tried everything at least once.

Tomorrow we will be learning about Volcano's. Everyone who studies Volcano's has to do the baking soda & Vinegar experiment. The kids will be excited when they see the ingredients out on the table. It is always a favorite!!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Celery Experiment & A Boat

It Worked!!

I'm not sure how well you can see, but the leaves of our celery began turning the color of the water. It was amazing when the kids came in this morning and one by one they each went to the celery and "Yippee!!" I would hear, or "Shell, Shell... come quick. The leaves are splotchy." I was happy to see that they were still excited this morning and eager to check out our experiment. When we woke from our nap yesterday there wasn't much going on with the stalks. I could see a tinge of blue on the stalk soaking in the dark, dark blue vase, but the kids couldn't see it. So, there was a little disappointment there, but this morning made up for it. The stalks actually keep getting darker so I will give it one more day to soak and see what tomorrow morning holds for us. The vases have, so far, stayed upright, so I hope I am not pressing my luck. If anything, it will be my own boys wrestling that knocks them over :)

We had fun making this boat out of the cardboard box that our new chairs came in. It has been in the playroom for a few days now and I kept eyeing it and trying to figure out what I could do with it. I have been visiting My Homemade Montessori lately, and she has such wonderful ideas and nifty ways to recycle and reuse anything and everything... so I knew I just had to wait and something would come to us. And it did, this morning we were talking about how veggies get from one place to another... trains, trucks, & BOATS. When the kids made that connection it only seemed appropriate that we make a train, truck or boat to pretend deliver our veggies with... the kids opted for a boat. It seemed to take forever (in the time of a child) to put together, and the 4 of them were so eager to get in and play, but finally it was done.

There were many ship Captains, lots of talk about decorating, many discussions about what they could use for a Ship Wheel, and even a little playing. It is funny, it sometimes seems the fun is in the creation of the project, not always the actual pretend play.

Although, a lot of time was spent inside the boat, "shipping" veggies all over the USA. (In between decorating of course)

Monday, March 28, 2011

Veggies and a Little Science

This week we will be exploring the letter Vv. I thought it would be another 2 letter week, I mean what could we do with the letter V?? Apparently a lot!! We are starting out with Veggies or Vegetables, depending on what you call them at your house. We read Eating the Alphabet by Lois Ehlert, which is a really great book. The pictures in it are amazing and the vocabulary the kids are introduced to is perfect for all age levels. After we read our book, I took a tray (that had been covered) and asked the kids what they thought might be under the paper towel. Most saw an apple peeking out, so it wasn't to hard to guess that it was, "food," "apples," and "fruit." When I uncovered the tray, there was a lot of OOHHH & AHHHing... I guess it is a treat to see real fruit and vegetables in the playroom. We talked about what we saw, naming each fruit and vegetable. We then got to pass each one around, smelling it, touching it, and looking at it. We then compared the group first by similarities and then differences. Then we sorted them into the 2 categories... Fruits & Vegetables.

It was a real treat to see the kids take the tray off the shelf many times to sort and categorize the fruit and vegetables. Though I think I might have to put them in the fridge soon.

During one of my searches on the Internet, I found this experiment with celery and food coloring. I have done it with carnations, but never celery before, so I was excited to give it a try. The kids and I talked about how plants, specifically veggies, grow. Which led to getting enough water. We talked about what we do when we are thirsty, Drink Water, and how drinking water keeps us healthy and growing. Then we tied it into the celery and that I bet the celery needed to "drink" water to grow.

Each child got to help pour the water, put in the food coloring, and select a stalk of celery and stir the water up. After each stalk was positioned exactly like some of them wanted them to be, we waited. And waited, and waited... waiting is hard for toddlers and preschoolers :)

We have kept a close watch on our celery stalks, but no real progress yet. We are hoping after nap to catch a glimpse of the waters journey up the stalk to the leaves... but we will see. I hope it doesn't take more than 24 hours... because I don't know how long those lovely little bottle of water will last upright.

Friday, March 25, 2011

U is for Utensils

Today we talked about Utensils. What a word. The kids had a hard time figuring out what the word meant. I took all the Utensils and laid them out on the floor in our circle and covered them with a towel while we talked what we thought the word meant. Then I took the towel off and all the kids said, "OH!! Those are Utensils!!" We talked about how utensils are things that have to do with eating, making, moving, or mashing food. We talked about forks, spoons, butter knives (utensils we use all the time) and then pointed out the ones in our stash that we don't normally use on a daily basis. Like the potato masher (smasher, smusher), the baster (which all the kids pointed out looked a lot like a paint brush) and measuring spoons.

It was a lot of fun listening to the kids talk about how, when, where and with whom they use certain utensils with at home or Grandma's. We noticed that we had 2 potato mashers, but they didn't look a like. One even took a guess that one of the potato mashers was a waffle maker because of the design, they are pretty smart kids!!

We didn't use our Utensils in the normal way. We decided to use them as paint brushes, thus the connection to the baster. We were all very excited to see what would happen when we used each Utensil. They found out that "painting" in a stroke type of manner wasn't all that easy with the potato masher, the spatula's, or the tablespoon, it was more like stamping. It was a lot of fun to go out of our comfort zone and use something silly to paint with. So look out Mom's & Dad's, if they take the whisk out of the drawer and you find it at the paint easel, I'm Sorry in advance :)

(the bottom of the plate was used also, not quite a Utensil, but who cares)

Little Man was taking his morning nap when we did our Utensil prints, but he had a grand time working on those gross motor skills when he woke up!! He has been climbing everything he can, and his balance is getting so that he doesn't fall backwards to much anymore!! He is growing so fast!!!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Singing in the Rain...

Ok, so it wasn't really rain and we didn't quite sing, but we did a lot of yelling, squealing and jumping!! The little sea of Umbrellas was a sight to see out there on our new concrete pad. It really was great for them to be able to go under the sprinkler and not be standing in the mud up to their shins.

I love this shot... Sprout was standing off to the side at one point, just mesmerized by the sound of the "rain" hitting the top of her Umbrella. To cute.

This is what happened afterwards. I knew the mud would be to much of a draw to stay under the Umbrellas for to long. They just can't help themselves when the puddles start to grow and the water gets murky. It is just calling out to them to make some "Dinosaur Ice Cream."

Yes, that's muddy water coming out of those watering cans

Yes, I "tried" some "Dinosaur Ice Cream"
What's a teacher to do??

Inside we were able to have a semi-regular circle time. The kids were excited to do calendar and counting, but I think the new ABC I SPY bags were the favorite today. I purchased these from Lake Shore Learning and I couldn't wait to get them out. The kids loved them. They loved being able to Spy the objects, but it really helped to build vocabulary for the Toddlers, as well as the preschoolers. In the Tt bag there was a tennis racket, some knew what it was, but it looked a little different than a real one, so they had a hard time being confident in their answer. So, we talked about real-vs-pretend, we talked about same-vs-different, and we found each object and named it. This way when they go to play with the bags on their own or with a friend, they have the vocabulary to use with it. They are excited to find them on the shelf.

Here are the Tye Dye t-shirts we made. I think they came out really great!! Some of the kids wore them today and they looked pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself!! My boys want to make some this weekend, I hope it is nice enough out to do it.