We have been watching the snow come down from inside Miss Amy’s Child Care and we have tried to catch snowflakes on our tounges outside in our playground. We have made tracks in the snow with our feet and played with snow and ice in our outdoor kitchen. We made snow angels and looked for our sandbox (hidden under all that snow). Where was it? We made snow balls and contemplated why our mittens became wet after having played outside in the snow for a while. Where did the water go and where did the ice come from? We discussed the difference between snow on the ground and falling snow. We designed snowmen and looked hard for snowmen parts – sieves with long handles for the arms and tin buckets for hats as well as sticks and anything else that may look good on a snowman. What does a snowman taste like? Today some of the children decided to find out for themselves by licking one of them! Miss Susie started a game of snow soccer on our snow clad lawn, the children had not lost their touch!
– Miss Maria, teacher for the 2’s class.
What does a snowman taste like? Have a lick and find out!
Our kids love sand and water, so we are always trying to come up with new and inventive ways to present it. Outside we have a huge sandbox and access to water but on these frigid days it’s nice to have an indoor alternative. Small world play is my favorite way to present this.
If you’re not familiar with Small World Play its very easy to set up. First, pick a theme, arctic animals, desert, Christmas, whatever you can think of. Then pick some elements as your base, usually mine is sand or water. Then add different trinkets to add to the experience, focus on what you want the children to learn and go from there. Small worlds can be as simple or complex as you like. However, don’t get too hung up on keeping it looking perfect. This is a sensory experience and children will treat it as such!
Today I set up an ice rink and ice skaters. The rink was made on a cookie sheet, and the skaters were made by putting figurines in an ice tray with water. Simple! We read Pearl’s New Skates by Holly Keller to go with this activity.
The kids loved playing with the ice ! They were alarmed when it started to melt, but that was a teachable moment. They also enjoyed freeing the figurines from the ice.
Here’s an example of a complex world I made for Thanksgiving.
Many of the kids enjoyed Thanksgiving world. They recreated different stories we told them about the pilgrims and the Native Americans. Then there were other children who had other plans. They buried the marbles and went on “treasure hunts”. That was OK too!
Here’s an example of a water based world used in the summer. It was Swamp themed! We were trying to steer a Ninja Turtles obsession into a learning experience!
Initially we used plain gelatin for rocks. The children quickly realized they could crush those. That ended up being a great idea because it gave the water a sludgy texture that the children loved!
You really can’t always foresee what will happen during small world play. Supervision is key, but let the children make their own decisions .
Today we have gone 3-dimensional with our robot building and exploration.
It is fascinating to listen to the children describe what they are building and what each part is on their robot. Some children focus on the outside of the robot…structure. Others, are more concerned with the inside…function. Robots open up to reveal batteries, gears, or other elements. Some have propellers and other special features.
And all of these rockin’ robots are made with our recyclables and other rather random items from the tinker bins– caps, lids, old tubes, bottles, twist-offs, ties, and stray bits, plus tin cans and painted water bottles and play dough cups. A little duct tape and some hot glue seals the deal.
Robot exploration has begun these last two weeks in the fours/fives classroom and our atelier speaks to the ways children can build skills while building ‘bots. They began today with simple robot images copied on paper which they combined with shapes they cut from recycled construction paper and their own robot-part drawings. Although the three elements were separate activities, they quickly evolved into a sort of robot factory on the table, with imaginative combinations of drawn, cut, colored and collaged robots.
The ability to choose helped some children begin with a skill they were already comfortable with (such as coloring) and then challenge themselves to try one they might be less adept at (cutting), and to combine them. As we progress with our robot building, it will be exciting to see the robots that take form from working in 3-D with various materials. And I can only imagine the number of C3POs and R2D2s we are going to end up with. Stay tuned….
–Miss Lori, Atelierista