Happy Mother’s Day


In the fours class (most of which are now mostly fives ūüėĘ) we spent the week celebrating mothers! We made gifts for them. While we were painting gift bags one little girl said, “I’m painting mine red because that’s the color of my heart!”. I heard lots of wonderful things about ¬†the special women in their lives. I asked them, ” Why do you love your mom?”

  • She always buys Dunkin Donut bagels! Also she is pretty special. – Landon
  • My mom always gets me a lot of stuff for my whole life and I love her a lot! – Mia
  • Well she always gets me a birthday present. Also she makes the BEST cookies, chocolate chip! – Brady
  • Before we go to bed she always gives me a hug and a kiss. – Blake
  • She takes me out for ice cream, but my Dad does drive us. – Ian
  • She takes care of me the best and she she made me! – Leroy
  • She always buys me donuts and gives me kisses! – Henry Garrett
  • She always takes me to swimming pools. – Henry David
  • Because we do everything together! – Scarlett
  • She let me pick a beach vacation! – Norabel
  • She made me and she loves me ! – Ember
  • She buys me donuts! – Arya
  • She always lets me have dessert ! – Fount
  • My mom always has great ideas ! – Tucker
  • My mom is so special, I just love her so much! – Reagan
  • My mom always hugs me ! – Braxton

And “What does your Mom love?”

  • She loves me and donuts of course. – ¬†Henry Garrett
  • Hearts! – Henry David
  • Trophies! – Landon
  • She loves me because I love her. I did that smooth dance on the cruise and I won for her ! – Mia
  • She loves me, flowers, hearts, and pictures. – Ian
  • My mom always loves to take pictures of me, but I do not want to do that! Oh wait, she loves working out and then I take pictures of her ! – Brady
  • She loves me. – Leroy
  • She loves me and flowers and hearts. – Ember
  • She loves coffee and taking me to Poppy’s house. She loves using the computer. -Tucker
  • She loves my new blanket, we just got it! – Blake
  • She loves to blow bubbles with me ! – Fount
  • She loves it when we make stuff for her ! – Norabel
  • My mom loves heart stickers! – Arya
  • My mom loves food and me. – Scarlett
  • My mom loves me because I’m a cutie patootie and she loves going to the mall! – Reagan

Happy Mother’s Day!

-Miss Amber

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Picture This!

Before I get into this week’s blog post, I wanted to take a moment to express my deep appreciation and gratitude for the job that I have here at Miss Amy’s. I’ve had the pleasure of working here for just over a year and I couldn’t imagine what my life would be like without the community here, without the children, and without all of you. I, for one, feel very blessed to be a part of each child’s life.¬†Thank you for that opportunity. Your children are amazing and I learn so much from them, day in and day out. May we never stop listening to their small voices, wrapping them up in our arms, and making sure they know we love them and always will. No. Matter. What.

And, on that happy note, let’s flash back to some of the fun and crazy things we’ve been doing the last few weeks. Of course, we celebrated Easter with an Easter egg hunt and we dyed eggs, but we also decorated some paper Easter eggs and made chocolate chickens.

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Since the kids were obsessed with things popping out of eggs, I made a little chick peeking out of an egg as an example of what they could choose to do with their own paper Easter eggs.

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What they did with their eggs was totally up to them though!

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And boy, did we have some funny looking Easter eggs…

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A few days later, we melted down a bunch of chocolate and poured it into candy molds, making chocolate chicken popsicles for snack!

This past Friday we had our annual Trike-A-Thon, where we raise money for St. Jude’s, so that they can continue fighting childhood cancer and finding ways to improve the lives of those children and their families. Here is a link to more information about these events held nationwide! As for our particular event, we took tons of pictures and have been updating along the way and all of that information can be found on our¬†Facebook page. We had a wonderful time!

In other news, we have been quite into making masks lately. All sorts of fun masks. Beards, sharks, and maybe my face…? I’m really not sure on that one. Sometimes, I just have to sit back and laugh at some of the silly things that happen here.

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Speaking of funny things, when one of the kids learned about my upcoming birthday and they found out how old I’d be turning, they looked at me for a moment and pondered my answer, before announcing, “You’re going to die sooner than I thought you were.” Good gracious, I about fell over I was laughing so hard. Only a child. It made my day.

Another incident that made my day was the dancing down on the porch. We recently put a speaker down on the porch, so children could listen to music in the afternoons. We plugged in our iPod and have been playing Music Together songs and some of the children have really been getting into it. They grab scarves and just rock out to the songs. It’s hard not to smile when you see a two year old getting down to “I’ve Been Working on the Railroad.”

Here’s just a smattering of beautiful paintings courtesy of the kids.

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And last, but definitely not least, we have officially begun working on our fall art exhibit. I’m going to keep the theme a surprise for now, but here’s a sneak peak at some of the work we’re doing. And, as always, here’s the link to more photos from the past few weeks.

It’s going to be great! Right now, we’re gearing up for the summer and are getting ready for the long sunny days ahead. Here’s to hoping the clouds clear up and the rain, rain goes away and comes again another day.

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

 

Happy Easter

It’s that time of year! We enjoyed coloring eggs yesterday morning (4/12/17). We had many that only colored one egg and I had a few that colored I believe a half a dozen each 😆. Some enjoyed it more than others!

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They took their dyed eggs home with them in a “nest” (rolled down paper bag) I didn’t get a picture of them, but they were adorable.

Today was our Easter Egg Hunt.  It was a great success, the 2’s and 3’s had their hunt first, then the 4’s and 5’s did their hunt. We had a golden egg for both classes, inside was a dollar!  We enjoyed a special Easter snack afterwards on the porch.

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Here are the 2’s and 3’s heading out to hunt!

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Here is our winner of the Golden Egg.

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Here are a few pictures of the 4’s and 5’s hunting eggs. They were quicker and I didn’t get a picture of the Golden Egg winner from that class! They mean business!

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It was a beautiful day for an Egg Hunt.  I hope everyone has a great Easter weekend!

Miss Susie

Picture This!

Happy April 6th! Y’all, we made it. It’s finally spring! The weather has warmed up nicely and, of course, the rain has begun. But, spring is that wonderful time of the year when flowers start blooming and we begin planting our garden!

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As with last year, we are partnering with Grow Appalachia to plant and maintain a community garden and it’s such a valuable experience for the children. They love getting to spread compost around the plants, starting seedlings, helping choose what we plant and where we plant it, and harvesting when things are all said and done. It’s such a magical thing to watch a tiny seed poke out of the ground and grow into a grand plant that then produces cherry red tomatoes you can eat straight off the vine. And, because it’s a community garden, our produce will be available to the community!

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A corn cupcake for Tillie’s first birthday, courtesy of Miss Amber’s class!

Another fun event that occurred recently was the birthday of our chicken here at Miss Amy’s. Her name is Tillie and she recently turned 1 year old. To celebrate this event, all of the kids wanted Tillie to have a birthday cake, like they would have on one of their own birthdays. That said, we knew that it wouldn’t be a great idea to give her actual cake, so we made our own little corn cupcakes. We then frosted them with plain yogurt and topped them off with some leftover strawberries. And boy did she love it!

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Just like any other 1 year old, she got cake all over her face!

Lately, we have been doing a lot of experimentation with painting and the use of different brushes. Sometimes, we need to use a certain type of brush to produce a certain type of artwork, to get across the picture inside our brains. And I must say, it’s been working pretty well. With the choice of which brush would be best, the children are producing some amazing paintings.

We have also been having great success with melty beads too. For the first time since this group has been at Miss Amy’s, they are finishing whole melty bead designs and I’m having to melt 5 to 8 different creations each day. They are blowing it out of the water! I’m so proud! Even Miss Amber got in on it and made a lizard out of melty beads!

And to wrap up this posting’s brief overview of art at Miss Amy’s the past few weeks, we also had a station where children could make little chicks from toilet paper rolls. Using tissue paper, they could put “feathers” on their chick, and a little orange beak and feet, but I knew long before I ever put the supplies out that I was going to get some really strange looking chicks. Aren’t you glad this isn’t what actual chickens look like?!

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Oh! And before I forget, we also “tasted the rainbow” a few weeks ago! We did this really cool science experiment where you “melt” skittles and they create these rainbows and then you can eat what is left of the skittles and drink the juice. It was such a big hit at school, that a few of the kids actually went home and did the experiment again!

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I promise it’s not science fiction, but I’m not sure I would believe it if I hadn’t seen it happen!

All in all, it’s been a great beginning to spring here and we are looking forward to a fun and very busy April. If you’d like to see more pictures from the past two weeks, you can find them here. With that, farewell! Until next time!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

Three days of learning…

This is the Fuqua School of Business, at Duke University, where the conference was held.


My colleague, Miss Amber and I spent three days full of optimism, wonderful insights and inspiration at the 8th North American Reggio Emilia Alliance Winter Conference at Duke University, North Carolina.

 We brought this knowledge back with us to use in our every day interactions with our young children at Miss Amy’s LLC.

“The Reggio Emilia approach is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was developed after WWII by the psychologist Loris Malaguzzi, and parents in the villages around Reggio Emilia in Italy. Following the war, people believed that children were in need of a new way of learning.” (Reggio Emilia approach – Wikipedia).

The two things that stand out the most in the Reggio Emilia approach, to me, is the absolute respect and understanding that each child is shown by all adults.

During the conference, there was a lot of discussion about citizenship and what it really means. According to the Reggio Emilia approach, each child is a citizen of not only his or her country but also of his or her community. This right to citizenship starts at birth and this is explained to each child as he or she grows up and each child is reminded of this often, by adults but also by other children. Children are respected for who they are and their full potential is encouraged and helped along the way as the child grows older.

According to the Reggio Emilia approach, “The competent child has a brain that is extremely plastic and able to learn and explore.” All children are capable and all children can reach their full potential. Children with special needs are called children with special rights! Children of different abilities are encouraged to work side by side and together solve problems and to find new solutions. It is believed that putting labels on children restricts their future.

 All staff members at the schools, not just teachers but aids, cooks and cleaners, are also teachers in their own rights. Is very important to mix adults from different backgrounds . The Reggio Emilia approach has a lot of support from the community of the city of Reggio Emilia . It is very involved in teaching the the young people through theater, music, dance and photography and it does so happily! There are many field trips made into the city. Even the very youngest students who are just babies get to go and explore their world and this continues all through the child’s schooling. This approach reinforces the feeling of belonging, of citizenship. 

“Children-teachers-parents are competent co-authors in/of a community of learning.”

Children are genetically wired to learn through emotional connections. It is important to give credit with joy and humor and with encouragement. Children learn how to learn by imitation. Learning is traversal. A teacher’s job is to be available for the child at each new developmental stage. It is good to have a base idea but let the children take the reins and let them go where they want to/need to. Ask questions like how are we learning rather than what are we learning. The process itself is the most important part. The free use of imagination is encouraged. There is not just one way to play with something in order to learn and to understand. The teacher is the interpreter, the one who gives meaning to what the child is discovering as well as the “encourager”. Some other key points of the Reggio Emilia approach are:

“Be with the child in their own time of learning”

“The teacher’s job is to be a bridge between different children, between what the child knows and what he/she wants to know, to lead the child on to the beginning of their journey.”

 “We all learn through relationships with others.”

“Children are explorers both through their bodies and their minds.”

“Do not separate learning and life – LIFE IS LEARNING.”

When we learn we sometimes fail and then get up and try again or like Simone, age 3 years 10 months put it, “To take a step you have to lose your balance.”

This three day conference has given me a lot of hope for the children in my own community and it has reminded me why I am an educator.

“Teaching is a profession for thinking big.” -Anon

Miss Maria, the lead teacher for the 2-year-old -classes at Miss Amy’s LLC.

Picture This!

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Spring is almost here! (I think…)

Is anyone else having trouble figuring out what to wear day to day or is it just me? One second it’s 70 degrees outside and the next it feels like 6 degrees with wind chill! What is happening?!¬†Luckily, despite the crazy weather, we have been plugging along just fine here at Miss Amy’s and we’ve even braved the frigid weather so we don’t lose out on the fun the outdoors has to offer.

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We love chalk!

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And buckets! We love buckets too, even when they’re stuck to our bottoms.

And lately, we have really enjoyed building ramps and jumping balls all over the porch and yard. We’re getting pretty good at it!

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The crazy creatures we build have been getting stranger and stranger by the day, but we love them anyway.

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Especially when they remind us of cookie monster!

We know we’re always on the run…

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And we know that things can get crazy.

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We’ve all made this face before!

But, in all seriousness, we do it in the name of creating the best experience possible for each and every child that steps through the door and into our lives. We know that children are challenging and that it can be hard to listen to every story and have patience with every little potty problem or dinner disaster, but this time in a child’s life is so important.¬†It’s so important to put aside the craziness and that face we’d all like to make at times and get down on their level and really listen, really talk, really be there for them. It’s hard; I know it! But, I will never stop striving to build a caring relationship with every single child. Because¬†relationships shape the way children see the world, how they develop, the types of adults they grow into, and more than that, they make my life so much easier! With a relationship, I can sit down and ask a child questions about their behavior and we can reach a conclusion together by thinking about what we know and what we did and both come out the other side better for it. Without a relationship, I’m as significant as an ant about to be squashed beneath a boot. Relationships just make everything better. I want what is best for each child and this is one way that I can accomplish that goal. It’s important to me, so I wanted to share it with you. Thank you for taking the time to read my spiel and please follow this link to find more pictures of the past few weeks!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

 

Practicing kindness

 

I have been thinking about a good subject for this blog for quite a while now. After observing the children in my care over several weeks, I noticed all the acts of kindness they showed not only each other but also the adults in their lives.

 

I wanted a good photo to go with my story, which further delayed my blog entry. I love photography but I love interacting with the children more. To me, taking pictures removes me from the dialogue and instead of being an active participant I become a bystander, a recorder of fleeting history, an important job for someone but not my first priority.
Although knowing better, I waited for my perfect photo opportunity, which of course never came. I found myself with even more time to think about the topic of kindness, and I came to this conclusion:

Kindness comes to children naturally, but it has to be practiced to last a life time, even into adulthood and until the day we die.

Children take words at face value. When words and actions do not correspond, children do what you do and not what you tell them to do.

It is a very important part we adults play as role models not only for our own children but for children everywhere. A child learns by observing and then copying, over and over again.

We adults need to keep that in mind in our daily lives. Children are always listening and watching us. This is how children are made. It is pretty ingenious really, as long as we adults remember our roles of being kind ourselves, and not just towards children but towards other adults as well.

Having worked with 2 and 3-year-olds for over 15 years I have come to understanding that these young children have taught me so much more about life and about myself than I could ever have imagined! If I can be kind like a 2 or 3-year-old child, honestly and wholeheartedly, I am doing well.

Kindness is a work in progress, let’s keep on practicing.

– Miss Maria, lead teacher for the 2-year-old classes.

Picture This!

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It’s a wonderful day in the neighborhood, a wonderful day for a neighbor. Oh, would you be mine? Could you be mine?

Holidays are magical times for children. What lasts a mere twenty-four hours for us adults goes on for days and days in a child’s life. There is no Valentine’s Day, but Valentine’s week! I’m actually still not sure it’s over… But, it was fun!

On Monday, in preparation for Valentine’s Day, Miss Amy made some amazing homemade angel food cake with a ton of eggs that we got from our lovely chicken Tilley and I worked on making little heart shaped pizzas with the kids.

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They were incredibly tasty little treats and a great way to start off our Valentine’s week. Oh, and before I get too carried away, here’s a picture of our chicken, Tilley. She is very sweet and the children love to feed her leaves and grass and she happily gobbles them up.

On Tuesday, Valentine’s Day, we had fun eating the angel food cake Amy made and picking our handmade valentines out of the box. We also had some brownies and fruit salad and all in all, it was a day of much sugar and much love. I apologize now that I don’t have more pictures of the events I speak of, but it can be difficult to step back and photograph when you are in the moment, enjoying it, helping the kids.

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Wednesday and Thursday, we continued making valentines for each other, coloring hearts, and we retained our focus on compassion and love. On Friday, we made adorable heart shaped cookies for snack and everyone ate far too many of them. I may have made more than necessary though, like 30 more than necessary. Oops!

Throughout the week, we also had a “Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf” provocation which encouraged the children to try building with different materials, such as straw, sticks, and “bricks” or Legos¬†in our case. It also gave them the opportunity to play and re-enact the story while simultaneously crafting their own new stories with the same familiar characters.

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I so desperately wanted to call them the three little bears and the big bad mouse, because my ability to make spoons look like pigs and a wolf was laughable. Thank goodness for the powerful imagination of a child!

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Over the past few weeks, we’ve also has a grand ole’ time with feats of engineering, from building ramps – jumps included- to digging tunnels, to intricate games of “Don’t fall in the lava!”

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It was quite a good week! And with that, I bid you adieu. I promised myself I wouldn’t write a crazy long blog post this time and I’m sticking to it! That said, I still want to be able to share photos and stories of some of the fun things happening at Miss Amy’s, so I created a photo album where you can explore more photos from the past weeks and all the weeks to come! Just click here:¬†More Pictures!¬†Happy Sunday y’all!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

Picture This!

Valentine’s Day is nearby upon us! And, here at Miss Amy’s we like to make Valentine’s Day special by making our ¬†very own special paper for our valentines. It starts with ripping up a ton of normal paper.img_1325img_1322

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Then we let the paper soak overnight and strain the water from the bin.

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We blend it all up…

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Strain it again and press until we’ve got paper! In order to get all the water out, we had the kids jump on the paper while it was pressed between two towels. By far the best part!

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Our paper as it was drying

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The now completely dry paper, cut into “squares” for Valentines decorating

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Commence decorating!

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Painting, Glitter, Glue, Pencils, Markers, Paper, the works!

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The glitter was our favorite part!

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Now that all of our valentines are finished, they have been put in our Valentine’s Day box. On the 14th, each child will get to reach in and pick out a valentine. Each valentine only has the maker’s name on it and who it goes to is random, but everyone gets a valentine from a classmate.

Of course, after we did our generalized valentines, the children wanted to make valentines for their parents, siblings, and one another, so we set about doing that.

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Over the past two weeks, we’ve also had fun with Play-Doh (an old favorite), paints, and pencils/markers!

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We made scratch art, little clay figurines, and crowns too!

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In case you were wondering, it’s a teddy bear!

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Each week, in addition to our normal art activities, we have a sensory table. We had a mixing table two weeks ago and an ice table last week. We tried painting with ice as well. It didn’t turn out so great, but we had fun eating our “paint.”

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And, last, but not least, I just wanted to share a picture of what art might look like on any given day.

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Children all over the place, cutting, gluing, painting, using punches, and coloring.  It is a wonderful thing to see, children exercising their creative muscles, showing us how they see the world. It is my goal to help them in this expression and to see the world through their eyes. To know as they do, the miraculous nature of everything. They are the future and this is their vision and I love being a part of it. It is my great honor. Until next time, my friends.

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)

Picture This!

Happy Saturday! I just wanted to take a second to let y’all know about the new art themed picture based blog post series I’m about to start up. Each week, I take oodles of pictures of the art that your wonderful children are producing day in and day out and I wanted a way to share this outside of my normal blog posts. So, every few weeks, I’m going to update “Picture This!” with new pictures of our recent art! Don’t worry, still the same blog, just a running series of posts within and I’ll always call it “Picture This!” Excitement! Now, without further ado…

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The kids love this book, so I thought we’d find a way to¬†incorporate it into an art activity!

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In case you’ve never read Sneezy the Snowman, he melts over and over again because he’s too cold and keeps trying to warm himself up by drinking hot chocolate, sitting in a hot tub, and standing by a fire.

Here’s a link to a reading of Sneezy the Snowman on YouTube:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-RiHfYElP-M

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First we painted snowmen and decorated them and then, using straws, we blew our snowmen into oblivion!

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Looks like a melted snowman to me!

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Next, we decided to take normal Play-Doh to the next level and draw on it!

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Each child got their own hunk of white Play-Doh and then took to it with markers.

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And once they’d finished drawing on it, we mixed it up with great success! Beautiful!

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Played with our Play-Doh…

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And even practiced our letters.

Our end result: Play-Doh as unique as each child’s imagination and a¬†great future toy!

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We also tried our hand at replicating snowflakes!

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All we had to do was place tape on watercolor paper in the shape of snowflakes…

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Paint…

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And pull the tape off!

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Not one snowflake like any other!

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With Pajama Day coming up and yet another book we all love, we started making our very own red pajamas from all manner of materials, including tape, noodles, and glitter.

Here’s a link to a reading of Llama Llama Red Pajama on YouTube:¬†https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HD1g3P-nKWo

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After we were finished decorating our pajamas, we could move on to the next step of making sure we put heads, hands, and feet on our pajamas.

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Because headless pajama would be scary РEek!

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Some of us wanted to use yarn for our hair and others just used pencils and crayons.

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But either way, we drew our faces, painted our hands, and stamped our feet and soon had…

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Pajama clad versions of ourselves to take home on Pajama Day!

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We also painted many a picture over the past few weeks, something we quite love to do.

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You just can’t go wrong with paint!

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Our creations included this car, which looks like it came straight out of a children’s book…

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And the Moaning Lisa!

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We circled back around to snowflakes and tried our hand at decorating them too.

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Once more, not a snowflake too similar!

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We had a few sensory tables thrown into the mix as well!

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Here, our biodegradable packing peanuts are dissolving in water…

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Being squished by children…

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and rolling around in a bucket of shredded paper “snow!”

Can you tell yet how desperately we are hoping it will snow very very soon?

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Finally, we built things, drew things, and just played and had fun!

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Wiki Sticks!

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Spaghetti and Meatballs!

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Melty Beads

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Loose Parts

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Look at that structure!

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HAPPINESS!

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It’s only a snapshot – I take at least a hundred pictures a week – but hopefully it brings you into our world of art and exploration. Until next time!

~ Miss Kt, Clubhouse Kids Teacher & Atelierista (Art Teacher)