Thursday, December 18, 2014

Growing Candy Canes

Don’t you just love, and hate, browsing through Pinterest and find an idea you just have to do even if time is limited?  That’s what happened this week.
123Homeschool4me has shared print outs for growing candy canes.  I love magical activities like this and knew we had to try it even though we had four days left of school before Christmas break.
The seed packet is fantastic in its detail.  Directions of how to plant, with what materials to how long it will take to germinate.  I really appreciated that it looks like a seed packet.
The only change I made was which candy I used as the seed.  That was because being short in time I couldn’t run around to find the red mint candy.  The first store I visited had these Christmas candy corn and candy canes to match in colour – perfect!
On Tuesday, I had a smaller group at circle time which worked well for this activity.  I introduced the idea of candy canes growing.  Has anyone ever heard of growing candy canes?  Have they seen a candy cane seed before? 
After showing them the package of seeds and what the seeds look like, we filled our planting pot with North Pole Potting Snow.  Each child received a seed to plant in the pot. 
We left the North Pole fertilizer for children that would be attending an evening session that night.  But we ended up being busy doing other activities and forgot.
The seeds didn’t need it.  We were thrilled to find that they had sprouted overnight. There were lots of candy canes at all different heights.
At the end of this morning, as the children were leaving, I reminded them of what the seeds looked like then they harvested a candy cane.  The roots were long and they had to brush off the snow.
                  The best part was the Merry Christmas hugs. 
       Be sure to visit 123Homeschool4me to access the printables.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Snap Blocks

A few months ago I shared the snap blocks I had made with a fellow StrongStart facilitator.  I finally had a chance to put them out for the children to play.
Once they figured out how they went together they started to build.
The fact that the blocks spin once they are together was a lot of fun.
Enjoyed watching these two working side by side then smoothly start working together.

Monday, December 15, 2014

What Do We Do With This?

    I set this table last week and the question I heard most often was
                           “What do we do with this?”
                                       My answer – ”explore”. 
                      And that’s what the children and adults did.
They sometimes worked with the marks I had drawn on the paper that
                                         covered the table.
IMG_2073 They followed the lines.
        They matched the coloured lights and worked between the lines.
Some children worked together to see what they could create with the materials.
IMG_2022Can you guess the pattern?

The lights drew the most interest with adults and children.  The children liked that they could turn the lights on and off themselves. 
Tomorrow when they arrive at school they’ll find the table has changed but the focus will still be on lights.

Friday, December 12, 2014

A Rubber Ramp

Our school district resource centre has purchased several new ramp kits. 
I’ve reserved one a month for the next few months. 
The first kit we borrowed is a rubber ramp.  The children and parents love it.  It looks like recycled materials which is pleasing for parents and I believe is giving a few the idea to try to make their own.
This kit has a really long rubber piece that stretches across our room. 
Because it’s so long we needed to curve it back on itself.
The first day the adults started by stretching the rubber out and adding some of the tunnels/supports.  But the children soon took over and tested and changed the design.
     Each day after the children tried variations of hills and tunnels. 

This is a very active activity with the children running back and forth to get
their ball and let it go again.
This ramp kit has been so exciting to have in our program.  It encourages the children to think of design, hills, slopes, tunnels, and speed of the ball.

          Everyone who tried it was very excited to watch the ball go.
The only thing I wished is that the rubber ramp came in two pieces that weren’t so long.  We took it into the gym one day and was able to stretch right out.  Other than that it is a wonderful piece of equipment for all ages.

Our district purchased it from Kodo, a website worth looking at for other inspirations.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Reindeer Toast

This week’s Make-a-snack was Reindeer Toast. I prepared the toast this time since each child would just use a quarter of one piece.
We learned the word 'antler' when we added the pretzels.  And we talked about the raisin eyes and that it was difficult to see them on the toast so some children chose to use Cheerios instead.
The cherry nose prompted many children and their parents to call the toast Rudolph and talk about that story.
                                     Our photo recipe.