Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Autumn Leaves

A favourite activity to do at this time of year is to paint leaves and make prints.
You can paint over the same leaf with more colour and the prints continue to look wonderful.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Stone Soup

There are many versions of the story “Stone Soup”.  The one I chose was about soldiers coming home from war.   They were hungry and tricked villagers into sharing their food by making soup from a stone.

It took the soup took just under a half hour to cook.  I had cut the vegetables quite small, one so it would cook quickly and two to decrease any choking threat.
I brought my bread maker and made a loaf of bread to go with it.  I think the children enjoyed the bread more then the soup.
                                   But they did enjoy the soup too.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Visit to a Farm Market

IMG_8399The children have really enjoyed playing in our centre’s Farmer’s Market so today we went and visited a real one.
We started out in the field admiring the pumpkins and climbing on a tractor.  Then we met the owner, Charlene, and she pointed out that some of the corn had been eaten right on the stalk.  We took a closer look and tried to guess what might have eaten it.  Was it a bird? A mouse?  She told us to look at the marks on the ground and we saw hoof prints, it was a deer.  Pretty clever that they can husk the cob to get to the kernels.
We walked over to the market stand and I handed each child a clipboard for a fruit and vegetable hunt. 
This gave the children with their grown ups a chance to explore all the produce that is still available.
Charlene showed us some vegetables that she had pulled straight from the field that morning.  Did we know what they were?  The beet, yes but the parsnip was difficult for the children to recognize.
IMG_8494 We smelled the leek with it’s hairy root.
The brussel sprout plant is fascinating.  We each tried one and most liked them.

Part of our visit was to buy ingredients for Stone Soup.  The children collected the ingredients and we learned about the scale.
              From the scale to the bag to take back to school.
      We’ll take a closer at the tops and bottoms that we brought home.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Carrot Play

I bought this book in the spring and wanted to make a garden activity to go with it.
       Spring came and went and I still didn’t get anything created.
Well this fall I pulled out all the materials that I had gathered and finally put it together.  I wrapped florist foam in brown felt leaving a gap down the middle.
I had found these plastic carrots at Dollarama in the candy aisle.  I tried dumping the candy sugar out and just using the empty cases but they became too easy to squeeze and break.  So instead I left them filled and hot glued the tops on.
           And in just a short time I had a carrot garden ready.
The children can harvest and replant the carrots over and over again.  But I wanted something more so I searched on line for a fingerplay about 5 little carrots.
I didn’t find anything that I really liked but a colleague thought up this simple one. 
                        All I had to do was add a bunny.
     The children took it from there and helped the bunny find his lunch.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Weekly Visits with our Grandfriends

For the past couple of years we have had monthly visits to a seniors home for a music and story time.  Over the summer I saw a video about a preschool in a seniors residence in Seattle.  I forwarded the video to the coordinator at our seniors home and she said it has always been her dream to have a similar multi-age environment here. From that discussion, and interest of some of our families, we decided to hold StrongStart up at the residence once a week for the full morning.
We use their activity room which is a nice size for me to set up play areas
to allow the children to play and wheel chairs move around freely.
        At the far end of the room are comfy chairs perfect for a tea party. 
I brought dishes, a stove top and some play food to encourage interaction
between the children and the grand friends.
Each week I set up a simple craft.  This week I put out materials to make an autumn leaf but as the children and grand friends coloured one senior drew bunny ears on her plate then held it up to her face like a mask.  Soon the child beside her made a lion mask.   Regardless of age we can learn and play together.
There is a small sensory bin that has rice and figurines in it.  It provides another conversation starter or a soothing activity for someone who may be a bit nervous.
A few other activities set up include play trays, puzzles, blocks, animals, and vehicles.  They are set around the room some on tables and others on the floor to accommodate the range of ages and capabilities.
The children sign in when they arrive.  The first time they visit they print their name, or the first letter depending on their age, on a tongue depressor then choose which can to put it in.
After playing for about an hour we move out to the lounge for songs, stories and playing with the parachute.
During this time Julia, a music therapist, joins us and teaches us new songs.  One song we sang while using the parachute involved blowing bubbles.  It was a lot of fun.
Next we have a special snack, cookies and juice, then if time we go for a walk in their flower garden. 
By visiting once a week we are getting to know our grand friends better.  We are learning how to be compassionate.  We are learning that we all have something to offer regardless of our age.