loving life with the little man and an elephant

Monday, September 15, 2014

Koetsiers First of Fall Play Days

It is hard to believe the weather is already so much cooler. Even though the date on the calendar did not feel like it should be fall, the atmosphere sure felt like fall out. So I decided to take the kids over to Koetsiers Greenhouse for their first of fall play days.
We have been there in the past but have never taken advantage of their play days. We have always just played in their play area. Well let me say it was well worth the drive and money. The kids first enjoyed playing in their play area. They got to ride on these adorable tractors, play in their kid playhouse, jump in fun inflatables, have some sensory play time in the corn (great sensory activity for home maybe), and so much more. 

They also have a really cute photo area. I tried to get them both to sit next to each other and take a fun fall picture but who am I kidding!?! 
Then they picked out a pumpkin to paint. They even got to put glitter on their pumpkins. (Mason asked if we could play with glitter at home after decorating his pumpkin. I said "We'll see." which every child knows means not a chance. But maybe there will be a day when I am brave enough. We'll see.) There were workers there to help get everything set and up and monitor the painting. They even helped with clean up. Ever since we have been home Hailey will go pick up here pumpkin and say "Pumpkie". She loves it!

The kids then enjoyed a snack of popcorn, donuts, and apple cider. 
We then went on a hayride where the kids enjoyed an apple. They got to see alpacas, goats, and chickens. The route of the hayride was decorated with fall decor and lots of things for the kids to look at. We got to get off the hayride and pick another pumpkin to take home. We ended the hayride by watching the goats eat some apples and learning a little about the animals they have there.

Lastly, they got to go on a ride on the bumblebee train. Both of them really liked riding and there were no protests when it was over.

Overall it was a great start to fall activity. It is something I would highly suggest to anyone looking to get out of the house this week. I did have to call that morning to reserve a spot but we had no problem getting in. Happy Fall!

My Amazing Body- Touch

In week two of Mother Goose Time's "My Amazing Body" we started exploring our five senses. When we were talking about your sense of touch the first questions I was to ask the kids was "What are you afraid to touch?" Mason's first response was "Monsters". I told them I really don't like to touch bugs, mostly spiders. I acted like I was touching a pretend bug and shrieking. They thought that was pretty funny. 
Our first activity was called Lost Buttons. This was probably one of the first experiences Mason has had with math stories. We got to use the button manipulative provided by Mother Goose Time that Mason loves. (See all the Child Tools provided by Mother Goose Time here.) We got our buttons out and played with them a little then. I read the story to Mason from one of the Math Story Cards. I then acted it out for him. We did it over again and this time Mason added and took away the buttons. By the fourth story he was having a great time and was proud of himself for solving the problems. 
Our next activity was called Tree Texture Book. Our friend was over for this activity so he got to join in the fun. We talked about how we feel that our hair is soft and our tongue is slimy. We then talked about the texture we would feel on a tree. I let them look at the supplies and we described what each of them felt like. Then we decided which page each of the textures belonged to. At the end I made a tree top for them and they enjoyed decorating it with apples. 

At the end of our time together I set up my own sensory activity for them. I just gave each of them a bucket of beans, a cupcake pan, and some cups and spoons. They had a great time transferring their beans. I knew it was time to clean up when Hailey was eating the beans and the boys were throwing the beans. : )

Friday, September 12, 2014

My Amazing Body Catch Up

Fact #1: Michigan winters are VERY long!!!
Fact #2: The weather lately has been beautiful here.
Fact #3: We are soaking it all in.

With those three facts I have a confession that we have slacked on preschool. I had every intention of when the school aged kids went back to school we would really buckle down and get into a schedule for preschool. We have not! So the last two days we have done a little catch up. I went through the last week we missed and picked out a few activities to do over the last two days so the kids would get a sense of what should have happened the last week. Here is a preview of a few things Mother Goose Time included the first week of My Amazing Body.

On day two of Mother Goose Time's "My Amazing Body" curriculum we started talking about body parts. The first body part we talked about is their head. We talked about how our head is a circular shape. Then we talked about what other shapes we can find on our body. Mother Goose Time provided us with shapes to use on shape mats. Mason really enjoyed matching the shapes to the shape mats.

Our next activity called My Own Head was also from day 2. I asked Mason "What shapes can you see on your head?" I then traced my finger around my head and he got that our head is a circle very easily. I encouraged him to make a circle for his head. I asked what else do we have on our heads. He first said eyes and nose. He then was not sure how to make a mouth. I helped him to make a half circle mouth and ears. We finished his picture with some spiky hair. His first self portrait is pretty cute! 
We then moved on to Day 3-Body. We talked about the letter B. I love these new Letter Photo Cards provided by Mother Goose Time. The photo cards have upper and lower case letters. Mason knows all his upper case letters but we are still working on lower case letters. It is great for him to be able to see them side by side. I asked Mason "What part of your body can you use to kick a ball?" He said his feet. We kicked a ball around and talked about letter b's beginning sound. We talked about how ball and button have the same beginning sound. When we were finished I posted the new photo cards for us to look at throughout the unit. 
Our last activity from Day 3 was our first look at our My Little Journal for the month. We started by writing our names on the front. We then drew a picture of ourselves on the front.

Finally we moved on to Day 4-Arms. Our first activity from this day was Bone Collage. I asked Mason "What do you think you would see if you looked inside your body?" We talked about the that the hard things you can feel in your arms are called bones. I then showed him the X-ray photos provided by Mother Goose Time. We looked at each picture and tried to decide what part of our body it was. Mason really liked looking at these. I then showed Mason the art project instructions and the pictures of the finished bone collages. He did such a great job matching the picture and I only had to help him put the arms and legs in the correct place. 

It was a bit of a whirlwind the past 2 days but we learned a whole lot! The kids are looking forward to learning more about their bodies!

My Amazing Body- Hear

Week 2 of Mother Goose Time's "My Amazing Body" unit is about your five senses. The first sense we talked about was our sense of hearing. During Circle Time I asked Mason what we use to help us hear and listen and he answered "Your ears!" (As the week has gone on he has said silly things like "We use our eyes to smell." and "We use our ears to taste.") 

The first activity we did was called Bowl Band. We talked about that airplanes make loud sounds and bees make quiet sounds. Then we worked together to stretch our rubber bands over our bowls and I showed the kids how we can make sounds by plucking the rubber bands and also by taping our spoons on the base. Hailey showed us another way of making sound with our bowls by talking into them. 

I wanted to take an opportunity to show a few additions to our play/learning area. I felt like there were a lot of materials provided by Mother Goose Time that I might want to go back to throughout the unit. So I have been putting reusable games and projects in plastic bags and putting them in a container on a table that the kids can easily reach.
I also used one of our bookshelves to house books I got from the library that relate to the unit. It was easy to find these books at the library with the book list provided by Mother Goose Time.

Mother Goose Time's "My Amazing Body"- Me

This is the first day with our new circle time area from Mother Goose Time's Welcome Kit. The kids really like the birdhouse set up. I love that Hailey knows our number line is for counting. She always goes up to it and says "1, 2". So cute! 

During circle time I asked the kids "What do you like about yourself?" Mason's initial response was "I don't know." We talked about it a little longer and came up with that he likes he is a boy and he likes that he is a brother (could have fooled me!). Then I showed the kids the brown bird and then in a whispering voice said "This is a baby brown bird". I think I got their attention more that I was whispering. : ) We then took turns putting the brown bird on it's perch in the birdhouse. 

 Our first activity of the day was Counting Letters. I first asked Mason "How many pieces of clothing are you wearing today?" His usual response "I don't know" (Let me point out this was a Monday and Mondays can sometimes be hard for us all. I was really starting to wonder if I should start again tomorrow for this lesson.) Then I counted my pieces of clothing. Once he better understood what I was asking he determined he had on four pieces of clothing. We looked at our new name tags and counted the pieces of clothing on the line. Then Mason helped me spell out all of our names on our name tags. I tried to get Mason to help me count the letters in the name but he didn't really want to so I counted all the letters on my own. : ) When it came time to hang up our name tags Mason wanted to be sure his was first.

Our next activity was Listen and Try. I showed the kids the Theme Poster and Looking Glasses. At first the kids were not very interested then I started playing the game of finding the pictures on the Looking Glasses. When they heard me talking to myself and working with the Theme Poster and Looking Glasses they probably thought that was normal Mommy but they also wanted to join in. Ay, ay, ay it's Monday! 

Our next (and ended up being final) activity of the day was called Shades of Brown. I asked the kids what color their hair is. This time Mason's answer was not "I don't know." He said it was yellow. I said yes and when we are talking about hair we often call yellow blonde. (Love the random learning opportunities). I then got out some crayons and asked the kids to help me sort the crayons. They were not too excited about doing this. I finally decided maybe we need to be done when the kids looked like the following: 

We will start again tomorrow. As for now they will do what they love....playing in the windows!