Saturday, December 17, 2011

Wood Working

The Wood Table is a huge hit in our Project room, because it gives the children the opportunity to use real tools. Because safety is a concern I make sure the rules are clear before the children begin working away. I also limit the wood working table to two friends at a time, and only one friend can use a hammer at any given time. All was understood and thankfully there haven't been any accidents . But most importantly I am there to watch, guide and scaffold this wonderful activity. Next we will bring out the saw's!
Things I included at the wood working table were; hammer, nails, screws, screw drivers, real wood, branches, sand paper, and a chisel.
It is important to allow children opportunities to use real items as opposed to always using plastic imitative items. Although those items serve a great purpose in certain environments, using real "adult" items such as tools or even dishes, pots & pans, and silverware it really teaches children that number one we trust them, and number two it enhances their creativity.

Benefits to Woodworking  

  • Dexterity/fine motor
  • Problem-solving
  • Role-playing
  • Creative thinking
  • Independence/self esteem
  • Comparing/measuring
  • Textures and properties
  • Conceptualization
  • Cooperation
  • Respect for tools and materials
  • Language development
  • Eye hand coordination

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Painting Gourds

In honor of the holiday Thanksgiving and for the harvest season, the children painted gourds in the Project room. Every single one came out so unique, and the children were fascinated with the various shapes and sizes. Many were excited to be able to take theirs home and add it to their Thanksgiving decor.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Window Writing

Not very exciting but a huge hit with the kids! Plain ol window markers found at Target! The kids loved the fact they could write on the windows! Next week I'll expand on the idea and see what we can come up with

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Crafty Side

I decided to step away from the classroom for a bit and show off my latest "crafty" project. A relative of mine had a baby shower and I offered to make a diaper cake. It is truly easier than it looks, and anyone can do it. I rolled a few diapers in the core and held them together with rubber bands, than fanned diapers around the outside. I then hot glued ribbon around each tier to hold the diapers in place. I then hot glued some decorations, letters and placed a Hello Kitty on top. I stuffed the top of the tier with shredded paper and placed it on a cake base. All my items were found at Micheal's and took me approximately an hour to assemble.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Crayon Melting

 Originally I began this project with the children melting crayons while sitting at a table
after a few tries, it was apparent that an easel would probably be the better choice.
At the table  it made for an awkward wrist position for the kids holding the dryer, and at the same time the hair dryer blew the crayons right out from under the tape, and also blew the tray around.

 After switching to the easel it gave the kids a much better holding postion and the crayon stayed in place which made for an easier melting position.

 This project was so exciting not only for the kids but for myself as well. We have done crayon melting before using melting trays, oven, and plain ol' sunshine. But this was a first to use a dryer. It really went over well because the kids could handle the dryer themselves and in seconds they could see the metamorphic change. It leaped from art right into science by allowing the kids to witness a solid change to a liquid.
My feeling is that I want to take this same idea further and more extensive. We shall see how it goes.

Materials: Crayons, tape, paper, dryer
Process: Tape crayons to paper, and let children blow hot air on to crayons.
Notes: I think I would rather use a glue gun to attach crayons to paper to prevent the tape from interfering with the final product. Also make sure to tape down the paper itself because the dryer will blow it right off.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Outdoor Classroom has Fall Written All Over It

Our Sensory table before

Our Sensory table after we added, cornmeal, rice, beans, gourds, acorns, and pumpkins

The kids enjoy raking up the hay. Although the mess is neverending, which keeps them quite busy

We Made Orange

 In the Project Room today we experimented with color mixing.
 Red and Yellow make..........

  We gave it a shake shake shake

 and we have ORANGE

This was so much fun. I started with open ended questions.
I asked the children how did they think we could make orange. I got a lot of different answers, and we experiemented several times, and finally we discovered red and yellow make orange. My only regret is that I didnt take pictures of our experimental colors.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Exploring the Project Room

It is the beginning of the new year and the Project Room aka "Atelier" is up and running. To ease the children back into the swing of the things, I decided to give them an oportunity to explore the materials. The children found boxes, paint, cups, glue, and other collage materials. Really with no product in mind I am finding that this time in the Project Room in becoming a huge hit. Boys and girls wanting to "build" or "invent". This project is becoming ongoing and only time will tell where it ends up.........

Some have said they would like to build a robot, others a house. Where will we end up?

Egg Carton Painting

This was a great project to kick off Fall!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Water Play Made Simple

Water, Funnels, Cups and imagination is all you need to get through the HOT weather.

Dinosaur Excavation Happening in the Outdoor Classroom

 Searching for bones, with brushes, sand, and goggles

 Quick Sand/Moon sand

The kids absolutely love it.

We are excited to have a new Outdoor Curriculum Specialist who's presence is adding so much lufe to our Outdoor Classroom.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Tree Cookies

At our school we installed just in time for the new school year TREE COOKIES. It has added such a nice warm feel to the yard. I cannot wait for the children to see.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Lunch, presentation, and kids

I decided to try an experiment with my daughter in hopes to get her to eat a little more healthier snack. In the past I have plopped cucumbers and dip on her plate and handed it to her in which she snubs her nose at and refuses to eat it. This time I decided to cut up the cucumber into sticks (makes it easier for kids to dip) then I placed it on a decorative plate, along with some hummus. I sat down next to her and began to dip without offering her any. She watched me eat about two cucumbers, then asked "can I have some?" I said she could and surprising to me she ate, ate, and ate! Was it the presentation? I do not know but the only way to find out is to keep trying! 
Conclusion: Operation trickery was a success!

Monday, July 25, 2011

How to Balance Blogging and Parenting

I recently came across some conflicted feelings on how to manage blogging and research and still be the parent I want to be. I tried night time blogging but there are just too many things that need to be done at that time (laundry, cleaning, sleeping). I also tried nap time blogging but with a 3 1/2 month and a toddler trying to match their nap times is virtually impossible. So the task is to find ways to manage both with out sacrificing my time with my children, and husband. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in finding the "right way" that I forget to take the time to put all that information into practice. So for now I will fit it in when the time is right, and be on the hunt for better organization and time managing skills.
To be cont......................

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Summer Beach Day

 Looking for seashells down by the sea shore

Sand Castles are fun

I envy our Australian friends who have tons of nature right in their backyard (The Bush) ready for wonderful exploration. It would be a great thing for our preschoolers in the U.S to be able to enjoy such a thing.
Many American educators work hard to bring these types of experiences to our children. Here in Southern California we are so blessed to have the Pacific Ocean not to far from any point. Unfortunately most preschools do not get to experience taking their children there to often. On this trip it was a family summer day. As we enjoy summer away from preschool, we try hard to find these explorations of nature for our kid's. Even if only for a couple of hours, it always winds up being such a treat for our kids. No money required, just a blanket, a bathing suit, and some sand toys and were set.
Not only did we get to find sand crabs, and sea shells we also got to see dolphins swimming about! Such a great day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011