Saturday, October 14, 2017

Giant Pumpkin for the Fall Season

For last couple of years I've been creating the feel of the Fall season in the classroom by bringing in big bales of hay and lots of of pumpkins and gourds of all sizes, colors and shapes. This year due to a hay allergy we are not able to have hay. It's a bummer because children really enjoyed it especially for gross motor fun. After some contemplation of what else can we enjoy instead of hay I decided to bring a giant pumpkin for the children to climb on. At first children didn't seem too excited about it, but as the day went on children became curious and let the exploration begin; climbing, balancing, sitting, rolling, and sliding! It was challenging to climb on but most children were determined to get on and kept trying until they succeeded.

 Ethan enjoyed climbing on
 carefully standing up
and jumping off!

 Hanging out
 climbing on

Elise enjoyed balancing on her belly
sliding down or downward facing dog? 

 Izzy trying to keep her balance as she climbs on.
Izzy and Penelope sharing the space. 

The boys pretended the pumpkin was a volcano; they drove the cars on top of the volcano trying to get away from the lava.

Besides the giant pumpkin in the play yard children had an opportunity to explore the variety of pumpkins, gourds and indian corn in the sensory bins with magnifying glasses. 

Mostly, children were interested in dramatic play of course! This is where communication, team work and problem solving takes place.

 Ethan and Stella worked together gathering all the squash and loading it into the wheelbarrow.
Ethan pulled the wheelbarrow around the yard and stopped by the sandbox
Then, they unloaded the squash together, lined it all up one by one, then again loaded it all back into the wheelbarrow for another ride.

Girls on their way home from the store.

 My favorite art activities are setting up invitations to paint. I love using natural materials with mirrors to create a beautiful space to work at. Children love to explore with all their senses and natural materials are appealing to senses. While children work we have an opportunity to discuss the colors, texture and smells.

Invitation to paint: Apples
Watercolors: red, orange, green 
Watercolor paper

 Invitation to paint: Gourds
Tempera paint: yellow, orange, green
White construction paper

Invitation to paint: Leaves
Tempera paint: yellow, green, brown
White construction paper

Invitation to paint: Indian Corn
Natural Paintbrushes - Corn Leaves
Tempera paint: yellow, orange, purple
Construction paper: white and green

Dramatic Play
The kitchen area is also pretty busy with play related to our Harvest theme. Children bake, cook, and picnic together.

We will continue this unit with more science, art, literacy, dramatic play and more in the upcoming weeks. Who knows, maybe we will even bake a real pumpkin pie for our Tasty Thursday?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Magna Tiles

It doesn't happen often for the two and three year olds to catch on the same interest and stick to it for weeks or even months. It was the case with the magna-tiles in Spring 2017 from February to May to be exact. It was wonderful to see children working together, sharing, and engaging in imaginative play together!

The photos illustrate the work, creativity and joy children experienced during the busy magna-tiles unit.

One of the problems children encounter was running out of small squares while building, above is Isla putting together two small triangles to make a square! What valuable lesson it was.

Declan enjoyed building big and tall structures 

We added photographs from the book GREAT BUILDINGS OF THE WORLD to the area as an inspiration. Some children studied the pictures and copy the design or parts of the designs  from the book.

But the most popular design and play theme within the magna-tiles unit were spaceships! Children started with simple design of connecting three long triangles together as sides and used small triangle as a base. With time and practice the spaceships expanded to more complex designs and required more pieces. 

Anthony was the classroom's expert on magna-tiles and children often asked him for help and advice.

Children used their spaceships to transport smaller toys, such as fruit and cars.

Angela made cool outer-space felt mat for children to expand their play with their rockets, we also read books about astronauts and the moon during that time.

The best part for me during this study was to witness the team work. Children shared the labor and worked together creating buildings, towers, and spaceships among other creations. They taught each other how to make specific designs, provided advice and encouraged one another when working on challenging creations.

Children also loved making boxes and filling them up with little toys.

 Winter filled her cube with aliens. 
 Sam made a box for his boat.
Isla called her boxes PRESENTS.

 Scarlett's castle

 Landon's boat

The magna-tiles unit was great for creativity, problem solving, learning about shapes and patterns, magnetic force, helped develop fine-motor skills, allowed  imaginative play,  as well as promoted the language development.