Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Winter Holidays - Tot School

This group of toddlers had a fantastic time this morning talking about Winter Holidays.  We started with a gift wrapping station.  They wrapped up a gift for mom and dad at home.  I love teaching kids how to use tape.  They get such a kick out of sticking the tape all over the wrapping paper.
 We talked about how the New Year means that the Earth has gone around the Sun one whole time.  I made these cut little spinning toys and the kids rotated the earth and then yelled, "Happy New Year!".  We wore hats, blew blowers, and even shot out silly string.
 We had a little Santa's Workshop happening with the building toys in the basement and the cardboard house that we worked on coloring on the main floor.
 We practiced the letter J by coloring and reading our J book.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Polar Express

We had a great time this morning in tot school.  We read the book "The Polar Express" and had a pajama day.
I had the sensory table set up with cotton ball and plush snowballs and encouraged the sweetest little snowball fight ever.
We learned a new math game today.  It's called a "Grid Game".  I made a die that had dots for the numbers 1, 2, and 3 (twice each) out of a cube wooden block.  We rolled the die and counted the dots, then we got that many counters and covered the same number of trains on our game board.  When we covered all ten trains we were the winners!  It's a simple game to play at home that makes a big difference in early understanding of quantity.   
 We worked on our super secret holiday gifts after a snack time of hot chocolate and animal crackers. 
Some story time and playing with trains finished up our time together today.  It was a blast!

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Gingerbread Friends

The Gingerbread theme in our house is no joke.  It's a HUGE mess of AWESOME!  It's also a delightful way to make my house smell delicious.  We started off the day by playing a bit in the school room to make drop off consistent and normal.  Then we headed to the kitchen for the rest of the day.  Our first gingerbread activity was homemade gingerbread finger paint.  I love making this finger paint.  It is colored by spices and smells delicious!  I even learned this year that I can make it in the microwave which means I can make it with my kindergarten class, yay!

Gingerbread Finger Paint, Combine in saucepan or glass bowl:
 1/2 c. cornstarch
 3 T. sugar
 2 c. cold water
 1 T. Cinnamon
 1 T. Ginger
 1 T. Cloves
 Cook together until thickened. The spices make it a brown color and it smells lovely!  
To cook in the microwave: stir, cook 1 minute, repeat until thick. If you decide to add some food coloring, and leave out the spices for regular finger paint, just add a squirt of liquid dish detergent after cooking it and that helps the food coloring to not stain. I don't add the detergent when I don't add food coloring (like today).
 Our next gingerbread activity was based on the book "Gingerbread Friends" by Jan Brett.  In the book the gingerbread baby wants friends to play with.  We made him friends by making 3 gingerbread friends all holding hands.  Then we decorated them with crayons and stickers. 
 At snack time each child got a gingerbread cookie, some frosting, and goodies to decorate with!
 After snack we played with gingerbread play dough.  We haven't pulled out the play dough since summer camps and I was surprised that everyone was engaged for a half hour or longer until pickup.  
Play dough ingredients:2 cups flour3/4 cup salt4 teaspoons cream of tartar2 cups lukewarm water2 Tablespoons of vegetable oil2 T. Cinnamon2 T. Ginger2 T. Cloves

Stir together the flour, salt and cream of tartar in a large pot. Next add the water and oil. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Make sure to use a super duty spoon because once it gets thick it's like stirring play dough!  When thick, remove from head and knead until smooth.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Animals in Winter - Tot School

We had such a fantastic time in tot school today!  I love talking about all the things that animals do in winter time.  We practiced saying some big words like "Hibernation" and "Adaptation" and "Migration".  
 We pretended we were animals in winter needing to do different things.  We built "dens" to "hibernate" in, pretended to be butterflies flying somewhere warmer, and we pretended to hunt for food and grasses.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Winter Camps

Happy Thanksgiving Week everyone!  Winter Camp registration will open on Thanksgiving day at Be sure to sign up early because spots will go fast!  Check out the amazing line up:

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Tot School - Scarecrows and Thanksgiving

Because of how the weeks fall this month we were able to do our Scarecrows theme and Thanksgiving theme together this week.  We started the day off by decorating our scarecrow hats and saying "Boo" to the stuffed animal crow.  They thought that was a hilarious game.  We also made handprint turkeys - be sure to check the binders for those gems!
 One of the favorite activities was making dancing scarecrows.  They were pre-cut and assembled with mini brads to make the head, arms, and legs wiggle like they are dancing.  I thought they turned out delightfully adorable!  Have a great Thanksgiving, no tot school next week!

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Tot School - Indians and Pilgrims

NOTE: This educational tot pack and activity day is meant as an introduction to Native Americans and Pilgrims.  I have intentionally used the word Indian to introduce the letter I.  Indian, however, is not an accurate description of Native Americans.  For more information please see this link. There are also many different tribes of Native Americans that have very different traditions. Though the Pilgrims were in contact with the Wampanoag, this pack introduces ideas from many different tribes.

We had a fantastic morning in tot school yesterday.  I have loved watching this group of children grow up- they really do grow and change so quickly.  One thing that I'm noticing now is how they are developing the ability to play together, a developmental step just beyond playing side-by-side.  I love how they are interacting and saying hello and goodbye to their friends by name.
We made feather headbands and counted to four.  We read stories about being thankful and Thanksgiving.  We also built tons of buildings with blocks.  One of our favorite activities was making petroglyphs by coloring on sandpaper (because carving rocks is a little out of our league right now).  Last, but not least, we made a home made game with a popsicle stick, a string, and a circle of chenille stem.  The idea is to hold the stick and try to get the circle around the stick by swinging it. We had such a fantastic day!