Sunday, 30 November 2014

What a mess....I think not.

Motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

Spatial skills.

Creative and divergent thinking.

Social skills.

Language skills.

Math skills.

Sometimes having blocks out all the time is hard work because even though the blocks look great in the box they do not look so great spread out all over the floor.  Just think though, of all the learning that takes place between the blocks in the box and the blocks spread all over the floor.  

Be inspired.  Let the children play.  And learn.

My grand-daughter at play, at work.  3 yrs, 10 mos.

Saturday, 29 November 2014

A Felted Play Mat - Milo the Mouse

A long time ago I posted a Country Scene felted play mat that I created and fully intended to share a different story that I use it for.  Life being life, I never got around to it. 

 But today is the day for HONK! TOOT! BEEP!

This is a super cute story, quite short, but it gets filled out nicely with the setting of the scene.

In the city lived Milo the Mouse.

(I made the city with wooden blocks that I covered with painted watercolored paper.)

(Don't be shy about your art work.  The children know it's the city if you tell them it is.  Point out the windows and doors of the buildings and see if they can find the bakery.)

He was trying to sleep in his little mouse house.

But it was too noisy for a mouse to sleep.
Cars were honking, HONK! TOOT! BEEP!

(You can insert, A police car was chasing, and bikes were ringing, use what props you have around the house or daycare room)

A train was chugging. Choo, choo, choo!

A fire truck was rushing.  Ding, ding, ding!

A horse was trotting.  Clop, clop, clop!

Milo yelled,  "THIS NOISE MUST STOP!"

He moved to the country.  He built a new house.

It was the perfect place for Milo the Mouse.

The End.

If you would like to view the whole play mat as a country scene, click the link!

Honk! Toot! Beep! 
was written by Samantha Berger and Illustrated by Gloria Elliot

Monday, 24 November 2014

A Soft Space.

I read an article a few months ago recommending that educators create "soft spaces" in their daycare classrooms.  The idea resonated with me, perhaps because as an introverted personality, I gravitate to soft, quiet corners where I can be alone for a time and regenerate.  Children have the same needs at times, particularly in a busy toddler room.

 In September we talked about this in a staff meeting and made it a priority to create at least one little space that the children could crawl into and hide away for a time.

We had an ideal spot just across from our fish tank.  What I like is that it is tucked away out of the main flow of traffic but still within sight.  Our fish tank happens to be placed onto a shelving unit and so we put a few puzzles or manipulative toys there for the children to play quietly with if they want.

Toddlers at times have very big feelings they are learning to regulate.  Rather then tell them to stop crying (which isn't likely going to happen anyway) I would rather acknowledge their need to cry and gently direct them to the soft space where they can have their feelings.  

This space is not meant for "time out".

I put a mirror on the wall close by, partly because the light reflection is lovely and soothing and also because they just might want to see themselves in it.

Several times last week I led crying little ones to this space.  When I had a chance I actually crawled right in beside them, and was just there, present as they had their feelings.  It wasn't long and someone else came along with a book that we all read together and some others came and played quietly.

I have resisted the temptation to curl up and suck my thumb in the soft space so far, but some days......oh boy, some seems like it would be the best place EVER!


Would you like to read about creating a soft space in your home or daycare room?  Check out the article HERE 

Sunday, 23 November 2014

Little Cooker.

I got to spend some time with this little girl today, my grand-daughter.  It's hard to believe she is going to be four soon.  She recently told her mom that when she grows up she wants to be, "an airplane pilot, a soccer player, a woman and a cook.  Four things I want to be."

She has always loved her play kitchen and has spent countless hours cooking there.
Her interest in cooking has grown as she has been watching Master Chef Jr. with her parents. Today when she and I were playing in her room she wanted to do some cooking so she gathered "ingredients" and needed a "quarter cup" (actually a taurter cup) of this and that to make her recipe.  Then she put it in the play oven for "five minutes".
Later she gathered some items and brought them downstairs to serve to all members of the family.

She organized this part all on her own and I couldn't help but be impressed by her creativity and imagination.  

This was what she served me....chutney pancakes and a chutney cookie.

Her mom received this presentation.

This was Papa's.  The gems are the chutney.  Papa thought he was getting french toast.  "But it's not!" she said.

And this was her Dad's.  I love how artistic she was with her servings!


A few days ago she cooked "for real" and helped her Dad make his famous applesauce chocolate cake.

I think it is wonderful that she has the opportunity to experience and develop cooking skills at such a young age.  She is interested in it and her parents are following her lead.  Fortunately for her, there is a lot of cooking from "scratch" that happens at their house!

She's well on her way to becoming a Master Chef!