Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Handa's Surprise!

One of my lovely co-workers is from Nigeria. One day she introduced a story to the children called, "Handa's Surprise" by Eileen Brown.  Handa wants to take some fruit to her friend as a gift.  As is common in African culture, Handa carries the basket of fruit on her head.  Unbeknown to Handa, different African animals steal a piece of fruit out of her basket as she walks along. Soon her basket is empty, until she walks under an orange tree.  A goat comes along and butts the tree, knocking down a shower of oranges and effectively filling up Handa's basket again.
When she gets to her friend she is surprised by the contents of her basket but all is good as her friend declares that oranges are her favorite!

She told the story using the book and next time used the flannel board.

Another time she brought real fruit and let the children touch it, smell it and try to name it!  Some of the toddlers tried to bite it....of course!

They recognized bananas and oranges, but some of the other fruits were new to them.

They learned the names of Guava's, Avocados, Pineapple, and Mango.

They even learned that oranges can be called tangerines, mandarins or clementines.

The toddlers who wanted to, got to try carrying the basket on their heads.

Then one day they were given an orange section after the story.

They enjoyed the sweet, juiciness!

I loved that the toddlers got to experience a different culture through this story.  I think we will continue to tell this story and bring it to life in more ways.

More ideas:
*bring out African animals for free play
*put out a basket with toy fruit
*make the flannel story available for use
*make orange juice in a blender
*have a group snack and offer all of the different kinds of fruit for tasting

To continue celebrating diversity:
*have a family gathering and everyone can bring a dish representing their culture

Monday, 28 March 2016

Hunting For Eggs!

We went to Church.  We had lunch with our Great-Nana.  We played.  We had delicious dinner.

And then....

Our little grand-daughter organized an Easter Egg hunt for her Mom and Dad.  She carefully filled 12 plastic eggs with treats and hid them all over the house.  She gave clues as to where to start looking, like, "it's somewhere in this area," and would make wide sweeping motions with her arms.  She started the hunt in her Mom and Dad's bedroom.

Giddy laughter, twirling, hopping and excitement followed as they found all the hidden treasures!

She is at a stage right now in her five year old life where she likes to make up games, create the rules and organize everyone's part.

Her parents support her vivid and rich imagination and creative ideas by giving her lots of support, opportunity and encouragement to play by the hour. Loose parts, open-ended toys and no parent agenda!

"It's somewhere on my art shelf!"

"It might be somewhere on one of  these drawer handles!"

Vibrating with excitement as one by one each little egg was retrieved!

Counting them up.

Daddy got in on the game as well.  

"It's in my shoe!"

Everyone was rewarded in the end with yummy, sweet chocolate!

Perfect Joy!

That was her Easter for 2016.  Daddy organized the Egg Hunt in 2015.  Mommy's turn is next!

Creating her own game, Family time, Special Memories!

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Tea For Two and A Few......More.

I happened to look over the fence from the toddler yard into one of our 3-5 yards the other day.  What I saw was delightful; so much so, that I quickly gathered a few of my little's, opened the gate and not only invited ourselves but joined right in!

One of my co-workers was hosting a tea party outside in the yard.

The day was a typical early spring day, cloudy, gray and a little cool, but that didn't deter them one bit.  In fact, maybe it made that warm apple cinnamon tea taste just a little sweeter.

The colorful tray was set up on a beautiful old stump at the end of the yard.  The children who were interested sat around enjoying tea from sweet, child sized mugs.

I love activities like this for children in daycare.  I feel it is loving, homey and family like.  

It gives an experience that they will be uplifted and edified by.  The gathering around a common purpose, sharing, and being included.

Hearts, souls and tummy's nourished.

Thank you Gay Gay for who you are and what you do.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

The Evolution of a Corner.

This past fall we noticed the that the toddlers were really interested in "Bear" books.  Particularly "Bear Snores On" by Karma Wilson. 

We are interested in following the children's lead in our room.  What are they interested in and what does it seem like they want to learn about?

So we set up a forest corner for them to explore.

There was a furry cover on the pallet platform.

Stumps, tree cookies big and small and a cave.

A felted forest play mat with a variety of forest animals.

Rocks and pine cones.

My sister is an amazing photographer and I borrowed some of her nature pictures to tape to blocks.  The toddlers carried them all over the room.

Our center doesn't promote Christmas so in keeping with our forest interest we added a Pine Tree for the toddlers to adorn as they wished.  We thought that the Pine Tree will be able to evolve as the seasons do.  The toddlers painted it themselves.

They each have a metal jar top with their own picture glued on they can hang on.

We provided laminated fall leaves, photographs of squirrels, owls and a stellar's jay.

As the weather changed a bit we added in snowflakes.

They also had loose parts like bracelets and shower rings to add.

In  January after they had a chance to experience the snow and ice, we changed the corner to reflect the changes outside.

We added in adult sized mittens and toques.

We had a lot of interest in ice play for a while.

And now the corner has changed once again.  We loaded it up with loose parts and the toddlers are enjoying it this way now.

Never a dull moment in the Toddler Room!