Happy Winter Solstice

Every year the children make a gift to give their parents at our Winter potluck.  This year we made these beautiful wildflower seed bombs. We started out by ripping, tearing and cutting tissue paper, paper towels and scrap paper for the paper pulp that would dry and become our seed bombs. We used a blender and food color, mixed the seeds in and formed the stars in a cookie cutter. 

The card part of the gift are lovely watercolor paintings of wildflowers.  The final step was gluing the message on their card and writing their name.

In a related activity we looked up each wildflower in our seed mix. We “googled” what their seed looked like and found each seed in our mix. The children used a magnifying glass to see the detail of each seed. This sorting and identifying activity was extremely popular with the class. 

I have to be honest here. I have no experience making seed bombs and I’m really not much of a gardener so if flowers grow from these seed bombs I will be very pleasantly surprised. …

Florida snow

We set out shaving cream and baking soda and using their hands the children mixed the ingredients to create a “snow” like mixture.  As an educator the whole concept of snow is a tricky subject to tackle with these little ones because as Florida kids most of them have no actual experience with the real thing. So it’s something they see in movies or in books. We asked the question, “what is snow?”  One of our friends told us, “ it falls from the sky”. I asked “like rain?” All agreed yes like rain but also not rain. We wondered what is different about rain and snow?  Someone said “it’s close to ice that falls from the sky”. We talked about ice and how “it’s cold”, “like from the freezer”.   So why doesn’t it snow in Florida? “Because it’s too warm” one of our friends reported. I pointed out well sometimes it’s cold here, we have to wear sweaters and coats even. Another friend said, “it has to be a lot, lot cold”. So the general understanding was that to snow in Florida it has to be much co…

Holiday decorations

This year we made garland and snowflakes to decorate our classroom.

You might think that they are just decorations but when we examine each activity you notice that there is a lot of “learning” going on under the surface.

The garlands were crafted with a needle and thread, cotton balls and cut pieces of candy cane colored straws. This activity was particularly great fine motor practice. We are really working on our hand eye coordination in so many ways! 

We also took the opportunity to introduce simple AB patterns with this activity.  Patterns are an important early skill that help form a foundation for later math concepts. They are also important for language and literacy development. So much of our learning is in the fun we are having whether it be playing dress up or building with blocks to making holiday decorations for our classroom.  It’s in all the things we do every day at Imagine. 

We made the snowflakes using tissue paper cut into circles. We chose tissue paper because it is light…

Be kind

We asked the question “what does it mean to be kind?” We got so many great answers. Max told us “ it means to help someone”, and Harry said, “it means loving somebody”. Jasper said, “it’s being nice to my brother”.  We all agreed that it was kind to share, and help others and that when someone is kind to you it feels good. The opposite of kindness doesn’t feel good at all.  A few weeks ago we were talking about what it meant to be thoughtful and we realized that being thoughtful really fit when talking about kindness too. Thinking about our friends feelings is key to being kind. We read a book about kindness and the last line said, “Truly it is the small acts of kindness given freely along the way that become the greatest gifts of love”.  It’s an important reminder for the holiday season don’t you think? 

We made “kindness sticks” using craft sticks and water color pencils.  When we were finished decorating them with the pencils everyone got to pick out a gem to put at the top.

If your child…

Our Thankful Tree

We made leaf prints using yellow, red and a bit of green paint. It was really cool to see the lines in the leaves printed on the paper.  Lines really are everywhere!

After the leaves were dry and cut out the children used a hole puncher to make a hole in their leaf. 

All week we have been reading books and talking about what it means to be thankful.  For the last part of this project we asked the children what they were thankful for .  We wrote some of those things on the back of our leaves.

Everyone had the chance to hang their leaf on our tree.

We put the tree on the cubbies in our kitchen so everyone can enjoy it. Happy Thanksgiving!

Branches and Beads

We are making a thankful tree in the preschool. For the first part of this project we supplied different colored wooden beads and the children decorated the branches. 

We started calling it our “thoughtful and thankful tree” because you really needed to put some thought into where you put your beads. You also needed to be thoughtful because if you weren’t careful the smaller branches could break and if you knocked into a branch beads would come tumbling down.

The attention and care each child put into placing their beads onto the branches was a beautiful thing to watch. 

This turned out to be another very simple idea that completely enthralled the children while at the same time provided them with a great fine motor activity.

Lines part 2

During a group discussion we talked about all the places we can find lines on our playground. We see lines everywhere we look. The fence, the slide, the ladder, the balance beam, and sticks are just a few of the answers we got from the children. I asked about where the sticks came from and from sticks we got to branches and from branches we had the realization that all the trees on our playground are lines. The trunks are thick, fat lines and the branches are thinner lines. 

In our studio we invited the children to draw and paint lines.  Branches in a glass bottle became the inspiration.  We supplied varying shades of grays and brown watercolor pencils and paper.  They did the rest. 

In a related loose parts activity the children created tree compositions using twigs.