Sunday, January 30, 2011

Antarctic Antics


Gathering Activity: Read Penguin Books.

One of our little Mommy and Me friends LOVES all things penguin, and brought several fun penguin toys and books to share during our gathering time.

Circle Time:  Antarctic Antics

We read the book Antarctic Antics:A Book of Penguin Poems by Judy Sierra during circle time.  It is a cute collection of poems about penguins.  There are simple riddles to figure out. Lots of fun scientific facts about penguins are shared in the pages, too. (Even the mommies learned lots of fun new things).  It was the first time we had done a book of poetry at Mommy and Me, and the little ones seemed to like them a lot.  The first poem is about the penguin hatching and the poems continue to follow the life of a penguin.  I think the kids' favorite was one called "Regurgitate."  It tells how a daddy penguin feeds his baby.  We used one of the poems as a finger play as well.  We counted penguins together.  Afterward, I shared a cute song I found here.

I'm a Little Penguin
(sung to tune of "I'm a Little teapot.")
I'm a little penguin black and white,
I waddle to the left and I waddle to the right.
I cannot fly but I can swim, so I waddle to the water and jump right in!

Art: Paper Plate Penguins

We made these cute penguins together.   

Snack:  Olive Penguins and Penguin Cupcakes


Olive Penguins and Penguin Cupcakes

These were really yummy treats we enjoyed together. 


1-Penguin Shuffle:  The children took turns waddling down the hall with a ball between their feet.  They were pretending to carry eggs the way the that Daddy penguins do.  

2-Iceberg Hop: Use white  pillow cases  and allow the children to hop from iceberg to iceberg.  Then play musical icebergs, taking away one iceberg at a time until all of the children are sharing one iceberg in the end.

3-Feed the Penguin:  The children threw bean bag "fish" into a box to feed the baby penguin.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

The Mitten by Jan Brett

Gathering Activity:  Color Masks and Finger Puppets

The children colored these great masks and these cute finger puppets that we used later in the day during circle time and game time.  Jan Brett offers them for free on her website.   

Circle Time:  The Mitten by Jan Brett

The Mitten is a story of a lost mitten on a snowy day.  Animals in the woods, one by one,  find the mitten and seek shelter inside.  They all squeeze inside (including a bear), until the smallest animal squeezes in and causes it to finally it to "explode."  It is a wonderful read aloud for preschoolers with so many great teaching opportunities.  As we read,  we predicted which animal would some next, compared sizes of animals, and learned the names of some unfamiliar animals. 

After the story we retold the story.  We used a white mitten and the small animals we colored during gathering activity. I found this cute  Mitten Song.  I handed each child one of the animals.  As we sang the song they brought their animals up, one by one, to stuff inside the mitten.  At the end we threw the mitten up in the air.  Of course there were lots of giggles! 

Mitten Song
Sung to: The Farmer in the Dell
The mitten in the snow
The mitten in the snow
Help us please so we won't freeze!
The mitten in the snow.
The mole squeezes in
The mole squeezes in
Help us please so we won't freeze
The mole squeezes in!
Continue verses with each animal in the order they entered The Mitten in the story.
The bear sneezed us out
The bear sneezed us out
Oh no, now we might freeze
The bear sneezed us out!

Snack Time: Glove or Mitten Toast

1-Cut out bread with a cookie cutter in the shape of a glove or mitten.

2-Mix drops of food coloring into a small container of milk.

3-Allow the children to paint the colored milk on their bread.

4-Add sprinkles.

5-Toast in the toaster oven.


We also ate cheese cubes and bananas with our snack.

Art: Torn Paper Mittens

Materials Needed: Construction paper, glue, scissors
1-Before class, cut out LARGE mitten shapes out of posterboard or card stock.  One per child.
2-During class: Moms and children tear colored construction paper into small pieces. 
3-Spread glue onto paper evenly.
 4-Cover with small pieces of construction paper to create your own design.
1-The Bear Squeezes In
Materials Needed: A large blanket and the masks we colored in the gathering activity.  
Directions: The children and moms hold the corners of the blanket as we sing the song "The Bear Squeezes In" (found above).  The child with the corresponding mask climbs under the blanket until each child is under the blanket.  Then we create a tent over them and sneeze and bring it up into the air.  I lost count how many times we played this one.
2-The Mitten Match
Materials Needed: Variety of Mittens and Gloves
Directions: Place all of the mittens and gloves in the center of the circle and allow the children to find matches.  Compare and contrast the mittens with the children as you look for matches. 

3-Mitten Discovery 
Materials Needed: A large mitten and several small objects to place inside (We used Cheerio cereal pieces, money, a small car, a pretzel, a ball)
Directions:  Place a small object inside the mitten.  Allow the children to take turns placing their hands inside and guessing what is in the mitten. 

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Stranger in the Woods

Gathering Activity
Newspaper Snowball Fight and Snowman Building

Materials Needed: Recycled Newspaper and Recycled Tissue Paper (leftover from the holidays). 2 white garbage bags, eyes, nose, buttons made from construction paper,tape, a hat and a scarf.

1-As the children arrive, have them help you make "snowballs" with the paper.  This always leads to a fun indoors snowball fight with our mommies. 

2-When the snowball fight has died down, have the children help you fill two plastic garbage bags with the "snowballs."  These will make large "snowballs" for an indoor snowman.

3-Tie the two bags together.

4-Allow the children to add a face, buttons, and accessories.

5-Enjoy your snowman friend during circle time and other activities during Mommy and Me that day!

Circle Time:  
Stranger in the Woods by Carl R. Sams II and Jean Stoick

Stranger in the Woods is one of my favorite books.  It is beautifully illustrated with real photographs of wildlife in the snowy woods. The animals are pictured enjoying a special treat left by children:  a snowman decorated with yummy treats for the birds, deer, and squirrels to eat.  My son is currently obsessed with birds and so this is one of his favorites, as well.  It is a fun read aloud if you give different voices to each of the animals. 
After reading the book, we counted snowmen using flannel board snowmen. We sang 3 different songs and finger plays.  5 Little Snowmen Standing in a Row , Once There Was a Snowman, and A Chubby Little Snowman. 

Pinecone Peanut Butter Birdfeeders

Materials Needed: Peanut Butter (or crisco, if you work at a peanut free school), 1 plastic knife and plate per child, 1 pine cone per child (rub edges on driveway to make the points dull and easier for small hands to handle), bird seed, string, garbage bag, and 1 plastic bag per child

1-Tie the string around the top of the pine cone BEFORE you spread the peanut butter. 
2-Allow the children to cover their pinecones with peanut butter.  We scooped some on each child's plates so that they wouldn't have to share the jar.

3-Bring the pinecones outside.  Roll the pinecones in a pile of birdseed that has been poured into a plastic bag.  (Helps sooo much with clean up).

4-Place each completed bird feeder in a plastic bag to take home.

5-Hang your bird feeder in a place where your child can watch his animals friends enjoy.

Rice Cake Snowmen and Snow Cones

Rice Cake Snowmen

Materials Needed: Each child will need: 3 mini rice cakes, cream cheese, 2 chocolate chip eyes, 1 carrot sliver,  3 raisin buttons.
Directions: Allow the children to assemble their snowmen anyway they choose and enjoy!

Snow Cones: One of the mommies had a snow cone machine.  We shaved the ice and allowed the children to scoop it into their cups and add their own flavoring.  It was a fun treat!

Shaving Cream Snow Art

Materials Needed: Shaving Cream with a mild scent, lots of water and cloths for clean up :)

Directions:  Pour 3 balls of shaving cream on the table in the form of a snowman for each child.  Allow them to "finger paint" in the shaving cream snow.  We drew letters and pictures with our children to encourage them to explore the shaving cream.  This activity was more enjoyable for some of our kids than others. Some are more tactile and enjoy the feeling of new textures, a couple were a little hesitant.