Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Pumpkin Seed Book and Activities

For our Garden theme/unit, a couple of the books dealt with pumpkin growing. Last fall we had several different kinds of pumpkins. One Jack Be Little pumpkin made it through on the kitchen counter, in perfect condition, to the spring, as I had hoped. We had talked all winter about growing more little pumpkins from it. Now it was time.

From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer
I really like this science stage 1 reader. While it only has one to a few sentences per page, it is scientifically in-depth and rather long in length for preschoolers, especially young ones like my 2s. However, this book had no problem holding their attention span. I am sure part of that had to do with it being an extension of our Garden Theme/Unit, because they were able to recognize many of our discussion points. 

It covers plant physiology and the growth cycle beyond the other books we used. WONDERFUL use of adjectives! For preschoolers, these are fun words to say and learn. We went outside to see if we could find some "prickly leaves with jagged edges."

The FIRST activity 
was to dissect the pumpkin and gather the seeds.

We surveyed the pumpkin, noted the stem and talked about what the insides might look like. Even though they may have carved pumpkins last fall, none of them seemed to have a reference. We did count the seeds afterward.

The children in the video are A, just turned 2 a few weeks ago; 
H almost 3; and B almost 4.

*Yes, I did let them know that weeds were NOT boys and that boys are not bad. 
G had just been in time out, so his sister was focused on that.

Math: counting, size comparisons
Language: adjectives
Sensory: sight, smell, touch; outer shell, stem, flesh, strings and seeds
Science: life cycle, plant physiology
Fine Motor: picking seeds, sorting through the strings

The SECOND activity 
was to create sprout bags

I used this as a methodical counting and following directions activity. By placing the items in the center of the table, they gained responsibility for placing the correct amount of dry items into their bags. If they didn't, then I simply removed the items from the bag and asked them to do it again, stating the quantities clearly. I also wrote the amounts on the whiteboard. Not that the younger ones can read, but it helped number and letter recognition and the idea of a "recipe" for the activity that needed to be followed. For the older girls it provided some practice of sounding out words and list making.
We used:
1 bag
            2 scoops water
  3 seeds
          4 cotton balls
I encouraged them to feel and smell all the materials. It was challenging for the younger ones to abide by the number count for each item. G, age 2, did it just fine. He really paid attention and was able to quickly add just the exact number of items his first try. H age 3 and A age 2 wanted to stuff the bag. It took a couple of times for them to slow down, pay attention to what they were doing, and COUNT.

We used a tablespoon for scooping water, so very little actually got into the younger ones' bags. It just wasn't deep enough for them to effectively scoop water. I added some more water to the bags before sealing. Two tablespoons probably wouldn't have been enough water as it is. I would suggest using a small ladle instead to keep to the 2 scoops and still have enough in there.

I helped write their initial on the front and then they got to choose which area on the door their bag was placed. I just used clear packing tape to put them up. The children poked and prodded their bags and it proved to be a good sensory experience after the activity.

These were created on Thursday, May 24th. We returned to school after Memorial Day on May 29th and found several seeds sprouted, most at least had a little root showing.
We were just discussing our weekly plan and when I mentioned planting them later this week, H immediately talked about getting rid of the "SCARY WEEEEEEDS!" so I guess that made an impression.

Math: counting, 1-1 correspondence
Social: following directions, sharing resources, delayed gratification
Language: discussion, adjectives. instruction, pre-reading, phonics
Sensory: soft, hard, wet, slick
Fine Motor: opening bag, placing small items, scooping liquid, writing
Tags: pumpkin, seed, plant, garden, sprout, sprout bag, starting, sprouting, preschool, pre-k, prek, kindergarten, homeschool, gardening, theme, unit, childcare, daycare, math, science, fine motor, sensory

Friday, May 25, 2012

Cooking - Individual Fruit Crisps

Yesterday we did some cherry picking, so today we did some cherry pitting and cherry crisp baking. 

For those of you here only for the recipe...

Cooking with preschoolers is SO important. It is the only activity that engages all five senses. Everything experienced during a cooking activity will have around a 50% retention rate. 
Which is AMAZING!

These can be done as a class activity.

 The oldest at almost 4 was able to use the cherry pitter independently.

The next oldest at almost 3 needed some teacher assistance with the pitter. BUT, if I used the pitter and gave the cherries to her, she was able to get the seeds out independently. [This pitter DOES NOT pit the seed unless you get a lucky strike. It more mushes the seed out and you have to peel it away.]
 Miss H put more in her mouth than the bowl.
 I only had one 2 year-old today, who had gotten up early and was pretty spaced out about everything, so no clue on to what they could have really done with this activity.

This was NOT a clean activity, so they wore their paint shirts inside out [so paint chips wouldn't potentially get into the food.] With juice flying, I wouldn't recommend just aprons for this activity.

I could only find ONE ramekin in my kitchen last night, no matter how intensively I searched, so I made a trip to Target. Their cute ramekins are NOT oven safe. I finally found the oven safe ones, glass 6 oz. by Anchor, .99 each.

Then we started cooking.

I planned to do a cobbler, but with a lactose intolerant child, I couldn't find anything that didn't include milk. Not that that was an issue, as I could have just substituted soy, but I really wasn't into a group of YOUNG preschoolers trying to measure SMALL quantities of liquid. I saw visions of  milk tsunamis.

I searched the internet for recipes, fell in love with one by the Pioneer Woman, and found several on Allrecipes. But, when trying to make them into single serving quantities, it just got WAY too complicated for ME, let alone the children. 

So I created my own. It's now on Allrecipes.com if you want a nice neat print out.

After turning on the oven to preheat to 350 degrees, the first thing I did was cover my small baking sheet with foil and emboss their initials on it so I could identify who's was who's during the activity and after baking.

1/2 C fruit
1 Tablespoon sugar
1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch 
Combine in OVEN SAFE ramekin.

Easy Peasy Topping:
2 Tablespoons oats
2 Tablespoons flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons margarine 
1/4 Teaspoon allspice OR cinnamon

Which means the children only have to use a tablespoon for measuring, and the allspice I just had them shake some into their bowl. The margarine has those nice markings on the side for us to use and discuss. 

We also discussed how everything was in PAIRS and counted our allspice shakes. We touched, smelled, tasted and discussed all the ingredients.

 They combined the dry, then added the margarine and I put into a microwave safe bowl and heated for 10 seconds to JUST melt. Then they stirred it up and topped their fruit.

Bake times vary: 
20 minutes for fresh soft fruit, like cherries, blueberries, raspberries
45 minutes for firm fresh fruit [large dice] like apple and pear 
  OR any type of frozen fruit

After nap, the crisps were nice and cool for snack 
and got rave reviews.
 We didn't, but I suggest serving with 
whipped cream or ice cream.

This would be quite doable with a group of four- or five-year-olds using prepared fruit. Provide a tablespoon, bowl and ramekin to each, and pass the ingredients in order. The margarine can be melted and cooled prior to the activity. This could be done in a classroom with an electric convection oven, which would bake them faster. The oven instructions should indicate the time change needed.
  • We used margarine due to the dairy allergy, but of course you could use butter. To reduce the fat content, replace 1/2 of the margarine with applesauce.
  • The type of fruit is totally up to you. Try combinations! My wholesale store has a frozen blueberry, blackberry and raspberry blend that would be terrific. Apples and cherries, pears and figs, peaches and mango... 
  • I tried an apple one, and I add a little cinnamon into the fruit mixture as well. For firm fruit, like apples or pears, you may want to add a tablespoon of fruit juice for added liquid, as the fruit will not mush apart like soft fruit to create a nice syrup. 
  •  A tablespoon of nuts of your choice can also be added to the topping mixture. I'm thinking for trading the oats for flax meal next time. We used quick oats for a finer texture, but rolled oats would work fine.
  •  The type of sugar or flour is up to you. I prefer white sugar with blueberries and other bush fruit, brown sugar with cherries, apples and other tree fruits. Dry sugar substitutes or honey would work.
  • It would also work as a dinner party pre-dinner activity. Lay out a make-your-own table and have guests create their own concoctions following the basic recipe. Fold a piece of foil into sections for the ramekins to sit upon on a baking sheet. The guests emboss their name on it before putting their ramekin on it for serving identification.  
Math: measuring, measuring units, rote counting, pairs, sequencing
Science: dry/solid vs liquid, mixtures, heat, changes
Cooking: reading a recipe, measuring
Language: vocabulary, adjectives, sounding out ingredient labels
Fine motor
Social: following directions, taking turns, patience, delayed gratification
Tags: cooking, cherry, apple, blueberry, pear, blackberry, raspberry, cobbler, crisp, cherry crisp, individual, serving, preschool, daycare, childcare, parent, cooking, kids, math, science, fine motor, sensory

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Learning Math From Birth

One of the moms told me this morning that her son, this little guy who turned 2 three weeks ago, had performed 1-to-1 correspondence counting last night to 12. I wasn't surprised. That is how I teach counting. We count THINGS, not just count. Mainly because I believe in getting every sense possible into the mix in any learning activity. Correspondence counting uses sight, hearing, speech and movement. Children really need movement to retain information. He's not the first of my students to do this at such a young age.

I start teaching math from birth. Or rather, when they first come to childcare. We work on 1-2-3. Even toddlers can work on getting that it is ALWAYS 1-2-3, never 2-3-1, etc. That is a very important concept for math and reading. Soon after I began teaching, I realized that "ready, set, go!" didn't teach them anything relevant to our goals. So I changed to
which we use a LOT for games and play, and found that almost instantly the math understanding shot up in my little ones.

We also have three steps off the back porch. One of the easiest ways to introduce rote counting and one-to-one correspondence from birth, is to count stairs. Every time you take your child up and down stairs do so consciously, methodically counting each stair, stopping briefly on each one. The sound of your voice saying the numbers, the movement/stop movement for each and the consistency if you do it every time, is wonderful for retention. Since going up and down stairs has a different rhythm than walking, even infants can get the distinction and start making the connections. I term this learning by osmosis. They just "get it" through exposure, not any "formal" teaching. To them it's just a fun game. Just something we do. Play. As early learning should always be. It's a valuable few extra seconds out of your day to do this.
Not MY stairs, mine are NEVER that clean.
This is also a good way to use movement in teaching odd/even as they get older. Start out on the same foot each time, and count together, "ONE-odd, TWO-even," etc. If they get stuck at school, they can then tap their feet to figure out if it's odd or even. For teaching odd/even, we do this chant during circle time:

 "0-2-4-6-8 EVEN numbers are really GREAT" 
clapping each syllable [1-1 correspondence again]
then lifting our arms and punching the air alternately 
"1-3-5-7-9 ODD numbers are pretty FINE!" 
Jumping at the end with our arms up.

Since the children start circle time participation, as they want to, around 18 months, they see this as just another song/movement activity until the odd/even math switch kicks in. Then, they just get it. It's already there, they just need the paradigm shift to understand and utilize the information they already have stored.

If you have viewed my other posts, you see that we count EVERYTHING. Even with the toddlers. Learning takes repetition.

Some infant/toddler games that work 1-2-3, 1-1 correspondence and number order conventions:

Cross Over [also works on crossing the mid-line]
  • Lay child down. 
  • Hold child's hands or feet out, 
  • Move them across their body to their side, child's left to their right first, "ONE,"
  • Then right to left "TWO"
  • Then put them on their head and shake a little "THREEEEE!!"
  • Repeat a few times.
Bounce High
  • Hold child standing, fully supported on your lap, bounce lightly saying "ONE, TWO," then lift up high on "THREEEEEE".
  • Repeat a few times.
Back and Forward
  • Hold child sitting with your hands behind the head. 
  • Bounce back just a little on "ONE, TWO" lowering your tone as you count
  • In a deep tone, "THREEEEE" lower them down through it 
  • Bounce the infant on your lap, "ONE, TWO" raising your tone as you count
  • In a high tone, "THREEEEE" raise them up through it
  • Facilitate the infants working those tummy muscles to sit him/herself back up when developmentally appropriate.  
Touch Counting
  • Sit child before you
  • Touch child's left shoulder, say in sing-song voice, "ONE"
  • Touch child's head and continue, "TWO"
  • Touch child's right shoulder, "THREE"
  • Repeat a few times, making a little ditty out of it. I usually make faces and change my voice up. For this activity ALWAYS go left-to-right on the child's body, don't reverse.

While it may feel odd to do it backwards, i.e. right to left for you, it is important for that left/right convention for the child. You can do it sitting behind them, but I think the eye contact when working with children is extremely important. I do the same with Hokey Pokey or any other directional movement song or play activity, backwards for me, if I'm standing in front of them. 

Remember that children's attention spans are approximately 1 minute per year of age. So an infant only has a few seconds of attention span. I will keep doing the activity as long as the child is actively engaged.
Tags: infant, toddler, math, crossing the mid-line, mid-line, counting, numbers, 1-to-1 correspondence, one-to-one correspondence, left, right, left/right conventions, conventions, teaching, preschool, childcare, daycare, pre-k, prek, early learning, early, child, care, birth,  

Cherry Picking and Child-led Learning

I don't "cherry pick," but we do pick cherries.

The cherries are ripe, just, but with it being Memorial Day weekend and knowing we'll probably be spending our time busy at the farm or out on the boat, I didn't want to let them wait any longer. Last year we didn't get ANY. I waited too long to harvest and the birds got them.

So we harvested the cherries this morning. 

We got quite the haul, just from the ones we could reach. 
I'll get the ladder out later.

Concept/theme points we discussed:
  • Isn't this a nice cherry TREE.
  • The cherries have to be all RED with no BLACK or YELLOW spots to be ready to HARVEST.
  • We have to pull them from their STEMS.
  • The cherry tree doesn't have a lot of LEAVES. [It may look like it, but it's all bare inside where the children spent most of their time picking.]
  • Remember when it was covered in FLOWERS? 
  • Now those FLOWERS are FRUIT.
  • Inside the FRUIT are SEEDS. [broke one apart]
The children are always gung-ho when we start, then the little ones drift off to other activities, and eventually the older ones. Then they will drift back. I usually have at least one working with me at any given time.

H was helping, and she said, "Look Miss Connie, I'm IN the forest!" "Why yes you are, honey." She repeated it twice more. The teacher in me always goes "AH HA!" when a child repeats something three times. It tells me they are working on a concept and that it is important to them. 

So then I go into teaching mode.

"Okay, well let me know when you are OUT of the forest."
"Look, I am UNDER the tree!"
"Do you think you could fly OVER the tree?"
Giggles. "Nooooo."
"See all the cherries ON the tree? When we HARVEST cherries, we pull them OFF the tree and put them IN the bowl, don't we?"
"Yes. I am taking them off." Walks over. "Look Miss Connie, I am OUT of the forest. Look, I put the cherries IN the bowl."
"Good job, Princess."

The other children drifted around, hearing the exchange and sometimes participating. "Look! I'm ON the slide!" Proximity learning-just because they may not be actively involved, doesn't mean they aren't picking it up.

This went on for about fifteen minutes, off and on conversation. A good example of child-led and teacher-facilitated learning. Since I know this is a concept she is working on, I'll make certain to incorporate more positional instruction for a while. I don't "cherry pick" my child-led learning opportunities. I try to take everything they present to me, because a child actively involved in their own learning processes, is a child with unlimited potential. 
Tags: garden, harvest, theme, unit, preschool, pre-k, prek, teaching, plants, childcare, daycare, parenting, math, science, language, literacy, positional statements, vocabulary

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ice Cream Theme Already?

I've had a ton of hits on my Ice Cream Theme printables and a couple of special curriculum requests on ice cream items in my TPT store.

This FREE pre-writing worksheet has a few hundred hits on it. If you don't have it, feel free to print.

As I was reviewing the Ice Cream theme, I accidentally hit this song. The children started cheering. They hadn't heard this one in a while. It may SAY it's a calendar song, but we know it's REALLY the ice cream song. It's dorky, but the children just love it.

I finished my Ice Cream Thematic Unit and put it up for sale on TPT. It's 56 pages, 48 of those printables. As with all of my items, since I do multi-age childcare, the unit is good for early preschoolers through 1st grade. There is a FREE PREVIEW, so check it out. The preview gives a good idea of what's in there. 

It includes: 
  • sequencing
  • patterning
  • file folder games 
  • worksheets 
  • puppet craft 
  • games 
  • manipulatives 
  • calendar cards 
  • sizing 
  • sound/number cards 
  • mini-book working number and color sight words 
  • dot-to-dots: 1-30, uppercase, lowercase 
  • flannel board 
  • sentence and word walls 
  • lacing 
  • unit rulers 
  • shadow match 
  • word find 
  • puzzles 
  • bookmarks
  • suggested songs/ fingerplays/ dramatic play/sensory/ games/ activities
Since all of my products are original, they are totally customizable. I can add items, alter items or re-bundle only those you want. 

I have created all of this for my own use, in my school, for a one week theme that I do every three years. I'm just making it available to others who may not be so inclined to put in the amount of time and effort it takes, which I love doing. 

I'm not really thrilled with my ice cream theme booklist. If you have suggestions of books you love for this unit, please share!
Tags: ice cream, theme, unit, preschool, pre-k, prek, kindergarten, thematic unit, worksheet, free, printable, pre-writing, summer, childcare, daycare, fine motor

Monday, May 14, 2012

Discipline Means TO TEACH

What you do to help the child learn to control himself.

What you do to control the child. 

What kind of child do you want to have? 

If you model aggression, anger, reactionary actions, and demeaning comments toward your child then you will gain a child who is out of control, has low self-esteem and is unable to appropriately express his/her feelings. If you model calm, thoughtfulness, respect, politeness and place the child in control of their life through providing appropriate choices for them to make, then you will gain a child who is emotionally secure, responsible, confident, and in control. Mental and physical disorders aside. 

If you have a goal of the child you want to have raised at the end of age 18, then your every action and parenting choice can have a meaningful agenda.  Literally, the word discipline means to teach.

We must teach them what TO DO, 
rather than punish them for something they DID DO
often unknowingly inappropriate.

I strongly urge every parent, teacher and caregiver to check out Dr. Becky Bailey's Conscious Discipline book and website. It is, I believe, one of the best discipline techniques out there for children three and over. It is being utilized in many major school districts. I found it to be a good management philosophy in handling adult disagreements as well. 

For the younger children, though, here is my philosophy on discipline, gleaned from years as a childcare provider, parent to one half-grown and  two grown  boys, exhaustive research and trainings. Most of it applies to older children as well.
  • Keep Your Expectations Realistic. If you demand too much, your child may feel out of control and frustrated. Is it truly an important disciplinary situation, or are you just irritated?

  • Praise your child for cooperation. Don’t spend a lot of time explaining why you want them to do it, but do tell them what’s in it for them. 

  • Respond Immediately

  • Don’t over explain to toddlers. The more you engage your toddler in discussion, the more attention s/he gets from acting out. A toddler remembers the last few words they hear come out of your mouth, so make sure those are the important ones for your message. Everything that comes before that floats aimlessly off and is a waste of your breath. As they gain the ability to carry on a conversation and ask questions, then it's time to up the information.

  • Label your children's emotions for them, since they can’t do it themselves. Eventually, they will learn to label them and begin to respond appropriately.
  • Praise your child for good behavior. It will inspire them down the road. For every negative comment made by a parent or caregiver, a child really needs about 10 positive, SPECIFIC, statements to keep their confidence and self-worth at the highest level. So beware of harsh criticism. As with adults, it eats away at a person's self-esteem, and every child deserves the right to feel good about themself. 
  • Attention, some times it just takes a little from an adult to defuse a situation. 
  • Beware the television. Children who watch violent images in any manner, newscasts, parent’s movies, or cartoons, are more aggressive. Don’t think that just because they are playing in the corner that they are not picking up on what is portrayed. Research suggests that violent images, rapid movement such as in video games, and constant stimulation re-wires a child's or adult's brain, and not for the better.
  • Spanking breeds hitting. If you do it, then the child sees it an acceptable form of behavior. They will begin to hit, especially smaller children, if no smaller children are around, they may start hitting the pets. Or themselves. An aggressive household breeds aggressive children, a calm, thoughtful household breeds calm, thoughtful children. Appropriate DISCIPLINE, not punishment, is time out or the removal of a privilege, only after the child has had the opportunity to self correct the behavior and has been provided with a warning of the consequences of continuing an inappropriate choice of behavior. The exceptions being harmful or malicious behaviors such as hitting another child, which requires an immediate, firm response with the maximum time in time-out or the loss of a favorite privilege. 
  • Remember that certain stages are temporary. Biting, tantrums, yelling “no” to everything, bad language - don’t worry about them too much. Just make certain your child knows that the behavior isn’t acceptable and won’t be tolerated, but keep a calm reaction. A harsh reaction to these will simply reinforce the behavior and extend them much longer than they would normally occur. 
  • Remember that defiance is good. It means the child is secure enough in your relationship to challenge you. 
  • Accept your child’s feelings, which he cannot control. Stop the disruptive behavior, which they can learn to control. 
  • Set reasonable limits for your child’s age and needs. 
  • Establish the rules and consequences, keep them simple, keep them consistent, and respond appropriately and immediately. And YES, you will have to repeat them a few hundred times. 
  • Age and stage knowledge. Don’t expect your young child to be able to do what even teenagers can’t do: resist temptation and peer pressure, and react rather than act. Children lack full impulse control and logical reasoning into their early twenties. How many times have you yelled at the idiot who cut you off on the road, with your child in the car? That is a reaction rather than an action, and your child picks up on that. If you can’t keep your cool in all situations, just think how your child feels when they have very little cool to begin with. If you don't know what's appropriate or normal for the developmental age or stage of your child, find out. Keep your expectations in line with reason.
  • There shouldn’t be a “bad guy” syndrome. If the rules/expectations and consequences are clear, then it is the child’s choice and decision to do the unacceptable behavior and take the consequence. It should be worded in just that way.
  • Correct your child’s behavior with love and respect. Children are not born with self-control and a handbook of societal norms programmed within. They must LEARN these things. 
  • Avoid embarrassing your child. At least until the teen years. Always address the behavior as inappropriate or a poor choice, not that the child himself is bad, wrong, or anything derogatory. 
  • Avoid threats. “If you do that one more time, you’re going to time-out.” Instead: “You may go play with your toys or sit at the table and draw. If you choose to continue (misbehavior) then you will go to time-out.” This takes it from your reactionary threat to placing the responsibility for a choice upon your child. They may choose to continue with the behavior and go to time-out. Make certain they know it was their choice. 
  • Give two acceptable choices to your child, and respect the one they choose. “You may play with your blocks or your puzzle.” Don’t continue with, “Instead of sitting on your brother to get his toy.” 
  • Rules should be simple and repetitive. When a child misbehaves and needs a reminder, remember that behavior is LEARNED. It is TAUGHT by parents, caregivers, teachers and society through consistent expectations and modeling. “We sit in our seats.”  
  • Consistency. Trust and good behavior stem from consistency in routine and expectations. This includes knowing where things will be, when things will be done, and how they are to be done. As much consistency as possible between all of a child’s caregivers is important, so be sure to communicate and get on the same page. 
  • Sleep and a consistent sleep time. Children to age six need 12 hours a night. Studies have shown that everyone, adults and children, need a consistent time to go to sleep and wake up to keep their bodies in sync. This is especially true for children. The occasional holiday or special event won’t hurt them, but a daily sleep routine is a must. Sleep is the number one key to behavior issues. Children deserve to have their behavior issues be their own choices, not because of lack of sleep. 
  • Use when/then statements. “When you put your pj’s on, then we can read a book. 
  • Make “yes” fun. Make a not-so-desirable task into a game. 
  • Time-out should be given for specific behaviors or levels of behavior.Time-out should be given for hitting or other harmful behaviors, and it should be given as an option to the child when reminders, choices, or distraction haven’t worked. Children should be fully aware that they are going to time-out when they chose the behavior that will put them there. Time-out should be for one minute per age, maximum, of the child. It should be somewhere segregated, within your perimeter, and not fun. Often this is facing a corner, or for older children it is the bottom step of stairs. There should be no entertainment value in sight, including lures to abandon the position. The child should sit or stand quietly for the time allotted.  *I know there are many against ANY time-out, but it is the only option available for childcare providers [me!] to segregate a harmful or highly disruptive child from the other children in a safe manner. If a child is in a childcare setting, then consistency between home and school is important. 
The first stage of child development is the first year, where the infant learns trust, that the world is a safe place to be and their needs get met. 

The second stage is ages 1-3, where the child learns to be independent and to control him/herself. One of the reasons for the “terrible two’s” is due to the child coming to the realization that what they have been told they “can’t” do, is actually stuff that they can do, only adults won’t let them. Most of it is stuff that they really want to do, also. Like throwing things, hitting things, climbing, taking really cool toys from other children and exploring away from the grown ups. When they get away with these behaviors, even once, they realize that, "Not only can I do it, but I just might get away with it." One study states that for every time a child gets away with an inappropriate behavior, s/he will attempt it a minimum of ten more times, even if every one of those other ten times they receive correction. This is the time period where it is most important that the child have consistency in expectations and consequences.

The third stage is ages 3-5, where a child plans and does tasks. They have a need to belong. Children at this stage need to be taught and be responsible for tasks such as folding washcloths, putting away some of the dishes, choosing items for dinner, setting the table, and helping with pets.
 They are also cognitively capable of helping to create rules and consequences, and to understand the reasoning behind them. Often, when given the task, they will create consequences for their own inappropriate behavior much more severe than an adult would.  

Lastly - lying is not cognitively active until the age of 8. At age 6 you can begin to start your child questioning their statements, such as "Is that real or make-believe?" Until the age of 6, lying is simply wishful thinking/story telling. The child does not have control over it. They do it because they truly want it to be the way they say, to keep out of trouble, or to make you happy. They will also alter their thought processes so that they ACTUALLY BELIEVE that is what happened. Once again, you can not punish a child for something they have no control over. Lying is NOT LYING until age 6-8. Let it go. However, there does need to be an appropriate response to inappropriate behavior. "There are crayon marks on the wall, so the crayons have to be in time-out for a week." (denied writing on wall) "Your friend is crying because you were not a nice friend, so you have to go into time-out." (denied pushing/hitting/taking toy) Story telling, "I have a pet lion," should simply be encouraged. "Really, what color is he? Does he eat a lot of meat?" Imaginary friends, etc. should be thoughtful encouraged as your child explores their emerging imagination and learns the intricacies of using it in all it's many colors. One of these is the black and white thing that adults view as lying.

Tags: lying, children, development, discipline, punishment, toddler, preschool, childcare, daycare, parenting, parent, girl, boy, rules, consistency, behavior, tantrums, child, limits

Hand Print Flower Bouquet with Printable

These handprint flower bouquets turned out DARLING!

They were more teacher-assisted than I prefer for the under-4 crowd, but they make a cute keepsake of hand and finger print art. I believe 4 and over could do independently. 

We used them as a Mother's Day card on a 1/2 sheet of cardstock, but they would be a good craft for a Grandparent's Day card or garden, spring, or flower theme as well.

I loved the poem, but wanted a different font and pot design than the ones I found. So I re-did it in a 4 set to print out on the colored paper of the child's choice. I made the outside lines much wider to make it easier for little ones to cut out. 

My file has 4 different font styles and one page of blank pots. 

1. We did the handprint first, let dry 
2. Decided on the pot colors, printed out poem and cut out and glued on with a glue stick

3. Decided as a group on the flower colors we would use, and then stamped the flowers one color at a time using finger prints, let dry
4. Stamped the yellow centers using thumb prints
5. Wrote the child's name and the year at the bottom

I found the craft on Pinterest and followed the links to funhandprintart.blogspot.com and on to the poem from Tip Junkie.

Social: following directions, taking turns
Math: counting fingers/stems, flowers, petals and centers; who has the tallest/widest/smallest handprint; left/right hand
Art: creative expression, color choice, mixed media, process art
Language and Literacy: poetry, headings, vocabulary, sentiment, writing name and date
Science: flower physiology
Fine Motor: hand and finger prints, cut, glue, writing
Tags: spring, Mother's Day, flower, garden, theme, unit, craft, art, handprint, hand, print, flower pot, bouquet, flowers, fingerprint, fine motor, daycare, childcare, preschool, pre-k, prek, kindergarten, first grade, 1st grade, paint, cut, paste, glue, poetry, poem

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cupcake Liner Garden Theme Craft

We did a cupcake liner flowers scene as a cut and paste craft for our spring theme. They turned out REALLY cute!

And the older one did another one, preschool level, for our Garden Theme.

For the first one...

We folded a piece of cardstock at the one-third mark to create a dividing line for the children to color the top two-thirds blue and the bottom one-third green.

I place a variety of green and blue crayons in the middle of the table for them to choose from. This is a good color recognition assessment. 

3 1/2 years old
2 1/2 years old
Obviously some skill differences between the ages, but even the just turned 2s were able to do blue on top and green on bottom for the most part.

Then we glued on the cupcake liners. As a fine motor skill, they helped in separating them out and placing them on the table. I asked if they wanted two or three flowers and then they counted out the spots to glue and number of liners to choose. Stick glue was best for this. School glue would have soaked up the liners.

In discussing flowers, it was decided they needed pollen in the middle, so a golden crayon was carefully sought out and utilized.

Then we added shelled sunflower seeds to the centers.
There was more fine motor dexterity involved than I had anticipated. Even the older girls had to work at picking up the little seeds and placing each one. It was an excellent fine motor activity.
Just turned 2 year old.
Since it is a CUT and paste activity, I let the 3 year old go at it with the scissors. I simply told her to cut a straight line to the end. She did REALLy well at it. If she had a piece too wide, I just asked her to cut it in half. We measured length on her picture and she cut them to size. 

She decided to cutting up one of her strips and ended up with a bunch of smaller pieces. So, she used these for leaves.

The younger children worked with me using teacher-assist scissors for their cutting.

One of them noticed the green crimped grass in the crafts bin, and wanted some. So, we added that to their grass areas. It made for a nicely textured art piece.

For the second one...

I printed out my template and folded the side and bottom back and let her paint blue, mixing the paint to her desired color.

Once dry, I folded it back and let her paint the bottom fourth brown. Then proceeded along in the same manner as the first one. However, I did draw out ovals for her to cut out for leaves, adding an additional fine motor skill of cutting on a curve.

For this one, she cut white yarn to glue on as roots. She got a little carried away with the glue, so I helped spread it out. Didn't she do an amazing job of getting the pieces the same size? I didn't tell her to do that. I actually wanted them different lengths, but hey, her project. We discussed how her yarn pieces were about one inch long and measured them with a ruler.

While I'm not into worksheets much, they do provide some good fine motor, spelling, letter recognition and writing practice occasionally, along with kindergarten readiness. At almost 4, she was able to sound out all these words, with me reminding her that oo says "oo" in roots.

We could have added a sun and cloud in the sky as an added science add-on. We just didn't. I used this to cover the parts of a plant, rather than what they need.


Math: one-third, two-thirds, one-fourth, counting flowers, stems, seeds, length measurement
Science: parts of a plant, natural elements
Fine Motor: cut, glue, crayon grasp, painting, separating the cupcake liners, placing of the seeds/stem/grass/etc.  
Art: creative expression, mixed media, texture, 3D art, color recognition, color choice
Language: parts of a flower, fraction terms, 
Social: following directions
Tags: flower, craft, cupcake liner, flower craft, spring, mother's day, may, april, flowers, science, art, texture, mixed media, worksheet, parts of a flower, preschool, childcare, daycare, pre-k, prek, kindergarten, first grade, 1st grade, plant physiology, fine motor, skills, painting, cut, paste, glue, writing, spelling, word wall, printable, free