Thursday, April 7, 2011

Theme: Birds

Was wondering if I should/would have children here today but all is well...and all went well.  Glad I did.  Getting back in the routine is definitely a type of "therapy"...for me anyway!  But, with all things considering, I changed my plans a bit so that today was mostly activities they could do on their own.  Except The Duck's Tale booklet...that was a "work with Ms. Amber" activity that allowed me to sit for most of the duration of our kitchen time (except for when I had to help them into their seats (one downfall to a home-based---working in main living area---no child sized table/chairs and clean up after finger paint).  Pulled out some simple pages for them to do...I'm not a big "worksheet" lady but they do have their place. 

Ha!  What's this have to do with birds?  Not much.  LOL  The bird theme is really hard to find open ended art projects with after feather painting and so on.  So we had been talking about how light feathers are and what are other things that we could blow with our own breath and that lead to "blow" painting.  I watered down primary colored paints and put them in our "nancy bottles" (  You may wish to practice blowing through the straw first.  Though, most of the time, if you use a full-size straw, the paint doesn't go up very far if they accidentally suck instead of blow through the straw.

Feather Painting
This time around we used our large feathers for color recognition activities and our small feathers for painting.  I use masking tape to tape a few feathers onto the end of a craft stick.  You can see that H. is just starting out because he is using only one, the other is not defiled yet, sitting on his paper.  But he did use both at the same time (bilateral motion).  I placed a bowlful of feathers next to their workspace when they were about halfway through.  Both children immediately placed a feather on their paper and painted over top it.  Hmmm...not quite what I expected...though I should have.  But that's okay!  It's THEIR work.  Think of it as added texture.  Eventually one of them left the feather unpainted and the other followed suit stating it "looks pretty" that way.  

"Finger Painting"
Again, nothing to do with birds.  I needed an easy-no explanation needed-art project for today so pulled out the "tried and true" finger painting.  They chose their own color of paint and whether they wanted the colored finger paint paper or the white (of course they all chose the colored).  We typically use black paint with this paper and it definitely turns out nice...but I'm all for giving choices.  You probably noticed that I put "finger painting" in quotations.  Technically it's finger paint and I do not have a problem with them using their hands/fingers (Yeah, we've done nose/toes, elbows and so on too.) but most children like the extra "tools".  If you have more than one child you are working with, I suggest that you have two trays ready...with similar tools and to paint shirts.  Easier time transitioning.  Finger paint tools:  check your local dollar store's kitchen section.  :-P

Bird Feeders
If there isn't a peanut allergy, pb makes for perfect bird feeders.  They are learning a practical skill (spreading pb) and it sure gives their little hands a work out!  We've done cardboard shapes, tp tubes, bread and so on.  This time we spread pb on one side of the bread (use crust or allow the bread to sit out a day or so to dry a bit to make for easier spreading of the pb) and then they dipped that side in the birdseed and flipped and did the other side.  Used a yarn needle to thread through the bread.  They took them home this year since Tag (our lovely dog) would enjoy it before the birds.

The Duck's Tale
This was mentioned in the previous post.  Our focus was cutting out the main duck and adding the "text" to the pages.  Adding some vocabulary in there.  Often we say words/sentences but this time I wanted to reiterate that the words we find in books are called "text".   They then put the books in order and stapled.  Pretty neat turnout since the pages do not sit flat due to the brads.  Looked like a "fluffy" duck.  :-P

Chicks in a Nest
This was mentioned in the scissors post so I won't go into detail.

Whenever you are doing "work sheets", try to add a hands-on component.  For example, the instructions were for them to color/draw birdseed.  Instead we glued birdseed onto the paper.  This allowed for us to count those numbers three times a piece.  Once- when we state what the number is (showing it on our fingers and counting them), 2nd- when we added glue dots.  3rd- as they are placing the seeds on their glue and checking their work.

Another activity
I hadn't planned on doing this one but decided it would fit well into what I needed for today.  Fine motor--tracing the lines.  Took a moment to reiterate that moving from left to right is often the easiest when tracing lines.
Birds On A Line

Another line tracing activity that I had done earlier in the week...and that was why I was not going to do the bird feeder activity today.  But it all worked out.  Note that the child in the left picture is older. He's the oldest and that is the only reason why I put all the stamp pads out.   I've been working with him since he was a baby and he knows exactly what I mean when I say, "please don't mix the colors".  :-)  For most preschool students, we'll use one stamp pad at a time with the lids on all the rest.  I buy a store brand baby wipe to use as "art wipes" and they are often at the table for whenever we might need them...otherwise they are running to the bathroom to wash their hands all the time.  :-P  Above the Birds On A Line, in the picture on the right is our Rainbow Bird Seriation.  We drew a "telephone line" across the blue paper and that gave them a focus of where to put their birds.  I'm so excited to say that my two oldest were able to do all six BY THEMSELVES!  At the beginning of the year, one of the children had difficulty with a set of 3 and the other had difficulty with a set of 4.  Practice pays off!!!  Oh, the Rainbow Seriation birds is a free printable from  I printed only the first two pages and use the option of printing both pages on one page.  Made them too small for the children to cut so did not use it as a scissor activity but as a math.  Fit nicely on the paper this way though and they could take it home.

The children enjoy the Kumon pages.  They are colorful.  :-)  I print on cardstock to make it a bit thicker.  I heard "cuckoo, cuckoo" quite a bit that morning.  :-P

This week we pulled the birdseed out for sensory.  It's one they enjoy but hadn't worked with yet this year so it was "new".  The first time was with typical "tools" but also included a new measuring set!  "Dollar Store" find...though it wasn't a dollar.  :-P  It was $4.  But considering how much it costs to buy a set through a school supply or science supply catalog...I'll just be happy!
The next time I added 12 plastic eggs in an egg carton.  The top half had a numeral and the bottom half had the numeral word.  Do they really "get it" at this stage.  No...but our job is to introduce the concept that every we say is made up with letters.  Aaron and Caleb got a lot of use out of the eggs the summer before they went to Kindergarten since they were already at that stage...learning the number word spelling. I have to add a picture of Trent.
Trent was none to happy with me.  He woke up before the other kiddos got a chance in the sensory pool and my rule of thumb is Trent is after the others get a chance...because I like to have it somewhat organized for the other children.  :-P  So...he was 'working' as you can see but not happily for a few minutes.  I do have a pic of him smiling but this one just made me chuckle.

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