Friday, 23 January 2015

Let There Be LIGHTS


Every morning around 9:30 the sun is just over the pine trees outside our window and hits a small disco ball hanging in the room. The disco ball has been there forever, but the children have just become interested in it. The children run over to it and say "Leslie, do it!", and the ones who cannot talk walk over and point. As soon as I spin it, tiny dots of light spin through our room and the children get very excited and try to "catch them". 

Our daily routine with the disco ball has inspired many days of play and learning with the toddler / two group. On the first day, we brought in one of our smaller light tables, sensory blocks, flash lights, and other small lights. We have been currently extending the children's interest  of blocks, so this was a perfect way to incorporate the two preferences in the room. 

The blocks quickly lost their appeal after a few short minutes, and it became all about the lights. The children would push them on and off, shine them all around, and hold the lights right up to their eye balls. Our light investigation lasted for most of the morning and I knew we had to keep it going! 
Tuesday we decided to change the over head lights to black lights. We put out cotton balls, containers, sensory bottles filled with white paint, and other materials, and taped coffee filters all along the floor. 

               I will say I was disappointed with the strength of the black lights. I was hoping for more of the "disco bowling quality" but we worked with what we could find, and they definitely still gave the effect we wanted. 

One girl had on a white shirt that day, and she was quite surprised when she noticed what was happening to it. "Look at my shirt! Look at my shirt!" 

Wednesday we decided to use the black lights again, but have white slime out. Not all the children were crazy about the cold slimy texture, but most of them ripped it into a bunch of tiny little pieces. I took a bigger chunk and stuck it to lights. Slowly the slime started to creep towards them. "It's gonna get my head. Oh no!" said one child, and just a few short moments the weight of the slime made it fall and bounce into the bucket. 

After the slime bounced into the bucket the children laughed and laughed. "AGAIN!!!" The rest of the morning was spent watching slime fall off of the light. 

I had already made something to try the next morning when Karen goes on her break. (the time we usually play with the disco ball) I took cardboard from the recycling and glued reflective materials to it. I broke a scratched CD we had, and cut up aluminum foil. I also gathered a few other objects I knew would reflect the light and placed it all on the table (big metal spoon, recycled christmas card, a lid of a tin). 

Thankfully our room has LOTS of natural light so everything gave off beautiful patterns on our walls and ceiling. 

Everyone appeared pretty interested however their favorite part was chasing the lights. "I'm gonna get it!" they would say and run towards it. I kept lifting it up just as they were about to get it, and then they would jump trying to reach it. (Amusement for both the children and educators.) 

   The cracked CD even made a rainbow, which was very magical! 

(I let them get it sometimes.) 

Even after all the excitement we still had more to do! We decided to have a glow stick dance party! (an all time favorite) 

After the children saw the photos I was taking they wanted to keep making more pictures! Every now and then they would run to the back of my camera to see. It has been a fun filled week with lots of new experiences for our Little Munchkins! I can't wait to see what's going to happen next! 

                                                            - Leslie Dionne

Friday, 16 January 2015

Special Spoons

There's always a little excitement the day our scholastic order comes in. I was particularly excited because I knew SPOON by Amy Krouse Rosenthal was in that order. I had previously read the story, but knew the children probably haven't heard it before.

SPOON is about a young spoon who is feeling a little blue because he does not think he is as special as his friends knife, fork, and chopsticks. They can do all types of neat things that a spoon cannot, but little does he know his friends think he's pretty special because of all the exciting things he can do. After we finished the story I asked all of the children why they think they are special. Here is what they had to say: 

"Because sometimes I get peanut butter on my face."
"I can skate all by myself without a thing."
"Because I have a baby brother."
"Because I can put stuff on my head." 
"Because I can drive a bike!"
"I can brush my teeth all by myself."
"I can do puzzles."
"Because I'm good at making towers."
"Because I know how to swim." 

Their answers inspired an invitation to celebrate their accomplishments and display them for everyone to see! I set up a table with spoons, colored glue, and random art supplies so they could create their very own special spoons. 

The spoons all turned out better than I imagined. Each one was completely different, and you can see they really took their time with making them just right. We set them to dry and I asked them how we should put them out for everyone to see. They all agreed to have them hanging so we decided to lace beads on strings to attached our papers to the spoons. 

After everything was dry we put them together and hung them on the board by our door. 


Literacy & Language Development 
Fine motor skills 
Art & Creativity 
Sense of Belonging 
Building Self Esteem 

- Leslie Dionne 

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Edible Trees

     It has been quite a while since our last blog post, but I wanted to share something the children did before the holidays. The children had been decorating our Christmas tree over and over again so we decided to decorate the trees outside. However, instead of traditional Christmas ornaments we decided to make it completely edible for all of the animals that live here at Little Munchkins. This project was really special because everybody had a part, and the children came together and made something really magnificent! 
The children used thread and needles to string fresh popcorn into garland. (They may have snacked a little bit too.)  

We used left over rolls from our kitchen, peanut butter, and bird seed to make "bird muffins". The children cut the rolls in half, spread the peanut butter over top, and sprinkled the seeds to top it off. Yet again the children were snacking! (Thankfully we had a big jar of peanut butter!)

We found a recipe for bird cookies online and thought we could make those into ornaments. Flour, oats, water, bird seed, and eggs in the shell made our cookie dough. The after schoolers thought they didn't sound too appetizing, but they seemed to enjoy making the "cookies" anyway. Once we had all our decorations for the trees we all went outside decorate our hedges! 


Once all the decorations were put on the trees, the children were excited for birds to come and eat. There were no signs of wildlife that day (I wonder why?!?) but the next morning the trees were practically bare!! I think the educators were just as surprised as the children were. In the beginning the children thought all the goodies were just for the birds, but you could see many different tracks in the snow. I think it is safe to say our edible Christmas trees were a hit!    


Do you recognize any of these tracks?

                                                                     -Leslie Dionne