Over the past two weeks of the holiday break, I really tried to breath, enjoy my children and take a little break from all things school related! That worked until the Thursday before we returned when I hit the ground running each night planning and prepping for everyone to return and all sorts of winter themed fun! Before I start telling you about all of the winter fun, I need to share our last few moments in 2013. I truly can’t believe how quickly the first half of the year passed by! It went by in a blink for me, trying to keep up with all of these wonderful kiddos!
The picture above is the kids playing “Hullaballoo” on a really cold winter morning. It is a fun movement and learning game that is made by the same company as Cranium. I have played it twice now with the group and they are getting better and better! There is a little speaker that calls out directions, i.e. find the circles, stomp to an animal, put your foot on a red. Learning and playing at the same time!
I love seeing my younger group really coming together over these winter months. They are interacting, talking, and playing together more and more each school day. K and M are working on K’s gingerbread man ornament together. I love to see the bonds they are forming.
One of the table invitations I had out in December was the light panel and letter construction. I recently bought this letter construction set from amazon. They are great for building upper and lower case letters, and working with the light table is always a crowd pleaser at school!
Here is another great picture of my younger group working together! This fun math game was out on the tables for them last month too. It was very simple to make. A Christmas tree with circles drawn on it. I had a little bowl with counters and one dice. Roll the dice and add that number of counters to the Christmas tree. L, K, and D are all playing together! They played this game a bunch of times.
This was another fun holiday themed fine motor activity. Candy cane sewing!
I also found this great idea to use our “Light Bright.” It has been tucked away in our playroom closet for quite some time. I have been wondering if we would ever use it again. Then I saw this idea on Pinterest to create my own drawings for the light bright. I made a simple outline of Christmas trees and Gingerbread Men. They enjoyed filling up the trees with little ornaments of light.
In December spent a whole week talking and reading about Gingerbread Men. At the end of the week the children got to decorate gingerbread houses. They loved every part of the process…the icing, the candy, and licking their fingers was their favorite part.
THANK YOU for all of the parents who donated food items, volunteered during the party, and a special thank you to Sarah and Allie for making the finicky graham cracker houses. They were not easy to put together!
To go along with our Gingerbread theme we played with “Gingerbread Play Dough.” It smelled just like a bakery in the art room!
On the chalk board wall a few mornings I would draw the blank outline of a Christmas tree and the squares for the gifts underneath. The kids had so much fun filling the tree in with ornaments and even adding twinkle lights to the stars. P turned all of the boxes into gifts by adding lines for ribbon and a bow on top! I repeated this again and again for both groups.
One of my favorite art projects from December was this gift to the parents. I was a salt dough ornament. It was filled with a handprint and then once I baked the ornament in the oven they painted the hand part with dots for a Christmas tree. We wrapped them up along with a picture I took of them tangled up in lights. Around the lights are all of their thumb prints. Such a great homemade Christmas present!
We made A LOT of ornaments in December! I don’t think I took pictures of all of them, but below is a picture of Ellie making a snowflake ornament. The children were allowed to use the cool glue gun. It still melts the glue, but the gun and glue won’t burn you. Perfect for little hands! Many of the children had a hard time squeezing the glue gun, so I would squeeze it and they would place the gems onto their snowflake.
We also made Christmas votive candles with tissue paper and modge podge.
And snowmen ornaments using their handprints.
The last few weeks of December we had two very fun sensory bins. One was “Clean Mud” and Christmas themed goodies.
Clean Mud Recipe:
three rolls of toilet paper
one bar of Ivory soap grated
I had the kids unroll the toilet paper (which they thought was really fun!). Then we slowly added warm water and squeezed the paper to help it break down. The clean mud gave off such a nice scent from the Ivory soap. This would last you a couple of days. The paper would start to dry up each day, and I just added a bit of warm water to get the paper softened up again.
Lastly we had Peppermint scented rice in the other sensory bin. The rice was dyed red and then I added peppermint extract to it! Before it was all mixed together I had the rice placed in red and white stripes in the sensory bin. It looked like a huge candy cane!
All in all it was a busy and fun month of traditions, holidays, and Christmas Spirit!
I can’t wait to see what 2014 holds for Crozet PlaySchool!