My children and I spent two weeks at the beach this summer, and I really wanted to kick off the school year with all things “beachy.” Most of the children in the classroom have some relationship to the beach, memories from the beach, or have played in the sand. All children seem to be fascinated with ocean animals as well! They are so vastly different from us, I can see why!
This post is packed full of some of the activities we did about the ocean the first two weeks of school.
One of the sensory tubs, that is actually still open this week because it was so popular is the mermaid lagoon. The addition of Ariel and lots and lots of seashells has made this a popular place.
Some of the children gathered around the mermaid lagoon:
Ocean Cloud Dough:
Cloud dough is a wonderful silky smooth sensory material. It is a combination of flour and oil that makes a substance that will hold its shape, but can be manipulated easily. I added blue powdered paint to our cloud dough to make it more ocean-like! I added large sea shells and larger ocean animals to the cloud dough. Bringing the sensory tubs outside has really allowed the children to enjoy them in the beautiful weather.
“Frozen Ice Castle” Sensory Tub
The first week of school Ms. Lori and I had a lot of fun watching the children interact with this Frozen themed sensory tub. I froze different sized blocks of ice in the deep freezer each night. Once choice time started Ms. Lori would pop all of the ice blocks out and let the children play with the Frozen movie characters in the sensory tub. I added silver beads, charms, and snowflake beads to the water to add to their imaginative play. M probably spent two full mornings at this tub, and it was so sweet to see her playing pretend on her own for such long periods of time! That is the exact purpose of these tubs!
Small Group Activities:
Last week I called over children one at a time to work on their number sense. This is the first time they had a chance to use the “links” which was a learning process in itself to get them linked up. Here is a picture of L with his linked up number lines. I had number cards with a hole punched in them. They have to create the correct length chain and attach it to the number card. Each child had a chance to work on this activity with me last week.
Exploring our Materials:
I have enjoyed watched the children really interact with the materials so far this year. They have gotten out more of the blocks and manipulatives in the block area then ever before. It may be their growth and development from last year, but the easy access to the materials is helping aid this interest.
M spent a lot of time last week working with the rainbow blocks. Here is one of his master creations. I love seeing the younger students watching in awe at his building skills!
We added some new materials to the light and shadow area this summer as well. I also added a book shelf to store the array of materials I had accrued last year for this part of the classroom. The shelf holds Widgets, Blockus blocks, ABC see through pieces, flashlights, magnitiles, X-rays, and these new insect blocks. They are quite creepy, but the kids have enjoyed examining them!
The fairies and their friends have also been an exciting new discovery the past two weeks. M had lined up all of the peg people on the fairy house, and was arranging the blocks underneath.
Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo of the process that went into creating this fairy world. M and E spent a good part of the morning creating this land. Everything had a purpose. The line of trees to the bottom were the “dark forest.” And the bark painted yellow was the bridge to the rainbow to get through the dark forest. It all had a part in their play. After they were finished creating, MH had another story line going with snails and them disrupting the fairies. Not long after C and MR were intrigued by their set up and came to play. They joined right in, and I loved seeing their work. We actually left it out to be played with again this week.
Open Ended Art:
Last week we did one ocean themed art project, but for the most part I provided open ended art activities in the classroom. One of the MOST popular ones was this bottle cap canvas. I had three large bowls of bottle caps, a blank canvas, and two glue bottles. They really enjoyed squeezing the glue and flipping over the caps to find a perfect space on the canvas. They used up all of my bottle cap stash, so if you have bottle caps send them in! I know the children would enjoy doing this activity again!
The art room was back in a big way last week too! Both easels were opened again, and the painting, painting, and more painting has begun!
For a new art process that we didn’t explore last year I covered cardboard boxes with aluminum foil. Then I purchases Sharpie paint pens. They offer a really neat drawing experience because of the texture and sheen, as well as the crunchy noises when you draw on the foil.
We Love GAK!
One child discovered the joy of cutting gak and it spread around the classroom. Everyone stopped by the gak table last week to try their hand at cutting gak.
LP also figured out how to shred gak using the hammers to shred the gak up. We really spent a lot of time exploring our ocean gak!
Last but not least, here are the pictures of our sand casting in the sand box. What a neat process and the results were stunning. I can’t wait to do this again!
After the children added their stones to their hole in the sand, Ms. Lori and poured plaster of paris into the holes and allowed them to dry. Then we lifted the plaster out of the sand to reveal their art. I love how different and unique each sandcast turned out!
I know that was quite a post, but we have been so busy the past few weeks! Soon we will be sharing all of our weather activities!