Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


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Christmas at Crozet PlaySchool

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Even while we were focusing on our letters each morning, the classroom was filled to the brim with lots and lots of Christmas fun!  The first week in December the children walked into the art room to find Playmobil Santa had landed in our art room on a pile of white cloud dough!  The cloud dough was filled with silver glitter for some added sparkle.

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Table Invitations:

 

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The tables were filled with fun invitation to decorate Christmas trees in a few different ways.  We had a felt tree, a tree on the old Light Brite, and a mini Christmas tree with little ornaments.  They got a chance to decorate and re-decorate their trees throughout December. 

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Sensory Play:

 

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For some themed sensory play we had a large tub filled with fake snow.  Then I filled it to the brim with snowman cups, Christmas  goodies, and present boxes.

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We also had fun digging into the hot chocolate sensory tub.  I dyed rice brown last year and also added chocolate extract to made it smell like cocoa.  I was surprised to find that the rice still smelled great when I opened the bag from last winter!  I added some holiday spatulas, cotton balls for marshmallows, and cups and plates. 

 

Process Art:

 

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We also had a lot of fun working with a new art process.  Buggy and Buddy highlighted this technique on her website, and I thought it looked fun and the end product was beautiful.  First we filled a tray with Sta-Flo (liquid starch).  Then each child dropped acrylic paint onto the Sta-Flo starch.  After swirling the paint around on the pan each child laid their watercolor paper onto of the starch.  It was quite drippy and messy, but we embraced it!  After the papers dried I cut them into Christmas tree shapes, and we glued them down onto white paper.  I thought the end product was lovely and each tree was so different.

 

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We also made some Candy Cane puffy paint.  We mixed glue and shaving cream and red watercolors for some puffy paintings.

 

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We also found our names hidden inside of ornaments while we watercolored!

 

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Special Events:

 

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We also had fun celebrating L’s 5th birthday!  Thanks to his mom for these fabulous Olaf and snowflake cookies! 

 

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The kids worked on these beautiful Christmas tree ornaments for their parents.  I hope they were surprised when they opened their gifts!  Each child planned out their tree, and they are each so different.  I helped them with the sewing, but they quickly caught the hang of it.  Then we sewed the tree closed and added stuffing to the inside.  Of course they each wrapped up their tree for their parents to open.

 

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Learning Trays:

 

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I also saw this simple coloring idea on Buggy and Buddy.  I made a sheet for each child and they added all of the details.  E even added a string of lights behind her tree. They were really drawn to this activity.  Sometimes coloring books have so many details, and think the simplicity of the coloring paper made it fun for them.

 

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We also had some fun holiday themed learning trays, too.  They worked on moving the holiday erasers into a gingerbread men muffin tray.  They also got a chance to make icicle ornaments with these fun glittery pipe cleaners. 

 

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Sensory Play:

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After reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas we made some fun glitter “grinchy” gak.  We loved exploring this glittery gak. 

 

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When they had so much fun filling the Christmas coloring pages, I left the invitation to fill in Christmas trees and gingerbread men on the chalk board.  E went to town filling it out one morning.

 

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All in all it was a very Happy Christmas in our classroom!


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The Wonderful and Mysterious…Gak!

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The kids in the class have been overjoyed for our most recent sensory experience…Gak.  Some people have different names for this fun part liquid/part solid/part slime/part liquid/part moldable stuff, but I call it Gak!

I made two different batches of Gak with my groups.  One group got to make orange gak and the other group made a batch of purple Gak.  They loved mixing up this slimly solution and watching the glue change right before our eyes!  This is a fun process from start to finish.

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To make Gak you need three ingredients:

Elmer’s Glue

Water

Borax

These are the directions I use for my Gak:

The measurements do not have to be exact but it’s a good idea to start with the proportions below for the first batch.  Just change the amounts of each ingredient to get a new and interesting batch of goo.

This recipe is based on using a brand new 8 oz bottle of Elmer’s Glue.  Empty the entire bottle of glue into a mixing bowl.  Fill the empty bottle with warm water and shake (okay, put the lid on first and then shake). Pour the glue-water mixture into the mixing bowl and use the spoon to mix well.

Go ahead… add a drop or two of food coloring.

Measure 1/2 cup of warm water into the plastic cup and add a teaspoon of Borax powder to the water. Stir the solution – don’t worry if all of the powder dissolves. This Borax solution is the secret linking agent that causes the Elmer’s Glue molecules to turn into slime.

While stirring the glue in the mixing bowl, slowly add a little of the Borax solution.

Immediately you’ll feel the long strands of glue and water starting to connect. It’s time to abandon the spoon and use your hands to do the serious mixing. Keep adding the Borax solution to the glue mixture (don’t stop mixing) until you get a perfect batch of Gak.

Helpful hints:

I like mine with a bit more “glue” and a little less “slime” so I usually end up adding a bit of glue at the end of the recipe.  You can decide how you like your Gak!

It stores wonderfully in a Ziploc bag.

It will stick to your carpet or sometimes clothing, so be careful where you play with your Gak…kitchen is probably the best place.

Pick fun plastic objects to put in your Gak, they will pop right back out when you are done with your play time:

gems

googlie eyes

cookie cutters

plastic animals or people (Duplo or Play Mobil brand)

Legos

utensils, spoons, forks, etc.

plastic cups or scoops

Here are some pictures of us playing with it at Crozet PlaySchool….

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Ellie was showing us how the Gak stretches!!!

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L was making imprints in the Gak.  You can see the outlines of the spiders underneath her snake.  Gak will hold a shape or an imprint for a few minutes before it starts to disappear.  Such a fun texture to watch!

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L is pounding out his Gak while D is making some imprints.

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D told me that he made a Gak monster, isn’t it great?!