Before I jump right into The Mitten and all of our new animal adventures, I wanted to share some of our last few Valentine’s activities we did throughout February. Unfortunately this past month was really interrupted with National Holidays, teacher workdays, and lots and lots of snow! We would just get started with something and then get interrupted for a snow break. But, we managed to squeeze in some Valentine’s Day fun on two different days.
The blog has been quite quiet the past few weeks while I have busily working on assessments and portfolios. I was able to write a portfolio for each child in the class, and meet individually with all of my parents. It was so nice to sit down with everyone and discuss all of the growth and progress each child has made this year.
The pictures above and below are of D, C, and H playing in our huge sensory tub of pink salt. I died many large boxes of salt pink, and then added scoops, glass containers, long pink spoons, heart gems, and a giant restaurant style salt shaker. The kids quickly figured out how to unscrew the lid and fill it up with salt. Then the boys would hold out their scoops and wait to have them quickly filled by the giant salt shaker.
This activity builds fine motor skills, cooperation, verbal skills, problem solving, and scientific processes of pouring and filling. They were busy with this tub for quite some time.
J brought in the most beautiful sunflowers for Mrs. Brittany and I for Valentine’s Day. As much as we were enjoying them, we decided to put them in the art studio as an invitation to create. I put the flowers in a large vase next to the easel with yellow, brown, and green paints.
For some fun fine motor work I covered a table with long strips of crepe paper. The children each got to stand at the end of the paper and cut all the way down to the tape. This provided a fun way to cut using scissors in a new and different way.
We turned it into a cutting race to see who could make their way to the tape first!
Our new sweet friend A started coming to school in the past few weeks. She had a great time making new friends, and getting adjusted to life at Crozet PlaySchool. A quickly discovered the Valentine’s themed learning trays. She made some bracelets for mommy and daddy.
A and A spent a long time moving our winter erasers from the container to the muffin tray using the tongs.
She also explored the jump ropes with her buddy A outside.
And they got out our new set of sidewalk chalk for spring. It was so great to see both girls bond right away! It was great to see her warm up to our school on the first day:)
We kicked off our study of animals by reading one of my favorite winter stories, “The Mitten” by Jan Brett.
After reading the book a number of times in the morning, we acted out the story using large puppets from the Jan Brett website. If your child is still interested in the book and would like to learn more, Brett has a fabulous website with lots of resources.
I brought a large sheet down into the classroom and we clipped it onto the chairs to make a large mitten fort. Then each child got to act like their animal as they crawled, dug, or hopped their way into the mitten. Lastly our mouse got in the mitten and caused the bear to sneeze! This was a wonderful way to incorporate early literacy skills such as story parts, characters, and problem solving.
To give the students another way to “act out” the story I opened a snow sensory tub. We made a batch of “blizzard in a box,” and then I added the figurines from Safari Ltd that matched the story. They had a great time hiding the animals in the snow and making snowy forest scenes just like the book.
Little hands in the tub…
Also to go along with our kick off to studying animals Mrs. Brittany came up with this simple and very popular sensory tub!! She added our large safari animals, soap, water, scrub brushes, and sponges. The children got busy washing, scrubbing, and bubbling up the animals!
I love to see all of their little hands reaching into the tub to get wet and soapy!
D scrubbing the lion very carefully.
We also played some great animal inspired games last week! The game pictured above is called “Hiss.” A bunch of students were playing with us, but of course they walked away when I took the picture. Each child draws a card and they add it to a snake on the table by matching up the colors. Once the snake gets a head and a tail it is complete and the player says “Hissss” to keep their snake! It was a great game for color recognition, problem solving, turn taking, and practicing patience.
Although we had to postpone our Valentine’s Day celebrations, we still squeezed in some time to have fun. We got to bounce in the bounce house one morning! These were the best pictures I could get!
Each child got to roll out their very own pretzel, and shape it into a heart. Here is B and D rolling out their pretzels. They went straight into the oven and into our bellies before I could get a picture.
Once our pretzels were finished cooking we enjoyed them and M’s special heart shaped cookies for her birthday! We even got to decorate the cookies with pink and white icing! Yummy!
Happy Birthday M!
Mrs. Kay also brought some new mats and a new format for our yoga time recently. Instead of reading us a book and working on poses throughout the story, she told us a story out loud. We had to listen to the story and then we posed as different story parts. The picture below shows everyone trying to reach behind their legs to be a spider. It was hard!
And our favorite part of yoga, savasana. Ahhhh relax and breathe.
We had a few extra minutes at the end of yoga, so Mrs. Kay joined our mats together into a long line and we made a “Dragon’s Rainbow.” Everyone got into downward dog, and then the first person crawled under the tunnel and went into downward dog at the end. This repeated again and again! It was really fun and hard work to stay up in down dog for so long!
Now that we are mostly caught up, I can’t wait to share more of our animal study with you soon!