This week is play!
We started by picking out rhythm sticks and dancing to “Tap Your Sticks” by Hap Palmer.
After the music, we read our first story, Some Pets by Angela DiTerlizzi and Brendan Wenzel.
I really liked Brendan Wenzel’s illustrations in Ellen Jackson’s Beastly Babies, so I’ve been seeking out some of his other work. Some Pets didn’t disappoint. The illustrations are colorful and full of action, and the rhyming text is funny and sweet. There’s also lots of good opportunities to ask questions. Do you have any pets? What kind of pet would you like to have? Would you ever keep a snake as a pet? What about a mouse?
Next, we grabbed our egg shakers and danced to Jim Gill’s “Shakin’ Everywhere.”
After our music break, we read our second book, Never Follow a Dinosaur by Alex Latimer.
This one was a hit! A brother and sister find dinosaur footprints at their house, and they decide to follow them. Along the way, they imagine what kind of dinosaur it might be and what kind of things it might like to do. The kids really liked how silly the dinosaur was, and the grown-ups liked the ending, where we learn that all the dinosaur wants is some help baking a cake.
After we read Never Follow a Dinosaur, we moved on to our stations:
- Conveyor belt with animal bean bags.Our conveyor belt is from Kodo Kids.
- Dash robot.Dash is from Wonder Workshop. This is one of my favorite toys to use when I do storytimes at preschools and daycares. The kids love to drive him around and make him knock over block towers.
- KEVA planks.
- Tree blocks and toy animals.
- Soft toys and stacking cups.
Next week is STEM!
This week is art! And since MAPS happened to fall on Valentine’s Day this year, we did lots of cute art projects!
We started with My Heart Is Like a Zoo by Michael Hall.
Hall’s animals are made of heart shapes in all kinds of colors and sizes, making this a perfect Valentine’s read! The kids enjoyed making some of the animal noises as we read.
After My Heart Is Like a Zoo, I passed out egg shakers and we danced to Raffi’s “Shake Your Sillies Out.”
Our second book was Hug Machine by the fantastic Scott Campbell.
The Hug Machine lives to hug. There is no one and nothing the Hug Machine cannot hug, from a prickly porcupine to an enormous whale. This is such a funny, sweet book, and it’s the perfect length for reading aloud.
After our stories and music, we went to our stations:
- Shaving cream swirl paint. I filled a small plastic tub with shaving cream and let the kids drop some liquid watercolor in it; you can also use food coloring, but it will stain clothes. Then, we swirled the colors together with the pointed end of a pencil. I let the kids do this part, but I emphasized the importance of going slowly and not mixing so much that the color turned muddy.Once the shaving cream paint was ready, the kids took paper hearts I had cut out earlier and pressed them down gently in the tub. Then they transferred them to an empty plastic tub on the side and used a squeegee to scrape the extra shaving cream paint off. The result were some very pretty marbled hearts.
- Pom pom painting.
I clipped pom poms onto clothespins and set out some paints and a pile of paper with hearts drawn on them.
- Card making.
I got out lots of craft supplies and paper and let them make whatever they wanted!
- Fishing game.
Next week is play!
This week is STEM!
We started with an action rhyme called “Hop and Twirl.”
Make a circle and we’ll go around
First walk on tip-toe
So we don’t make a sound.
Tip, toe, around we go.
Then hop on our left foot,
Then hop on our right
Then hop together,
What a funny sight!
Now stop hopping and twirl around.
Now we’re ready to settle down.
From Tell Me a Story.
After we got up and moved around a bit, we read our book for today, Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts.
I can’t recommend this book enough. The rhyming text is so much fun to read aloud, and the illustrations are full of movement and chaos and humor. It teaches children about the importance of failing but not giving up, but it’s never preachy or over the top. This is a must read, as are Beaty and Roberts’ other collaborations, Iggy Peck, Architect and Ada Twist, Scientist.
After our book we did a short stretching rhyme called “Tall as a Tree.”
Tall as a tree,
Wide as a house,
Thin as a pole,
Small as a mouse.
Next, we went to our stations:
- Foam blocks, stacking block tower.
- KEVA blocks, plastic counters.
- Giant marble run.Our giant marble run is from Kodo.
- Mega Bloks.
Next week is Choose Your Own Adventure!
This week is play!
We started with a rhyme called “Five Little Dragons.” We stretched and wiggled our fingers and pretended they were baby dragons.
Five little dragons went out to play,
Over the hills and far away.
Mother dragon said, “It’s time for your snack,”
But only four little dragons came back.
(repeat for four, three, two, and one)
Worried mother dragon began to breathe fire,
But the tears she shed made the fire expire.
Mother dragon said, “It’s a VERY good snack!”
And all of the five little dragons came back.
We followed that up with our story for the day, Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin and Daniel Salmieri.
Dragons love tacos, but dragons do not love spicy salsa! If you throw a taco party for dragons, you’d better make sure the salsa isn’t spicy. Otherwise, there could be trouble…
Rubin and Salmieri are the exceptionally talented duo behind Big Bad Bubble, a favorite of mine. Dragons Love Tacos has the same clever humor and charming absurdity of Big Bad Bubble.
After our book, we played dragon dice! I printed out cards with actions written on them, then tucked the cards into the plastic pockets of one of our giant foam dice. The actions for today were:
- Breathe fire! (we used red, orange, and yellow scarves for our fire)
- Eat all the tacos! (we pretended to gobble up imaginary tacos)
- Show your claws!
After everyone who wanted to toss the dice had a turn to do so, we went to our stations:
- Paper plate tacos.
I was so excited for this craft, and it was so much fun! I ripped up some paper lunch bags for the meat, cut some small squares of red construction paper for the diced tomatoes, and used a paper shredder to make shredded lettuce and shredded cheese out of green and yellow construction paper. The kids colored their paper plates, folded them in half, stuffed them with ingredients, and brought them to an adult to be stapled shut. They were adorable!
- Fire breathing dragons.We happened to have some pretty green plastic cups left over from Christmas, but you could easily use toilet paper tubes painted green or wrapped in green construction paper. I cut the bottom of the cups off with a craft knife beforehand. I used glue dots to attach everything to mine, but some of the kids had better luck using glue sticks to stick the tissue paper flames on. Once the whole thing is assembled, you can blow into it to make the flames move!
- Dragon footprint rubbings.
These were pretty easy to make, and they can be reused. I just trimmed some scrap cardboard into 5×5 pieces, drew the footprints on with a pencil, and traced the pencil lines with a hot glue gun.
- Dinosaurs and wooden tree blocks.
Next week is STEM!
This week is movement!
We started with rhythm sticks and Hap Palmer’s classic “Tap Your Sticks.” This is such a great song for refining both gross and fine motor skills. It’s also a great opportunity to talk about being aware of the space around us and being careful not to accidentally hit our friends!
After “Tap Your Sticks,” it was time for our first story, Eric Carle’s classic Head to Toe.
Head to Toe is about all the amazing things can do, from giraffes stretching their necks to elephants stomping their feet. This is a great movement book, especially when the kids mimic the animals’ actions.
Next, we did a short rhyme called “Hands on Shoulders:”
Hands on shoulders
Hands on knees
Hands behind you
If you please
Touch your shoulders
Now your toes
Hands up high
Now touch our nose
Hands up high just as before
Now CLAP your hands
After our rhyme, we moved on to our next book, Race Car Count by Rebecca Kai Dotlich and Michael Stack.
10 fast and colorful cars are in a race to the finish line. Which one can get there first? This book is bright and full of movement, and it provides a great opportunity to practice counting and color recognition.
After our second book, we dismissed to our stations:
- Balloon races!
This one is easy to set up and so much fun to play! Thread string through a straw, then attach the string between two objects of roughly equal height. Blow up a balloon and show the kids how to pinch it so no air gets out. Tape the balloon to the straw. Then, when they’re ready, the kids can let go of the balloon and watch it go!
We ended up having sort of a bonus craft today, as well. I totally forgot that the balloons for the race have to be untied, and by the time I remembered, the kids had decorated their balloons and had them all tied up and ready to go. So, we took home balloon buddies.
- Pool noodle boats.
I sliced a pool noodle up beforehand and added a drinking straw, using scissors to make a little indent for it to sit in. I couldn’t find foam for the sails, so I substituted cardstock instead. They didn’t hold up very well, but they were really fun while they lasted.
- Foam blocks and toy animals.
- Kinetic sand with a variety of tools.
Next week is art!