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$12.00Puffy as marshmallows ….. Streaks across the sky ….. Playing peek-a-boo with the sun ..… Clouds can be a sign of things to come, or a sculpture in the sky. No matter what, they play an important part in our weather. On a warm spring or summer day, it is great fun for children to lay on their backs and gaze up into the clouds to ‘see what they can see’. Children that can ‘see’ various things in the clouds are more apt to look at other things in their world with more imagination and interest. Teaching children to really look at things in their world helps them to become better observers, and to develop language skills to describe what they see. Exploring clouds provides many learning experiences for children. Through hands-on activities, children: • Learn about the different types of clouds • Explore how a cloud is made through a great science experiment • Strengthen fine motor muscles and coordination • Use their imagination to ‘see’ sculptures in the sky Children are so open to new ideas and learning. Showing them how to discover pictures in clouds is an activity that they can do for the rest of their lives.‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’ Unit Book by Crockett Johnson A cardboard box made into a spaceship….. Blankets tossed over a table that turned into a castle….. Making the most delicious cake out of mud …… Imaginary friends and pretend play made up much of our early years. Through this, we learned to be creative and problem solve – just as Harold does in the story ‘Harold and the Purple Crayon’! Problem solving and creativity often go hand-in-hand. Usually, to solve a problem, higher level thinking, analysis, and innovation are needed which is part of the creative process. Every day, children are thinking about the things in their lives and what to do with them or how to use them. As children solve problems, they gain knowledge and self-confidence in their ability to succeed. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be developed based on this book. Through hands-on activities, children: • Increase their usable vocabulary (helps them get ready to read!) • Discover how to make the color purple • Strengthen finger muscles and fine motor coordination through a cutting activity. Harold has several other adventures too. Crockett Johnson wrote stories that children could easily relate to.$12.00Doors that open magically ….. Riding in the cart, up and down the aisles ….. And an entire row of candy! …… Children are amazed with the many things that are part of a grocery shopping trip. The grocery store is a cornerstone of many neighborhoods and communities. Grocery stores provide food from a wide variety of sources that encourage children to learn more about their world. Visiting a grocery store provides learning opportunities that support social skill development, helps children understand the work and support of people in their community, and provides real-life learning in social systems understanding (how we get food from ‘farm to table’). Learning about the grocery store provides children real-life knowledge that will be useful throughout their lives. Through hands-on activities, children: • Practice writing skills making a grocery list • Fill a paper bag counting grid with grocery items • Use tempera paint to create their own grocery ad • Make a grocery cart out of a cardboard box for fun races Children love to visit the grocery store. Providing trips to local businesses and places of interest help children develop important social skills and increase their vocabulary about the world around them.‘Planting A Rainbow’ Unit Book by Lois Ehlert Sunny days in the garden ….. The sprinkler swishing to and fro ….. Amazement as the seeds turn into beautiful flowers …… The book Planting a Rainbow can evoke these memories of childhood gardening. Planting seeds and watching them grow into beautiful flowers or wonderful vegetables is a great way to expose children to the wonders of the environment. Once children have experienced the colors that can be found in the garden, they will be more aware of colors in every part of their world. Gardening is also great physical exercise, can be a tool to teach scientific observation and recording, and may instill in children the love of caring for our environment … all good things! There are so many great activities that can be based on gardening, and all the colors that surround us. Through hands-on activities, children: • Write their names (letters or other words) using seeds • Use rainbow ribbons in a Maypole dance • Squish-paint to make a crown of rainbow-colored flowers • Turn fruit into rainbow skewers, yum! Planting A Rainbow by Lois Ehlert may inspire young children to become ardent gardeners, a practice that can become a life-long interest.$12.00Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus ….. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale ….. Just Me and My Mom …… Just Me and My Dad …… Favorite books by well-known authors/illustrators! – Mo Willems and Mercer Mayer. Reading to children provides so many positive experiences – snuggling up to see the pictures, learning new vocabulary words, using higher level problem solving skills to figure out what the picture is saying, and gaining knowledge from the book are just a few! The more children are read to, the more likely they will become readers themselves. Being able to read is a key factor in being successful in school, and as an adult. Integrating other activities with reading a book helps children really ‘cement’ ideas and concepts. In this Unit, children explore some of the work of Mo Willems and Mercer Mayer through these hands-on activities: • Create their own finger print ‘little critter’ to add to their drawings • Play a counting game by adding ice cream scoops to their cone • Paint their own, special ‘knuffle bunny’ • Demonstrate things that they CAN do in a circle game Books are a window to seeing so many wonderful things in our world. Help children develop a love of reading by finding great children’s books – many which are written and illustrated by the same person!$12.00A hug and a kiss ….. The encouragement to try again ….. Celebrating accomplishments and victories together …… This is how family members show care and support for each other. Families come in all sizes and configurations. Each family is special and different from another, but each family is also the same as others. A family could be defined as a group of people that care about and take care of each other, related or not. Members of a family are a child’s first teacher, their safety-net, and their mirror for knowing what’s right and wrong. Family is constant and ‘forever’ which provides a structure for healthy development for young children. Preschool children are learning about themselves and the world from their family first. In this Unit, children: • Create a family picture album • Use language to discover and discuss things about families • Use counting and math skills to play a game based on the book A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams We are all a part of a unique family, help children learn about and celebrate theirs!$12.00Coats, jackets and shirts ….. Big, little, round and square ….. Insert, push and pull …… Buttons can be a challenge for all of us sometimes! Learning to button, zip and tie are major accomplishments for children as they develop independence through mastering self-help skills. Providing opportunities for lots of practice ensures that children are able to master these skills. Children that are competent in taking care of their basic needs feel better about themselves and develop confidence in their abilities, which in turn supports school readiness. Buttons are an easy material to access. Through hands-on activities, children: • Discover what items of clothing have buttons • Practice math skills through graphing buttons • Use buttons as a material for creativity • Practice buttoning as they make a cool headband The more children have the opportunity to manipulate buttons, the better they will be at being able to dress independently – and that is a goal we are working towards! NOTE: Activities using buttons should be closely supervised; size of buttons should be appropriate for ages of children$12.00Leaves whirling and twirling ….. Vibrant colors of red, orange and yellow ….. The crunch of leaves when walked on …… Fall is a time to engage our senses as we see the changes that occur in leaves. There is nothing more fun that to rake up a big pile of leaves and run through it, jump into it, or just lay on top of it! Children can make great mazes and obstacle courses using piles of leaves, and each day they can re-design it. Not only are leaves a very inexpensive and available resource, but they can be used in so many different types of activities that address all the developmental domains. Make sure to gather many, many leaves in order to do these hands-on activities: • Become an author through making ‘My Own Leaf Book’ • See how leaves fall from a parachute • Examine leaves using a magnifying glass in the sensory table Leaves are everywhere, in all different types of environments. Changing colors to brilliant red, orange and yellow heralds the coming of fall… enjoy!$12.00Acorns falling from the trees ….. Squirrels and bees gathering food ….. Vibrant leaves and crisp foggy mornings …… All of these signal the change of seasons from summer to fall. The change in seasons can be invigorating. Summer may have gotten long and hot. Now that it is cooler in the morning, children can get outside and exercise those large muscles as they play running games, ride bikes, and go for long nature walks. Be sure to encourage children to find those changes in the season – squirrels scurrying around looking for nuts, leaves turning color and falling to the ground, and birds gathering together for their fall migration. Fall is a time of discovery and outdoor fun. Through hands-on activities, children: • Explore different fall items in a Sensory Box • Use crayon resist painting to create a fall tree • Listen and move to special directions while playing a Leaf Game Cooler days, sunny skies and wispy clouds herald in a beautiful fall day. Get out and enjoy!!‘Alphabet Under Construction’ Unit of Study Highlights Book by Denise Fleming Airbrushing A ….. Buttoning B ….. Carving C …… In Alphabet Under Construction, Mouse finds 26 ways to add a construction ‘flavor’ to the letters of the alphabet. Children will have fun designing, creating and ‘constructing’ their own letters. The more children are exposed to letters and words, the more they see writing and reading as an important way to communicate. There are MANY books that use the alphabet to explore other topics or content areas. This is a great way to help preschoolers (and even school-agers) develop and expand their vocabulary. Loving letters and words can lead to a life-long love of reading and writing. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be planned using the letters of the alphabet. Through hands-on activities, children: • Create through illustrations a ‘word wall/pictionary’ of construction words • Use cardboard boxes to build, (and rebuild), a variety of structures • Demonstrate their agility and balance on ‘letter balance beams’ • Make yummy vegetable soup and fruit salad, (identifying vegetables and fruits based on letters of the alphabet) You will be amazed at how children start using more descriptive vocabulary when they talk about what they are doing. The more they learn, the more they want to share with you!$12.00Bats Unit of Study Highlights Silently soaring in a night sky….. Catching thousands of mosquitos each night ….. Pollinating plants and dispersing seeds …… Bats have acquired a bad reputation but are really very important mammals to eco systems and agriculture across the world. Bats are fascinating creatures to watch and study. Many American bat species are in severe population decline or are already endangered, as they are worldwide. Bats contribute to a healthy environment, productive agriculture crops, and have provided insight to the scientific world. The Bat Rescue website has a lot of great information about this helpful little creature http://www.batrescue.org/batfacts/batfacts.html Children that gain an understanding of how different animal species contribute to the Earth’s well-being are more likely to become ‘stewards of the Earth’. Bats can be used to inspire learning through: • Using the ‘a-t’ of ‘b-a-t’ to create other words in a rhyming word wheel • Encouraging children to become bat scientists or chiroptologists • Exploring painting techniques to create a bat mobile • Playing a game to experience ‘sound location’ Let’s all go ‘batty’ for the good of our planet!$12.00Bread Unit of Study Highlights Measuring and mixing ….. The smell of yeast in the air ….. Melting butter on bread fresh from the oven …… Nothing better the smell and taste of fresh baked bread! Children today may not have experienced the yummy smell of yeast bread baking in the oven. But for many of us, it brings a nostalgic memory of moms or grandmas baking bread. Why a Unit on Bread? From Wikipedia “Bread is a staple food prepared from a dough of flour and water, usually by baking. Throughout recorded history it has been popular around the world and is one of the oldest artificial foods, having been of importance since the dawn of agriculture.” Bread is found throughout the world and is one of the many things that can show a connection between cultures and countries. Not only is bread good for eating, children can also learn many skills through the study of bread including: • Using fine motor skills to create letters out of dough • Practicing counting and naming numbers • Imitating life with the Bread Baking Dramatic Play box • Creating yummy bread art Bread is a staple in all cultures – just in different forms. Fun to try the many different types!