F is for Farm

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My grandpa and grandma had a dairy farm in Michigan.  My cousin Carla and her husband Chris run it now.  Some of my happiest childhood memories involve “the farm”.  Because my Dad was in the Air Force, the farm was a place of stability for me–it was always there, filled with people that I loved.  I loved the white farmhouse with the barn red shutters where my grandma and grandpa lived.  I loved to go up to my dad’s old room and imagine him there.  I loved to walk down to my great-grandma’s brick house–the house that she had been born in.  I loved to eat breakfast with her on her screen porch in the summers.  I loved to look at the old velvet photo albums with pictures of solemn looking men and women.  Carla and her family live in the brick house now and that makes me happy.  So farms are very near and dear to my heart.

Invitation To Play:

My invitation to play this week was simple, but the children loved it.  I filled a wooden box with wheat kernels and put in farm animals and tractors.   I also had some play dough that I made out of whole wheat.  I used the Pumpkin Spice Playdough recipe that can be found here.  However, this time I made the playdough with whole wheat flour.  The littles rolled tractors in the playdough, stuck animals in the playdough and of course put wheat into the playdough.  One thing that I really need to be better about is taking pictures of my invitations to play!

Circle Time:

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For circle time, we sang the classic farm song, “Old McDonald Had a Farm”.  I had a little flannel board picture of a barn and barnyard and gave each child two felt pictures of farm animals.  As we sang about each animal, the child who had that picture got to place their animal on the flannel board.  We discussed the different animals that live on a farm.  Then I told them the story of The Little Red Hen.  As I was telling them the story the children shook a jar that had cream in it.  By the time that we finished the story, that had made butter!  When I unscrewed the lid of the jar and they were able to see the lump of butter they were astonished!   Next we ground wheat into flour.  They really enjoyed turning the handle of the flour mill and clamored for a turn…and then another turn…and then another!

We also weighed wheat and hay.  I have a small balance scale and I showed the children a big handful of hay and about a 1/4 of a cup of wheat and asked which one they thought would weigh the most.  They thought the hay, because it looked like there was so much more.  They were surprised when the wheat weighed more.  We talked about why that was so and then removed some of the wheat kernels until we were able to make our scale balance.

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Art Projects:

1.Milk Painting.  The idea for this project came from an article on Babble Dabble Do.  For this art project you will need milk, dishwashing liquid, food coloring. cotton swabs and watercolor paper.  Pour enough milk into a shallow tray to cover the bottom of the tray.  Squeeze drops of food coloring onto the milk.  I used green, blue and yellow food coloring.  Then I asked a child to dip their cotton swab into a shallow dish of dishwashing liquid.  Then I told the child to touch the cotton swab to the dots of food coloring.  When you do this the food coloring will burst away from the cotton swab in a sort of starburst.  The littles thought that it looked like fireworks!  Working quickly, lay the watercolor paper on top of the milk and gently press it down. Then lift it out, turn it over and lay it aside to dry.

2.  Pumpkin Art With Plastic Wrap.  For this art project, I printed pumpkin shapes onto white cardstock and then cut them out.  I squirted dollops of yellow and orange paint onto the pumpkins and then laid plastic wrap over the pumpkins.  Then I let the littles squish the paint around using the plastic wrap to paint their pumpkins.  This gave a wonderful textured look to the finished paintings.  The inspiration for this art project came from Teaching Two and Three Year Olds

3.  Painting With Straw Paintbrushes.  I found this idea on Twodaloo.  Take a bunch of raffia about 10 inches long.  Fold the raffia in half and wrap a pipe cleaner about two inches from the top.  Trim the ends of the raffia and your “straw paintbrush” is finished.  I gave the children purple, yellow and orange paint to use and a sheet of white drawing paper.  They loved the feel painting with these paintbrushes and the design and texture that the raffia created.

4.  Toilet Paper Roll Sheep Craft.  The inspiration for this came from a great website called Red Ted Art.  Ahead of time I cut out the sheep heads and legs out of black paper following the picture posted on the Red Ted website.  I gave each child a toilet paper roll and some white wool roving.  The child is going to glue to wool roving on to the toilet paper roll.  (I find that the easiest way for the child to use glue is to pour a little into a small container and give them a paintbrush to paint the glue onto a surface.  I have special paintbrushes that I use only for glue.  Wash them with warm water and a little dish soap when the child is finished using the paintbrush.)  Once the wool roving was glued on, I helped the children attach the sheep head.  Then I showed the children how to glue on the legs to their sheep.  We glued a little bit of wool roving onto the top of the sheep’s head as a finishing touch.

A Birthday

This week we celebrated our first birthday of the year.  Attie-Mae turned 5!  I always make the children a birthday gift and this year’s gifts are Waldorf-style wool felt birthday crowns.

Unstructured Outdoor Play

 

 

 

S Is For Sunflowers

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“Many people seem to think it foolish, even superstitious, to believe that the world could still change for the better.  And it is true that in winter it is sometimes so bitingly cold that one is tempted to say, ‘What do I care if there is a summer; its warmth is no help to me now.’  Yes, evil often seems to surpass good.  But then, in spite of us, and without our permission, there comes, at last an end to the bitter frosts.  One morning the wind turns, and there is a thaw.  And so I must still have hope.” ~Vincent van Gogh

I think that this is why I teach small children–because they give me hope. Continue reading

Preschool Rolls

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“When we eat good bread, we are eating months of sunlight , weeks of rain and snow from the sky, richness out of the earth.  We should be great, each of us radiant, full of music and full of stories.  Able to run the way clouds do, able to dance like the snow and the rain.  But nobody takes the time to think that he eats all these things, and that sun, rain, and snow are all a part of himself.” ~Monica Shannon Dobry. Continue reading

A is for Acorn

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The Song Of The Acorn Fairy

To English folk the mighty oak
Is England’s noblest tree;
Its hard-grained wood is strong and good
As English hearts can be
And would you know how oak-trees grow,
The secret may be told:
You do but need to plant for seed
One acorn in the mould;
For even so, long years ago,
Were born the oaks of old.
~Cecily Mary Baker

Continue reading

Apple Recipes

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Because “A is for Apple” we ate a lot of apple recipes for Preschool snacks this week!  One of my favorite things to do with the children each autumn is to make applesauce.  They all delight in helping to turn the handle on the apple peeler and watch with awe as the apples are peeled, cored and sliced into lovely rings.  And they feel such a sense of pride in having taken part in preparing some of the food for our morning snack. Continue reading

A is for Apple

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I have a gnarly, old apple tree in my back yard that the children love to climb on.  Usually it is loaded with sweet, crunchy golden delicious apples that I help them pick and they can munch on them during outdoor play.  Unfortunately, this spring we had a hard frost the killed most of the buds and so I harvested about two apples this fall!  Luckily we have Allred Orchard’s Fruit Barn close by and so I can get local apples for the littles and me to eat. Continue reading