Thursday, May 28, 2020

GO WILD THIS SUMMER!

While surfing the internet I happened upon this UK website:
kidsgowild.org.
Our site strives to help you as the parent be informed and motivated to get your kids into nature and go wild with fun! Also to teach them to interact and get along with other kids from all ages, not just their own. All for the betterment of their future success, and yours as a parent of course!


                           


Several years ago I read Richard Louv’s book LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER. It reminded me that exposure to nature is essential for healthy physical and emotional development in children AND adults. This book first came out in 2005, but it is especially critical now because the pandemic has turned our lives upside down and crushed many of our plans.


                                                   


Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and let children explore in a less controlled environment. Educators, as well as many parents, are concerned about all the time their children spend in front of a screen. But, you can’t always give children a choice. If you say, “Do you want to go outside and go for a walk or play video games on your computer?”  You know what the answer will be!

We need to engage children in outdoor activities and create opportunities where they will choose to play and “be wild”! These are some suggestions I adapted from the website that you might want to share with your families.


Climb a tree

Roll down a really big hill

Build a tent

Hunt for stones

Watch the sun wake up

Go on a nature walk at night

Plant it, grow it, eat it

Discover what’s in a pond

Go to a park

Play in the sand

Run around in the rain

Fly a kite

Hunt for bugs

Go fishing

Cook on a campfire

Look for objects in the clouds

Make a mud pie

Swing on a rope swing
                                       
Just think how giving children 30 minutes of OUTDOOR WILD TIME every day this summer could impact their lives!!!

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

SUMMER MATH

Math is real and concrete and hands-on and all around us. Let's go outside and count, measure, sort, and learn!

Note! Remind children to never pull living things off plants. Only collect things on the ground for these activities. Encourage them to return items to where they found them when you are finished with them.

Number Hunt
Take several lunch sacks and write different numerals on them. Challenge children to make appropriate sets from objects in nature to go in the bags.
*Have children return the objects to where they found them.


Geometry
Draw basic geometric shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, circle) on 6” cardboard squares. Let the children take the shapes and match them to something in nature with a similar shape.

                                 

Measurement
Give children a piece of string or yarn 5” to 8” long. How many things can they find that are shorter than their string? Longer? The same?

Counting
Children can count trees, fence posts, toys, bushes, and many other items in their yard or on the playground.
*Have them estimate how many and then verify their guess by counting.

Dot to Dot 
Take chalk and write numerals 0-20 randomly on a hard play surface. Children start with zero and run, hop, march, or skip to each numeral in order.
*Adapt the amount to the age of the children.

Patterns
Collect 5 or 6 leaves, rocks, sticks or other natural objects. Place a leaf, then a rock, a leaf, then a rock. “What will come next?” Let children make up their own patterns with objects in nature.

                                                          
Sorting
Ask children to collect different natural objects such as rocks, leaves, etc.
(This will vary with the season and your habitat.) Put their objects together in a big pile. Ask the children to put the objects that are alike together. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way?

Addition and Subtraction
Add and subtract using natural objects.
Make up number stories using sports. For example: My team had 3 runs and we scored 2 more. How many in all?

Seriation
Collect sticks of different lengths and have the children put them in order from smallest to largest.
*They could also seriate leaves, rocks, etc.

                        

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

SUMMER SCIENCE

Make your playground or backyard your very own science lab this summer.

Discovery Walks
Go on a walk and have children touch various objects. “How does it feel?”

*Have them close their eyes and try to identify objects by their sense of touch.


*Take a listening walk where children close their eyes and try to identify different sounds in the environment.

Adopt a Tree
Let your child “adopt” a special tree in your yard and name it.  Hug the tree?  How does it feel?  How does it sound?  Take photographs of the tree or draw pictures of the tree.
                                               
Dirt Detectives
Use magnifying glasses and sticks to dig in the dirt. What is dirt composed of?  How many different particles can they find?

Human Sun Dial
Have the child face north at 9:00 in the morning. Mark where they are standing and draw their shadow with chalk. Have the child stand in the same spot and record their shadow at various times in the day.

Cloud Watch
When there are cumulus clouds in the sky, have the children lay on their backs and look for animals and other objects in the sky.

*Let them draw pictures of clouds with white paint and a Q-tip on blue paper.

                                     
Melt Down
Give each child a paper cup with an ice cube in it. Who can make their ice cube melt fastest?

*Color the ice cubes with food coloring.

*Draw with ice cubes on the sidewalk.

Sit and Watch
Children can use a hula hoop or 7' piece of string for this activity. Lay the hula hoop on the ground (or make a circle with the string) and sit inside. Encourage children to sit quietly and use their senses to observe their habitat.

*Give them paper and a pencil to draw or write observations

Monday, May 25, 2020

A DAY TO REMEMBER!

In the past, Memorial Day meant that summer was here and it was time to get out those white shoes, the sprinkler, and the grill. We looked forward to vacations, family reunions, and visits to parks and pools.  None of us are quite sure what "summer" will be like in 2020.  

What we do know is that every day things are getting better and better.  We are blessed to be Americans and have FREEDOM thanks to the men and women who died serving our country.
 
Memorial Day was originally called Decoration Day because people decorated the gravesites of those who died during the Civil War. After World War I, it was extended to include all the women and men who died during military service.

The poppy has become a symbol of Memorial Day due to Moina Michael’s Poem “In Flanders Fields” (1915).

We cherish too, the Poppy red

That grows on fields where valor led,

It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.
 
We can't go to a parade today, but we can remember those who died by putting up a flag. 

Check out this website to learn more about Memorial Day:
http://www.va.gov/opa/speceven/memday/


 
Whoever you are…wherever you are…take a few minutes today to PLAY! Do something that makes you happy! Do something that makes you glad to be alive! And, please, take a few minutes today to remember all the brave men and women who gave their lives so that we could be free and happy today!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2020

SUMMER READING AND WRITING

One thing that Covid-19 can't impact is reading WITH and TO your child this summer!


Noises Off
Have a quiet time each day when all devices are TURNED OFF. If you don’t make this a priority and routine, it won’t happen. Not only should you expect your children to read, you need to enjoy a book and be a good model for them. In the book THE SMARTEST KIDS IN THE WORLD, an interesting finding was that parents who read with their children and modeled reading had a positive impact on academic success.

Rabbit Trap
“If you want to catch a rabbit, you have to have a rabbit trap.” And, if you want children to read, you have to create a unique place where they will want to read.

*Let children decorate a cardboard appliance box to be a “book clubhouse.”

*Make a tent and let them read with a flashlight.

*Brainstorm other places that would be fun to read.

Treasure Hunt Story
Prepare clues that will lead to a “treasure story.” (This is a special book that you have hidden outside.) For example:

1. A treasure hunt is so much fun. Near the swing is clue number one.

2. Clue number two should be easy, too. At the top of the back porch is something for you.

3. Clue number three you will find in a tree.

4. Now it’s time for clue number four. Look for it by the garage door…

*Tape the clues around your yard or playground ending with the spot where the “treasure story” is hidden. Encourage the children to help you read the clues and follow the directions. Find a shady spot outside and enjoy reading the book.

Summer Journal
Carolyn Kisloski created this free download last year and it’s a wonderful way to encourage children to write over the summer.

*I gave it to my granddaughter and she thought it was pretty cool to have “homework” to do.
                                     
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Summer-Writing-Prompts-Journal-2521920


Reading and writing should be a JOY, not a chore. The trick is finding the right book that they will WANT to read and finding something they WANT to write about.

Happy reading and writing!!

Saturday, May 23, 2020

MESSING AROUND

Summer’s the perfect time for getting messy and being creative! 

Bubble Cups 
Cups
Straws
Liquid dish detergent
Fill the cup half way with water. Squirt in some dish detergent. Give children a straw and tell them to BLOW! (If you'll put a pin prick at the top of the straw, it's less likely that they'll suck up soapy water. I also have children practice blowing on their hand with the straw before we begin so they'll get the idea.) The bubbles will spill over the cup and are fun to pat on arms, legs, etc. It's great to run through the sprinkler after you "paint" your body with bubbles.
Adaptations: Add a drop of food coloring to the solution to make colored bubbles.
*Give children a pan of water and an egg beater. (Most children have never seen one of these before except in books!) Add a squirt of detergent to the water and let them "beat" up some bubbles.
                   


Rub A Dub Dub 
Have children bring their washable dolls to school. Fill tubs with water and soap, then have a bathing party. Add sponges, wash clothes, and squirt bottles.
Adaptations: Let children wash doll clothes and hang them on a clothesline with spring clothespins.

                                                   

Water Painting
Give children plastic containers (margarine tubs, ice cream containers, etc.) filled with water. Let them use paint brushes to “paint” the playground equipment, trees, toys, etc.


                                                          


Sandbox Treasures 
Hide shells and other small toys in a sandbox and let the children “dig” for treasures.

Boat Builders 
Let children construct boats from two toilet paper rolls stapled together. Glue a triangular piece of construction paper to a craft stick and stick it between the rolls to make a sail.
 *Mold boats from aluminum foil.
 *Carve a boat from a bar of Ivory soap. Glue paper to a toothpick and insert it in the soap to make a sail. Make a raft from popsicle sticks. Lay down two sticks. Glue ten sticks on top of them. Dry and then decorate with markers.
 *Give children recycled materials (trash and scraps) to use to create boats and things that float.

                             

Mud Pies
(Not edible, but definitely great fun!)
4 cups dirt
1 cup flour
Mix the dirt and flour with water until it molds and sticks together. Shape into cookies, pies, birds nests, and other shapes. Dry in the sun.


               


Squirt! Squirt! 
Save spray bottles from cleaning products. (Make sure you rinse them out well first!). Fill them with water and let the children squirt each other, water plants, clean lawn furniture, etc.
Adaptations: A sponge or paintbrush and a bucket of water will also entertain children for hours. They can sponge off a tree, their riding toys, or themselves. They can paint the house or playground equipment.



Friday, May 22, 2020

SUMMER SNACKS

How about some summertime snacks today?

Fire Cracker Sandwich 
Bread
Peanut butter, jelly, or other favorite sandwich filling
Clear plastic wrap
Yarn or ribbon
Cut the crusts off the bread. Flatten the bread with a rolling pin. (The children just like to "smush" it with their hand.) Spread on your sandwich filling. Roll up tightly like a jelly roll. Wrap in a piece of plastic wrap. Twist the ends of the plastic wrap and tie with a piece of ribbon. It will look like a firecracker! 

                        


Edible Mud Pies 
Instant chocolate pudding
2 cups cold milk
Flat bottom ice cream cones
Plastic container with tight sealing lid
(Place the pudding mix in the plastic container before starting this activity.) Ask the children if they've ever had mud pies. Tell them you have and they're delicious. Show them the container and explain that it's dirt. Pass it around and let them smell it. (Be cool and don't let on!) Build vocabulary by talking about how dry the dirt is. What's the difference between dirt and mud? Suggest adding a liquid and pour in the two cups milk. Seal tightly, then pass the container around the group, encouraging each child to "shake, shake, shake." Open it up and have the children describe what happened. Serve in the ice cream cones.
Adaptations: Add seeds (sunflowers) and a worm (gummy worm). 

*If you can find pistachio pudding you can make alligator pie.

Trail Mix 
Cheerios
pretzel sticks
raisins
fish crackers
chocolate chips
ice cream cones
Mix all the ingredients together and serve in an ice cream cone.
Yippee ti yi yo! No mess because you can just eat the cone when you’re through with the mix.
*Use cheese crackers, sunflower seeds, M&Ms, or other dry cereals in your trail mix. 


                      

Ants on a Log 
celery
peanut butter
raisins
Take a stalk of celery (the log). Spread peanut butter (mud) in the celery. Place raisins (ants) on top of the peanut butter. March the ants into you mouth! MMMM!
*Use cream cheese instead of peanut butter to make “birds in the snow.”


                                                           


Ice Cream in a Bag 
1 gallon size heavy duty zip bag
1 sandwich size heavy duty zip bag
1 cup whole milk
1 heaping teaspoon of sugar
1 squirt chocolate or strawberry syrup
2 handfuls of ice
1 tablespoon rock salt
Pour the milk, sugar, and chocolate in the sandwich bag and zip. Place that bag in the larger bag, and then fill with ice. Sprinkle on the salt and zip shut. Throw the bag up and down for about 10 minutes until it starts to harden.
*Wear mittens or gloves to keep your hands warm.
*You can also make homemade ice cream with a small and a large coffee can. Fill the smaller can with the ice cream mixture. Place it in the larger can and pack with ice and salt. Children can “kick the can” until it freezes.

Pudding Pops 
1 large (4oz.) package of regular pudding mix (not instant)
3 cups milk
large marshmallows
popsicle sticks
paper cups
aluminum foil
Stir the pudding mix and milk until well blended. Fill cups half full with the pudding mixture. Put a marshmallow on the end of the popsicle sticks, then insert them in the cups. Cover with foil to keep the marshmallows down. Freeze and enjoy!
*For healthier frozen treats, freeze fruit juice, yogurt, or smoothies.


Life Preserver Sandwich
Bagel
Cream cheese
Blue food coloring
Fish Crackers
Add a few drops of blue food coloring to the cream cheese. Let the children spread the cream cheese on one half of a bagel. Decorate with 4 or 5 fish crackers.