Thursday, May 23, 2019

UP IN THE AIR

It’s almost summertime and that means the planes will be full of some happy children, some screaming children, some bored children, and some entertained children!  It befuddles me how some parents don't have a clue when it comes to interacting with their children.  This is a blog I wrote several years ago, but you might want to share it with your families.  What a missed opportunity to just hand an electronic device to a child and miss a wonderful conversation and memory!

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure when you travel with children.  And if you’ll read these tips, I bet your fellow passengers will thank you for being on top of the game!  Take advantage of the one-on-one time with your child by giving them 100% of your attention.  After all, isn’t that what children want most from adults?

Planning Ahead
Several days before the trip start talking about your adventure and give details about what is going to happen.  Have children close their eyes as you describe the trip – checking in at the airport -  going through security -  waiting for your flight to be called – getting on the plane and fastening your seatbelt – taking off – looking out the window – landing – how much fun you’ll have on your vacation, etc.  Explain that there are many other people who will be sharing a small space on the plane and that everyone needs to be respectful and use their best manners and quiet voices.  The pilots and flight attendants are there to keep everybody safe, so you will have to listen carefully to them.


Packing
Let your children pack a bag full of special objects that they want to carry on the plane.  (You’ll have to give some guidelines for this so they don’t try and bring their entire collection of stuffed animals.)  A few books, a tablet and markers, a card game, a bedtime buddy or blanket, and some healthy snacks should do the trick.  You might also suggest a change of clothes, tissues, and bandaids in case of emergencies.
Note!  I did not suggest a computer or IPad.  Parents, you can pack this in your bag and save it for emergencies.  Too often children play with these while waiting for their flights to take off and then they are bored by the time they get up in the air.
                                          

Waiting
After going through security, walk around and look out the windows at the other planes.  Look at all the passengers and guess where they might be going.  Talk about special things that your child hopes to do on the trip.   If the flight is delayed you can play “I Spy,” “Tic Tac Toe,” “Hangman” or another quiet game.  Oh, and don’t forget a last minute stop in the restroom!

Taking Off
When boarding a plane, you’ll find most pilots enthusiastic about meeting children and letting them take a “peek” inside the cockpit.  Can your child find her own seat?  Once seated, encourage your child to explore her space.  (It’s fine to open and shut the window shade a few times, look in the seat pocket, talk about the airsick bag, etc.)   Playing with the flight attendant call button is NOT ALLOWED!  When the boarding door has closed, then everyone must buckle up!


Up in the Air
Once you are in the air, it’s time to open the backpack and read some books, play a game, draw some pictures, or eat a snack.  Too often children have gone through their bag of tricks before they get in the air.   If a beverage is served, show your child how to put down their tray and discuss their selection.  Keep on talking and engaging your child.

O.K.  Now, it’s time to get out the iPad or computer and watch a movie.  Wait until the last possible moment to do this.  This is like the 8th inning stretch on the plane.  (I might also recommend a bag of M & M’s – for emergencies only!)  Before you know it you will hear those magic words, “Please make sure your seatbelt are fastened.  We will be landing shortly.”  

Remember, YOU are the parent and you are directing this event.  With a happy, positive, attitude you’ll have a great flight and the other passengers will as well!  How many opportunities do you have to give your child 100% of your attention?  That may be the best part of your trip! 

Wishing you happy travels!
                                                 

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

A FISHY TALE


How about a “fishy” tale today?

You will need a file folder and 2 orange, 1 red, 1 yellow, 1 blue, and 1 black sheets of construction paper. Trace a fish shape on one side of the file folder and cut it out. Color around the fish so it looks like an ocean. Tape the sides of the folder together. Cut the construction paper into 7” x 9” rectangles. Place the construction paper behind the fish cutout in this order: orange, red, yellow, blue, black, and orange. Glue the words to the story to the back of the file folder so you can read it as you remove one sheet of paper at a time. Encourage the children to join in on the chant.



Once there was an orange fish named Mitch who could change his color with the swish of his tail.  All he had to say was:  
            I’m Mitch the fish.
            I swim and I swish.
            And I can change my color
            If I wish.


One day he was swimming around on the ocean floor and he saw a red lobster.  He thought it would be fun to be a bright color like the lobster so he said:
            I’m Mitch the fish.
            I swim and I swish.
            And I can change my color
            If I wish.

Suddenly he turned red.  (Remove the orange sheet of paper to make Mitch red.)  The lobster said, “I’m the only sea creature who can be red.  I’ll snap at you!”  So Mitch decided he didn’t want to be red anymore.  Just then he saw a yellow starfish and he said:
            I’m Mitch the fish.
            I swim and I swish.
            And I can change my color
            If I wish.

And with a swish of his tail Mitch turned yellow. (Remove the red paper to show the yellow.) The starfish said, “I’m the only creature who can be yellow. I’ll prickle you!” So Mitch decided he didn’t want to be yellow anymore. Mitch saw a blue whale and decided it would be fun to be blue so he said:
I’m Mitch the fish.
I swim and I swish.
And I can change my color
If I wish.

The whale said, “I’m the only creature in the sea who can be blue. I’ll spout water on you!” Mitch thought it might not be a good idea to be blue, so when he saw a shark he decided to be black and he said:
I’m Mitch the fish.
I swim and I swish.
And I can change my color
If I wish.

Well, you know the shark didn’t like Mitch being black and he said, “I’m going to get you!” Finally Mitch said:
I’m Mitch the fish.
I swim and I swish.
And I can change my color
If I wish.

And he turned back into being an orange fish again. Because being yourself is the very best thing that you can be!


https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljR2tvSnFBVHNNcDg/view?usp=sharing

Flying Fish
You can make a little flying fish from a strip of paper cut 8 ½” x 1 ½”. Cut slits halfway through near each end as shown. Hook the tabs together, toss it in the air, and watch your fish fly!


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

BEEN FISHING?

Children are fascinated by the thought of going fishing. Although, most of them won't actually get to put a worm on a hook and catch a fish, they'll still have fun with these activities.

Have You Ever Been Fishing?   (Tune: “Turkey in the Straw” - Keep on Singing CD)
Have you ever been fishing (Pretend to fish.)
On a bright and sunny day, (Circle arms like the sun.)
When you see those little fishies (Fold hands and wiggle.)
Swimming up and down the bay?
With their hands in their pockets (Put hands in front.)
And their pockets in their pants. (Put hands in back.)
All the little fishies do the (Hands on hips and wiggle.)
Hoochie coochie dance!

*Sing fast, faster, and super duper fast!

Catch a Fish
Staple an 18” piece of string to the end of straw. Let children make fish out of construction paper and tie to the other end of the string. They can use these as they sing the song.
                                             


Catch and Eat
Give children a pretzel rod, some gold fish crackers, and a spoonful of peanut butter. Children dip the end of the rod in peanut butter and then catch a fish. 



Here's a poem to say as they fish:
     

     Down by the ocean,
     What did I see?
     Five little fishes smiling at me.
     Along came (child’s name)
     With a fishing pole one day.
     He/she caught a fish and ate it right away.


Fish Finger Play 
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, (Slowly hold up one finger at a time on right hand.)
I caught a fish alive. (Clap hands together as if catching a fish.)
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, (Hold up fingers on left hand.)
I let it go again. (Open palms and pretend to release.)
Why did you let that fishy go? (Shrug shoulders.)
Because it bit my finger so. (Hands on hips.)
Which finger did it bite? (Shrug shoulders.)
The little finger on my right. (Hold up pinky on right hand.)

Hint! Talk about double meanings of words by explaining what a "school" of fish means.


Paper Plate Fish
You will need paper plates, brad fasteners, markers, and crayons for this project. Cut a triangle out of the paper plate to be the mouth of the fish. Attach the triangle to the back with the brad fastener to make the tail. Color with crayons or paint with water colors.

Hint!  Tie in "greater than" and "less than" with the fish's mouth.

Five Little Fish
(Tune:  “Down in the Meadow in the Itty Bitty Pool” - Silly Songs CD)
No little fishies swimming in the sea,      (Hold up fist.)
Splishing and a splashing           (Pretend to swim.)
And a rocking to the beat.
Here comes a little fishie, (Wave.)
Oh, say, “hello.”

One little fishie swimming in a row.   (Hold up one finger.)

One little fishie… (Hold up one finger.)
Two little fishies… (Hold up two fingers.)
Three little fishies… (Hold up three fingers.)
Four little fishies… (Hold up four fingers.)
Five little fishies… (Hold up five fingers.)

*Choose 5 children to act out this song.

*Make fish puppets from old socks.  Glue on googly eyes, fins, and a mouth as shown.  Let wear these as they act out the song.

*Make fish out of felt and use on a flannel board to demonstrate addition and subtraction.








Go Fish Game
Everybody knows the “Go Fish” card game, but you can play a similar game to reinforce skills. Tie a 3’ string to a stick. Tie a magnet to the other end of the string. Cut fish out of fun foam or construction paper and write letters, numerals, words, math facts, or whatever skill you are working. Insert a brad fastener for the eye of the fish and spread out on the floor. The children take the pole and pretend to catch a fish. Can they identify the information on the fish they catch?
                          

Monday, May 20, 2019

LET'S MONKEY AROUND!

If you can't beat them - then join them!  I know you've definitely got a room full of monkeys this time of year~

Caps for Sale
This was always one of my favorite books to read to my class. It was such fun to let the children be the monkeys and act out the tale. We did this in the classroom as well as outside on the playground equipment.

Monkey on a Swing
Cut a sheet of paper as shown. Roll down the top section and staple to make the monkey’s head. Decorate with markers or crayons. Glue on a tail. Staple the monkey’s hands to a straw and watch him swing.

               
                                                          

https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljN2VCWmU2VkxGOWc/view?usp=sharing

Compare and Contrast
Get several copies of Curious George books. Compare and contrast George’s adventures. How are they alike? How are they different? Could those adventures really happen?
          



*Show a video of a Curious George book and then read the paper version.  Let children vote on which one they like best.  (You might be surprised!!!)

Five Little Monkeys 
Five little monkeys jumping on the bed. (Hold up five fingers.)
One fell off and bumped her head. (Touch your head.)
Momma called the doctor and the doctor said, (Pretend to hold a phone.)
“That’s what you get for jumping on the bed!” (Point finger.)
Four…three..two…one…
No little monkeys jumping on the bed.
They are sick with broken heads!

*Change the number of monkeys in the song. Children will also get a kick out of saying, "Five little mommies jumping on the bed..."

Monkeys and Alligator  (Dr. Jean & Friends CD)
Five little monkeys swinging from a tree, (Hold up five fingers.)
Teasing Mr. Alligator, “Can’t catch me.”
Along came Mr. Alligator quiet as can be,
And snatched a monkey right out of that tree!
Four little monkeys… (Hold up appropriate number of 
Three…two…one… fingers on hand.)
“Missed me, missed me. (Stick thumbs in ears and tease.)
Now you gotta kiss me!”


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gBGvyUG7uNY

Monkey Tail Sandwich
You will need:
     Hot dog buns
     Bananas
     Peanut butter (or substitute)

      
1.  Wash your hands.
2.  Spread peanut butter in the bun.
3.  Peel the banana and insert it in the bun.
4.  Yum! Yum!


Hint!  We usually made these with half a banana and hotdog bun because it was too big for the children to eat for snack.

Sunday, May 19, 2019

ANIMAL CRACKERS

Some things like animal crackers never go out of style!

Animal Crackers 
By Dr. Holly
Lions, and tigers, and bears, oh, my!
In my box that’s what I spy.
Take them out.
Should I run?
No, I’ll eat them!
Yum! Yum! Yum!

Descriptions
Pass out an animal cracker to each child. Encourage them to write descriptive sentences about their cracker. I see… I smell… I feel… I hear… I taste!

                                         

Tag Along Book
Cut the front and back off a box of animal crackers. (Be sure and leave the string attached.) Cut paper the size of the box. Give each child a sheet and ask them to draw a zoo animal or write a description of a zoo animal. Put their pictures between the front and back of the box and staple to make a book.
Hint! This is called a tag along book because they can hold it and it will tag along with them!

Math
Use zoo animal plates for simple addition. Children make sets in each ear and then join them together and count the sum. You can use math counters, buttons, popcorn, or cereal.
                              


Vocabulary
What does it mean to be a carnivore? Herbivore? Omnivore? What are you? Do some research to find out eating habits of different zoo animals.

Sorting
Use animal crackers, toy animals, or pictures to sort zoo animals. Ask children what sorting rule they used. Can they think of another way to sort the animals?

Put Me in the Zoo
Do a language experience chart where children fill in the sentence:
If I were in the zoo I would be…
Let them draw pictures of which animal they would like to be. Why did they choose that animal?

Zoo Treats
                                   
You will need graham crackers, animal crackers, and peanut butter to make this snack. Children put a small amount of peanut butter on the graham cracker and stand animal cookies up on it.


*You can using icing or cream cheese for children with peanut allergies.

Saturday, May 18, 2019

WE'RE GOING TO THE ZOO - WON'T YOU COME, TOO?

I love to go to the zoo.  Our family is actually going to the San Diego Zoo for vacation this summer.  I can't wait!!!  Whether you take a field trip to the zoo or an imaginary trip on the internet, I've got some activities that children will enjoy.  Many of these ideas could be adapted to literature (poems or riddles about zoo animals) or informative writing and science (habitats, body covering, babies, food).

We’re Going to the Zoo
(Tune:  “The Bear Went over the Mountain”)
We’re going to the zoo.
We’re going to the zoo.
We’re going to the zoo.
Won’t you come, too?
                                            
The elephants swing their trunks.  (Stick out one arm like a trunk
The elephants swing their trunks.   and stomp from side to side.)
The elephants swing their trunks.
And we can do it, too.

*Insert other animal names and these motions:

Kangaroos jump around…  (Bend elbows like paws and jump.)
Bears put all fours on the ground…(Put hands and feet on ground and walk.)
Giraffes walk on tippy toes…(Stretch neck and walk on toes.)
Zebras gallop to and fro…(Gallop in place.)
Snakes slither and wiggle…(Wiggle as you go up and down.) 
Penguins wobble and jiggle…(Palms out by sides and wobble.)


Guess Who?
Let children take turns pantomiming different zoo animals as their friends try and guess who they are.
                                                  
(I couldn't resist using this picture. My mother made this lion costume for my son when he was four. K.J. and Kalina both had fun playing in it when they were little.)

Zoo Animal Puppets
Let children create their favorite zoo animal from a lunch bag, paper plate, craft stick, or envelope.
               

Animal Cheers
Seal of Approval – Extend arms in front of you and cross them over each other.  Clap as you make a barking noise.
Elephant Cheer  - Stick one arm out straight from under your chin.  Put top lips over bottom lip as you blow and make a trumpeting sound.
Snake Cheer – Palms folded together next to your chest.  Keeping them together wiggle them out as you make a “Ssssss” sound.  Stick your tongue quickly in and out of your mouth.
Tiger Cheer – You’re GGGRRREEEAAATTT!  (Stick fist in the air.)

Imagination Bag
Give each child an empty lunch bag.  Demonstrate how to open the bag and ask them to do the same.  Explain that you are going to take an imaginary trip to the zoo.  Ask them to look in their bags to see what they can find.  Encourage children to name the animals in their bag as they create an imaginary zoo on the floor in front of them.

Matching Game
Make a matching game where children match up mother zoo animals and their babies.  Can they tell you the names for the different animal babies?  
*You could also play a memory game with these cards.
Hint!  I found my pictures at google images.
                                                   

Friday, May 17, 2019

SUMMERTIME READING

Whether you teach summer school, work at a camp, or have children at home, a major goal will be to encourage them to read and write this summer.  Here are some ideas to share with parents to help their children FALL IN LOVE WITH READING!



Explore Your Library
The library is a magical place that will open a world of books to children. When children get to choose their own books, it’s a powerful hook to get them to read. Most libraries have summer reading programs, as well as puppet shows and special events.
*Hint! Let children decorate a cloth bag to store books from the library. Keep it in a special place to encourage children to be responsible.

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.”
*Put pillows and stuffed animals in a small plastic pool so they can “dive in” and read.
*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 slide 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 storage 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.

Paper and Pencils
*How about a spiral notebook or diary where you encourage children to write each day?
*Give children paper and envelopes to send letters to relatives and school classmates.
*Involve children in making shopping lists, chore charts, and other print activities.
*What child won’t want to write if you give them sticky notes to make labels and reminders?
*Clipboards and markers are good for a car trip or walk in the neighborhood.

Busy Box
Fill a shoebox or plastic tub with scrap paper, pens, pencils, markers, hole punch, scissors, glue stick, stickers, lunch bags, envelopes, silly putty, etc. When you have to fix dinner or need a break, get it out and encourage children use their imaginations.

Chalk Talk
Chalk can provide endless writing and reading opportunities.
*Children can decorate a paved surface for a birthday, Father’s Day, or other event.
*Children can practice writing words or drawing shapes.
*Draw a hopscotch design with chalk on a paved surface. Write letters or numerals in each section for the children to identify as they hop and play.

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!!