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Simplicity

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on August 7, 2015 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Sometimes, the simplest things really are the best. I strive to send a craft home with the children each week, and when I first began my day home six years ago, I often found that I was creating six crafts myself to send home - one for each child! Over time, I have developed a deep awareness of what the children can do, and what they like to do. I try to tie in creative activities with both their developmental abilities, and their interests, to offer something for them to create that they will enjoy both making and enjoying once it is complete. Because I only had two little ones each day this week, I was able to sneak into the picture myself!

Our creation was simple: a periscope, or a hooter toy - depending on how you use it. Open-ended things are best, and these two loved discovering on their own what they could use their tubes for. They concentrated so much on their coloring! Saxon was focused and knew what he was doing, and what he wanted it to look like. He also had a very definite idea of when it was fully complete.

Dylan really likes coloring, and happily he only tried once to put the marker in his mouth. While I don't often use markers, this day was perfect for it; a child as young as Dylan really can struggle to press down a crayon or pencil crayon hard enough to make a mark, and our surface was round, not flat. He learned very quickly to use his other hand to stabilize the tube enough to draw on it, and once he was coloring the table more than his periscope, his creation was complete, too!

Sensory Field Trip

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on April 17, 2015 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

This week, I would like to share with you a sensory field that we enjoyed. We had the chance to take part in a free watercolour painting workshop, put on by 4Cats Art Studios (a fantastic and original place to have a child's birthday party, by the way!). As we were a little early, we stopped to smell the flowers. It was so fun to watch them darting around, sticking their little noses everywhere and taking it all in!

 

Finally, it was time. This simple project involves dipping a Q-Tip into watercolour paint in the primary shades. Then, the children were able to make the discovery of how two shades combine to make a new one. The finished product was a colourful heart, which is now proudly on display on our art wall.

 

Sensory Bins

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on March 20, 2015 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (1)

This week, we were lucky enough to attend a free morning of sensory bin play hosted by Born 2 Create at Bonnie Doon Mall. There were five bins set up on tarps, and we spent some time at each one. To choose from were an ocean theme with shells and watering cans, blocks and stacking containers, pom-poms and cups, and a spy bin with lentils, magnifying glasses, and playing die. By far the favourite was the box with trucks and rocks, though - we will be setting this up at home for sure!

It was very impressive how little was thrown or placed in the mouth by any of the children. I was a little worried about the rocks, but Nixon and Saxon did great; they kept them to use for driving on and filling up dump trucks with. Actually, this is the only dumping that really happened!

While we normally visit the mall only once or twice each year, to get popsicles in the summer or hot chocolate in the winter, I think we just may taking advantage of their monthly children's programs from now on. They had so much fun, I got new ideas for the dayhome, and we all really enjoyed the change of pace.

They were so engaged with this bin. Saxon was trying to pour gravel from his shovel into the can, Kai was closely examining the mix of gravel and fine blue sand, and Nixon was enjoying the feeling of the gravel on his skin. Each of the youngest two did try tasting the gravel - but only once!

Play Without Gender Bias

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on October 10, 2014 at 2:25 PM Comments comments (0)

One of the most valuable things I do as a childcare provider is offer a wide variety of toys and materials to children of both sexes. I have always believed that giving boys dolls and girls trucks, and vice versa, will go a long way toward raising a child who is skilled and competent in many ways - beyond the typical male/female roles. These themes played out daily in the dayhome this week, with pictures to prove it!

 

At the beginning of the week, we baked muffins together. Each child had a turn, and all enjoyed stirring, measuring and mixing the ingredients. Though I only have boys in care right, they were just as excited as any girl to make and eat delicious whole wheat muffins. We learned science and math skills as we measured and counted, and got to sample our delicious treats that afternoon.

 

Saxon recently received a new doll, and I brought out the doll box and strollers. All of these male children have taken turns caring for their "babies", putting them down for naps, and giving them rides in the stroller. They carried them, dropped them, and yes, sometimes even poked their doll eyes. These are young men learning how to become real, hands-on fathers.

 

The last wonderful scene this week happened outside. One of the many toys offered is a red tin tea set, and a child had discovered it anew that day. We set it out together, and before I knew it all of these boys, between age 1 and 6, were gathered around sipping tea! It is so important for them to have social play in realistic settings; this is something that boys often miss out on. The tea set, offered in an open-ended manner, provided an ideal setting for this play to occur.

Butterflies!

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on June 12, 2014 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Every year, I introduce a little bit of nature into the dayhome and connect us to the seasons by growing plants and hatching different creatures. Right now, it's butterfly season! Here are the hatched butterflies being admired by my three children:

We hatched these Painted Lady butterflies, sourced through Education Station, and were lucky enough to actually watch two emerge (they come in literally 2 seconds flat!). The children absolutely adored being able to hold them, feed them, and finally release them into the world!

 

One of the greatest things about having caterpillars, pupae, and butterflies in the dayhome is the learning it provides. I kept butterfly books, magnifying glasses, and paper and pencils by the enclosure, so that the children had the chance to really delve into the butterfly world through hands-on exploration, reading, examination, and drawing. Using a whole-child approach supported by these fascinating creatures has inspired so much learning and growth for the children, and that is why we do this every year.

Bath Bombs

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on May 9, 2014 at 3:10 PM Comments comments (0)

It is so important to honor our mothers, but so difficult to find an age-appropriate way to do so! This year, I printed off simple cards and had the children decorate them using stickers and crayons. Because there were no outlines, the drawings were all unique, original, and creative. I also traced their hands, as a memento from when they were so small. The other activity we tried was bath bombs!

It was lots of fun, but SO messy. My daughter, Kali, asked, "What did you expect?". I guess I didn't expect, or plan on, white stuff everywhere - the walls, chairs, table, in people's sleeves, and definitely in their mouths! It makes sense, as when we bake we try tastes of everything, but maybe next year we'll try a new craft. To make bath bombs, all you need is baking soda, corn starch, and citric acid (from breweries). You can add essential oils and some colour, put it in a mold, and voila - Happy Mother's Day!

Playing at the Park

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on March 14, 2014 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

It was so wonderful that the weather this week was nice enough for us to enjoy a walk to the park for the first time with year. It was like a balm to the soul, to be standing in the sunshine with the children at the local playground where I have been taking the children for the past five years.

I've been reading a lot about big body play recently, and it was evident from how much the children were enjoying running around, climbing, and jumping that this was a much-needed break from inside play time. Kai impressed me by how much he remembered the park rules; he only went down the slides, and always remembered to make sure that nobody was below him before he went. Xavier and Kai really enjoyed talking across the park to each other using the tubes built into the playground, and all of the boys loved throwing and smashing chunks of ice and snow.

Madeleine was very brave, and very much in control of her body as she climbed up the equipment. She even mastered the unsteady, rocky bridge on her first try! Jesses was running around and climbing over everything; he especially liked the rocking horses. Nora took some time to get used to the snowy, uneven ground, but soon she was exploring with a huge smile. She whacked on some posts and explored the snow, happy to be out of the house.

This is just the start of our long outside days. The warmer the weather gets, the more we will be outside in nature. I cannot wait!