A loving, natural, nurturing place for your child to grow.

Subtitle

Blog

Our Yard

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on June 12, 2015 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (0)

We are so lucky to have a fully fenced back and front yard. While we have so much to enjoy and do in the back, including the garden, hammock, rope ladder, climbing fort, ride-on cars, and more, the front yard also hold wonder and natural offerings.

 

I am glad that we chose to go out there today, because if not we might have missed the blooming of this beautiful flower. The previous owners of this house were avid gardeners, and though I have not quite been able to keep, these throw-backs from the time they lived here are much appreciated and loved by all. What drew us to the front yard today was the promise of green leaves, grasses, and bushes, for our latest nature project.

 

Here the boys are, deep in the green jungle of the front nanking cherry bushes. Kai cannot wait for them to grow and ripen; he was carefully examining the branches to check on their progress. The others, armed with buckets, searched for pretty green grass and leaves to collect.

 

This is our final product. Each child arranged his green treasures on the white paper, and I helped glue them all down. While the youngest were most engaged in ripping and strewing the leaves, Kai really enjoyed artistically arranging his on the canvass.

 

We learned a lot of things out in the yard today. Kai connected to the cycle of nature as he remembered the flowers from the last weeks on the bushes, and searched for budding berries. The younger ones saw how grass emerges from the ground, and how branches turn to twigs, which offer beautiful leaves. They all connected to nature and their higher selves, learning in a cognitive and hands-on way, by simply watching and accepting the offerings of the yard. All of this, from a simple trip to the front yard.

Water Play

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on June 5, 2015 at 2:50 PM Comments comments (0)

This week, water in the back yard was a huge hit. Using simple tools of buckets, rags, and of course water, the boys did a lot of scientific exploration and play. They painted on the concrete to make beautiful patterns and develop their artistic side. I love water painting, because it can be done on any surface (fence, table, house, garage, concrete), and because it doesn't last. The children have the chance to create again and again, and it is a Buddhist exercise in letting go as their designs fade away with the water.

They also washed the cars, and then painted them! They actually washed everything they could get their hands on. By letting them explore with water in a free-play, unguided way, their play was able to unfold and encompass many different areas. Many developmental skills were enhanced: fine motor skills when using the paintbrushes, social skills as they shared the buckets and rags, and cognitive skills as they figured out how to reach the top of the cars. Children learn through play, and that's what we do every day here at Sunshine Dayhome.

Sunny Days

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on May 22, 2015 at 2:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Since the weather has turned, we have been outside each day from 9 a.m. until 5, with a short break in the middle of the afternoon for indoor naps and a break from the sun at its hottest. Over the course of this spring and summer, we will garden together, play in water, do some crafts, go on field trips, and have lots of picnics at different parks and playgrounds! This week, we had a nature walk to Bonnie Doon park. The boys were overjoyed to be there again, after a year away!

I love how they group together so much of the time. It's rare for one to be off doing their own thing; instead, they play in pairs or as a group - on the bouncy seat, at the dinosaur, in the sand, and on the slides.

Keenan and Kai had a wild ride on this Tyrannosaur - or is it a Velociraptor? A heated dinosaur debate ensued . . . And they also fiddled with this manipulative toy. We are so lucky to live in an amazing neighborhood with fantastic parks in every direction!

 

 

 

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.

 

Growing Bulbs

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on April 10, 2015 at 4:10 PM Comments comments (0)

While I am enjoying this week, most of y thoughts have lay with the childcare conference here in Edmonton tomorrow. I will be presenting on the Outdoor Learning Environment, as well as Inspirations and Provocations. I thought we'd enhance our outdoor  by planting bulbs, as spring is now here! I dug out some bulbs which were gifted to us, and have been lying dormant in the fridge all winter. While the children played in our digging area, I readied a planting activity for them. They absolutely love those shovels from Lehman's and Lee Valley!

 

The sun was so bright, it felt wonderful on our faces as we planted the bulbs. I guided the children in filling the boxes, and encouraged them to plant 2 inches deep. They loved scooping the dirt out of the bucket with their trowels, and pushing the dried up bulbs and corms into the earth. We talked a lot about what they were, why they look so funny, and what they will (hopefully) become.

 

Two different varieties were planted in little planters, to sprout inside and go home with families when they are ready. The others, needing to be buried 4-6 inches deep, were embedded in our border garden. Now all we need is weeding, watering, sun, and time before we see green shouts appear!

On a side note - we had so many chicks and they grew so fast, I had to give them before we were quite ready. We miss them so much, and really hope that next year backyard chickens will be legalized! Here they are in all their glory, learning how to climb on the feeder and learn to fly away . . .

Easter

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on March 26, 2015 at 2:15 PM Comments comments (0)

I am writing a day early today, because tomorrow we will hopefully be too busy watching baby chicks hatch! They have been incubating for 3 weeks, and their arrival is due any day now. I think two might have pipped already! I wanted to share those pictures next week, and so this week, a little early, I will show you the Easter items I have offered the children to play with.

 

I love making environmental enhancements that double as play things. These bunnies were sewed last year, and two 5-year-old boys helped sew the carrots! They were so engaged in their work. It is great watch the new children here playing with these gems.

 

To go along with the chicks and eggs that are hatching, I set out wooden eggs and a stuffed broody hen. Nixon loves tossing it around, and Kai snugged all of the eggs around her to look like she's roosting. Hopefully this helps the young ones make the conection between what's going on in the incubator, and what happens in real life on a farm!

 

These hand-felted eggs were a lot of fun to make last year, with some tiny chicks to go with them. They have sparkling bead eyes, but can't quite sit up on their own as I was trying to make my own pattern. To end off, here are my three bunny babes; Kaliana, Kai, and Saxon, sporting ears on each of their first Easters. Happy Easter (and hopefully happy hatching!)

 

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!

Blue Butterfly Ball Sculpture

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on March 6, 2015 at 2:30 PM Comments comments (0)

I have been planning this craft for so long, ever since I discovered these beautiful butterflies at a garage sale. I realized they would look so nice perched on Styrofoam balls I had, and blue would be a nice base color. Time went by, though, and I forgot all about the idea until some recent spring cleaning yay, spring is almost here!). I dug them out, and decided it would be more fun to paint with the kids than by myself :)

 

After the balls were painted, they were set out to dry. It was so great that there was a minimum of rolling and no throwing as we painted! The kids enjoyed having a unique surface to paint on, but some difficulty understanding that this was a "collaborative craft" with everyone's balls; not their own creation to take home.

 

This is the finished product. I really like how they sparkle, and was careful to put butterflies on the bottom of the globes, too, so they can see them when they look up! Looking at these gives me hope that spring really is just around the corner; enjoy the warmer weather!

Loose Parts

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on February 27, 2015 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Loose parts are an excellent way to engage children in play. They support creativity because of their open-ended nature, and offer countless opportunities to experience social, dramatic, fine motor, and other play domains. I have been thinking a lot about our youngest children. Nixon and Saxon, and how to shift the environment to support them more. To do this, I tried out placing some open-ended, safe items in appealing and portable wicker baskets.

 

All of the children were drawn like flies to this simple and appealing arrangement! They immediately began arranging the items on the mirrors to create pictures and other fun images. Below is Liam's "cake"; he was so excited to show this to his mother!

 

One unexpected surprise was how much Nixon and Saxon loved the mirrors. They LOVE them! I have ben careful to watch them closely, as they are real mirrors, but aside from a couple of minor bonks to the head, there have been no issues with them. Staring at yourself in a special little mirror that you can walk around with is the latest and greatest fun experience at Sunshine Dayhome!

Fall Foliage!

Posted by sunshine-dayhome on October 17, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

I love the colours of the trees at this time of year, and the children and I have a great time crunching leaves, collecting them, and naming all the colours we see. We played a lot in the front yard with nature's offerings, including awesome and free sensory play with a leaf pile.

 

Later in the week, we made art using leaves as glitter! If I were to do this again, I'd definitely collect leaves first, and then after nap (inside!) glue them down, as the leaves, papers, and kids were blowing every which way in the yard. They realy enjoyed it, though, and aside from a little glue sampling (oh, you toddlers!) I was quite pleased with the results.

One final thing th children are loving this autumn is playing Squirrel. They have taken down some of the tall sunflowers, and will sit looking at the design of the seeds, then selecting and eating them, and pretending that they are squirrels in the garden. It is really wonderful to watch them connecting with nature in such a simple, yet meaningful, way.