Friday, June 25, 2010

Emergence of the Painted Ladies












I have been somewhat concerned that our painted ladies would not emerge in time for the children to enjoy them prior to our summer recess. Fortunately, 4 of the 5 have now emerged! Now we can all take our two week break with some closure.


We spent a lot of time observing our new butterfly friends today and reciting our finger play over and over and over again.



"First there was an egg sitting on a leaf."

(Hold one hand flat and curl index finger to make the egg on the leaf)




"Out popped a munching, crunching caterpillar"

(swiggle/wiggle index finger along)



"Then up it climbed and made a chrysalis"

(Bring index finger up in front of your face and wrap it with your other hand)




"It wiggled as it worked, and out came a butterfly!"

(move your hands around as the chrysalis, side your thumbs to interlock, and flap your hands like butterfly wings)

Painted Pasta Butterflies and Caterpillars

Many of you saw our cheesy bow-tie and ziti pasta dish. Mac'n'Cheese with an alternative type of pasta, made to look like butterflies and caterpillars. Today, we made noodle necklaces with the same types of pasta.



First, we painted the pasta:



Then after they were dry, we glued the bow-ties to the ziti:


Finally, we threaded the pasta like beads onto a ribbon:


And here we are with our wonderful butterfly and caterpillar necklaces!











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Thursday, June 24, 2010

Coffee Filter Butterflies

We dyed coffee filters with colored water to make beautiful butterflies! I think the photos tell the story quite well. Enjoy!


Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Strawberries!!!! (Strawberry Scone Recipe)




Today was a day of strawberries! We spent a good 45 minutes cleaning and cutting all of the "jam berries" we had. (My aunt and uncle own a strawberry farm in Chassell, Michigan- The Crane Berry Farm). I did not expect interest to last as long as it did, but the children were super excited about cutting the berries.









After we cut the berries, we made some strawberry drop biscuits:



2 1/2 c. whole wheat flour

1 Tbsp. baking powder

1 Tbsp. honey

1/2 c. margarine

2/3 c. milk

Strawberries to taste- we added between 2-3 cups (we like lots of berries!)


Mix dry ingredients cut in margarine, add milk and honey. Mix well. Fold in Strawberries. Drop by spoonfuls on baking sheet. (We use parchment paper on a cookie sheet).


Bake in oven pre-heated to 400 for approximately 20 minutes until they look like this:


Cool, and then Enjoy! They were devoured, no leftovers today. :).



We also made a pretty cool project from our berries! We took the stems and "icky" spots from the berries and boiled them in a pot with a little bit of water. (about twice as much water as berry stuff) After the mixture came to a boil, We turned it to simmer for about 20 minutes and then strained the juice to make a very nice natural red dye. We added vinegar (about 1 cup to every 6-8 cups of dye).


We used white t-shirts, rinsed them in salt water (1 c. of salt to 8 cups of hot water). Rung them out, and then used marbles and rubber bands to get them ready for the dye bath. I admit that this part was rather challenging for most of the children. For the younger ones, they pointed or pulled at the fabric and I put on the rubber bands. The older ones were able to design their shirts with some extra help to make sure that the rubber bands were tight enough. When the children were finished, we plopped the shirts in the dye bath. (I have been mixing them every couple of hours and will keep them there overnight).



This shirt was only in the dye bath for about an hour. (It was the shirt I used to test the dye). I anticipate that the shirts that sit over night will be much more vibrant. (Of course, I will update this post tomorrow with all of the children's shirts).


While the children were napping, I whipped up a batch of strawberry freezer jam!



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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Caterpillar and Butterfly Finger Puppets



I'm not quite sure where I saw the idea for a butterfly finger puppet similar to these puppets, (If it was you, let me know and I'll give you the credit!) but we made both caterpillars and butterflies today.


In preparation, I cut the fingers off a couple of sets of new plastic gloves used for cleaning. The children were given a wide array of materials to use, and the majority of them chose to make the butterflies out of craft foam, and the caterpillars out of crazy colored pom-poms.

Decorations varied from stickers, craft foam, glitter glue, googly eyes, and sequins.




Some of the puppets were sporting one "huge" eye, and were dubbed as "Alien Caterpillars" and "Alien Butterflies." After the creation of the aliens, some of the children began to "grow" more alien eyes too!





Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Yummy Chocolate Zucchini Bread

In sticking with our theme of butterflies and caterpillars, we presented our chocolate zucchini bread in the shape of a butterfly at snack time.

Here is how we made it:

You need:

mini muffin tins
heart shaped tube pan (only if you are making the butterfly as we did)

cooking spray
2 cups whole wheat flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs
1/3 cup canola oil
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups chopped zucchini

Heat Oven to 350 degrees. You will need to coat your pan(s) with cooking spray.

In one bowl combine your dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda, cinnamon, and baking powder. Mix well and set aside.

In another bowl combine honey, eggs, oil, and vanilla. Blend well. Stir in shredded zucchini and fold in the dry ingredients until the batter is just moistened. (You do not want to over mix)

Pour the batter into your prepared pans. For a larger pan you will need to bake for approximately 45 minutes. (That is how long it took for our tube pan to bake). For mini muffins it only takes about 20 minutes for them to cook. Insert a toothpick (or bamboo skewer for the tube pan) to determine if the bread is done. It will come out clean. Let the bread/muffins cool in the pan.

*I'm not sure where I found this recipe, as I have had it for quite some time. It is a very moist and delicious "sweet" bread!

I'm not sure where you can buy the tub pans, I have a set of three that I ordered from Pampered Chef, it does not appear that they currently sell them, but I was able to find one on ebay. (so you can see what they look like). The set I have has one heart, one flower, and one star. They are wonderful for baking all kinds of breads in.

You can ofcourse bake this in a "normal" bread pan or strictly as muffins.

Butterflies and Caterpillars, Today's Update

For those of you who have been following us the past few weeks, you know that we have been highly focused on the theme of BUGS for quite some time and more specifically on caterpillars and butterflies for the last couple of weeks. Here is an update.

Our live caterpillars from Insect Lore:





(I don't have a photo from this exact observation from yesterday. "Crabby" has now made it to the top of the container as well.)

The caterpillars we have been growing are coming along quite nicely:





Our creative meals and snacks have sparked the children's interest in coming up with other ways in which we could eat "caterpillars" and "butterflies". More on this topic will come in a later post!

The children have been creating lots of caterpillars and butterflies through out art area, and this morning one of the little guys even found a way to make a butterfly with our Magnatiles:


We will be continuing with this theme until we have exhausted interest, and right now, I don't forsee that happening anytime in the near future! Watch for more updates and our daily projects.

It Wasn't Peek-A-Boo, Respecting Infants at Play

Last week, a colleague of mine asked, "What does a child-led, play based program look like for infants and toddlers?" For man...