Thursday, May 24, 2012

BBBBBButterflies and Caterpillars Round Up!

We hit the mother load of monarch caterpillars tonight!

Between the first 2 plants we inspected, we found 9 teeny tiny caterpillars!

Typically, it is June before we start to find the monarch eggs around here....

So, you can imagine how excited we are!!!!

We have observed the life cycle of our monarch friends for quite a few years now. 
Here is a round up of some of our previous Butterfly and Caterpillar posts:

More Monarchs Emerge (Videos included)

We sure love to spend time studying our caterpillars and butterflies!!

I hope you enjoy our journey, and as this is only the beginning this year, you can almost guarantee that we'll have some new caterpillar and butterfly posts soon!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

AND a Pirate Says "ARRRRR"

So, the other morning.... as I was making breakfast, I only heard bits and pieces of a conversation that was going on in the toy room. I was a little concerned, as at first.... it sounded like someone was saying "pile of sh..." I was mistaken, obviously I need to have my hearing checked.... The children were having a delightful conversation about a pirate ship!  And well, it has been all pirates ever since.
Fortunately, we have a lot of props that are fantastic for our young aspiring pirates!
 Plenty of crowns for the pirate princesses.....
And hats, and wigs... etc. However, it was quickly brought to my attention that pirates only have one eye and that we needed some patches. So, I whipped up a couple of eye patches in a jiffy.... I took a piece of craft foam, cut it into shape, used a hole punch to make 2 holes and attached 2 lengths of ribbon.... and viola! Instant eye patches!
It was also brought to my attention that pirates need parrots..... 
So, off to sail the seas in search of the parrot island....... Land Ho! 
We found our parrots and settled in for a story....
How I Became a Pirate by Melinda Long and David Shannon

I'm sure we will be exploring more Pirate fun next week! 
(There might be a buried treasure in our future!)

Do you have any great pirate activities? I'd love to hear about them!

AND.... Don't forget..... 

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Build It Up!!!

One of my very favorite songs that we listen to over and over again is sung by Bev Bos, Michael Leeman, and Tom Hunter.  It called Build It Up, and you can find it on the album "We've Been Waiting for You" 

"Build it up, and knock it down, and build it up again...." 

When our new pet turtle arrived, I needed to rearrange the classroom in order to find a place for our new friend, and rearranging often means that the children have a new found interest in materials simply because they are in a new location. That was definitely the case with our large hollow blocks.

They have been building... 

and building.... 

and building....

These large hollow blocks are perfect for the children to play with! I love to watch how creative they are in their structures and the interactions they have while working together to build it up!

Sometimes as high as they can.....

Sometimes as BIG as they can.... flat on the floor....

So many learning discoveries, when we are at play!

DON'T FORGET! There are only a couple of days left to win the fantastic new book by Denita Dinger and Jeff A Johnson LET THEM PLAY, an EARLY LEARNING (UN)CURRICULUM!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Fire in the HOLE!

When we were out of town last weekend, I found this great "Water Balloon Catapult." I remember my younger brother having one when we were younger. We used to launch water balloons off of the deck and send them flying out into the field. This one notes that it launches up to 300 feet.

What I love about it, is that it requires teamwork. (There are ways to use it yourself, by hooking each end on your feet, laying back with your feet in the air and then using your arms to pull it back. However, for the children..... using it as a team works best!)

While they are "just" playing, they are working on their social skills. Using this is no easy task, they also need to work together and are building large muscles! They are experimenting with physics, and geometry... I'm quite confident that they will soon figure out the exact angle and position in order to make a basket.

I love to watch and support children as they take the time to really investigate and explore through their play!

Don't forget.... We all need to LET CHILDREN PLAY!
To help you support your playful endeavors, I am giving away a fantastic new book....
Hop on over to the LET THEM PLAY GIVEAWAY for more information!
The winner will be chosen on Monday!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The VERY Best Way to Mix Dirt

If you have been following the blog, you know that we put in a square foot garden this year. Well, with the indoor greenhouse, our plants have exploded! Seriously, we have oodles and oodles of plants. We gave some away, but decided that maybe we aught to put in another 4x10 raised bed. 

When we put in the raised beds, we use our nice black dirt, add some vermiculite, and some peat moss. Typically, we add some compost too, but we haven't had a chance to get to the compost site yet..
Most of the time, it is a lot of shoveling, hoeing, and mixing all of our ingredients to make the perfect home for our plants. In the absences of the compost.... We decided to start mixing the ingredients today, and honestly, this is truly the very best way to mix dirt......

Just add water and mix with your feet!

Hop, and jump, and dance in the mud!

Of course, crawling and rolling works out quite nicely too!

Did you know that a huge clump of peat moss kind of looks like dinosaur poop?

All in a days work :). 
And absolutely nothing a good hose down can't fix!

Have you found a better way to mix your dirt? We'd love to hear about it!

Oh, and Don't forget... There are only a couple of days left to win in the LET THEM PLAY GIVEAWAY! Hop on over to sign up!

My friend died

 I learned a hell of a lot from Dan Hodgins.  He was mentor, a friend, and a "bone shaker" for many of us in the field of Early Ch...