Sunday, May 27, 2018

LET'S GO ON A PICNIC!

    
Here's an adaptation of "The Cool Bear Hunt."  It's great for oral language and active learning.


Going On a Picnic
(Children stand and repeat each line.)
We’re going on a picnic. (Slap hands on thighs to the beat.)
We’re going to pack a big one. (Arms out wide.)
With sandwiches, cookies, and lemonade, too. (Pretend to pack in your basket.)
Look over there. (Hand over eyes.)
It’s some tall grass.
Can’t go over it. (Hands up in the air.)
Can’t go under it. (Hands down low.)
Can’t go around it. (Circle hands around in front of body.)
I guess we’ll go through it. (Shrug shoulders.)
Swish, swish, swish, swish! (Brush palms against each other.)

Look over there. (Hands over eyes.)
It’s a lake…
I guess we’ll row across it.
Row, row, row your boat. (Pretend to row a boat.)

Look over there. (Hands over eyes.)
It’s a swamp…
Ooeey, gooey, ooey, gooey. (Pretend to tiptoe through mud.)

Look over there. (Hands over eyes.)
It’s a park. (Pretend to point at different things.)
It’s nice and shady.
It’s got a picnic bench.
We’re all so hungry
Let’s go eat! (Pretend to eat.)
Mmmmmmmm! (Pat tummy.)

Story Map
Let children make a map showing the different places they passed on the way to the picnic.

Picnic Book
Fold a sheet of construction paper in half. Punch two holes by the top fold and insert a pipe cleaner to make a handle. Children can write stories about going on a picnic inside or they can draw foods they’d like to take on a picnic.



Dramatic Play
Prepare a dramatic play kit for a picnic with a tablecloth (or towel), cups, plates, napkins, and plastic cutlery.
*Brainstorm all the fun things you can do on a picnic.

Animal Picnic 
What kinds of food would animals take on a picnic? Write their suggestions on the board. Let children circle the foods that they eat as well. Plan an animal picnic with carrots, celery, apples, nuts, berries, etc. for snack.


And, what's a picnic without ants????

The Ants Go Marching
(Tune: “When Johnny Comes Marching Home”)
The ants go marching one by one, (Hold up one finger.)
Hurrah! Hurrah! (Fist in the air.)
The ants go marching one by one,
Hurrah! Hurrah!

The ants go marching one by one,
The little one stops to suck his thumb, (Pretend to suck thumb.)
And they all go marching down, (Hands go down.)
To the ground,
To get out of the rain
Boom! Boom! Boom! (Pat thighs.)

Two by two…tie his shoe (Pretend to tie shoes.)
Three by three…climb a tree (Climb a tree.)
Four by four…shut the door (Shut the door.)              

Five by five…boogie jive (Dance in place.)
Six by six…pick up sticks (Pick up sticks.)
Seven by seven…point to heaven (Point upwards.)
Eight by eight…learn to skate (Pretend to skate.)
Nine by nine…scratch his spine (Scratch spine.)
Ten by ten…That’s the end! (Snap fingers.)

Let children dramatize this song. Make headbands or let them wear number vests to indicate different verses in the song.

Ants on a Log

You will need:
Celery cut into 3-4” pieces
Peanut butter (substitute cream cheese if there are peanut allergies)
Raisins

Directions:
Let children spread the peanut butter or cream cheese in the log. Place raisins/ants on the log.
Eat and enjoy!

Saturday, May 26, 2018

PLAYGROUND MATH

Math is real and concrete and hands-on and all around us. Let's go outside and count, measure, sort, and learn!

Note!  Remind children to never pull living things off plants.  Only collect things on the ground for these activities.  Encourage them to return items to where they found them when you are finished with them.

Number Hunt
Take several lunch sacks and write different numerals on them. Challenge children to make appropriate sets from objects in nature to go in the bags.
*Have children return the objects to where they found them.

Geometry
Draw basic geometric shapes (square, triangle, rectangle, oval, rhombus, circle) on 6” cardboard squares. Let the children take the shapes and match them to something in nature with a similar shape.

                       
Measurement
Give children a piece of string or yarn 5” to 8” long. How many things can they find that are shorter than their string? Longer? The same?

Counting
Children can count trees, fence posts, toys, bushes, and many other items in their yard or on the playground.
*Have them estimate how many and then verify their guess by counting.

                                                                                

Patterns
Collect 5 or 6 leaves, rocks, sticks or other natural objects. Place a leaf, then a rock, a leaf, then a rock. “What will come next?” Let children make up their own patterns with objects in nature.

Sorting
Ask children to collect different natural objects such as rocks, leaves, etc.
(This will vary with the season and your habitat.) Put their objects together in a big pile. Ask the children to put the objects that are alike together. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way?

Addition and Subtraction
Add and subtract using natural objects.
Make up number stories using sports. For example: My team had 3 runs and we scored 2 more. How many in all?

Seriation
Collect sticks of different lengths and have the children put them in order from smallest to largest.
*They could also seriate leaves, rocks, etc.

                              
Dot to Dot 
Take chalk and write numerals 0-20 randomly on a hard play surface. Children start with zero and run, hop, march, or skip to each numeral in order.
*Adapt the amount to the age of the children.

Friday, May 25, 2018

OUTDOOR SCIENCE

Make your playground or backyard your very own science lab this summer.

Discovery Walks
Go on a walk and have children touch various objects. “How does it feel?”
Have them close their eyes and try to identify objects by their sense of touch.
*Take a listening walk where children close their eyes and try to identify different sounds in the environment.

Class Tree
Let the children “adopt” a special tree on the playground. Vote on a name for your tree and then take photos of it in different seasons. Read stories or sing songs in the shade of your tree.
*Draw pictures of your tree or write descriptions. (Great for non-fiction writing.)

Dirt Detectives
Use magnifying glasses and sticks to dig in the dirt. What is dirt composed of?

                        
Human Sun Dial
Have one child face north at 9:00 in the morning. Mark where they are standing and draw their shadow with chalk. Have the child stand in the same spot and record their shadow at various times in the school day.
*Play shadow tag where children try to step on each other’s shadows.

Cloud Watch
When there are cumulus clouds in the sky, have the children lay on their backs and look for animals and other objects in the sky.
*Let them draw pictures of clouds with white paint and a Q-tip on blue paper.

Melt Down
Give each child a paper cup with an ice cube in it. Who can make their ice cube melt fastest?
*Color the ice cubes with food coloring.
*Draw with ice cubes on the sidewalk.


Sit and Watch
Children can use a hula hoop or 7' piece of string for this activity.  Lay the hula hoop on the ground (or make a circle with the string) and sit inside.  Encourage children to sit quietly and use their senses to observe their habitat.
*Give them paper and a pencil to draw or write observations.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

BUG OFF!

Bugs are everywhere this time of year and children are fascinated by these little critters. Here’s a simple song to sing to the tune of “Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes” where children can learn the basic body parts of insects.

INSECT’S BODY
Head (Point to head.)
Thorax (Point to chest.)
Abdomen – abdomen! (Point to stomach.)
Head, thorax, abdomen – abdomen!
And eyes (Point to eyes.)
And mouth (Point to mouth.)
And antennae, two (Stick 2 fingers up.)
Six legs (Wiggle 3 fingers on each hand.)
And there’s an insect for you!
(Leave off a verse each time you sing and hum.)

Bug Hunt – Give children pipe cleaners that they can twist into a magnifying glass shape. Let them use these to hunt for bugs on the playground. 
*They could also use clipboards to draw insects that they find outside.
                        

Entomologist – Explain that an entomologist is a person who studies insects. Brainstorm different ways that they can study insects, such as checking out books at the library, looking on the internet, and so forth.

Carolyn Kisloski (ckisloski.blogspot.com) and I have a FREE “Bugs and Insects” packet for you.  There are 40 pages (QR Codes, Prezis, children's books, writing prompts) of hands-on activities and games.  
                                   
https://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Bugs-and-Insects-Unit-2513730

Swat the Fly
Cut flies out of construction paper and write numerals on them. Tape to the wall or staple to a bulletin board. Give one child a fly swatter and have them turn their back to the wall as you say this rhyme: 
            Turn around and swat the fly. 
            Tell me the number that you spy. 
The child turns around, swats a fly, and identifies the number. 

*Write letters, words, etc. on the flies. 

*Make a game with two teams. One child from each team holds a fly swatter. The teacher calls out a number, word, math fact, etc. and the first child to swat it correctly wins a point for their team. 

                    

Bug Me
Cut bugs out of construction paper and write letters, numerals, words, etc. on them. Place on the floor or tape to a wall. 

Download the fly and bug pattern here: 
https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B1SnEagA4jljS2NweVFYTlVTVWs/view?usp=sharing

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

LET'S PLAY!

If I were in charge of the world summer vacation would begin Memorial Day weekend and school wouldn't start again until after Labor Day. I guess I'm not in charge of the world! Some of you have "tested" and are out the door...some of you still have weeks to go. In or out, here are some variations of traditional games children always enjoy playing.
                                   
Hug Tag
Materials: none
                                 
Directions:  Designate a playing area. One child is “it.” “It” chases other children who must “freeze” when they are tagged. Players hug those who are “frozen” to “unfreeze” them.
     *Stoop Tag – Children stoop down on the ground when they are tagged.
     *Cartoon Tag – Children must name a cartoon show when they are tagged.


     *Shadow Tag – children must freeze when “it” steps on their shadow.
     *Sticky Tag – Children must hold the part of their body that is tagged.

Relays
Relays are a little difficult at first for children under six. But, like anything else, if you practice and play several times they will catch on. I particularly like relays because they require self-regulation and are a team effort.
                                                           
Materials: none

Directions:  Divide the children into teams with five or six players on each. Have the players line up single file behind a line and run one at a time to a designated point and back. The first player tags the second player, who then runs the distance. The first team to have all players run is the winner.
                                   
*Ball Relays– Have the children pass a ball over their heads and under their legs. The last person runs to the front of the line and continues passing over and under. When the first person is in his or her original position, their team wins the game. Relays where children must dribble a ball, kick a ball, or throw a ball into a target can also be played.

*Animal Relays – Let the children walk like crabs (on backs with hands and feet), bears (on all fours), birds (flapping arms), monkeys (scratching sides), or elephants (swinging arms like a trunk.)

*Quick Change – Prepare bags with a shirt, pants, and hat for each team. The first player puts the clothes on, runs to a designated point, takes the clothes off, then runs and gives the clothes to the second person.

*Pig Relays - Move the ball with your nose.

*Movements- Have children hop, jump, skip, gallop, walk backwards, or do other movements.

*Toesie Relay – Have the children take their shoes off, pick up a peanut with their toes, carry it to a basket, and drop it in.

*Potato Relay – Ask the children to carry a potato in a large spoon without dropping it.

*Balloon Relay- Have children run with a balloon to a chair, then sit on the balloon and pop it.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

WIN/WIN GAMES

Here are a few simple games to build summer memories, friendships, and fitness. Games are also a good way to develop the executive function. There's a beginning and an end, and children have to follow the rules and use self-regulation.

Hint! 
*Change these games for the level and interest of your children.
*Keep the rules few and simple.
*Play on soft surfaces and keep it SAFE!
*Emphasize cooperation and the joy of playing, rather than competition and scores.
*Encourage children to problem solve and work out their own differences.

Circle Soccer
My students loved this game. It was quick and it didn't require a lot of physical skills.
Materials: playground ball
                                         
Directions: Stand in a circle and hold hands. Place the ball inside the circle. Children try to kick the ball and keep it inside the circle. If the ball goes out of the circle between two people, then both people are out of the game. If a player kicks the ball too high and it goes over someone’s head, then the player who kicked the ball is out of the game. The game continues until there are just one or two players left.

Jump the Creek
This is another game my students always wanted to play.

Materials: 2 jump ropes (or you can make lines in the sand)

Directions: Children get in a line behind each other. Spread the ropes about one foot apart to make the "creek." One at a time children jump over the "creek" and then get at the back of the line. After each child has had a turn, move the ropes farther apart to make the "creek" wider. Children continue jumping over the "creek" as it gets wider and wider. If they don't clear the rope or touch the rope when they jump they are out of the game and become "cheerleaders." The game continues until one person is left.
*Sometimes we pretended there were alligators or crocodiles the creek!

Build the Castle
This game is similar to Jump the Creek, but it's for high jump rather than broad jump.
                                          
Materials: long jump rope

Directions:  Choose two people to hold the rope. The other players form a straight line and take turns jumping over the rope. The rope begins on the ground, but after everyone has had a turn, it is raised a few inches. If a child’s foot touches the rope, he or she is out of the game. Continue raising the rope until there is just one child left who can jump the height.

*A similar game called “school” can be played. When the rope is on the ground it is called “kindergarten.” Each time the rope is raised, it is called “first grade,” “second grade,” and so on.

What’s That Jive?
This game is like Red Rover, but a lot safer. 

Materials: none

Directions:  Divide the children into two teams and have them stand in a line facing each other 30 to 40 feet apart. One team calls for a player from the other team with this chant:
        (Child's name), (child’s name)
        What’s that jive?
        Come on over 
        And give me five.

The team calling the chant holds their hands out in front of them with their palms up. The child called proceeds down their line giving each player “five” by slapping their palms. If the child who is “it” slaps the palms and then slaps under their palms, that child chases “it” back to his or her original team. If “it” is caught, he or she must return to the opposing team, but if not, the chaser must joint “it’s” team. The game continues with teams taking turns calling players from the opposite side.

Monday, May 21, 2018

GO OUTSIDE AND GO WILD!

Several years ago I read Richard Louv’s book LAST CHILD IN THE WOODS: SAVING OUR CHILDREN FROM NATURE-DEFICIT DISORDER. It reminded me that exposure to nature is essential for healthy physical and emotional development in children AND adults. (This book first came out in 2005, but you can imagine the decrease in outdoor time and increase in screen time over the past 13 years!!!!)
                                                   


Summer is the perfect time to get outdoors and let children explore in a less controlled environment. Educators, as well as many parents, are concerned about all the time their children spend in front of a screen. But, you can’t always give children a choice. If you say, “Do you want to go outside and go for a walk or play video games on your computer?”  You know what the answer will be!

We need to engage children in outdoor activities and create opportunities where they will choose to play and “be wild”! These are some suggestions I adapted from the website that you might want to share with your parents:

Climb a tree

Roll down a really big hill

Build a tent

Hunt for stones

Watch the sun wake up

Go on a nature walk at night

Plant it, grow it, eat it

Discover what’s in a pond

Go to a park

Play in the sand

Run around in the rain

Fly a kite

Hunt for bugs

Go fishing

Cook on a campfire

Look for objects in the clouds

Make a mud pie

Swing on a rope swing 



I loved this UK website:   kidsgowild.org 
Our site strives to help you as the parent be informed and motivated to get your kids into nature and go wild with fun! Also to teach them to interact and get along with other kids from all ages, not just their own. All for the betterment of their future success, and yours as a parent of course!
                         
                                       
Just think how giving children 30 minutes of OUTDOOR WILD TIME every day this summer could impact their lives!!!