art · story

Strawberries

This weekend, my son and I went to pick strawberries. Have you ever gone and picked strawberries? There is nothing sweeter than strawberries picked fresh off the plant.

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Let’s start by listening the Cherokee story The First Strawberries retold by Joseph Bruchac. In the story, the man went out to hunt for food and the woman stayed home and picked flowers. The man returned tired, hungry and upset, so the wife left. The sun offered to help the man and tried to catch the woman’s attention. Many berries were created by the sun, but it was the strawberry that caught her attention. The story ends by saying that the Cherokee people believe that the sweetness of the strawberry is a reminder that respect and friendship are as sweet and ripe as strawberries.

Watch this time lapse of strawberries growing . Draw out a part of the time lapse, or draw out a time line of the growth.

The watch Art for Kids Hub to draw a strawberry.

Create a list of favorite strawberry items.

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STEAM · story · topic · writing

Mushrooms

This morning I went to go check on my garden and there were sooo many mushrooms. There are mushrooms in the grass too. As you can guess we’ve had both rain and heat lately. I decided that it would be a good day for you to get out with your kiddo and learn a bit about mushrooms.

Let’s start with some science about these fun-guys… Fungi: Why Mushrooms are Awesome from SciShow Kids

Here is a fun story, similar to Jan Brett’s the Mitten, Mushroom in the Rain adapted from the Russian of V. Suteyev by Mirra Ginsburg. How many animals can take shelter under the mushroom?

Did you find any mushrooms in your yard? Can you count all of them? How many different types did you find?

Now create a picture. You can create a picture of one of the mushrooms you spied in the yard or the one from the story. What do you think would fit under the mushroom. Be realistic or creative in your answer.

family activity · story

Next… summer

Hello Readers,

I have missed posting for you, but life has been busy wrapping up life and the end of the school year. Here is a great story for the end of the school year And Then, Summer by Tom Brenner.

As you get read for summer, make a list of your favorite summer time activities. What activities do you look forward to doing this summer? What stories will you read? What games will you play? Will you go to the beach? Will you swim in a pool?

Start by planning the adventures of this week… What will you do in these last few days of spring and as you start your summer vacation?

phonemic awareness · story

Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm

Today let’s read the story Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley. When the farm animals do not want another bath, they decide to leave the farm. They travel from the farm to the city. This is a great rhyming story.

Can you find the rhymes in the story? Practice listening for rhymes (you say two words and your child says if they rhyme or not). Creating rhymes (you say a word and your child says a word that rhymes). Do these with your child leading too… when your child is able to create their own rhyming pairs and understands the difference between words that rhyme and don’t they are mastering one of the phonemic awareness skills needed for reading development. Want to read more about rhyming? Click here, here, or here.

Mrs. Wishy-Washy loved to give her animals a good scrub. Let your child rub and scrub some of their toys today. Fill up the sink or a bucket in the backyard and let your child wash their toys. This encourages sensory play which is important for development.

Sensory play is any play the stimulates the senses. Allowing children to play with textures- hard, soft, wet, dry, sticky, smooth, bumpy etc encourage and allows for acceptance of these various textures in other aspects of life. The use of sensory play is soothing for children who are anxious or frustrated. This play also helps develop and connect brain pathways that are needed in more complex learning. Want to read more? Check out this article Why Sensory Play is Important for Development by Educational Playcare

phonemic awareness · story

Nursery Rhymes

Nursery Rhymes are short poems/songs that children have learned for years and years. These are still important to learn today. They allow children to play with words. Also, by reading these simple rhymes in story book form, we encourage the connection between the text and spoken word. The goal is for children to recognize that they can tell the story. While we do not want children to believe that the way to read is to memorize all the words, we do want them to make the connection between what is said and what is written. We do want them to view themselves as readers. We do what them to gain the confidence that they can and will read books. So… provide your child with books they love. Provide your child with books they know. And read, read and read some more.

Here are links to nursery rhyme books read aloud:

phonemic awareness · story · teaching thoughts

Over in the Meadow

This week we will look at how learning songs is important in literacy development. We will take one song format and listen to a different version of that song. For centuries and in all cultures, songs have been past down as teaching tools. We need to continue this tradition, and recognize the importance of using songs and music as teaching tools.

Today we will look at the song Over in the Meadow. This is considered an “Old counting rhyme”. It has been transformed over and over to focus on other ecosystems. But, we will start with the original. Over in the Meadow, illustrated by Jill McDonald.

Now, let’s listen to Over in the Jungle, Over in the Ocean and Over in the Artic.

The use of this song/story is much more than just enjoying the music, while this is important also. The use of this song works on counting, vocabulary development, rhyming and much more. When children learn to sing songs they are building language skills. When they learn songs that are easily manipulated they learn to play with language. Working on oral language development and listening skills are key pieces to reading and writing development.

Where do we go from here?

  • Have your child pick their favorite version and illustrate an animal from that ecosystem.
  • Pick a different ecosystem and see if there is a version of that song, or better yet, write your own.
  • Re-write the song using items and animals you see in your backyard, your playground, your city block, or wherever your child has the opportunity to explore.

positive steps therapy · topic

Therapy Thursday– Gross Motor Insects

If you tuned into my blog last week, you read about my new team up with Positive Steps Therapy. They will be providing tips and tricks to help your child with all sorts of activities that work on improving and increasing developmentally appropriate skills (gross motor, fine motor, speech and language and more).

On Saturday, I posted the first post together on gross motor development. You can check it out here. Today I’m going to share how I would incorporate some of these skills into this week’s topic!

Movement! Children love movement, and movement is key for gross motor development. Here are three links to videos to get your kiddos moving: The Insect Song with Will Parker, Bug ‘n Roll by Pinkfong and Enzo the Bee with Cosmic Kid Yoga. These videos can be watched and followed along. The two song videos you can just listen to the music and you and your child can make up your own moves and actions.

Want to play a game? Create your own dice with insect movements. Grab a cardboard box. Have your child draw 6 different insects, one on each side. Now toss the box to roll it. Whatever insect is on the top, your child must move like that insect. You can let them choose when to switch or set a timer for each movement. This is a great activity to take outside. Some suggested insects and movements– crawl like an ant, flutter like a butterfly, buzz around fast like a bee, jump/hop like a grasshopper, pounce like a mantis, fly like a ladybug.

Here are some of the Positive Step ideas that can be changed into insect activities:

  • 2-3 Feed the frogs – Cut out frogs or other animals or use stuffed animals and place them at the bottom of the stairs. Place pom poms (food for animals) on the first few steps. Tell your child to walk up a certain number of stairs and collect the food to bring them to the frogs. Encourage your child to alternate feet on the stairs. 
  • 3-4 Perform animal walks to encourage gross motor development and overall strengthening. Use your imagination and practice being different animals such as bear, frog, kangaroo, flamingo, horse, and crab. 
  • 4-5 Practice jumping with two feet progressing to one foot by using hula hoops as place markers 

STEAM · story · topic

Bumblebee

Are you enjoying learning about insects? Today let’s talk about BEEEEESSSSS! Bees! While often people are afraid of bees, honey bees or bumblebees are very important to our world. Let’s learn more. Today’s story is Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton.

Want to learn more? Check out these videos:

Are you willing to give bees a chance? What will you do to help the bees?

Children need to learn that they can help. Often times children want to help the environment and other causes, but can’t figure out what they can do. Help your child brainstorm ways that (s)he can help the bees. Can they help plant flowers? Can they make and hang a bee box? Eat local honey?

STEAM · story · writing

Dragonflies

Today we will learn about one type of insect, a dragonfly. Let’s listen to the story Are You a Dragonfly by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. Then head over to SciShow Kids (Super Strong Dragonfly) to learn some more dragonfly facts. Just for fun, listen to the song D-D-D-Dragonfly by Pinkfong.

Now… let’s draw a picture and write some facts!

Teaching your child to create a can, are, have chart will assist them in collecting facts. This also becomes the start of writing paragraphs about the topic. When learning to write, provide your child the sentence starter and have them complete the fact “Dragonflies are _____. Dragonflies can_____. Dragonflies have____.” As they get better at writing and understanding the format of writing, they will then begin to use this format in their own informative writing process.