Christmas in July

by Janine

http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-9ORhpibkk8g/ThhpQXHz8XI/AAAAAAAABsk/VJtZMKBD0fM/s1600/christmas+in+july.jpgWhile Christmas only comes once a year, it is something that many children think about year round.  Here are a few ideas to celebrate Christmas in July…giving the children in your care a sneak peak at December!

Set the mood.  Decorate a Christmas Tree…or even a Palm Tree.  String some lights and have children decorate the tree, either making homemade ornaments or ones purchased from the store.

Christmas Palm Trees2 Christmas Palm Tree   Decorating For The Holidays

 

Play some Christmas Carols.  Watch a holiday special.  Read a Christmas book during story time.  Children will be excited to see these crowd-pleasing favorites that are usually reserved for December.

Bake or decorate Christmas cookies.  This is a great way to include math and science with measuring and mixing ingredients.

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Have a snowball fight using white balloons.  You can also fill them with water for added excitement.

Do shaving cream art and have the children pretend they are playing in the snow.

Make a snow globe using a baby food jar and glitter.  Remember to choose a toy or figurine that will not dissolve in the water as well as to hot glue the lid on so the children can’t open them.

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Host a Jingle Bell Hop dance party for the children.  Encourage them to wear red or green and even a Santa Hat.

Decorate flip flops to make a Christmas decoration.  Be creative.  Use red and green paint.  Add jingle bells, ribbons, pine cones, poinsettias, glitter and more.

Make a melted snowman craft.  All you need is white, black, brown and orange construction paper, scissors and glue.  Cut the white paper into a squiggle shape to resemble a puddle.  Use the black paper to make circles for the eyes and mouth, the orange to make a carrot shaped nose and the brown for two twig-like arms.

Encourage the children to draw a picture of what they think Santa does while on vacation.

This can be a really fun theme filled day or even week of activities for the children.  Let your holiday magic do its work and inspire creativity and wonder.

Merry Christmas in July!

 

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Ocean and Beach Theme and Activities

Ocean and Beach Theme and Activities 

thumb_kids_at_beach

Ocean and Beach Songs

Take Me Out to the Ocean tune: Take me out to the Ballgame
Take me out to the ocean,Take me out to the sea,
There goes a starfish and sand dollar,
I’m having such fun,
I’ve just got to holler
Oh, it’s swim, swim, swim, underwater
Catch a ride on a whale,
Don’t fear, For the sea animals are our friends
Let’s give a great big cheer!

Take me out to the ocean,
Take me out there right now.
Show me the sand and some sea shells, too.
I hear a seagull and boat that goes toot.
There are surfers riding the big waves.
And, I’m glad that I came.
Oh, it’s one, two, three; build a castle
At the ocean today.

Take me out to the ocean
Take me out to the sea
Show me the foamy waves rolling there
As I breathe in the salty sea air
Let me swim, swim, swim in the ocean
See the sea and explore
Cause its so much fun from the sun
To the ocean floor!

Take me out to the ocean.
Take me out to the sea.
Show me the foamy waves rolling there,
As I breathe in the salty sea air!
Let me look, look, look at the ocean,
See the sea and explore,
For it’s fun to dive from the top
To the ocean floor!

Take me out to the ocean,
Take me out to the sea.
Show me the currents and ocean tides!
Let me see where the seaweed resides!
When you look, look, look at the ocean,
Look at all it is worth!
For the ocean covers three-fourths
Of the entire earth!

Sing a Song of Seashells tune:sing a song of sixpence
Sing a song of seashells,
There’s clams and oysters, too.
Some of them are shiny,
Some are white and blue.

When you pick a shell up,
Hold it to your ear.
If you’re very quiet,
What do you think you’ll hear?

I’m a Big Whale Tune:Clementine
I am swimming, I am swimming,
I am swimming in the sea.
I’m a big whale and I’m swimming
I am swimming in the sea.

I am singing , I am singing,
I am singing in the sea.
I’m a big whale and I’m singing,
I am singing in the sea.

I am spouting, I am spouting,
I am spouting in the sea.
I’m a big whale and I’m spouting,
I am spouting in the sea.

Five Little Sea Creatures
Five little sea creatures
On the ocean floor;
The lobster walked away
Now there are four.

Four little sea creatures
Living in the sea;
The octopus crept away
Now there are three.

Three little sea creatures
Wondering what to do;
“Good-bye,” said the starfish
Now there are two.

Two little sea creatures
Not having much fun;
Off swam the sea horse
Now there is one.

One little hermit crab
Sad and all alone,
Back came the starfish,
Back came the sea horse,
Back came the octopus,
Back came the lobster,
Then all five went home.

Five Cranky Crabs
Five cranky crabs were digging on the shore.
One swam into a net and then there were four.
Four cranky crabs were floating in the sea.
One got tangled up in seaweed then there were three.
Three Cranky crabs were wondering what to do.
One dug a deep, deep hole. Then there were two.
Two cranky crabs were warming in the sun.
One got scooped up in a cup. Then there was one.
One cranky crab was smarter than his friends.
He hid between the jagged rocks.
That’s how the story ends.

Ocean and Beach Crafts

Jellyfish
Children glue streamers to the edge of a paper plate. Attach a second plate on top of it with glue or staples. Children decorate the plates as the Jelly fish body.

Sand Art
Have children use glue to draw a picture on construction paper. Top with colored sand of their choice and shake excess sand off.

Wave Bottles
Fill a plastic soda bottle half way with water that has been tinted with blue food coloring. Then add vegetable oil. Secure the bottle’s cap tightly. Just tip the bottle to make waves!

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Ocean and Beach Math and Science Activities

Sand Table
Put random seashells in your sand table. Have children dig for shells. Include magnifying glasses so children can explore and look closely at the shells and sand.

Salt water vs. Fresh Water
Talk about the differences between salt water and fresh water. Have kids taste a little bit of each type of water. Test out floating items in both types of water. Have children guess if the object will sink or float. Salt water is heavier than fresh water, so very light things will float in both. Things that are heavy will sink in both. Some items to try:

  • Eggs – Eggs will sink in fresh water, but float in salt water.
  • Soap – Soap will sink in fresh water, but float in salt water.

Sorting Shells
Give children a variety of shells. Ask them to sort the shells by size, shape, color, etc.

Beach Ball Numbers
Write a different numeral (using a permanent marker) on each section of an inflated beach ball. Toss or roll ball to a child. Have him name & show one of the numbers. Give an activity – such as clapping, jumping, etc… for the group to do that number of times.

Ocean and Beach Theme Snacks

Sea in a Cup
Make blueberry jello in clear cups. When jello is just partially set add gummy fish.

Fishing For a Snack
For each child, fill a small cup with goldfish crackers. Supply pretzel rods for fishing poles and peanutbutter to put on the ends to use as bait to snag the fish.

More Ocean and Beach Fun

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Even More New Classes

These new classes are different! We have reduced the interactive instructor feedback portion to allow for a faster review time. This means that you can get your certificate even faster. (Usually less than 48 hrs!!)

Growing Young Gardeners (1 clock hours -$5.50)

Description What could be more appealing for young children than an opportunity to play in the dirt, to be creative and to watch things grow? Gardening with young children can be both fun and educational. Learn the value of gardening activities and find some cool ideas!

Mentoring Methods (1 clock hours -$5.50)

Mentoring is a powerful and popular way for people to learn a variety of personal and professional skills. Learn more about the process and how to be an effective mentor.

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Check Out Our Newest Online Classes!!

  JJL2- Gather ‘Round for Circle Time (1 clock hours -$5.5)

Description This is an online class that will help providers improve their curriculum. You will learn how to plan for a developmentally appropriate circle time that has value and interest for all children in your program

  KJL2- About Adult Learners (2 clock hours -$9)

This training is designed for trainers, adult educators and child care directors. Adult learners are very different from children. Therefore, it is important that training is geared towards their particular needs and dispositions. This class reviews basic principles and practices for teaching adults.

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Preschool Graduation

mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmoooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooytttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttthers aDoes your preschool graduation program look like the Ziegfried Follies or maybe a production from Cecil B. Demille? After years of planning and staging elaborate graduation shows and preschool pageants, I have learned some valuable lessons I would like to share with you.

#1 Reconsider Your Focus.

Most preschool pageants, ceremonies and graduations are put on to entertain and impress the parents. Sadly this often comes at the expense of the children. All year long you worked to have a preschool program that was developmentally appropriate, why should the last day be any different? This means involving the children as much as possible while keeping in mind both their capabilities and interests. Let the children choose the theme and help select performance numbers. Children can also participate in designing a set or backdrop, creating costumes, sending invitations and more. Also remember to let their age and abilities determine program length and complexity.

#2 Keep It Simple

I have found that a good rule of thumb for performance time is twice the average age of the group. This would mean that a group of four-year-olds would perform for approximately 8-10 minutes. This is plenty of time for a short skit or two or three songs. When you add on time for announcements or awards you will have a full program that does not tax the attention span of either the audience or participants. Elaborate costumes are often poorly tolerated by preschool children and quickly forgotten by parents. Simple hats or props designed by the children usually work well and serve the same purpose.

#3 Reduce Stress

Graduation is a time for transitions and good-byes. You will go a long way in reducing stress by preparing the children will in advance for this big day. Set aside a time before the show to take care of business issues, pack up belongings and say tearful good-byes. Performing in front of audience can be stressful for young children as much as it is for adults. You may wish to have a simple practice or dress rehearsal. Be flexible, the world will not end if Kyle refuses to wear his wings or Angie forgets the words. And most of all remember-preschool graduation is a time of celebration. Have fun!

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Songs

Kindergarten Here We Come
(tune: Twinkle Twinkle)
Kindergarten here we come, We know we’ll have lots of fun.
Lots of things to make and do. Reading, writing, counting too.
Kindergarten here we come, We know we’ll have lots of fun.

The I Know Rhyme
I know letters, I know shapes. Know that purple stands for grapes.
I know red and white and blue. I know green and yellow, too.
I’ve made friends and know how to share. What is wrong and what is fair.
Know what policemen and mailmen do. Firemen and nurses too.
I’m an artist, I can paint. I try hard not say ain’t.
I have rhythm, I know sounds. I’ve had ups and I’ve downs.
I’ve been quiet, I have wiggled. …..worked all year as you can see.
There now , aren’t you proud of me.

Ten tiny little fingers
That always want to play,
They never stop exploring
The wonders of today.
Ten Tiny Little Fingers
I knew right from the start,
Would reach out for tomorrow
Yet always hold my heart.

I’ve Been Going to My Preschool
(tune: I’ve Been Working on the Railroad)
I’ve been going to my preschool, All the whole year long.
I’ve been going to my preschool, And I’ve learned a lot of songs.
I can count and say the letters, I know my colors too.
I’ve been going to my preschool, All the whole year through.
Graduation day, graduation day, Graduation day is finally here.
Graduation day, graduation day, Graduation day is here.
Kindergarten, here I come. Kindergarten, I am on my way.

Copyright 2004 ~Joni Levine

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Insects and Bugs Theme and Activities

bugsInsects and Bugs Songs and Fingerplays

The Insects Outside (Tune: The Wheels on the Bus)
The fireflies at night go blink, blink, blink
Blink, blink, blink, blink, blink, blink
The fireflies at night go blink, blink, blink
Out in the garden.

The bees in the flowers go buzz, buzz, buzz
Buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz, buzz
The bees in the flowers go buzz, buzz, buzz
Out in the garden.

Other verses:
cricket/fields/chirp
caterpillars/on the leaves/munch
spiders/in the bush/ spin their webs
worms/in the ground/ wiggle and squirm

The Fuzzy Caterpillar (Tune: Itsy Bitsy Spider)
The fuzzy caterpillar
Curled up on a leaf,
Spun her little chrysalis
And then fell fast asleep.
While she was sleeping
She dreamed that she could fly,
And later when she woke up
She was a butterfly!

Butterfly Song (Tune: Up on the Housetop)
First comes a butterfly and lays an egg.
Out comes a caterpillar with many legs.
Oh see the caterpillar spin and spin,
A little chrysalis to sleep in.

Oh, oh ,oh wait and see!
Oh, oh, oh wait and see!
Out of the chrysalis, my oh my,
Out comes a beautiful butterfly!

Speedy Spider Song (Tune: Oh, Susanna)
I was sitting in my room one day
When it came right through the door.
A big spider sped right by me-
Went racing ‘cross the floor.

(Chorus)
Oh, that spider! Oh how it scared me so.
But spiders can be good friends. And so I let it go.
I watched it crawl up the wall,
To find a spot just right.
It spun a web so beautiful.
And then went out of sight.

(Repeat chorus)
Now bugs and flies do not scare me,
For I know that it’s true-
That a spiderweb is good to have,
Bugs stick to it like glue.
(Repeat chorus)

Lightning Bug (Tune: You are my Sunshine)
I’m like a “lite brite”
I have a night light.
I fly in circles, up in the sky.
Some call me “lightning”.
When my light’s blinking.
But to my friends, I’m just “firefly.”

While others sleep tight,
flash my night light,
fill the dark sky with light so bright.
Look out your window,
You’ll see me flashing,
And then I’ll turn off and tell you
“good night

Five Busy Bees Fingerplay
Five little busy bees on a day so sunny
Number one said, “I’d like to make some honey”
Number two said, “Tell me, where shall it be?”
Number three said, “In the old honey tree”
Number four said, “Let’s gather pollen sweet”
Number five said, “Let’s take it on our feet”.
Humming their busy little honey bee song.

Five Little Flies Fingerplay
Five little flies buzzing through a hive,
One snuck some honey, and took a deep dive.
Four little flies buzzing through a door,
One slipped and fell, Crash! on the floor.
Three little flies buzzing through the trees,
One bumped the bark and bloodied his knees.
Two little flies buzzing through a shoe,
One held his nose and said, PEE YOO!
One little fly buzzing through a bun,
The swatter goes SPLAT! Now there are none

Insects and Bugs Art Activities

Fingerprint Bugs
Have each child dip their thumb in washable paint and print their thumb print on paper. They can decorate the body by coloring in legs and antennae.

Butterfly Feet
Paint the bottom of children’s feet with non-toxic tempera paint. Have the child step onto a piece of paper with their feet and heels together. When dry, they can add antennae with markers or crayons or yarn.

Worm Tracks
Children dip different sizes of yarn through brown paint. Then they drag the wet yarn in various patterns across their paper.

Egg Carton Ants
Cut an egg carton into sections of three. Give each child a 3-piece egg carton. Have them paint and decorate with wiggly eyes and pipe cleaner antennae and legs.

Spider Web Marble Painting
Paint a heavy paper plate with black paint (may need two coats). When dry, place a few drops of white around the plate. Place the marble in the plate and have the child roll the marble around. You can also put a circle piece of black construction paper in a pie pan and do the same thing.

Fly Swatter Painting
Place a long roll of butcher or craft paper on the ground outside. Have children Ppress a fly swatter in paint, gently lift out, and slap against the paper to make prints. Keep swatting until the prints begin to fade, then re-dip and make more prints.

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Insects and Bugs Math and Science

Spider Ring Counting
Get spider rings (save these at Halloween time!). Place a pile of spider rings in the center of a table. Children take turn rolling a die and place that amount of spider rings on their fingers. See who can get all ten fingers with spider rings first.

Bug Investigations
Take some jars or Learning Resources Big View Bug Jars with magnifying glasses outside. Let children look for bugs to investigate.

Sensory Table Bugs
Add plastic bugs and insects into your sensory table hidden in the sand with spoons and cups to catch them!

But Sorting and Patterning
Use Bug Counter Manipulatives to sort bugs. Sort by color, sort by type of bug, sort by whether they have wings or not, etc.

Lady Bug Spot Counting
Practice writing the number of spots on each ladybug on our Ladybug Math printable.

Insects and Bugs Motor Skills and Movement

Bug Waltz
Dance like bugs to classical music. Talk with the students about how bugs look when they fly around and land on things.

Bumblebee Dance
Bees dance to communicate. Have the children dance to communicate (either commnicate feelings like happy, sad, excited or communicate an action, like directions to the table for snack).

Insects and Bugs Snacks

Bugs on a Log
celery cut into 4″ lengths
peanut butter
raisins
Spread peanut butter in celery and arrange raisins on top. You can substitute cream cheese for peanutbutter

Butterfly Salad (Serves one)
2 Pineapple rings
Cottage cheese
Green olives sliced in 1/2
Food coloring
Celery stick
Slice pineapple rings in 1/2 to use a an outline of the butterfly’s wings Use celery stick as the body Place cottage cheese inside of pineapple ring Decorate the cottage cheese with food coloring, you can also add carrot sticks for antennae.

Ladybug
Slice an apple in half lengthwise, and lay with cut side down on a plate. Use raisins as the ladybug’s spots, put on with a dot of peanut butter. Attach a grape, as the head of the ladybug, with a toothpick.

Bug Juice
To create a bright green “bug juice”, mix lemonade with a blue Kool-aid drink.

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April 20th is Volunteer Recognition Day

aaInviting parents and community members into your program as volunteers is a great way to encourage positive relationships and involvement in your community.

There are many ways to involve volunteers:

You can have a career day and ask family and community members to speak to the children about their jobs.

You can host a community helpers / safety awareness day to help the young people learn to identify safe adults in their community, such as policeman, fireman, letter carriers and others they may encounter and recognize by their uniforms.

You can invite parents into your room to help with a craft or special activity.

You can ask parents to share a special talent or skill with your class . . . think outside of the box!  This can be playing an instrument, showing the children how to do aerobics or yoga, having a cooking lesson, etc.

You can host a nationality night to celebrate each family’s heritage.  Ask them to share foods, songs, games, traditions, etc.

You can invite parents in to read their favorite children’s book to the class.

Click here for more ideas on how to

include volunteers in your program:

bbbShowing your appreciation:

It is important to let your volunteers know that they are appreciated.  This is also an important social skill to teach the children in your program.

Have the children make thank you cards or pictures for the volunteer.  You can even take pictures of the volunteer while they are busy helping out your classroom and include them in your thank you card.

On a larger scale, you can also host a volunteer appreciation event once a year, such as a breakfast or luncheon.  Include the children, as that is the motivation for your volunteers to participate in your program.  Have them make placemats and table decorations and even a small craft as a gift for each volunteer to show their appreciation.

Showing your appreciation in a genuine way is what will keep your volunteers coming back!

cc

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Look for Blog Authors!

We are looking for Blog Authors!….We are looking for contributors to our blog!

Blog Submissions $35 when accepted and posted 200-500 words
Here are some blogs to check out first: http://www.teachpreschool.org/
http://centersandcircletime.blogspot.com/ http://toddlerlearningactivities.blogspot.com/
http://earlyliteracycounts.blogspot.com/ http://preschool2prek.blogspot.com/
Be sure to abide by all copy write laws and photos permissions
The best article I found on blog writing: http://www.incomediary.com/10-blog-writing-tips/
General Topic Ideas
Comment on a news story- Resources -Past experiences -Response to advice questions
Activity Ideas – Book or Product Review
email joni at childcarelounge.com

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Cooperative Games in Child Care

Games are first and foremost an outlet for fun. Many active children’s games also help develop motor skills, problem solving and language skills. However, competition is often the focus of young children’s games. When there is an emphasis on winning and losing children can frequently be left on the sidelines with a sense of failure and incompetence.

Musical Chairs is a prime example of a game the does more to exclude children rather than involve them. This popular game often becomes a pushing battle for the few remaining competitors while the other children are left as bored spectators. Fortunately, there are many games that focus on fun rather than competition. These games promote a sense of teamwork and cooperation that reaches well beyond the playground. I have included some of my favorites, including a new twist on Musical Chairs.

Cooperative Musical Chairs

This game is very similar to the original version, with the same setup of two lines of chairs back to back. Make sure there is one chair LESS than the amount of players. Began playing music while children dance or march around the chairs. When the music stops everyone needs to find a seat. The goal is ensure everyone has a place! As the game continues remove an additional chair after each round. With a smaller amount of chairs available, children will find the need to work together and cooperate in order to find room for everyone. This may mean sitting on laps and sharing chairs. Please note: no one is eliminated or asked to wait in this version.

Sharks in the Water

This game operates on the same premise as Cooperative Musical Chairs. Outline a large square on the floor with either masking tape or chalk. This area is the safe island and the area surrounding the square is the ocean. When the music begins children “swim” around the island. The stopping of the music indicates that sharks are coming and all player must retreat to the safety of the island. With each round the lines are altered making the island smaller and smaller. Players must make work together to make sure everyone has a safe place to get away from the sharks.

Mirror Mirror

The is a game that can be played with partners or with a larger group. A leader is chosen to initiate movements the others are to try to mimic as quickly as possible so that it appears they are a mirror image of the leader. A more challenging version for older children is to eliminate the leader. Players are to both move and simultaneously mimic each other.

Keep it Up

Blow up one or more balloons depending on the number of players. The simple goal is to work together and keep the balloon in the air. For younger children you may to have them stand or sit in a circle. You can add challenge for older children by restricting how they may elevate the balloon not allowing them to use their hands or only their elbows etc.,

Ball Bounce

You can use a parachute or large sheet for this game. Players hold and stretch the edges of the parachute. A ball is placed in the center. By all players gently tugging up and down they can cause the ball to bounce. Players can see how long they can keep the ball going without it bouncing off the surface. More balls can be added for additional challenge and fun.

Dragon Tail

Players form one long line or train by holding onto the waist of the child in front of them. The child in the front becomes the dragon head. The child in the rear is the dragon tail and a colorful scarf is attached into a belt loop. The “head” is to try to catch the scarf flapping behind the “tail”. All of the other players, members of the “body”, are compelled to work together with both ends and both the goal of the head and the tail at that same time. The main objective throughout is to keep the dragon intact with no players letting go. This game is best for older children and requires a large area.

Human Pretzel

Players form a circle. Each player reaches into the circle with their right hand and clasps hands with anyone across from them. Then each player clasps their left hand with a different player. Two people are then designated to be the ends. One end player is to release their right hand from whoever has a hold on it and the other end player is to release their left hand. By stepping over, under, and around each other; the group needs to work together to untangle their big human pretzel. Again, players are to try to accomplish this without releasing their hands.

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Choosing a Child Care Curriculum

Before you purchase a curriculum to use in your child care or preschool program, take the time to carefully evaluate what is being offered. There are many pre-packaged curriculums out there, but they are not equal. Here are a few questions that you should ask first:

 

  • Is it affordable?
  • Is it age appropriate?
  • Does it focus on the process rather than a final product?
  • Is it adaptable to for children of different abilities?
  • Are there open ended crafts and activities?
  • Is it based on sound research about child development and education?
  • Is it non-biased?
  • Are there extension and follow up activities?
  • Is it developed by someone with training and experience in both child care and curriculum design?
  • Does it cover many areas of the curriculum?Father_and_Daughter_2

Many family daycare providers choose to use curriculum packages or programs, rather than develop themes or lessons plans from scratch. Click here to read what they have to say about different curriculum.

Click here to compare curriculum and find the best one for your program.

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