Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Cute Nature/Observation Activity

I gave the kids a clipboard with pen attached by a small piece of yarn (this helps them to not lose the pens) and binoculars and asked them to draw what they saw outside.  They had a blast and when they were done I asked them what they saw and we wrote down their answers.  You can get clipboards at the dollar store.  Mine are from www.lakeshorelearning.com  (I received mine through a grant at my local resource and referral agency)

Flying Streamers

These are extremely easy to make.  I used a hair band (bought at the dollar store in a pack of 6 or 8) and my flourescent flaggers tape (bought at Menards).  All I did was tie the flaggers tape to the band and presto, I was done.  Jeff Johnson had a different method for making these, so if you would like to read more about his method it can be found in his book Every Day Early Learning.  You can find his book at www.explorationsearlylearning.com  Once it is made the kids pinch the top of the band in one hand and the bottom of the band (where the flaggers tape is) with the other hand.  Stretch it out and then let it go.  It will go flying in the air.  It takes some practice for the younger kids, but once they get the hang of it, you will see flying streamers everywhere.

Streamer Rings for Music Play

  This project is easy and very affordable to make.  You can get shower curtain rings at the dollar store (they come in a 10 or 12 pack, not sure) and I used my flourescent flagging tape (found at menards) or you can use any type of ribbon.  You need to cut the ribbon or flagging tape into 18-36 inches in length.  Depending on how long you want them.  Tie them to the shower curtain ring and you are done.  Found this idea from Jeff Johnson's book Do It Yourself Early Learning.  Thanks Jeff Johnson for all your inspirations.  Kids can hold the ring and sway/loop/shake their streamer rings to music.

Fancy Fluttering Streamers

This was yet another awesome idea from Jeff Johnson.  This idea was from his book Do-It-Yourself Early Learning.  You can learn more about his books on www.explorationsearlylearning.com  These are great to use during music time.  I used a dowel rod, small screw eye and flourescent flagging tape.  Jeff suggests using a number 3 ball bearing swivel with interlock snaps (found in the fishing tackle supplies - this allows it to rotate a little bit better).  I screwed the small screw eye into the end of a 3/8 inch dowel rod and then tied the flagging tape into the hole of the screw eye (In Jeff's version you would put the interlock snap on the screw eye and tie the flagging tape to the interlock snap).  I have done both ways and both ways work well.

Gift Card Book

Another idea from Jeff Johnson's Every Day Early Learning book.  You can visit his page at www.explorationsearlylearning.com  I used a hole punch to punch a hole in each corner of the cards (I used my crocodile hole punch from my scrapbook supplies - it will punch a hole in tin, so it is awesome).  Then I connected them with a metal ring and I used clear packing tape to make sure the rings stay closed.  The best part is, is that all the gift cards were donated.  Ask your families now to save all their used gift cards they get for presents (all they have to do is tell the sales clerk she wants to keep their card). 

"Counting Book"

I got this idea from a wonderful author, named Jeff Johnson.  The title of the book is Everyday Early Learning:  Easy and Fun Activities and Toys Made from Stuff You can Find Around the House.  If you would like to visit his website go to www.explorationsearlylearning.com  I altered it a little from his book.  I just used numbers 1-10 from the card deck, punched a hole in each corner of the card and connected it with a metal ring (I used clear packing tape to tape the ring tightly closed).  Quick, easy and cheap to make.

Digital Book - "Our Feelings"

We made this book a year or so ago and the kids love looking at it.  They showed me the emotions, I snapped the pictures, then made them into a book.  I mounted them on construction paper (cut into 8 1/2 X 11 sheets) , titled each page according to the emotions, and I put each page into a plastic sheet protector.  I stapled along the holed edges and then covered the staples/edge in duct tape.  This formed our book.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sensory Hands

Sensory Hands...These are cheap and easy to make and virtually free to make.  I used non-latex gloves that were donated to me.  I filled each glove with a different texture (flour, rice, split peas, kidney beans, cotton balls, oatmeal and I think they are red beans).  Any filling will work and flour is the favorite one.  It is super soft and fun to play with.  I used string and made lots of knots to tie them off.  I have had these hands for a couple of years and they have yet to break open.  But if they do, they are easy to re-make :-)  I have also seen this done with balloons (you just fill a balloon and don't inflate them).

Magnetic Sensory Bottles

I used clean and dry soda bottles and filled each bottle with various magentic items (cut up pieces of pipe cleaners, brads, and paperclips).  I use magnetic wands with mine, but any magnet would do.  You could add any type of magnetic materials.  When discussing magnetic vs. nonmagnetic materials, you could add items that aren't magentic for the kids to experiment with.  Let them help you find items to place in the bottle.  This is a safe, choke free way to discuss magentism when little items are involved.  And the items can be easily changed to keep them interested. 

Matching Game #3 Made for FREE

These are samples of countertops (also picked up at Menards).  They are thick and durable.  You can also use them as a memory game and turn them over to find the matches.  I absolutely love these because they are so durable for the kids to play with.

Matching Game #2 Made for FREE

These are crayon paint samples that I picked up at Menards.  I picked up two of each color and they make great matching games.  The kids also like to find items in my room that match the color of the crayons.  You can laminate them for extra durability.  The various stores will also have paint samples with cartoon characters on them.

Matching Game #1 Made for FREE

Visit your local hardware store (I went to Menards) and get paint samples for free.  I usually pick up two of each sample so that I can use one for the game board and the other one I use to cut up to make the matching game pieces.  This cost me nothing to make and the kids love it.  I usually talk to the paint department to ask if it is ok to take some extra samples for my family child care program and they are always more than willing to help me out.  I glued an envelope to the back of this sample so that I could store the game pieces inside.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Cheap and Easy Bulletin Board Idea

For a cheap and easy bulletin board idea I started by purchasing white foam board at my local craft store (Michael's).  I used small tack nails to secure them to my wall.  I then covered the foam board with constuction paper with double sticky tape and finished the edges off with bulletin board edging (which can be purchased at a school supply store).  I then purchased foam letters at the craft store (99 cents each) and titled it Sandy's Kids.  I use this particular bulletin board to place pictures of the kids in my care.  I used staples to secure the pictures and bulletin board edges.  The staples worked great and are easy to remove so that I can add new pictures.  I have 3 other bulletin boards in my daycare room that are used for art projects.  The construction paper and edging can be changed easily for seasonal projects as well.  These are much cheaper to make rather than purchasing the thick wooden/cork boards.

Organization Tip #2

This next item was purchased at my local target store.  It is a shoe storage shelf.  I used the same neon index cards and taped them with packing tape on each shelf (this helps to keep the cards from geting torn and wet during wet weather).  The shelf system has 15 openings and has plenty of extra space for my families shoes to be stored as well.  When the kids walk in my program each morning, they know right where their shoes belong. 

Organization Tip #1

I found the wire shoe racks and totes at my local Walmart store.  I labeled each tote with the names of the children in my program and this is where I store their extra clothes and other personal items.  They are durable and stack together very well.  I used neon index cards to write their names so they are easy to see and used packing tape to tape them on the totes.  All totes are at the children's level so they can reach their items when needed.  I have a few extra totes that are used for music cd's and other items.

Welcome to my new blog

My goals for my blog page is to share ideas and activities that I use in my family child care program to help give other early childhood professionals inspirations. 
I work hard to create a professional image for early childhood professionals and myself.  Family child care providers are no longer just seen as babysitters. 
I am a licensed family child care provider in the state of Illinois.  I had my program accredited in 2005 and have recieved several Illinois credentials and certificates.  I am an active member in 2 professional organizations and continue my education and training yearly to stay up-to-date on all the newest early childhood trends.
I teach my daycare children daily by involving dramatic play activities, math, science, reading, music, indoor and outdoor play, and lots of other fun activities.
I will post pictures of my ideas used for storing materials and room setup and how I make it work with my job and family.