Snowmen and a pretend restaurant...
Today we had an older crowd than usual. This gave us a wonderful opportunity to engage is some very deep pretend play.
We started the morning off like ususal with our calendar, weather, and circle time routines, then we engaged in a second round of 3-D art that a parent kindly provided us with.
Making snowmen out of marshmallows, powdered sugar "glue," chocolate chips, and pretzels was a neat treat.
This time we carefully laid out the items we needed just like real chefs or artists do. We made sure we had all the pieces we needed by counting them. I modeled how to construct the snowman bit by bit and the children took turns imitating.
Everyone followed directions well. It was fun to construct, but we all agreed that eating was our favorite part of the activity!
Soon after cleaning up, one child shouted "Miss Melanie! There's a red bird at the bird feeder!" and we all rushed over to see a male cardinal eating seeds off the ground. I asked them if they wanted me to take a picture, and they answered with a resounding "YES!!!"
The children all truly enjoy watching the birds. I have noticed that sometimes a child in need of some quiet time will wander over to the window and watch the birds come and go; it seems birdwatching calms them and reassures them in some deep way.
Next on our agenda was some free play time. The play quickly turned toward cooking, and with my help, the children rearranged the room to make a "restaurant," and the children took on different roles relating to restaurants- there were two chefs, a waitress, and a diner.
They used the play kitchen ingeniously- the small holes in the back served as a spot where the waitress could tell the cooks her order. The diner waited patiently while one chef chopped and the other chef used the stovetop to "cook."
A few conflicts arose, but with a small amount of guidance, the play stayed on track for the better part of two hours. It's just amazing how the children can become engrossed in their play worlds!
The children were enjoying themselves so much that I worked in a bit of math- we used measuring cups and filled real pots and pans with beans. We talked a little about which cups held more and which cups held less, then estimated how many scoops it would take to fill a small bowl.
We put the beans away and did some of the same measuring experiments with water... that turned out to be a little messier, but it was still fun for the kids and interesting for them to observe the difference between how the beans behaved when poured versus the water.
The end of the day brought storytime as usual. We enjoyed reading "The Snow Bear" and the Mercer Mayer story "Just a Snowman." It was a perfect, relaxing end to a snow, blowy day.