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  • Melanie Patric

The Valentine's Day Countdown and Great Backyard Bird Count Begin!

Today was all about the love as we began working on our big Valentine's Day surprise!

We began the usual way with our calendar and weather routine, but during this busy week, we're also working on the Great Backyard Bird Count. Blue Sky Daycare has participated in this program for three years to help researchers understand more about how bird populations are changing. By doing this, we learn to recognize several species of birds often seen at feeders, we learn to be patient and quiet as we observe the birds through the window, we learn about the needs of birds in the winter, and we learn that it is important to help take care of the natural world. We also work on our early math skills as we tally the numbers and species of birds we see each day. The bird count actually runs from the 13th through the 16th and I personally enter information for those days, but it's still lots of fun for the children to do the bird count through the week. You can learn more by visiting the Great Backyard Bird Count website.

We started the first of two art projects for the day after doing the bird count. To begin, we gathered all the items we would need- aprons, almond milk, food coloring, a pan, watercolor paper, and some dish soap. We put on our aprons and did a dry run of how to pour almond milk into the pan, drip food coloring onto the almond milk, then squirt tiny drips of dish soap into the almond milk to make the food coloring move.

Once the children had the idea, I helped them take turns pouring and dripping, and then the children took turns placing a sheet of watercolor paper onto the neat swirling food color designs that appeared atop the almond milk.

The designs transferred farily well onto the watercolor paper and we talked about how the colors mixed and moved. on the papers. When we were done, the children helped wipe up the table with paper towels and they did a truly great job cleaning up! They're so responsible!

We left the papers to dry for later use and turned our attention to some movement activities. We worked on doing somersaults, jumping over strips of yarn we call "snails," and, for the littles, spinning around. It may seem simple, but on a winter's day, it's just what little bodies want to do.

Once we got the toddler wiggles out, we settled in for our second Valentine's Day art project. This time we focused on fine motor skills.

While I cannot say exactly what we were creating (secret!!!), I can say that the children used their fingers to peel and place stickers with varying degrees of help from me, picked up small items to glue onto paper, and used good amounts of hand strength to squeeze glitter glue to decorate something.

The morning was so busy that it seemed like the morning just flew by and suddenly it was time for lunch and naps.

After naps, we read a few love-themed books- The More We Get Together by Caroline Jayne Church, Sisters by David McPhaill, and Daddy Hugs by Karen Katz.

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