February, The Month of Holidays
February may be a short month, but it does not lack for holidays, and we celebrated!
We started our day reviewing what we learned about hibernating animals in January. We came to realize that groundhogs hibernate, too, and if they come out early, it's likely that the cause is warmer weather (among other factors), and warmer weather means an early spring.
The next thing we did was make a graphic organizer to show how many of us thought that the famous groundhog, Punxatawney Phil would see his shadow or not. Three of us thought he would see his shadow, and two of us did not. We then watched this broadcast of Punxatawney Phil's prognostication.
Once we learned that Phil predicted an early spring, we cheered! Later in the day, the children used fingerpaint to make their own groundhog-and-shadow artwork.
Chinese New Year:
The children and I watched a five-minute video telling the story of Nian, the destructive dragon who appeared every new year and the wise old man (or woman in some stories) who learned the secret of driving Nian away. We learned that Nian is afraid of loud noises (like bursting firecrackers) and the color red. Luckily, some of us were already wearing red, so we had a good start. Together, we created quite a ruckus banging pots and pans with spoons and parading around the house. With all the noise, there's no way Nian would be visiting Blue Sky Daycare!
The children also celebrated by using lots of fine motor skills to color, glue, and fold as they created a dragon puppet of their own.
Valentine's Day Celebration:
The children and I worked on four love-themed circle time rhymes. Our two favorites were "Love Grows One by One" and "Skinamarinky-Dinky-Dink (I Love You)." The children did a fantastic job learning the hand gestures and motions that go along!
We had a super fun time setting up and taking pictures in our Valentine's Day "Photo Booth," and I'm not sure these kids could possibly be any cuter! (Please note that you can scroll through the photos like a slideshow)
We also enjoyed some process art as we created Valentine's Day artwork. The children used watercolor to paint the background of their artwork, then I helped them make handprints and footprints. It was hard to say if it was more fun to make the prints or to wash the paint off in the sink.
To cap off our Valentine's Day activities, we baked Valentine's Day cookies from scratch. The children helped measure, pour, mix, and then decorate the cookies, then brought them home to share with their families. What a sweet ending to our Valentine's celebration!
We spent this month reading a few fun Valentine's Day books, most notably Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood and Happy Valentine's Day, Little Critter by Mercer Mayer. It was fun to use the books to relate how showing your love or extending friendship can make you feel great!
Milder temperatures brought back more outdoor play, both with snow...
... and without snow. The children took turns learning how to use the small stilts, toss and kick balls, and have "horse" races.
The last holiday we touched on was President's Day. The children and I had fun doing a science experiment. While the children examined some pennies, we talked about the important person whose picture was on the penny- Abraham Lincoln, one of the most important U.S. presidents. We talked about how the president helps make the rules that everyone has to follow and we listed some rules (dont' take things that don't belong to you, etc.) that apply to everyone. The children and I noted the dull brown color of the pennies, then looked at a new, shiny penny. What a difference! We talked about some ways we could clean the dull pennies and make them shiny again.
The children helped pour dish soap and water mix into one jar, Windex into second, vinegar into a third, and hot sauce into a fourth jar. We dropped the dull pennies in and set them aside to check the following day.
As it turns out, the best cleaner over a 24 hour period was... good old VINEGAR! The penny soaked in vinegar was evenly shiny and copper colored. The hot sauce penny had shiny patches, and the Windex cleaned the exposed side of the penny but not the bottom. Dish soap and water did a surprisingly good job, but that penny was not as shiny as the vinegar penny. What a fun experiment!
The children and I had a great time making up games with one of our new toys- Gonge Riverstones. Our favorite game involves me calling out the name of a child, the color of one of the stones, and a way of moving. The child then has to run, crawl, or walk to the stone of the right color. It sounds like it's easy, but when there are several children playing, it's an exercise in listening, color identification, and a great way to develop gross motor skills. The children absolutely LOVE this game and play it for 30-60 minutes at a time!
When we weren't playing the "Color Game" as the children call it, we were busy being pirates...
...learning to crawl...
...and playing with animals.
I hope you enjoyed this journey through the month. See you soon!