August Was Bubbling With Fun!
Our 6th annual tie-dye day was a great success although we had to postpone it until the first days of August to ensure that all the children could participate.
The children did a fantastic job creating their tie-dyed masterpieces and helped with nearly all the steps involved. They picked out their favorite design, helped moisten the shirts with a spray bottle, named and selected the colors they wanted to use, and carefully squirted the dye onto their shirts.
The end products turned out great, and the children were so proud of what they accomplished!
Once our tie-dye project was done, the children and I were able to move on to our first August theme: shooting stars and the night sky! We began by reading some books about the moon, comets, shooting stars, and our solar system. We discussed the differences between day and night, between the sun and the moon, and talked about what the stars looked like to us.
Each August the Perseid meteor shower occurs, and in conjunction I tell the children a lovely story about shooting stars created by Cynthia Schottel.
In the story, three little stars notice that as summer wanes and autumn approaches, the people on Earth turn their thoughts away from the heavens. Three young stars want the people to look up again, so they come up with a plan to elude their protectors, the grown-up Perseids, and jump from the heavens to visit Earth. The little stars succeed and glow brightly as they fall from the heavens. The people on Earth do indeed look up and see them as shooting stars. When the little stars reach Earth, only a tiny bit of them is left, but each one is found in turn by people. The first brave star is found by a prince who turns the star into a bright sword that enables him to drive away enemies and bring peace and prosperity to his kingdom. The second brave star is found by a doctor who uses tiny bits of the star to cure illness and return many people to health. The third brave star is found by an artist who uses small bits of the star in her paints and creates masterpieces of surpassing loveliness which again remind people to look up at the heavens and marvel. Each year, a few brave little stars slip past the Perseids and jump to Earth, reminding people of the beauty and mystery of the heavens.
The children and I also talked about constellations and used sparkling star stickers to create a "constellation" that formed the first letter of each child's name. This was great fine motor work!
Another day, the children and I used cucumbers and dill from the vegetable and herb gardens to make homemade pickles. They are yummy!
Our other main activity for the month was exploring bubbles. We spent days enjoying a range of bubble activities. Some days we practiced popping bubbles using specific actions such as: poking with one finger, clapping, stomping, and alligator "chomping" with both arms. This was a fun activity that encouraged whole-body coordination and listening skills.
We made several batches of our own bubble solution, mixing water, dish soap, glycerin, and baking powder. The children and I learned lessons in patience because the solution had to rest for 24 hours to be the most effective.
Another day, I cut notches in straws to make them "un-suckable" and the children and I spent our time practicing blowing bubbles in bowls. Understanding the idea of ONLY blowing is very important so that the children don't end up sucking bubble solution into their mouths. Yuck!
The straws worked very well and we made big heaps of bubbles in the bowls!
Another of our bubble projects involved using a drink container, an old cotton sock, and a rubber band to make bubble snake blowers. The children had to listen and watch carefully in order to be able to slip the sock over the correct portion of the bottle and hold the sock in place with the rubber band. The fun of making long "snakes" of bubbles was worth the attention to detail, though, and the children had tons of fun with the bubbles.
Sometimes the bubbles would fly off and ride the breeze as a bubble "puff," while other times, it was fun just to let the bubbles land on the grass and stomp on them.
The children used oil pastels and a stencil to create some beautiful, colorful bubble artwork. We worked on rainbow order and fine motor control in this project, and I since I hung the bubble pictures above the children's diaper changing area, we used the artwork as a great talking piece to learn bubble-related vocabulary like "pop," "colorful," "round," "circle," and more.
Our last bubble project was also the biggest! We used dowels and some string to create a giant-sized bubble wand and blew gigantic bubbles. It was fun to chase the enormous bubbles and a fun challenge to coordinate the wands and get a big bubble to form without popping.
Though the sun was hot through most of August, we did make it to the park a couple of times, and the slides and swings were enjoyed by all. It is heartwarming to see the children actively help each other across age groups.
Another activity that the children particularly enjoyed this month was fitting pieces into puzzles. This was a great vocabulary-building opportunity as we named the pictures in the puzzles and additionally, the puzzles were a great way to build the children's spatial awareness. A generous helping of social skill learning was involved too, as the children learned to take turns with their favorite puzzles or take turns putting in pieces.
Our last art project for the month involved coloring coffee filters and turning them into lovely sunflowers. The children worked attentively as they colored the filters with yellow and orange markers.
Next, they took turns spraying the filters with water and we watched as the marker ink bled and moved through the coffee filters.
Once dry, I cut the filters into petal shapes. Last, the children used a glue stick to add a stem and a center to the sunflower petals. This art project went along quite nicely with our circle time rhyme:
Here is my garden,
I rake it with care.
I plant my sunflower seeds in there.
The sun will shine,
And the rain will fall,
And my sunflowers will grow up straight and TALL!
It was a pleasure to watch the children learn and grow just like the sunflowers in the poem this month, and I'm excited for all the changes September will bring!