April began with plenty of showers, so hopefully our flowers will be extra beautiful in May. Rainy days can still be fun, though.
Some of our rainy days we spent clipping flower pictures from a seed catalog and creating lovely flower collages. This activity provided some opportunities to talk about shapes and colors while honing fine motor skills as the kids cut and glued the images.
Another rainy day gave us time to make fingerprint flowers. The children practiced drawing straight lines in crayon to make the flower stems, then they used their fingertips to add flower petals.
On yet another rainy day, the children had fun acting out a variety of scenarios while they played dress up. There were some princesses and a puppy, and a time when fancy ladies went for a walk through the woods and laid out a picnic lunch.
Playing dress-up is a wonderful way for the children to exercise their creativity and expand their imagination. Sometimes the children are able to come up with stories to act out on their own, and other times just a little nudge is all they need to start their play.
On the cool, damp days we were able to get outside, and the littlest Blue Sky Daycare child was no exception. He was very happy to explore!
We routinely check our gardens for new plants sprouting up, and when we found that our chives were getting tall, we picked some and tried a few bites. They were "spicy!" The children also had a fun time hanging the sparkly recycled CD wind catchers they had made when they learned about wind. The sky might have been dull, but the slightest breeze sent the wind catchers in motion and reflected rainbow colors at us.
The children had a good time celebrating Easter as they painted wooden eggs just like the bunnies, the main character in Jan Brett's The Easter Egg.
The children also had great fun playing out Easter egg hunts over and over again. The hunts provided endless variety- sometimes we searched for only one color of eggs, and one time we grouped all the eggs of similar colors together, then used tally marks to total the eggs in each color group.
When the sun finally did come out, the weather was still cool and moist, but it didn't stop us from starting seeds for our flower garden. The children had a great time picking out flower varieties, filling the growing cells with dirt, and carefully placing the seeds in the appropriate spots.
Once it warmed up a bit, the children and I had a great time creating castles, cookies, mountains, and muffins as we played in the sand box. The children really enjoy the flexibility the sand offers- it can be anything they want it to be. Since it is often pretend food, the children practice using their manners as they offer up and accept "food" from their friends.
We spent some of the loveliest days at the park. The children had such fun sliding down the double slide next to one another and racing to the bottom. It almost goes without saying, but the park is a wonderful place for the children to exercise their sense of balance and safely test their coordination. During the park visit pictured below, we found an earthworm. Most of the children love to gently hold worms, so everyone took turns holding the worm and observing its wiggly behavior before we put it back in a nice, shady spot.
As April drew to a close, the weather improved and we were able to go out more and more. We enjoyed looking at ducks, geese, cormorants, herons, and egrets as we passed the large marsh area that borders our nature walk path. We also observed swift and agile swallows darting over the nearby playing field as they hunted tiny insects.
The children had fun running races, interacting with some (incidental) artwork along the path, watching a centipede march along, and searching for the woodpecker we could hear tap-tap-tapping away in the forest.
April's Earth Day celebration was a lot of fun. We made "flower bombs' to plant in the garden. The children tore construction paper into tiny pieces, then we used a food processor to blend the paper and water into a mash. The children used a spoon to scoop out the watery pulp into a sieve, then we mixed seeds into the pulp. The children rolled the pulp into little balls, and then we waited until the balls were dry. It was a wonderful sensory activity for the children with a squishy, cool, wet component.
Another Earth-related activity the children enjoyed in April was gazing at the occupants of the bird feeder with binoculars (or "bi-nock-lee-ears" as one child called them). The children were especially fond of the saucy Red-Winged Blackbirds that came in droves to the feeders and puffed up their orange wing feathers from time to time.
All in all, April was a lot of fun for the children and we enjoyed both indoor and outdoor activities. We'll be looking forward to all of our May flowers and getting outdoors even more in May!