June is a great month to get out and enjoy the beautiful sunny days, and we did so as often and as long as possible. The children enjoyed many outdoor activities, and their favorite was playing in the water.
Whether the children were running under the sprinkler, splashing at the water table, or filling and pouring water from pails and watering cans, it was all wonderful for the children's gross motor skills, fine motor skills, and social skills. It's also a great opportunity to stress sun safety, and the children enjoy singing our sunscreen song as we get ready to go outside. They are quick to remind me if I ever forget!
Running through the sprinkler spray exercised the children's large motor groups- the big muscles in the arms and legs while enjoying a fun sensory activity. The children were quick to notice that the water felt cold and the sunshine felt warm. Even the smaller children bravely toddled into the cool spray, sometimes to their surprise.
Another popular activity the children enjoyed involved filling up watering cans, pails, and mud kitchen toys with water to help "give the flowers a drink." All the movement between the water source and the flowerbeds was great for large muscle groups while the filling and pouring involved fine motor control. Practice makes perfect when it comes to pouring, and this is a wonderful opportunity for the children to practice and make as much or as little mess as they want.
The children's efforts to help water the garden paid off, and the garden if filled with beautiful orange, yellow, and purple flowers this year. There is also some milkweed and dill in the rear of the garden to help provide food and habitat for Monarch and Black Swallowtail butterflies.
On days when the weather was too cool for the sprinkler or hose, the children loved playing in the mud kitchen and the sandbox. These areas bring out the children's imagination, and they spend hours cooking, building, mixing, burying, and sometimes simply feeling the texture of the sand. Some of the children enjoy playing solo and creating their own play scenes; others love to play together and work at their social interactions.
The garden is beginning to produce some edible vegetables. The children had fun searching among the leaves for the first harvest of peas. This year we grew two varieties- peas that must be shelled and snow peas whose sweet pods can be eaten as well. The children enthusiastically tried the peas they helped grow, and some enjoyed them, while others did not.
Our nature walks have been especially enjoyable, especially when we could meet up with some friends. More was definitely merrier, and the children loved interacting with older friends!
We were even able to meet up for a quick picnic one day. We ate, then some children decided to hang out on the picnic blanket, while others...
... decided to run races and design some photo tricks.
On days when the weather was less than ideal, the children and I have been working on letter recognition. We have added an alphabet routine onto our morning calendar and weather routine, and we've been doing many other alphabet-related activities from writing letters on a salt tray to reading several different styles of alphabet books.
I'm very pleased with the amount of progress the children have shown with the alphabet. Many of the children are beginning to recognize the letters when they see them, others are becoming more confident matching the phonics sounds to the letters, and the most sophisticated children are pleased with their progress as they begin to write the letters of the alphabet.
The littlest Blue Sky Daycare member has been growing like a weed, and the other children love talking to him and gently joining in tickle games with him as well. It's heartwarming to see how quickly and how deeply the older children come to love babies in the daycare.
I'm excited to see what we work on next month... stop by soon to find out!