Goodbye Summer, Hello Fall!
August flew by at Blue Sky Daycare, and we had so much fun! Our littlest member learned to crawl with lots of encouragement from the rest of the children. As you can see, he was very, very proud of himself as he very well should be! It's thrilling to be mobile!
In August, the children and I learned about animals that live under the sea. We read books about dolphins and examined figures of whales and sharks. We compared and contrasted sea mammals and fish and made a chart of the special body parts that make each category unique. The children were surprised to learn that whales have hair!
We read "The Pout Pout Fish," a perennial favorite, and we made some fun aquarium-themed artwork with a variety of media. The children really loved sifting their fingers through the bulgur wheat we used for "rocks" at the bottom of the aquarium, and had lots of fun choosing the size, number of, and position of the fish in their aquarium pictures. It is amazing to see the amount of thought that children put into artistic choices, and while the younger children enjoy multimedia artwork on a sensory level, the older children engage with their art in a whole different way, making choices and letting their emotions inform their decisions.
The children were able to learn a little about astronomy as we safely watched the solar eclipse (it was about 90% at our location) on a screen. This was one of the very few times that the children were allowed to have screen time, and they had many, many questions about what they were witnessing. We watched the round disc of the sun become covered by the moon, and we talked about how the moon made a really, really big shadow on the ground, how the shadow tricked some animals into thinking it was nighttime, and how the air in the shadow became cool.
We looked at pictures of what the eclipse would look like and did our best to draw our own interpretation of what we saw.
We used our globe, a flashlight, and a ball to recreate the moon passing in front of the sun. Each of the children got to be the shining sun, the moving moon, and the observer on Earth... though not everyone was able to stand still enough to be the sun! In the picture below, you can see how the moon/ball covered up the sun/flashlight from our vantage point on Earth.
Since the weather was heavily overcast that day, we ventured outside at the time of maximum eclipse and felt cool, fresh air rush over us, noticed the sky becoming more dim, and even some crickets began to chirp! We won't see it again for several years, so this was a fun an unique experience.
Through the rest of August, we enjoyed beautiful weather and had fun using a variety of sports equipment including whiffle balls, bats, footballs, devil sticks, and jump ropes. The devil sticks were a particular draw for the children, and it was a major feat of large motor balance and coordination to get the "tick-tock" stick to lay flat on both the sticks in our hands.
Our vegetables ripened in August, and though our garden was rather poor compared to other years, we still had fun sampling tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans, radishes, green onions, and herbs from the garden.
One day, we noticed a friendly visitor in our garden box- a frog! The children rushed over to observe the frog's green and brown skin, golden eyes, and dark spots. We talked about how the frog's colors and spots serve as camouflage and help it hide away from predators.
As September rolled in, the walnuts that had been ripening in the nearby woods began to roll across our walking path. We observed the green walnuts, noting their slightly furry skin, their interesting soap-like smell, and their round shape. One of the children delighted in calling them "balls," and all the children loved tossing them, rolling them, and playing with them. We just made sure to leave the ripe brown ones alone so we didn't stain our hands.
The weather was perfect for nature walks in September, and the children quickly spotted the changes signaling autumn's approach. There wasn't much that escaped their notice- they spotted the leaves that were beginning to fall from the trees, the fluffy milkweed pods beginning to open, and the yellow flowers of the ragweed lining our walkway.
Our walks are perhaps the most enjoyable in fall because the bugs are all gone and the cool weather is a welcome respite from summer's heat. There is so much to see and touch. The children absolutely love tossing up showers of colorful leaves which look like confetti as they drift in the morning sunshine.
There were sticks, leaves, nuts to explore, and the childrens' imaginations led to many happy moments. One of the children loved rolling the nuts down a hill, chasing behind the rolling "balls" as fast as his feet could take him. Another child loved drawing marks in a sandy area with a stick.
We spotted some amazing animals on our nature walks, too! From woodpeckers to goldfinches, from spiders to praying mantises, the woods was full of animals preparing for winter, and the children spotted them all with their sharp eyes.
We made some fun trips to the park in September, where the children enjoyed swinging, climbing, running, chasing, digging, and getting lots of great large motor practice!
We celebrated a big accomplishment for one of the daycare children in September. One of the children moved on to "big kid school," and so we celebrated with his very own cupcakes. He chose the cupcake flavor, the frosting flavor, and along with his friends, he helped assemble all the ingredients.
It's a little sad but a little sweet to see this big kid leave, but he has all the tools he needs to enjoy sweet success at "big kid school!" Hooray!
October is drawing near, and I can't wait to see what it will bring! See you soon!