We had so much fun in February that the month zoomed right by!
We finished up a hibernation theme that we had started in January with a fun activity. I cut entrance holes in several large boxes (which were kindly supplied by one of the daycare families). We reviewed some books about hibernating animals, then the children decided which kind of hibernating animal they wanted to be. We had a bears, woodchucks, and chipmunks!
The children had a wonderful time picking out their favorite "hibernation den," and then pretending to sleep inside. There were lots of loud snores coming out of the boxes. I set out some "food" outside the dens, and if the sleeping "animals" got hungry, they could venture out of their dens to have a quick snack. Even one of the house cats enjoyed playing along, much to the delight of the children. You can see a portion of our adventures in the slideshow below.
The children continued to enjoy using the new dollhouse and all the family figures that go with it. Building beds and other furniture was a favorite pretend game for some of the children.
The long string of cloudy days in the beginning of February had a break from time to time, but even the bright days were still chilly, so we bundled up and braved the wind gusts in order to get some fresh air. The children and I looked for signs of spring, but didn't find too much this time.
As Valentine's Day approached, we had so much fun making preparations and talking about ways to show our families and friends how much we love them. We discussed how using nice manners, giving smiles, hugs and kisses, being good listeners, and sharing are all ways to show love. We also discussed some of the common sights we might see around the time of Valentine's Day such as hearts, cupids, and "XOXO."
The children and I also enjoyed learning expressions of love during circle time. The children's favorite circle time rhyme was actually a song, the classic tune that goes:
I love you!
I love you!
I love you in the morning,
And in the afternoon,
I love you in the evening
Underneath the moon!
I LOVE YOU!
One child just loved singing this song and would blow big kisses all through the song. It was so sweet!
The children enjoyed a day of watercolor painting in several shades of red for Valentine's Day. Wet-on-wet watercolor painting is a wonderful activity for the children. It is perfect for process art because it teaches the children to use a gentle stroke as they enjoy watching the washes of color spread across the paper. In this case, as in all process art, the emphasis is more on enjoying the creation of the art and less about what is produced.
A similar project that employed process art was our Valentine's gift to parents. I used painter's tape to create the word "love", then the children spent as long as they needed to spread a variety of colors all over their canvas. After the paint dried, we peeled the letters off and saw the beautiful result!
On Valentine's Day, the children enjoyed a variety of heart-shaped food including heart-shaped strawberries on their breakfast waffles, heart-shaped sandwiches, and heart-shaped apple slices.
The other part of our Valentine's Day surprise for the daycare families involved melting pink and white candy pieces and dipping pretzels in the melted candy. The children did a wonderful job and were very proud to bring home such cute homemade presents to share with their families. You can see the steps the took in the slideshow below.
After Valentine's Day, we enjoyed indoor activities such as dancing to music (sometimes dancing with pretend partners, too!), crawling, hopping, and jumping through a cone obstacle course, and pitching rings onto cones. These activities were great for exercising large motor muscle groups, developing coordination, and growing proprioception, or awareness of the body in space. They're also great for working on listening skills as the children listen for certain instruments or words in the music or to directions as we play a game. Scroll through the slideshow to see all the kids' dance moves!
The children also enjoyed playing dress-up and playing out favorite scenes from fairy tales and other stories. This is great for developing children's imaginations as they help create the narrative.
On the nicer days, we had some opportunities to make it to the park. Our first park visits after a long winter reveal just how much the children have grown, both physically and skill-wise. Children who were unable to clamber up onto certain equipment last autumn can use it with ease now. It's amazing how quickly the children grow!
Even the littlest Blue Sky Daycare child is now big enough to enjoy the park! You can see the kids at play in the slideshow below.
When we weren't outside at the park, we were busy enjoying the sunshine in the back yard. The children enjoyed building see-saws, pretending they were pirates, walking a balance beam, examining the dried grass, jingling the windchimes, and playing with a variety of balls. Spring fever has officially hit all of us, and we poked around and found some plant "secrets." Under the cover of leaves and mulch, the first green stems of daffodils, chives, and other perennials have begun pushing up. Click through the slideshow to see how much fun the children were having!