Catching Sun and Growing Willows

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R was 15 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert – Growing Vegetable Soup is a great book with vibrant colours about a father and son who grow vegetables from seeds to harvest.  There is even a recipe for vegetable soup at the end!

Activity:

1. Planting Sunflowers

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We planted sunflower seeds in the pot R painted yesterday (I added some embellishments with black marker).  We first examined the seeds together and I used the word “small” to describe them for her.  She helped me place the seeds into the soil.  She definitely liked doing the watering part of the activity the most!

 

 

Extension Activities:
a. Older children can add embellishments with marker on their own.
b. Review all the things a plant needs to survive, discussing the importance of watering regularly.
c. Plant multiple plants with your child to compare the growth of each plant

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Feeling the Garden

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R was 15 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss – R enjoyed sitting in my lap and listening to, “The Carrot Seed”. Whether you consider this book about faith, determination, or perseverance, it’s a wonderful read!

Activity:

1. Painting Pots

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Painting on different surfaces is fun! Today R painted a clay pot. I was impressed by her ability to hold the pot in one hand and paint it at the same time with the other. Since we used non-toxic washable Crayola paints (my daughter still has a tendency to put things in her mouth) for the pot, the paint didn’t show up very well. If you want the colours to be really bright, I suggest using acrylic paints.

 

Extension Activities:
a. Once the paint dries, use a black permanent marker to add details. I added details on R’s pot.

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Grassy Heads and Window Plants

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R was 15 months old and K was 19 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

In the Garden by Green Start – It was both a joy and a bit of a challenge to read to two toddlers.  They both wanted to hold the book while I read it (unfortunately I didn’t have two copies!).  This book is beautifully illustrated and has great text features such as image labels.

Activity:

1. Wheatgrass Heads

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I helped both kids take turns pouring soil into their plastic cups that I had decorated for them.  I then got them to first hold the grass seeds in their hands and then dump them into their cups.  I have a small spray bottle for R to use to water her grass head everyday.  Squeezing the spray bottle will be a great way to develop R’s motor skills.

 

 

Extension Activities:
a. Older children can decorate their own plastic cup faces with the prompt, “If your plant had a face, what would it look like?”
b. Discuss all the things a plant needs to survive, and together, find the best home for the wheatgrass head to ensure survival.

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Theatre in a Barn

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Book: 

Farm Animals by Nancy Dickman – “Farm Animals” was a great read especially since we could review all the animals we had visited from our farm visit.  We looked through and named the animals in the book repeatedly.

Activity:

1. Matching Animals – This activity is inspired by a Montessori activity I had seen on Pinterest. I snapped photos of 8 of the plastic farm animals we have been using this week. I then gave R two animals and two picture cards at a time for matching. I defined the play space using a mirror so she knew to work in this area. She did well with two animals at a time but found it difficult when I tried four animals at a time.

Extension Activities:
a. Make this activity more difficult by increasing the number of animals on the board for matching.
b. Ask the child to match a specific animal and see if s/he can locate and match the animal correctly.

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Jelly-ed Animals

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Book: 

Animal Tracks by Arthur Dorros – We read, “Animal Tracks” together.  Although she was focused and listening at the beginning, she lost her focus as the book was longer than most books she is used to.  So instead of continuing to read, we looked at all the pictures.  The front and back of this book has pictures of tracks made by different animals.  We took a close look at these pages and I named the animals for her.

Activity:

1. Quiet Time Poem – I first read the poem aloud and demonstrated the actions to R.  During the second read, I made R do the actions with me by guiding her arms and body.  We repeated this a number of times and she always giggled when crouching down at the very end.  I then said the poem again and had her do the actions on her own while I did them along with her.

Next, I read the poem aloud a number of times while pointing to each magnetic foam animal.  When R and I did the poem together, I would hand her one foam animal at a time and she would stick it onto the fridge for me.

Extension Activities:
a. Older children can make their own foam animals for this fun puppet play poem.
b. Have the child demonstrate animal recognition.  I asked R to hand me one animal at a time at random.  The first time she did this, she handed the correct animals to me.  The few times after it was hit or miss. So, we can’t be certain if she does recognize all 8 animals yet.  I’ll try this again in the future and make note of her progress.

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Good Old MacDonald and Rubber Utters

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Book: 

Old MacDonald had a Farm by Wendy Straw – We read “Old MacDonald” and sang together many times.  R carefully listened and watched as I pointed to and named animals on the different pages and especially loved it when I made the different animal sounds.

Activity:

1. Backside Animal Match – I introduced R to a new puzzle I had made.  I put clipart photos of animals onto different coloured foam pieces. I then cut them in half to make puzzle pieces.  The activity was more focused on demonstrating how to do the puzzles.  I would put the front piece of the puzzle down in front of her and then hand her the second piece.  I would then guide her to place it in the appropriate spot next to the front piece.  After trying this activity again two more times over two days, R was able to do it with minimal support from me.  I like to introduce new activities using the “I do, we do, you do” method in which I first demonstrate the activity, I then guide R to do the activity with me and then, finally, I have R practice the activity on her own.

Extension Activity:
a. To make this activity more difficult, glue the animals onto the same coloured foam so that the child cannot use the colour to match the different animals.

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Feeling the Forest

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We used R’s outdoor play time to do a nature walk to enhance the planned activity for the day.  It worked out perfectly since the rain had finally let up at this point.  There were tons of textures to explore in the woods and by the creek near the green belt.  R grabbed, pulled apart, scraped, scratched, poked and rubbed anything she could find.  I extended her learning by providing words for the different textures such as rough, smooth, spiky and soft.  Although I have no expectation for R to use the words, I still do provide the textural words to expand R’s listening vocabulary.