Fishy Songs

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R was 16 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Herman the Helper by Robert Kraus – Herman the Helper is about an octopus that loves to help others as well as helping himself!  The book includes simple illustrations and simple text on the pages which makes it great for toddlers!

Activity:

1. Magnetic Poem

IMG_9249 IMG_9229Five little fish is a fun finger play song that I used to love doing with my Kindergarten and Grade 1 students.

While saying each line of the poem, the finger play works as follows:
Line 1: Hold up five fingers on your left hand to represent the five fish.
Line 2: Wiggle your fingers.
Line 3 & 4: Wag your right index finger.
Line 5: Slowly bring right hand towards left fingers.
Line 6: Put right index finger on lips.
Line 7: Make right hand pretend to eat one of the left hand fingers
Line 8: Start again with four fingers. Repeat until no fingers remain.

I made foam magnets to go along with the poem.  The child can remove one fish at a time as the poem is read.

Extension Activities:
a. Have the child make his/her own foam pieces for this poem.
b. Have the child teach this poem to another child or adult.

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Each Brain is Unique

“Lock-step, assembly-line learning violates a critical discovery about the human brain: each brain is not only unique, but is also growing on a very different timetable.”

– E. Jensen, 1998

http://link.springer.com/article/
10.1007/s10643-009-0359-3

Sand and Tissue Collages

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R was 16 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Swimmy by Leo Lionni – Swimmy is a great story about a little fish who over came adversity and encouraged others to not be afraid. Leo Lionni writes wonderful stories that have many life lessons.  I loved using her books in my classroom as a spring board for discussing many topics such as bullying or self esteem.

Activity:

1. Sandy Scene

IMG_9194I’ve finally put sand in half of R’s sand and water table.  I pulled out the shells again and offered her an invitation to play.  She went back and forth between the water and sand and was engaged for over 30 mins.  R especially enjoyed using a smaller shell as a scoop to fill a larger shell with sand.  Offering children simple items to play with is a great way to engage their imagination and to see their ability to represent one object as something else.  Here, R used a shell as a scoop.

 

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Tupperware and Cupboard Lairs

Spaces for Play

Spaces for Play

I was busily cooking up a storm today while R played for an extended independent play time.  The days when it is just the two of us until late are the hardest for me.  Usually, I plan it so that we eat left overs on those nights so that I’m not worrying about a clingy toddler and making dinner at the same time.  I don’t know what I was thinking when I decided to make lasagna when I knew I’d be alone with R this evening.  Well, I’m happy to report that all of our independent play time practice has not been a waste, since she did so well today and the house didn’t burn down! LOL!

We have a cupboard in our entry way that we have emptied so that R can use it since she has shown interest in the cupboard lately.  We decided against closing up yet another cupboard and getting her to stay away, and instead, let her use it as an animal lair (or whatever she chooses) for her Little People Zoo characters.

With all the prepping and cooking I was doing today, R made full use of the tupperware cupboard we have designated to her.  She pulled out containers, stacked loose parts, sorted and unstacked over and over.

For more tips on encouraging independent play without having to plan activities for this time, check my post here.

Puffy Sand Paintings

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R was 16 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Commotion in the Ocean by Giles Andreae & David Wojtowycz – This book has a collection of poems about ocean creatures in it.  It can be read as a whole story, or each page can be read as its own poem.  There are plenty of simple and humorous rhymes about crabs, turtles, dolphins, angel fish, jellyfish and much more!  The colours are vibrant and R loved flipping through it!

Activity:

1. Bottled Beach

IMG_9068IMG_9063 I made an “I spy” sensory bottle with three ocean animals that R is familiar with (octopus, fish and crab) and a variety of ocean items that are new to her.  I put sand at the bottom of a plastic water bottle and poured coloured water on top.   I had coloured the water with two drops of blue food colouring and one drop of green food colouring.  I showed her each of the items before putting them into the bottle and paid closer attention to the three she recognized.  We named the three animals she was familiar with and she did the signs we have made up for them.   For octopus, she wiggles her arms by her sides.  For fish, she joins her hands together and makes them “swim”.  And for crab, she holds her hands out to her sides with her palms facing up and makes a snapping motion with her fingers.  Once I placed all 8 items inside the water bottle containing sand and water, we shook the bootle, waited for the sand to settle and then searched for the octopus, crab and fish.  When R would spot an item she recognized, she did the action for it.

Extension Activities:
a. For older children, bring phonemic awareness into the “I Spy” game.  Ask the child to find an object that begins with a specific letter.  For example, you can ask the child to find an object that begins with the letter O.
b. Continue the “I Spy” game with beginning sounds.  Ask the child to find an object that begins with a specific sound.  For example, you can ask the child to find an object that begins with the sound “o”.
c. For a harder challenge, ask the child to find an object that ENDS with a specific letter or letter sound.

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Beach in a Bin

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R was 16 months old at the time of this activity

Book: 

Fishy Tales by DK Readers – Fishy Tales is a non-fiction book with stunning photographs.  Each two-page spread has a new sea creature to discover.  Inside, you will find simple labeled diagrams of coral, fish, turtles, sea horses, starfish, jellyfish, sharks, octopus, crabs, rays, dolphins, and eels.

Activity:

1. Beach Bin

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I offered R a textured ocean and beach themed sensory bin as an invitation to play.  She wasn’t engaged for very long until I added a scoop and sieve.  The sensory bin had brown decor sand at one end to represent the beach.  Next, I added small pebbles to represent a pebbled shore line.  Next, I added white stone granules to represent the waves crashing on the shore.  Finally, ocean was represented by blue coloured moon sand I had made a few weeks ago.  To add more textures to the sensory bin, I added some small shells and beach glass.  The recipe for the moon sand is as follows:

2 cups play sand or decor sand
1 cup corn starch
Mix thoroughly until well blended
Slowly add 1/2 cup of water until the moon sand is a crumbly texture but can hold form.

To enhance the sensory experience, I played ocean sounds with seagulls from youtube.  R loved running her hands through all of the different textures.

Extension Activities:
a. Add small ocean animals to encourage more imaginative play.
b. Have the child sieve the rocks into another container to separate them from the sand.

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How do I Plan my Days and Weeks? – Independent Play Edition

Independent Play:

IMG_5860Though this may seem like the easiest part of the day, it has been a process (and still continues to be one) to get R to become comfortable when playing alone.  She would love to have my attention at all times of the day, but obviously this isn’t feasible.  I have made it my mission to work on getting her to play independently for longer periods of time so that I have time to do things around the house or to just relax. Continue reading