Play based learning 4 chicks 4 moms

Post Graduation Play Date

There were no academic goals–This was just the girls wanting to get together. Plus Tank and Pooh’s older sister were out of school and we were briefly joined by the boys.

I wanted to do centers kind of like the ones at the Children’s Museum, I added a few toys to my collection and made felt food from this wonderful site. We were also happy for the loan of glasses and display stand from Uncle Kamana’o, These are the prep shots:

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Everybody arrived at about the same time so we sang a song, had a prayer, explained the centers and let them imagine.

They had a clothes pin with their name and the instructions that their pin had to be in their center with them and only three pins in a center at once. It went amazingly well and they played without drama for about two hours with just a snack break.

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Feelings – Day 1

Just 3 chicks today and, Yay! we had Jordan to help. The girl’s were very excited to have their senior cousin to help them with their games and projects and to offer a snuggle. For sign in the chicks cut out faces that reflected how they were feeling at the moment to glue in their journals, Uniqua was surprised, Hal, happy and Pooh was a little sad, missing, Daddy at work.

Wanting to start positive, we began with “happy”, singing “Smiles” before the prayer, followed by “I am Like a Star” and “If You’re Happy and You Know It”. We read Dolly Parton’s book “I Am a Rainbow” We also watched a YouTube video of the Daniel Tiger song “When You Feel So Mad That You Want to Roar” and sang along.2015-04-20 12.28.35

and then played “How Do I Feel” with cards I got here. They liked taking their card to Jordan for coaching on faces.

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We read this book about Happy and started on a book of feelings that I got here.

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By now the tide was really low and we couldn’t resist a quick venture in Grandma’s “front yard”. We saw a few fish and fire worms and they wanted to collect shells.

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It was overcast and the water was cold so we didn’t last too long. We ate lunch early read a couple of  Angry books and finished up their books. We talked about kind ways deal with anger. A counselor friend gave me this article on helping preschoolers understand and deal with emotions and I found it very insightful.

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Forgot to mention that the chicks also made cards and hugs for their mainland cousin who has been sick for many weeks. We talked about how we can do things to help others feel better and that’s what they wanted to do. Jordan helped them compose their messages.

Word count: 133 Draft saved at 8:03:11 pm. Last edited on April 22, 2015 at 4:10 PM
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Art-Day 2

I started out asking the chicks about their field trip and if they knew what we were taking about this week.  They all yelled art.  I had them share  what their favorite thing was at the museum.  They liked having a chance to talk.  Then I showed them this video about creating and talked about how when we make art we are creating something.  I googled sculpture and showed them some pictures, I should have been more prepared with that, fortunately I was able to skip some of the more provocative sculptures before they saw them!  I made  salt dough from this recipe.  I thought the white dough would make their creations  look more like sculptures.IMG_6751 IMG_6753 IMG_6754

After that we talked about mixing colors.  I showed them a short video of Bob Ross and pointed out how he mixed colors to make what he was painting.  I saw this idea on pinterest.  I only had acrylic paint so I gave them each a drop of dish soap to rub on their hand then I put about a teaspoon of paint in their hands.  After some tears, Pooh ended up with red, Uniqua had yellow, and, Kitty and Hal had blue. I had them rub their hands together and stamp their paper.  Next they had to rub hands with their neighbor and see what color they got.IMG_6755 IMG_6756 IMG_6757 IMG_6758 IMG_6759

I had to take advantage of a sleeping baby, so right after that we talked about what people paint.  I wanted to get sunflowers but there were none at the grocery store so I just got a mixed bouquet and had them use water colors to paint the flowers.IMG_6760 IMG_6761 IMG_6762

Just before lunch we talked about food art and making art with food.  They all have “You Are My Work of Art” from Nanny, and in it is a picture of “Summer” which is a painting if a mans face made of vegetables.  We talked about making food to look like a picture.  I wanted to do something elaborate but decided on something they would eat.  I found the picture here. I forgot to get pretzels this morning for the antennae but they knew it was a bee.IMG_6763 IMG_6764 IMG_6765 IMG_6766 IMG_6767

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Space-Day 1

Fortunately my girls and Uniqua had just looked at stars with a telescope on Saturday night so that was a nice lead into our discussion.  I read them a story called “Star Climbing.”  We talked about where stars are and there was some argument about the size of a star.  It looks tiny to us but it is actually really big.  We talked about planets and I tried to teach them the planet song but I was more tone deaf then usual and couldn’t get it right.  They will have to learn it with Nanny later.  I had made a space ship out of card board so when they were over me, and my baby was over them, I sent them outside to play.  They had to take turns because all three chicks couldn’t fit at once.  I think rather than wait their turn, they decided it was more fun to slide or swing and left the space ship after about ten minutes!  Good think I took pictures in the first 5.  They did like counting down from 10 and I shook the box when they said blast off.IMG_6712 IMG_6714 IMG_6715

Later we made jet packs.  I had them wrap 2-2 liter bottles with foil.  I thought that would be faster, cleaner and more awesome than gray paint.  I found a tutorial for one here.  It’s pretty self explanatory but I wasn’t sure what was the best way to attach the straps and a piece of cardboard worked great.  I didn’t have webbing so I used strips of drop cloth fabric.  I would recommend a high temp glue gun. For the “flames” I used tissue paper and just cut strips then I opened up the foil at the bottom (bottle opening) and stuffed the ends in. IMG_6716 IMG_6718 IMG_6720


I could hear them outside, “Mother, Cinderella has my jet pack!”

Last we did the phases of the moon with oreos.  I think there was more eating than learning going on though.  I got this printable here.  After I printed it I found this one which I like better because there are pictures on it but it’s not as cute and I didn’t want to print more.
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Hal ate off the frosting and said, “I’m saving all the nothing ones for my family. They love cookies!”IMG_6747

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Presidents’ Day/ America- Day 2

This is awful because I pretty much forgot to take pictures. During opening activities, the chicks colored pictures of the two famous presidents. After a quick review of Washington and Lincoln, they did a coin sorting activity that I got at crisscrossapplesaucelearning.blogspot.com, but can no longer access and we also soaked pennies in plain water, soapy water and vinegar with salt to see what would happen.

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2015-02-25 10.24.362015-02-25 10.25.01 We went over some of the vocabulary we’ve learned to read and added flag sentences. (They did Fl words on Monday). They read and colored their books.

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Their stars were made by clipping strips into squares and gluing them on the traced star and then gluing the cutout over the top.

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Dr Suess Day 2

My day happened to also fall on the eve of Purim (The Jewish holiday that honors Esther) so we sort of had Mordecai meets meets Who-ville. They celebrated last year, so the chicks were familiar with Purim traditions. After our opening we washed up and mixed the dough for hamantashen. We went back and watched the video about Esther, but we forgot the noisemakers, so we watched it again and made lots of noise to drowned out the name of Haman.

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Then some of  the chicks got dressed up like Esther did. Pooh’s sister saw the costumes come out and knew she wanted to be a sheep.

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We rolled out the dough and measured to find out which cutter was three inches. The chicks folded up the sides over the nutella to form Haman’s three cornered hat and we put them in the oven. Time for a break.2015-03-04 18.46.062015-03-04 10.24.50

Everybody loved the video “Horton Hears a Who” and then they colored pompoms with chalk dust to make clover and picked a speck for “Who-ville”

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While they ate lunch I read them an edited version of their favorite ,”Green Eggs and Ham”. that Uncle Kai had personalized on his mission and they got a kick out of it.

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Not enough time for any of the other great Dr.Seuss inspired activities.


Dr Seuss-Day 1

We started with songs and a prayer.  To start our “circle time” I told them it was someone’s birthday.  I gave the chicks some clues and they made guesses.  Mostly cousins.  I was surprised that when I said his name they knew he wrote “The Cat in the Hat.”  They also named “The Foot Book” which was perfect because that was the other book I was gonna use today!  I read them “The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.”  I asked if they noticed anything about the words and read a couple lines.  Uniqua guessed opposites which I thought was a good guess.  I gave a more obvious example and they guessed rhyming.  I found this word family activity here.  The link for free printables kept taking me to weird sites so I just followed her pictures and made my own.IMG_6648 IMG_6649 IMG_6650

I gave each chick a word family (the bottom of the hat) then I went through the strips of words and they told me whose hat it went to.  When we were done Uniqua laid down and said “look at my hat.”  So cute!

(Beam in my own eye.  When Uniqua got dropped off I said it looks like she’s wearing sleep clothes.  As I’m blogging and looking at the pictures my chicks are in their lovely pjs too!)IMG_6651 IMG_6653

I saw some cat in the hat snacks that skewered strawberries and bananas.  I didn’t have a chance to get bananas but found Nilla wafers in my pantry. Less healthy but good! IMG_6654

Hal said she doesn’t eat strawberries, Pooh and Uniqua were more than happy to have them.  Then Hal told me “I don’t eat, what is the green stuff?”

Me, “the leaves, I cut them off.”

“No, what was the stuff I had at night?”

I smiled, “fruits and vegetables?”


After that I read “The Foot Book.”  We talked a little about opposites and then I traced their feet.  I meant to have the chicks cut them out  but forgot and cut them myself.  Then I gave them tape and told them to tape them around so that we could follow them.  


I should have been more specific.  I told them to put them on the floor around the island.  I played “Shake it Off” and they ran, walked and jumped in circles around the island, trying to stay on the feet.  This idea came from here. IMG_6660 IMG_6661 IMG_6662

At the end we ate lunch and took pictures.IMG_6663 IMG_6664 IMG_6665 IMG_6666Happy Seuss Day!


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Mexico-Day 2

Tank didn’t have school so she joined us.  The chicks were extra excited and rowdy.  We started with “Jesus Wants Me For a Sunbeam” for our opening song.  They got carried away!



We found Mexico on a map and talked about words that start with “M,” like Mexico and map!  Then we spelled Mexico with our arms.






I wanted to do a Mexican dessert something and I came across conchas in my search.  I had never had them before or even heard of them.  I looked through some recipes and found this one. It is a sweet roll with a crispy frosting on top.  YUM! They are called conchas because the frosting top looks like the ripples on a shell.IMG_6608Later we talked about the day of the dead.  I had thought it was kind of a dark holiday and was hesitant to include it.  After a little research I found that it is more of a day of remembrance, festive and happy.  I found a pretty lady with the sugar skull makeup on Pinterest, after I showed them the picture they all wanted to do makeup.  I just used a cheap eye liner pencil.  Then we made tissue paper flowers.
IMG_6611 IMG_6613Quesadillas and conchas for lunch.

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Helping Others : Day 2

I had asked the chicks to bring a canned good for the community Christmas basket project, so they gave me those when they arrived. While they were signing into their journals, doing puzzles and folder activities, I pulled them one at a time to make painted hand prints for a later project. It took longer than I planned so they busied themselves with “Bear Hunt”.

After song, prayer and a couple more songs, we reviewed their activities from Day 1 and talked about ways we can help others. We read this book – “Giving” which talks about the tangible/intangible, positive/negative things that we give to one another.

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After a short “recess” we started our rolls for snack and for Grandma. We just doctored crescent rolls with butter and cinnamon, but they did a great job brushing on the butter and spreading the cinnamon. Even our mascot chick was able to roll up the dough.

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As the rolls were baking we went over all of the sight word sentences we’ve covered so far and added on the word “help”, to make “I can help….”. In their journals they traced the words and made pictures of things they do to help.

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While the chicks had “Dramatic Play” – (I didn’t assign that – that’s just what they were doing—very imaginative, very dramatic) – I cut out the hands for hugs (They did these their first year with Aunty Kyra and sent them to us in California). They each had two hugs – one for a sick friend and one for a missionary. We talked about who they were going to and took a picture to send along.

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The rolls were ready, so everybody hunted down slippers and headed across the street to Grandma’s house, stopping for some photo ops.  Grandma was vacuuming, but all of their bell ringing and yelling brought Aunty Kyra to the door.

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Here’s Grandma was some of her chicks.

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After a short visit, we rushed back to eat lunch and they watched a very helpful elephant in “Horton Hatches the Egg” – This was a YouTube of the actual book with narration, but well done and truer than the 50’s cartoon,

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Epilog: The sick friend was wrapped in each of the hugs by his wife and they were appreciated as a bright spot.

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Helping Others-Day 3

I had wanted them to do journals but we needed to get going on our mini-field trip so we just did opening song and prayer and theme discussion.  They had learned a primary song, When we’re helping at Uniqua’s house on Monday and Pooh has been singing it all week so we sang it filling in each chicks name for mother.

I looked for helping others ideas on pinterest.  One idea was to take toys for fire fighters to share with kids in emergency situations.  As luck would have it, my bother is a fire fighter and his watch was on during my day for girls club, and, they were having a neighboring school tour that we could jump in on.  Instead of a show and tell item I had each chick bring a toy they could share.  My brother asked that it be small, no bigger than a gallon sized ziplock, so that it could be stored on the truck.  I talked to the chicks about what we would be doing with the toys and they were happy to be doing it.  I made baked mochi and put it in a container, wrote “thanks for helping others,” on it and had the chicks sign their names.


They were super excited to see their crazy uncle. They gave him the toys and then he took them on a tour.  My First grader had been there on a field trip a couple weeks ago and her teacher had given them a thank you card.  The chicks found her in the picture!



They got to see where he sleeps and see pictures of Tank in his locker, that was exciting for them too!



They met a fire fighter in full gear, they do this so that kids won’t be afraid of them in an emergency situation.  I think they were still a little nervous!


There’s a cute “Elmo’s World” in which he talks about people who’s job it is to help others.  I didn’t get to look it up but we talked a little bit about fire fighters, doctors, police…

Back at my house, I did this cute matching game I found here.  I just drew the pictures and tried to copy hers.


IMG_6473They matched pictures of helping activities to the places you do them.  For example, putting away dishes goes in the kitchen picture.  Saying kind words or giving a hug could be anywhere.

I wanted them to have more cutting practice so I made a table of helping tasks and had them cut them out and fold them.  Then they put them in a jar (old puffs containers) and then decorated them. Foam stickers are great!  I wrote “When I’m helping I’m happy” on each jar and told them when they feel sad or bored they can pick something from their jar to do and feel better.  Some of the tasks were help mom by putting away 5 toys, thank dad for something he does for you, give your sister a hug…

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