Last week we continued our Olympics theme introducing the balance beam! Many of the children were watching the Olympics with their families and when I brought out our "balance beam" they all knew EXACTLY what this was for.
Within moments they were placing one tiny foot in front of the other, carefully balancing and pretending to "dismount" appropriately at the end of the beam. Our beam, was simply a 1x4 that I had stained with weather sealant so it could remain outside throughout the week (and still is they love it so much) and placed directly on the ground for our younger children to safely cross.
Our 3's practiced rolls and placing their hand above their heads as they walked, ran and hopped across. It was precious to simply sit back and watch them pretend and play as they completed their "routine." You could tell by the concentration and look on their faces that they were, in fact, dreaming about being the little gymnasts that they viewed on the television.
This is where it all begins...in the innocent little hearts of young children. A tiny little dream that they are allowed to "pretend." This is just a very small part why "playtime" is so vital to infants, toddlers and preschool age children. This is when their heart tells their soul..."I CAN!" It's up to us as caregivers, parents, teachers to allow "I CAN" to remain, grow, THRIVE! They will find out, soon enough, that the world will try to knock that out of them. It's these precious moments that a little spark ignites in their spirit. It's my job to provide the tools...and I'm more than happy to do so...
Our Opening Ceremony was complete with flag bearers from each age group! The 1's, banged his flag on the ground...his head...other's toes! The 2's were simply into the spirit of flag waving and marching. The 3's understood the concept of a parade, lining up and marching to the left...then to the right...and back again. They too became frustrated that the 2's didn't really care about lining up, follwing directions or moving together. It was VERY fun for me to see the different developmental stages at work with such a simple and fun activity!
We also had torch bearers, of course! We made our "torches" with glittered and folded cardstock and multi-colored tissue paper strips that we all tore to shreds and glued to the top of each rectangular card. Once rolled and glued these resembled burning torches, sans the flame :).
I explained that Olympic Torch Runners will run a LONG, LONG, LONG way and take turns passing the torch and running with the torch to the place where the "games" will be and then they light the BIG CANDLE that is bigger than our kitchen so that EVERYONE can see it! So...we practiced running with our torches too, as seen here.
Now...what Olympics would be complete without Laurel Wreaths? We had to make these... First we tried to find suitable leaves to place on our bands, BUT with all the drought, all the leaves we found kept crumpling up and making a huge mess of our hands and glue. We had to find a different solution. One of our little 3's looked around and noticed the "pretend plant" I had in a wire basket on the table outside and said, "Look, Ms. Donna! LEAVES!!" She was correct, so we all worked together to disassemble the "pretend plant" and use LOTS of glue to place our everlasting leaves upon our wreaths.
Lots of opportunity to talk about exercise during this study...
With the Olympics in full swing, and the letter "O" taking its rightful place this week, we decided to focus on the OLYMPICS. This has been a VERY "hands-on" study and one they love.
Monday we began our week making this picture to the right and discussing the Olympic flag and what it means. After looking at a picture of the Olympic flag we decided we would like to make one ourselves.
First we observed the colors of the flag...blue, yellow, black, green, and red. We each took turns naming the colors and talked about how we could make a flag like that. One of our little 3's declared, "With CIRCLES!" So, off we set out to find a perfect circle shape to make our own Olympic rings.
We looked at several items in our crafting drawers...no, too small, too big, too square, too oval (this was really a cleverly disguised teachable moment to name all of our shapes, sizes and make comparisons of big, little, tall, small, short, skinny, etc... But isn't that the BEST part of learning?? When your just having a great time and suddenly realize that you have experienced something in a new way, while having a giggly time with friends and maybe even learned something a bit new?
These are moments I LOVE!! We finally landed on our toilet paper and paper towel inserts. They were the perfect shape to fit into our paint trays AND onto our paper. We could easily hold them in our hands and dip them and stamp them!
So empowered and excited we set off to make a flag! The above picture shows off on of our little 2's interpretation of the Olympic flag...pretty SWEET! The below pic shows two of our sweet students completely engaged in this activity.
But before the event can take place.....
We also practiced lacing our cardboard shoes, in and out, over and under and, of course, unlacing the shoe. The unlacing is FAR more difficult! Most of our children wear sandals or velcro shoes right now, but Ms. Donna (me :)) has tennis shoes. So we also took a bit of time and practiced lacing and unlacing the real deal as well. We discovered that lacing the real shoe was much more challenging than the cardboard shoe. The holes are smaller and the laces longer. These were observations made by the 3's. This is fantastic compare and contrast skills!! I was very excited to see how they worked together to pull and push the laces through the holes. They were patiently waiting and taking turns, excited to get the opportunity to try BIG SHOES. So, if your finding your shoes at home unlaced or with some extra "attention," you can totally blame it on SCHOOL!
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com