Second on my list was FunShine Express. One thing that JUMPED out at me upon setting up my classroom with their circle time activities is how easy it would be for all of them to be contained in a "file folder" format.
The colorful displays were well suited for laminating and placing in file folders for individual observation and experience. This would be PERFECT for the in-home provider with little space or that didn't want their home to look like a child care center while still providing all the educational materials for their enrolled students.
The picture at the left was just one example of the fun daily activities provided by FunShine Express.
This activity was cross referenced in their easy to follow, image laden Teacher's Guide that accompanied their box of May curriculum. Everything expect paint was included.
From heavy weight paper, to styrofoam trays and mixing sticks along with conversation activities and observations. As you can see, my children were ALL IN! Take a look at the below pix. They LOVED the sticks and also opted to bring in some of the natural materials to experiment with from the play yard; leaves, sticks, and seeds (we call them prickly pears).
We reflected in the final pictures that when ALL the colors were mixed they made BLACK!!! Black elbows, black chins, black fingers and sinks....all in a day of play with FunShine Express!
What Comes In The Box?
FunShine Express comes with everything shown here...except the blue pocket wall display. That was purchased through Amazon.
However, it isn't necessary to have one. As shown on the right, with the barn image, is the included calendar and one could just as easily use that along with the included calendar numbers pieces in a file folder format.
In fact, if done in this fashion, the calendar then also becomes a game and so interactive. I did this just on the table with my littles. I gave them the calendar and pieces to place the numbers in sequence. The LOVED being able to "play" with the pieces hands ON!
FunShine Express is also VERY well organized and all the activities, games, song, fingerplays, and projects were age appropriate and allowed for lots of extension on topics. Their theme for the month was Baby Animals and Farms, a completely engaging topic for my preschool girls and boys! I live in Willard, MO, in a farming community, so this was GOLD!!!
There was shoe lacing, flower pot making, letter, animal, number recognition, math, science, literacy; and regarding literacy, their book was hard cover! "Lola Reads To Leo" was about a little girl who loves to be a big helper and has a little brother. It was precious as I have a little one that just had a baby sibling, this was timely!!! They also included music and movement, games, foreign language, "all about me" packs, stickers, all necessary supplies for each craft (sans paint, scissors, glue), they even included sidewalk chalk for their "experiencing different mediums of drawing" activity. The supplies were perforated and easy to disassemble for use. They did have minimal cutting to do...nothing that was overly tedious for the teacher! My students LOVED the piggie and duckling masks!!! They especially enjoyed the lacing beads activity that came complete with plastic needles, beads, and thread for some easy and fun fine motor skill practice!
Below are the examples of the product and my littles thoroughly enjoying it!!!
What Does A Typical Day Look Like?
A typical FunShine Express day was FULL of engaging and interactive activities.
Most of the above pictures were from Tuesday, May 19th, utilizing the "All Grown Up!" theme from the May 2015 Curriculum Guide. We began our day with the "I Am Special" song (included) and our calendar and weather observation conversations.
We then dumped out ALL our crayons in search of the purple ones...it turned into this extension project!
Instead of just hunting for the purple...we mixed and matched and made "new" crayons in the shapes of circles and baby animals! What a SUPER FUN project!
We then discussed what types of foods make us grow? What are healthy choices? For snack we tried a veggie tray of edamame, pea pods, carrots, celery, and cucumbers with yogurt ranch dip! During snack we practiced the Spanish word for "grow," "crecer." We also discussed and practiced our yoga poses; tree, boat, snake, cat, and mountain. We had a lengthy conversation about all the different kinds of excercise. We tried somersaults, handstands, turtle crawling, frog hopping, chase, hide and seek and YES!!! We discovered that they are ALL exercise because when we put our hands on our hearts we could feel them "thump!","thump!", "thump!!!"
We learned a new song called "I Am Growing!" (FunShine Express Curriculum Guide May 2015)
Sung to "Are You Sleeping?"
I am growing, I am growing,
Yes, I am! Yes, I am!
I'm getting bigger everyday,
Bigger, bigger everyday,
Look how much I've grown!)
We then measured each child (as shown above) with the included yarn and made a "people pocket" in our own likeness. We practiced writing our names on the included name tag sticker, attached the yarn to it and placed it on our wall for everyone to see the differing heights of our friends!
We used the included "Growing Up Learning" picture cards of the chicken, egg, and chick and discussed which one comes first? We talked about how we are growing and how many things we can do now; potty on the toilet, dress ourselves, drink from a cup instead of a bottle, ride a bike! These are all "evidence" (vocabulary) that we are indeed growing up!!!
The FunShine Express Curriculum Guide!
Funshine Express also has FunShine Online for those that want the convenience and help of a research based curriculum at a VERY affordable rate. The link is here. You still get all the incredible lessons plans, sans the supplies! These lessons are state aligned and an incredible value at only $19/month for their premium plan! I think this is FAB!!!!!!
It is possible to have a fantastic, prepared, state aligned, research based, interactive and engaging curriculum at your fingertips with lots of room for extension and active P.L.A.Y! I am THRILLED with FunShine Express and I know you will be too!
I wish you well and I hope you get to play today!
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