COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

April 26, 2013
by countryfun
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Eagles!

Again this year I’ve been keeping an eye on the eagle webcam on the Maine coast. There’s been a good deal happening, so it’s time to share with the kids.

The 2 eggs have hatched and the baby eagles are now visible.  The kids saw clearly for the first time today.

Broadcasting live with Ustream

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February 15, 2013
by countryfun
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Meditation to do with Your Child

I believe in the value of yoga and meditation in promoting good health. We do both as part of our program (admittedly not as much as I’d like – still working on that). Click on the link below for the free material for a wonderful child friendly guided meditation from Imaginations that we will be doing here.

 

(sample of the language)

………       ………….

January 30, 2013
by countryfun
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Snowflakes A Plenty

I love making snowflakes. Have always loved making snowflakes, but it’s not always the easiest project to do with young children with beginning scissor skills. It isn’t always easy with older children that see lacy, involved snowflakes in their mind, but cutting the design is not feasible. Then you have all that paper – scraps, waste? – newspapers or magazine just don’t work the same as white paper. But making snowflakes is part of the experiences we want for our children right? For me the answer is yes.

Here’s where technology has come in handy this year. I found a sight that allows one to design snowflakes for free with the click of a mouse ~ SnowDays – It’s Always Snowing. Now there are other sites online, but this one worked the best for us. Even my 2 yr old enjoyed. I handled the mouse click and she moved my hand where she wanted. She not only had fun controlling my hand, but the excitement as she saw what was developing. I just kept seeing a smile and hearing “Pretty!”

We all made multiple snowflakes, watched many fall, checked out where others that were made were from and even went on a snowflake search.

Don’t worry we gets lots of scissor time here. Making snowflakes is not about scissor time, but that finished lacy snowflake.

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January 8, 2013
by countryfun
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The Mitten is The Mitten or is It?

As part of our science and math learning during this snowy month of January we compared 2 versions of the folktale – The Mitten (original inspiration: Golden Gang Kindergarten). We then made a Venn Diagram of these 2 books: The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt  and the one we already knew by Jan Brett  ~ The children discussed their observations about what was the same and different between these 2 stories. I wrote their observations onto our large white board, placing into the correct sections, as guided by the kids.  

During rest-time, I used Wylio.com to find creative commons photos of the characters in each version to make a visual version of our Venn Diagram for The Mitten.

You may notice a part of the Venn Diagram is missing – I left that out for the children to draw in themselves as part of understanding how a Venn Diagram works.

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June 19, 2012
by countryfun
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Summer Virtual Book Club – June

Country Fun is participating in the Summer Virtual Book Club blog hop. To see all the ideas posting from others joining click here.

We have had so much fun reading a selection of books written by June’s author. It was hard to decide on just one activity as an extension. If you have already read the posting done by one of the school-age children “Oinky! Oink! Oink!”, then you know we made a day of it all around the book Happy Pig Day! by Mo Willems.

When the parents are greeted at pick-up time with “Happy Pig Day!” you knew it’s been a day the kids enjoyed.

Here are some of the finished pig masks. 

 

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June 1, 2012
by countryfun
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Unexpected Lessons

Fridays are usually a day with no planned activities around here. A sunny Friday like today, means a full day outdoors. Today we took advantage of some unexpected occurrences to do some learning about our immediate environment and community.

With the grasses unusually tall for the end of May and rain forecast for the coming days, the dairy farmer showed up to cut and harvest the fields surrounding us yesterday. Whenever the tractors show up there is total excitement. [There are many older blog posts from past years about our interest in these tractors.] One of the tractors was left overnight in the field behind us, so this morning we went out for an up-close look. We figured out that the large back tires were as tall as me (about 5-1/2ft) and 3 preschoolers could fit inside the rim easily. There are “lots” of buttons and levers where the farmer sits to drive it. That seat is up high and you “can see good from it”. We checked out how the cut grass is picked up and shot into the grass wagon (not the official name, but our name).  While this investigation was going on the manure spreading truck was arriving at the harvested field beside us. It’s funny to watch a truck shooting out cow poop and getting a good smell of it too. Especially when you are under 5 and male. Then the second tractor shows up to cut another field. Followed by the dump truck to collect the cut and harvested grass. Lots to see, hear and smell, coupled with my simple explanations about how hydraulics lift and lower the “grass wagon”.

Off to play until lunch time.

As we are eating, I see our closest neighbor bringing her little ones out for some sunshine and lunch. This I have to share with the kids, because how often do you get to observe a woodchuck and her babies at play and feeding right outside your window!

Yes, I was totally excited about this and the kids definitely picked that up. They came quickly and quietly to the playroom window to watch.

We finished lunch and then got out the iPads to research woodchucks. In checking out the pictures found in the google search, I read information from the sites to help us learn more about our neighbors. We all learned new things. I believe it’s important for the children to understand that often I’m also learning along with them.

  • 4 claws on front paws and 5 claws on the back paws
  • small, but keen (powerful) ears
  • hibernate in Winter
  • burrows/tunnels have different chambers for living in. Have a special chamber for their bathroom.
  • tunnels can be longer than our houses (66ft)
  • woodchucks like to stand tall, sitting up on their back paws (like squirrels)
  • 4 teeth that are always growing, but they stay small because of all the plants woodchucks eat
  • can move their mouth (jaw) up and down and side to side – bite off and grind their food
  • herbivores – only eat plants
  • can climb tress and even swim
  • get most of their water from the plants they eat and the morning/evening moisture on them
  • babies are born without fur and blind
  • usually 3-4 babies in a litter
  • mom and babies stay within 50 feet of their burrow openings
  • like burrows on the edge of open fields

Needed a project to pull this all together. Paper bag puppet- right color, have them always on hand, simple and we love our puppets.

    

Project done with smiles. Went to check on our neighbors again. They were still outside enjoying the day.

       This little one enjoyed munching on my perennials, but I have tons of gardens and enough plants to share. A good trade-off to my way of thinking. Yes, I know to most woodchucks are pests and we talked about this, too.

It doesn’t get much better than being able to share an experience like watching these woodchucks in their natural place. Or developing that awareness of jobs within our community and awareness of where our food comes from and the work it takes to get it to us.

I love days like this!

~~~~~

Groundhog Life and Habitat

Woodchuck 

Science Education Center 

Baby Animal Guide

Pests

May 23, 2012
by countryfun
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National Missing Children’s Day

What is TAKE 25?

Since 1983, the United States has observed May 25th as National Missing Children’s Day. May 25, 1979 is the day 6-year-old Etan Patz disappeared from a New York street corner on his way to school. The widespread attention Etan’s case generated led to a nation’s commitment to help in finding missing children.

Through National Missing Children’s Day  this commitment is reinforced by reminding everyone who is involved with children to make child safety a priority.

The National Center has some great ideas and resources in support of teaching our children to be safe every day. On May 25th take 25 minutes and talk with your children using some of the ideas provided.

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