Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Moving Centers Outdoors

The kids have had a super fun time getting used to our outdoor learning space. Every morning they start asking, “Is it time to go outside yet?!?” as soon as all the parents head out for the day. If we had a bathroom and some cots out there I’m pretty sure they would never come in. 

Setting up centers outside is a SO much easier than I thought it would be. It’s pretty great that the kids have much more space to work on large scale projects together or take a break and burn off some steam by running around the yard or pounding on stuff. That is a God send now that most of daycare land is comprised of boys with lots of energy! Some of the fun things we had planned this week were:

Dart Guns:
Dart guns and other target games have been popular with this super energetic group of kids. They especially love shooting dart guns at the acrylic easel because the darts stick really well. Unfortunately the guns I bought are VERY hard to use so I will be looking for something a little easier to manipulate on my next toy run. In the meantime these kids are likely to end up with Herculean hand strength and lots of patience from dealing with the current set!

Exploring Percussion instruments:
The kids set up a little “band” with some of our percussion instruments. One of the kiddies figured out how to rub two bumpy trays together to make his own instrument while some other kids experimented with sound by hitting different objects with mallets. We pounded cymbals and hit stuff with sticks. As they worked we discussed the difference in volume and sound as they hit solid, hollow or metal objects.

Board Games:
The kids are really into board games lately and Zingo was a huge hit. If you haven’t checked this game out, it’s a lot of fun preschoolers. The picture matching, letter recognition and finagling of small pieces in the bingo slider made it so that everyone found Zingo to be a fun challenge. Since Sam brought the game to share with his friends, he took on the responsibility of teaching everyone how to play. The kids took turns rotating in and out of the game for over an hour. 

Fence Weaving:
I’ve seen tons of great weaving projects on Pinterest so I thought we would put our own spin on weaving by adding it to our fence as an ongoing collaborative project. It turns out that weaving is kind of tricky. Moving the ribbon in and out of the fence was a challenge; often the children would work on a ribbon for ten minutes or so only to have completely unwoven their piece by the time they were finished. Even though some of their attempts of weaving did not yield the intended result, the kids were delighted to watch the wind send ripples through the ribbons.

The Gigantic Magnetic board:
We’ve used the garage door for letter play, magnets and a gigantic easel. The kids loved seeing how high they could push magnets by using their hands or climbing on the picnic table to get a little more height. We also used some heavy duty magnetic clips to hold paper in place for drawing. As they worked, some of the kids discovered that covering the paper in marker revealed a cool design from the imprint on the garage door. 

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