Sensory Fun!

Learning about the five senses presents many opportunities for fun experiences!  The toddlers explored them by using all five senses at once to investigate Cool Whip!  When placed on the table, the children could feel the cool, squishy texture, smell the sweet scent, and see the bright white color.  They also heard the joy expressed by their friends laughing and using sounds like yummmm as they test tasted the substance!

Some friends were at first hesitant to explore this strange new substance, but it certainly didn’t take too long for each of them to find out how much fun using your senses can be!  And when it was time to clean up, they used the sink to feel the warm water wash over their hands and faces;  another opportunity to recognize how learning happens through sensory experiences!


2015-08-31 print2 whip face      2015-08-31 print5 (2) 2 table whip      2015-08-31 print5 (1) Hen whip face      2015-08-31 print whip sink

Apple Painting!

Painting with apples offers preschool children the opportunity to learn about apples, as well as experiment with color!  As the teacher cut the apples in half, the class talked about the different parts of the apple.  The children learned that each apple has a core, which holds seeds that can be used to plant new trees.  Touching and handling the apple parts helped them to secure the new knowledge in their brain’s memory bank!  Children learn best by using their senses and touching, feeling, smelling, tasting and exploring the world around them.

The children touched and tasted several varieties of apples which had different shapes, colors and names.  After observing the various characteristics of the apples, the children were given apple halves and plates of colorful paint.  They then dipped their apples and made spectacular prints of many colors.  Their creations were then displayed in their classroom for all to see and enjoy! 

Dipping the same apple in different color paint helped them discover that colors change when paint is mixed together.  Using yellow after red made the imprint of the apple appear orange.  What an amazing discovery for a young learner!

DSC02255 Gr Oct 21 Apple P      DSC02259 Gr Oct 21 Apple P class      Gr Apple P Cover


Creating with Loose Parts

Encouraging children to use their imaginations and creativity can come from a variety of resources!  Many of our school agers are comic book fans.  And while comics have been given a bad rap by parents for as long as they have been around, there are many Literary (with a capital L) experts who now agree that there is some literary merit to be found between their thin covers. We, at Care-a-lot, know that many of our own reluctant readers will pick up a book if it has the endorsement of a comic book character.

We also know that children will often choose simple things to play with over fancy toys.  You may have experienced this when you are sure your child will be so excited about the latest gizmo and instead they want to play with the box it came in!  Knowing this, we try to stock a variety of small manipulatives in the classrooms for play. There is even a philosophy among child-play experts and playscape designers called the Theory of Loose Parts, which advocates for the inclusion of these small manipulatives in children’s play and learning environments.  It is believed that loose parts in children’s environments empowers creativity!

So what are loose parts?  Loose parts are materials that can be moved, carried, combined, redesigned, lined up, and taken apart and put back together in multiple ways.  They are materials with no specific set of directions that can be used alone or in combination with other materials.

Here you can see pictures of our school-agers who have combined their imaginations and the loose parts found in the Lego basket to create DC and Marvel comic book characters.  There are intricate Lego sets available that have more life-like characters.  While those intricate sets could challenge the fine motor skills of many adults, they are designed in such a way that there is only one correct way to assemble them.

The loose parts and simple cubes found in traditional Lego sets not only stimulate fine motor development but also encourage creativity and imagination.  They develop problem solving skills and encourage open ended learning.  For example, children experiment in how to balance the female characters with their pony tails and how to depict The Dash in motion using simple cubes.  When given the right tools our young friends are able to come up with some very clever solutions and a lot of pride in their own original creations!

065 Can BP Oct 14 Lego     BP Can Oct 14 Car Char     087 BP Can C Cover


Learning to Ride!

New and exciting experiences are all part of transitioning into an older classroom!  The children who turned 3 over the summer moved into the preschool classrooms this fall and are now able to enjoy the larger tricycles on the playground.

It’s great fun and most exciting to ride the entire sidewalk going fast!   Riding tricycles strengthens many muscles in young legs, enhances balance, and builds confidence.  And while waiting for a turn, the experience also provides an opportunity to learn patience; although this may not be the most enjoyable part of the activity, it is valuable learning!

Putting obstacles on the sidewalk such as cones, or even teachers, helps the riders practice maneuvering the vehicle and making it go where the children intend it to go.  As the preschoolers continue to grow, the different sized tricycles help the children continue to develop their skills.

For as long as we can this fall, the preschoolers will be getting outside to enjoy a ride!

2015-09-04 00.16.08 Bike Hen        2015-09-04 00.15.47 Bike back Hen