Dirt, Rocks and Mud!

The Henrietta toddlers enjoyed a fun-filled week of Dirt, Rocks and Mud!  Our activities included scooping dirt into our bowls, digging up rocks with spoons and adding some water to make mud.  The spoons were soon forgotten as the children really wanted a full sensory experience and started using their hands!  We talked about how it felt – cold, wet, sticky and fun to squeeze!

We also talked about how dirt is home to worms and helps feed our pretty flowers!  The children more fully explored the mud by spreading it on the picnic table where they drew shapes with their fingers.  What a fun and messy way to learn through hands-on experience!

2016-05-17 23.55.45 mud hen     2016-05-17 23.40.41 mud hen     2016-05-17 23.42.45 (1) hen mud       2016-05-17 23.56.37 hen mud


Pretend Play!

The children in the Greece Universal Pre-Kindergarten class had great fun putting on masks and using props to pretend they were someone else.  They were also learning as they played!

Imaginary play allows children to actively experiment with the social and emotional roles of life. Through cooperative play, children learn how to take turns, share responsibility, and creatively problem-solve. When children pretend to be different characters, they have the experience of “walking in someone else’s shoes,” which helps teach the important moral development skill of empathy.  Through maturation and cooperative play, children begin to understand the feelings of others. Children also build self-esteem when they discover they can be anything just by pretending!

Children also try out language that they hear in their daily lives and begin to understand the power of language during pretend play.  Pretend play also provides children with a variety of problems to solve. Whether it’s two children wanting to play the same role or using the same prop, children use important cognitive thinking skills to work through situations. These skills will be used in every aspect of their lives, now and in the future!

DSC00227 (1) pret    DSC00233      DSC00227 (1) preten


Outside Play!

Outside play is important for young children for many reasons, from expressing creativity, to running freely, to learning how to interact with others. In addition to these fun reasons, there are also many health benefits.

Research has found that children who spend time outside have better distance vision than those who primarily play indoors. Outside play also has an effect on increasing children’s attention span.  Recent studies have also shown that green outdoor settings appear to reduce ADHD symptoms in children and help to alleviate stress.

Besides promoting physical skills and abilities, outside play also supports social and behavioral skills.  Not everyone can go down the slide first, so children have to interact with each other and work together.  At Care-a-lot, outside learning time is just as important as inside learning time!

DSCN6155 Can out      DSCN6178 Can out       DSCN6180 can out


Cutting Skills!

Having opportunities to use scissors enhances children’s fine motor skills.  And fine motor skills are necessary for developing the control of writing instruments!  Some other classroom activities at Care-a-lot that improve fine motor skills are lacing beads, lacing cards, and using clothes pins.

In the activity shown below, the children at Care-a-lot Henrietta cut out their favorite foods from magazines. This not only improves fine motor skills, but encourages children to make their own choices about foods that look good and that they may know taste good!

2016-06-10 006 cut         2016-06-10 002 cut