Posts Tagged ‘Early Childhood’

Day Care Substitute

Wednesday, March 21st, 2012

day-care-substituteIn the summer between my first and second years of teaching, while I was still single, I decided to get a job as a day care substitute. Each morning I would get a phone call, and I probably saw about 20 different day cares. Some of them were in areas of poverty, and some were in richer areas of town. I saw such a wide variety.

A few of them were so filthy, I didn’t feel like I could start working with the children until I had scrubbed the entire room and organized it. I’m sure that the health department would have been horrified with the condition of some of these day cares. The majority of the children looked so sad as their parents dropped them off.

After making sure the room was clean, I would look around for activities for the children to do. I took out play doh, and we all made animals. Then we would get on the floor in the blocks area and make a castle with blocks. I pretended to be a dragon coming after the children, who were roaring with laughter. I had no problem putting the children to sleep for nap time, because they were very tuckered out. And by the end of the day, the children didn’t want to leave.

Finally one day care booked me for the entire rest of the summer. It’s because I was the only one who could put a violent 3-year-old biter to sleep. (Yes, this boy bit children regularly and drew blood each time. I always wondered why he was allowed to be there.) No matter what I was doing at the nap time hour, someone would come fetch me to put this violent kid to sleep. First I calmly danced around with him in the dark, swaying and singing “Raindrops on Roses” softly, from “The Sound of Music.” Then I placed him on his mat and continued singing, softer and softer, with my eyes drooping closed. Eventually he started snoring.

At a previous daycare during the first month, there was another violent boy who was 2 years old. He cussed and hit everyone who came near, and he disobeyed every command. I knew nothing about parenting back then, since I was single, but I was used to being obeyed as a teacher. So the first time he disobeyed me, I took him and hugged him while he pounded me with his fists. I didn’t care if I got bruised, because for some strange reason, the love of Jesus flowed through me to this kid. There was nothing lovely about him, but I chose to love him and not allow him to injure anyone else. He thrashed about for what seemed like forever, and then he yielded to me. He looked me straight in the eye, and he knew I loved him for real. He obeyed me the rest of the day.

I couldn’t help but be reminded of how this situation was similar to salvation. Christ chose us and loved us when there was nothing lovely about us. We were wallowing in our sin when He opened His arms to us, and then our sin bruised Him as He chose to suffer and die to have a relationship with us. When we finally yielded to Him, the automatic and true response was to walk in obedience. Our relationship to Him caused a change in our behavior.

Crazy Dr. Seuss Hats

Tuesday, March 13th, 2012


These crazy Dr Seuss hats can be made by children of any age. You could decorate a green one for Saint Patrick’s Day. Many stores sell them for one dollar around Saint Patrick’s Day, so they don’t cost much. You will also need a hot glue gun and craft supplies that you can find around your house.

Make sure that an adult is present to use the hot glue gun. Let your children decide where they want to put each item. My daughter made a nest on the top of her Dr Seuss hat, and put some fake birds into it. Then she made a face on the main part of the hat with pom poms and pipe cleaners. She added some butterflies.

My oldest son stuck some feathers to his hat, adding a face and placing pom poms around the entire edge of the hat. His one was green and looked the most like a St. Patrick’s Day leprechaun hat. Now all he needs is a rainbow and a pot of gold. And he needs to be short and stubby and chew on some clover leaves. Yes.

Next up is the crazy Dr Seuss hat that was orange and red. I could hardly look at it without going blind from the clashing colors. My son hot glued all kinds of plastic animals and other nonsense to his hat. As you can see, he is crossing his eyes in the picture, adding to the jovial nature of the picture. (He doesn’t normally look that frieky.)

Last but not least, my youngest son made a face and hot glued a big pom pom to the front of his Dr Seuss hat. We also sewed a twirly propeller-type thing to the top. We picked it up at a dollar store the day before we made these crazy Dr Seuss hats.

Painting on an Easel

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011


My children have always enjoyed painting on an easel outside, ever since they could stand up and hold a paintbrush. As they grow older, you can experiment with different kinds of paper. You can clip watercolor paper to the easel, and allow your children to do some watercoloring of a beautiful scene outdoors. You can clip sketch paper to the easel, enabling the child to sketch the scene. You can also go all out and buy a canvas and do oil painting. This is better than watercoloring outdoors, because the watercolors drip if you use a lot of water, whereas the oil paints don’t drip and have a richer color.

You can also do sketches with colored pencils, oil-based crayons, or chalk. I recommend getting bright chalk colors so that your child can see the chalk show up on the paper. Artist chalk is brighter than sidewalk chalk and can be purchased at a local art supply store.

Try going to a local botanical gardens or to a well-known hilltop near where you live, somewhere with a good view. Then sketch out briefly with a pencil the main shapes in the picture. Now paint with the oil paints. You can even wear a French beret while painting, adding to the artistic ambience. Your kids will be growing in their art skills as well as getting fresh air!

Food Groups: Early Learning Activities

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010


Cut and Paste Activity for Food Pyramid

When my children were younger, we studied the food pyramid with the different food groups. We cut out pictures from magazines, and we rolled out some butcher paper on the floor. I labeled each section with a different food group, and the kids glued each food picture under the correct heading. By the end of the project, each of the children knew the categories.

Categories of the Food Pyramid

  • Bread, Cereal, Rice, and Pasta Group
  • Fruit Group
  • Vegetable Group
  • Milk, Yogurt, and Cheese Group
  • Meat, Poultry, and Fish Group
  • Fats, Oils, and Sweets

Here is an old fashioned chart of the food pyramid:

Here is an updated food pyramid:

Alternate Hands-on Activity for Food Pyramid

You can do the same thing with cardboard boxes and plastic food. Label each box with different categories from the food pyramid, and the kids can place the plastic foods into each box as a sorting activity.

Retention of Food Pyramid Information

For the next few days, the children would mention the food categories. For example, they would say, “Cucumber is a vegetable, isn’t it?” as we were eating our food. They had a much better awareness of what they were eating.