Herding Sheep

A motor skill is simply an action that involves your little one using his muscles. Gross motor skills are larger movements your young child makes with his arms, legs, feet, or his entire body. So crawling, running, and jumping are gross motor skills.

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For the young child, development occurs when he uses gross and fine skills together. He’ll gradually get better at this as he grows into middle childhood. One can encourage your gross motor development by playing games that challenge him a little.

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For this activity, we practiced herding sheep by using a few materials. To begin with, we talked about what a herd was. We then took toy sheep and placed them in groups of five.

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Lastly, we herded white balloons (using fly swatters) into a green swimming pool. Everyone enjoyed seeing their sheep move across the stage. Lots of laughs followed!

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Pig Tails

Our second week of farm activities revolved all around the pig.

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During this week, we created a variety of mud-filled environments for this most fascinating creature.

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For this activity, students dug for pigs’ tails in a bucket of mud. Using kid-sized tweezers and colorful cut-outs, students reached for their tails to then place them on the matching pig of the same color.

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This activity challenged your little ones’ hand-eye coordination and proprioception skills.

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Barnyard Herds

Small world play occurs when children use miniature items such as toys, found objects, or replicas to act out scenes or ideas from real life, stories, or books.

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This kind of play often includes sensory elements which add depth to the experience and creates opportunities for language stimulation.

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For this activity, we used the barnyard environment to inspire such language. Because this week involved words related to farm animals, this form of symbolic play enabled your little one to test out new words we learned, such as “trough”, “coop”, and “foal”.

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Tractor Legumes

Legumes have been used in agricultural production since the earliest of civilizations.

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They have served as the primary source of nitrogen for many cropping systems, as well as providing food for humans and domestic animals.

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In many developing agricultural regions of the world, legumes are still used extensively for these purposes.

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As part of our tractor week, your little one partook in a sensory activity about tractors and legumes.

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Using five different kinds of legumes, students practiced driving tractors and “planting” crops with their friends.

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Once finished, everyone enjoyed gathering the different legumes in their fingers and letting them sift to the ground!

Creative Foxes

When creativity is fostered within the preschool classroom, children thrive. They thrive because of art. The use of art and other creative activities are important because they enable your little one to benefit across many domains. For example, art may boost young children’s ability to analyze and problem-solve in myriad ways. As kids manipulate a paintbrush, their fine motor skills improve.

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By counting pieces and colors, they learn the basics of math. When children experiment with materials, they dabble in science. Most important perhaps, when kids feel good while they are creating, art helps boost self-confidence.

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And children who feel able to experiment and to make mistakes feel free to invent new ways of thinking, which extends well beyond the craft room. For this activity, we created fennec fox burrows. Using paint, glue, and woodchips, students painted cardboard tubes to create the perfect home for their foxes. Following this, students participated in a sensory activity with their new burrows. Once completed, students were able to take their burrows home!

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Stacking Tortoises

The desert tortoise is a species of tortoise that is endemic to the Sonoran and Mojave deserts of northwestern Mexico and southwestern United States.  There are only two species of desert tortoise and their hardiness lies in their ability to dig burrows underground. Desert tortoises are herbivores, capable of living in extreme weather conditions.

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They are able to do this by escaping into underground burrows during hot days. To help us connect with this creature, we stacked tortoises made out of egg cartons. Using their fine motor skills, students practiced stacking tortoises on top of one another. This fostered their cognitive skills as students concentrated on balancing their tortoises without allowing them to fall! Once finished, students were encouraged to count their tortoises and start all over again!

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Build a Burrow

The materials we choose to bring into our classroom reveal the choices we have made about knowledge and what we think is important to know.

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How children are invited to use the materials indicates the role they shall have in their learning.

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Materials are the text of early childhood classrooms.

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Unlike books filled with facts and printed with words, materials are more like outlines.

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They offer openings and pathways by and through which children may enter the world of knowledge.

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Materials become the tools with which children give form to and express their understanding of the world and the meanings they have constructed.

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It is for this reason that we are constantly interacting with several different substances, all of which serve a learning purpose! During the month of August, we learned all about the desert. During our fourth week of instruction, we talked all about the fennec fox! Three primary activities dominated our week. For these three activities, we utilized a variety of materials to construct fennec fox habitats.

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Before we began, we read a story called Fenny the Fox, by Hans Baumann. From this book, we learned that fennec foxes live in burrows.

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At the start of the week, we created these burrows by painting cardboard tubes.

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We then added wood chips and sand to them, and later placed them into our sensory tables.

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Students were invited to play and explore the different materials used.

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During the middle of the week, we constructed burrows out of bamboo flower pots.

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Students enjoyed creating scenarios with their friends as they interacted with desert vegetation, rocks, and sand. Lastly, we constructed burrows out of sand blocks.

 

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Using their thinking minds, students created burrows using sand blocks and a few other materials. It was exciting to see the combinations of materials they came up with, as many tried to build the biggest burrows they could!