Halloween 2012 is now history. It was a very quiet Halloween night – we only had about on third of the trick or treaters that we normally get around here.
I will admit that Halloween is my least favourite of all the holidays but that doesn’t mean that we don’t celebrate it. I did have most of my decorations up early this year – three weeks ago. I also bought the pumpkins early but we didn’t do anything with them until yesterday. Part of the problem may have been that, of the 11 full or part time children that attend, the ones that are most interested in Halloween activities are not the ones who are here much.
I like to use pumpkins as a sensory activity for the children and we like to bake with them too. We usually choose a pumpkin decorating activity that doesn’t involve carving it so we can still use the innards for food. I found some really amazing pumpkin decorating ideas here.
However, with mostly just infants and toddlers here for the day any elaborate decorating techniques would not be developmentally appropriate. So, instead we simply painted a pumpkin.
I found it amusing that the biggest problem I had with this activity was getting the little ones to stand up to paint. Usually the messier the art activity the more likely they are to want to run around. This time however just sat, holding their paint brush, and stared at the pumkin on the table. When I stood them up so they could reach they promptly sat down again.
Eventually they caught on and started painting the pumpkin. The red paint did not show up well;
The blue was vibrant against the orange of the pumpkin;
We even managed to do some color mixing;
Of course by the end of the activity the pumpkin was mostly greyish brown but we were most interested in the process not the product.
There were so many interesting things going on in the yard.
I observed the two-year-old as he practiced fine motor skills and began to understand gravity – he studied each pebble as it dropped to the ground after he placed it in the space between the boards on the bridge.
The six-year-old showed me the pictures she had been creating with gravel too;
Then the boys excitedly called me over to see what they had discovered over by the fence – so beautiful;
We wondered who that belongs to? Maybe this HUGE spider who was happily munching on a wasp over in the covered seating area;
And we are all really excited that only five days after the seeds were planted the grass is beginning to grow. I think that is pretty amazing considering there have been eight children running around on it every day;
So many marvelous things to see 🙂
It has been very difficult to find time to write — we have been so busy. My morning writing time has been shortened due to the early arrival of several of the children. My weekend writing time has been eliminated due to some major projects — I’ll write about them soon but for now you’ll just have to wait.
Today all I have time to write is a little snippet of some of last week’s observations. First, I’m very pleased with the progress of the plants in the garden. Last year the cucumbers made it only part way up the trellis but the children still enjoyed relaxing there;
This year the beans have grown to the top of the trellis and beyond;
Most of the herbs are growing well too but sadly many of the children enrolled this year seem to have little interest in exploring the garden. They do like to water it though.
I’m quite interested in some of the plants that are growing in the bare spots that we never got around to planting anything in. I wish I was able to identify some of them – I assume they are weeds. I pull the thistles but others I think are pretty so I leave them to grow. Maybe someday I’ll find out what they are – do you know?
The baby loves the gravel area — I’m glad I no longer restrict the little ones access to this area. Some day I’ll write a post about my transition from keeping babies ‘as safe as possible’ outdoors vs ‘as safe as necessary’. One of the babies favorite activities has been to slide her feet back and forth until she buries them completely;
Then she picks all the little gravel pieces out of her sandals – without asking me to help 🙂
Finger knitting has become the favorite quiet time activity for the school-age boys – the girls have little patience for it;
But everyone loves painting on the plexiglass outdoors;
Moving the plexiglass easel was part of the major project this past long weekend. Stay tuned for more of the project details when I find some time to write….
It has been a busy week and for the most part it has gone by quickly. The early start to the day (five children arrive before 6:50 am) has limited my writing and prep time in the morning. However, the cats are quite enjoying having so much company first thing in the morning — then the baby arrives and they do this;
We’re still working on ‘be gentle’ so at this point a hug looks more like a bodyslam. The garden flowers probably wish they could run away too;
The older children make a daily trip around the yard to collect spiderwebs to add to ‘soup’ and building projects. I’ll admit it makes a good glue but I don’t like the web ball collections;
The girls’ favorite ‘toy’ has been a dead bee that they found. Each day they build homes for it;
They made sure it had a pillow for its bed;
They love that it is “so soft and fuzzy”. Together they go on many adventures;
We’ve done some art projects indoors;
And outside we painted the wood pieces from the loose parts area;
They created some wonderful designs – I was impressed by this color blending done by a four year old;
It is just tempra paint and this wood stays outdoors so I’m not sure how long these designs will last but they are beautiful;
Temporary or permanent these paintings will add some colour to the building projects and if the paint fades or washes away we can paint them again. 🙂
Another exciting thing about renovating is that you get some really cool boxes like these;
There are eight children in the above photo – all inside the boxes 🙂 We decorated the boxes too;
My current group of children is evenly mixed – four boys and four girls – so at one point the boxes were labelled “Girls” and “Boys” That didn’t last long since the girls did most of the decorating and soon changed all the labels to ‘Girls only’ but the boys were still allowed to visit.
These boxes kept the children engaged for two solid hours and eventually the larger one was flattened so everyone piled into the “rescue ship”;
This is why renovating is so much fun.
We’ve had some crazy weather recently. Some days the temperature has been above zero but within days it is back to a frigid -30C. We’ve even had days where my sheltered back yard has been whipped by wind.
This weather has resulted in the daily dilemma — ‘Should we stay indoors or go out to play?’ Actually, the question really is how long we should stay out since only once have I decided we should not go out at all. Some days we’ve only been outside for 10 or 15 minutes but usually it is much longer.
The cats seem to think they’d like to go out;
But that’s really only because they want the neighbours ‘pets’;
When the children and I are inside we work on projects like these sun catchers;
Outdoors we’ve made cakes;
I love the ‘fire’ that the children make — they sit here to ‘warm up’
Their biggest complaint is the lack of snow. They spend a great deal of time relocating the little snow we do have to the area of the yard they want to play in;
Indoors or out — working together and having fun.