Thursday, July 26, 2012

Environmental Print Play

Quinn is enjoying a basket full of food box pieces right now.  I cut off the fronts of granola bars, applesauce, pasta, Chick-fil-a nuggets, cereal, etc. and put them together in a basket.  She pretends to buy the items at the store, gives them to her babies, and incorporates them into dramatic play.  She is also absorbing concepts about the print on the front of them as she works with them.  She will ask me to read them to her or she'll point out letters/ask me why there is a certain letter on the front.  I don't do any formal instruction with them--just let her play and follow her lead. 
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Baby texture basket

One of Beck's work items on the shelf right now is a basket filled with different textures....Hard to see them all from this picture but objects include:
-coffee wrapper (smells amazing, too!)
-empty plastic liner from cereal box (great and crunchy sounding!)
-corrugated cardboard
-minky fabric
-(not pictured) empty heavy paper flour sack

These objects provide listening, feeling, tasting stimulation as Beck can explore them with his hands and mouth.  He likes to crawl around the house carrying one or two of them.  :)
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Bean pouring never grows old....

At each new stage Q enjoys bean (or noodles or rice or another small sensory object) play just as much but in a little different way.  Here she had her babies all lined up around here and she was launched deeply into a monologue about their medicine as she poured and scooped and measured and.....learned...math, science abounded!
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Handmade Book--Acts 2

We are slowly but steadily making our way through learning the history of the Church. 
I am having no problem taking a super slow pace and really reflecting on/processing each story.  I think often times we feel the need to do "a story a day" (or week or Bible class session) and that usually isn't enough for little ones. 

We read about the early church and how they operated.  We decided to make a book from scratch to show what they did.  We folded some plain white paper together and Q did all the cutting herself (with my verbal instructions).  Then we used sticky notes to plan what each page would contain--referencing the scriptures we talked about each page--I wrote on the sticky note a word or two that the page would address.  Then we worked on a page a day--she did the majority of the writing, so it was a great chance for emergent writing.  I helped when she got frustrated or with long parts. 
She also did the majority of the drawing (with some help from me.)  We really focused on discussing how to draw each element--this is a great comprehension tool.  There is a correlation to how well children can sketch objects and their listening/reading/writing comprehension.  You see on the "Praised God" page the person has hair all around their head--kinda looks like a lion.  After this we looked at ourselves and talked about where hair really grows and how we shouldn't draw it the whole way around. 
Of course the biggest focus was on the spiritual implications of each page.....we spent the majority of our time talking about that. 

On the "broke bread/remembered Jesus" page we had grape juice and crackers as we reviewed the meaning of the icons we use for communion.  She loves doing this any time I let her!!

We had a lot of fun with this book and it is now a great resource for reviewing.  After it was finished (drawing/writing) we laminated it and I sewed it down the middle to bind it. 
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Peter, John and the Crippled Man

These past couple of weeks we've been focusing on the story of Peter and John and the crippled man. 
You know how I always have a "use what I have" mentality, so when I was preparing for this activity I raided my studio with that in mind.  I ended up using a large macrame bead (I think that's what it is?  It was in a hand-me-down stash of craft supplies....) and some pipe cleaners.  I wanted the man to have legs that could be "hurt" and then have there be a tangible way to see them working correctly.  So when he is crippled (in the story) we smush them all up and watch him fall over.  When Pepeter calls upon Jesus' power to heal him, we straighten them out again. 

The top picture has the "temple" built from blocks and Peter and John headed to pray.  Notice I haven't yet painted John....but you get the idea.  Eventually my plan is to have a complete set of painted apostles as they are introduced in the various stories we study.  At the time of this posting John is half-painted up in the studio.  :)

We read the story and manipulate our objects to match the storyline. 

Here's our memory verse--from the International Children's Bible.

We have a "Bible study basket" that holds past manipulatives.  After story time Q enjoys playing and exploring with the manipulatives on her own....often making up new stories or adding on.  Here she is wearing the "fire hat" from a while back.  She can't ever get enough of that.  :)
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