Sunday, October 3, 2010

squirrels and the nature center

I don't write about the nature center much anymore. We are still volunteering each week to lead/co-lead the toddler program. The building is undergoing a major renovation and we are forced into a shelter house. It's been months that we've been outside, and it's working out fine. The back of my vehicle is a storage site apparently, I have tubs of crayons, markers, glue sticks, tissue paper, googly eyes and other random craft supplies crammed in there. I went about three weeks with a large stuffed raccoon in the back. A real, stuffed raccoon. The dead- used to be a alive kind.

For our opening activity we rolled the big ball and shared our names. Lou is my ball roller helper. I try to remember as many names as I can. Once we had this super toddler story time librarian and she always remembered names and said "All our friends are here," and "I am so glad you are here today Bee," etc. She was just so sweet. I try to channel her during my time with the little ones.

The next thing we always do is the touch box. The mystery item(s) today were acorns. Bee walks around and lets each child take a feel of the item. We talk about what it felt like. Did it feel big or teeny tiny? Was is hard or soft? Did it feel flat, round, etc? I have noticed the kids are engaging more in describing the item and I hear good talk from the parents helping their child talk about what they think it could be. We take guesses. Only the occasional peaker gets it right.

Next come our stories. I've found that a few short simple stories are way more successful than a longer better quality story. These kiddos are 12mon-3 years. The main branch of our library has this awesome service where they will pull books for teachers. I tell them a topic and they pull about 10 books for me, some non fiction, some fiction. The lady that does it is really good at choosing interesting age appropriate books. This totally cuts down on my work load!

I do a lot of interaction with the story as I read, a lot of 'think aloud,' which is where you say aloud all of the internal dialogue that we as adult/good readers do. It helps kids learn how to make all the connections while they are reading. "Oh, I see that squirrel so high in the tree. I think he might have a nest in the tree." Oh, look at that squirrel running, I have seen squirrels run in my yard. Sometimes they run right up the tree." "I just read that squirrels are mammals, we have read about other mammals... what have been some others?"

We read Nuts to You by Lois Ehlert. This was a really good one though and I plan to read it again with preschool in a few weeks. We also read The Raggedy Red Squirrel by Hope Ryden and Hello, Squirrels by Linda Glaser.

Here was our craft. I thought it was a cute one. I cut cardboard egg cartons up for the bodies. The tails are that stiffer felt, although regular felt could have been used. I had some on hand. The face and ears are the regular gray felt. I didn't have a pattern, although I'm sure I've seen this online or in a book before. I'm not that original. Add googly eyes and a little pom pom nose (we used tiny black felt squares) and you have a squirrel. We preferred tacky glue for his project. ...Boy, they sure have some personality...

Here's our song. The running joke is you better sing with me or I just have to sing loud. It's a scary thing when I have to fill the shelter house with must my voice.

A squirrel Song (She'll be coming round the mountain)

I'll be gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
I'll be gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
I'll be gathering all the acorns, gathering all the acorns,
Gathering all the acorns till they're gone.
(Children make collecting motion with their hands)
And I'll put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside my little home.
I will put them all inside, put them all inside,
Put them all inside my little home.
(children pretend to place nuts in tree house)
And I'll eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
I will eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
I will eat the nuts until, eat the nuts until,
Eat the nuts until the winter's gone.
(children pretend to eat acorns)
Then I'll do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again come next fall.
I will do it all again, do it all again,
Do it all again come next fall.
(children make gathering motion with hands and arms again)
We made it though the hot summer out in the shelter house, I'm not sure how cold we can go though. Our numbers seem to be based on the weather. I'll wear a coat, but I'm not shoveling the show to have outdoor toddler time. With the weather this weekend, it feels like that snow is ready to come!


Aunt Donna said...

Cute squirrels, very clever! You're not a Lois Ehlert fan???? I love Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, Eating the Alphabet, and especially Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.

Anonymous said...

I love the squirrels and the song. I can just see you loading and unloading the stuffed squirrel in and out of your car. lol

Love Always,

grandma said...

I don't think you could gather all the acorns that have fallen from the oak trees on our blvd. I thought at first it would be a bitter winter but since the squirels are not taking them, I wonder.

Happy Together said...

How cool! Those squirrels are adorable!

Anonymous said...

LOL those are so cute

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