Sunday, September 2, 2018

Final Day of Picnic & Play

Picnic & Play has served us well this summer! It was a lovely way to transition Zac into having a daily Circle Time. We practiced having friends over, sharing his toys, and getting familiar with some school expectations. His friends got to slowly ease into the school year also, by getting to know Zac and me and the school space. All of the Circle Time verses and movements will now be comfortingly familiar instead of awkward and strange. I'm really glad we spent our June and August this way!

On our final day of P&P we did a few bird activities. Obviously, there's a ton that you can do with a topic like that (and we are for Science Club). But for my littles we kept it light and breezy.

After our indoor free play time, and our Circle Time, it was Story Time. The book was Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart. I went through it in advance and put a star by all the feathers I had on hand (blue jay, cardinal, peacock) so that I was prepared to bring them out at the appropriate time. Then I laid out a few more for good measure (pheasant tail feather and duck). We looked at how very different they all were.

Feathers: Not Just for Flying

by Melissa Stewart

You can get natural undyed feathers from the craft store if you look carefully. You can also get a feather assortment from Nature Watch as well as a set of ten full-length peacock feathers.

Then I asked the children, "If the bird feathers are all different, do you think all bird nests are the same or are they different?" Zac thought they all looked the same and his friends voted for different. So I got out my big box of nests and laid out six and we looked at them carefully side by side. It was fun to see how they were made from different materials and were different sizes. Some were tightly woven and some looked quite carelessly constructed! One of my favorites has some sheep wool incoroporated; another had a piece of Easter grass woven in.

After the nests we went outside for our outdoor play time. I added a new sensory material to the mud kitchen: biodegradable packing peanuts. These are made from starch and dissolve in water. So fun!

In a happy coincidence, my order from Nature Watch arrived while we were playing, so before the children left I got to show them two of my latest cool purchases: an ostrich egg and an emu egg.

All of the kids found that hole in the egg, from where it was blown out, very interesting. I love that I have so many tie-ins for these beautiful eggs. The nomenclature cards for Africa, for example, which we studied last year. The !Kung people of the Deserts use ostrich eggs to carry water. Last time we learned about this, we looked at the ostrich egg picture in Actual Size by Steve Jenkins. Now I have a real hollowed out one to show my students!

Actual Size

by Steve Jenkins

We didn't get to look through MaryJo Koch's Bird Egg Feather Nest but it's amazing. Her watercolor paintings are stunning! There are also two bird-related early childhood memory games, both made with all wood, which I recommend if you have young children who are into this topic! Pengoloo is made by Blue Orange and Stacking Nest is made by Selecta.

Bird Egg Feather Nest

by MaryJo Koch

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