Thursday, November 7, 2019

November - Leaf Man

This week we read Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert and did some fun Nature art!

We continued with our Songs, Verses & Movement for classroom routines.

Circle Time

Monday, November 4

This is the final week we will be doing our Apple Picking verses (which have been a favorite), so I felt we definitely had to make applesauce! Crockpot Applesauce is my favorite recipe, and so simple. We substitute 1 tablespoon white grape juice for the lemon juice. It's the secret ingredient! The kiddos had a great time chopping the apple slices in half after I peeled each one, and adding them carefully to the crock. Of course, smelling the cinnamon was also a highlight.

We also punched maple leaves out of cardstock and dyed them in shaving cream. This is so easy to do and soooo pretty for the Nature table! Put an inch of shaving cream into a sensory-friendly bin (or a 9 x 13 glass baking dish) and then drop plenty of drops of yellow and red food coloring onto it. Swirl with a toothpick. Place a cardstock leaf on top, press down until the surface of the leaf is fully touching the shaving cream and color (but not so that it is submerged) and then lift it up and immediately scrape all of the shaving cream off with a large popsicle stick. Voila! It will already be dyed.

I thought we would do things with Autumn leaves all week long, but the children really weren't into it. Every class is different. Last year we spent lots more time on leaf rubbings and leaf identification. This group was super-into today's dyeing project, however, so we did more of that on Tuesday instead of beeswax dipped Autumn leaves (if you want to know how to do this, directions are here).

Tuesday, November 5

  • Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
  • Dye Rainbow Rice

Sensory bins were such a hit last week from our Halloween activities, that I decided we would create another one. This one the children would help with, which would give them another great opportunity to experiment with dyeing with food coloring. Everyone got three quart Ziploc bags. Each bag was dyed a different color. I bought a five lb bag of rice from the grocery store, and added the remaining white rice when we mixed all the pastel colors together. So pretty!

To your baggie add 1 cup of white rice and 1 T vinegar. I used white wine vinegar that had been sitting around for a while and which I wanted to use up, but white vinegar is more traditional. Then add a few drops (three for a pale color, ten for a very intense color, something in between for something in between) of food coloring. Zip the bag shut. This step is very important! Shake the bag vigorously a few times, then massage the color into the rice (with the bag still shut) until there is no white rice left.

Pour into a loaf pan to dry, stirring with a spoon every once in a while. The rice will dry in several hours.

You can do all drops of the same color, or a few drops of one color and a few drops of another. I made orange with three drops of red and two drops of yellow. It is fun to see what happens! You could also try doing the same color but a different number of drops of food coloring, to see what results.

For a more uniform color in your finished rice, add the food coloring to the vinegar first and stir, then pour the vinegar onto the rice. However, putting the color in on top of the rice in the way I described gives your rice an ombre coloring, which is extremely pretty (click photo to enlarge).

I promise I will sit down this weekend and put together several posts of pictures from the past few weeks!

Thursday, November 7

Today we happily/reluctantly combined all of our colors of rice into one big bin. It's completely irresistable. No one can keep their hands out of it.

Of course, we also made Stone Soup. The contributions this week were red onion, sweet potato, red potato, turnip, celery, sugar snap peas, and fresh cilantro. I used a veggie broth. Thank you to everyone who contributed!

It was bitterly cold and raining today, so we stayed inside and did Yarn Wrapped Sticks. I've noticed a lot of people claiming special sticks on the playground lately, so this was a way to celebrate the beauty of their shapes without quarreling over them. And we have plenty of colors of donated yarn to enjoy!

As this group of children continues to become friends, I find that the simpler activities are the most successful. They often just want to play together (blocks, dolls, board games, trucks, play kitchen, chalk, sensory bins) and don't require directed activities to be content sharing the space with one another. I'm learning to brainstorm a lot over the weekend, and then take things OUT of my planbook as I observe the natural rhythms in the daily play. At the age of 3 or 4, even just sweeping the floor is an activity joyfully undertaken. Child-size lambswool dusters are also perfect. As the holiday season approaches, resist the urge to buy more toys, and think about real child-size tools instead. Montessori and Waldorf both emphasize this!

36 inch child-size Rainbow Broom

12 inch child-size Lambswool Duster

The Montessori website For Small Hands / Montessori Services is an excellent place to begin if you're looking for well-made child-size tools for your home.

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

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