Saturday, September 30, 2017

Cross Country Trip

It's final.  I'm retired! And with that my husband and I have headed off across the country in search of trains and other interesting sights.  You can follow along on our blog called Opananaland.

Opa is my husband and Nana is myself.  This blog started when my husband built a garden railway in our back yard.  When he was planning it we talked a lot about when we have grand children that it would have to be open for them to touch and play with.  We've learned from each other about our ideas of children playing with the 'trains' and have practice sessions with friends bringing their children to visit.

Watch for more to come - it's a big country!

Monday, September 18, 2017

Sticky Sensory Bin

I started by putting wood pellets in the two tubs.
 Then I added a Pringles can that I had covered with brown paper 
then with contact paper - sticky side out.
 Finally I added acrylic leaves in the side with the Pringle can
 and acrylic acorns in the other tub with a big coffee can
that I had cut a hole in the top.
 It was a mistake putting the sticky can into the tub with all the wood pellets
because they stuck to it and left little room for the leaves.
 It worked better to put the sticky can on the tray between the two tubs
The children's fingers stuck to the can while they tried to stick leaves on.
It was a struggle keeping the can upright sometimes.
 She tried sticking an acorn to the can but it was too round.
The other tub wasn't played with as much.
The children were more curious about sticking leaves to a can
rather than dropping acorns in a can.
It was fun picking everything off to clear space.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Inspired by Hydrangeas

 I picked some hydrangeas from my garden and set them up
as an inspiration for painting.
 Blue, purple and white paint was offered on a small plate
with old fashioned shaving brushes
 The size and shape of the brush is perfect for little hands to grip.
 And they worked great for mixing the paint and dabbing or swiping on the paper.
 This is my attempt, I may make a large painting using this technique.
 Small amount of green paint was offered in a milk jug lid.
I couldn't find any tiny brushes so I cut coffee stir sticks shorter.
 Love all the different movement I can see in this painting;
dabbing, swiping, swishing, stopping and lifting.
This turned out to be a fun colour mixing activity.
She made the colour of the ocean.

Taking the activity one step further and getting his fingers involved.

The following photos show the concentration and enthusiasm of 
one child as she explores the materials.
One of my favourite parts of this job is watching and enjoying
the children.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Room Hunt

I saw this great back-to-school idea over at Teach Preschool
that I thought would work great for me
at a new school with new families.
It's a scavenger hunt of sorts of places and things in the school
that StrongStart families would want to know
where they are located.
Each child got their own hunt on a clipboard with pencil
and off we went.
The printed word under each picture is to invite the grown ups to read
and promote literacy.
One child has been attending this centre for a couple of years
so he acted as our guide.
The concept of finding an item in the picture then checking it off
was new for some children.
I purposefully had the gym as the last picture
so we could stay and play.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


Well retirement didn't last too long for me.
Only one week into the new school year and our district asked if I could sub.
Even though I've had a wonderful summer and did enjoy last week when
I didn't have to wake up early and be at school
I was excited to come back to play with families.
Our first day we made play dough.
I collected lavender from friends' gardens to add.
The lavender is a bit fragrant as it sits but becomes more so 
when it is touched.
The children use rolling pins to work the dough while building the muscles in their whole hands.
And they pinch off the blossoms working those smaller muscles.
Making them stronger through play.
We pretended to plant seeds in rows.
And make butterflies.
Today we added more tools, like these round wooden napkin rings
and silk leaves.
It is fun to be back even for a little bit.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Final Fairy Lane Visit

This is it, my final post as a StrongStart facilitator.
It is my pleasure to share our last visit to Fairy Lane as my final post.
As we waited for all the families to arrive we painted a large branch.
We left the branch to dry while we went for a walk in the Lane.
We had some new clay doors to add and we were hoping to see 
a glimpse of a fairy.
Seeing this butterfly from a distant looked like a fairy.
Still so many houses to see in Fairy Lane.
It warms my heart that families still visit 
and bring more doors and houses 
for the fairies.

Our main purpose for this visit was to have a tea party.
The fairies had invited us for tea and we were not disappointed.
As we walked down the trail we found stumps covered
with clothes and laden with cups, tea pots and cookie tins.
There was even a little set for the fairies.

But before we had tea I suggested we visit the rest of the Lane
and find spots for our new doors.
Once we had placed them all we went back for our tea and cookies.
The children took turns pouring their tea
and sharing the cookies.
The cups and tea pots are the perfect size for independence.
It was delicious.
Thank you Fairies for a wonderful time.

Now time to leave a present for them.
We went back and collected our painted branch.
Then looked for the best place to hang it.
I wonder if any fairies will land on it.

Thank you for following along with me.
I've been a facilitator for the past ten years and have been
blogging for seven of them.
I strongly recommend all of you to share your ideas
either in a blog or on Instagram.
It has been an amazing reflection tool and has opened up the world.

May your summer be relaxing and re-energizing.
Take a moment to appreciate the work you do with children,
either as a parent or educator.
You have a very important job so have fun with it.