Fantastic Fall Fun in The Forest Classroom!

The Forest Classroom always reminds me of Fall….it is warm and inviting and has that cozy feeling that makes you never way to leave. But over the past month they have brought even more beautiful Fall elements into their classroom. Check out the fantastic Fall fun the Forest had this month!

 

Using mallets and golf tees with pumpkins is always a favorite activity!
Leaf Painting! Our students love incorporating nature into the artistic process. Here is a simple way to take your leaf collection to the next level!
This ooey-gooey sensory table isn’t for the faint of heart! Search for bones, eyeballs, bats and creepy crawlies in the red slime!
Using scissors to cut leaves is a WONDERFUL way to practice those important fine motor skills! When it comes to scissors we want our students to get as much exposure as possible, but it can also get boring using them in the same way everytime. This is a great way to change it up!
Are you my mummy?! A simple project that is ALWAYS a big hit…in fact my little guy (in the blue sweatshirt!) made 6 of them! Students love getting to rip up the toilet paper and glue it on to the mummy! When else are you encouraged to rip up toilet paper!
When it comes to bugs the more legs the better!? Right!? Searching for insects in beautiful green and brown slime! What will you find when you start digging!
Loose part Jack-O-Lantern making! Using pumpin seeds and leaves, students made their own spook-tacular faces!

 

Spooky Exploration in The Garden Classroom!

This Blog Post should come with a warning…..Not for the I-Don’t-Like-To-Get-Messy-Teacher! The Garden Classroom loves to push the limits of sensory exploration and create one of a kind hands on experiences for their students that are equal parts creativity and science….with a touch of creepy crawly! Check out the fun The Garden Classroom had the last couple of months!

 

You may have seen our popular “Flower Soup” posts, but have you ever seen “Leaf Stew?” Just add water, food coloring, leaves and of course spiders and flies to create this creepy concoction! A great activity to practice pouring, dumping, wisking and measuring!
Slime + Eyeballs + Pumpkins…..How could you go wrong?!
I love using natural materials to inspire the creative process! These students are using leaves combined with paper, markers and glue to create their own masterpiece!
Check out their beautiful creations!
Sunflowers forts are the perfect way to celebrate Fall!
Painting gourds and pumpkins to explore texture and make unique prints! This is such a fun hands on experience! As chidlren roll them across the paper the different vegetables create new and unique prints!
Now that you painted the pumpkins….you have to give them a bath of course!
Using sunflowers to make goregous prints! Another wonderful way to let nature’s beauty inspire an artistic masterpiece!
Loose part play with mini pumpkins and tree cookies! I often see classrooms with “decorations” that the children can’t touch or interact with. This is a perfect example of decorations that the children can manipulate, stack, play with and explore!
Fall Sensory Table fun!
More exploration of Fall Loose Parts!
Painting those pumpkins so that they are ready for bath time!

An Apple Adventure in The Bridge!

With an emergent curriculum, it is important to our staff that we follow the interests and curiosity of our students….so when students strike up a conversation during snack time about Apples….you follow! In Oregon we are lucky to have beautiful orchards filling our valleys and most of our students eat Apples daily in their classrooms and at home….but often this simple fruit is overlooked and underappreciated. Check out how The Bridge classroom showed the Apple some much needed LOVE!

The Apple Core-er and Peeler is ALWAYS such a hit! Students love getting to help use it and of course eat the different shaped pieces! It’s also a great opporutnity for STEM based conversation…How does it work? What parts are used to create this simple machine? What shapes does it create?
How can you mix colors to make your shade of Apple?! Some of the best conversation starts when children realize that apples come in many different colors….and that most apples, are not just one color. Exploring different shades and tones of colors, and using real apples to inspire the art piece is such an incredible actitivity!
How many apples belong on the tree?
Making Apple Pie outside with just the right ingredients!
Another option for this simple activity…pinching playdough to add apples to the trees! Great fine motor activity that also practices cognitive counting skills!

Recycled Materials in The Garden Classroom!

The Garden Classroom has embraced Recycled Materials in their curriculum this year in a whole new way! By creating this color sorted recycle station families can bring recycled materials from home for children to create and tinker with. By color sorting them, we are elevating the materials from trash to treasure.

Here are a couple ways the Garden Classroom have used their recycled goods so far!

Collaborative Egg Carton Painting! This is such a simple and wonderful activity for children to explore texture, absorbency and color. By only providing a few egg cartons for the group, children were encouraged to share, collaborate and communicated their ideas!

Children were also given the opportunity to fill the egg cartons using bingo markers!

An invitation to create using cardboard boxes and markers! What a wonderful invitation to be greeted with when you walk into your classroom! I love the open ended-ness of this activity and the ability for children to work in small groups to collaborate and create!

And then of course they got to play with their creations!

Recycled Materials can be used to create simple and wonderful activities for children to explore numbers, quantities and numeracy. These egg cartons lend themselves so well to a simple counting activity that can be used in SO many ways!

Busy Bees in The Hive Classroom: An exploration of loose parts

When you give children access to loose parts and extended periods of time to explore and create….you will see amazing things. Year after year I ask my self, why are the students in The Hive Classroom always so engaged with loose parts? What creates this type of success? It is not just having access to wonderful materials…you can’t purchase creativity.

The teachers in The Hive Classroom do an incredible job of providing a variety of materials, quality work space and large periods of uninterrupted time. They carefully introduce each material, slowly and intentionally into the classroom, making sure children are ready to use it safely and properly. This process allows for children to push past the first idea, or the first moment of boredom or the first conflict and explore problem solving skills and deeper levels of innovation.

The students in The Hive have been pushing their creativity with magnetic builders, loose wooden parts, blocks and other interesting loose parts…check out some of their interesting work!

 

What can you make using stumps and other building materials? I love the symmetry and balance that was achieved!
The wooden platform that these children are working on is such an inspirational building space. When children have different levels to work on, their play is instantly changed. I love the combination of wooden blocks, animal figurines and magnetic tiles.
Building zoos, habitats and homes! Aways a popular activity!
Building doesn’t have to happen on the floor! Using vertical spaces for building with magnetics encourages a new type of thinking! Suddenly children have to think about their creation in a new way!
Having a variety of shapes and types of wooden blocks is critical. Different shapes force children to find new ways to create balance and symmetry. Window blocks bring beauty and light. And diffferent types of wood allows us to explore texture and touch.
I love when I see a child build one of these beautiful magnetic “quilts”!
Teamwork tower building!
Adding a light projector to a space with translucent materials is such an incredible way for children to explore light, shadow and color. I love that in order to see their results the children had to build something tall enough for the light to hit it! What a wonderful natural challenge!

 

Space Adventures

The galaxy is full of wonder….limitless possibilities…..endless freedom……Kind of like childhood right? Bringing the solar system to your students is a way to give them a hands on experience with something that feels….well…..very distant. Our students have the BIGGEST questions about life’s biggest mysteries…and it’s not our job to provide the answer, but instead to give them the chance to explore, gather information, investigate….and Blast Off!!

Intergalactic Sensory Bin! Black water beads, black dyed water, glitter and planets…..how can you resist putting your hands in that!?

 

3….2……1…..Blast Off! Building these name rockets was…..well….a blast!

 

What an awesome invitation to create! When students walked in they were invited to mix the colors in the shaving cream to create their own planets! Afterwards they used circular paper to make planet prints!

Paper Plate Planet Art! Each child explored the colors of our earth by making their own version of our world!

 

DIY Constellations! Being inspired by the sky to recreate famous constellations or make your own is such a great way to practice fine motor skills!

 

I love this small world invitation for individual students! Using black sand, glitter, rocks and planet cards students can explore sensory elements while also exploring the solar system!

Spring Fever!

This time of year is always so much fun! Exploring color, flowers, insects, nature and weather…is always so exciting! When the weather gets warm, we all want to be outside….ALL THE TIME….however, at the Learning Loft our outdoor time is limited. Each classroom only gets a short amount of time outdoors….so we have to bring the outdoors in…..so we don’t catch that Spring Fever!

Flower Garden Sensory Bin! Such a fun way to explore color texture, insects and flowers. The students loved mixing the colors, matching the insects to their different colors and finding amazing hiding spaces!
Can you cut the grass!?! Practicing scissor skills is such an important kindergarten readiness. However, it can get kinda boring if you don’t find new and exciting ways to practice! This doggy park is such a fun way to engage in dramatic play, scissor skills and sensory exploration. 
Color exploration in the outdoor space! Mixing colors in the sensory table and making potions!
Flower Play Dough! Such a fun sensory activity for children to engage their sense of smell and touch!

Rainy Day Water Colors! Adding water colors to puddles for the most awesome puddle splashing ever! This was so simple and such an amazing way to explore color mixing and pattern making!