Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day Wrap Up

All through our Valentine's Day celebrations yesterday I kept thinking about love at Beansprouts.  We take an approach to teaching where the solid relationship between teacher and child comes first and as a result our group feels very cohesive, with the words "I love you" often shared between children and teachers.  Valentine's Day is a perfect excuse to incorporate this love as a visible part of the curriculum.

love bug stations

We made "love bugs", inspired, again (!) by Frugal Family Fun blog.

 We had a stamping station where the kids could spell out the words "love" or "hug", or just do whatever they wanted and stamp all over the page.  Even some children who couldn't spell in the sequence made linear patterns, showing their understanding of at least one component of composing words from letters.

 I know that playdough looks orange but it was a beautiful bright pink.  Our secret for making brightly colored playdough is using food color gel like you use for frosting.  Adding just a smidge of royal blue turned it from light red to bright pink!
Now why does it look so orange?!?

Ro using the flower arrangement work.  Lots of silk flowers and some ceramic vases from the dollar bins at Michael's made for lots of Valentine's themed fun.  Thank you for the idea, Kim from Barron Park Preschool!

 In the afternoon, Leslie gave each child a wooden heart plaque with the first letter of their name that they painted with acrylic paints.

Leslie made this game for the kids where they shake the paper heart along the yarn (which is attached on one side to the gate) to help the heart travel to the end.

Cookie cutter/glue/ of my personal favorite activities

Glitter paint in squeeze bottles.

Heart collage with our friend's names. 

Snack time:
Our morning snack on Valentine's Day was nothing spectacular...I planned on making heart-shaped graham crackers with the children but with everything else going on it didn't really happen, so we had granola with pink almond milk...and it was a smash!
Afternoon snack was a huge success and lots of fun.

Valentine's Day Circle Time:
"Love Grows"
"Love is Something If You Give It Away"
The most emphatic and beautiful sung round of "Skidamarink" we've ever done
 We also did this new song that we found online somewhere:
(To the tune of "This Old Man")
Look who's coming down the walk
Mr. Mailman won't you stop
With a knock, knock, knock 
Is anybody home?
A Valentine for you has come

We added movements that go along with it to keep it engaging, and at the end, we open our hands as if we are opening a Valentine's Day card.  This triggers the kids to start calling out what their Valentine "says".  It's always something very Valentine-y, like "Mine says 'Happy Valentine's Day'!" or "Mine says 'I love lollipops!'".

And, of course, our usual rounds of "Rig-a-jig", where every chorus is free-dancing and every verse is directing the kids to do a particular movement or enactment, was filled with hugs and dancing together.  I noticed three kids sitting out for this song so I made one of the verses about pretending they were a kitty cat (the latest craze here at Beansprouts) and it got the rest of them to join in, so that when it was time to do free dancing, they participated in that, too!

By the end of the day, the kids' Valentine's Day mailboxes were brimming full of cards, notes, candy, cookies, and even a rose!  Maria made them each a felt heart-shaped beanbag that she hand stitched herself (they were so beautiful that I almost asked for one myself!).  So needless to say, the kids left feeling rich, their mailboxes overflowing with loot and their hearts overflowing with love!

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