Sunday, September 11, 2016

Organizing a Preschool Group: Three Year Olds

Be sure to check out my other post with tips and info found here

Three year olds are fun, but can also be a challenge. This is many children's first experience in a school setting. It often feels like much of your time is corralling kids back to the table. They are in a new house with new toys and many distractions. Over my seven years of home preschool groups I learned a thing or two to help. Hopefully someone will find them useful also. :)

Group Size

Over a few years of teaching three year old kids, I learned that smaller groups are better at this age. I found 4-5 kids is the perfect number. Because it is their first year of preschool, they need lots of reminders, instructions, and help. A larger class makes it harder to give them each the attention they need. I know actual preschool classes are often much larger, but in an informal setting, my friends and I found that 4-5 works best. Less than four gets harder, because you will be teaching more often. The year my twins were three we had 4 in our group, but because I had two kids in the class, I taught every other week. It was a little exhausting, but we made it through. I felt like I had barely finished one lesson plan when I needed to start the next one. 

Limit Distractions

I learned to remove all toys from my living room, because it doesn't take much to lose a child's interest. I also locked my children;s door shut. Many of the kids that came to our group had played at our house before, so they knew where things were, and wanted to play. I often told them if we finished early they could play. Typically we did not finish early, but there were a handful of times I let them play for a bit before pick-ups. I also let them know we would have them over another day to play, that today was a preschool day. There were a few years that we had a train table up stairs, there was not another place to put it, so during preschool I would drape a blanket across it, it usually worked. 

Time Schedule

This is the time schedule that I used, you can modify it to fit your group, but having a routine helped with consistency between the houses. 

10:00-10:15      Arrival and Play Time
10:15-10:30      Circle Time (Welcome Song, Calendar, Weather, Traveling Teddy)
10:30-10:50     Letter
10:50-11:00     Snack and Manners
11:00-11:20      Story Time
11:20-11:45      Theme
11:45-12:00     Songs, Movement, Clean-Up

I set up this schedule through trial and error. I learned that if you can have have transitions between table time, the kids are more ready to learn. If you are sitting at the tablet for 30-40 minutes straight, boredom typically sets in. 

Arrival and play time: Every body runs late sometimes, some people run late almost all the time. Having some activities or play time in the plan makes it so no one misses anything when you do start. I found that if I just let the kids loose to play, fifteen minutes was not long enough and I was giving up preschool time for play time. Play dates are fun, but I wanted this time to be preschool time. So I found things that were new or easy to clean up, like puzzles, file folder games, lacing cards, etc. 

                                            Easter Egg pattern matching file folder game

Circle Time: This time was used for calendar and weather times. We started every preschool day with our welcome song. It is an LDS children's song that we modified, You can listen here. We only changed one word, Primary (the name of our children's church group) to preschool. The kids learn it quickly and it gets everyone's attention when we sing it. We had a traveling calendar, and would try to bring it out every time we met, I would ask the kids if they knew what month it is, and then we would count each day up to the day we were on the calendar and let them help put the new numbers on the calendar. I bought a calendar set on Amazon, it had days of the week, calendar, and weather. So we tried to do all three. This usually gave each child a chance to stick something onto something else. :) We tried a few different things with a show and tell type activity. I think for 3 year olds that a Traveling Teddy activity works best. Traveling Teddy was a teddy bear that each child got to take home for a week and have adventures with. So when we met the next week the child could tell about where they took Teddy and what they did with him. Some years this worked better than others. Often we would forget about Teddy and he would stay in a back-pack and have no adventures. Because we had a small class, it was not usually a big deal. Everyone got at least a few turns with Teddy. 

Letter: This is the time we would obviously focus on our letter of the week. I know there is research that you should teach kids the letters in a specific order and its not alphabetical. I've heard it is the letters that are easiest to recognize first, or easier to write, or both. But as a group we decided to just follow through in alphabetical order. It also helped parents to keep track and know which letter their children were learning. 
Shaving Cream Letter C's

To introduce the letter I liked having a letter box with things in the box that started with our featured letter. I would let each child have a turn picking something out of the box and talk about what it was. We would emphasize the starting letter, buh buh butterfly, etc.

For three year olds I really tried to avoid a lot of worksheets. If we did worksheets it was usually simple ones from First School: Alphabet. They had a large letter and five squares you could cut out and glue onto the letter or elsewhere on the paper. Three year olds are so excited to use scissors, but often need help still. It was often me holding the paper while they cut. But I also tried to have some kind of an art project for each letter, either something that started with our featured letter or gluing buttons on B type of thing. 
Ice Painting letter I's

Snack and Manners: I told the moms that they could choose anything for a snack (and of course be sure to discuss allergies ahead of time). Personally, I liked trying to match our snack to the letter of the week or our other theme. I may have spent a little more on snacks, but since I was not paying for preschool, I figured if I spent $10-20 a month on snacks once a month, it was still much cheaper than sending my kids to preschool. There were some weeks that things were tighter and I had to use my imagination to make what we already had work, or just have a generic snack, and the kids never seemed to mind. We tried to emphasize manners at the same time. No special emphasis, just talked about washing our hands before we ate, closing our mouths, not yelling at the table, and a few reminders to be a little less silly (only when they were starting to get pretty wild).

Transportation Theme: Bus Snack
Story Time: Read with your kids! Read, Read, Read! Some kids are less interested than others. I had some kids that would just wander while I read, just read a little louder so they can still hear you. Some years I was more ambitious and would make sure I had new library books checked out that matched our letter or theme. But most years that did not happen. I am somewhat of a book hoarder, so I still had a lot to choose from. But you can make almost anything match your lesson. I think we read, "The Happy Little Dump Truck" for transportation week, emotions, and the letter T. 

Theme: This was our largest block of time. I tried to have various activities, art, movement, games, etc. My theme and movement time often blended together. Our traveling preschool box had old tshirts to wear so that no one ruined their clothing, even though I did use washable tempera paints. 

Taste Lesson: Flavored Painting (pudding with coloring) while wearing paint shirts
I love art with kids. I did learn a few things to make art time more successful. Don't worry if their project looks nothing like it should. Most kids will follow your example, but some are just not into art, some kids hate getting their fingers messy (but after a few months at my house, most kids acclimated to messy hands projects), and some kids just want to use their own creativity. Cutting for three year olds is iffy, so I pre-cut lots of things and let them work on gluing. We did work on scissors with lots of things, but some projects were just easier pre-cut. They will also need lots of help and reminders as to what comes next. Try to try all different mediums, finger or tempera paints, water color (I only used the cheap ones), paper cutting, chalk, etc. 

Circle Paintings
Be creative, and with the internet it is easy to do so. Three year olds do not want to just sit and listen, they want to move and be involved. Use felt boards, books, games, stories, etc. I am still working on uploading my other six years or preschool (the ones I have currently posted are from my 6th year of preschool, when I started taking more photos with the intent of blogging at some point), but hopefully you can find a few things you can use here, but if not, pinterest and google are your friends!

Felt Ice Cream Shop

Songs, Movement, and Clean-Up: This is your wind down time. It can be tempting to just let the kids play while you clean up art projects, snack messes and the like, but don't do it. Involve the kids in cleaning up, but especially sing and move! The kids need it, and they LOVE it! Finger Plays are lots of fun, and are great for small motor development. Movement games are lots of fun. I tried to always make our letter of the week out of painters tape on the floor and we would do all kinds of movement on the letter, move like ants on the A, or climb like monkeys on the M. My kids loved pretending and imagining on those letters. You can even buy painters tape at the dollar store. You can also use masking tape, I just like painters tape better. 

Lower case t movement


If you copy and paste this linkyou can download a copy of the schedule I made for our three year old group. Before making this schedule I scoured and searched the internet for a schedule I could use to help base our's on. I found very very little. Apparently this is not something people want to share. But I hope that someone can find this helpful. You can switch things around as much as you need. Please use for your personal use only. 

I made a list of possible themes, you can also download it here. I'm sure there are many more themes, but I did compile this list from many many preschool idea websites and blogs. (Again, for personal use only)

I'll add more tips as I am reminded of them, and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Organizing a Preschool Group: General Tips

As of the writing of this post, I have been involved in 7 different preschool groups over seven years. I organized 6 of them. Over those years I learned a few things to help things flow more smoothly, and would love to pass those things on to you. 

It's Easy

First, this is much easier than you think it will be, whether you are organizing the group, or just participating in one. I know many moms have told me they are not interested in a group, because they are looking forward to that time away from their children. A co-op group is not for everyone, some people feel their child will do better without their parent as a teacher, etc. But I did still get breaks while my children attended preschool at someone else's house, and sometimes having mom as their teacher caused problems, but overall I loved it, and so did my children. 

How Many?

I think a group runs the smoothest with 4-6 children. Any more than that and it gets difficult for one teacher to handle all the children. I know some groups have a teacher and a parent helper assigned each week, but that seemed like too much extra to coordinate and be involved in, so I kept our numbers smaller.

What ages to include?

Try to have children that are all going to be in the same school year. Emotionally, socially, and academically kids mature differently, so this rule will not always hold true. But there were times that I could tell that some kids were not as ready as others. But this was true for kids the same age, as well as kids that were younger. It's just a general observation I have made. 

Ask around

Find some moms that you know have children of preschool age and ask them. You will hear no. Put some feelers out on facebook or other social media. Ask at church, play groups, etc. Some years I have really struggled to find a large enough group to make it work, and other times we had an abundance of interest. 

Short Parent Meeting

Once you have your group, have a short parents meeting, emphasize to those involved that it will be short. I have found 30 minutes to be enough, if you are organized ahead of time. This does not need to be hosted at your home, you can ask someone else to host. Ask them to bring their children, it makes it easier for parents to come, as well as allows the kids to get acquainted if they are not already. I include a list of possible preschool themes that each parent can view, and ask if they have any specific themes that they want to teach, and write those down. I let them know of any group supplies that need to be contributed, and let them know what I have contributed. We discuss routines, and trying to keep the same routines, to help the kids transition between homes. Discuss start dates, days of the week you want to meet, and the time you want preschool to run. Discuss class parties and field trips that you would like to take. Find out who has memberships to places when planning field trips to keep cost down, ask around about potential free field trips to take. Almost every year we have done this we only did free field trips. Field trips and class parties make it feel more like a "real" preschool experience. 

Make Schedules 

Then you get to plug things in. This is the table I made when my twins did preschool in 2013/14. I only changed the names. This is a preschool group for kids that are 3. I will have other posts with more detail about each year. 

For the 3 year olds, we met twice a week. We had a letter theme each week, we did the uppercase letter the first day, and the lowercase letter the second day. We met on Tues and Thursdays. Along with the letter theme we had a subject type theme. Most of our kids knew their colors, so rather than devoting time to that, we had a general color theme for each month, and let each parent decide how much to emphasize each color. As I plugged in the mom's names, they did not always go in order. I made sure that each parent got to host at least one class/holiday party, and also had each parent in charge of a field trip. Sometimes I specified where we should go, like the fire station when we learned about occupations, and other times I left it open and let them choose. (You should be able to copy and paste the link to download this schedule. You can then edit names and dates to fit your needs


Some parents will put more into it than others, and that is okay. My kids never complained that it was less fun at so and so's house than at whathisnames house. One reason I like to be the first teacher of the year is to show other parents what effort I will be putting in to it, I did not want it to be a play group. But even on days when it was more of just a play group, socialization is a huge part of learning. Of the seven years I have done this, I have had a few moms have things come up that didn't allow them to keep doing the group. But only one year did the group fall through entirely, and that was a group of just me and one other mom, and we just were not seeing eye to eye, so I quit more than she did. I was still able to find another mom to do a group with. We obviously had more turns than in a larger group, but we kept it low key and had lots of fun too!

Time Schedule 

I'll be honest with you, switching houses every week can be hard for some kids, but most do okay. It is made easier for students and teachers alike if the kids know the expected routine. I let the parents know this was not a strict schedule, if the letter project took 30 minutes and the snack only 10, that is okay. Just try to let things go in the same order every time. I also tried to set it up so there was variation so that the kids were not just sitting at a table for an hour straight. We gave 15 minutes in the beginning for just play time, or free time, I often tried to have some type of loosely structured activity, like puzzles or file folder games. I learned that it does need to be something that cleans up quickly, or it is difficult to get the attention back when you are ready to start. The reason we had play time is because people run late, and this gives time for everyone to arrive before you start. You decide if you need to include that. The second year of preschool we still met only twice a week, and still for two hours, but we also added math time in, so the other subjects had less time. 

Organize a Preschool Box

This is a traveling box with supplies the teacher may need. I chose a flat-ish bin with a lid. Included in our box were our calendar, weather chart, old tshirts for messy projects, and our music book and CD. We did not always do a music book, but it was lots of fun when we did. The first few years I did not organize this, but the last few I did. I chose a song or poem for each month, and during music time we were supposed to work on the song or poem for that month, in the hopes that we could choose the best few for the kids to sing at our end of year program. I also included a cd with each song (whenever available, there was only one song I was unable to find) I needed a CD, because I am not musically inclined, and needed the help of that CD to carry the tune. The music book also had lyrics, and sometimes sheet music. 

Supplies for Each Child 

I let each parent know that they needed to have a pencil box for their child, in the box they should have a box of crayons, a pencil, glue stick (much less messy than elmer's glue), and scissors. This way everyone only keeps track of their child's supplies. There were often times that things got left at my house or someone else's, so label things, but they are pretty easy to return when you see each other weekly. Also, let them know their child should have a backpack, it makes it much easier when finished with projects to have them place them in their backpack. 

Lesson Plans are Everywhere!

Let parents know places that they can find info on lesson plans. Pinterest has so many. I started making preschool lesson plans long before Pinterest was around, so I found a few favorite websites. I still refer to them because they are organized well and contain multiple themes, and are usually divided by themes, and subdivided by arts & crafts, music, snacks, books, etc. 

These are my faves!

and my fave place for letter printables and coloring pages is:

This is fun!

Why have I done seven years of preschool groups, with hopefully 2 more in the future? Because it is fun. I love being such an integral part of my child's education. As a child I always wanted to be a teacher or a mom, and this way, I get to be both. Of course we are always teaching our children, but this gave me a unique opportunity to teach my children the basics. My children loved it too. They were almost always excited for preschool. 

If you have any questions, I would love to help.

Teaching Numbers

As part of our preschool curriculum we taught numbers. Most kids know how to count before starting preschool, but do not always recognize numbers or know how to count objects. Our first year of preschool we were just familiarizing the kids with the look of the numbers. We did simple projects like the ones below. I have an old Sizzix machine, and die cut objects for them to glue on, and had them count as they glued them onto a large number. Some children struggled more than others. Usually, regardless of understanding, kids are just proud of their artwork.

The second year of preschool we did similar projects, but sometimes added worksheets as well. Finding new or different activities to do with numbers was not always easy, but honestly, the kids don't mind doing the same thing over and over again. :)

What ways do you use to teach children numbers?

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Senses: Touch

We were learning about letter M this week, so some of these activities doubled for both themes. 

For our starter activity we had a mitten match. The boys were able to feel the soft mittens (just cut outs from felt), and also the hard clothespins. I had them all tossed into a basket, and they had to find the matches and hang them on the line together. This is a great small motor activity.

To introduce the theme I had a box with various hard and soft objects, like a block, cotton ball, marble, sock, etc.I let each child have a turn to reach into the box (without looking) and choose an object, and then tell us how it felt, hard, soft, etc.

I found this fun idea at Perpetual Preschool.  We painted a giant mitten while wearing mittens. I cut out mittens as wide as my butcher paper roll. Then I went through our mitten and glove bin and found the ones with no matches. If your's are all matched, no worries, all paint washed out anyhow. The kids loved this activity. To contrast the difference in touch, you could have them paint something else with just their fingers.

 I'm not sure why I don't have a picture of this, but its one of my favorite preschool activities (if I keep saying that, you won't believe me, maybe I just love it all!). We did 5 senses Gingerbread men. I found this idea years ago at Everything Preschool. I planned for the 5 senses themes to end in December, so that I could do this activity. I cut gingerbread men out of sand paper (touch). We glued jingle bells onto them(sound), rubbed cinnamon sticks onto them (smell),  and you can hear the sound of coloring or rubbing the cinnamon stick on them, and then you can see the finished product. These turn out darling, and crayon shows up well on them for extra details.

The second day we made texture books, I found this cute idea and other senses themed activities at Perpetual Preschool. I had a variety of different things cut out, and made a small book with blank pages. The children got to choose which things they wanted in their books. Then I labeled their pages, ______ feels _______. I gave some adjective suggestions, like rough, soft, smooth, bumpy, etc. I included squares of fabric, foil, sand paper, feathers, etc. Anything goes.

Because it was winter I also let the children play with snow, one hand had a mitten on, and one hand was naked, so that they could feel the difference.

Senses: Sight

 Teaching preschoolers about their senses is amazing. They just eat it up, and love it all. This year I got to teach 3 of the five senses, and wish I could have done all five!

Unfortunately being the teacher, I cannot always stop to take photos of everything, but once I get them going on an activity I can sneak in a few photos.

For a starter activity we had an eye doctor station set up. A simple eye chart, lab coat, glasses without lenses (cheap sunglasses with the lenses popped out work well), mirrors, and a wooden spoon to cover one eye. If they have never been to an eye doctor, they may need a little instruction.

To introduce the theme I had a basket full of things that affect our vision, such as glasses, sunglasses, contact case, magnifying glasses, binoculars, etc. I let each child have a turn to choose one item to take out and tell what it did, etc. This was a great opportunity to educate children about glasses, since Mr. W. had been in glasses for not quite a year. We talked about how glasses help him to see things clearly, and discussed other people they know that wear glasses. I am thankful that children in glasses are much more common than when I was growing up. I think educating children about them makes them much less likely to tease someone who wears them. We also talked about eyes, eye color, shape, etc, and how most everyone's eyes have the same function.

Then we practiced how well their sight works. I had a cookie sheet with items on it, and had them close their eyes while I took one thing off, and when they opened their eyes they had to identify what was missing. We had a letter I theme that day, so I included our letter I from our LeapFrog Word Whammer, and then just added other random objects. Since these were young 3 year olds, I didn't put very many. I let each child have a turn figuring out which item was missing, otherwise you typically have one child yelling out the answer, and the other kids feeling sad. :)

I found this great activity (and other senses activities) at Preschool Rainbow: Senses. I had a basket full of mirrors (obviously use supervision as mirrors can break easily), pocket mirrors, etc. I bought whatever mirrors I could find at the $ store. It was a small investment for a few mirrors. We examined ourselves in the mirrors, and also walked around the house examining our reflections in other items, such as spoons, foil, windows, etc. Then we did a mirror walk (this was one of my favorite things to do as a kid). Hold a mirror under your nose and look into the mirror, it looks like you are walking on the ceiling. My kids loved it as much as I always did!
 (please excuse the mess, we were learning)

the pocket mirrors quickly became "phones"

The second day we had other things to explore with our eyes, a microscope, prism, colored cellophane, binoculars (again), etc. The children just loved checking out each thing. It was very low key, but great learning was had!

For music we sang, "Popcorn Popping" this is an LDS children's song. It is not religious, just a fun spring song, but also talks about what we see. You can see the lyrics and actually hear the song through the link.
We also sang "That's What My Eyes Can Do" which I found at Nuttin' But Preschool. Its cute and easy, and to the tune of The Hokey Pokey.
Your eyes can look up.
Your eyes can look down.
Your eyes can squeeze tightly shut. 
Or you can circle them round and round.                                               
You do the blinky, blinky
And shuffle them from left to right.
That's what my eyes can do. Yeah!

Grandmother's and Grandfather's glasses are also fun finger plays.

Grandmother's Glasses                                                                                                                   
These are grandmother's glasses
(make glasses over eyes)
This is grandmother's cap
(peak hands on head)
This is the way she folds her hands
(fold hands)
And puts them in her lap.
(place in lap)

Grandfather's Glasses                                                                                                                               These are grandfather's glasses
(make glasses over eyes)
This is grandfather's cap
(flat hand on head)
This is the way he folds his arms
(cross arms on chest)
And sits there just like that.
(look straight ahead)

and of course we played I Spy!!

Farm Animals

A long time ago, well before my twins were born, I was a consultant for an amazing company, StoryTime Felts. I came upon them when a friend of mine had a party. I fell in love with their stuff. The felt art work was beautiful and fun, and many of their products came with paperwork, like coloring and activity pages, and stories to use with them. I had never intended to be a consultant for anything, but this one, I could not resist. The start up package was small, and at that time, there was no sales minimum, ever, You had only to pay your annual "membership" which was also fairly low. I'm not sure how it works now, because once I went on bed rest with my twins, and then had infant and then toddler twins, I was unable to keep doing it. 

But, I still LOVE LOVE LOVE their products. I have so much of it, that I decided I really should utilize it more, so I found what I could for the farm theme. I think all of the papers I used here, are from different sets that they have, and they all have felt sets to go along with them. Amazing stuff. Seriously, go check them out. The company was started by a mom who wanted to get some felt, and found a way to earn it at a homeschooling convention, and then ended up making her own company. Even though I have three large bins full, sometimes I feel find myself looking at what they have and wanting to buy more! ha ha!

Anyhow, that is my shameless plug, I no longer sell for them, but their products sell themselves. I receive nothing if you buy from them. 

We played with these cards, they go along with the poem 1, 2, Buckle my shoe. We went over the poem a few times, letting each child act out the things (we set up right by the front door), and then I let each child see if they could do it in order.

For snack we did animal crackers, making sure to identify the farm animals, and apples and apple juice, since you would probably find those things on a farm.

We also had pigs in the mud. Pink marshmallows in chocolate pudding. not the healthiest snack, but yummy to most. I did add a banana so they had some fresh fruit in there.

The next two things are from the Farm Fun Collection. It comes with much more than these. But this little section teaches positional words, around, through, over, under, etc. It has a cute little felt story about a mouse and his adventures to get to the watermelon on the farm. The kids cut out the watermelon, and put it together, it folds, and they had a red part to put inside. I premade magnet felt mice, to put inside the watermelon, and make it easier to hang on the fridge. You could make the mouse out of paper as well. 

Then we did this worksheet, practicing tracing skills and reinforcing those positional words.

Sadly, I think that we must have had sick kids, and missed one of our preschool days, because I only have photos for one day.

There are so many fun farm things you could do, But this is all I have photos of for that day. The kids loved their little Freddie the Farm Mouse stories though. And the worksheet made it easy to retell the story to family once they got home.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Plants and Flowers

Spring is a perfect time to learn about plants and flowers!

We made these cute flower prints on paper. You use the bottom of any soda bottle. They all look about the same. They turned out even cuter than I thought they would. The kids drew the stems themselves. We tried a few other things as well, but the soda bottles were the easiest and worked the best. 

I made this little felt play and the kids loved playing it. I found the idea and others at this cute blog, (I had a hard time finding plants and flowers themes that weren't just farming), Child's Play Family Daycare: Flowers and Gardening Theme

Four Little Flowers Cut 4 flower shapes out of felt and place them on a flannel board. Let the children take turns removing the flowers as you recite the following poem:
4 little flowers I did see. I picked one, then there were three. 
Three little flowers, pretty and new. I picked another, then there were two. 
Two little flowers out in the sun. I picked one more, then there was one.
One little flower left in the sun. I picked it too, then there were none.  

Unfortunately I did not take great pictures for this theme. 

I also found this idea there, and was able to make it pretty easy. The kids LOVED it, they each wanted a turn to make the flower pop, and my boys continued to play with for weeks after. 

Take yellow felt (seed) and glue to center of cuff. 3. Let dry. If glue does not hold sew seed to cuff (I did so it would stay permanently) 4. Then placing hand into sock so tips of fingers touch the end, snip a TINY hole. 5. Now take flower and stem and place through hole, push down flower into the sock so sock, which now has become the soil, is completely covering the flower. While hand is placed in its hidden soil sing this song: (tune Pop Goes the Weasel). Up Pops the Flower   We plant a seed in the ground, (point to seed) The rain falls in a shower, (Do falling rain with opposite hand) The sun comes up and what do you know (look up toward sky and point) UP POPS A FLOWER!!!!!!! ( pop out the flower with your hand).

For movement we did flower relays. I used silk flowers (I always have those because I buy them with the intentions of making hair clips, and well....). They had to race to the bucket, pick a flower, bring it back, and tag the next person. They each had multiple turns, because it was fun. :)

 Here are a few of the cute finger plays that I found at Preschool Education: Flowers, Spring.

FINGERPLAYS: MY GARDEN                                                                                                                       This is my garden                      (extend one hand forward, palm up)   
I'll rake it with care                  (raking motion with fingers)     
And then some flower seeds                  (planting motion)       
I'll plant in right there. The sun will shine   (make circle with hands)
And the rain will fall                 (let fingers flutter down to lap)                  
And my garden will blossom             (cup hands together, extend upwards slowly)                                          And grow straight and tall

I'll Plant a Little Seed (Im a Little Teapot")
I'll plant a little seed in the dark, dark, ground, 
Out comes the yellow sun, big and round, 
Down comes the rain, soft and slow, 
Up comes the little seed, grow, grow, grow!


Relaxing Flowers                                               
Five litttle flowers standing in the sun (hold up five fingers)                                                          
See their heads nodding, bowing one by one? (bend fingers several times)                     
Down, down, down comes the gentle rain (raise hands, wiggle fingers and lower arms to simulate falling rain) 
  And the five little flowers lift their heads up again! (hold up five fingers)                              
Little seed in the ground below (form your bodies into balls)                                                  
Felt the heat of the warm sun's glow (rub hands over arms)                                                 
Heard the raindrops pitter patter (place hand behind ear)                                          
Wondered why the birds did chatter              (place hand on head as if pondering)                       
So the seed began to grow (begin to rise) 
And poked it's head up very slow (lift head) What it saw was such a sight (rub eyes)        
The plant was in a garden bright! (throw arms apart)

For our snack I tried to have things you could grow, so popped corn, apples, melon, and we added some grain crackers. For the second day I made a Sunflower cake with twinkies. Super easy and adorable, and I cannot believe that I don't have a photo of it. It must have gotten deleted. :/

My favorite thing that we did was making our own greenhouses. We talked about what greenhouses are, and then I made a simple house shape and had the kids write their name on the line. I cannot find where I found this idea, but it is in many many places. Basically, I taped the greenhouse paper over a ziploc bag, and inside the bag we placed seeds (I let them choose between a few) and a damp paper towel. Once it is taped in the window the sun can shine through, and the children have the chance to see the roots and plant grow. 

This was a fun activity that both parents and children liked. I received a few compliments on how fun it was. :) (I only had two students besides my own ha ha!)