Saturday, 22 July 2017

How We Celebrate Kids' Birthdays at Kindergarten

If you have kids in your life, your own, your friends’, or at work, then you know how important their birthdays are for them. At least two months before their parties, all they talk about is that. If they feel that another kid has done something wrong, the threat is that “you won’t be invited to my party anymore”. It’s crazy! That’s why it’s important to talk to the children about hurt feelings and try to keep the craziness down at least until a day or two before the event.

Sometimes parents go overboard when it comes to planning parties for their kids, but we try to celebrate all kids in the same way, so nobody feels neglected or unappreciated. Parents/Caregivers are the ones who bring some treats, but it’s usually something symbolic: oat cookies, popcorn, ice cream, etc. They are not allowed to bring anything home-made, because some kids might have allergies. And we have this rule that we don’t serve chocolate or very sweet treats.

We always give them the treats after snack (in the afternoon, right before going to the park), so even if they eat a bit of sugar, they get to go running in the park and burn the energy right away.

We sing happy birthday in both Finnish and English, then the birthday kid blows out the candles on our fake care and makes a wish. Unfortunately, I forgot to take a photo of the cake before I left work, but I am planning on making a new cake soon.

After that, she receives the cards made by the teachers and the other children throughout the day. We have a standard card that we make for everyone, but we attach other drawings and stickers to it.

Our kindergarten is called "The Duck Pond" and that's why we made duck bday cards

If there’s time left, the Disco Lizard moves forward (if the kids had a wonderful day) and we all dance to “I Like to Move It”.

That’s about it. How do you celebrate birthdays at kindergarten?

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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

What Can You Do With Flowers, Leaves, and Spray Bottles?

I know that some of you have already started your summer holidays, but I have almost two weeks to go. I can't complain, because it has been an amazing year with a fun bunch of kids and a great teacher partner!

We've been spending most of our days outdoors: doing art and crafts, performing on improvised stages, climbing, sliding, and playing games.Here's what we did not long ago: we took the spray bottles with us to the bay (with paint and water in them) and some watercolour paper. We gathered some flowers, leaves, sticks, and stones from the park, then placed them onto the paper and sprayed colour over them. The kids enjoyed trying to aim at the paper from far away. This activity is wonderful because it can be easily done outdoors or indoors, it doesn't require too many supplies, it develops hand-eye coordination and finger muscles.

If done indoors, you can find plastic or wooden animals/toys to place on the paper. If you are learning shapes, you could use some plastic shapes to paint over. Any other ideas? :)

Monday, 19 June 2017

Double Doodle and Its Benefits

Using both hands at the same time has been shown to be truly beneficial for us, because:
  • it stimulates both hemispheres of the brain;
  • it creates new connections in the brain;
  • people who use both hands see an increase in the size of their corpus callosum - the part that connects the two brain hemispheres.
Using both hands regularly facilitates the transfer between the two hemispheres. Training our brains with this easy drawing technique will help come up with new ideas and interesting perspectives that could be linked to any field. That’s why this is a good activity to do with your kids anytime you want to connect with them and do something relaxing.

Our kids had some great drawing ideas and didn’t need any help. Some of them drew for almost half an hour, even though some were playing in the room.

Friday, 26 May 2017

Painting Outdoors

Summer has finally arrived to Finland - after lots of cold, dark months, the sun is now back! We still have one month of school until the holiday starts, but we try to spend all our days outdoors.

That's why we packed the watercolors, paper, and some water and took them to the park nearby. The kids chose things from nature to use as paint brushes: sticks, flowers, leaves, twigs, and grass. They really enjoyed the freedom of process art and the fun of being outdoors.