One of my favorite parts of Summer is going to the beach- at least in theory. Then I remember about the sand getting everywhere, the super hot sun, and the exhausted or bored kids, and I reconsider.
So I figured, why not recreate the fun and nice parts of the beach?
First, I lined a large area (close to 20 ft square) with blue butcher paper. Next, I cut out dozens of fish from colored paper. I tried to vary the fish, so there's a school of fish, some sharks, tropical fish, crabs, and dolphins to name a few. I taped the fish to the blue paper, and then covered the entire area with a heavy clear plastic table protector.
Finally, I spread out the toy fish we had, goggles, a pair of flippers, and a couple towels. When the kids arrived, they gleefully dove right into the ocean and there they and the ocean stayed for a full week before the kids began losing interest and we were on to a new adventure!
One of the things I love about Summer is the flexibility to just act on a whim on any given day. Yesterday, we decided to do beading, but some of the kids are not 3 yet, and others still put things in their mouths! So we figured why not try patterning and Summer fun with cheerios! aka Fruit Loops!
What you'll need:
Fruit Loops or comparable product
Small paper plates to hold the cheerios- optional
Before beginning, create a small loop at the end of each pipe cleaner so that the cheerios don't slide off, and you have enough space at the end to tie it closed. Provide each child with a handful of cheerios and encourage them to create patterns. Then tie the bracelets closed, wear them and eat them!!
Rather than giving everything in a shopping bag at the the end of the year, I like to provide the kids with something that they can use for the Summer- a tote bag, or in this case a sand pail. Michael's always sells sand pails for $1 beginning in May. I bought a few puffy paints and painted on the school logo and the child's name. Inside, I placed their yearbook, a cd of photos from the year, a photo of the child that he/she had framed using craft materials, and a pair of cheap sunglasses. The kids love them! It's a great way to give the kids loot without the junk.
Do you have some form of a Mitzvah Tree in your classroom?
I always had a hard time getting parents to actually write the Mitzvah notes even when I sent blank Mitzvah notes home. So I brainstormed to see what I could do to change that. Why are Mitzvah notes so important? They give kids 30 seconds to shine and be singled out in front of everyone. For the shyer kids, this is a huge confidence booster. For the more outgoing child, these give them extra positive reinforcement.
So at first I sent home a sheet of 5-6 blank notes every Friday and told parents that if easier, they could just send in all 5 on Monday and we would read one each day. It still wasn't really doing the trick though. So I switched it up a bit. Now, I don't bother sending the Mitzvah notes home, I just keep a bucket of precut Mitzvah notes at the kids' cubbies with a sign above it asking parents to please write one. I keep an empty bucket next to it to place the written Mitzvah Notes inside, and then I can read them at circle time.
Now for the notes themselves. For the past few years, I've been changing the mitzvah notes every two weeks when we would switch units. This year I changed it up a bit. I'm switching by season. So when we started the year, it was Summer, so we had Summer fruit Mitzvah notes. For the Fall, we had different Fall leaves, and now, during the Winter, we have snowflakes. I've also been changing the actual tree and saving the notes. At the end of the year, I'll give each kid a bunch of his/her mitzvah notes to make a frame with, and then place their photo in the center. Another fun thing to do is simply collage with them. Parents get a real kick out of seeing their mitzvah note from the beginning of the year!
How do YOU get your parents tho write/bring them in?? Comment below!