Monday, March 23, 2015

Weekly Learning Theme: St. Patrick's Day

Last year St. Patrick's Day fell during my Spring Break so I was able to do lots of fun St. Patty's Day themed activities with Carter to celebrate.  I knew I wanted to do a few of the same things we'd done last year and add in some new stuff to fill a full week of fun with themed activities.  I was excited for the week and looking forward to it for quite a while after planning it!  We got most all of my planned activities in before Elise's arrival on Saturday morning.  We just had a few activities we were going to do over the weekend that we didn't get to.  During my last few weeks of pregnancy I was hard core nesting with no baby prep left to do so I planned out weekly learning themes for the weeks after I felt Elise would arrive.  My thoughts were that it would be nice to still engage Carter in some activities and enjoy quality time together even if we weren't able to do all of the planned activities.  It's my goal to still complete a few activities with Carter even if we aren't able to get in a full week's worth of our theme in.  As we go I'll see if we get enough in to make it worth posting about our weekly learning theme or not.  I'm really flexible and want to roll with what works for us as we all adjust to life with a baby, so I don't have expectations for what these weeks will look like.

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have updated our objectives from the original ones we focused on because Carter mastered those skills.  I plan to continue to implement activities to practice and reinforce our previous objectives while putting more emphasis on our new objectives.  Some of them won't necessarily be targeted with specific activities during our weeks, but I wanted to list them to help me remember to practice them continually.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Take turns in a simple game.
  2. Understand the meaning of mine, his, hers.
  3. Group objects based on a category (sort by defining feature).  
  4. String beads or other objects.
  5. Count to 3 and understand what the numbers mean.  
  • Sensory bins have been such a hit with Carter so I was really excited to put together a St. Patrick's Day sensory bin for him.  At first I planned to dye rice green for it, but then changed my mind because all the toys I had to put in the bin were green.  Instead I went with a mixture of beans and added a green feather boa, green shamrocks from Dollar Tree, a green googly eye ring I already had, a green wig and a couple of green scarfs we had from previous St. Patrick's Days.
  • On St. Patrick's Day I filled Carter's large sensory bin with green water and threw in his green beads, shamrocks, and measuring cups.  He had a blast playing with the water and always amazes me with how careful he is!
  • That evening for bath time I took all the toys out of his green water and transferred them to the bath tub for a special St. Patrick's Day bath time.
  • I cut out small, medium, and large sized shamrocks.  I showed them to Carter and told him they were small, medium, and large.  He then sorted them into piles based on size.  He called them baby, mommy, and daddy shamrocks.  Then we counted the shamrocks to see how many there were in each pile.
  • Carter has loved playing with shaving foam so to add a St. Patrick's Day twist I sprayed out shaving foam and mixed in green food coloring.  Little man really enjoyed playing in it.  His favorite part is when it starts to get worked into the table and we can write and draw in it really well.  He likes to draw doodles and scribbles while telling me what letter he's making.  He'll make a big loop and declare, "O for Oma" and then add more squiggles while saying "D for Mommy".  He still doesn't quite have the letter M down.
  • Using a large shamrock decoration I have, we played hide and seek.  We practiced taking turns.  I would go hide the shamrock and tell Carter which room to look in.  Then he would hide the shamrock and I would go find it.  His favorite roll is to hide the shamrock so it was good practice for him to allow me to hide the shamrock when it was my turn.  It's always so cute to see where he hides things!
    Finding the shamrock after I hid it.
    Getting ready to take his turn and go hide it.
  • At Wal-Mart I bought some green beads and some string that looked like it would be better for stringing beads than the yarn we usually use.  Carter made himself a bracelet and I helped him make one for me.  We were also going to make one for daddy, but I tried putting Carter's bracelet around his wrist and he freaked out and was done.  I untied Carter's bracelet and melted it together for Ty.  We met him for our doctor's appointment and he was just barely able to slip it on his wrist, saying he may not be able to get it off.
Special Snack:
  • We ate a lot of green food on St. Patrick's Day.  Our snack which we took with us for a playdate was kiwi.  Then at dinner I dyed Carter's milk green and we had green beans and spinach salad as sides to go along with our sloppy joe's.  After dinner Carter got a mint Oreo which had green cream filling as a treat.  He thought it was the best and really enjoyed dipping it in his green milk!
    Kiwi for snack.
    Green milk and green beans!
Make Believe:
  • We pretended we were leprechauns after reading quite a few books about leprechauns.  I got a small green Easter egg dying container and filled it with Carter's coins from his cash register.  We pretended it was our pot of gold.  Then I had Carter go hide it and I chased him around the house trying to catch him so he'd have to give me his pot of gold.  He always loves a game of chase!
    Checking out his pot of gold.
  • Last year I created a St. Patrick's Day station on my Pandora account and Carter loved all the Irish music.  I pulled that same station up again during this week and Carter again loved it.  He would dance along to the bagpipes and really enjoyed head bobbing to everything else.
  • We also sang songs I had previously used in my classroom.
St. Patrick's Day Is Here
To the tune of "The Farmer in the Dell"

St. Patrick's Day is here.     
St. Patrick's Day is here.     
Let's give a clap and dance a jig,
St. Patrick's Day is here.   

Catch Him If You Can
To the tune of "The Muffin Man"

Oh, have you seen a leprechaun,
A leprechaun, a leprechaun?
Oh, have you seen a leprechaun,
Who comes from Ireland?

Among the shamrocks he may hide,
He may hide, he may hide.
Among the shamrocks he may hide,
So catch him if you can.      

I'm a Little Leprechaun
To the tune of "I'm a Little Teapot"

I'm a little leprechaun
Dressed in green,
The tiniest man
That you have ever seen.
If you ever catch me, so it's told,
I'll give you my pot of gold.    

 Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • The Saturday before St. Patrick's Day we did a St. Patty's Day 5k and fun run.  Carter and I did the one mile fun run.  Carter wanted to be carried for the first half of the race and finally at the turn around was interested in getting down to run/walk to the finish.  It had rained the night before so he wanted to run from one puddle to the next splashing in it.  Everyone at the race had on green and many people wore costumes.  There was Irish music being played which Carter loved.  The atmosphere was very festive and fun.  There was also an area for kids where Carter enjoyed free chocolate milk and then bounced in a bouncy house with a slide.
  • Looking for Leprechauns by Sheila Keenan
  • Jack and the Leprechaun by Ivan Robertson
  • The Leprechaun Who Lost His Rainbow by Sean Callahan
  • That's What Leprechauns Do by Eve Bunting 
  • The Leprechaun's Gold by Pamela Duncan Edwards
  • The Leprechaun In the Basement by Kathy Tucker
  • The Story of the Leprechaun by Katherine Brown Tegen
  • The Night Before St. Patrick's Day by Natasha Wing
  • Fin M'Coul by Tomie DePaola
  • Just a Little Luck by Mercer Mayer
  • St. Patrick's Day In the Morning by Eve Bunting
  • A Fine St. Patrick's Day by Susan Wojciechowski
  • Tales From Old Ireland by Malachy Doyle
  • St. Patrick's Day by Mari Schuh
  • St. Patrick's Day Alphabet by Beverly Barras Vidrone
  • Patrick, Patron Saint of Ireland by Tomie DePaola
  • St. Patrick's Day by Josie Keogh
  • There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed a Clover by Lucille Colandro
  • The Last Snake in Ireland: A Story About St. Patrick by Sheila MacGill Callahan
  • A Pot O' Gold: A Treasury of Irish Stories, Poetry, Folklore, and (Of Course) Blarney by Kathleen Krull
  • Fiona's Luck by Teresa Bateman

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