Saturday, October 30, 2010

Daycare Halloween Party

Yesterday we had a little Halloween party at the daycare. Noah and Aidas were in their costumes for practically the whole day. Noah chose to be Tigger all day. Aidas opted for cool firefighting duck in the morning, and Tigger in the afternoon.
The kids often dress up in these clothes anyway, since most are in our dress-up bin. B. wore one of the Tigger costumes in the morning, and L. was a firefighter for parts of the morning. M. is currently only into wearing the backpacks.
I had blown up 5 huge pumpkin punching balloons the night before. Two of them popped that night. The rest of them popped as we began to play with them. One of the Tiggers was not too pleased with this. I'm not sure if they were faulty, or if I just blew them up too darn big!

So.....we decided to do the Halloween puzzles I made for them, instead.
I used a black cat picture I got off the Internet, and some pumpkin shapes I still have from when I was teaching. I also cut out a ghost from white bristle board. Then I cut each of the shapes into 3 pieces to make puzzles. They needed help to keep the pieces from sliding under each other, but it was a fun, festive activity. And I just tossed them in the trash at the end of the day.
We also made paper spiders. (See previous post.) The kids had fun dancing around and dangling the spiders from the strings.
At snack time the kids had a special treat: ghost cookies! Noah and I picked them up from Bread and Roses in Bloorwest Village the night before. Boy, these cookies went a long way!
They were still eating them for afternoon snack! Yes, it was an extra nutritious day at the daycare! But hey, you gotta have some fun, right?
The kids spent a long time outside in the afternoon. They are enjoying their outdoor time even more at this age. I haven't had any requests from them to go back inside, even when it is rather chilly and windy. This bodes well for the upcoming Canadian winter!

Simple Spider Craft for 2-year-olds



  • black construction paper, white glue, googly eyes, clear plastic tape, black yarn

Procedure (per child)

  1. Cut one circle out of black construction paper for spider's body. (Use an upside down bowl as an outline to give you a perfect circle.)
  2. Cut six little rectangles out of the black construction paper for spider's legs. (They should be as long as the diameter of the circle, and about 1 or 2 cm wide.)
  3. Place a line of white glue diagonally upward near the edge of the circle. Demonstrate to the child how to stick the leg (rectangle) on. Verbalize it for the child: "Stick the leg on the glue." Have the child "push down" with his fingers to glue the leg onto the body.
  4. Follow the same process, sticking one leg on at a time. (Using a clock analogy, place the legs at 2, 3, 4, 8, 9, 10 o'clock). Reduce assistance as you go along.  For example, for the second or third leg, have the child try placing the leg over the glue. Remind them to "push down".
  5. As soon as all six legs are stuck on, take the spider away from the child. Tell the child the glue needs to dry. Wipe off excess glue with a tissue.
  6. When the glue has dried, turn the spider over and place two small globs of glue near the top of the circle. Give the child one googly eye at a time and ask him to "stick the eye on the glue". 
  7. Tell the child the glue needs to dry. 
  8. When the glue has dried, cut a piece of black yarn, about 8 inches long. Tape one end to the middle of the spider (on the eyes side).
  9. Holding the spider by the other end of the yarn, show the child how to dangle the spider. 
  10. Hand it over to your child for play!
*Note: You can make the main activity time for the craft for the initial part of gluing the legs on. Then you can get the child to glue the eyes on during meal time, since it takes such a short amount of time. 

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Five Little Ducks

(This is a popular Raffi song. You could also use duck cutouts as props, without the mama. Just hide one duck at a time, and bring them out again in the last verse.)

Five little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said
"Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only four little ducks came back.

Four little ducks went out one day

Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said
"Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only three little ducks came back.

Three little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said
"Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only two little ducks came back.

Two little ducks went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said
"Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But only one little duck came back.

One little duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said
"Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
But none of her five little ducks came back.

Sad mama duck went out one day
Over the hills and far away
Mama duck said
"Quack, quack, quack, quack!"
And all of her five little ducks came back.

Five Little Pumpkins

This is originally a Raffi song. Very fitting not just for Halloween, but also because as of next week I will be looking after five little "pumpkins" in the daycare (including my son). Use real pumpkins or cutouts. I have added some actions we have also used for this song.

Five little pumpkins sitting on a gate
The first one said 
"Oh my, it's getting late!" (Point to outer wrist for watch.)
The second one said 
"There are witches in the air." (Arms up, flutter fingers.)
The third one said
"But we don't care." (Shake head.)
The fourth one said
"Let's run and run and run." (Move arms in running motion.)
The fifth one said
"I'm ready for some fun."
Ooo ooo went the wind (Blow on child's head.)
And out went the light
And the five little pumpkins
Rolled out of sight. 

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Home Daycare News

We went to High Park on Monday to play in the leaves. Since we had last been there, the machines had cleaned the leaves up. The leaves had been collected into a few huge leaf piles, so we chose one that looked good and enjoyed it!
They really wanted to (and kept trying to) climb to the top of the pile, but that didn't look like such a good idea. Plus, we really only needed about one twentieth of this pile to have fun in.

The kids enjoyed pretending that they were squirrels sleeping in the leaves. We pretended the leaves were a blanket, and sang the "Sleeping Bunnies" song, but changed it to "Sleeping Squirrels". FYI, that is a cookie in Aidas's mouth, not a leaf! 
We had so much fun, even if we were ABSOLUTELY filthy at the end of it! Totally worth it.

The next day, we went back to High Park. We visited the High Park Zoo. The kids saw llamas, yaks, sheep, cows, peacocks and bison.
After the zoo, the kids got out of the wagon and walked down the path for a bit. They really enjoyed it!
We also did some finger painting this week. Noah is FINALLY into it! B. is not ready to try it yet. He was a little grossed out by it. This was how Noah originally viewed it, so I'm sure, in time, B. will enjoy it too.
Later in the week we visited a nearby parkette. The kids seem to like this area, so we will use it as the backyard we do not have! 

I had bought children's hockey sticks from Value Village, so the we tried them out. 
Doesn't it look like they're really playing hockey? Well, except for Noah holding the stick with one hand!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Three Little Monkeys


Three little monkeys (Hold up 3 fingers - the monkeys)
Swinging in a tree (Sway fingers side to side)
Along came a crocodile (With other hand - the crocodile, make a chomping motion toward first hand)
As quiet as can be
Shhhh! (Finger to mouth)

The first monkey said (Swing one finger downward, side to side)
"You can't catch me!
And...... (Move other hand in open chomping position, toward first hand)
Snap! (Clap)

Two little monkeys (Hold up 2 fingers - 2 monkeys)
Swingin' in a tree
Along came a crocodile (With other hand - the crocodile, make a chomping motion toward first hand)
As quiet as can be
Shhhh! (Finger to mouth)

The second monkey said (Swing one finger downward, side to side)
"You can't catch me!"
And......(Move other hand in open chomping position, toward first hand)
Snap! (Clap)

One little monkey (Hold one finger up)
Swinging in a tree
Along came a crocodile (With other hand - the crocodile, make a chomping motion toward first hand)
As quiet as can be
Shhhh! (Finger to mouth)

The last monkey said (Swing one finger downward, side to side)
"You can't catch me!"
And....(Move other hand in open chomping position, toward first hand)
Snap! (Clap)

"Missed me, missed me (Swing one finger downward, side to side)
Now you gotta kiss me!

*Kiss* (Move the 'chomping crocodile' hand to the 'monkey' hand to pretend they kiss)

On My Foot There is a Flea

ON MY FOOT THERE IS A FLEA (From the Ontario Early Years Centre)

On my foot there is a flea (Fingers on foot)
Now he's climbing up on me (Crawl fingers up body)
Past my tummy (Crawl fingers over stomach)
Past my nose (Crawl fingers over nose)
On my head, where my hair grows (Crawl fingers onto head)

On my head there is a flea (Leave fingers on head)
Now he's climbing down on me (Climb fingers down face)
Past my tummy, past my knee (Crawl fingers past stomach, knee)
On my foot (Crawl fingers onto foot)
Shoo! (Gently slap foot)
Take that you flea! (Point at foot)

Bumping Up and Down In my Little Red Wagon

BUMPIN' UP AND DOWN IN MY LITTLE RED WAGON (Originally Raffi....modified by OEYC)

Bumpin' up and down in my little red wagon (For the duration of this verse, have the child sit on your lap, and bounce them up and down)
Bumpin' up and down in my little red wagon
Bumpin' up and down in my little red wagon
Won't you come and join me?

One wheel's off and the axle's broken (For the duration of this verse, move the child on your lap from side to side)
One wheel's off and the axle's broken
One wheel's off and the axle's broken
Won't you come and help me?

We're gonna fix it with our hammer (For the duration of this verse, open one hand flat, and pat the fist of another hand into the flat hand)
We're gonna fix it with our hammer
We're gonna fix it with our hammer
Oh, we are so clever!

Wind the Bobbin Up

WIND THE BOBBIN UP (We do this at OEYC and at the Annette Street Library Drop-in)

Wind the bobbin up (Roll your forearms round)
Wind the bobbin up (Roll your forearms round)
Pull, pull (Start with your hands together in a pinching action, then pull apart
Clap, clap, clap (Clap 3 times)

Wind the bobbin up (Same as above)
Wind the bobbin up
Pull, pull
Clap, clap, clap

Point to the ceiling (The rest of the song is self-explanatory!)
Point to the floor
Point to the window
Point to the door

Put your hands together
Clap, clap, clap
Put them gently on your lap

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Brushing an Uncooperative Toddler's Teeth

A few months ago, brushing Noah's teeth wasn't a problem. I would sit on the toilet seat, lay him over my lap, and give his teeth a quick yet thorough brush. Then, he would have a turn which consisted of him putting the toothbrush in his mouth for one second, and then saying "All Done". It always went so smoothly that when he started to protest, I chalked it up to teething pain, and considered it to be a temporary problem. But, night after night it was becoming virtually impossible to get the brush into his mouth.

I have heard how important it is for the parent to brush the child's teeth, and I can see why. Noah's idea of brushing his teeth is sucking the toothpaste off the brush and then biting on the bristles. So, I searched for help on the internet and found some great tips to try:
I decided to try all of these techniques, as well as a sticker reward after successful toothbrushing. Off we went to the store. Noah needed a new toothbrush anyway. However, instead of picking out one, I had him pick out 3 soft-bristled toothbrushes. We had Little Bear toothpaste at home, and the only other fluoride-free toothpaste available was Thomas the Tank Engine, so I grabbed that one in order to give him a choice of toothpaste as well. 
That night, we excitedly opened his new toothbrush and toothpaste purchases. I showed Noah the 3 toothbrushes and asked him which one he wanted to use to brush his teeth. That first night (and every night since - I've been doing this for 3 weeks now) he had such a look of contentment. He smiled and took his time just enjoying the power of choice. Buying 2 or more toothbrushes and offering a choice is a fantastic tip for helping your child get on board with the toothbrushing regime.

Once Noah had chosen his toothbrush, I chose one of the remaining two to brush his teeth with. Of course, getting into his mouth to brush his teeth is the hardest part, but at least we had established a positive attitude about the activity at this point.

I would say (fingers crossed) that brushing teeth is now a successful activity. Out of the other tips listed above (besides multiple toothbrushes), a couple have worked particularly well with Noah. For instance, he likes when I say he has "peanut butter or toast in there". I tell him "I can see it right there!" He laughs and opens his mouth to let me get it out. Telling him to say "Grrrr" also helps. That way, he moves his lip out of the way so I can brush his front teeth.

Also crucial to our success is his immediate sticker reward. He gets to choose a sticker and then place it on his piece of paper on the fridge. He really like the choice part of this.
Other rewards can be desired activities. Noah loves puzzles, so I often entice him to let me brush his teeth by promising puzzles afterwards.

Having stated all these tips, I couldn't help but notice one other factor that helped with our dilemma: MY change in attitude! Originally, my approach to brushing his teeth was more "matter of fact"; a job that needed to get done. Let's face it, brushing our teeth is tedious and boring. None of us look forward to it. Brushing someone else's teeth - also not a very exciting activity.
However, attempting these new tips was a fresh start. Noah fed off my excitement about it. He felt more positive because I was now having fun with it too. I made sure I didn't overdo the brushing. I did what was necessary to clean his teeth, and then excitedly stated "All done!". I truly was so proud of him, and happy for him, and as we skipped down the hall to get his sticker, he felt that. So, heartfelt praise is a huge factor for being successful at brushing a toddler's teeth, as is just having a little fun with it! I guess this is true for most things a toddler needs to learn to do. We just need to remind ourselves of it every so often.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Clean Up Song

(I think this is originally from "Barney", but they use it at most drop-ins we go to.)

Clean up
Clean up
Everybody Everywhere
Clean up
Clean up
Everybody do your share

Tony Chestnut

TONY CHESTNUT (From OEYC. Can do it on yourself or child.)

To (touch toes) ny (touch knee) Chest (touch chest) nut (touch head) 
Knows (touch nose) I (touch eye) love (cross arms on chest) you (point to child)
To (touch toes) ny (touch knee) knows (touch nose)
To (touch toes) ny (touch knee) knows (touch nose)

To (touch toes) ny (touch knee) Chest (touch chest) Nut (touch head) 
Knows (touch nose) (touch eye) love (cross arms on chest) you (point to child)
That's what To (touch toes) ny (touch knee) knows (touch nose)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Simple Outdoor Fall Activities for 2-year-olds

  • Give the kids little rakes and show them how to rake leaves into a pile.
  • Rake leaves quickly into a pile, and show them how to jump in!
  • Leaves are something that they can throw. Show them how to throw them up in the air so that it's "raining leaves".
  • Bury your (or the child's) feet under leaves. Ask all the children to find your feet. (Makes it more fun for them if you look worried about where your feet went!)
  • Show the kids how to hide. Run behind a tree and ask them to find you. It doesn't matter if they saw you hide, they still enjoy coming to find you!
  • Hide a small pumpkin in the leaves. Again, it doesn't matter if they see you hide it, they still enjoy uncovering it. (Actually, they would likely give up if they didn't know where you hid it. At this young age, ensuring their success is paramount.)
  • Ask them to find an orange leaf, a yellow leaf or a red leaf. These guys also enjoyed looking up at the treetops to talk about colours. Aidas kept pointing up to the treetops against the blue sky and saying "It's booful" after hearing me comment on the beauty. I dare say that lying down in the leaves and looking up is also an enjoyable activity. (I believe it's a child's right to get dirty while playing outside!)
  • Give a squirrel a tiny piece of your snack, just so the children can see one close up.