I take care of my two youngest grandchildren, Nora and Max, while their parents work. Nora will be 4 in August and Max is 2 1/2. I decided it might be helpful to have a little structure for a small part of our day together, so last week I started Nana Camp. So far they have been loving it – just the routines and songs and games make that time in the morning a little special. For the first week our theme was shapes. Nora was already pretty confident and Max knew a few but they both had fun with the activities. I even made up lesson plans (guess who misses teaching a bit?)
We start each day with a special handshake – I shared all these in a previous post about greetings and celebrations if you are interested! Then we have a visit from Rosco – again the details of Rosco are explained in a post under the Language Arts section. Each day Rosco (a large dog puppet) brings an alphabet letter, and the children do something simple with him that begins with the letter – we ate apples for A, bounced a ball for B, played catch the cow for C, etc. He gives them a big lick and a cut out letter to take home.
Next I brought out my little critter puppet – and named him Shape Monster.
I cut out felt shapes and put them on the flannel board. Each day we concentrated on one shape and learned a song about it.
Every day we chanted off the words to the Shape Monster book, this was something I did with my Kindergartners and just adapted for my little ones.
As we said the words “Shape Monster, shape monster, munch! munch! munch! How about a red circle for your lunch?” I chose one of the kids to come and take the red circle down from the flannelboard and “feed” it to Shape Monster. This puppet does have a slit in the back of his mouth so he can “swallow.” Each day Shape Monster ate each of the shapes, and Nora colored the page in the Shape Monster book. The rest of each day’s activities emphasized one shape.
We only spend about 10-15 minutes doing these things, but then I brought out some other activities during the day. As you see in my ‘lesson plan’ we had a different shaped snack each day. I also made a road in each of the shapes that I brought out one at a time because Max loves matchbox cars.
I cut these out of black foam and used white-out to write the dotted lines. I made another set out of the stiff kind of gray felt and used a marker for the lines.
For circles I introduced Bingo markers, can’t believe I hadn’t let the kids play with those before! They were a staple in Kindergarten.
As I was scrolling through Pinterest ideas about shapes I came upon the idea of a Tuff Spot. It came from England – basically a washable tray that you can use for everything from play-dough and shaving cream to sand, rice or paint. I found a version on Amazon and my husband built a stand for it out of PVC pipe.
Here the children are cutting play-dough circles. The shiny surface is a piece of sparkly poster-board I cut to fit because we used this on the 4th of July and I wanted the stars they were cutting to look sparkly! I also put glitter into the play-dough. Most of the week we have used this outside but it is really easy to take in or out. Of course you don’t need a special table for any art activities but it is fun.
For squares the children put together a square man – I precut the squares but I am trying to find more opportunities to let them cut. Nora handles scissors pretty well but Max is a novice! They used a glue stick pretty independently. I wondered how Max would put his together but he really took his cue from Nora.
I wanted to emphasize the 3 sides of the triangle so they counted 3 tongue depressors and we glued them together. Then they used a Sharpie (don’t tell their mom but they didn’t get it on their clothes) to draw shapes and then watercolor painted over them.
For rectangles I gave each of them a clean sponge and took a tub with a small amount of water in it out onto our driveway. I showed them how to squeeze it out a bit so when they made a print it was in the shape of a rectangle. They loved this!
Another day I drew shapes on the driveway and we played several games running around and stepping on the shapes while we yelled out the names.
Nora is interested in sight words so I put out the words ‘I, see, a” in a pocket chart. This is one of those $1 pocket charts I bought at Target and again my handy husband made a frame from pvc pipe. I set the words out to make a sentence by putting a different shape at the end. I see a circle, etc. She loved using the pointer to read it.
I hope you are enjoying summer time and the little people in your life too!