Fun Stuff for Kids

Tell Me A Story Tuesday – Growing Vegetable Soup

Fall is the time of year where we harvest food. Once the weather starts to cool down, it’s natural to grab a sweater and start up a pot of soup for warmth. Growing Vegetable Soup,by Lois Ehlert, presents the perfect opportunity to talk about the things that we naturally do at this time of year. Children benefit by learning from relevant events in their lives. Read this book with your child. There are SO MANY ways that you can extend this book into so much more than it is alone. You can develop vocabulary by talking about the names of vegetables, develop taste buds by sampling different kinds of vegetables, develop narrative skills and numeracy skills by making a pot of soup, and so on.

Here is an activity you can do with this book:

from_the_garden_to_soup

From the Garden to Soup 

  • Create vegetables using craft foam.
  • Place vegetables in some dirt you may have left over from your garden. You can also use a blanket to simulate earth.
  • Invite one child to be a “sounder” and another to be a “matcher.” Have the sounder secretly choose an item from the “dirt” and say the first sound of the item. For example, say “C-c-c” for carrot. Depending on your children’s ability level, you should be the sounder for the first few times that you model the game.
  • Once the sound has been heard, the matcher finds an item in the “dirt” that starts with the same sound. If that item is not the item the sounder has chosen, you can help the matcher by giving clues. Continue until the matcher holds up the correct item. When the matcher selects the correct item, he can put it into a soup pot. Play again using another set of children as a sounder and a matcher.
  • This activity can help younger children label things that grow in a garden. If you are working with younger children, you could ask them to find colors, “Can you please find me the white onion, orange carrot, red tomato….
  • You could also add some foam alphabet letters to the soup to work on letter recognition. Say, “Can anyone find a letter ‘A’ and or the letter that starts with the sound /a/ to add to our soup?”

 

Picture1

Different Ways to “Tell the Story” with children.

 

Retell the Story, Create a Recipe

  • Recall the story with the children and write down the recipe for making vegetable soup
  • Attach pictures to each step in the recipe
  • With the children, follow the recipe and make vegetable soup

flannel_board

Flannel Board or Story Bag

  • Retell the story with a flannel board or Story Bag.
  • Place the object on the flannel board or in the bag and solicit vocabulary and story from children
  • Pass out pieces to children and as you retell the story, invite the children to place the pieces on the flannel board on the story bag
  • Place the flannel board or story bag in the reading area for children to recreate their own stories

Watch (or Make) a You Tube Video

  • Watch the video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOidUBm_ZEU
  • Compare/Contrast the book to the video
    • pictures VS drawn pictures
  • Create your own video
    • Assign children jobs to create video
      • Cook
      • Narrator
      • Camera man
      • Props

What else would you do with this book?

 

vegetable_finds

Vegetable Finds

MATERIALS (Needed per child and adult):

  • paper plates
  • small paper cups
  • large bowl
  • safety knives
  • small cutting board
  • 2 whole vegetables  (don’t have to be the same for each child – have 6 types for variety)

ACTIVTY:

Willie the Worm crawled into the vegetable bowl. Inch your forefinger along the table. “Which vegetable should I eat first?” he asked. Name the vegetables with the children. “His sharp teeth bit into the soft skin of a round, red tomato. He wondered what it was like inside of the tomato. Willie crawled in, and what do you think he found?” Cut the tomato, give each child a small piece and discuss their observations. Put extra pieces in the large bowl. “Willie ate ‘til he was so full he fell asleep. He didn’t try any other vegetables. But our stomachs are bigger so we can try them all and make a vegetable salad!”  Distribute materials, and say, “I wonder what we’ll discover about our vegetables.” Remind children to use their own cup and only put untasted pieces in the large bowl to share later.

Encourage children to use all five senses as they explore the vegetables. Describe and encourage them to describe visual characteristics, sound, texture, smell and taste. Ask what the attributes remind them of.  Encourage children to predict what a vegetable will look like or feel like inside and verify predictions when they cut open the vegetables.

FOLLOW UP:

Survey vegetables the children liked best and create a chart. Use information from survey to create a recipe. Send home the recipe with the children to re-create salad with their families. Encourage the children to represent the vegetable they cut up (draw or print). Create a book from their representations.

 

snack

What’s For Snack?

MATERIALS (Needed per child):

  • Small paper bag (lunch bag) with
  • 1-2 vegetables per bag and stapled shut
  • Paper
  • Drawing materials (crayons, markers, colored pencils, etc.)

ACTIVITY:

Hand each child the paper bag. I made a snack for each of us last night that I thought we could enjoy today. I stapled the bags shut so the snack would not fall out as I brought them to school. But now I have forgotten what I put in the bags for our snack. Do you think you could figure out what is in your bag without looking?

Encourage the children to feel the bags. What is the shape of the item(s)? Encourage children to use descriptive words such as round, hard, soft, rough, smooth, oval, oblong, large and small. For those children who are struggling, open up the bags and invite the children to touch the object, without looking. What do they feel now?

FOLLOW UP:

Encourage the children to draw what they think the item(s) is in their bag. Open the bag. Were their predictions correct? Draw what was actually in the bag. Ask the children for suggestions as to what to do with the vegetables.

 

potato

Where’s The Potato?

MATERIALS:

  • 10 cups or pots numbered 1-10
  • a potato

ACTIVITY:

Hank was making vegetable soup in the kitchen, and he had a mess. He had pots, spoons, bowls and vegetables all over the kitchen. He needed the potato, but could not find it. There were 10 pots in the kitchen upside down and he thought the potato might be under one of the pots. Do you think you can help me find the potato for Hank so he can finish his soup? Invite the children, one at a time, to guess a number.

If a child chooses 3, emphasize that the child chose the third cup and that the 3 is in between 2 and 4. If the potato is not under that pot, offer a clue. For example, if the potato is under the 7, provide the clue: the potato is not under the 3.  The potato is under a pot after the 3 but before the 8. Continue to use these clues, emphasizing before, after and between; what number the potato is not under; and using ordinal numbers to restate the child’s choice.

FOLLOW UP:

Place the game on a table for the children to play on their own at choice time. You could use colors, shapes, letters, symbols, or vocabulary pictures on the pots to reinforce concepts.

 

scale
Weigh In

MATERIALS:

  • Scale
  • Corn seeds, beans seeds, pea seeds, sunflower seeds
  • 2×2 inch cards with pictures of seeds
  • Large bar graph
  • 1 cup measuring cups

ACTIVITY:

Introduce the scale to the group. Ask if anyone knows what the scale is and what they would do with the scale. Take a measuring cup and scoop one cup of corn seeds on one side of the scale. Ask the children, What do you think will happen when I put this cup of  bean seeds into the other side of the scale? Take one cup of bean seeds in the other side. Ask, “What happened? Why is one side lower than the other?”   As children respond, restate their responses, emphasizing vocabulary that pertains to weight and measurement.   “I have 4 different kinds of seeds – corn seeds, bean seeds, pea seeds and sunflower seeds. I wonder which seed is heavier?” Ask the children to guess which seed they think is heaviest. Ask the children to place a picture of the seed that they think is heaviest on the chart.

“How do you think we can do that? What would we do first to find out which seed weighs the most?” Write down the process for answering the question, “Which seed is heaviest?” Carry out the procedure with the children.

FOLLOW UP:

Invite the children to draw the steps they took to find out which seed was heaviest.  Compare their prediction to their results. Discuss if and why their predictions did not match their results.  Place other materials in the science area for the children to experiment with weight.

 

kid_cook

How to Make Vegetable Soup

MATERIALS:

  • Broccoli, onion, carrots, potato, green beans, cabbage, tomatoes, green pepper, zucchini, ear of corn, pot, spoons, safety knives, cutting boards, water, peas, seasonings (parsley, marjoram, salt, pepper, thyme, bay leaf)
  • chart paper
  • markers
  • stove
  • hot pads
  • bowls
  • spoons
  • napkins

ACTIVITY:

Ask the children to recall how vegetable soup was made in the book. “What happened first? What ingredients do we need? What kitchen utensils do we need? What do we need to do to prepare the vegetables for the soup? What do we need to do to be safe in the kitchen?”  Use the information to create a recipe with the children. Draw/Add pictures to the different steps in the recipe to help children “read” the recipe. Using the recipe, make vegetable soup.

While following the recipe, invite children to take turns reading the recipe and directing the class/group as to what to do next. Encourage children to talk about what they are doing, using vocabulary from the story.

FOLLOW UP:

Take pictures of process and create a book, documenting how children made vegetable soup. Solicit pictures from children of their favorite part of the process and include in the book. Include children’s comments in book. Send copies of the book home to parents or invite parents to come in and make vegetable soup with their children. Take a survey of the class – Did you like the vegetable soup? Yes or no? Graph their responses.

 

veggie_people

Veggie People

MATERIALS:

  • Whole carrot
  • Various vegetables cut into different sizes and shapes
  • toothpicks

ACTIVITY:

Lay out a whole carrot (with leaves, stem and roots still intact). Discuss with the children the different parts of the carrot, naming the parts of the plant. Now, take the carrot and cut the carrot and clean the carrot. Lay out other various vegetables cut into various sizes. Invite the children to use the pieces to create a veggie person.

As they create their veggie people, encourage the children to describe their creations and how they are attaching pieces and what size, vegetable and shape they are using. Ask questions such as “who has a veggie person that has a round head?” or “does anyone have a person with a body made from a triangle shaped root?”

FOLLOW UP:

Display or take pictures of their creations. Invite children to dictate how they created their person – what pieces did they use, what shapes are the pieces, what parts of the plant were used?

 

Close-up mid section of woman holding seedling --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Close-up mid section of woman holding seedling — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 

Growing Plants

MATERIALS:

  • Recording of calming music

ACTIVITY:

Ask the children, “Where does a plant come from?” As the children come up with seed, invite the children to pretend to be a seed. “What would that look like?” (put your hand into a fist or your body into a ball) “What happens next? The seed sends out root into ground below. Can you show me how a seed sends out its roots?” (put fingers out or stretch out legs) “Then the sprouts begin to push their way through the ground” (move your fingers or arms upward). “What does the plant need to grow?”  (sun, water) Then the warm sun hits the plant, the rain sprinkles down, and it begins to stretch upward.”  (reach your hands and arms up) “Then the breeze comes along and the branches of the plant are blown gently” (sway your hands and arms above your head)  “Now we are ripe and ready to be picked.”

FOLLOW-UP:

Encourage the children to make their own drawings of a plant growing from a seed to a plant. Place sequencing cards of a plant’s life cycle in the science area and invite the children to place the cards in sequential order.

 

I created an Activity Handout with a printable version of the listed activities

Want more ideas? I also created a handout with Other_Fruits_and_Vegetable_Activities.
Have a Great Week!

Kacey

Kacey Deverell is the Mentor Supervisor at Early Childhood Alliance. She coordinates the mentoring team as well as provides mentoring and technical assistance for Paths to QUALITY programs. She has a Master’s degree in education from Ball State University. You can email or contact her at 800-423-1498 extension 2483.

Where Do You Eat Dinner?

When is the last time your family sat down to the table to share a meal?  If you are like my family, we have gotten in the habit of eating in front of the television, which I said I was never going to do as a mother.  This is not how I was raised.  My mom did everything in her power to make sure that we had dinner as a family.  I remember times when we packed up the entire meal and went to the field just so that we could eat with Dad.  It was a very rare occasion in our household if we ate like my family has grown accustomed to on a regular basis.

Well, that is going to stop right now.  Starting this week, I am going to reclaim the dining room table for what it was intended for and establish our Family Dinner Time.  This means everyone at the table together, no distractions (cell phones, video machines, television, computers, etc.), enjoying a meal together.

Research is beginning to show that eating as a family 4-5 times a week has great benefits for children.  Benefits can include improved communication skills, better manners, more nutritious meals, a broader pallet, higher academic performance, increased self-sufficiency, and more.

I know it is going to be challenge.  I am lucky that my children are young enough that they are not involved in all of the extra-curricular activities that steal time away from the family like baseball, dance class, piano lessons, homework, and on and on.  I hope if I start now and make this a “most of the time” experience that later on it will be routine and hopefully will not be as hard to initiate into our hectic lives.  However, I know that challenges will arise and we will have to face them head on.  There will be times when it will not be possible and that the family will not be able to eat together.  However, it is my pledge to my children that if it is possible and if I can make it happen, I will.  I also pledge to get my act together and plan out our menu so that we can be more conscientious of the nutrition that we are getting in our diet.  This will be a priority for my family and for the well-being of my children, my husband, and for myself.

Here are a couple of resources that I am using to help establish our Family Dinner Time:

  • The Family Table – Family meals strengthen and connect families.  We are your source for resources and support to help you eat more meals with your family so the children in your life reap the benefits.  The Family Table – make it a habit!  *From http://familytableonline.org/home
  • The Family Dinner Project –   Most American families are starved for time to spend together, and dinner may be the only time of the day when we can reconnect, leaving behind our individual pursuits like playing video games, emailing and doing homework.  Dinner is a time to relax, recharge, laugh, tell stories and catch up on the day’s ups and downs, while developing a sense of who we are as a family.   *From http://thefamilydinnerproject.org/resources/faq/

Won’t you join me in this journey by establishing or maintaining your own Family Dinner Time?

Have a Great Week!

Lisa

Indoor Fun – Snow Day

Some days it’s just too cold to go outside and play, or the weather doesn’t cooperate in another way.  Whatever the weather, I have a special day planned for the kids – an indoor snow day.  I have come up with a list of some games, activities, and treats that we can pick and choose to do throughout the day.  This would also be fun as a family activity anytime of the year.

Have a Great Week!

Lisa

 

snowballgames

Snowball Games are Minute to Win it Style games.  I found this list a couple of years ago, and Hank looks forward to doing them every year – especially the indoor snowball fight.  This year we are going to start out the games by hiding all of the “snowballs” around the house and have a scavenger hunt.

Also, to go along with the games we already have, we are adding a couple of new ideas.

 

snow_fun

 

The kids both love craft time, and here a couple of projects that I know they will enjoy.

 

Who doesn’t love a good book?  Here are a couple of resources with a variety of snow or winter books.  A couple of our favorites are Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton, and If It’s Snowy and You Know It, Clap Your Paws! by Kim Norman.

Here are a couple of math-related activities that we will incorporate into the day.

We love experiments, so here is a great resource with ideas.

 

snowscience

from Inspiration Laboratories

 

We kept a couple of the larger boxes from Christmas to use for our snow bricks activity (see below).  I also saved white tissue paper and collected snowflake stickers.

 

snowfort

from Things to Share and Remember

  • Snow Bricks (boxes covered in white paper and snowflakes) to build a snow fort or Igloo
  • Or make a fort or igloo with blankets and a table

Here is a list of props to use with this snowy dramatic play activity:

  • Ear Muffs and Hats
  • Scarves
  • Jackets and Snow Suits
  • Sweaters
  • Boots
  • Long Underwear
  • Buckets and Shovels
  • Snow (cotton balls, styrofoam)
  • Thermos and Cups
  • Snowman Blocks (see below)
  • Let your imagination go wild!

Idea:  Try putting your dramatic play and block play materials together.  See what happens?

 

snowblocks

from No Time for Flashcards

We have saved quite a few spice jars to use for our snowman “blocks” idea from No Time for Flashcards.  We also saved small Pringles cans to use as a larger version of these blocks as well.

snowytreats

 

I thought it would be fun to incorporate themed snacks into our day of fun!  Here are a couple of quick, simple ideas that we are going to try.

We are going to continue the fun through dinner.  The kids are going to help prepare 2 “Pizza Snowmen”  – one with mushrooms for eyes, mouth & buttons, and one with black olives instead so each child has his/her favorite topping.

snowpizza

Snowman Pizza from Delia Creates

 

Investing In Early Childhood Education

Should business leaders care about early childhood education? Madeleine Baker, CEO of Early Childhood Alliance for more than a decade, advocates for quality early childhood education not only for children’s and families’ benefit, but also for the short-term and long-term impact that it has across the business community. As a former human resources manager, Madeleine knows first-hand the direct benefits for employers:

  • With the majority of parents working, the availability, accessibility, and affordability of quality local child care is a significant draw for employees who have young children.
  • Studies show that child care issues are problematic for families. When parents have quality, reliable care for their children, employers experience reduced absenteeism and turnover, and increased productivity.
  • The availability of quality early childhood care leads to greater availability of working adults and increased opportunity for advanced education.

With that said, there are even more benefits for community investment in early childhood education that are long-term.  Children learn from birth. In fact, the foundation for lifelong learning capacity is established during a child’s earliest years, from 0 to 5. Those early learning experiences set the stage for school readiness and beyond… into the workforce.

In 2014 Indiana spent nearly $22 million on 4,500 children repeating kindergarten because those children started their school experience unprepared. Chances are, as studies indicate, that those children are not reading at grade level by third grade and many will never catch up in later years. Remediation for those children costs money, taxpayer money, and in the long run, the lack of quality education and learning will limit economic growth.

The need for investment in the early years is real. One in four children in northeast Indiana live in poverty and are most at risk of entering their school years unprepared to learn. Quality learning experiences need to be available, accessible and affordable for all children.

An important move to improve quality of early education in Indiana was the adoption of a quality rating and improvement system statewide several years ago. Paths to QUALITYTM  is that system, with voluntary participation and four-levels of quality. Developed in Fort Wayne and first implemented by Early Childhood Alliance, it is a tool for parents who are looking for early care and education programs. Parents can now identify not only programs that participate in Paths to QUALITY but what level of quality each has achieved. It also gives child care providers a framework for improving their programs to Level 4, the highest level, which includes national accreditation.

Employers can help their workforce achieve the highest levels of productivity and economic growth, both now and in years to come,  by investing in quality early childhood education. And some of the first steps are easy to do, such as making sure employees get information on Paths to QUALITY; putting a FREE Child Care Search button on their websites and internal communications; subsidizing child care as an employee benefit; and supporting family-friendly policies in the workplace.

Advocating for quality early care and education is important for the future of so many young children, but also for the business community moving forward. Everyone will benefit.

Help Families Find Quality Child Care

Child care is an important part of a working parent’s everyday life, and success.

 

Did you know?

  • Absenteeism, tardiness, and reduced concentration at work are often the costly results of breakdowns in child care arrangements.*
  • Employees miss an average of 8 days of work per year for child care issues.
  • 63% of employees with children report improved productivity when using high quality child care.**

Indiana Employers can show families, staff and the community that you value the importance of quality care and education!

 

blue_button

Post the Free Child Care Search Button on your website to help your families find high-quality child care. With just two mouse clicks, employees, customers, and site visitors can gain access to child care resources, videos, information, and an online search tool.

Watch this video to learn more!

 

Contact Us Today!

For Allen, DeKalb, Elkhart, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marshall, Noble, St. Joseph, Steuben, and Whitley Counties, contact ECA toll free at 800-423-1498, ext. 2492, or by email,mmadden@ECAlliance.org.

All families can use www.childcareindiana.org to help them make the child care search easy.

Have a Great Week!

Lisa

 

*Shellenback, 2004

**ABT Associates, 2000

Information also gathered from Paths to QUALITY brochures, and the www.iaccrr.orgwebsite

On The Go Activities – Thanksgiving Kit

If your family is like mine, we are on the road visiting family for Thanksgiving.  Since there are usually no, or few, other kids to play with, I take along an activity bag to keep the kids entertained.  Here are some of the new ideas that I have added for this year’s trip.

 

turkeyhunt

Turkey Hunt from Bloom

 

tomturkey

Don’t Eat Tom Turkey from Happy Home Fairy 

 

gamesinajar2

Games in a Jar from Lost Button Studio

 

drumstick

Drumstick Hunt from Parents

 

TurkeyEggTivities

Turkey Egg-Tivities from Parents 

 

From my family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving!

Have a Great Week!

Lisa