Week of June 8, 2020
Mindful Monday
Invite your child to play a calm game of pretend with you. Have them close their eyes and imagine they are a bird, flying free in the sky. Ask your child: How would you feel if you could fly like a bird ? What do you think birds think about ? Where do they fly ?  Invite your child to slowly flap their arms like they are using wings to fly and pretend to be a bird. Take a deep breath in, arms up. Take a deep breath out, arms down. Repeat this while slowly flapping your wings.

This exercise helps practice mindfulness by allowing children to calmly focus on their breath while using their imagination. This also instills a sense of empathy, and putting oneself into another’s shoes.

For more on practicing mindfulness: 

Time to do a COOL science experiment! Take an ice cube out of the freezer, put it on a plate to see how long it takes to melt. While you’re waiting, put another ice cube in the sunshine. Does the ice melt faster or slower in the sunshine ?  Why do you think this is ?  

Now, try putting ice cubes in cups of different temperatures of water. Does the ice melt faster or slower in cold water compared to warm water ?  Invite your child to put their hand in different temperatures of water (careful, not too hot!) and have them describe how it feels and why they think the ice melted the way it did. 

During the summer, it is fun to cool down by using ice to play and learn. Turn ice play into a STEAM learning experience! STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, Math. Here is a link with some more ice STEAM activities for preschoolers - great ideas for cooling off this summer! 

Let’s make some music! Your child will have so much fun making their own musical instrument! If you have picked up your Smarty Patch Learning Kit for the week, you'll have all the supplies needed to make a sound shaker! If not, you can make a sound shaker by gathering small parts (such as beads), a plastic cup, and something to cover the cup with, like a wax paper square. Drop the small pieces into the cup, place the cover on the top and secure it with a rubber band. Be a rock star and decorate your new instrument with stickers or markers. Shake it to the beat of some fun music and hear the musical sound it makes!

Children learn about sound and music during music and movement activities. In the above activity, they also use fine motor skills making the instrument and gross motor skills shaking it to the beat! 

Make more instruments and create a family band! Use an upside down pot and a wooden spoon as a drum or for more home instrument ideas visit https://redtri.com/homemade-instruments/

SNACK TIME! Snack time can be fun and educational by making a pattern! Pick two of your child’s snack time favorites, such as cheese and crackers or strawberry and banana slices. Create an alternating pattern as you place the snack items in a straight line. Cracker, cheese, cracker, cheese, etc or strawberry, banana, strawberry, banana. Ask your child if they notice anything about the way the snack items are placed. Have them continue the pattern by placing more snack items in the line. Next, talk about the pattern as you eat and enjoy!  

Patterning is a math skill preschoolers can practice at home, with familiar objects. The above pattern is an AB pattern. You can create other types of patterns such as ABB; cracker, cheese, cheese, cracker, cheese, cheese. Another type of pattern is AAB; cracker, cracker, cheese, cracker, cracker, cheese. The ability to recognize and repeat a pattern is a cognitive mathematics skill. There are many fun ways to teach the skill of patterning to preschoolers. You can use items from nature, toys, snacks, etc. Using familiar and fun objects will keep it interesting for children.

Read this poem by Beatrix Potter, with your child: 

We have a little garden, 
A garden of our own. 
And every day we water there
The seeds that we have sown. 
We love our little garden, 
And tend it with such care.
You will not find a faded leaf,
Or blighted blossom there.
Talk to your child about the poem and what it means. Here are some questions start the discussion. Where have you seen a garden ?  What can grow in gardens ?  What do the plants need to grow ?  

In this poem, there are rhyming words. Help your child identify them. Come up with other words that rhyme! New words could be fair and hair. You can also make up a silly story with the rhyming words, such as “The bear over there does not care about the fair or his messy hair!”

Rhyming is an important language and literacy skill. It prepares your child for reading. By kindergarten, children will need to be able to identify rhymes and come up with their own rhymes. Keep the learning exciting by playing rhyming games while you are cooking, cleaning, or doing everyday tasks. Fun ways to teach rhyming to children: https://www.howweelearn.com/best-rhyming-activities-kids/
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