Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Books n Play For Pre-K 7/15/15

This morning I had my second session of a four-week-long Book n Play for Pre-K program. My theme was Things That Go. Last week's class (summer-themed and including both an Elephant and Piggie book and a sandbox) went so well that I was afraid I couldn't top it today. I was actually nervous--thinking that the only direction I could go this week was down. But it went well! I wouldn't say it topped last week, but I would say that maybe it tied. And everyone had a great time!

I've written about the format of my Books n Play for Pre-K program in several past posts. This morning I started off with Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. This And then I read In The Driver's Seat by Max Haynes, which I accompanied with paper steering wheels I made, shown below:

This particular group loves books. Both last week and this week I started the program off with two books in a row and they were literally captivated the whole time. It's not something I did or didn't do--it's just this particular group. But they were basically every children's librarian's dream. (FYI: Last week I began with How Will We Get To the Beach by Brigette Luciani and Elephant and Piggie: Should I Share my Ice Cream? by Mo Willems.)

After the books, I considered singing Wheels on the Bus, but in Musical Kids, Laurie Berkner's Rocketship Run + rocket handouts is always the star of the show, so, really, why not do more that? Not only that, but doing Rocketship Run instead of Wheels on the Bus gave me the opportunity to read Lenny Hort's Seals on the Bus after play/craft time without it all being too much of the same thing. So this was perfect. Rocketship Run, like I have said before, is always everyone's favorite.

Then it was time for play and craft time.

Here's what was at the craft table:
1. Toilet Paper Roll Cars: Made with toilet paper rolls (obviously), this template, crayons, scissors and tape. (See below)
2. These "Fabulous Foam Self-Adhesive Transportation Shapes" from Oriental Trading with white paper and crayons.
3. Bottle Top Boat making supplies. (See below)

And here's what was at the toy table:
1. An array of wood blocks and matchbox cars so kids could set up different types of tracks and race cars around them.
2. Our neighborhood/streets rug (similar to one of these) and a bunch of wood cars (similar to these).
3. A large bin of water for floating the Bottle Top Boats mentioned above. (See blow)

Here's my sample Toilet Paper Roll Car (And again here is the template.):

And here's the scoop on the Bottle Top Boat making and Bottle Top Boat floating:

This was fun in that cool, science experiment way, but also kind of frustrating in that it was probably too hard for the kids. Every single Bottle Top Boat that was made sunk on the first try. The craft I had in mind went like this:

* 1 bottle top
* 1 small ball of play-dough, glued down for security
* 1 toothpick stuck into that blob
* 1 masking tape flag/sail near the top of the toothpick

In actuality, it played out like this: The kids packed the bottle top full of play-dough, stuck in the toothpick, carefully cut a masking tape flag with their parent or guardian, excitedly carried it over to the bin of water, and then watched as the whole contraption sunk to the bottom like a stone.

For many of the kids, it took two tries to get it right, but once they realized it was a matter of using less play-dough, it worked! And it was exciting! We all cheered! So really, the trial and error thing was cool. Dare I say, it was educational. I think I subtly (and accidentally) gave the kids a bit of an early hands-on science lesson. So in that regard, the Bottle Top Boats did work. However, for one or two kids, the thing just never floated. The concept of the tiny play-dough ball was just too hard for their little fingers. And that was probably frustrating for them.

Additionally, this was M-E-S-S-Y. Like wayyyy grosser than I'd realized. I didn't anticipate it. The mess happened when you pulled the sunken boat out of the water bin. The combination of wet play-dough + wet glue + wet masking tape turned into a paste that got under your finger nails and was both sticky and crumply at the same time. Yuck. I had to pull out the emergency baby wipes.

Anyway, here are the first two boats to successfully float and their makers:

And here's a picture of the craft table in action:

After play/craft time I wrapped up with Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort, the Hokey Pokey, and my go-to goodbye song (Blow A Kiss by Laurie Berkner). The kids and parents both got a kick out of Seals on the Bus. I think you're never too old to make animal noises.

What worked best: It's no surprise that Rocketship Run stole the spotlight, as usual. I explained this in an older post also, but the kids are so funny when we do this song. When I hold up a given sign (the sun sign, moon sign, stars sign, and Earth sign), they all run up and touch their rockets to it, like they're really "going" to the sun/moon/etc. I've never told them to do this yet in every class--and in many different sets of children--it happens. It's so cute and funny!

What worked least: The Bottle Top Boat making and Bottle Top Boat floating-- for reasons explained above. The science experiment element of it was fun, but I'd imagine it was frustrating for the kids to make "duds," especially those whose "duds" never turned into "non-duds."

Two more Books n Play for Pre-K classes in this session, then I'll be taking a break from it until the fall! Next week's theme is animals so I'll present this question: What's your favorite animal song or simple animal craft?

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