Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Putting kids in the same boat

I have been reading Positive Discipline by Jane Nelsen.  It is a great book with lots of really good suggestions.  I recommend it to anyone.  Dr. Nelsen has put together a set of 52 "tools" to use with kids.  They range from scheduling special time to family meetings to using silent signals.  At The Learning Tree we've been following her blog and taking one tool each week to focus on with the kids.  Last week the tool was "Put kids in the same boat".  I read her blog post here and I gotta be honest....I wasn't super excited about this one.  I can't exactly pinpoint why, but it just didn't seem "fair".  However, I put my best foot forward and looked for a chance to use it.  I got my chance one afternoon during clean up time.  One little 6 year old boy (we won't mention that it was my own son...haha!) was LESS than excited about helping at all.  He never really likes clean up time and does whatever he can to get out of it.  In the meantime, all the other kids are working and before you know it the job is done and he doesn't have to do any of it.  

I decided it was the perfect chance to try "putting kids in the same boat".  I asked everyone to stop and come hang out on the couch with me.  I explained to the kids that it didn't really seem right that some kids were cleaning up while others were not and so we would just hang out together until we were ALL ready to help.  And while we were sitting there I saw the perfect opportunity for an impromptu class meeting (another tool in the Positive Discipline playbook).  Instead of telling them what we were going to do, I asked for their help in solving this problem. It took a bit, but eventually we came up with a solution together.  Ultimately it was the "problem child" that came up with a solution that worked.  I smiled about that for the rest of the day!

Also, if you haven't already - don't forget to check out our improved Facebook page.  We have lots of recent pics and information there!

Saturday, June 18, 2011


This last week was a BLAST! We visited Africa all week long. Here's some of the fun ideas we came up with:

*We made African Masks and put them up in our very own "Museum Display". They will be coming home with the kids next week!*We sorted pictures of safari animals and played games while learning about all the types of animals that live in Africa. A few of the kids even put together some cute felt finger puppets of animals you would find on safari, like those seen on the here on The Idea Room Blog.

*We made binoculars and safari vests.
*But the HIGHLIGHT of the week was African Dancing! My sister Kember is a phenomenal dancer. So I asked her to come up with something for the kids. She was amazing with them and they got SO into. Everyone from the 18 month old girl to the school age girls AND boys. They used traditional type moves to tell stories about their lives here! If I can figure out what I'm doing I'll try to post a video here or on our Facebook page.

Next week it's on to Australia and Oceania. Wish us luck and safe travels!

Earth Week

We thought we'd begin our trip around the world....with the whole world! We did Earth Week last week and it was a big success. A few of the activities included:

*Gardening Day - Planting seeds for a pumpkin patch (if we can ever get the dirt in the backyard ready ;)
*A visit from Amelia the puppet who told us all about recycling
*Recycling treasure hunt and field trip to drop everything off at the bins!
*Making paper beads from scraps. Instructions found on this awesome blog!
*Garbage walk - the kids picked up trash on a walk around the neighborhood. We recycled what we could, threw away what we was useless and use the best items for "Garbage Art", which was a huge success :)

It's an igloo, just in case you were wonderin...

Around the World in 80 days!

Hello world! We have been so busy setting up the daycare in the new house and navigating LOTS of changes that I have completely neglected the blog. Going to try to do better, if we can do so without letting other more important things go ;).

Summer is just about 80 days long. We needed a theme to build our summer camp around and "Around the World in 80 days" seemed like the perfect fit. It has been so fun so far!

Our first week we spent getting to know all the campers and getting our school age kids used to the daily routine. A few things we are doing over the summer:

*Older kids get an hour of reading time every day. Some kids love this more than others, but it's one of the most important things we can do to keep them sharp for school in the fall. Plus it gives them some structured "down time" in the middle of the day, which is important for all kiddos. To help keep them excited about this we are also...
*Taking trips to the library once or twice a week. We usually go on Mondays to check out books to read for the week and have been trying to make it to story time on Thursdays if we have the manpower. We have also signed up the kids for the summer reading program.
*We take field trips to see the PTA movie every week for some of the older kids. It has been a lot of fun and a nice diversion.
*Water days! Enough said ;)
*Lots of outside time: picnics, walks, sidewalk chalk, bubbles...
*Indoor and Outdoor Art projects coordinated with our themes

I am also SO SO happy to announce that due to the generosity of Joey's brother and a little overordering on his part, we now have a few patches of grass in the backyard! Once the sod is established in a week or two we should be able to spend more time out there now much more comfortably. We'll move the picnic tables back there and start using the sand and water table for different sensory activities outside. You can also see that the block wall on the south side of the house is now complete, which gives us much more room to play and explore.
We still have a long ways to go. That will take a lot of time, hard work and money so the progress might be slow. But I think that you would be surprised and how much fun dirt and a big old tree can be. I thought it was so ironic that we finally got a little green back there and all Maren wanted to do was still just play in the dirt!

Monday, January 31, 2011

We've Moved!

These are the new digs! More pictures to come of the daycare set up. We've been busy busy these last few months and having as much fun as ever! More to come...sometime ;)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Shaving Cream Blocks

I got this idea from my most recent Child Care Conference I attended here at SUU. Simply put = Shaving Cream + Blocks = HOURS of entertainment! Now, I didn't use my nice unit blocks. These are just some I've had sitting around that are too small to have out on the floor much because they include a lot of small pieces that could be chocking hazards. But the older kids had a great time building with these. The shaving cream makes a really neat kind of glue so they can have a little more freedom in building. They also had fun adding in marbles and other small items. Clean up is a little bit of a pain because you do have to wash/rinse everything off. But it doesn't get everywhere like some other sensory was basically contained to the table. And it kept them busy for literally HOURS several afternoons in a row. You should try it...might like it!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


The older girls made a list of all the things they wanted to do this summer. It included a request for Picnics..."Lots!". So I guess this is the first official picnic of the season. Yes it was 90 degrees outside. Yes we had a picnic anyway. It's a great way to get the kiddos to drink their milk! ;)