Polar Bear Mask Crafts


This month our theme is Polar Bears and Penguins. We are practicing the “P” sound and reading books that accentuate the letter P, or are about polar bears or penguins. This week we worked on this polar bear mask. I like crafts that take a couple days and the children get to wait to see the fruit of their labor. 🙂

When I am trying to think up a craft, I do a google image search on what I’m interested in, like in this case, “polar bear crafts for preschool.” I saw this one in my search and decided it would be an easy one to do that the kids would enjoy. So, here is how we did it.

First, I cut a hole for the bear nose:

Then, they painted an applesauce cup white for the nose. They don’t know how to cover it with paint, but it still had enough for effect. 🙂

We pushed the applesauce cup through the hole, and then I hot glued it in.

I cut out eyes and mouth. Mine are too small to cut in shapes, but older ones could do this themselves. We talked about each body part.

We tore up paper towels into small pieces for fur. We talked all about what fur is and the color white.

I spread glue around on the plates and the kids placed the paper towel pieces all around, covering the glue.

They are done and it’s time for the bears to dry.

The final thing we did was to glue a little black circle on the nose. Here is the finished product!

They are going to keep these here for the month for other activities with our theme (games, stories, etc). This allowed them practice with small motor development, hand eye coordination, we were able to talk about and point out body parts, shapes, identify the color white, articulate “po-lar,” stress the “p” sound, and feel sensory items. This was a fun one that we’ll do each year. 🙂

New Year’s Craft for Children

With just two more days in 2013, we had to make a cute New Year craft. I decided on making a simple 2014 sensory art project.

First I cut out the numbers and we glued them to the paper. This gave us a chance to name the numbers and the colors and talk about it being a new year.

Then I found some shapes and colored cotton to glue onto the numbers. We named the shapes, talked about the feel of the cotton, and counted out the objects. Then we glued them on and waited for them to dry. Voila!


So colorful and festive!

Some Goals, Objectives, and Developmental Steps…
Construct objects with simple tools using a variety of materials.
Demonstrate skills, such as cutting, pouring, and fastening necessary to make things.
Describe orally objects they constructed.
Use their senses to identify differences of objects, such as size, shape, color, texture, and
weight.

Christmas Ornaments for Children

This was a fun, easy craft for the children that we did this year. The age of my daycare children ranged from 18 – 30 months.

Day One we made the dough by adding together 1 cup flour, 1/2 c salt, and 1/2 cup water. I measured and the children poured it in the bowl and then they took turns mixing.

I gave them each a ball and they pushed and pounded and rolled it out. Then they used cookie cutters to make various shapes. I helped them get it off the table onto a piece of foil for each of them, marked with their name.

They went into the oven at 200 degrees for 2 hours.

Day Two they painted one side.
Day Three they painted the second side and after it dried, we finished them off by twisting pipe cleaners for them to be able to hang on their Christmas trees at home.

This was a fun craft they enjoyed and were very proud of their creations! 🙂

We also made these cute little handprint reindeer the week before Christmas.

And we made these sweet little stockings!

Merry Christmas!

Areas of Learning:
Reading/Language Arts – comprehension skills through listening to and comprehending the directions
Recognize sequential order – predicting ‘what comes next’
Math – Counting and Matching pairs of objects in one-to-one correspondence. Identifying and sorting by color. Building an understanding of quantity while measuring and pouring.
Science – following simple step by step direction. Using measurement words and some standard measurement tools.

Early Childhood and Art

I love making art and I love it when the kids get creative. Art promotes physical, social, emotional, and cognitive growth. Children learn hand-eye coordination and fine-motor skills. They learn about shapes, textures, and colors. They learn about different media. They get to express themselves and communicate non-verbally. They learn to draw, cut, glue, tear, and create.

Above is a picture of some of my kids making their own creations. They have an assortment of materials to use as they like and each of them will produce a unique creation.

It’s important to remember when children create art that it’s the process that’s important, not the product. Enjoy the process. 🙂

Anxiety Disorder in Children

I recently had to submit an informal research paper on a special needs topic. I chose anxiety disorder, and I was surprised to find out how prevalent it is in children. This is the bulk of the information…

Some anxiety is a normal part of life, even for children. However some people, including young children, suffer from an anxiety disorder to the point where they avoid people, places, and activities. Anxiety disorders affect 18% of adults and one in every 8 children. Recently a trend has been noted of mentally ill people turning up in jails and homeless shelters. Researchers are reporting that parents and teachers can potentially alter the path of anxiety and related disorders in young at-risk children.

There are several categories of anxiety disorder in children. The most common anxiety disorders are separation anxiety disorder (beyond what is developmentally appropriate), generalized anxiety disorder, and social phobia. Separation anxiety is the most common anxiety disorder in children. It is a deep fear that something bad is going to happen to the child or a family member. The child may get headaches, stomach aches, or diarrhea when separated. With generalized anxiety disorder, children worry about multiple areas of their life, including the future, school, family, natural disasters, etc. Social phobia causes children to be very uncomfortable talking out loud and become “socially mute.” These disorders often make children want to hurt themselves because they feel hopeless. In one research study of eleven year olds, 3.5% had separation anxiety disorder, 2.9% had generalized anxiety disorder, and 1% had social phobia. Another study of 7-11 year old children found 15.4% of combined diagnosis.

Anxiety may be the result of nature or nurture. It may be nature as typically at least one of the parents is found to have anxiety disorder. In one study of mothers with anxiety disorder and their preschool children, 80% of their preschool children were determined to be insecurely attached. Out of twenty total children, three preschool children met criteria for anxiety disorder. 65% were classified as behaviorally inhibited. Anxiety may be the result of nurture due to the effects of negative or over controlling parenting, demographic area, and stressful situations. Some beginning symptoms can show around as young as 6 months old. Nature cannot be prevented, but nurture can be. It is important for educators to be aware of anxiety symptoms in students and respond appropriately.

Some studies have shown that young children with anxiety disorders grow up to have anxiety disorders and are at an increased risk of later depression, drug dependence, eating disorders, self-harming disorders, and educational underachievement. For example, one study followed children who were diagnosed with anxiety in first grade. They found that anxiety in first grade significantly predicted anxiety in fifth grade. Also, those fifth grade children who had been followed in the study tested lower in achievement test scores than their peers.

The most common anxiety symptoms include extreme concern about competence, excessive need for reassurance, fear of the dark, fear of harm to an attachment figure, and somatic (medical) complaints. A student with anxiety disorder may show severe separation anxiety, lower grades or test scores, or they may show trouble adjusting to changes and new situations. Sometimes students are absent more often than others, usually claiming to be ill. Sometimes students may be the ‘quiet one’ and receive less attention. Some students may suffer from depression also. They may cry often, seem sad, or just seem less ‘happy’ than the other students. Some children may not feel that they are important to anyone. Others may have irritability, anger, or hostility issues or have difficulty with relationships.

Depending on the type of anxiety disorder, students may have intense feelings of fear, panic, or unease. They may have uncontrollable thoughts that have become obsessive about normal or abnormal things. They may have frequent thoughts about traumatic experiences. They may display certain behaviors often or repeat them often with a specific ritual. They may have problems sleeping or have nightmares. They may have feelings of being suffocated, shortness of breath, nausea, or dizziness. They may lack the ability to stay calm. They may have muscle tension and will often feel uneasy.

Diagnosis and treatment can be difficult. Often pediatricians lack specific training to correctly diagnose or treat children who are depressed or anxious. A recent government report showed that there are only about 7500 psychiatrists currently treating children and adolescents, yet an estimated 5 million children are affected. Also, mental health care is expensive and often requires out-of-pocket costs as it is typically not covered by insurance. Unfortunately, there is also social stigma attached to getting mental health care which stops a lot of people from seeking help. If professional help is obtained, intervention is multi-faceted. Professional treatments include cognitive-behavioral therapy, relaxation training, role playing and modeling how to handle stress, bibliotherapy, group therapy, and medications. Often parents are worried about the side effects of medicine; however there it is important to note the side effect to not taking medications is that the child may remain unwell.

There are community resources available for children, parents, and teachers. The Anxiety and Stress Disorders Institute of Maryland in Towson accepts patients and has a wealth of information on the web. Their website is anxietyandstress.com. They have examples of what can be said, such as “you can do it, no matter how you feel” and “face the fear and it will disappear.” There are Panic and Anxiety Support Groups in our area that can be found doing a simple web search. One meets in Baltimore the first and third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 pm at the Church of the Redeemer on North Charles Street. It provides screening of anxiety disorders and provides support.

Teachers can be aware and help students with anxiety disorder. Children with anxiety disorder can feel alienated and set apart from their peers. Often they may be in an abusive or neglectful situation or they may just be in a high-pressured, over-scheduled, stressful situation. As educators, we need to be careful that we are not unintentionally adding to that by seeming to expect perfection. We also can be alert to the students’ behaviors. We should not try to diminish a person’s feelings, but try to be patient and willing to listen when the student has something to say. A student with social phobia will be afraid to talk to or in front of others, so we should not call on the student if they don’t raise their hand. We can reduce stress by utilizing small group discussions rather than large group discussions. We should try to model positive self-talk, and choose materials that incorporate positive messages about overcoming fears. We can encourage participation through one on one peer interaction. We can set up a ‘safe spot’ for the student to go if they need to be alone. We should respect the student by not talking about their struggles in front of others. We ideally should collaborate with the parents, other teachers, and professionals to come up with a plan based on the students’ individual needs to make a difference in the child’s future mental health.

References:

Gail A. Bernstein, MD; Carrie M. Borchardt, MD; Amy R. Perwien, BA.
Anxiety Disorders in Children and Adolescents A Review of the Past 10 Years.
Retrieved from www.peace4minds.com/uploads/Anxiety_Disorders_in_Children_and_Adolescents.doc.

How to Help Children Under 10 Cope with Anxiety. Retrieved from
http://www.mommyedition.com/how-to-help-children-under-10-cope-with-anxiety.

CUCARD, The Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders. Separation Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from http://www.anxietytreatmentnyc.org/separation.html.

Medscape. Pediatric Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Retrieved from
http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/916933-overview.

WebMD Anxiety and Panic Disorders Health Center. Retrieved from
http://www.webmd.com/anxiety-panic/guide/recognizing-childhood-depression-anxiety?page=4.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America. Childhood Anxiety Disorders. Retrieved from
http://www.adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/children/childhood-anxiety-disorders

Please pardon the dust!

So, this is a warning to any readers that this blog is going to be undergoing some changes over the next few weeks. This blog has my personal entries from over the years, but I have decided to switch it to include my Wee People family daycare and what I learn about the early childhood years as I get my Master’s in Education.

“April is a promise that May is bound to keep” ~ Hal Borland

I was looking for something and read over my old blog posts. It was fun to read and remember the past six years. The pics of my girls really surprised me, they’ve grown so much! I’m happy to have written here, and have that chance to go back and be reminded of some fun times. 🙂

We have been so busy lately. Dan is in school and finishing up his degree. It’s his last few weeks. I’m so proud of him for providing for us and being able to hang out with us as a family and yet have completed his school work, too. He’s even graduating with honors! I’m so proud. 🙂

Alanna kept us extremely busy the past few months as she was acting in a production. Cassandra is ending her third year in college. She is such a great student! They are wonderful young women and make me proud. 🙂

I have been been doing home daycare. Our home (or part of it) is filled with little footsteps and voices all day. The kids make me laugh, I’m able to stay home, and the money is good. The weather is getting warmer and I love being able to spend a good part of the day outdoors!

Dan and I have been weight training, running and eating healthy. We are looking forward to a cruise to the Bahamas! 🙂

Life is good, and God is so gracious and always full of love.

a dark and stormy night

I am one of those people who move furniture around all the time. I just look at a room and decide it would look better if I moved it around, so I do, and I’m really happy with it until sometime later I look at it again and think of a better way to set it up. I think it gets on my family’s nerves when I get in that mood, but they are generally happy when I’m done, and it’s clean and more functional. Or maybe they are just happy when I’m done? hmmmm

I’m feeling sad tonight because I was raising a squirrel and it died last week. Sounds crazy, but I really miss her. She was so gentle and affectionate. She was just a baby, lost after a storm. I had her about 5 weeks and she was thriving. I found her dead and couldn’t tell why she died. Here she is very healthy and seems fine but dies unexpectedly, but the bunny I got last year with seizures and splayed legs and all kinds of problems is still going strong.

I never realized squirrels are so affectionate and gentle. She would play like a puppy or kitten, but never bite down enough to hurt at all. She also would only go potty in one little place in her cage. She was one of my favorite animals ever, and I’ve had so so many…. sigh.

Right now it is storming like crazy. Our shepherd is scared silly and I am hoping our chickens are okay.  And all the little wild baby animals out there….

Life’s a beach

A few weeks ago, Dan and I had a mini vacation in Virginia Beach. We had the most wonderful, romantic weekend! We stayed at a hotel with a jacuzzi (in our room!) on the boardwalk, enjoying the sights and sounds of the rolling surf and dolphins, and locals, joggers, and tourists on the boardwalk. We enjoyed some local places, meeting up with Dan’s old classmates, as it was his reunion weekend. That was the first time either of us had gone to a reunion and it was very interesting. 🙂 He was outgoing and popular in school and we spent a lot of time talking and catching up with everyone.

We ran a 5k while we were there and somehow I managed to come in 3rd place for my age group! It was a surprise and I was excited about it, even though it really wasn’t a very fast pace. I am supposed to be getting a plaque in the mail. It was a great way to start the day, and we spent the rest of the day enjoying the Neptune festival, biking, and some terrific food.

Chickens!

This summer we decided we’d get some chickens. A woman was renting incubators and we thought we’d give it a try. Three eggs fit in the incubator. She also had another family hatching three eggs and asked if we’d like to keep any that hatched from that batch as well. She said typically only one or two eggs would hatch for a total of 2-6 chicks.

So, July 1st we picked up the incubator and three eggs. On July 20th we could hear peeping inside all three eggs!

July 21st we woke up to two little babies! You can see we still had two days left, so these little guys were early!

We waited all day Thursday and most of Friday and were worried about the third baby chick, but then we heard peeping and the egg shook and after a couple hours, we got a third little baby!

This one we got to watch hatch! He was a big baby, and is still the biggest. Actually, I’m saying ‘he’ but I have no idea if it’s a girl or boy yet.

Here they are at two weeks. Aren’t they cute!?

The other family had three chicks hatch as well! The woman who rents the equipment was really surprised.

So, now we have six! They are four and a half weeks old now. They grew out of their box, took over our dining room for awhile, and now are in the basement.  They make such a mess! I made an aviary in the basement for them as they are beginning to fly. They are old enough to go outside each day for just awhile. Dan is looking over coop ideas and has to get to work on one soon so they can go outside full time in a few weeks.

I’m praying for at least five hens and hope to have some fresh daily eggs by Thanksgiving or Christmas! 🙂