Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

International Mud Day 2014!

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
It's finally here!  We've been talking about this day all month, and prepping for it all week.  International Mud Day is one of our favorite days at school!  International Mud Day (read about it at this link http://www.worldforumfoundation.org/working-groups/nature/international-mud-day/) is actually June 29th each year, but as it falls on a weekend this year, we celebrated on Friday, June 27th.

In the morning we did two cooking activities: the children rolled little smokies in crescent dough to create "pigs in a blanket" for lunch...
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
 ...and made chocolate pudding, a key ingredient in "muds and dirt" for snack.
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
 At snack time everyone had a turn beating chocolate cookies into crumbs, which we used to top our pudding.
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten
 Muds and Dirt anyone?  Oh yes!
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

For this particularly busy day, one of my "graduates" came back to play reminisce help me.  She read stories, helped with crafts, played puzzles, and was a lot of help.  It was really fun to watch her face when we did activities she remembered!
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

The grand finale of our week, of course, was playing in the mud.  I offered 3 levels of muddy commitment, so everyone could choose where they were most comfortable.  There was the table with dry dirt and plastic trucks and scoops, for the kiddos who really didn't want to get muddy, or wanted a break from the mud.
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

There was a "mud pie" station, with mud, water, pie pans, cups, scoops... a mid level muddy choice.  Almost all the kiddos chose to play at this station at least part of the time.
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Finally, for the adventurous, we had a plastic play pool full of mud, to wallow in!  The kiddos started off cautiously, mostly walking in the mud, or splashing their legs a little...
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten


... but once a few of them braved the wallow, others joined on in!
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Here we are, enjoying International Mud Day!
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

So surely some of you are wondering whether the teacher got muddy, or just took photos?  Are you kidding?!  This is a lot of fun!  About half way through the mud play I handed my camera to a parent, and joined on in.  I don't know that I was the muddiest, but it was close! 
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

When we had had enough, and the parents were ready to take their kiddos home, we scooped up the mud, and took it to the vegetable garden.
International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

Yes, we had to rinse off... a lot... in the sprinkler.  No, none of the parents got muddy, and yes, they surely had to put down towels to keep their cars clean, and bathe some dirty dirty kiddos once they got home.  Still,  look at these smiles.

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

International Mud Day at Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten

This is an experience I hope the children never, ever forget, and make sure they pass on to their own children.  Happy International Mud day!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Going On a Bear Hunt... for International Mud Day

Chances are, if you work with or have young children, you know the story We're Going On a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen. 
Check out this fun activity for "Going on a Bear Hunt", perfect for preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 It's definitely a class favorite, and we love to watch the Youtube.com video of the author performing it.  Check it out Going On a Bear Hunt, performed by Michael Rosen.

Since the book involves mud, it fits with our mud theme for this week, so we read the book, and then went outside to act it out.

Long wavy grass - oh no!  "We can't go over it, we can't go under it, we've got to go through it!"
Check out this fun activity for "Going on a Bear Hunt", perfect for preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 "A river, a deep, cold river."
Check out this fun activity for "Going on a Bear Hunt", perfect for preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 "Uh-uh! Mud!  Thick oozy mud."
Check out this fun activity for "Going on a Bear Hunt", perfect for preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 "A swirling whirling snowstorm."
Check out this fun activity for "Going on a Bear Hunt", perfect for preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 Unfortunately I was so busy leading the bear hunt and photographing the kiddos, that I forgot to get a picture of them with the bear - a stuffed animal of course.

Here we are, going "back through the forest... stumble trip! Stumble trip!"
Check out this fun activity for "Going on a Bear Hunt", perfect for preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
 Finally, safe at home, upstairs. 
Check out this fun activity for "Going on a Bear Hunt", perfect for preschool and kindergarten kiddos.
In the book it says, "We're not going on a bear hunt again," but the kiddos replayed our hunt over and over again! 

Pete's Paint Puddles - leading up to International Mud Day

On Tuesday, our mud themed book was Pete The Cat I Love My White Shoes, by Eric Litwin and James Dean.  In the book, Pete steps in a lot of different things - including mud!

After reading the book, each child made a page for our class book.  The teachers helped them to paint their feet, and print them on the page.  Painting our feet was tickly!



 I've made this class book activity, with a cover, available at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Petes-Paint-Puddles-1292023 (for 50 cents).

Having teachers paint kids feet is fun, and makes a cool class book, but we needed to make this even more relevant to the children - so we went outside and really stepped in colorful puddles of paint!

I knew we needed some large, heavy-duty paper to paint our foot prints on, so I picked these up at Costco last week - they're used to divide the layers of cereal boxes on the pallets.   Perfect!
 I wish I could claim responsibility for this wonderful idea, or at least credit the blog where I saw it, but apparently it isn't pinned to my Pete the Cat board, and of course I don't remember.  The abundance of ideas available on the web amazes me - and fuels my own creativity and teaching!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Pigs and Mud: Getting ready for International Mud Day

Have you heard of International Mud Day?  It's June 29th, but we're going to celebrate at school all week long, culminating in muddy play on Friday, June 27th.

Today we are thinking about pigs and mud, since they go together so very well.  I made a Venn Diagram sorting activity for the kiddos, which we all did after reading Ten Dirty Pigs by Carol Roth.  Here are several other good, muddy, piggy books:
 If you are interested, you can get this activity from my TpT store: http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Product/Pigs-and-Mud-Venn-Diagram-Sorting-Activity-1286944.  (It's $1)

We have a friend with a birthday today, and another child's birthday was yesterday, so some of the kiddos helped to make cupcakes....
 ...and everyone else helped to make "mud dough". 

 This is marvelous dough!  I found the recipe on www.icanteachmychild.com.  The dough is soft and malleable, and made a huge batch - easily enough for a dozen kiddos to play at the same time.  We played with pigs and fences, with a few other farm animals thrown in for good measure.


 Next we added "cooking" props, so the children could continue making birthday cakes, brownies, and chocolate milk shakes.

Today started out very stormy, but late in the morning the rain stopped, leaving us puddles to play in!
 I know it isn't quite mud, but we did get muddy and dirty.  I think our puddle stomping is at least within the spirit of International Mud Day!


While the youngest kiddos were resting this afternoon, I worked with some of the kiddos on sounding out CVC words with a game I created for them this weekend.  We played two rounds of Mud Puddle Stomp!, and I modelled how to sound out when it was my turn.  By the time the game ended, the kiddos were sounding out these simple words too.  This game is also available at http://www.teacherspayteachers.com/Store/Paulas-Preschool-And-Kindergarten.

After snack (those yummy birthday cakes the children made this morning) we headed outside for one more dirty activity.  I put some soil and trucks in one of our play tables, so we could have dirty truck play.  No water in there yet - we'll save the real muddiness for Friday, but we had plenty of fun with the dirt.


What are you doing for International Mud Day?  I hope you can find a way to join in the fun, and get messy!  Come back every day this week to see how we keep the mud theme going!