With this spangled craft, you don't have to wait until dark to see July 4th fireworks!
What to Do:
1. Cover the work surface with newspaper or plastic.
2. Test the paint in advance by gently blowing through a straw to see if it flows easily across the paper.
3. Add water to the paint, if necessary, to attain the right consistency.
4. Place a few drops of paint on each child's black paper. Invite the children to blow explosive bursts of color on the "night sky." Let dry.
5. If desired, encourage the children to trace interesting elements in their designs with glitter glue.
Frame the paintings with red, white, and blue borders for an attractive monthly bulletin board display!
This activity was taken from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities from Gryphon House. For more fun, developmentally appropriate, and educational experiences for young children, you can purchase a copy of The GIANT Encyclopedia of Monthly Activities on our website. Activities from The GIANT Encyclopedia series are also available for free to ProFile Planner subscribers.
With the recent passing of stringent new crib regulations, you may be asking yourself, What can I do with the cribs in my home or child care center? Rather than sending them to the local landfill, check out these cool ideas (taken from our Pinterest page) for repurposing cribs!
1. Transform your crib into a cool desk or craft space for your child or classroom!
(Source: I Know the Plans I Have for You)
2. Got a green thumb? Turn crib sides into a trellis for your garden or outdoor classroom!
(Source: Confessions of a Curbshopaholic)
3. Get organized by converting crib rails into a rack for kitchen or craft supplies!
(Source:Instructables) (Source: Craftynest)
4. Make your crib into something everyone can use -- a chair, a bench, or even a fence!
(Source: The Old White Cottage Blog)
(Source: Junk Blossoms)
(Source: Confessions of a Curb Shopaholic)
5. Arrange books and magazines by using crib rails as a bookshelf!
(Source: DIY Home Sweet Home) (Source: Blue Cricket Design)
6. Change crib springs into wall art, memento holders or a place to display student crafts!
(Source: The Handmade Home)
7. Construct a cool chalkboard from crib headboards!
(Source: The Red Kitchen)
For more creative ways to upcycle cribs, visit the Kaplan Early Learning Company Pinterest page!
Adding bilingual materials to your classroom is a great way to support children who are dual language learners and to introduce new languages to all the children. Using those materials effectively takes some intentionality and planning. Here are some surprising ideas to enhance the value of bilingual toys, books and displays.
- Use bilingual materials like books and puzzles as classroom décor. Hang them on the walls or prop them prominently on shelves. This creates an environment that clearly celebrates diverse languages and cultures. It is also a great way to let parents and visitors know that their home languages are valued.
- Use bilingual materials as communication aids. Game pieces with pictures and words in two languages, or books with easily recognized pictures can be used to facilitate communication between you and the child that speaks the other language. You could even create a poster with clear pockets to display meaningful pictures with the words in the two languages so a child could point to what he or she needed and you could respond by reading the home language word on the poster. For example, flash cards can sometimes seem a bit boring or disconnected, but why not take the individual cards and use them around the room to help with communication, choices, or labeling in the different areas.
- Use the materials to support interactions and conversations in one language at a time. Even though they may appear in two languages, it is better for most learners to try to focus on one language at a time so their brain can really attend to learning that new language. Ideally, you would read a bilingual book all in one language then later in the day read the same book in English.
- Don’t be afraid to read a book all in Spanish even if most or all of the children speak English. Intentionally use your wonderful teaching and read aloud skills such as silly voices, body language, facial expressions and props to bring the story to life even for children who don’t understand all of the words. You may not understand every word in the other language, but you can still read in that language if the story itself is familiar to you.
- Send bilingual learning materials and games home with the children from time to time to support their family’s efforts to build their home language literacy skills.
- Make sure volunteers know where the bilingual materials are in the room. If you are fortunate enough to have bilingual volunteers come in, they need to get their hands on materials that they can use to interact with the children in their home language.
- This is the most top-secret strategy of all. Well, it just seems top-secret because not many teachers are aware of this great way to use bilingual classroom materials. The idea is to use them to teach TEACHERS the languages needed in their classrooms. So many of us avoid taking college courses or online seminars to learn a new language because we know we will spend hours of our time and learn very few words or sentences we could actually use in the classroom. Using familiar children’s stories, games or music can change all that. When you know the story or song in your own language, it is much easier to learn it in a new language. When you do that, you will realize you have learned words sentences and concepts that are perfect for classroom interactions. For example – look for a book about Goldilocks and the Three Bears in French – preferably with a cd or website where you can hear the words pronounced. If you learn the words to that story in French, you not only become able to share the French story with the children, but you also will be able to talk about important concepts such as small, medium, and large, or too hot/too cold. Instead of a whole semester, you can get right into using the new language in a matter of minutes by reading or playing games.
Now you can see that a little thought can go a long way toward building a developmentally appropriate and diverse classroom environment for children. Planning for how you will use bilingual materials in the environment and in learning activities can really make a difference for your DLLs and your English-speakers.
This blog post was contributed by Karen N. Nemeth. Karen has been a teacher and a teacher educator for more than 25 years, focusing her expertise on first and second language development in young children. She is a nationally known speaker and consultant based at www.languagecastle.com. She is the author of Many Languages, One Classroom: Teaching Dual and English Language Learners, Many Languages, Building Connections: Supporting Infants and Toddlers who are Dual Language Learners. She also co-authored, Digital Decisions: Choosing the Right Technology Tools for Early Childhood Education. She is also a NAEYC author and consulting editor.
Looking for a simple gift kids can create for Dad this Father's Day?
With 101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make, children ages three to eight will have dozens of unique gift ideas at their fingertips. From the card to the wrapping paper, and everything in between, kids and adults alike will experience the joy of giving and receiving unique child-made gifts.
Made-It-Myself Mouse Pad
- White or light-colored craft foam, cut into approximately 8" x 9" pieces
- Nontoxic permanent colored markers
- Clear vinyl, cut the same size and shape as craft foam
- Kaplan Suggestion: If you buy the craft foam at your local craft store, the clear wrapper that the individual foam sheets come in is a great option for the clear vinyl material.
- Clear 2" wide book or packing tape, cut to 9" length
Make Your Great Gift
- Brainstorm ideas to draw on the mouse pad. The following are possible ideas:
Draw the design on one side of the craft foam with the permanent markers.
Place a piece of tape approximately 9" long to adhere clear vinyl to craft foam along the top long edge. Then you can slide notes, memos, or photos between the vinyl and the foam.
Trim as needed.
- Draw a scene for the mouse to travel through
- Trace simple shapes
- Draw a self-portrait
- Add notes and photos under clear vinyl.
- Clear vinyl, sold by the yard, may be found at stores that sell fabric. Or use leftover laminating film, clear page protectors, or clear report covers for the top of mouse pad.
For more unique presents to make for moms, dads, grandparents, friends, teachers, and all of the other special people in children's lives, pick up your own copy of 101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make by Stephanie R. Mueller and Ann E. Wheeler. Available in both paperback and e-book formats, this book is available at Kaplan Early Learning Company for $19.95. To view an excerpt of 101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make, visit our website.