Childcare Chronicles

Check out my new felt board for the kiddos.

Does it look familiar?  It sure does to me.  It’s my Nido Wool Ironing Mat.  I needed a felt board for my kiddos.  My old one was felt over a piece of foam core board.  It was all ratty and icky.  I was going to get supplies to make a new one when I walked by my ironing mat.  Something clicked in my brain and I thought, I’ll try it as a felt board.  Oh. My. Word.  It’s the best felt board I’ve had to date.  Here’s the link for the mat in case you missed it.

Using the mat like this has me wondering if I wouldn’t like a second smaller mat.  My idea is that when I’m laying a block out before sewing that I might want to use the small mat to lay the pieces out on to make sure they are oriented the right way.  If the felt pieces stay on the mat so nicely, I’m thinking the quilt pieces might too…Hmmm.

Anyway…I don’t have a lot of room in the house to keep a lot of things so I try to keep things as simple as possible.  That’s why I’ve always had a simple felt board with no easel.  Setting this up on my kitchen chair like this is perfect.

In the past when I reviewed the Nido Wool Ironing Mat, I said that it was sturdier.  It really is.  Other mats wouldn’t keep its shape like this.  I love it.

We do a lot of circle time/felt board type activities at childcare…it’s in our daily routine right after breakfast.  The kids learn so much as all of the activities that we do reinforce numbers, letters, colors, shapes and the like.  It’s so fun to have the kiddos singing right along with me.

I never dreamed I’d be endorsing the mat as a felt board too.  As an FYI this it the larger Wool mat and you can find it HERE.

We’ve been busy doing other things at childcare…

Here’s something way quick and easy…we made octopus hotdogs.  Simple cut 3/4 of the way up a hotdog cutting it in half.  Then cut the halves into three pieces.  Put the hot dogs in the pan to boil.  They will twist like Carver’s did.  See?

I’ve been regularly getting my hair done…isn’t it beautiful.  To those of you who have sent hair clips my way, the kiddos thank you!!  The back of my head has about 10 more clips than the ones you see.
My kiddos that are three and soon to turn three have become serious Duplo Lego lovers.  They play ALL THE TIME!!  My girls never played with them.  My boys adore them.

We have been trying to as many activities like this as possible.  It’s a simple activity, low cost, but high in learning.  I gave the kiddos a paper plate and put yellow and red finger paint on it.  They finger painted their plate doing “MAGIC” to make the red and yellow turn to orange.

Then after it was dry I used the paper punches I have and we cut out black shapes.  The kiddos got to pick what shapes they wanted …here circle eyes, a triangle nose and squares and triangles for the mouth.  Of course there was the rectangle stem.  We learned so much in a simple craft…mixing of colors to make another color and shapes.  I try really hard to tell parents what we talked about so they can reinforce the things at home.

We do extension activities too.  Here we had been reading the book Go Away Big Green Monster.  I HIGHLY recommend it and not as a Halloween book…it’s good for anytime.  You can find the book HERE.

Here we talked about symmetry.  We folded a paper in half, put green paint on the fold, closed it and then pressed the paint out.  We opened it up and let it dry.

Then we added features to our monster like the book had.  It’s a great time to talk about placement of facial features.  We also reviewed the book which helps the kids with comprehension.

We recently did this…  We’ve started talking about emotions a lot.  Feeling happy, sad, angry, tired, scared are the ones we are talking about most recently.  Of course, if you’re a childcare provider you immediately hone in on the song, “If you’re happy and you know it”.  So we made these…..

Kids don’t need anything fancy to have a good time making them.  We used Dot Markers.

Dot Markers are awesome and I highly suggest them for gift giving for kids just using crayons and such.  These are designed for dotting like bingo daubers.  I use them all the time with 2-3 especially but the older kids like them too.  I prefer the Do-a-Dot Brand.  You can find them HERE.

Again, we were really simple….Do a Dot markers on a paper plate and then let it dry.  After that I took and cut out a picture of the kiddos making their smiley, happy face.  They glued it to the dried paper plate and then put smiley face stickers all over it.

They are no master piece but the kids had fun, practiced following directions, used their fingers to do some fine motor work pulling the stickers and putting them on the paper.  Even practiced some matching by putting the lids back on the markers.  I have the kids do all of the clean up work themselves as all of this is opportunity for them to be responsible for themselves.

A bit shout out to the blog readers that have sent smiley stickers.  A lot of them got used making these.  Also to the blog reader who sent the magnet clips.  It was so appreciated.

Sadly I don’t get crafts squeezed into every day.  I sure wish I could but some days the babies don’t cooperate and that’s okay too.  The kids learn that people, including the babies, always come first.

If you have ideas for crafts that you’d like send my way, feel free….the simpler the better.  I hate crafts that I do all the work and kids don’t do much.

…and that’s what’s been going on in the childcare side of life.

10 thoughts on “Childcare Chronicles”

  1. Cotton balls, a glue stick per child, a paper plate and some colored paints. Three cotton balls on the bottom, two for the next size up and one for the head. First class snowman they can add hats, scarves, buttons.

  2. This is a spring craft rather than a winter one. Cut TP or paper towel tubes into rings. Cover the rings white glue, then roll in a bunch of wildflower seeds. Plant in the garden and watch.

  3. Making paper boats I’m not sure 3year olds have the motor skills but it’s fun. U tube has a good tutorial. Under origami. I love your children’s crafts fun for everyone.
    Do you ever make cookies with them? I did withy nieces and now withy grands at 3&4. Simple sugar cookies with plastic cutters.

  4. I’m sure you’ve done it before but making turkeys out of drawing around their hands is always a fun activity. They can color it or add embellishments. You are so good at keeping the kids involved!

  5. Love this post – brings back memories of what I did with the grands.
    Kids love hot dogs, don’t they? I make Groots for them. Make little man out of the hot dog but put little slices on the top like hair sticking up – cook slowly in the microwave and it {sort of looks} like Groot – that’s what they call them anyway!
    Love and prayers

  6. Sailboats out of walnut shell halves. Stuck a toothpick in a little clay in the shell but can not remember what we used for a sail. We did this over 60 years ago with the Thanksgiving walnut shells and it is still a happy memory for me.

  7. I’m going to try the hot dog octopus with my great grand daughters. They don’t like to eat meat, maybe they will eat these. They are so cute. You do a lot of fun things with the kids

  8. Virginia Grenier

    My mom did childcare for many years. She took the metal ends from frozen juice containers, cleaned them up, and put matching stickers on them for a matching “card” game. Also using the metal ends from frozen juice containers, she had the kids cut out pictures and glue them on, then she took stick-on magic strips cut into smaller chunks and placed them on the back. Homemade refrigerator magnets.

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