Category: After School Activities

Book Club Series: Picture Book Spotlight – 99 Monkeys on a Bus!


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Did you know I like to write children’s books? My picture book, 99 Monkeys on a Bus, picture book was published by Guardian Angel Publishing last year! Even before that time, I have loved leading book clubs in the after school setting! I love sharing the joys of reading with children, while also planning fun activities around them. I have also had great success hosting a “Young Writer’s Club,” teaching children the ins and outs of writing their own picture book! (Actually – that’s how I got started myself! But, more details of that club and story in another post!)

I’m planning to share reviews of picture books, chapter books, and middle grade fiction in my book club series so as to provide activities for a K-6th program!

I always like to start off reading our inspiration book! You can find 99 Monkeys on a Bus here at Barnes and Noble online! You can also download a digital copy here!

I always like to show children the structure of the book and who wrote and illustrated it. After the reading I ask for questions, and then ask for my own to check for comprehension. I then like to provide an art, science, or writing activity that goes along with our them.

Here is one I like in particular for 99 Monkeys on a Bus. These Monkey paper bag puppets are super cute. You can also allow the children to choose a name for their monkey and pick a number for them between 1-99. The perfect story tie in!

Organizing your After School Environment

organizationEvery center is going to have a different set up, and some may be large others much smaller, but one thing ever center needs is organization. Here are my top 5 tips that should be helpful no matter the size of your group!

  1. Have a master binder for staff with page protectors, and print out a daily/weekly/monthly calendar outlining all activities including but not limited to (daily schedules, weekly activity/lesson plans, snack calendars, and clubs.) I will have FREE printables for each of these available soon. Having a master plan book that everyone can access will ensure everyone is on the same page.
  2. Evaluate your space and organize according to noise level. For instance, a book corner, art area, and Homework zone can be in close proximity while a playhouse, board game, dramatic play, toys, or game zone should be grouped further away. Also, color coding activities with stickers or bins can help children to put items away more easily.
  3. Provide a pleasant parent corner, preferably near more quiet activities for parents to grab newsletters, paperwork, and sign their child in and out.
  4. Designate a space for personal belongings and artwork. These items can easily clutter up your space or become a tripping hazard. Defining zones for them will be helpful in creating order in your environment.
  5. Have clearly defined centers with matching bulletin boards. You can keep it simple – perhaps an art board, Activities board, and rules/expectations.

Have fun creating your space! If you ever wish to, send me a photo! I’d love to see your spaces!

 

Marie

Fun Food Crafts that are healthy too!

Children love to manipulate and handle food. This is wonderful as it provides great sensory play and even helps build math skills. And of course they love to eat it too! Here are some fun ideas for food crafts that are healthy. Bonus: Easy clean up and prep make it easy to do these in the after school setting!

Turkey snacks

Angry Birds Bites

Butterfly Snacks

We Give Books: Resource for Free Children’s Books Online

I have recently stumbled upon a wonderful resource for children’s books online called “We Give Books,” a relatively new digital initiative that allows anyone with internet access the ability to read a large, quality selection of children’s book titles. Check out the video below to find out more.

 

If you have access to a computer and the internet at your program this an amazing source of reading material for students. They have many featured titles for summer right now. My favorite read so far — Froggy Goes to Hawaii by Jonathan London! Hurry on over and help prevent summer learning loss.

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All things Disney Club

Summer time, summer time, M-O-U-S-E. Ok, so I just made that up. But what could be a better time to host a Disney Club than in the summer time. The possibilities are endless, and with the vast number of characters children are bound to have a disney character (or two or twenty!) that they love. Here’s some ideas to get started with your very own Disney Club!

Fuse Beads inspired by ‘A Bug’s Life’

Materials: Fuse Beads, Fuse Bead Boards, Ironing Paper, masking tape, Iron

Let the kids think of their favorite bugs and design them with fuse beads. Kids can make caterpillars, butterflies, bees, ladybugs, dragonflies, and more.

Fuse Bead Tips and Tricks (because I have been through my share of mishaps in the past!):

1) Use masking tape to make of a small square on the floor around the iron. Instruct the children to stay out of the taped area as it is “very hot”

2) Use one brand of fuse bead boards and beads ~ if you try to mix and match they may not iron properly or fit into the boards.

3) Allow plenty of time for this project ~ kids can get very involved in fuse bead craft for 45 minutes or more. Be sure to give plenty of advanced warning for the end of project time.

4) Have kids raise their hands when they have finished their project and have an adult bring it to the ironing area. This will help prevent kids from accidentally dropping their projects.

5) Be careful not to turn the iron on too high as this will melt their projects or too low or the project may fall apart. I find a medium-high setting works the best.

6) Make sure to place ironing paper on top of fuse beads before ironing and make sure to iron both sides.

BONUS ACTIVITY – If you would like to continue the Bug’s Life theme you can make ‘buggy edible dirt cups’ with gummy bugs/worms, pudding, and crushed oreos. Gross looking, yumminess.

Mickey or Minnie Mouse Headband Kits

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This is a fabulous etsy find. You can purchase ready made craft kits or perhaps you may be inspired to create your own.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other ideas

Disney dress up day and parade

Disney coloring sheets 

Disney trivia games- You can look up you own fun facts online or find various disney trivia board/dvd games.

Hidden Mickey Scavenger Hunt – cut up tiny mickey ears and hide them for a Disney inspired game of hide and seek. (Fun fact: Did you know there are mickey ears hidden inside Disneyland? Find out more about them here.)

Tape Inspired Activities

Yes I said tape! For some reason I’ve found kids love tape. Perhaps it’s the tactile feel of it? Or maybe the fact that it differs from paper? Whatever it is kids love it. Tape activities are perfect for summer time when the sun may be so scorching outside that kids just feel like spending a little time indoors.

 

 

 

Duct Tape Flowersducttapeflowers

Check out this amazing tutorial on from ucreatewithkids.com

For Ages 6 and Up

 

And the fun doesn’t stop there. You can make all kinds of projects with colorful duct tape, including Hair clips, belts, wallets, bookmarks, water bottle covers, and more.

Masking Tape Maze!

For Ages 7 and Up

Supplies needed: A carpet, masking tape, paper & pen, and at least 4 participants (can be done with two, but as with most board games, it’s more fun with four.)

1) Have the kids prepare a square grid on the ground with the masking tape. It can be 4 squares by 4 squares or higher, 8 squares by 8 squares. The more squares, the harder the game.

2) Designate one person to be the “Maze Master”. You will give this person the pen & paper and they will chart out a path through the maze. Sometimes it’s helpful to have this person be an adult or older child at first.

3) Line everyone up at the starting line. Then, instruct everyone that this is a quiet game. Nobody may speak. They must try to get through the mazes by stepping in the correct series of boxes according to what the “Maze Master” has planned. If someone steps in the wrong box, they are out. (It’s kind fun if you have some kind of buzzer to ‘buzz’ people out handy. If not clapping works well too.)

4) This is a memory game of sorts. Each participant must try to remember from turn to turn what the correct path is out of the maze. Eventually they will figure out and make it through. Then you can appoint a new Maze Master.

Enjoy!

Marie

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