Spring time is such a beautiful time for kids observe the world around them. Whether they are buzzing in the air or crawling around in the dirt. I’m sure your kids have noticed a bug or two outside. “All About Bugs” Club is a neat way to teach kids more about Bugs.
Positive reinforcement can be very powerful in the childcare setting and often one group reward that is commonly thought of is food. Earning sweets such as cake, ice cream or candy or possibly a pizza party can be a big motivator for children and can be a fairly easy or obvious choice. But relying primarily on food based reward systems is not a good idea for a variety of reasons. Continue reading “Non-food based rewards/incentives”
It’s squishy and white, has a pleasant, clean smell – ah the wonders of shaving cream, I just love it! If ever there was a fun and versatile medium to use for manipulative play its shaving cream. It’s one of those activities that make you want to jump right in with the kids and squish away! As an added bonus, clean-up is a breeze! And you know what? Once you use shaving cream in an activity with the kids they will be asking for you to do it again and again.
Cooking Club is a very popular after school club choice. Let’s be frank, if eating food is involved children will suddenly become more interested! But Cooking Club is a choice, not without its complications such as:
1) Many child care centers have limited kitchen access or only have access to a microwave/refrigerator which makes it difficult to “cook” any food.
2) Safety can become a concern with hot surfaces & knives. Using plastic utensils and active supervision is crucial
3) Cooking Club can easily become junk food club. Try to balance by offering a good mix of treats and healthy options! Continue reading “Cooking Club In After School Setting”
So the kids at school have been asking for quite some time now about planning a Club Penguin Club. I’m thinking to myself this is great!! The kids are taking pride and ownership in their after school program. But on the other hand I had no idea what Club Penguin was. It was time to start doing a little investigating to find out what Club Penguin was all about.
I decided the best way to find out what Club Penguin was total immersion so I visited their website at http://www.clubpenguin.com/ and created an account. Club Penguin is a MMOG (massively multiplayer online game) geared towards children aged 6-14. Club Penguin is a fully interactive online community where children can play games and earn coins to buy items for their penguin avatars.
That’s what happened to me on Easter 2007. I was at a Family Easter Party and witnessed a family tradition that intrigued me. We had just finished eating some appetizers when everyone started grabbing some colored Easter eggs (the hard-boiled kind not the plastic variety.) The next thing I knew people were pairing themselves up and challenging their partner to an “Egg War.”
Earth Day is fast approaching. What better time is there to lead an Eco-Friendly Club chockfull of learning, hands-in and STEM based activities? You have quite an opportunity here to build children’s awareness of the importance of taking care of our friend the Earth which we all call home and how vital it is that we take care of it!
Week 1: Start a Recycling Project and have a Clean up the Campus Day
Take time to explain what recycling is (re-using materials rather than throwing them away in a landfill) and what materials can and cannot be recycled (aluminum, glass, plastic, etc.) Prior to starting your project find a local recycling center that will reimburse you for any recycled materials you bring in and what items they take. Give the children gloves & bags to help clean up the campus. Sort recyclables into the recycling bins you have provided. Another special bonus is that once you have completed your recycling project your group will have earned a little extra spending $money$. You can have the children create a goal for something they would like to obtain for your center such as an outdoor toy or game or have them help choose a charity to donate the funds to. TIP: Large sturdy Rubbermaid containers or trash cans can be used/labeled as your recycling bins.
Week 2: Craft Activity ~ Grocery Bags for Earth Day
Something I have done with the children for the past several years is to have the children participate in making Grocery Bags for Earth Day. The purpose is two-fold. 1) To promote Earth Day Awareness to the local community. 2) To have to children create a usable craft with a message that makes them feel like they are contributing to taking care of the Earth. A few days before Earth Day you can ask a manager at a local grocery store to “borrow” grocery bags. After the children have completed their designs you can return them and ask that they be distributed on Earth Day. TIP: Make sure children do not include any personal information/names on their bags since they will be distributed at a local grocery store.
You can visit http://www.earthdaybags.org/ for more information about to get an Earth Day grocery bags program started at your school/program.
Week 3: Plant a Vegetable Garden
Even if you don’t have a lot of space planting a vegetable garden is still possible and can be a very rewarding experience for children. It also teaches them to appreciate nature from all stages: seed to vegetable.
Some veggies you can include in small planter boxes include: green onions, radishes, tomatoes (such as small fry or patio), and green beans.
1) Help the children create colorful labels for your veggies.
2) Use a nutrient rich soil such as Miracle Grow to plant your seeds. Make sure to provide adequate soil and space for the seeds.
3) Assign a watering schedule. It is very easy for kids to over water or under water the plants, assigning a schedule and letting the kids know the importance of sticking to it (to keep plants healthy and growing) is essential.
4) Make sure to place your planters in an area with at least 6 hours of sunlight per day.
Week 4: Solar Pizza Ovens and Our Incredible Earth Awards:
1) This week is all about celebrating the journey the children have made in Incredible Earth Club. You can challenge them to start thinking of ways they can conserve and take care of the Earth in their daily lives. For instance when using paper to draw, using both sides of the paper and not wasting it or placing objects in a recycling bin instead of the trash. Help them to know that even the little things they do can make a difference.
2) You can continue your celebration by warming up a yummy treat in your own homemade solar pizza oven. Cooking foods in it is not recommended but heating up pre-made cookies using the suns rays can feel like eating a freshly baked cookie from the oven!
3) As far as a giveaway or prize for the participants of Our Incredible Earth Club I am inclined to stay away from paper rewards as it doesn’t really keep in theme of the club nor do justice to it. But I have used a fun giveaway made from recycled newspapers that the children just love called ~ SMENCILS! They are scented pencils, and the children really enjoy them.
Taking care of our Earth and environment around us is so vital. If we can help explain that to our youth in a fun and exciting way I think it could do wonders! Do you have any ideas about teaching Eco-friendly ideas to our youth today? Please share, I am eager to hear your ideas.