Sunday, August 14, 2011

Eating together

One of the things I help the children learn is table manners and how to eat with others.  We have always sat at the same tables and talked during lunch and had a great time! But, the infants and very young toddlers were left out of the fun and stuck in their high chairs that were higher than we were.  All of the children left out really wanted to join in with the fun the "big kids" were having.  We found some great chairs that would help us with that issue here.  But at a $114 pop they were quite a bit out of our price range since we need 3 of them.  Larry and I spent some time brainstorming and figured there might be a way to make the wooden restaurant highchairs into smaller chairs. The idea sat on the back burner until one day we were at a local thrift store and they had a wooden restaurant style highchair for $8, much more in my price range that $114 each! We figured we would start with one and if it worked, go buy some more new, or, if it didn't work, we would only be out $8 and some time!

Well, amazingly it worked.  We now have 3 of these chairs we made and they work out wonderfully! The young children not yet able to sit by themselves in a chair are able to join in during meals and snacks with the rest of us.

Here is how we did it:
High Chair before we changed it
We started with a standard wooden restaurant high chair.  Larry than measured the height of the chairs the older children use and transferred that measurement to the high chair.

Measuring where to cut
 Larry both the distance from the seat to the floor and from the top of the highchair to the floor to make sure the chairs would fit up to the table.

 Larry then cut the chair legs where he had marked them needing to be cut.   We placed the little gripper pieced that were on the bottom of the original high chair legs onto the bottom of the new legs and....
Finished High Chair

Viola! All Done! 

Stacked High Chairs

The chairs also stack nicely when they are not in use.
How have you found a better/less expensive product for your children?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Process Art

Since I have started learning more and growing more as an Early Childhood Professional I have become more of a proponent, almost an advocate, of process art.  The first thing I ever saw that moved me towards learning more about process art was a quote from the ooey gooey lady "Art is not a receipt for childcare." This made me realize, yes, I have been giving lots of "receipts" in the form of art projects that I, not the children, have spent hours making so they can glue on the eyes.  

Tonight I gave a class for our local In Home Providers Organization about Process Art.  We had tons of fun doing the art projects! Here is a list of some that we talked about and tried out. Some are pure process art and others are a combo of process and project art.  I hope you find them useful in your work with young children.

**Bracelets from toilet paper tubes -- cut toilet paper tubes into 2 inch wide tubes. cut to make C shape.  Child decorates as wanted for bracelet.

**Telescopes from toilet paper tubes -- child paints glue onto tube and then places tissue paper all over tube.  Dry and then have star stickers available for further decoration.

Starry Sky Art
**Binoculars from toilet paper tubes -- glue two tubes together and let dry.  Child decorates tubes with paper, stickers and more to make binoculars.  Attach string to each side of finished binoculars for a neck strap.

**Starry Sky Art -- black construction paper, black paint, glitter.  Child paints with black paint on black paper and then sprinkles glitter over paint while it is still wet. 

**Cup Prints -- dip top of cup in paint and then place cup on paper, repeat as wanted.   to make a caterpillar connect several cup prints together on a long piece of paper.

Plunger Painting
**Plunger painting -- you will need a large floor area to do this art activity.  Place a large piece of paper on the floor with a few plungers and different colors of paint on paper plates.  The child will put the plunger in the paint and then make prints on the paper.

**Foil Sculpture -- give each child a large piece of foil and show them how to squeeze the foil to make a sculpture.

**Collage -- children glue various items onto paper, paper plates, cardboard and more.  See collage handout for more information. A favorite of the children I watch, gluing rocks on pieces of cardboard.

**Bubble Wrap print -- tape bubble wrap to the table.  Children will paint on the bubble wrap and then place a piece of paper over the painted bubble wrap and press down to make a print. 

**Wood Sculpture -- using glue make a wood sculpture with wood scraps.  Some ideas for wood scraps are spools, balsa wood scraps, craft wood pieces, wood scraps from building projects.

**Rubbings -- place several items on a table and then place the paper over those items.  Child uses unwrapped crayons to make rubbings of the items.  Some items that are good for rubbings are leaves, keys, yarn, sandpaper. For sandpaper, cut it into different shapes.

Paint Bags
**Paint in baggies -- great for those who don't like the feel of paint on their hands.  Place paint in a Ziploc style plastic baggie and then seal the bag and cover the seal with packing tape.  The child can draw designs in the paint without getting their hands messy.

**Bread sculptures -- using bread dough the children make sculptures.  The sculptures are then baked and can be eaten with a snack or lunch.  You can buy frozen bread dough if you do not want to make dough.

**Easy Sun catchers -- fold a piece of contact paper in half and then remove the backing from one half of the paper.  Give the children tissue paper and sequins to put on the contact paper.  When they are finished, remove the backing from the other half of the contact paper and stick the two sides together.  Hang in Window.

**Weaving -- tape a set of rings from a six pack of soda to two blocks.  Provide materials for weaving, such as fabric, crepe paper, wide ribbons, newspaper, plastic bags, raffia, old blankets cut into strips and construction tape. You can also use a chain link fence for weaving.

**Painting with Cars -- this is a great activity for getting boys that are not interested in art to join in.  Have several different toy cars and paint at the table.  The child will dip the car wheels in the paint and then drive it on their paper.

**Tilt and Roll -- Using a shallow pan, place paper at the bottom.  Have small balls in paint.  The child picks up a ball in the paint with a spoon and then drops it in the pan.  They then tilt the pan to make the ball roll around and make designs on their paper. Golf Balls work very well.

Water Painting on the Chalk Wall
**Water painting -- this is great to introduce painting to small children.  outside on a concrete pad or wall have a container of water with several different paint brushes. The child will dip the paint brush in the water and draw designs on the ground or wall.

**Blob painting -- fold a piece of paper in half and then unfold.  The child uses spoons to place blobs of paint near the middle of the paper.  After they are done placing paint, they refold the paper and use a rolling pin or hands to flatten out the paint. Once that is done re open the paper for a fun design.

**Bubble Painting -- Place 1/2tsp to 1 tsp of food coloring in a small bottle of bubbles.  Hang a large piece of  paper on the wall of fence and allow the children to blow bubbles at the paper.  They will need to stand very close to the paper.  When the bubbles pop on the paper they will leave behind colorful circles.

**Foil Sun catcher -- Tape a piece of foil to a piece of paper.  Give the child a dull pencil and they can punch holes in the foil.  Remove the paper from the foil and hang the foil in the window.  The light will shine through the holes in the foil.

**Bubble Wrap Collage -- just like standard collage, only using bubble wrap to glue the collage items on instead of paper.  The bubble wrap can be popped or un-popped.

**Scratch CD's -- using old CD's paint the shiny side and then use a pen or other item to scratch designs into the dried paint.  Hang from ceiling.

Texture Basket
**Texture basket -- Infant art! Have many different textures for baby to explore in a basket, such as small pieces of fabric, sandpaper etc.  While baby is playing explain what they are touching, such as "doesn't this feel soft" when baby has a piece of fleece or "see of slick this feels" when touching a piece of vinyl.
**Coffee Filter Butterflies -- using water color paint, paint on the coffee filter.  After dried gather in a clothes pin and hang.

**Coffee Filter snowflakes -- easier to cut than paper.  Fold like you would a paper snowflakes and cut shapes out of the resulting triangle.  Unfold and hang.

**Masking tape art -- apply masking tape to paper and color or paint over the entire paper.  After dry, remove masking tape for a fun design.

**Styrofoam Sculpture -- Using blocks of Styrofoam, cover with foil and give children pipe cleaners, craft sticks, foam pieces, ribbon, straws to make a fun sculpture. 

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Best Intentions

It goes to show you that even when you have the best intentions and a huge list of things to blog about, you still actually have to sit down and write the posts.  I am working on making the posting more consistent and having a better blogging schedule so I can post between school and the children.

Until then, here are the posts from other bloggers I have been loving these last few days!

Teacher Tom: This Is What We Are Up Against, We Cannot Fail and That's What I Wish For Schools.

Teach Preschool: September Calendar for Preschool Parents

The Play Underground:  Fun With Tape

Tom Copeland: Is a Summer BBQ Deductible and Tips for a Successful Parent Interview

Let the Children play: 5 tips to help parents embrace messy play at preschool

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

All Around the Garden

During the month of May we spend a lot of time talking about gardens, plants and bugs and how the bugs all work to help the plants grow, along with the sunshine and wind and rain.  We have always done this traditional Spring curriculum in May because that is when we are planting the garden with the children.  One of the most fun things we did with the children was to make up a song about the garden and all it's different parts.  It started one day when a little girl in the block center was flying one of the butterflies I had placed in the animals bin around saying "the butterfly wings go flap, flap, flap." It made me think of the Wheels on the Bus, so that day at circle time I introduced the butterfly verse and asked the children what else would be in the garden and what does it do.

We spent several days adding and changing verses, here is what we came up with:

All Around The Garden
Sung to the tune of "The Wheels on the Bus"
By Small Spuds Children

The Wings on the Butterfly go Flap, Flap, Flap; Flap, Flap, Flap;Flap, Flap, Flap
The Wings on the Butterfly go Flap, Flap, Flap
All Around the Garden.

The mouths on the Caterpillars go Munch Munch Munch; Munch Munch Munch; Munch Munch Munch
The mouths on the Caterpillars go Munch Munch Munch
All around the garden.

The bodies of the worms go dig dig dig, dig dig dig, dig dig dig, 
The bodies of the worms go dig dig dig, 
All around the garden.

The legs on the ants go scurry scurry scurry,  scurry scurry scurry,  scurry scurry scurry, 
The legs on the ants go  scurry scurry scurry, 
All around the garden.

The legs on the spiders go creep creep creep, creep creep creep,creep creep creep,
The legs on the spiders go creep creep creep,
All around the garden.

The wings on the bees go buzz buzz buzz, buzz buzz buzz, buzz buzz buzz, 
The wings on the bees go buzz buzz buzz, 
All around the garden.

The shell on the ladybugs goes open and shut, open and shut, open and shut,
The shell on the ladybugs goes open and shut
All around the garden.

The sun in the sky is round and bright, round and bright, round and bright, 
The sun in the sky is round and bright, 
All around the garden.

The trees in the garden go shake shake shake, shake shake shake, shake shake shake, 
The trees in the garden go shake shake shake, 
All around the garden.

The leaves on the trees come falling down, falling down, falling down, 
The leaves on the trees come falling down, 
All around the garden.

The water from the sprinklers goes ch ch ch, ch ch ch, ch ch ch, 
The water from the sprinklers goes ch ch ch, 
All around the garden.

The clouds in the sky float right on by, right on by, right on by, 
The clouds in the sky float right on by, 
All around the garden.

The plants in the garden grow big and tall, big and tall, big and tall, 
The plants in the garden grow big and tall, 
All around the garden.

Some of the verses were easy to come up with and some came about when something was going on in our garden, like the tree verse and the leaves verse, both were created on a very windy day when leaves were flying out of the trees. As we were singing we did hand movements to go with the verses, such as clapping our hands open and shut on the ladybug verse, or growing big and tall on the plants verse.  

I know that we could come up with many more verses, such as the rain from the sky goes drip drip drip.  I would love to have you comment some more verses you came up with! 



Tuesday, May 31, 2011


You have found the brand new blog by Small Spuds Childcare.  We will begin posting soon about all things childcare related.  You will find ideas on ways to save space in an in home program, yet still provide a rich assortment of items for the children to use, ideas on how to "knock off" those childcare catalog items you want for your program, forms to use in your program, philosophy of care in our program, fun ideas to make learning even more fun than it already is, nutritional ideas for children, activity ideas for children and lots more.

Stay tuned for a ton of fun ideas!

Until some posts show up, feel free to find us on Facebook, Twitter and our Webpage.  Also, check out the blogs we get tons of inspiration from.  All the links are on the left hand side of the blog.

We are looking forward to sharing with you all!