Sunday, October 31, 2010

November Afterschool Guide is Here!

November Afterschool Guide

HUGE E-Book! (almost 100 pages!)

Four Full Weeks of Family Bonding is

Week One, November

Fire, Remembering Loved Ones

~ Make Autumn Fire Fairies from Wool Roving

~ Create an Ofrenda on Your Nature Table to Honor Loved

Ones in the Mexican Tradition

~Cook Up a Batch of Soul Cakes on Sunday and SO much more!

Week Two, November

The Wind, Living Peacefully

~ Make a Parachute Toy!

~ Soothe Your Children with Hot Lemonade

~ Make a Copper Martinmas Lantern

~ Cook St. Martin Weckmann and Serve it with Afternoon Tea

among many other things!

Week Three, November

Spiders, Weaving

~Try Your Hand at Weaving Wheat!

~ Find Out What Surprise Amanda Has Been Weaving in

Her Loom for Thanksgiving

~ Bake Hand Woven Bread with Your Family

~ Meditate on the Type of Life You Hope to Weave with

Your Own Family

Week Four, November

Thanksgiving, Gratitude

~ Treat Your Children to a Lavender Bubble Bath

~ Make a Beautiful Beeswax Thanksgiving Candle Jar

~ Start Your Living Advent Calendar

~ Cook Homemade Cranberry Sauce for Thanksgiving

~ Spend Time Working Within Yourself to Foster a True

Feeling of Gratitude for the Life You Have Been Given

This Book is Filled with November Autumn Magic!

Carving Out Memories

These simple traditions we share each year have such deeper meaning to me as the girls get older. They build upon each other and we find ourselves reminiscing on years passed when we did the same activity...
The face we carved out that one year or the time we added cinnamon to our roasted pumpkin seeds to see what they tasted like.

I often find myself listening to the girls and I realize that we are weaving an entire life together with each experience we share.
I think about when they are mothers one day if a certain smell or activity will bring them back to one of these moments we are sharing in *this* right now...
And then I realize that one day - a day far from now - *this* right now will be a memory.

A memory that maybe I will cling to in my old age... or that one of my daughters share with their own children or lover.

And I get filled up inside with a mixture of emotion - gratitude for being blessed with this beautiful life and the opportunity to share such precious moments with my family... and sadness that one day they will be grown, out of our home and I will long for these moments of all of us here together again.

I hope our time together will help them build a beautiful life of their own one day. For now, I am going to breathe in every single delicious moment I have with them while they are still young.
Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spooky Halloween Scene

Oh just look and what the children and I made together! Isn't it beautiful?
We worked so very hard. Each little beeswax piece made by sweet little hands. My afterschool partner had this idea last month but we were unable to get it together in time for our guide so now its out there for everyone to enjoy :)

Our bats came from a suggestion from a Little Acorn Learning friend Helen who mentioned them after hearing that we were making our beeswax pumpkins.
We just used beeswax to make various items all week - bats, a witch, a spooky house, cat, ghosts, pumpkins, etc.

Then we took out our special silks and some wooden trees and other items and put them together very slowly and carefully. Each older child helped to create our spooky scene and we let everyone have a part in its creation.
It was a great way to use up some of our random pieces of beeswax. The witches' house for example is a hodge-podge of colors we weren't sure what to do with.

Then we added gray-blue wool roving - very thinly across and around our scene to give the effect of fog.
Happy Halloween from Little Acorn Learning!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Needle Felted Pumpkin

A very simple pumpkin can be made for your nature table within an hour by using wool roving and needle felting supplies. Yesterday, during nap time, Brianna watch as I made this small but sweet pumpkin with supplies I purchased from Nova Natural Toys.
First, you wrap a small ball of roving. Do not twist - just gently form the ball as tightly as you can. Then you VERY carefully use your needles to poke around the entire ball over and over until you see that it is dry felting and 'sticking' together to form a ball.

I then added a few complimentary colors but only slightly to give the pumpkin the look of texture. The little lines you see above are simply just small strips of different colors wrapped around the ball to give the form of the indents many pumpkins have.
Needle felting is NOT for young children. The needles are super sharp and it hurts when you poke yourself. But they do enjoy watching the process. It kept Brianna entertained the whole time :)

Then I took a bit of green and separately worked my needle in and out to make a form of a leaf. I had to layer the wool a bit to make sure it was thick and sturdy enough and then I needle felted it onto my little pumpkin top.

I also did the stem separately... wrapping different colors and using my needle until I felt like it was the right color and thickness. Again, needle felting it onto the pumpkin top at the base of the stem. After adding one more little leaf - our pumpkin was done. Simple and pretty and fun to play with gentle hands.
I am not an expert at needle felting but enjoy simple projects. There are some amazing artists out there who make beautiful nature table doll, toys and landscapes. I'd love to expand and try some of these things when time allows. If you have links to any projects you have worked on (especially in Autumn), please share them in comments.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Beeswax Pumpkins

The Pumpkin
(a fingerplay that can be done while sitting at desk or table)

Here is a long and trailing vine,
(Hands trailing over desks.)

Watch it and see the green stems twine,
(Hands twine in and out over desks.) This is a pretty yellow flower.
(Hands curved to form flower.)

That blossomed one day in a sunny hour.
When one by one the petals fall,
(Hands drop to desks.)

And now we see a small green ball.
(Hands curved to form ball.)

The big sun shone so warm and bright,
(Arms curved to form sun.)
That the ball grew bigger and yellow, quite,

And yellow, and yellower still it grew,
Until under Autumn skies so blue,
It lay so still on the sun-warmed ground,
And lo! it was a pumpkin round!
(Hands and arms curved to form a large pumpkin.)

And then one frosty Autumn day,
The pumpkin was taken quite away,
'Twas cut by a knife from the shelf so high,
And mother made a pumpkin pie!
(Forefingers and thumbs curved to form pie.)

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Colors of Autumn

So very beautiful - I love this time of year (how many times have I said that?)... the trees are changing colors - nature is so vocal in its messages to us. Autumn in Connecticut is breathtaking.
One morning, I stepped outside onto the deck and the sound of crows was so intense... it was crazy. I looked up and found them all - sitting in one tree... like they were trying to tell me something very important.

Can you see them all? Then at once - the all just took off! I big black bunch of them into the sky and wind. I wish I was able to get a photo of them all together in the air.
Keira already had a costume party to go to and she has another this coming weekend. So much fun!
In Playgarden, we've been working on all sorts of fun crafts and activities - today we made very simple paper plate pumpkins with watercolor paint and leaves we found outside on our nature walk. We mixed our Stockmar red and yellow and came up with a very perfect orange.
Each pumpkin a little different just like each child in my program.
Sometimes the simplest activities are the most fun.
Halloween is coming when we'll be...
Dressed in funny clothes and then you'll see...
Pumpkins in the windows burning bright...
Oh, we'll have a good time on Halloween Night.
Bobbing for apples, oh, what fun!
Then we'll come a-calling on the run...
Children in their costumes such a sight...
Yes, we'll have a good time on Halloween Night!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Rye Playdough

Today we were supposed to make our cornhusk dolls but Ms. Eileen wasn't able to get out soon enough to get our corn!! So instead we made pumpkin rye playdough!
The children worked together to mix all the ingredients - we used rye flour to give our playdough a little fun texture! We also added red and yellow food coloring to make an autumn orange for our dough.
We rolled it and patted it...

The children love it so much. What is so nice about playing with homemade playdough after we make it is that it is still warm - a perfect way to warm little hands on a cold autumn day.

We added some vanilla for a yummy scent and also some dried lavender. The dough had such a nice texture and smelled awesome!
Brianna got creative during naptime and added some pumpkin seeds to decorate her 'baking' with.
It was a great day - then we bundled up and went outside to burn some energy before lunch.

One of the cool things about running a home daycare is that you can knit whenever you find a free moment :)

It was a light day with only three children. Nice but I actually like it better when there are more in the morning. The problem is that when afternoon comes and my own children come home from school... it can get pretty chaotic with everyone needing me for homework, snacks, advice, etc. Balance is not easy to find around here.

Meanwhile I have to get to work on my part of the November Afterschool Guide. I wish I could clone myself :)

For now, I'm trying to enjoy the moments. This is my favorite time of year - I just think it is so beautiful and the weather is exactly how I like it.