Gardening at the Den

We have been doing the garden this month! I LOVE digging in the dirt. Gardening allows kids to experience some of the most tangible miracles in our natural world. It must be done.

Here are some of the things we’ve been up to:
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In the last month I have been so thoroughly embracing spring and the outdoors that I haven’t had time to sit down and gush about it.

In April we started a wall because it was hard to see that spring was on its way.  I needed a concrete and inspiring reminder when the slushy snow was falling in gobs from the grey sky.

But now…IT IS HERE! Continue reading

Music Month Activities

Our recent music month included some good crafting time and more play with rhythm and tone.  Even if you are not very musical, a little bravery is probably all you need.  Our music time was expanded by the “play” we incorporated with our new instruments. Continue reading

Ham Roll-ups

In the spirit of more ideas and less verbiage, I begin a short and sweet series of snacks that work:  Ham Roll-ups!

Roll slices of deli ham around a thin spread of avocado, red pepper strips and (optional) cheese.

You can soft-cook the red pepper for babies, or leave it out.  My toddlers can handle raw peeled cucumber quite well, so sometimes I substitute that or just make theirs with plain avocado.  These are popular with me because little participants like to help make them, they are healthy-ish and hand-held.

It occurred to me the other day that chicken, tuna or egg salad would include itself in these handy rolls quite nicely, as well.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I thought of this great activity.  It took so much prep but it was so fun to do.  AND it was supremely educational.  AND it lasted all week!

We made key chains that re-tell the story of Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Which is, in my opinion, one of the most fabulous preschool books out there.  It has all the essential elements of a pre-literacy book, it is beautiful and it has a great little dig about eating what you are supposed to eat.

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Music in the Den

I love music: listening to it, playing it, dancing to it, singing it.  I am doing my  best to be sure that the children in my care will be inspired to groove when the music starts and wail along in grand style until it stops.

“Music” conjures up a million different sounds.   Continue reading

Fun Food!

Transportation is the theme this week!

Pepper boats are a lunch staple around here.  I usually fill the pepper quarters with tuna or egg salad.  Today I passed out some cheese and toothpicks so that everyone could put a sail on their boat.  If you’re a purist you could substitute almost anything solid enough to cut into a triangle – cucumbers, zucchini, apple, jerky.  Use carrot slices to make “heads” and put people in the boat!

The girls wanted me to make banana airplanes with a recipe that used peanut butter and graham crackers, so we came up with a clean version.  I used almond butter to glue the two halves of the banana together and thin apple slices for the wings and tail.  Raisins, if pushed in gently, provide windows.  My seven-year-old was quick to point out that chocolate chips would have looked better….