From “Caterpillar to Butterfly” and a Pop-Up Flower Shop…Day 51

During the seven years l taught kindergarten, one of my favorite things to do with my class was to order Painted Lady caterpillars from Insect Lore. My students and I enjoyed watching these teeny, tiny caterpillars grow and change; first into a chrysalis’ and then transform themselves into beautiful butterflies! It amazes me that the entire metamorphosis took a mere 3 to 4 weeks!

The caterpillars in my daughter’s classroom have all changed into chrysalises and her teacher placed them into the butterfly net. The caterpillar cam has been turned off, for now, as the metamorphosis begins. While we wait, my daughter and I continued our study of butterflies with some exciting activities. Our day ended with back yard play and an impromptu pop up flower shop in the backyard.

A Butterfly Garden– After completing the Scholastic Learn From Home module “From Caterpillar to Butterfly,” we went outside and planted some wildflowers that are supposed to attract butterflies. My daughter loves the dirt and is looking forward to watering her flowers everyday.

“The Very Hungry Caterpillar Yoga”– There are extensive benefits of doing yoga with children! Yoga improves their physical, mental, emotional and social health. From helping to balance energy levels and calming the nervous system, to building sensory awareness, flexibility and balance, yoga is simply amazing! My daughter needs to develop these skills so doing activities like yoga do not come naturally and it’s difficult to get her to do it without a fight! Her teacher recommended Cosmic Yoga, engaging story based yoga for kids presented by storyteller, Jaime Amor. My daughter was resistant at firs, but after awhile, to my great surprise, she began to request Cosmic Yoga! Amor has created yoga stories for just about any theme you can think of. From “The Wizard of Oz,” to “Star Wars,” to “Frozen,” everyone will find something they like! CLICK HERE to do “Very Hungry Caterpillar” yoga.

Pattern Block Creations– We used pattern blocks to create caterpillars and then we made symmetrical butterflies. We also played a symmetry game found here. Young children have a strong intuitive sense of symmetry. Research shows that knowing symmetry helps us learn things like graphing, understanding negative numbers and how to simplify complex information.

Pop-Up Flower Shop– Being an only child my daughter effectively plays independently and benefits greatly from child-directed, free play opportunities. One of her favorite places to play, during the quarantine, is in our backyard. Today she created an impromptu flower shop after gathering wildflowers in the field behind our house. She got plastic containers out of her water play toys and used them as vases. She used her toy phone to talk to customers and solicited me as her number one customer! I gladly joined in and helped direct her imaginative play. I asked the following questions…How much do the flowers cost? What is the name of her shop? Can she created mixed bouquets? I provided paper and crayons and encouraged her to create a menu for her shop, listing the prices for her various creations. By guiding her play, I was able to introduce new vocabulary and incorporate literacy skills in a fun, engaging way. CLICK HERE to read a short article about the benefits of adult guidance in play (or learning).

Number Pad, Cosmic Yoga, Marble Painting, Preparing for Palm Sunday…Day 14 Activities

As a reading consultant and literacy lover, who is also passionate about music, I find myself choosing activities that build upon my strengths. So during this time of isolation I have been pushing myself to present activities that are outside of my comfort zone. Like her daddy, my daughter enjoys STEM activities so I have been incorporating more science and math into our days. My daughter needs to strengthen her core muscles and generally dislikes any activity that challenges her in this area so to avoid confrontation I haven’t pushed her in this area. Continue to allow your child to chose activities “free choice” but try to introduce some of the things that challenge both of you. Incorporate rewards for trying something new, a little bribery during these stressful times won’t hurt! You’ve got this momma,try to do your best and don’t give up! And don’t forget to reward yourself at the end of the day!

Number Pad– Use paper plates to make a big number pad on the wall. My daughter enjoyed practicing family phone numbers. Children use large body movement when they press on the plates and learn to identify numbers at the same time! Cosmic Kids Yoga– My daughter’s teacher has the kiddos do Cosmic Kids Yoga at school and I have been trying to get my daughter to do Cosmic Kids Yoga for months. Today was the day that she finally completed an entire Cosmic Kids Yoga session! We did one about a cat but there are many fantastic sessions to choose from. Frozen Yoga and the Wizard of Oz Yoga are two popular ones. Through a story or song Cosmic Kids Yoga builds strength, increases blood flow, improves concentration and helps with anxiety (just to name a few of the benefits.) While doing yoga, kids work to use a range of muscles, find their body working in symmetry and this improves their body coordination and encourages motor development.Marble Painting- We do marble painting a lot (it is one of our favorite activities). Get a shallow box (a shirt box works perfectly), paper, paint and marbles. Place the paper in the box and after coating marbles in different color paints drop them in the box and gently move the box from side to side. Make sure you practice moving the marble inside the box without paint first to set proper technique. No two masterpieces are ever alike! We painted on cross shapes but you could use any shape or canvas. (eggs, shamrocks, flowers, hearts) You can also paint with other items that roll (a toy car or small ball). The results look like miniature Jackson Pollock paintings. Click Here to watch a child friendly video about Jackson Pollock. Pollock is one of my favorite artists so that’s probably why I love hanging these marble paintings in my home.

Preparing for Palm Sunday- This Sunday is Palm Sunday, one of my daughter’s favorite days on the church calendar. She loves parading down the aisle at church waving her palm branch for all to see. But this year she won’t be able to do that. Click Here to view a video from our senior pastor, Pastor Rouland and Gary the puppet, speaking to the children about celebrating Palm Sunday at home. Gary recommends drawing a Palm on paper. Click Here to view a video from my parents church for additional ways to make palms with your children. We are going to make some palms this afternoon. Make some palms with us and post them in the comments or on the Noteworthy Mommy Facebook or Instagram page. We can’t wait to see them!