It's mucky not yucky!
Inspired by a recent edition of the MCCA "Bridges" magazine that featured the benefits and joys of mud play, the team of educators at Dawn and Dusk hosted our own day of dirt for the children.
With our mud kitchen supplies, a giant bag of fresh dirt, and a few jumbo pails of water we invited the kids to explore, feel, smell and get elbows deep in the mud. Each had their own container to fill and a watering can - from there it was all experience and experiments!
Initially, the kids were unsure if they were really, truly allowed to play in dirt! It took a little encouragement to really get them going, but once they realized not only did their parents give permission but even provided a change of clothes, they felt more comfortable with the mud.
Some played "politely", ensuring the most minimal amount of dirt was getting on them. Until one looked at an educator, grinning, and said "I dare you to put your WHOLE hand in the mud!"
The educator went for it, of course! Using encouraging words like, "Oooh this feels so good! I like squishing it in my fingers!", the children looked on with wide eyes and we could hear murmurs of "we can put our whole hand in!"
Mud Day was such a success that even those with sensory or dirt issues found themselves lost in the fun of the uninhibited play. Children who initially looked at us and said "There's no way I'm doing that" wound up participating and having the most fun!
Some even chose to make "coffee" and serve it to the educators haha!
High-fives all around for the first ever Mud Day at Dawn and Dusk!
One sunny morning at the Forest, a couple of children joined in doing some creations with straws, beads, different types of string/yarn and tape.
Each child took 3 straws, chose their colours of string/yarn they wanted to use and began weaving or wrapping their straws.
One child said, " Mine is a bookmark and I'll use it in my book I'm reading."
There was one child who couldn't decide what they wanted their creation to be.
" I made a magic wand!" one child said sitting beside their friend. The other child decided that was what they wanted too! Both of them walked beside each other, swinging their wands doing some magic.
Another child decided to come see what was going on at the tarp. The child said, " I don't want to use the string/yarn but I would like to make something." Once the child decided, the child said, " Mine is a flute." as they tried blowing it to make some sounds come out.
While making these creations, the children learned wrapping, weaving, tying strings together making knots and cool designs their minds came up with. When all the creations were made, the children had the option to play with them or take them home to show their parents.
This week in Cohort A we did a science experiment activity called "blizzard in a bottle". The idea was to mix water, paint, and baby oil, and then drop in an alka-selzter tablet and watch it make bubbles and "snowflakes". We collected empty plastic bottles during the week to use for this experiment. The reason I chose this activity is because I've noticed that the kids love to watch how different substances react with one another, and they especially enjoy watching them fizz and erupt. My favourite part of sharing science experiments with the kids is watching their reactions and hearing them guess what will happen. During this experiment, one child guessed that "when you add the baby oil, it won't actually mix with the water but it will sit on top", and they were right!
The original experiment only used white paint, to appear more blizzard-like, but I let the kids choose whatever colour they wanted and that lead to some very colourful bottle-blizzards! Once they added the alka-selzter tablets and watched it fizz, they were very curious as to what would happen if they shook the bottle and mixed all the substances together. One child exclaimed; "I want to make it as fizzy as possible and have a really crazy blizzard!" And that's just what they did.
Another child was curious about how the mixture would look when poured out into a cup, and they all agreed that it kind of looked like coloured milk! It was very cool to see the texture of the "blizzard", and how it changed as it was being poured.
The children enjoyed playing with their bottled concoctions for the rest of the afternoon and were very excited that they got to take them home and show their families what they made. We all agreed that next time we try it, we will use more alka-selzter tablets to see just how fizzy we can make it, maybe we can even make it erupt out of the bottle!
Until next time,
Snow in the middle of April was perfect for some spring ice building in Cohort A. We started off by designing what we would want to build with the ice bricks that were made by freezing water in loaf pans and milk cartons.
"I want to build a cabin! " said one child about their design.
"I want to do graffiti art! Does anyone want to help me?" Said another child to their friends.
When we got outside, Cohort A immediately noticed of the colourful ice bricks and started making guesses on what they represented. "Blue is water!" said one child to another, who replied by saying "yeah, and red is fire!" they then both agreed that green was "Earth".
Some of the children started testing out different ways to stack the bricks on top of each other, while other children wanted to test out how much force it would take to smash the ice bricks. "Let's see how many bricks we can stack on top of each other" said one child to their friend who replied with "No thanks, I want to smash them instead"
Since the weather was a bit warmer in the afternoon, some of the children noticed that the ice was starting to melt making it really sticky. The bricks got stuck on their gloves and their shoes. "Quick! Take a picture!" said one child. holding up his hand to show that the circular ice brick was sticking to his glove. "It looks like a Captain America Shield!" Then, they picked up a bigger ice brick to see if that would stick to his glove as well. "It is pulling my glove off!" he exclaimed.
Although the children were not able to build exactly what they wanted, they explored different ways to use the ice bricks by creating new designs and testing out the idea of force to smash ice.
Next time, we will make even more ice so that the children can build all of their big ideas they have planned!
As the snow fell down in mid-April, we decided to take advantage and make snow sculptures. Before we got started, I prompted the children with a question: If we built a big huge snowball, could you guess how tall it is? As they started to build, the children made their guess on how tall they thought they were and then we took out the meter stick to allow the children to see if we were right about their predictions.
In the process of creating our sculptures, we observed that the children ended up splitting into two different groups to build their snow sculptures. One group was called Team Raelien because she was helping them, and the other had Leah helping so they called themselves Team Leah. The children decided to see what team could get the tallest tower in only five minutes! While we were measuring to see what team had the tallest tower, the children measured team Raelien to have the tallest tower, but then also decided that team Leah had the creepiest. All the children worked well together on both teams while building each sculpture, I overheard the children discuss how they would place each snowballs on the sculpture so that they didn't fall. One child suggested that they needed to pile up the snow on one side so that it didn't fall over! Both teams decided to take this one step further by adding some life to their sculpture. Meet our new friend Remi below!
The children expressed that they were happy with the end result of their sculptures, especially when adding some colour to their design! One of the sculptures was made into a Pokémon and the child was excited to describe in the video exactly how they did it, and what exactly the Pokémon was called.
Some children in our other cohort went in a different direction with this activity, they used the colour to add graffiti art within the forest and here are a few designs they did with food colouring.
In conclusion, the children had a blast playing in the snow while creating their snow sculptures and graffiti art. It was great to see the children have so much fun working together and sharing their ideas, but the fun didn't stop there! The next day, the children buried one of the educators in the snow and each other as you can see in the last two pictures. Snow in April? No problem, we will still have fun!
Over the past few weeks Cohort A has been interested in various activities related to design. Last week we started to design our own marble ramps. The children all collaborated on how to make a successful marble ramp using cardboard and tape. They split themselves up into groups, discussing how they wanted to connect their parts of the marble ramp to form one big marble ramp. "Let's try attaching it to the wall and make it like a loop!" said one child to another, "Yeah, but how would we do that?" replied the other child.
Another group of children began constructing their part of the ramp on the stairs, using them to support the ramp. "We have to get the box to stay up", said one child as they were problem solving to get a box they were using to stay in place. Once they were successful with that, they began to discuss how they wanted to build the rest of the ramp. "Let's make it go all the way down the stairs" said one child to another. The other child nodded in agreement and they worked together to finish their ramp.
Some of the other children decided to make their own smaller ramps instead of connecting them to form a bigger one. "We need more cardboard underneath our ramp so it doesn't fall!", said one child to another, "We need more tape too", replied the other child.
This activity led to another activity the next week. The children built a Rube Goldberg Machine. The goal was to construct the machine so that it could move a ball. They used the stairs to start constructing a ramp so that the pieces they were using would roll down at a fast enough speed to move the ball. One child made this observation; "We need to build railings so that the pieces don't fall off the ramp when they are rolling down". Their partner agreed with an enthusiastic "Okay!". They began to build railings using different methods to construct them until they found one that worked.
The children noticed that despite having the railings, a piece they were using didn't always roll down the way they wanted it to. They discussed different ways to get the piece to move the way they wanted it to. "What if we build more railings?" one child asked. "We can try using a marble!" said another.
After testing out different ways of using a marble, they realized that the marble was too small to move the ball the way they wanted it, so they switched back to the piece they were using before. They figured out a method to get the piece to roll down the way they wanted and were very excited at this discovery!
While the children were unable to get the ball to move on its own with their machine, they were not bothered by it as they had fun constructing it and testing it out. One of the children suggested that next time we should have more of the larger pieces brought out so they could construct more railings.
It was fun to see them work together to problem solve and share their different ideas with each other. All ideas were listened to and used to try to make their Rube Goldberg Machine work.
Over the past few weeks Cohort A has been taking an interest in 'designing' activities, such as building roadways for towns, snow sculptures, ice art, etc. For one activity this week our children worked with water, dry erase markers and a glass plate. The idea was to see if the water could get the design they made with the dry erase marker to dance on the plate.
The children were encouraged to draw shapes, stick people, or any idea they had on the glass plate. After they drew the image, I asked them if they thought the picture they drew would dance on the plate. A few of them decided to make predictions and see if they were right.
They all said it wasn’t going to work.
The best part was when they questioned the activity... how did it work? Why did it work?
So, we had a discussion about the different steps they needed to take to see how it worked and how the ink floated in the water. We talked about how the marker was leaving behind a mixture of pigments and a type of alcohol together. After the alcohol dissolve, all that’s left is the pigment of colour as a solid. With the plate being smooth, when you pour the water on the plate the coloured drawing should slide off the plate and float in the water. One of the kids said, “oh that’s how it works?" and another, “that’s so cool”.
Seeing the expression on the children’s faces as they realized that they have done magic was priceless. I say magic because one of the kids said, “I’m doing magic”, as they kept on dumping the water off the plates and drawing different pictures to see if each one would lift off the plate.
Come back to see what we have planned next!
This week in Photography Club, the children in cohort A explored the dramatic world of movie making. I have noticed that when the children have the phones and cameras, they almost always want to take videos so I figured why not take that all the way to making their own movie! In pairs of two they got to choose from four different genres; drama, comedy, scary, or adventure. Once they chose their genre we headed outside and started filming.
This group chose to make a scary movie... beware of zombies!
At first some of the children were confused about how taking videos on the phones will magically make a movie. I explained that once they have all the "raw" (unedited) footage, they can play around and add cool edits and effects, they were very excited to hear that. We also talked about all the different roles that go into movie making, like the director, actors, camera operators, and even stunt doubles. One child remarked that "even though there's only two of us and not a big crew, we can still take turns and make it work!" and that is exactly what they did! While one child would be acting, the other would be directing and filming.
These two children made a prop monster out of the wet sand, thank goodness they vanquished it!
We will continue to work on our movies by editing them all together and adding titles and credits. However, I can give a couple spoilers before the final premiers... one of the movies is called Treasure Hunter, and another is called Romantic Comedy Surprise. Stay tuned to see the final products from these up and coming filmmakers!
One afternoon at the forest, a group of children from Cohort A joined together for some snow stencil art. Each child chose what colour of water they wanted to use. Then each child choose a cookie cutter they wanted to make their stencil art with in the snow.
“Look, the snow matches the cookie cutter". As they continued squirting the coloured water into the cookie cutter lying on the snow.
As the children were watching the water fill up the cookie cutter, they observed how the coloured water was absorbing into the snow and leaving an imprint of their shape. One child said, "This is lots of fun to do." Another child said, “Maybe we should try using the cookie cutter to make shapes out of just the snow".
When the children were finished, some decided to bake their favorite cookies with the snow shapes. We may have a few bakers in the near future from Cohort A.
We’ve noticed that Cohort A loves Minecraft! Almost every day, they incorporate Minecraft into their play. Whether they’re building Minecraft characters out of Plus-Plus blocks or acting out scenarios, Minecraft always seems to be an interest that they return to.
Based on these observations, we decided to delve into the world of Minecraft and give Cohort A the opportunity to create their own Minecraft potion!
To represent the potion ingredients, we filled up six jars with coloured water and different scents. Before we opened each jar, the children wanted to guess the scent.
These were some of their comments...
“The orange jar probably smells like orange!”
“This one smells like chocolate!”
“Eww, I don’t like this smell.”
“For sure this one is cinnamon!”
Each child was given a cylindrical bottle as their potion bottle and an eyedropper that they used to add their ingredients. Some of the children chose ingredients based on colour, while others focused on the smell.
As the children were busy creating their potions, I asked them to think about what their potion would do. We had some very creative answers! Some potions made you invisible, while others gave you the ability to breathe fire!
Once their potions were complete, they were given a spray cap for their bottle. This allowed them to spray or squirt their potion onto the ground! One child said, “it’s like perfume!”
This activity was a blast! What a great way to bring Minecraft outdoors!