Thursday, September 26, 2013

Friends, Feelings and Five Senses!

You may be wondering why there are SO many different subjects up there this week, well, I guess I'm wondering too. But when I started my lesson plan it was just easier to include all of these different topics. If we talk about being a good friend, we have to talk about emotions and our feelings (and those of others). If we talk about our feelings we need to talk about observing things with our ears and eyes (tough and smell too) so, we just wrapped it up into a fun filled week of activities. My boys were still a little sick so I didn't get in all of our activities that I wanted, but there's always time later to modify or just do them! Here are some of the things we did do.

Care Packages
We're a military family and even though we are ready to face a deployment and loss, we are fortunate enough to have never dealt with one personally. However, when we moved into our new house we moved in next door to an Army family with a deployed husband. Fortunately, he's about to come home and as his platoon trickles in we were asked to make goody bags for the soldiers once they got off the plane. I jumped at the opportunity to help and included the boys in this craft.

This lesson was a tricky one, because without scaring my boys and threatening them with a looming Deployment for their Daddy, I just wanted to let them know that it made me feel proud to give back to the Heroes that serve our country. I think it worked because a few days later Henrik expressed his pride and loyalty to the men and women that serve this country when he said, "Mom, we need to make cookies for the Heroes so that they know we like them". And we will in a few weeks when our neighbor comes home, we're in charge of the cookie portion of that care package! 

Putting Feelings to Work:
We've been having a few issues in our house with hitting, kicking and biting. The boys just go at it sometimes and I though we've always encouraged them to use their words, I wanted to show them what emotions looked like so they could start to recognize when their brother was getting upset or was upset. 

Here, I wrote on the front and back of a piece of paper different emotions: happy, sad, scared and  surprised. I asked the boys to draw their different faces of happy, sad, scared and surprised. Henrik didn't know how to do some of them, but as we practiced making different faces he started to figure it out on his own and drew what he thought each of those emotions looked like. 

Playing with Adjectives:

I wanted to get the boys active so I decided to come up with a game where we could pretend to be different feelings and animals. We could have made it so we just acted out the feelings, but I wanted to make sure they participated so I chose to do animals. I knew that when they drew the "excited whale" they would giggle and open up and be silly with me. 

I made two bowls, one filled with different emotions and feelings and one filled with different animals. I had each child draw from their own bowl. We then put the feelings with the animal and got some pretty funny and very creative play out of it. I didn't get any pictures of them being any of the animals because it was too fun to just let them play. 

Silly Faces:
I went online and found a bunch of eye, nose and mouth clip art and printed them out. Once I cut them, I gave the boys a plastic plate and put painter's tape on the plate where the eyes, nose and mouth should go. Then I set them free! 

At first, I just let them play, they thought it was pretty funny to see different facial features and mix them up like Mr. Potato Head. But after a few minutes I asked them to find eyes that looked angry, or sad, or happy. Then I asked them to match the mouth with the eyes. We also played around with happy eyes and angry mouths. Theo went with the Picasso approach, but nonetheless he still loved the activity and had a blast making matching faces with the ones they'd created. 

Simon Says:
We played the actual Simon Says game this week too, but this was a fun activity so I could get them to settle down. I printed out the outline of a body and played the game in a different way. I said, "Simon says, color the right hand". Or "Simon says, color the thing that we use to smell". They thought it was fun because it was just an outline of a body, which gave them the opportunity to be creative. 

To make this easier for Theo, I asked him to tell me what parts of the body we used to feel something. He likes being barefoot so he said feet first, but eventually went with the hands as well. I asked Theo more questions about the five senses and he was able to tell me that we hear with our ears and see with our eyes. And of course, he colored the whole body, but at least I got verbal confirmation from him on what we'd been learning about this week. 

Number and Letter Writing:
We spend a lot of time recognizing letters and numbers through flashcards, books and signs, but we don't spend as much time working on writing as I'd like. Until recently, my boys had very little interest in actually coloring or writing, but since they've been on a coloring kick I decided to take advantage of their interests and tailor some writing practice to their new likes. 

The boys absolutely love writing on white boards, I guess there is something exciting about the squeak it makes when you write on it. I found these boards at Target and thought they would be good for a job chart that I was creating, but I decided against that and had them left over. So, because they had squares already on the board, I knew I could put them to use for Henrik especially. Henrik writes his H to fill up the whole page, he has little control when it comes to managing the size of his letters. If he sees a space he must fill it, but with a long name like his, we always run out of room. So, keeping the letters in the box was a perfect way to help him manage the size and gain more control of his marker. I did the same thing with number writing practice. Theo spent a lot of time singing the Alphabet song and writing all over the board, but to me, at least he's learning about letters and writing while he does it. I don't think you can ever start too early.

Copy Cat:
My favorite activity this week was to draw on the bathroom mirror with dry erase markers. I asked the boys to make funny faces in the mirror and watch what their face did when they expressed different emotions. After we made several funny faces, I wrote a word on the mirror and asked them to draw the emotion. If they got stuck, and weren't sure what the emotion looked like, I had them look at themselves in the mirror as they made that emotion and they could copy what their face was doing.

It's hard to see from the picture, but when I asked Henrik to draw "happy" he drew our whole family, and it was the best picture he's EVER drawn. He then asked me how to write family. I was SO proud of him. As you can see, he was pretty proud of himself as he drew different emotions too.

Music Therapy:
I don't have great pictures from this activity because my boys were WAY to into it and wanted me to play along too. How could I not? This activity was a two part activity. First, I turned on different kinds of music: 50s, jazz, disco, rock, classical and pop. I asked the boys to tell me how these different types of music made them feel. It was fun to see their responses to the music. Sometimes they would do nothing, sometimes they bobbed their heads, sometimes they got up and danced around. While we listened I encouraged them to move around to the music, in a speed or way that the music was telling them.

The second part of this activity was when we got our our own instruments and made music that made us feel different ways. I asked them to make music that made them angry and they banged on drums and their shakers as loud as possible. When I asked them to play happy music, they played their piano and xylophone quickly and wiggled around while they did it. When I asked them to play music that was sad, they played long and low.

5 Senses Sensory Bin And Water Play:
This activity was pretty easy to do and lasted over an hour. I set up these sensory bins and filled up one side of the sink with warm water and the other with cold. I added bubbles and some numbers that have various textures on them.

I wanted to add things that had different textures and feels to them so I put in lentils, and beans, squishy toys and hard toys, wet toys and dry toys and of course they had smooth and bumpy and cold and warm.

Five Senses Treasure Hunt: 
Right now my boys are big on treasure hunts, probably because of their new found love of treasure maps, but either way, I put a twist on the old treasure hunt. This time, I gave them each a notebook with pictures and words based on the five senses. They were sent outside to find different things that they could check off. We had to listen for sirens, planes, birds, dogs, etc. We had to find something smooth, bumpy, hard and soft. We had to find things that had a smell. We skipped the taste portion of the senses because we try to keep everything but food out of our mouths. 

This was a fun activity because we got out of the house and got active. Theo especially was proud when he got to check things off in his notebook!

This week we read some really great books about Friendship and Feelings. Some of our favorites were:

Fluff and Billy by Nicola Killen
Hopper and Wilson by Maria van Lieshout
The Moose Belongs To Me by Oliver Jeffries
My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss
Happy and Friends by Miles van Hout
We of course explored the Brown Bear, Brown Bear What to you See books as well as their counter parts the Panda bear and Polar Bear by Eric Carle.

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