Friday, October 28, 2011

Glitter Glue!

I purchased some silver and orange glitter glue from Target in the dollar section. I knew the moment I saw it that something fun could be done with it. 

My oldest found it and immediately ran into the play room to get pencils and paper. The youngest followed yelling "paper, paperrrr"! I let them play for a few minutes before it dawned on me that a big mess could be in the making. I was pleasantly surprised to find this:

My oldest son decided to draw halloween pictures and trace over them with the glue. My youngest just had fun pouring the glue out. Either way, it looked like fun to me. They soaked the paper; not allowing us to keep their masterpieces. 

I do have an idea I want to try out. I am thinking of drawing shapes on wax paper and having them trace it. Once the glue dries I will cut out the shape and hang it up. I am not sure how it will work, but I will be trying it this weekend. I will update the blog with our results. 

The Little Ones and the Purple Sand

After seeing my 2-3 year old friends enjoy the purple sand so much, I was curious as to how my 1-2 year olds would react. I was surprised to find out that it was not as big of a deal. Most of my little friends played with it for a minute or two, however my one friend really enjoyed it. I believe it is because it is calming to her. She spent a good chunk of her time with us playing in the purple sand. 

The real big hit of the class was the parachute and the plastic balls. Every class we bring out the parachute. We ride on it, sit under it, and pop plastic ball "popcorn". My friends run to circle time when I announce the parachute is coming out. 

Our Play Friends class for our 1-2 year old friends is really about playing with the parent. It is so important for a parent or caregiver to help their child explore their world in a safe environment. Our class does that. Plus we make a mess; which normally does not happen at home (not even mine). 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Pumpkins, Play Dough and Purple Play Sand

This week our theme is halloween based, but nothing scary; pumpkins. I have mini pumpkins to paint, pumpkin pie scented play dough, and new purple sand for the sensory table. 

I picked up 20 small pumpkins from the local farmers market for my friends to paint. I had it all planned out, we would sit in circle time, read 5 Little Pumpkins and then hop on over to the art table to paint the pumpkins. Well, today was another reminder that having a plan is a good idea, but really you just go with the flow with this age group. 

Why? I purchased some new play sand. Purple play sand. It was a huge hit. Once the sand was discovered, circle time was promptly left behind. My friends had such a blast playing in the purple sand. They kept going back to it after each activity. I love the color, it is so vibrant. I am sure this is why it was a huge hit. ***If you are going to play with sand at home indoors, make sure it is on a hard surface and not carpet. It takes a few vacuuming sessions to get the sand out of carpet.

Eventually we made it to the art table to paint our pumpkins and here are the results:

This last photo is of my boys "helping" me make the play dough for class. It is a simple flour, salt, oil, and food coloring recipe that I added pumpkin pie spice to. It is great for sensory play. 

It will be interesting to see how my 1-2 year olds handle the play sand. Will it be met with the same excitement? I am not sure, but I cannot wait to find out. 


Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Taking Time To Rest

We have been rather ill at our house and it has been really hard to do much. It did come at a perfect time as Playaway has a week off. My youngest and I have breathing issues and both had breathing treatments. I got an inhaler and he got steroids.
This is just a reminder to take time to rest! This is the only thing that has helped us. We have done a lot of coloring, puzzles, book reading and play dough. Not to mention tons of snuggles.

We will be back next week with our fun Halloween activities. Don't forget we have a FREE open play on Friday October 28th from 930-1030.

I am also super excited that I have a lead on a music teacher. I cannot wait to bring our music class back.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cars and Trucks

This week we focused on cars and trucks. I love how the simple topics elicit the best results. I read The Wheels on the Bus by Raffi and had the moms/children sing along. I also had some simple books about cars and trucks on hand to read to the class or have the parents read to the children in the reading nook. 

We moved to the craft table and did a community project; painting with trucks. I selected several trucks with different wheel textures. I laid out a long sheet of brown paper, 3 different paints, and let the children go to town. A few children turned it into finger paint time, loving every minute of it. My own son would not leave the table as he was having too much fun rolling the truck around and seeing the results. It was another successful craft in the fact that the kids took over the craft and made it their own. I just had to give them the "permission" to put the trucks in the paint! 

Truck painting.

Trucks going down the slide.

Per our routine we had parachute time, some music time (driving in the car songs), and free play. During free play my friends started having the trucks go down the slide; causing much excitement.
It was a successful Play Friends class for sure. 

Saturday, October 8, 2011

How I came to own Playaway

I realized after I posted our classroom photos, that I should give you some background on how I became the owner of Playaway.

Playaway began in 2002, the brainchild of two moms. In 2009, another local mom took it over. I knew this mom and had visited Playaway often. I even had my son's first birthday party with Playaway. I had worked full time in the corporate world for years, and always dreamed of leaving to stay home with my two boys. That dream became a reality when I was 6 months pregnant with my youngest.

Fast forward to January of 2011. My boys were getting older and I was yearning for a way to work, but also take care of my boys. Then the email came, Playaway was for sale. After much discussion with my husband, some praying, and sleepless nights we purchased Playaway. I was excited and overwhelmed, after all it had been years since I took any education classes!

My degree is not in education, it is in marketing. I took early childhood education classes at Eastern Michigan for a few years, only to leave due to lack of money to finish. I started working and saving money to finish school. It was only after years in the corporate world, that I finished my degree. However, it ended up being in marketing, as I was working in administrative/business development for my company. It made sense at the time.

Then I had children. It all came back to me, my passion. I love creating art, playing games, and having fun with kids. My boys and I are always outside exploring, playing in cardboard boxes, digging in the dirt, playing with play dough (sometimes homemade), cooking, and having fun. If it is pouring rain out, we are quickly making a boat to sail down the street. If we are feeling crazy, we dress up in the many costumes in our house. There is always a craft or some sort of art activity going on. My oldest wakes up every morning telling me what he is going to make today. Stop by any time and you will see our yard filled with kids playing.

This is why I purchased Playaway. I can get back to my passion and bring my children to work! I don't know many other jobs that allow that. My oldest is now in Kindergarten and my youngest goes to "school" two days a week. However, my classroom is always full of my little friends! I would not have it any other way. They bring me such joy.

Watching our boat float down the road.

Painting the pumpkins from our garden.

Playing in the cardboard box that we got from our neighbor. 

Our Royal Oak Classroom

I wanted to share photos of our classroom. After many years at the Salter Center, Playaway moved to a permanent classroom at the Churchill Community Education Center. The move was really beneficial to the  teachers as it is always set up; this allows us to focus more of our energy on curriculum and our friends in class. I had several of my friends who are in education come and help me set up the classroom (since it had been years since I learned about this in college). Well, I am happy to say I did not forget what I learned! They all said I did a great job. Phew. Here are a few photos of our room. 

Our kitchen area; it gets a lot of use.
Our reading nook.

The climbing structure, which is by far the kids favorite. 

Friday, October 7, 2011

Playfriends ABC Week

This week at Playaway our theme was ABC's. I found a great book ABC KIDS by Laura Ellen Williams. It has great pictures of children up close and personal with letters that correspond to whatever action or costume they are wearing. I have found that children respond very well to this book, even the little ones.

Our craft was simple (all of our crafts are). I had the parents draw the first letter of the child's name and then the children sprinkled on colored salt (colored with chalk). Many of the kids sat at the craft table for an extended period as sensory crafts are a big hit with this class. We also had stamps and play dough to play with.

My favorite part of class was when the kids spontaneously jumped up on the play structure as if it was a stage and rocked out to Laurie Berkner's ABC Medley.