Rascal Camp: Kindness

Rascal Camp kicked off today with a focus on being kind- establishing an expectation for behavior for the week and how to be a good human in general. Our sub-theme today was Water Play.

I followed the lesson plan layout I usually use for Pre-K days: Song, rules, story, activities, snack, play, activities. I find this routine works well and can be really flexible if I need it to be.

We tried a new song this week: Hello by Ella Jenkins. I really like this easygoing melody! The kids picked it up quickly and we beat the rhythm on the table as we sang. We reviewed the rules of kindness: hands to ourselves, listening ears, etc. and added a rule about staying inside the gate.

Our book today was Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller. I loved this story because it outlines what kindness can mean and various ways one can be kind to others. We discussed as we read the ways we have been kind to others today and how sometimes we didn’t even know we were being kind- they were surprised to find out that clearing the dishes to the sink is an easy way to show kindness.

If you’re looking to review the concepts we read about today, I adore this YouTube read-aloud version- read by a kid!

After we finished our story, we spread out the yoga blanket and practiced some poses, focusing our thoughts on today’s theme.  We started in Lotus pose and learned how to take balloon breaths: deeply inhaling to expand our balloons and slowly blowing out our breaths to deflate. We moved into Mountain Pose and thought about how we can be mountains of kindness for others- what small actions we can take to be nice to others. Some examples the kids came up with included using people’s names when speaking to them (an example given in our story today!) and using manners. We then stood and moved into Warrior II pose, thinking about how we can be Warriors of kindness for ourselves- how can we be kind to ourselves? Taking a bath and eating healthy choices were the Rascals’ suggestions! So smart, those Rascals. Finally, we practiced balancing in Tree Pose and focused our thoughts on how to be kind to nature. One of my Rascals said we shouldn’t pee on the grass. And with that, we finished in Lotus and took some more balloon breaths to finish our morning practice.

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Pose Cards from ThinkFun Yoga Cards

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While I prepped the Movement Math activity for today,  the kids sifted through a huge tub of water beads to find letter tiles (I love Bananagram Jr!) and say their sounds. Water beads were a popular item today and I’m pretty sure my driveway is now paved with them.

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Next, we completed a sidewalk chalk obstacle course, counting jumps and steps and spins as we went. This was an easy way to get up and move around but also work on motor control and life skills like talking and walking at the same time. They completed the course continuously throughout the morning as they felt the urge.

To continue movement & learning, I wrote the alphabet scattered across the driveway in three different colors of chalk- each coordinating with the child’s chair color. They wore a matching apron to remind them what color was theirs, and were given a cup of water and a paintbrush. They were only allowed to paint their own color and instructed to holler out the letter as loud as they could each time they painted one. This ended up being pretty hilarious as screams of “F!” and “X!” echoed down the street.

We took a break for apples, yogurt dip, Goldfish and cheese sticks before moving on to art exploration. I’ve always wanted to work with liquid watercolors in my homeschool, so I was anxious to try out our fun water play art! I added an ounce of Colorations liquid watercolor** to a 3/4 full water spray bottle for super-saturated color and adjusted the nozzle to streaming instead of spray/mist. I clothes-pinned color diffusing paper to our fence and instructed to only spray on paper, not people, and off they went! In hindsight, I should’ve pre-hung MUCH MORE paper, as they loved this activity and I wasted a lot of creative time hanging more sheets. Alas, the Rascals showed my kindness by being patient and using manners and we all really enjoyed this creative outlet. The original plan was to let these dry while we ran through the sprinkler and then fold them accordian-style with a pipe cleaner to make flowers to give to people who may need a little sunshine in their day (showing them kindness) but our next activity was such a hit I skipped the flowers and let them play.

After a break for changing into swimsuits and applying sunscreen, the kids had some free play and ran through the sprinkler a bit while Hooligan Papa and I set up our STEM activity.  Going along with our water play sub-theme, we unrolled a long length of aluminum foil down the incline of our driveway and folded up the sides to create a river. we set the hose at the top, flowing at a slow/gentle rate, then provided the kids with Solo cups, craft sticks and small animals to create bridges and dams for the animals to use to get across safely. The kids made quick work of this and rapidly moved on to the next experiment: ice boats. I set out cups full of ice cubes, which they floated down the river, noticing that the craft sticks in the river changed the flow of the water (and thus, the ice boat) and the speed of flow. They experimented with this simple set up for over 45 minutes, adding water beads to the mix too. Then they brought out the watercolor bottles and watched the color make its way down the river, diffusing as it went. They would’ve gladly played with this the entire morning. The adults had just as much fun as the kids!

Objectives and Covered Concepts:

  • Kindness: what it means and how to be kind
  • Motor skills: motor control and planning, balance, proprioception, bilateral coordination, body awareness, fine motor skill practice, hand strengthening (for grip strength)
  • Math: numeral recognition, one-to-one correspondence, counting in order, ordinal numbers, sorting by color
  • Language: basic phonics (individual letter sounds as well as ch, sh, th, ee, and oo), capital letter recognition
  • Science/STEM: bridge building, dam building, water force and power, sink vs. float, osmosis
  • Art: primary and secondary color review, color mixing, watercolors
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