HappiFamli Remote Classrooms
St. George’s Episcopal School
Children learn best when they feel safe and secure. So now more than ever, it’s important to create an environment that supports them in all areas: educational, cognitive, social, emotional and physical.
HappiFamli has partnered with St. George’s Episcopal School (a sought-after, local, NAEYC accredited preschool) to bring you content for children who are from 2 months to 5 years old. This amazing group of teachers and staff is creating content for their students, and have very graciously shared it with the rest of us.
The content will be regularly updated so please check back frequently to see what has been added.
Age 3-11 Months
Hi Families! Today we are focusing our cause and effect ability, and gross motor skills.
Problem-solving is the skill that we are developing when engaging in cause and effect. We figure out how we made something happen and we see if we can make it happen again.
One way to encourage this ability is by using ball drop activities. Ball drop activities are a great tool when encouraging children to figure things out. This is a big stage that we are all in, in some cases you might have to take it up a notch, as shown in the link, this activity can be made simple with one or two paper towel rolls or you can add to it to make it a challenge.
To know if you need to make it more challenging, watch as your child manipulates the ball drop. If they complete the ball drop with little effort and walk away quickly, they are not interested and you should make the ball drop more complex. If your child completes the ball drop but stays to repeat the activity over and over again, your child’s interest is peaked and you hit the developmentally appropriate domain for your child. In class, if I see a child struggling with this activity, I would change to placing balls in and out of an empty box. This is a great start to a ball drop activity. You can even add a closed box with a secret compartment for where the ball will drop too. There are so many ways to change this simple activity and keep it engaging. It’s also a great way to reuse any empty boxes you might have laying around the house.
In this particular link, the activity is used with pom-poms, if you choose to use pom-poms use the large ones and be actively engaged as the children all still explore mostly with their mouths. In class, I opt out of pom-poms and use small plastic balls.
We have worked on this skill in the classroom but mastery of a skill is reached when you can use the same concept with different tools and in many faucets. Please feel free to send any photos of your ball drop creations for inspiring ideas among us.
Next on to our gross motor skills. As we are cooped up inside the house we will see the need to move our little bodies more and more. One way to get the wiggles out and encourage moving our bodies is to build an obstacle course in your house. A few items that can be used in this activity are pillows, couch cushions, sheets, and chairs. If you happen to have a tunnel then add that too!
This activity is open-ended, meaning that you can do whatever you want. The objective is that we encourage the kiddo’s body to move. Having cushions piled up will add a challenge to the children walking, and crawling. It will even encourage some to start pulling up without assistance. Be mindful that at the stages in developing the children are in right now they might need a model to show them how it’s done. So don’t be afraid to get down and dirty!
Have fun practicing these amazing skills!!
Hopefully, everyone is doing well. This week we were going to use finger foods to practice our pincer grasp. Eating finger foods is a very exciting way of introducing and encouraging this skill. Our kiddos are in various stages of feeding themselves so have fun with the food you place in front of them. Think of different colors, textures, and taste when creating meals for your little one. To make this particular activity focused on the pincer grasp you will need to dice the food in small pieces to encourage the index finger and thumb movement. This skill develops over time and with many opportunities to practice. I’ve included a link with some ideas for foods to offer your child as well as another link to activities that develop the pincer grasp.
Introducing transportation sounds is another objective we had this week. I have included a link to a great video with street vehicle sounds. You can play it in the background while driving toy vehicles around the house or you can even take a stroll around the neighborhood to listen to the different sounds and point/label them.
“The Pigeon Has Feelings, Too!” by Mo Willems
Age 12-16 Months
Hi Friends and Families,
Here are 3 links to a few videos with some of our favorite songs, nursery rhymes and finger plays for you to listen and sing along. I also included a new finger play.
Hello Song & Open Shut Them
This one includes our “Hello” song and the finger play “Open Shut Them.” We also start our morning snack time with our “Hello” song and “Open Shut Them” is a great finger play to do during transition times.
Five Little Monkey
One of our time favorite nursery rhymes to sing is “Five Little Monkey.” I’ve added our monkey puppet as a visual for our friends.
2 Little Blackbirds
This last video is “2 Little Blackbirds.” It’s a fun rhyme/finger play that’s perfect for spring time. I cut up an old glove to use as finger puppets. If you have any old gloves lying around, you can do the same and create your own little finger puppets for your little ones to put on as they sing and act out the finger play.
Circle Time with Ms. Angelina
Can’t go wrong with Play dough
Playing with play dough has a lot of benefits and I found a great article that explains all of those and also includes some play dough recipes, Enjoy!
Under & Over
Another great idea I saw online was putting Duct Tape on the door ways to go under and/or over. Getting their bodies moving inside the house and making it a little challenging. Definitely a great opportunity to use and practice Positional words with them.
Stacking Plastic Cups
Showing them how they can make LITTLE towers or BIG towers and then the fun part… knocking them down! Or even adding a ball is fun. This activity would be great to use those “Can you…” questions.
Circle Time with Ms. Terrie
Hey Diddle Diddle
In the first video, I chose 2 more of our favorite nursery rhymes. One is “Hey Diddle, Diddle” with the hand puppet as a visual. I also chose to do it 2 times. You may have noticed that your little one likes to hear the same song, rhyme, or story over and over. Repetition is very important for toddlers. It helps to build memory and develop new skills.
Row, Row, Row, Your Boat
The second rhyme is by far our most requested, “Row, Row, Row, Your Boat.” We like to sing with a few added verses that include different animals and silly sounds our actions. This is also a fun rhyme to do with your child seated on your legs and moving your arms together like rowing a boat.
Why Children Like Repetition, and How It Helps Them Learn
Here’s an interesting short article from Psychology Today that talks about why children like repetition.
Our activities this month were centered around different forms of transportation. One of our favorites books to read is Red Truck by Kersten Hamilton. When we read to the children we like to practice following along with our finger under the words to introduce the idea of left to right orientation for early literacy skills.
Hope you enjoy watching them with your little ones.
Here is a fun way to talk about the colors you’re making, what colors you make when mixing colors together and cause and effect when you stir or pour the water into the cups. Also excited to see how your child’s art will turn out once it dries.
Flour Sidewalk Paint Instructions:
- food coloring
- measuring cup
- paintbrush or fingers
- Get enough cups for the colors you want to make.
- Pour 1c flour into cups.
- Squeeze food coloring into cups.
- Pour 1c water into the cups. (You may need less or more water)
- Use spoon to stir the mix, watch the colors appear and until all the flour is smoother out.
- Last, BECOME AN ARTIST! Enjoy!
Cause & Effect
As you all know the ramp on top of the self in class is a big hit! I saw a great activity purple room provided where they used toilet paper rolls to create ramps. You could tape them to the wall and our friends could use cotton balls to put down the ramps or see what fits and what doesn’t, they love to get random things stuck in there and then we figure out how to take them out. Great cause and effect.
- Since we are doing transportation, making roads on the floor with tape would be fun. I even saw a picture where people made the roads on the couch and walls! Get crazy with it, I know they would also love to peel that tape off when they’re all done.
- We do a lot of painting in class and very fond to see what painting tool. I thought I’d be fun to paint with some forks! We have also been doing color mixing and talking about the outcome. Found a short article about the benefits to painting.
Age 17-23 Months
Below are some photos and ideas of easy sensory bins made from items found in your home or easily ordered from Amazon. Sensory exploration at home is a great way for children to get the wiggles out when outdoors is not an option, emotional regulation, motor skill growth, problem solving, and so much more. I can definitely say that I enjoy it in the classroom with the children and at home with my own. It can be quite the calming tool for adults.
- Here is an amazing link to bathtub fun. I love the idea of doing sensory play in the bath for so many reasons. It can turn a hands on experience into a full body one and the clean up is SO EASY!
- The children LOVE washing toy dishes in the sensory bin with sponges, soap, and water. All you need at home is a large tupperware (or bathtub). Anything with water is always a winner.
- Here is a link to another favorite, kinetic sand. It’s reasonably priced and the clean up is VERY easy. Just empty the bag into a large tupperware and then add bowls, spoons, toys, cars, trucks, and really anything to this sand and change the objective of the activity. Example- Adding spoon and bowls would encourage fine motor development and hand eye coordination.
I have so many more ideas that I will be sharing with you throughout the week!
Five Little Ducks
During “Five Little Ducks” I typically change Mommy duck from sad/angry/worried. This is a great way to talk about emotions and what Mommy duck was feeling when everyone ran away.
The Itsy Bitsy Spider
During “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” you’ll notice that I pause during certain parts of the song. This is to encourage the children to fill in those pauses and to do so encourages language and recalling.
First I wanted to start with something all the children love: BUBBLES! Don’t worry if you don’t have any bubble solution (I ran out as well.) All you need is water and dish soap! As far as wands, I happened to have 2 small ones, but I also found an old grater that ended up working great. Bubbles is a great way the children can work on tracking.
Another activity that is really enjoyed by many is simply putting pieces of masking tape on a table and the children then peel off which builds on their motor. You can also extend this to make long pieces of tape as roads for vehicles to ride along the lines.
Eye Hand Coordination
I had been saving toilet paper and paper towel tubes for an activity to make a ball drop. I decided to make one for my children and while doing so noticed that my one year-old preferred the loose parts of simply putting the cotton balls through the toilet paper tubes, and my three year-old enjoyed using tongs (you can use kitchen tongs, spoons, or even just their hands) to put cotton balls in each space of the egg carton (one-to-one correspondence) which in itself are wonderful activities. The ball drop is a fun cause and effect activity that also happens to strengthen eye-hand coordination.
A fun science experiment to do is using baking soda, vinegar, and food coloring (optional.) This is another way to learn about cause and effect and problem solving.
Dot the Fire Dog
Open Shut Them
Age 24-29 Months
Articles on how to teach proper hand washing to your toddlers.
Clifford the Firehouse Dog.
Age 2.5-3 Years
Below are links to youtube videos of songs/dances we do on a normal basis.
Shake You Sillies Out
Toes Go Up, Toes go Down
Promoting Fine Motor Strength
Activities that will promote fine motor strength. Our friends have really been getting into fine motor activities, especially using scissors, play dough, and loose parts.
This activity is simple and so fun. Wrap strips of paper around plastic animals or any other plastic toys. Give your child a pair of scissors and challenge them to free the toy from the paper!
The next activity is a class favorite. Scooping and pouring! For this activity you can really use anything. Water, Rice, Beans. Cups, bowls, spoons, etc. Give your child the challenge of keeping the objects in a box while doing so.
Another fun fine motor activity involves play dough and a plastic knife or Popsicle stick. Invite your child to cut the play dough up using the plastic knife or a Popsicle stick. Get creative and let them use a pizza cutter if you have one.
Play dough, the recipe is as follows: 1 cup flower, half cup salt, half cup water. You can add in your own food coloring and seasoning scents.
Ms. Cindy will be reading the story Little Red Riding Hood. Follow the link below and I hope you have as much fun listening to it as I did reading it!
A few questions to exercise critical listening skill and provoke some interesting conversations!
- Why was Little Red Riding Hood going to see her grandmother? What was she bringing her? What would you bring?
- Do you think Little Red Riding Hood was making safe decisions? What could she do to stay safer next time? Do you think Little Red Riding Hood learned a lesson? What would you have done?
If you have paper plates at home, you could make a mask to create the characters. Have children tear then glue paper or use crayons to color and then (with help) cut out two eyes. Put on a play and act out the story!
Hand washing is very important. Not just at this time, but all the time. It is the number one way to help prevent the spread of germs. Our friends are really good at scrubbing their hands at the sink. A song that we sing in order to make sure those little hands are being scrubbed long enough goes along to the tune of “Row Row Row Your Boat.” it goes as follows:
“Wash, Wash, Wash your hands, wash those germs away, scrub, rub, scrub, rub, germs go down the drain.”
You can show your child the diagram here on how to wash hands.
Today I am sending out a video of me reading a story about the Corona Virus to friends and then performing a science experiment for friends to learn how soap works.
Age 3 Years
Below is a link to an article from PBS news that I think you will find helpful during this time.
Now to the fun stuff! Here is a link to many fun planting activities that you can do with items you most likely have at home!
I want to try growing celery from the stalk I have in my fridge as suggested in the article! Many of you may have stocked up on dry beans. Try the bean planting idea. You don’t necessarily have to use the type of bean suggested (lima beans work well) but experiment with what you have. You also don’t need a jar. A wet paper towel in a Ziploc bag taped to the window will work. If you have any grass seed on hand use that in the eggshell activity or plant some in a small container of dirt.
When you are outdoors, let your child gather items in a container to create a nature collage (just glue the items on paper). They love doing this! Try finding a spider web or other critter habitats to go back and observe daily. How have they changed? What do you think will happen next?
Kids love watching things grow! Take advantage of the spring growth right now and when you are in your yard or neighborhood: Pick a few plants or trees to observe each day. Take pictures of the changes you see each time. Some children may want to draw pictures of the changes they see. Any of these pictures can be compiled into a simple book much like our “Family Books”. Let your child know Ms. Melissa and Ms. Gail will be looking forward to seeing the books of all the fun things they’ve been doing once we are together again!
Book aloud with puppet: “The Princess and the Pea”
Questions after the story
- Name the characters in the Fairy Tale?
- Is there magic in the Fairy Tale?
- Where is the story set, what kind of dwelling?
Come and read this book “Sick Simon” with me and explore ways to keep ourselves healthy.
Try an easy hand washing activity you guys can do at home.
Imagine that many of you have had to resort to increased screen time, and that’s ok during these stressful days. However, if you have maxed out on “Frozen” videos, I’d like to suggest a streaming service that you might not be aware of. Kanopy is a free service you can access through most library memberships or college and university memberships. Do check it out. Go to your library’s website and search their digital services. It has many high-quality children’s videos and Independent movies etc. for parents.
With that in mind, here are some ways to extend the video watching experience. Help your child create a ‘theater’ for movie watching. A few chairs or simply a blanket on the floor will suffice. Encourage making tickets to buy and sell to family members and stuffed animals. Let them so some simple counting with the “money”. Don’t forget the snacks! These can be prepared and sold as well!
Along those lines get your child involved in simple food preparation. They can “write” invitations to family or stuffed animals to a tea party or luncheon. Let them count how many invitations or snacks they will need. Be creative and make it special. Don’t forget to take pictures!
With all that snacking, here are the links to two of our favorite motion songs, “Bop till You Drop” and “Animal Action” both by Greg and Steve.
Link to a sweet video on how to stay safe I think all of you will enjoy! Do check it out.
Ziplock Bag and Pencil Experiment
With the help of my nephew Isaac!
Here’s an easy experiment using water, a ziplock bag and pencils. We started by filling a seal-able plastic bag with water. Then we added some food coloring to the water to make it more colorful and sealed the bag. Then I asked the Isaac to push the pencils through the bag. Surprisingly, as he pushed the pencils through the bag no water leaked out. This is because the bag is made of a polymer. Polymers are made of long chains of flexible molecules. When the pencil is poked through the bag, the flexible molecules move to allow the pencil to pass through and form a seal around the pencil. So cool! Finally, Isaac loved pulling the pencils out and watching the water shoot out of the bag.
Science Activities for your home
Here is a collection of science activities that are easy to do with materials found around the house. Children are natural little scientists, so it’s important to provide opportunities to explore, experiment, take risks, make mistakes and try again. A number of these links are focused on making and following mazes which practice spatial and navigational skills. Some others are just great activities to keep kiddos engaged at home! Enjoy!
*Note: Some links mention a purchase. ALL of these activities were chosen specifically to use materials already in households and no purchase is necessary. If it does mention a purchase- simply look at the picture and description and you’ll see you can recreate it with your own supplies.
https://www.raisingdragons.com/ping-pong-playdough-straw-maze/ Children build a maze design by rolling playdough, and then use a straw to blow something light (pom pom, ping pong ball, feather) through the design.
https://www.raisingdragons.com/paper-towel-roll-pom-pom-challenge/ Cut and label cardboard tubes with numbers or letters for children to use bilateral movements to direct a ball through either following a number or letter sequence.
https://pin.it/vqf1i7w Combine an art and science activity by having your child color popsicle sticks, and then glue them on a surface to make a maze. Children then move a paperclip through the maze using a magnet below the surface.
https://www.fantasticfunandlearning.com/diy-muffin-tin-maze-game-stem-challenge-for-kids.html?utm_source=ActiveCampaign&utm_medium=email&utm_content=Muffin+Tin+Maze+Game+Challenge+for+Indoor+Play&utm_campaign=Muffin+Tin+Maze+Game+Challenge+for+Indoor+Play Muffin tin Maze game STEAM activity
https://pin.it/5QzTzgk If you have magnatiles at home, you can arrange them with a ball in many different ways to get the ball from the start to the finish.
https://pin.it/1o8vwCh Chain reactions with cups or dominos- challenged your kiddo to find other things to balance near each other that can topple in a chain reaction!
https://pin.it/2jzSBC3 Another art/ science activity. Children cut and glue paper in different ways to make a maze/ ‘playground’.
https://pin.it/24qL6QP Make tin foil boats and add pennies to see how many the boat can handle before sinking. This is a great one to encourage trial and error.
https://www.sciencekiddo.com/surface-tension-coin/ Penny surface tension experiment- math and science
https://www.coffeecupsandcrayons.com/tornado-in-a-jar-science-experiment/ Kids love swirling the jar/ bottle to make a tornado!
https://thechirpingmoms.com/sink-or-float-free-printable/ Classic sink or float activity and free printable (or you can make your own with pen and paper)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lCYBkNht_j8 In-home obstacle course!
*No link: But find in pictures a roly poly maze! Build Legos in a maze and turn over rocks outside to find Roly poly’s to travel through the maze!
Here’s one exception to the purchases: Another great activity this time of year is observing caterpillars and their transformation process becoming butterflies. I’m not including a link; but if you Google ‘Butterfly Kits’ you can look at your options if interested. This is a great daily activity as children draw their observations daily and see how much they change.
Articles on how to teach proper hand washing to your toddlers.
Circle Time Video
Link to the song at the end of the video just in case you want to have another dance party!
Something to know before watching:
You will need these materials to make the story prop:
-2 pieces of white paper (or one long one), a yellow and black marker or crayon, scissors and tape
There are prompts to pause to allow your child time to complete the steps. This is also true after the story when I do a short activity similar to Ms. Mari’s name scavenger hunt from yesterday’s video. (Our activity is to find an object of each color of the rainbow. We would love you to send or post pictures of the end result with your kiddo included!) You may need to sit alongside your child to help pause the video for each prompt.
-Here are a couple rainbow songs as mentioned at the end!
CLICK HERE FOR THE VIDEO: (Needs to be edited. Shout outs of Children names) https://youtu.be/F0P3wLaX0Qc
Here is a video of me reading a silly book called Sick Simon. I also included a video of a fun experiment to try at home and a quick video about hand washing.
COVID-19 Germs Experiment for Kids!: https://youtu.be/_KirHm_sYfI
Germs! – Sid the Science Kid – The Jim Henson Company: https://youtu.be/ghLkwSlWSXw
Ms. Mari’s story read: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=odw4KAwH2T4&