Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Water Play

Today is going to be 85°F, so it's only appropriate to discuss some water play activities that we love most here at Jellybean. When it's too hot for popsicles to cool off the kids by themselves, we love to break out the water in any way possible. Once the kids are in their bathing suits and covered with sunscreen, they can go crazy and have fun in the water while cooling off at the same time. Here are some different ways we bring out the water:

• Car/Bike Wash: Taking out all the bikes, cars, and wagons for a real car wash is exciting and different. We bring out a few buckets of soapy water, some rags, and the hose to allow the children to make our toys nice and clean. While they're at it, most start washing other things like the sheds or fence. This allows them to play in the cool water while helping out the school and teachers keep our class clean. We have many great helpers that are always willing to participate.

• Water Table: Filling up one of our sensory bins with water allows the children to integrate their normal play with water. Some kids put toys in the water, some like to step in the bucket, and some like to pretend they're giving their toys a bath. They're cooling down whichever way they use it.

• Sprinkler: A classic choice, the sprinkler is always a hit. We have one that looks like a caterpillar that moves its legs all different ways as the water runs through. We bring out buckets as well so the children can fill them up with the water from the sprinkler and pour it on themselves or a friend who agrees to be poured on. This is by far the most wet the children get out of all these activities.

• Water Wall: We have a water wall that Juju's husband, Jamie, made for one of our past walk-a-thons. It is made up of a bunch of different containers and pipes that move the water throughout the wall after the kids pour it down from the top. This is a really good way to explore water in a scientific way: watching it move through each container, discovering which route moves the water most and least, how gravity works, etc. The water wall is a great example of play-based learning.

• Spray Bottles: We sometimes bring out a few spray bottles filled with cold water and allow the children to spray themselves or spray their friends who want to be sprayed. This gives the kids a chance to cool off while playing normally.

• Watering Plants: As you may know, we have planted new flowers in the ground and in different pots all around the playground. We have our garden filled with plants as well. We also have trees that were planted last year and new ivy plants that Jonny Jon and Bubby planted to grow around our walk-through tunnel. We give the kids a chance to take part in this growth process so we fill up a big bucket of water and give the children small cups to go fill with water and walk over to a plant to fill it up. This is mainly for days when water play isn't an absolute must but it's still warm out enough for the kids to want to dip their hands in some cold water. The teachers are always close by to be sure the plants don't get flooded with water.

These are just a few different things we like to do when it gets too hot. Do you have a great water activity you'd like to share? Let us know. We love to try new things.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Why Do We Wear Sunscreen?

I think Michigan has finally made up its mind: it's summer! With summer comes sun, and with sun comes sunburns. How do we keep sunburns from happening? Sunscreen! Now that we're using sunscreen on the children pretty much every day, there's a need to send out something about why exactly we take the time every morning and afternoon to put sunscreen on all the children.

Sun is great for children! It's a great source of Vitamin D and the children learn so well outdoors. But without the proper protection, the children can obtain sunburns that will greatly increase their chances of getting melanoma later in life. According to this academic journal article by Medical professionals (http://bit.ly/1HsodXD), a bad sunburn at a young age doubles the chance of getting melanoma. Feel free to click the link to hear more of what they have to say.

We do all we can here to protect our children from anything harmful. Using sunscreen, we're taking one more precaution against the children possibly getting hurt. At Jellybean, we use Meijer Baby Sunscreen. If you would like to bring your own sunscreen for your own child, feel free. Until then, we'll be using the Meijer sunscreen.

Are you having trouble with your child allowing you to put sunscreen on them? Use this experiment as a fun way to get your kid to think about how sunscreen really protects their skin. http://bit.ly/1pfdHaB


Monday, May 18, 2015

Preschool Graduation

Preschool Graduation is coming up yet again. This year we have 23 children graduating. 23! Just about half of our classroom will be gone come fall. This brings a wave of emotions. From happy to sad, and excited to bittersweet, we are all very proud of each and every one of our graduates. We have seen many of these children grow up from infants and we couldn't be more proud. For the others that have only been with us for a short amount of time, we have the same amount of pride. All of the children have grown up so much and have taken great strides in their education. As a preschool, we are so proud to call these children Jellybeans. Being a Jellybean not only means being with friends, learning through play, and leaving with all the tools needed for Kindergarten, it also means being around people who genuinely care and love for your child. We have seen each of your children grow into their own individuality as they discover what they like and who they are. That's what makes them a Jellybean. And from diapers to graduation caps, they will always be a part of our Jellybean family.

For those families who have graduates graduating this year, it is on June 4th at 6pm. There is a sign-up sheet on Juju's desk. Please sign yourselves up so we know how much food we need to have. We can't wait to spend some time with you all as we celebrate the great accomplishment your child has made. Bring your smiles and some tissues. It'll be a fun and wonderfully proud day. Thank you! We'll see you there.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Exciting Outside Updates

We've been super busy over here at Jellybean updating our outside playground for the spring. Jonny Jon (Ms. Jenn's husband) and Bubby (Ms. Jenn's son) have been hard at work timing everything perfectly to grow its best. Jonny Jon and Bubby came over today to plant our new Boston ivy plants to grow around our walk-around tunnel. Hopefully it will end up creating an ivy walkway over the next few years. Some other things that will be added in the next upcoming weeks are natural balance beams and wood chips. A few trees at Ms. Jenn's house have been taken down so we will be using those wood chips to fill around our swings, our trees we planted, and our dig areas. Some straight and long pieces from the trees will be brought as well to create a natural balance beam for the preschoolers to test out their balance.

Apart from Jonny Jon and Bubby doing all the work, some children and teachers have already begun making our playground beautiful! Many flowers have been planted in separate planters and in the ground to make our outside playscape colorful and wonderfully smelly. We are also excited to see how our garden gets going this year. Ms. Melissa and Ms. Alexis are the two teachers that will be taking care of the garden and planting the seeds in the next upcoming weeks. The kids chose the plants this year and this is what's on the docket: brussel sprouts, cucumbers, cabbage, and peppers. This will be a very colorful garden this year!

For those of you who don't know, our goal is to have a very natural playscape for the children to challenge themselves without needing equipment made of metal or plastic. This is an extension of our play based learning that allows our children to have their own experiences and to learn by doing. We want to give our children the best options when it comes to learning and we know we can do that with our natural playscape. We can't wait to share pictures of our updated playground once everything is finished!