With the kids out of school and many long days to fill, I decided to start a storytime co-op with a few friends. We plan to meet once a week throughout the summer and involve our older children in some structured learning activities. Since our kiddos are only 3-years-old, I decided to not make it a drop-off co-op (where moms take turns taking ALL the kids and keeping them busy), but if you have older children then that could be an option. We also wanted to keep the group small (4 boys), so it wouldn't be too chaotic. If you are thinking of starting a co-op, I would suggest choosing friends with children roughly the same age and ability level. We had so much fun that I am thinking of doing another co-op with different friends at some point, just to keep it new and exciting.
Here's what we did this week....
Book: Eric Carle's From Head to Toe
Our boys are all very active, so they had so much fun getting up and moving with this book.
Songs & Rhymes: We sang three different songs that had to do with body parts: The Hokey Pokey; Head, Shoulders, Knees & Toes; One Finger One Thumb Keep Moving (The Wiggles).
Remember to keep the group time short and sweet (10-15 minutes) and don't have the kids sitting the whole time. They have very short attention spans at this age!
Learning Activity: Define the terms Living and Non Living. I told the boys that living items breath, have babies, poop, and eat. This is just a simplified version of how I would define living things to older children. I also excluded plants from the activity, because I didn't want to complicate the activity. Explaining that photosynthesis is a plant's way of eating is far too advance for this age!
I'm not calling this a literacy activity, because it was even more than that. Yes, the vocabulary lesson is literacy based, but it is also content vocabulary (science). And, sorting and catagorizing is a math skill.
Outside Play: Another mom lead the boys in a game of "Do What I Do." (Following directions and math/counting was the focus here.)
Pat your head 3 times.
Spin in a circle 2 times.
Pat your head and then pat your tummy.
Then the boys had to act like some of the animals in the book. (Reinforcing vocabulary: action words)
Can you stomp like an elephant?
Can you arch your back like a cat?
Craft Time: Another mom planned the craft. The boys colored the parts of a monkey (eyes, ears, mouth, nose) and then glued them to a paper plate to make a monkey's face. (Fine motor skills development and following directions was the focus here.)
We all can't wait until this week's co-op! It's going to be a camping theme. Post to come...