Our Pound Puppies toddler group has started a new series- things that grow. I feel like this is one of those sessions where I am learning as much as the kids.
Last week, one of the other mothers, Dale, led the group. There were a couple of reasons for this change. First, Dale is an avid gardener. She had ideas about gardening for kids I would have never thought of- such as growing in clear containers so the kids could see the roots (brilliant!). Second, Kellen has been showing a bit of jealousy when I teach the group. He sometimes gets upset, or leaves the room.
After having two other moms lead the group for the past two weeks, I learned this is a common reaction. Seemed that the child of the mother leading always acted out. Kellen, however, was extremely engaged when I was not leading- a model student. Perhaps he just needed to see other moms teaching. Today, when I returned to leading, he was very attentive and happy.
At Dale’s session, we planted seeds and baby plants. I wanted to be able to show the kids how the plants are progressing each week, so I’ve been trying extra hard to take care of them. When my plants sprung up in less than a week, I beamed with pride. Joke’s on me- when Dale saw my sprouts today she advised that they needed more light, and I might need to start from scratch. Too long and thin. I just assumed if they were growing, that meant they were good! Moved them outside. Hoping to baby them through. The kids were very interested in their progress though.
We moved on to talking about life cycles- the heart of the lesson. I showed diagrams of life cycles for plants, frogs, and humans. Our class has a new pet- Togie the tadpole. We started watching Togie a couple of weeks ago. At that time he was a pretty standard tadpole. Since then, he has sprouted two legs. The kids LOVE watching him grow. Togie arrived on my doorstep from growafrog.com . My husband makes fun of how much time I spend watching and photographing Togie- he’s my third child.
The kids then worked with their moms to create their own lifecycles from photographs. Starting from ultrasound or pregnancy pics, then newborn, moving to crawling, walking, and then a present day photograph. I can’t speak for anyone else, but my son Kellen loves looking at his baby photos and talking about when he was born.
We did our usual songs and book, but with a “growing” theme. “Row Your Boat” became “Dig the Dirt.”
We completed a simple paint craft. I cut and folded the ends of toilet paper tubes to create stamps that looked like flowers. The kids dipped them in paint and stamped on construction paper. Most couldn’t resist the lure of color and ended up finger painting instead.
The session ended with a frog pond small world play. I used blue pillowcases to create a pond. The kids added toy frogs, fish, bugs, trees, logs, etc to create the pond. I love these types of plays but they are easier to manage with smaller groups. Interesting to see how some of the kids really loved it and others lost interest quickly.
Next week, we are taking a field trip to a community garden and then taking our growing theme in the direction of healthy eating.