Originally I planned to write a post about the range of learning and activities we’d been engaged in this month. Our kindy program is running under a “body” theme. I know lots of people don’t like running their rooms under a theme, but I find it helps me to create a frame for our room that gets the most successful learning. I can incorporate the theme into all areas of play, whilst still plan around children’s observations and extend on their skills. However, the further we’ve carried the theme, the more excited learning I’m seeing happen, the more activities, discussions and the more photos I’ve taken. So, it’ll have to be split into 2 or 3 posts (at least!)
We started with the basics, could the children name their body parts? Could they create facial features on a template? Could they use their body to mimic movements? Could they identify what different parts of their body could do? Turns out they could! This meant it was time to up the ante….two of our puzzles shows you the layers of the body, one a girl and one a boy; the skeleton, the internal organs, the musculature, the bare skin and finally, dressed. Taking our inspiration from this and from our body paint activity, we’ve begun delving below the skin.
I thought we’d start easy, with something tangible, something we could see and understand. Our lungs. They breathe, they help us yell, they cough, they help make funny noises and they make our chests move. I’d already drawn up a near-life-sized picture of a child and we used this to identify where our lungs were hiding. We tested out how we could make big breaths and little breaths then discussed how the shallow breaths felt. This lead on to a discussion about exercise, getting sick, asthma and smoking. The kids really seemed to know what they were talking about! Now for the fun stuff! using a large sheet, we created ‘breaths’ by pumping it up and down like lungs.
Then to show how much harder our lungs had to work when they were put under stress, I added a lightweight carpet mat on top of the sheet 🙂 Oh boy, we had so much trouble creating that breeze and all of us had to work our muscles to move it! It really showed the ‘working harder’ concept better than I thought it would!
It did however the lead to one of our favourite songs “My Lovely Lycra”, which was lovely for me, as I hadn’t sung this in ages and for them to remind me of the song was flattering.
During the day, after each ‘body part’ discussion, we’d lay out a particular art activity to extend our learning. Of course, with lungs on the ‘menu’ we did blow painting 🙂
Seeing as I don’t think you’re bored yet, I’ll go on to another body part we looked at. The Heart. We talked about the difference in shape between a ‘Love Heart’ and our own ‘hearts’. We talked about how the heart cleans our blood and pumps it through our bodies. The kids all knew that our blood was red (which was a nice sideline to discuss how even though we were a great range of skin colours, we all bled red…..oh and that the darker your skin tone, the less you can see the veins in your wrists!) and that when you cut yourself, you bleed. But how did the heart move all that blood around? Well, like this 🙂
and this (Balloons are awesome hey?!) By pumping the air from one end of the balloon to another, we were able to see how our heart pushes blood and why it comes in spurts ba boom ba boom.
The follow-up art activity for this was to create people from cardboard shapes and split pins, add a heart and a brain (just so they could have an idea of another organ to go to) then take them over to the tables for painting in veins with red paint and ice block sticks. The lines were fine and encouraged the children to focus on direction and not just smear the bodies, like a range of actors form a B grade Zombie flick!
I apologise, but I have no pictures of the art work, the process or the steps. It was a fully involved, multi step process that had all the kids clamouring for a go! No hands free, means no photos for you but a great time for us! I might take one of where they are displayed in the room and add it as an edit! Sorry about that, but you can’t blame me for forgetting you all when I’m so immersed and engaged with the kids 😛
Words to “My Lovely Lycra” (note that I couldn’t afford a large piece of lycra, so I’ve used a large piece of stretch knit cotton)
*everyone sits in a circle, with their legs outstretched under the ‘Lycra’, holding the edge with both hands. I usually start with a round of the chorus, sort of as a warm up 🙂
My lovely Lycra can stretch (*everyone leans back, pulling the lycra taut) and relax (*everyone sits up, lettign the lycra go slack, still holding on)
Stretch and relax, stretch adn relax *add movements
My lovely Lycra can stretch and relax, str-eee-tch and re-la-a-a-ax (stretch these movements out longer to match the longer sound)
*shaking the Lycra quickly from side to side
Ching Chinga ching, ching chinga ching, ching ching ching ching
My lovely Lycra can make lots of waves (small short bursts of an up and down movement – no higher than the kids shoulders)
Make lots of waves, make lots of waves, make lots of waves
My lovely Lycra can make lots of waves, make lots of wa-aa-aa-aves
My lovely Lycra can show all the toes (lift above your head and look at everyone, then snap it back down all in the space of “show all the toes”)
Show all the toes, show all the toes, show all the toes
My lovely Lycra can show all the toes, show… all… the… to-o-o-oes
(for an older group, pop a large soft toy on to the Lycra and bounce it up and down with large ‘up and down’ motions, for a younger group, I’ve sewn large buttons on in three places and tied elastic around the body of three ‘beanie’ toys with a loop at the other end to fit around the button – this stops them flying off the mat and keeps this ‘wild’ part of the game fun! 3 buttons for 3 toys to extend the fun!)
My lovely Lion/pets/animal name can play trampoline,
Play trampoline, play trampoline, play trampoline
My lovely Lion/pets/animal name can play trampoline, play tra-mpo-li-i-i-ine