As part of February’s Food and Fitness theme, Mother Goose Time wisely included a day of activities centered on cleaning and safety in the kitchen.
First on our agenda was ‘Bacteria Spray Away.’ Adorable “germ letters” were included in the children’s supplies and gave us a quick opportunity to review both capitol and lowercase J, L, and G. We headed outside to wash away the germs. The kids adore their squirt bottles and were excited to use them on the paper letters. We reviewed what germs are and why washing them is important. After the paper was thoroughly soaked, the kids had fun drawing germs in chalk. My son’s eagerness to draw the germs delighted me. Typically he doesn’t want to attempt something unless he knows he can do it well but he giggled endlessly when one of his germs looked suspiciously like a squid!
It was still a bit cold, so we moved back inside for the rest of our lessons.
Next we tackled a covert hand washing lesson. The goal was to teach the importance and technique of hand washing. Yet, it was accomplished in an appealing manner–with paint! The lesson included a thick, cardboard door hanger, paper soap, and circle stickers for “soap bubbles.” We painted the palms of their hand and placed a hand print on the hanger. Of course, they were not satisfied to stop at that and enjoyed painting several sheets of paper, their hands, and a paper plate. Then we transitioned to clean up. I gave them soap and they had to really scrub to get their hands clean. I explained how the germs are just like the paint covering their hands, even though we can’t see them. The only way to get them off is with soap and actually rubbing their hands until all surfaces have been cleaned. As suggested in the teacher guide, we sang “This is the way we wash our hands, wash our hands, etc” to the tune of “Mulberry Bush.”
When the hand print dried, we completed the hanger by gluing the bar of soap and adding the stickers. Imaginations were sparked by the stickers and they pretended the blue circles were buttons that did different things. Both hangers were proudly placed in different bathrooms to remind us to wash our hands.
Mother Goose Time is meant to be a comprehensive preschool program and offers lessons target to the child 4-5 years of age. Nevertheless, there are always suggestions to simplify or challenge the activity to suit the students. I find that I rarely need to alter the lessons and often use the suggestions to extend the experience. Today was the first time my children just completely missed the over arching lesson behind an activity. It was entitled ‘Oven Mitt Marathon’ but my kids nicknamed is vegetable soup. They were given an oven mitt, a pot, and the vegetable counters. Five bowls were placed around the table and the children were supposed to pretend the pot was hot while they served matching vegetables into each bowl. The mitt was huge and the pot was heavy, so they resorted to using their hands, despite my reminders it was ‘hot.’ They had a hard time using the spoon to scoop the counters out of the bowl and often just used their hands.
Ultimately, we switch the goal of the lesson to serving food. Conveniently, it led into our next lesson seamlessly…knife skills.
For Christmas, they received two child safe knives. They look a bit like meat cleavers but they are actually very dull. We still review safe handling of knives. They understand these are the only knives they are allowed to have and only when Mommy is present. I gave them bananas and apples to prepare for a fruit salad. They felt the salad wasn’t complete with just two types of fruit, so they used their new found math skills to measure a serving of raisins and a cup of blueberries.
Again, it was so hard for those little hands to stay out of the food!
Finally, they were able to practice their serving skills by serving their fruit salad for dinner. I choked back laughter as my daughter scooped up several pieces of fallen fruit and quickly put them back in the serving bowl. I gently reminded her that we didn’t want to serve food from the floor!
Even when the lessons don’t go as planned, Mother Goose Time still acts a launching pad for endless learning opportunities! We had so much fun in the kitchen with Mother Goose Time!