Friday, May 24, 2019

Summer Celebrations: Learning Through The Summer

A scene similar to this will be happening in my backyard in two weeks!

I am a firm believer in learning through play. Not only is this researched backed, but I've seen the benefits with my own eyes over the last 8+ years. Less screen time and more play time is the key for all age groups. Even older children need space to be creative and play (in our house this typically involves extravagant Lego models). 

One summer, when my oldest and a couple of other daycare kids were home after their first school year, I bought workbooks and printed worksheets for them to do. Each day consisted of 30 minutes of "school time." That was the only summer I did that. While it's great to keep kid's brains sharp, it's also imperative that they have various learning opportunities. Things they may not learn in school. It didn't take me long to shape how I wanted summer's to look at daycare.

Each summer I try to provide fun activities for a wide age range of children that involve some sort of learning. While they play, of course. Last summer we learned 50 States in 50 Days. The kids still talk about it and can spout off random facts about certain states (depending on how much they were paying attention that day!). At the end of last summer, it was requested that we learn about celebrations around the world.

Easily done, I thought! What a great way to teach them about other cultures and such. But I also want it to be fun. So, I used my trusty tool Google to find celebrations around the world. I had many, many to choose from. I found a fun list that listed the best festivals and celebrations around the world.Here are the 10 we'll be learning about this summer through play:

Rio Carnival, Brazil
    The kids will be dressing in costumes and dancing the samba (or more than   likely watching videos and copying those dances because let's be real, I           myself am not learning to samba in the next week).

Holi, India
    It's the festival of love or festival of colours that starts with a bonfire (I am not doing this because I'm not stupid enough to do this at a daycare) and end with people chasing each other with dry colored powder and colored water. If this doesn't scream memorable summer activity, I don't know what does.

Running of the Bulls, Spain
    I'm adamant that we're not using actual bulls for this activity, despite the request from the kids. Instead, we'll split the day's daycare group in half. One half with be "bulls" and the other half will be runners. Think of it as a large game of chase or tag. How will the runner know they've been stampeded by a bull? Easy. The "bulls" will be holding paint brushes with red paint on them. If you have a red mark on you, then you've been hit. I can't wait to hear how the kids translate this activity to their parents!

Yi Pen Lantern Festival, Thailand
    I found these biodegradable Chinese lanterns the kids will let go. Also, fireworks and sparklers. This one will be simple, but hopefully memorable.

Chinese New Year, China
     Chinese food for lunch, a dragon, and fireworks for a day. Whenever there's fireworks involved in the middle of the afternoon, you know things have got to be good.

Halloween, USA
     This and St. Patrick's Day made a top ten list of best festivals around the world. I told the kids to pick between the two and they chose Halloween. So, it looks like my Halloween decorations will make an early appearance, costumes will be busted out of their storage bins, and candy will be handed out. Side note: if you visit my house after we do this day, don't be surprised if the decorations are still up. I'm just really getting into the spirit of Halloween and not being lazy, mmmkay?

Oktoberfest, Germany
     No, I don't plan on giving the children beer. That will wait for me until after closing time. Instead, I found a super easy recipe for butter beer that the big kids can make on their own for everyone. I nabbed these costumes for the kids to wear for pictures and it's a safe bet lunch will consist of bratwursts. 

La Tomatina, Spain
     I doubt we ever make it to the world's largest food fight, so we're bringing the food fight to us. The kids literally get to throw tomatoes at each other in a water balloon style fight (and wash off in the sprinklers after). Maybe tomatoes will actually grow in our yard??

Carnival of Venice, Italy
     The kids get to juggle, wear masks, and dance to music. Soooo, typical Tuesday over here.

Songkran Water Festival, Thailand
     A festival where people literally chase each other with buckets of water and have water fights. Since we do this regularly during the summer anyways, this was a given and replaced the St. Patrick's Day celebration on the list. 

I'm not sure who is more excited for these shenanigans: the kids or me!