Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Halloween Activities We Did This Week

This school year, daycare is a tad different. I have more part time kids than full time kids, which means that I don't have just one day where I have all of the daycare kiddos. They're all here on different days, which can make planning easy and difficult at the same time. At the beginning of October I stuck with one big activity all week, with only daily art and book changes (for the few kids who are here every day). This worked out great and was waayyyy less stressful for me. Of course, after three weeks of noodle play, flour "sand" play, and baking soda "snow" play (all Halloween colors of course), our play kitchen and play food needed a good cleaning. For the last week and three days, we've had different activities and games to celebrate Halloween. We've done a lot! My throat hurts from reading soooo many books and my face hurts from soooo many laughs provided by the dress up clothes/costumes. 

Here's a look at daycare life the past eight days:

All play food was scrubbed and put in the dishwasher. Germs be gone! The kids were slightly worried about all of the play food piled in the sink though!

The figurines made an appearance for the first time since summer! The kids were so engrossed in playing with them that they couldn't be talked into pumpkin goop slime or coloring (or books. I also had to talk them into snacks). Later in the day I did get them to play with the pumpkin goop slime. They were worried about the seeds caught in it.

The black bean sensory bins are a hit! We have one Halloween village in a shallow bin and one digging bin. 

The kids can use the skeleton hands or the spoons to dig up the skulls and then bury them again. This has been a favorite, but the kids constantly ask to get in the beans. The answer is "no" because they'd probably break the bin, but one little one got his wish one afternoon when no one else was around to witness me folding!

We now have a basket full of blankets in the living room. All of the bigs asked for blankets all summer long, so I have a collection of blankets that the littles now like to cuddle with during rest time. The cat also approves (especially when the basket is nearly empty so she can be comfy and hide in there).

One day the trees were completely green. The next day, as we played in the backyard, I looked up and realized the trees were now yellow and red! The kids did not seem as enthusiastic about the trees changing as I was.

Ghost foot prints for parent art. Surprisingly, for the first time, no one cried or had a meltdown about having paint on their foot!

Why yes, we did play a kids version of beer pong. Everyone loved it. We also played simple games of trying to get the ping pong eye ball into the ghost cups. Life skills they're learning at daycare.

Painted pumpkin cut outs. 

Everyone has had nasty colds, which means I've been running around with bleach cleaner for the toys. My clothes are bleach stained now....but those toys are germ free!

More pained pumpkin cut outs (this time we used a different method than the one above). In truth, I found a massive pack of pumpkin shapes and decided to use them up. Hence the amount of pumpkin shapes painting and coloring.

They made their black cats into very colorful Halloween cats!

Obviously the biggest hit from the last eight days have been the costumes! I brought them up for the week and the kids have worn them all day long! Sure I've had to help them change in and out of costumes day in and day out, but looking at the room of kids dressed as their favorite characters (or at a Wonder Women head on the littlest body running through the room) never ceases to make me smile!

For the third time this month I took the kid's shirts off so they could paint (the paint isn't exactly washable, hence going shirtless). All of the kids keep talking about how they love "painting naked at your house." I had to explain this to parents a few times!

I really wanted to make caramel apples with the kids, but I also don't trust them around melted (hot) caramel. Instead, we made caramel apple slices. The kids got to put the caramel on their apples with a spoon and "decorate the apples" with Unicorn chips, sprinkles, and chocolate sauce. Everyone really liked this special snack!

We've also had special lunches this week. One day we had witches hair, fingers, and eyeballs (spaghetti, carrots, and grapes). On Tuesday we had pumpkin shaped sandwiches. Beggar's Night (a thing here in Iowa) called for an all orange lunch of vegan mac and cheese, carrots, and mandarin oranges.

Our last Halloween art project. We took plastic skeletons and painted with them (and we used up the last of the Halloween stickers). A cat may have stepped in the paint--judging by all of white cat prints on my table and hardwood floors, it's a sure bet one of them did.

Yes, Halloween season is a blast! However, I'm excited for the month of November, when we talk about the things the kids are thankful for (or love, as they put it), make our annual thankful lists, and do our beloved Charlie Brown Thanksgiving!

Monday, October 28, 2019

Weekend Before Halloween

Hay ride through Valley Junction at the Pumpkin Walk

Aaahhh, weekends. I love them. I especially love fall weekends. We had initially planned to be on an Iowa Day Trip on Saturday, but Max insisted on going to one of his best friend's birthday party. So, we stayed in town, taking in the sites and sounds of Des Moines in the fall. Sunday we did our first Pumpkin Walk in Valley Junction and visited grandparents in costumes. The real highlight of the weekend was the fact that I got a start on packing for our upcoming road trip! Five days out! So this is what it feels like being accomplished?? I impressed myself with this one!

Friday night we put on costumes and went to the Des Moines Children's Museum Halloween Party. This is THE EVENT I have been working on for a few months. I took a later shift due to daycare hours. When I arrived with my crew, I was shocked to hear how incredibly successful the event was and how much people were enjoying themselves. It makes all of the hard work worth it! I love seeing my ideas (games that I've played within the walls of my daycare, crafts, activities we've done) and the ideas of our programming committee being enjoyed by members of our community. I'm used to seeing how these things benefit a few kids at a time, but to see it on a bigger (hundreds and thousands of people) scale is incredibly rewarding.

We have Waldo, a box of crayons, and Evie from Descendants 3.

Someone really liked the bubble machine!

After my crazy event, I changed and went to a Celebration of Life for my cousin's step dad. It was a wonderful night and a perfect reminder to hold those we love close.

Saturday was pretty chill with grocery shopping, laundry, packing for vacay, lunch at Tasty Taco's, a birthday party, and the highlight of the day: a drive through MacRae Park. We hadn't been to the Overlook since it opened and we went just as the sun was setting over Des Moines. It was absolutely perfect!

Sunday morning wasn't exactly was a frenzy of playing, getting ready, getting chili in the slow cooker, and getting out of the house on time for a few hours of play at the Pumpkin Walk and visiting grandparents.

This was our first time at the Valley Junction Pumpkin Walk. For a free event, it was great! I can't believe we have never done this one before. We'll definitely be doing it again!

The main reason for going was so Elizabeth could see "the big girls" from her dance studio dancing.

Not only did they get a good amount of candy from the Pumpkin Walk, but then we went to grandparents to show off costumes and ended up with even more candy and treats. 

The minis were ready for hot showers and chili when we got home from being out in the cold. Of course, Elizabeth can't simply eat her chili. She separated the onions and tomatoes from the beef and beans and ate them both at different times.