Educatall team suggests an imaginary game you can enjoy with your group. (Open thematic letter - Forest) Print the letter. Prepare a bright envelope. Leave it in an easy to find location within the daycare. Have children find the letter and read portions of it to them throughout the theme.
Transform your daycare to look like a forest. Trace trees on a roll of white paper or on brown paper bags which you have cut. To decorate the trees, make a hole in the center of dead leaves and thread them on string or ribbon. Glue the leaves to the bottom of the tree or trace each child's hand onto colored construction paper to make leaves. Have each child cut out their hand and glue it to the giant tree trunk. Display on the wall. Add pinecones, different colors of apples, etc. (Open word flashcards - Forest) Print and display throughout the daycare. The next time you take a walk in the forest, children will be able to recognize certain animals.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. Use them to decorate your daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game - Forest) Print, laminate, and store in a "Ziploc" bag or in your thematic bins.
Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets - Forest)
Construction and building blocks:
- Natural or colored wood blocks
- A few branches and pinecones
- Add a few logs
- Have children build a tree house (take pictures!)
- Add wooden sticks of all kinds which children can use for various constructions
- Forest animals! You can find some at the dollar store or in toy stores
Arts & crafts:
- Cardboard, tissue paper, empty egg cartons, recycled material, etc. to create a cabin in the forest
- Hang a large sheet of paper on the wall for children to make a collective mural. Initiate the project by adding a few trees and asking children to add leaves, animals, etc.
- Print a tree on a large sheet of paper and have children glue leaves and cover the trunk with green and brown construction paper. It is preferable that you use glue sticks because liquid glue goes right through the paper ☹
- An easel (or paper on the wall ☺), a large paper, and paint. Children can paint their own forest
- Popsicle sticks and white glue. Children can build a small cabin
- What kind of tracks do animals make? You can make tracks of your own with paint. Help children see that everyone's footprints are different
- A piece of waxed paper and white glue. Children can trace a spider web on the paper using glue. Once dry, it can be removed from the paper and hung
- Discuss forest fires...using orange and yellow paint ☺
- Coloring pages with forest animals, nature, birds...
- Musical drawing: draw a forest while playing sounds of nature
- Drawing on recycled paper to explain the importance of preserving trees
- Little Red Riding Hood: find a little red riding hood costume, a picnic basket, a wolf (stuffed animal)
- The Three Little Pigs: Three chairs of different sizes, three bowls of different sizes, etc., stuffed animals which represent pigs (if possible), a wolf...
- Snow white: a beautiful dress, a bed for sleeping, an apple, a mirror...
- Picnic: a picnic basket filled with dishes, a blanket, a radio and a CD with birds singing! This activity may also be done for lunch time. Simply set your blanket on the floor in the middle of the room.
- Camping in the forest: a tent, two sleeping bags, utensils, dishes, food, pyjamas
Regardless of the activity you choose for the role play area, decorate the area with giant paper trees, illustrations from calendars representing the different seasons in the forest, fabric leaves on the walls, etc. The goal is to literally "transform" your role play area to look like a forest.
- Memory game with forest and animal illustrations (educatall picture game or a store-bought version)
- Puzzles related to the theme
- Brown or green modeling dough to create a forest. You may use homemade modeling dough and let it dry to make a model. Why not add yellow, red, and orange modeling dough to make a fall forest?
- Fabric autumn leaves which can be sorted by size, color, etc.
- A felt board with figurines from the forest, trees, etc.
- Pre-cut mushroom shapes which can be used to make a memory game
- Memory game which associates animals to their habitat
- Memory game in which you hide objects from nature and remove one, children guess which one is missing
- A few pieces of rope to learn how to tie and untie knots
- Association game with animals which have fur, feathers, and illustrations of different animals
- Books about forest animals
- Fairy tales which occur in forests (The three little pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel, etc.
- Headphones and CDs with sounds from the forest, birds singing, animal cries, etc.
- Bird and forest puppets
- Dot to dot or connect the dot trees with numbers 0 to 10
- Games with educatall word flashcards
- Animal names children can trace. Add an illustration to make identifying the word easier
- Activity sheets related to the theme
- An obstacle course: move like forest animals
- A treasure hunt: children search for pictures of forest animals
- Try whistling like a bird
- Move about the daycare like animals or insects
- Pretend you are firefighters extinguishing forest fires: children stand in line with a pail full of water. Have them pass the pail down the line to get to the fire with as much water as possible still in the pail!
- Sing songs while sitting around a pretend campfire. Explain the importance of properly extinguishing a fire to avoid forest fires
- Container filled with soil
- Container filled with pine needles
- Container filled with pinecones
- Container filled with leaves (real or fabric)
- Container filled with sunflower seeds
- Prepare a fruit salad with fruit which grow in trees: apples, pears, plums, even pineapples!
- Have children cut white and brown mushrooms in little pieces and combine with sour cream and plain yogurt to make a veggie dip...children may take a liking to mushrooms ☺
- Prepare a recipe using small fruit, like the ones found in the forest
- Bird nest salad: 1 grated carrot, ½ cup of Chinese noodles, 1 tablespoon of mayonnaise, a few raisins. Combine all the ingredients. Shape to look like a nest and add raisins to represent eggs☺
- Place leaves, pieces of bark, coniferous branches and pinecones in a container. Let children manipulate and observe the contents of the bin with magnifying glasses
- Deposit different types of mushrooms in transparent containers and invite children to observe them
- With raffia, straw, bits of yarn, etc., you can encourage children to build bird nests
- Create a vivarium and add a few insects. Obviously, you must cover well to avoid surprises!
- Show children a compass, a map, etc.
- Plant various types of plants, flowers, etc.
- Build a birdhouse. There are endless possibilities!
Use the flashcards to spark a conversation with the group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards - Forest) beaver, deer, squirrel, owl, skunk, moose, bear, porcupine, raccoon, fox, hare, forest
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Wolf, where are you?
Children walk about the daycare singing with the exception of one child who was designated to be the wolf:
"Let's walk in the woods, while the wolf isn't here. If the wolf was here, he would eat us up...Wolf, where are you? Wolf, what are you doing?" While the wolf is getting dressed, he answers, "I am putting my socks on". The game continues with, "I am putting my pants on, I am putting my shoes on, I am putting my shirt on, etc." The group repeats the song after each one of the wolf's responses. When the wolf is ready he calls out, "I am going to eat you up!" He then chases after the children. The first child to be captured becomes the wolf.
Provide children with several different sizes of boxes and let them play a game of hide and seek in their hideouts, just like squirrels.
Squirrel hide and seek
Fill a small swimming pool or bin with leaves (dried up leaves from trees or fabric leaves). Hide objects among the leaves. When you give the signal, children search for the objects. When they find one, they must deposit it in a hideout, just like squirrels do. They can then continue to hunt for other objects. Once all the objects have been found, start over.
Leaves in water
Fill a storage bin with water and add leaves. Children blow on the leaves using a drinking straw to make them move.
Path in the forest
Use adhesive tape to mark off a start line and a finish line. Place leaves approximately 10 cm apart. Provide children with drinking straws or empty toilet paper rolls they can blow in to make their leaf move towards the finish line. The first child to successfully cross his leaf over the finish line wins. The winner can race with another child. Variation: Deposit various obstacles on the floor (chairs, tables, bowling pins, mattresses, etc.)
Play music. When you stop the music, show children an animal illustration. Have them imitate the animal, the sound it makes and the way it moves about. When the music starts up again, children resume dancing. When you stop the music, display a different animal. You may use the word flashcards for this activity.
Watch out for the bear
Select a child to be the bear. The bear chases the other children until he touches one. The child who is touched becomes the bear. Variation: The child who is touched must stop moving and hold his arms out. The other children can free him by passing under his arms. Several children can have their arms extended at the same time. Change bears frequently.
While taking a walk in the forest with your group, invite children to collect objects from nature. When you return to the daycare, hang a large sheet of paper on the wall. As a group, make a collective mural with the objects you collected.
A few facts about squirrels. Red squirrels build their nests in branches or cavities in trees. In winter, they live off the food their carefully collected during summer and autumn. A single hideout can contain several hundred pinecones. Take a walk with your group in the forest. Give each child an empty tissue box. They can use their box as a hideout, just like squirrels. Collect as many tiny twigs, leaves, pinecones, and acorns as you can. These items may be used for crafts throughout the theme.
Relaxation in the forest
Have children make their own beds of leaves. They will love relaxing on their beds. Ask them to observe the clouds. They will identify shapes which they can later draw on paper. Also invite them to listen to the sound of the wind and the birds.
ACTIVITY INVOLVING PARENTS
Invite parents to attend a small show during a special Little Red Riding Hood day. Children will be very proud to serve their parents biscuits they made themselves. See the suggestion of the week at the end of the theme.
Tree full of leaves
(Open game - Tree full of leaves) Print and laminate the game. Using Velcro, children associate the pictograms to the correct tree.
(Open game - Beaver) Print, laminate, and cut out the pieces. Glue the beaver to the wall. Give each child one laminated beaver tail. Children take turns trying to place the beaver tail as close to the beaver as possible while blindfolded.
Which animal is it?
Children choose an animal (use the word flashcards or figurines). They must hide their animal in their hands. The object of the game is to describe their animal or imitate it so the other children can guess which animal each child picked.
Your turn to guess
Stand at one end of the daycare, facing the wall, your back to the group. Ask children to stand with their back to the wall, at the other end of the daycare. Show them a picture of an animal but make sure you don't see it. Have them move towards you making the sound which corresponds to the animal you showed them. You must guess which animal was illustrated before they reach you.
Hunt and seek
(Open hunt and seek - Forest) Print and laminate. Children pick cards and search for the object in the picture.
Forest animals lacing
(Open lacing - Forest animals) Print, trace onto cardboard and cut out. Use a hole-punch to make holes all the way around the contour of the animals. Children will enjoy threading a shoelace through the holes.
Where are the mice?
(Open - mice) Print and laminate. Deposit small cardboard mice throughout the daycare, placing them so that only the tails are visible. When you give the signal, children must find the mice. There is no winner for this game. The only goal is for children to have fun. At the end, you may give each child a mouse to take home. Variation: You can color the mice using different colors and ask children to find only a specific color.
What does this animal eat?
(Open association game - Forest animals) Print and laminate the two series of forest animals. Give children the cards. The object of the game is to associate the missing animal parts.
Add a few camping necessities to a cooler: flashlight, fishing pole, bag of marshmallows, etc. Take the items out one at a time and have children name them. Explain to your group how we sometimes have unwanted visitors when we go camping in the forest. Remove an item from the cooler and have children guess which item is missing.
Cut out the animal tracks. (Open animal tracks) Glue them to the floor so they form a path. When children follow identical tracks, they will discover which animal the tracks belong to. Glue the corresponding animal at the end of each path. Paths can lead to the bathroom, to the sink, etc.
Use three empty storage bins. Glue a different color leaf onto each bin (example: green, red, and brown). Deposit a large bag of leaves beside the bins. Children sort the leaves by color.
I am going in the forest, I am bringing...
Have children sit in a circle, begin the game by saying, "I am going in the forest, I am bringing..." (for example: a flashlight). The child sitting next to the first child must repeat, "I am going in the forest, I am bringing a flashlight and..." Each child must repeat the items chosen by the previous children and add one of his own.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Cabin in the woods
Children will love playing in their own cabins. Drape old sheets over furniture, tables, and chairs to make tents or cabins. Add objects which can be found in the forest. Let children play and eat their snack in them.
Cut a potato in two. Place the cut side in a plate. Encourage children to insert toothpicks into the round part of the potato.
ARTS & CRAFTS
(Open scrapbook - Walk in the forest) Print for each child. Take a walk in the forest and invite children to collect twigs and leaves they can glue on their scrapbook page. You may also add a photograph. Add the page to each child's scrapbook (Open scrapbook).
(Open craft - Forest animals) Print for each child. Have children color the pieces. Glue them onto an empty toilet paper roll.
Search for large stones in the forest. Let children paint them.
Collect branches with your group. Children can decorate them with paint and sparkles. You may also use the branches as paintbrushes. Dip the branches in several colors of paint.
Gather all the animal figurines you can find. Make tracks in salt dough and let dry. Ask children to associate the animals to the tracks. This activity can be adapted. The tracks can be done in paint, on a sheet of paper, or in a sandbox.
Collect elements of nature you can dip in autumn-colored paint. Make prints on paper.
My crumpled tree
(Open craft - tree) Print for each child. Encourage children to fill the tree trunk with crumpled pieces of brown tissue paper. Next, crumple several tiny pieces of red, yellow, orange, and green tissue paper and glue them around the tree trunk.
Have children build their own miniature log cabin using empty toilet paper or paper towel rolls. If you prefer, you may use a cardboard milk carton. Paint it and glue coffee sticks to it.
(Open coloring pages theme - Forest animals coloring book)
(Open creative coloring - Forest) Print for each child. Have children complete the drawing with what they see in the trees, in the forest.
SONGS & RHYMES
Pop goes the squirrel
by: Patricia Morrison
sung to: Pop goes the weasel
All around the great big forest
The fox chased the squirrel
The fox thought ‘twas all in fun
Pop! Goes the squirrel
Right into his secret hideout
Where he stores his pinecones
That's where his winter food is
Pop! Goes the squirrel
SUGGESTION OF THE WEEK
Special Day-Little Red Riding Hood
(Open perpetual calendar - Little Red Riding Hood)
Greet children wearing a red cape. Place a red and white checkered tablecloth on the floor and sit on it for circle time. Take an imaginary walk in the forest (pretend to look at the trees and insects, jump over a tree root...) on your way to the tablecloth.
Afternoon snack: biscuits
Here is a biscuit recipe:
- ½ cup of margarine
- 2 cups of brown sugar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup of raisins
- 2 cups of flour
- 4 teaspoons of baking powder
- 1 teaspoon of soda
- 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ¼ cup of margarine
- ¾ cup of boiling water
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla
Combine the margarine and the brown sugar. Add the two eggs. Prepare the dry ingredients. Melt the margarine, add boiling water, and then the dry ingredients. Add the vanilla at the end. Deposit approximately 1 teaspoon of the biscuit preparation on a cookie sheet at a time. Bake in a 325⁰F oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
Prepare the biscuits with your group and serve them as a snack with parents. Prepare a small show (Open characters - Little Red Riding Hood).
Let children decorate their puppets. Prepare a small story with the characters from the story. Present the puppet show to parents or for another group of children. You can make a small puppet theater or simply paint an old sheet. Hang it to look like a large curtain. Organize your daycare to make it look like a theater. Adjust the lighting with red light bulbs. Use your imagination, but especially children's imaginations!
The Educatall team