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Throughout the theme, crown a different child each day. Give him the title of "dream child". Determine a specific privilege for each child. For example, you may choose to wave the child's obligation to clean up when he is done playing or let him stay with you during naptime.
Decorate your ceiling with items which can be seen in the sky such as a moon and stars. You may hang tiny Christmas lights and glue illustrations to the ceiling in your naptime area. Attach a paper clip to the end of fishing wire and hang sun, moon, and star illustrations from the ceiling. Stick glow in the dark stars on the ceiling. Write each child's name on a sun or moon and hang them from the ceiling over your circle time area to identify their spots.
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-Dreams) Print, laminate, and store in a Ziploc bag or in your thematic bin.
Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets - Dreams)
Print the writing practice sheet for each child or laminate and use with a dry-erase marker. (Open writing sheet-D like dream)
Have fun with these wonderful workshop ideas provided by Caroline Allard.
Construction and building blocks:
- Animal bin...some animals come out in the day, and others come out during the night. Now there's an interesting discussion.
- Blocks of all kinds to build your dream house! Children can make it as real or as silly as they want!
- Children may also build the monster which hides under their bed with construction games such as K'nex.
Arts & crafts:
- A pipe cleaner, string, beads, and feathers to make a dream catcher, like Amerindians.
- Blue or gray paper and white paint. Children can paint clouds, a moon, and stars.
- Scissors and white, gray, and yellow cardboard to cut out clouds, a moon, and stars.
- Magazines children can use to cut out things they have seen in their dreams. They may use them to make a collage.
- Stars, stars, and more shiny stars of all kinds!
- A star and moon mobile craft.
- A collage using sand. Children apply glue to a drawing and the sandman adds sand everywhere!
- Children create the monster which haunts their bad dreams! This craft can be 2 or 3-dimensional, depending on the ages of the children.
- Coloring pages with stars, night-time activities, imaginary objects, etc.
- Have children draw a dream they remember.
- Children draw in the dark, with only the light of a flashlight.
- Creative coloring activities.
- Pyjamas for dress-up play.
- Create an area which resembles a bedroom. Add a mattress, blankets, and stuffed animals.
- Silly clothes children can use to dress up like the characters which exist in their dreams.
- Puppet theater (Chinese shadows)
- Memory game with illustrations related to night-time or dreams with the educatall.com picture game or a store-bought version.
- Blue modeling dough...add sparkles! Provide cookie cutters shaped like stars, circles, etc.
- Association game with figurines representing various emotions. Discuss the emotions children go through when they dream.
- Lite-Brite game.
- Books about nighttime, dreams, imagination, etc.
- Decorate your reading corner with small lights, netting or delicate fabric, etc. Create a dark (not too dark) hideout.
- Book and CD sets children can enjoy with headphones.
- Sequential story children can recreate.
- Games with educatall.com word flashcards.
- Various activity sheets related to the theme.
- Explore the letter "D" like dreams.
- Create an obstacle course in the dark. Deposit objects children must search for throughout the obstacle course. The objects should represent night-time. Some possibilities are slippers, pyjamas, a dreamcatcher, stars, etc.
- Parachute game with cloud, moon, and star cutouts. Use the parachute to throw them into the "sky".
- Different sizes of balls which can represent the moon...throw them up in the air, roll them, or bounce them on a parachute.
- Activities involving flashlights in the dark. Light sticks are also fun.
- A few yoga positions are great for relaxing before bedtime.
- A bin containing colorful marbles.
- A water table and dolls. Children can give the dolls a bath, like their parents do every night.
- Games involving shadows behind a white sheet.
- Observation with a telescope...real or a cardboard tube decorated by the children.
The flashcards may be used to spark a conversation with the group, in your reading and writing area, or to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Dreams) fear, angel, monster, night, moon, bed, dream, shadow, darkness, dreamcatcher, night light, to sleep
Picture clue story
(Open picture clue story - Dreams) Print. Sit in a circle with your group. Begin reading the story and pause for each picture clue. Point to the picture and encourage children to guess the missing word.
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
My most beautiful dream
Hang a sheet in your daycare. Place a lamp behind the sheet and ask children to mime their most beautiful dream. The other children enjoy the show!
Night or day
(Open night or day) Print the illustrations and place them in a transparent pocket, back to back. Show children one of the illustrations. When you show them the sun, children must move about and dance. When you show them the moon, they must lay down on the floor. Alternate the two illustrations often in order to keep children moving.
Provide children with flashlights. Turn the lights off and close the curtains to make the daycare as dark as possible. Children walk around the daycare and have fun observing objects with their flashlights.
Counting sheep obstacle course
(Open game-Counting sheeps) Print, laminate, and glue the illustrations on the floor to create a path. Children must hop from one illustration to the next. Deposit a pillow and a blanket at the end of the path. The first child to reach the end of the path may lie down and relax while counting sheep, all the way up to five. When he is done, he may hop back along the path.
Before visiting Dreamland, encourage children to count sheep while enjoying a game of leapfrog. Have them stand in line, single file. The first child crouches down and the child behind him jumps over him, placing his hands on his friend's back. He then goes to the back of the line and so on...
Before naptime, have children sit with their legs crossed on their mattresses. Their mattresses shall become magic carpets. Create an imaginary journey, complete with obstacles and events of all kinds which will help the fly off to Dreamland. For example, you may guide them to relax by having them imagine they are catching butterflies. Have them close their eyes since the sun's rays are so strong. Tell them they are helping the Sandman deposit sand in his bucket. Smell the flowers along the way...
Tell children how the Sandman has magical powers. His bucket contains very special sand! When he sprinkles some on our face, our eyes close and we are off to visit Dreamland. Before naptime, play the role of the Sandman. Once all the children are lying down on their mattresses, walk around the daycare, pretending to sprinkle sand and helping children fall asleep.
Place a blanket on the grass or snow. Ask children to lie down on the blanket, on their backs. Encourage them to relax. Tell them to use this time to think about activities they would like to do with their families or their friends. Later in the day, discuss the activities they imagined.
Lie down on the ground. Children look at the sky and select a cloud on which they think they would have sweet dreams. One by one, children point to their cloud. Invite them to describe its color and its shape and to tell you why they chose that particular cloud.
ACTIVITIES INVOLVING PARENTS
I can't believe my eyes!
At the beginning of the theme, ask children to tell you about their dreams, present and future. Ask them what they would like to do, what they would like to eat, what a perfect dream day would be like... Select a few suggestions and use them to plan a dream day! They may have difficulties expressing everything they dream about. Use your observations and ask parents to help you. I am sure you will be able to arrange many activities which would make your group happy and correspond to their interests. For example, you may bake chocolate cookies, serve pizza for lunch, provide princess costumes or policeman uniforms, organize water games, set up a sand table, etc.
(Open perpetual calendar-Dream day) Parents may participate by allowing their child to bring their favorite toy or object to the daycare. Children will love presenting it to the group. Greet children in an original fashion. Serve their favorite foods for lunch. You may ask parents to prepare their child's favorite food. Do your best for each child to enjoy a dream day!
Hunt and seek-Dreams
(Open hunt and seek - Dreams) Print and laminate. Children pick an illustration and search for it in the larger picture.
Snakes and ladders-Dreams
(Open snakes and ladders-Dreams) Print and laminate. Use a dice and small figurines as pawns.
I am dreaming of a monster I can lace
(Open lacing-Monsters) Print, laminate, and cut out. Punch holes around the contour of each monster. Children lace them with yarn, string, or ribbon.
Sequential story-Day and night
(Open sequential story-Day and night) Print and laminate. Children place the illustrations in the correct order to recreate the story.
Am I dreaming?
Glue illustrations under a table, making sure children do not see you. Cover the table with a thick blanket. Invite children to enter the "house" with a flashlight to see what they will find. Ask them if they see the special surprise. If they do, tell them to crawl out of the house. If they do not see anything at first, give them a few more minutes to discover the surprise. Once all the children have had a turn, discuss what they saw as a group. Did they really see something or were they dreaming?
I am sleepwalking
Provide children with flashlights. Turn the lights off and shut the curtains to make the daycare as dark as possible. Children walk around the daycare and have fun observing various objects.
Did I really hear something or am I dreaming?
Have children lie down on the floor and close their eyes. Make a sound and ask children to guess what it was. You may tap on the wall, snap your fingers, break a tree branch, crumple a piece of paper, tap your foot, make a bear sound, etc.
In my dream, there was...
Have children sit in a circle. Begin the game by saying, "In my dream there was..." Complete the sentence with a word, a bear for example. Each child must repeat the things which were in their friends' dreams and add one of their own.
Deposit several objects in an opaque bag. For example, you may include a feather, a tiny toy horse, a pencil, a piece of fruit, a paintbrush, etc. Sit in a circle with your group. One child picks an object and begins telling you about the dream he had (which includes the object he picked). Determine a set period of time for each child to speak. The next child then picks another object and continues the dream, including his object, and so on. Use a timer to announce the end of each child's turn.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Children sing lullabies and you record them. Play your recordings for them at naptime.
ARTS & CRAFTS
A blanket for everyone
Have children paint on fabric squares. You may use fabric paint but acrylic paint adheres very well and will not wash off. It is an economical solution! Once the squares are dry, assemble them like a quilt or ask a mom who sews to do it for you. This blanket can be shared. Let a different child use it each day.
My guardian angel
Using construction paper, make a cone. Each child chooses a picture (parent, grandparent, or other) and uses it for the face. Cut out the picture in a circular shape and glue it to the point of the cone. Have children trace their hands and cut them out. Glue them onto the angel to represent the wings. Add feathers to decorate.
(Open craft - Angel) Print for each child. Have children color the pieces and glue them on an empty toilet paper roll which they previously decorated with lace and feathers.
Cut two circles the size of a plate out of cardboard for each child. In the centre of the two circles, cut out circles the size of a bowl. They will look like donuts at this point. Glue them together, inserting a piece of tulle between the two circles. Have children decorate the contour of the circles on both sides suing tissue paper, Mac-Tac with designs, etc. Glue feathers on a fishing wire (or string) using hot glue. Insert small plastic beads and make knots to hold them in place. Make a hole in your circle to insert your decoration and tie a knot. Repeat as many times as you wish to add additional decorative pieces.
Night-time sky and daytime sky
Glue blue and black sheets of construction paper back to back. The black sheet will represent the night-time sky and the blue sheet will represent the daytime sky. Prepare white craft material (cotton balls, string, tissue paper, chalk, stars, moon, etc.) children can add to their night sky. Prepare objects children may use to represent the daytime sky (cotton balls, sun, string, kite, bird, etc.) When children are done, hang from the ceiling.
My very own dream
Provide children with a variety of arts & crafts materials. Children use the materials to make a collage of their very own dream. Glue each child's collage over his naptime spot.
(Open creative coloring - Dreams) Print for each child. Have children complete the picture by drawing a nightmare they once had. Then, have them transform their nightmare into a dream by modifying their original drawing.
(Open coloring pages theme - Dreams) Print for each child.
SONGS & RHYMES
by: Patricia Morrison
sung to: Row, row, row your boat
Dream, dream, dream all night
Dream a happy dream
No monsters, no monsters, no monsters, no monsters
Just the sweetest dream
The Educatall team
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