(Open thematic poster-Sugar shack) Print, laminate, and decorate the walls of your daycare with all kinds of posters.
Add elements found in sugar shacks to your role play area. Suggestions: sap buckets, spouts, checkered fabric (shirts or tablecloths), rubber boots, utensils, an apron, and a rolling pin. Also add a wooden bench, dishtowels, a basin, etc.
We have prepared a sugar shack menu for you. (Open menu-sugar shack day) Print and display.
Use a large pot or a red rug to represent a fire. Purchase a paper tablecloth. With your group, cut several red squares out of construction paper. Invite them to glue them on your paper tablecloth to make it look like a checkered tablecloth. Set it on the table when you serve your sugar shack lunch.
Display pictures of maple trees on the walls of your daycare. You may use pictures that show how maple trees change with the seasons (green leaves, colourful leaves, no leaves).
Hang fabric or cardboard maple leaves from the ceiling before children arrive.
CHALLENGE OF THE WEEK, MONTH, YEAR
For the month of March, introduce a toothbrushing chart. (Open toothbrushing chart) Print and laminate a chart for each child. Each time children brush their teeth, let them stick a symbol on their chart using adhesive putty.
We suggest an imaginary game you can enjoy with your group. (Open thematic letter-Sugar shack) Print the letter and Maple, the puppet. Fold the letter and insert it in a pretty envelope. Leave the envelope in an easy to find location each morning. Read portions of the letter to them each day and complete the suggested activities.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with your group. Use them to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game-Sugar shack) Print, laminate, and store in a Ziploc bag or in your thematic bins.
(Open activity sheets-Sugar shack) Print for each child and follow instructions.
(Open writing activities-S like sugar shack) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
- Add farm animals and tractors to your area.
- Provide bark, wood chips, and pinecones along with recycled containers and let children add them to their constructions.
- Everything you have on hand that is related to horses.
- Log-shaped blocks.
Arts & crafts:
- Stencils of maple leaf and tree shapes.
- Coloring pages related to the theme.
- Popsicle sticks and construction paper children can use to create their own sugar shack.
- Brown sugar and glue for sticky creations.
- Construction paper or any other kind of paper in different shades of brown, white, or beige.
- Use maple syrup to paint on heavy cardboard or waxed paper. The results will surprise you!
- You can either cut a maple tree shape out of heavy cardboard or bring an actual maple tree (a tiny one) inside and set it in your area. Simply plant a fallen branch in a bucket filled with dirt.
- Use construction paper to build a pretend fire.
- Costume: checkered shirt, rubber boots, orange hunter's hat.
- Recreate a sugar shack décor by setting a checkered tablecloth on a table and placing a wooden bench in front of it. Add plastic food items: ham, eggs, bread, etc. Fill clear containers with dried beans or peas and seal the lids with hot glue. Of course, fill a clear bottle with syrup (maple syrup or corn syrup).
- Empty syrup bottles and cans.
- Wooden spoons.
- Memory game with educatall picture game.
- Maple-coloured modeling dough (beige, brown, white).
- Puzzles related to the theme (if you can find them).
- Lotto game involving the farm animals that are often associated with sugar shacks.
- Books related to the theme or farm animals.
- Pictures of last year's sugar shack visit.
Music and motor skills:
- Children can complete an obstacle course while carrying an empty bucket or a bucket filled with pretend sap water.
- Water table: containers of all kinds children can pretend to fill with sap water.
- Fill a bin with dried beans or peas and provide containers children can fill and empty over and over again.
The flashcards may be used during circle time to spark a conversation with your group or in your reading and writing area. They may also be used to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Sugar shack) (Open giant word flashcards-Sugar shack) Print. maple tree, maple leaf, maple syrup, forest, maple bush, bucket, horses, taffy, maple syrup producer, sleigh, sugar shack, wood.
SUGGESTION OF THE WEEK THEMATIC DAY
(Open perpetual calendar-Sugar shack Day) Transform your daycare to make it look like a sugar shack. Fill your day with activities that will make children feel like they are at a real sugar shack.
Purchase cookies shaped like maple leaves for your morning snack. Spend a lot of time outside, playing in the snow. At lunch time, serve a typical sugar shack meal on a checkered tablecloth. Explore the various stages involved in making maple syrup and its derived treats with your group: sap water, syrup, taffy, sugar. Of course, enjoy taffy on snow (see culinary activities section). Print and follow the daily schedule of activities we have prepared for you. (Open schedule-Sugar Shack Day)
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
One child pretends to be sticky taffy. He must try to touch the other children. As soon as he/she succeeds, the child who was touched becomes the taffy.
Dried beans (constant supervision required)
Fill a large bin with dried beans. Provide ladles, measuring cups, small spoons, small containers, and tweezers. For older children, hide twenty dried beans of a different color among the other beans and encourage them to remove them from the bin using the tweezers.
I am stretching like taffy
Perform stretching exercises on exercise mats. Encourage children to stretch their legs, their feet, their toes, their arms, their hands, their fingers, their neck, their mouth...
Build your own maple bush
Provide several large cardboard boxes (for a refrigerator or a washing machine), fabric, and empty paper towel rolls. Help children create and decorate a maple bush and let them play in it throughout the theme.
(Open forest animal tracks) Print the animal tracks on heavy paper and cut them out. Glue identical tracks on the floor to create paths. At the end of each path, glue a picture of the corresponding animal. When children follow a path, they will discover which animal they belong to.
Create your own bonfire in an empty washtub. Play folk music and invent an original square dance. Add rhythm to this activity with spoon playing, by banging on pots and pans, or by singing traditional songs.
Get any sleds you have out and pull children around the yard. Older children will love to pull their friends too.
Sweet treasure hunt in the snow
Hide tiny maple sugar candy pieces in the snow. Encourage children to search for them. Make sure you have at least one treat per child. Have them deposit them in a metal sap bucket. Distribute them in their cubbyholes during naptime.
Deposit a variety of objects related to the sugar shack theme on a table. Invite children to observe them closely for a few minutes. Cover the objects with a checkered tablecloth and remove one object. Remove the tablecloth and ask children to identify the missing object.
(Open educ-association-Sugar shack) Print. Arrange the pages in a file folder. Children must associate the illustrations. When they find a match, they must deposit the corresponding card in the correct square using Velcro or adhesive putty.
Educ-same and different-Sugar shack
(Open educ-same and different-Sugar shack) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must circle the illustration that is different in each row.
From smallest to biggest
(Open educ-big and small-Sugar shack) Print and laminate the game. Children must place the cards in the correct order, from smallest to biggest, and arrange them in the squares using Velcro or adhesive putty.
Sequential story-Sugar shack
(Open sequential story-Sugar shack) Print and laminate. Use the illustrations to present the various steps involved in the transformation of sap water. Mix them up and have children place them in the correct order.
When I go to the sugar shack
Have children sit in a circle and take turns saying, "When I go to the sugar shack, I eat..." Each child adds a word after repeating the items mentioned by the others. See how many words children are able to remember before making a mistake...
Hunt and seek
(Open hunt and seek-Sugar shack) Print and laminate. Children take turns picking a card and searching for the item in the scene.
Story and memory game-Sugar shack
(Open story and memory game-Sugar shack) Print, laminate, and cut out the cards. Place them face down on the floor. Children take turns picking three cards and inventing a story related to the illustrations. Variation: Print two copies of each card and use them for a memory game.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Encourage children to stand in a circle and hold hands. Show them how they can move towards the centre of the circle and then back to their starting position before letting go of each other and interlocking arms with the child to their right and turning around. End your dance by encouraging them to do the same with the child to their left.
To the sound of folk music, show children how they can make music by banging two spoons together while singing. It's not as easy as it looks! Use this activity to introduce your group to a variety of folk music.
I am stretching like taffy
To begin, have children stand on exercise mats. Encourage them to stretch their arms up high before letting them fall to their sides. Have them lie down on their mat, like taffy that has just been poured on snow. Have them stretch their arms and legs out as much as possible and then relax them, once again dropping their arms alongside their body. End the activity by inviting children to do the same with their fingers and toes.
Find sap water
Fill several different containers with water. Add a different flavour to each container: sugar, salt, lemon, maple extract, vanilla extract, pickle juice, etc. Have children taste the water in each container and encourage them to try and identify the sap water. You may provide eyedroppers they can use to add water to their drinking glass.
Playing in the mud
Often, when we visit a sugar shack, the snow is melting and it is very muddy. Fill a large container with dirt and add water. Children will love to mix everything together and play in the mud. They can use the mud to sculpt a variety of items.
One drop at a time
You will need several eyedroppers. Use them to help children understand how sap water fills sap buckets one drop at a time in the spring. Fill drinking glasses with water and invite children to transfer the water to fill empty drinking glasses one drop at a time. They will quickly understand how filling a sap bucket is a very long process that requires a lot of patience.
Sugar shack lunch
If you can't make it to a sugar shack with your group, bring the sugar shack to your daycare and prepare a special lunch. Before eating, take your group on an imaginary bus ride to a sugar shack. When you "arrive", pretend to admire the tall maple trees and check the sap buckets to see if they are full of sap water. Go on a pretend sleigh ride, eat pretend taffy on snow, etc.
Purchase several products made with maple syrup (pies, sugar, taffy, butter, etc.). Taste the food items with your group.
Sweet and salty
Explain how our tongue tastes things differently. Identify sweet, salty, bitter, and acidic foods with your group. Have them taste sugar, salt, cocoa powder, and vinegar. Which tastes do they enjoy? Which ones do they dislike?
Taffy on snow
Making your own taffy on snow is simple. Empty a can of maple syrup in a pot and bring to a boil. Your candy thermometer must indicate 230 °F. Do not stir and be sure to use a large pot to avoid spilling over. Fill a large plastic container with clean snow and use a ladle to pour strips of maple syrup on top. When the hot syrup comes in contact with the snow, it will quickly harden.
Creative recipe-Maple sugar modeling dough
(Open creative recipe-Maple sugar modeling dough) Prepare this maple sugar modeling dough with your group. Let them use it to create various shapes...and then let them eat their creations for a special treat!
- 454 g of icing sugar
- ¼ cup of maple syrup (or corn syrup)
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- 1/3 cup of margarine
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- Food coloring (optional)
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir until mixture is homogeneous. If the dough is too sticky, simply add a small amount of icing sugar.
- Sculpt the dough to create a variety of shapes.
- When you are done, you can eat your creations.
- Prepare dough as indicated, but use different types of flavours/extracts (banana, orange, almond, etc.).
- Use this dough to create decorations that can be added to cakes or pies.
Creative recipe-Maple milkshake
(Open creative recipe-Maple milkshake) Prepare this special treat with your group.
Yield: 2 servings
- 250 ml of 2% milk
- 30 ml of maple syrup
- 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream
- Add all ingredients to the jar of a blender.
- Mix for approximately 1 minute or until milkshake is smooth.
- Serve as an afternoon snack.
ARTS & CRAFTS
Add a few drops of food coloring to corn syrup. Encourage children to paint with this mixture. They may use Popsicle sticks instead of paintbrushes. Let dry completely and hang their paintings.
The Maple family
(Open craft-Maple leaf family) Print a maple leaf for each child. Invite them to create a Maple family by coloring their leaf, cutting it out, and gluing it on heavy cardboard. Have them add eyes, a nose, and a mouth. Display the leaves together to represent a family.
The maple bush model
This activity can be completed as a group throughout the theme. Paint a large piece of cardboard with white paint. Wrap an empty milk carton with brown construction paper. Use wooden sticks to create a roof. This will be your sugar shack. Paint empty toilet paper rolls with brown poster paint and cut tiny slits at one end of each roll (roots). Glue the rolls on your model to represent trees. Wrap tiny milk goblets with aluminum paper and glue them on the trees to represent sap buckets. Collect tiny branches when you go outside with your group and insert them in your empty toilet paper rolls. Glue cotton balls here and there to represent snow. Use white modeling dough to add a snowman. Children will love to play with figurines in their very own maple bush.
My sugar shack
Provide glue, wooden coffee sticks, and paint. Have children build and decorate their own sugar shacks.
A maple tree
You will need brown poster paint and glossy paper for finger painting. Cover each child's forearm and hand with brown paint. Help them press them on their paper to create a maple tree. Invite children to decorate their maple tree with glitter or other materials.
The maple leaf
Trace maple leaf shapes on construction paper (or use dollar store fabric leaves). Glue them on a white paper banner. Use old toothbrushes dipped in paint (add a small amount of water to make your paint more liquid) to splatter paint on the leaves to create a spray paint effect. Remove the leaves to discover your masterpiece.
(Open scrapbook-Sugar shack) Print this page for each child's scrapbook. Have children draw what they like to eat most when they visit a sugar shack.
(Open coloring pages theme-Sugar shack) Print for each child.
SONGS & RHYMES
(Open songs & rhymes-Maple tree)
Sung to: Twinkle, twinkle, little star
By: Patricia Morrison
Maple, maple, maple tree
Fill my bucket with your sap
I will boil it ‘til it's hot
To make syrup so yummy
Maple, maple, maple tree
Makes pancakes, waffles, oh so sweet
The Educatall team