Latticed Learning, End of Year Fun

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Welcome back to another installment of Latticed Learning!  Today I'll be sharing a bonus week of our journey with you.  

We've been winding down our year of learning for a while, but officially ended with Week 36 last week.

However, Gv's birthday just happened to coincide with our playgroup/co-op gathering this week, so I decided to add a bit of birthday fun to the day, Latticed Learning-style.

Because I'd already decided to bring "birthday muffins" as a treat for the group (we're a healthy little bunch), I used them as inspiration (do you know the muffin man?) and planned around a "Nursery Rhyme" theme.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider

We started things off with a craft, because I knew some in this crowd would really enjoy wearing fun hats for the rest of the day.

The kids, now adorned with spiders atop their heads, all gathered in a circle to sing "The Itsy Bitsy Spider" along with the hand motions that go along with it.

To make your own spider hat, cut one sheet of black construction paper in half lengthwise and then staple it together to form the crown after fitting it to your child's head.  Cut another sheet of black paper into 8 lengthwise strips and staple those to the inside of the hat's rim.  Bend the ends of these legs to make feet.  Now, cut two large circles from a bright-colored paper and two small circles out of black to glue down on the front of the hat as eyes.

After we sang our song and got our sillies out, everyone sat down for a read-aloud about spiders:

I Love Spiders

And these two were available for the kids to peruse later on in the day:

The Spectacular Spider Book


Humpty Dumpty

Next, we headed back to the big table for a Humpty Dumpty activity:

To do this, print out this egg puzzle for each child.  The kids need to cut out the pieces and glue them down in the proper spots, then stick a band-aid on top to help put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

Gv added a face (see the hair, eyes, and mouth?) to hers, then I asked the group to turn the paper over and write why Humpty Dumpty fell of the wall (in complete sentences) in the first place.

Our little group ranges in age from 17 months to 7 years, so some wrote actual words and sentences...

...and some wrote this (it's in yellow and difficult to see, but here are Gv's scribbles):

...which says, of course, "Humpty Dumpty fell off the wall because he didn't hold on."

Ring Around the Rosie & London Bridge

It was time to get the group moving again, so we headed to an open spot in the room for a round of "Ring Around the Rosie" followed by several rambunctious attempts at "London Bridge."

I am fully aware that this is Tower Bridge and not London Bridge, but let's face it: when you think of a bridge in London, I bet you think of this one (although this is actually my second-favorite bridge in this town).  Also, I was too busy being half the bridge during this activity and I forgot to take a photo, so I just stuck this one here to liven things up a bit. {grin}

Assorted Nursery Rhymes

Next, it was time for a little recitation.  I'd given the group one homework assignment to complete prior to that day: each child needed to be able to recite one nursery rhyme for the group.

Even though pretty much all of the kids already knew several by heart, I wanted them to have a chance to practice a specific rhyme of their choosing before putting them on the spot.

I announced it was time to perform their rhymes and a chair was made ready for the "stage."

Before the speakers took their turns, I had them each draw a slip of paper from a sack (well, it was my hand, not a sack, but you get the idea).

I'd printed out this page, which described different "voices" to use (robot, cowboy, mouse, etc.) and then cut each one into a strip to fold up.

The pals then took turns saying their rhymes in the "voice" they drew.

Most everyone really got into it - a couple weren't comfortable reciting for the crowd (and that was okay), but the ones who did ended up switching strips and saying their rhymes in all the different voices.

Gv drew "baby voice," which was very convenient, since that's pretty much the only voice she has...

After that fun ended, we settled back down into chairs at the table.  I'd printed out these cute cards (pages 9, 12, 17, 29, 32 & 33 are nursery rhymes) and handed one to each child along with a highlighter.

Because there were so many ages and skill levels, this was a differentiated activity.  It was the goal of some of the group to search for and highlight a specific letter found throughout their rhyme, for others a specific sight word, and one needed to highlight all the rhyming words in his poem.

One, Two, Buckle My Shoe

Once that task had been accomplished, we formed a circle on the carpet, said "1, 2, Buckle My Shoe" together, and then played with math manipulatives like these:

We counted them, put them into groups by color, made patterns out of them, and then arranged them in groups of two.

Since everyone seemed to be into the carpet games at this point, I also pulled out some rhyming cards similar to these to play Go Fish and Concentration with.  (they liked Go Fish the best)

Yes, Eagle Eye, Gv is wearing something different for a few of these photos, which are obviously taken at our messy house and not in our friend's pristine abode.  Gv was a great sport and redid several of the activities with me, since I was having so much fun the day of the party, I forgot to take pictures...

The Muffin Man

All this fun was making everyone hungry, so we headed back to the table to sing "The Muffin Man"  (and "Happy Birthday") while we started the next activity:

Mary Had a Little Lamb

I'd brought an old pocket chart from my classroom and had written out "Mary Had a Little Lamb" onto sentence strips - one for each child.

Each child took a strip and then, as we all said the nursery rhyme, would add their strip to the chart.  Not everyone could read the strip on their own, but this activity is helpful for pre-readers, too.

Once all the strips were in place, we read out the entire rhyme, pointing to each word as we read it.

Rain, Rain, Go Away

At this point, I'd planned to do a little music activity, but decided to go ahead and start wrapping things up and just nixed it.  However, if your little group is still rarin' to go, here's what you need to do:

Say "Rain, Rain, Go Away" in a steady, deliberate voice.  Then, say it again, but clap with a cadence that matches the rhyme (long, long, short, short, long, etc.).

Now, have the children try clapping the rhythm with you.

Jack Be Nimble

Our final activity was a wild one.

I set up (unlit) votive candles to make a path along the ground.  Everyone lined up and we set a timer as the children jumped over the candles to see who could complete the course with the fastest time.

And all the while, we chanted, "Jack be nimble, Jack be quick. Jack jumped over the candlestick." (I may or may not have displayed my amazing dancing prowess along with this chant)

This game went on.

And on.

And on.

And the timing aspect totally didn't matter, but anytime something like this is timed, it ramps up the excitement factor by approximately 438%.

The day was loads of fun - with a little bit of learning added in along the way!

Some of our favorite nursery rhyme books:

Looking for all the great posts associated with this concept in one place?  Check out my Latticed Learning page here!

What's your favorite thing that we did this week?  I'd love to hear!  Either leave a comment below or email me at lisahealy (at) outlook (dot) com.

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