Kid Activities
1000's of Ideas for Childcare Professionals & Teachers!

Creative Ideas for School Age Programs! Pg. 1

February 21, 2010 03:44 by Barbara Shelby

 

Click here for pg. 2

CREATIVE means... Original, resourceful, imaginative, inspired, artistic, inventive, ingenious, innovative, productive, having vision, freshness, novel, unique.... Do you have any ideas that suit the word "creative"? 

If there is something you've done or do--that is a bit different or fun-- would you share with us? Send it
via the 'contact page'. All contact information will be held in confidence and not shared. You will be given full credit for any and all ideas!

Below are some activities from about the site--to get you going...

Thank-you.
Barb Shelby

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OPEN YOUR PROGRAM TO NEW EATING EXPERIENCES!

Choose 1 day a month to try a different type of food. Go through cookbooks with the kids and put together a shopping list of international foods aisle items.... Or, go to the produce department to find fruits and vegetables from other countries to try.
You also can go through the newspaper’s local restaurant review section with your kids and choose an ethnic restaurant where you can pick up specialties to try...


As the children try the new food, talk about how they are the same or different from what they usually eat. What are the different tastes? What are the different ingredients?

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PLAN A HEALTHY HEART DAY! (Read this, it's fun!)

Celebrate a “healthy” heart with fun, aerobic activities that get children up and moving. You may want to set up several skill stations; this is an idea adapted from Celebration Games: Physical Activities for Every Month (2006 Human Kinetics).

STATIONS CAN INCLUDE:

  • Step Aerobics Station:  Set up four or five step aerobic steppers and music.
  • Healthy Heart Station: Demonstrate several aerobic exercises and have children perform three aerobic exercises of their choice at this station (ie. jumping jacks, jumping rope, jogging in place)
  • Cholesterol Game:  Pictures of both high and low cholesterol foods are taped down. Children throw beanbags underhand from a throw line at low cholesterol foods.
  • Blood Pressure: Make a sign that says “normal blood pressure 120/80” and tape down pictures of things that can raise blood pressure such as smoking, unhealthy foods, lack of exercise and stress. Children THROW BEANBAGS UNDERHAND from a throw line at the things that will raise blood pressure. (You can put point values on targets and total points)
  • A healthy, yummy snack table at culmination of activity.

Divide the children into groups and disperse them evenly among the stations. Place them in a numerical order and have them keep this order for all stations. Set the number of tries for each turn and announce when it is time to rotate to the next station. Leave ample space between stations and advise children not to stand in the throwing areas. Adapted and expanded upon from: School-age Note of the Day- 2/5/07 schoolagenotes.com     

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HEART BEATS...

Can you find or borrow one or two good quality stethoscopes?
Show children how to use the stethoscopes to listen to their heart beat. Show them how to tap out the rhythm of their heart: lub-dub-lub-dub.

If young---Ask children if they can think of any way to change how fast their hearts are beating.
For all kids---Have them jog in place for several minutes, then have them recheck the rhythm beats of their hearts.

Extended Activity:
Are any of your parents or friends a nurse or doctor? Ask him/her to visit your group and bring in a stethoscope. Have the visitor talk to the kids about keeping their hearts strong and healthy. (With exercise, good food and sleep!)

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START A BOOK" of RECORDS~ Your own Guinness Book of Records!!!
This one is a winner! Keep your own SAC book of records and have the kids try to set records for things such as:

  • Most jumping jacks
  • Jumps in jump roping

  • Running laps in gym

  • Running laps outside

  • Most crafts made for the month or year

  • Longest handstand

  • Most books read, puzzles completed, etc.

  • Anything else that you can think of.

Example for "Book of Records"...
ALL IN ONE! Group Activity: Stand in a circle holding hands. One person is in the middle. That person in the middle calls in some one--one at a time. The goal is to see how many people you can fit in the middle---without breaking hands. Use this yearly to see if each new year can beat previous years!

  • When kids seem to be tired of this activity give them a new record to break and a fun reward if they set a new record!
  • Be sure to make this a yearly ongoing event---NEW records can be set each year!!! 
  • TIP: Remember--with something like this--CONSISTENCY is the key!

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TWO BEGINNING OF THE YEAR IDEAS! Creative Fun from the 'Back to School' Category'!!!

#1 BUILDING NEW FRIENDSHIPS Bulletin Board

I do an opening week activity that also takes care of a bulletin board for the first month or so. I cut several block shapes (like cement blocks) out of brightly colored paper. On each, I write a declarative statement.

     • I love broccoli. I have broken a bone. I went ice-skating this summer. I have been in another country. I have met someone famous. Be creative with your statements!

Sometime during the first few days, I pass them around and students sign all blocks that apply to them. I sign them also, then circulate them through the rest of the teaching staff, the administrators, the cafeteria workers, custodians, crossing guards, playground aides, etc. It usually takes  about a week to get them all back.

I then "build" a wall with them on a bulletin board under a banner I made on the computer that says "Building New Friendships."

Whenever visitors come into our classroom, I ask them to sign the appropriate blocks, also. This is really a conversation starter and helps the kids find common areas of interest with people they might not have thought of otherwise. Idea of Tami Knight on 'Classroom Displays and Bulletin Boards' by Barbara Colvin

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#2 GREAT IDEA! BACK TO SCHOOL MEMORY GAME AND PUZZLES

1. On one of the first days of school-- take each child's picture.
2. Make double prints and laminate each photograph.
3. Make a Memory Game out of the pictures of the kids. (The children would play the game of Memory just like the regular game)

After a few weeks, save one copy of photos for your program 'Memory Book' or if this is for a classroom--give to parents!
Cut the other set of photographs and make a personal puzzle for each child. Submitted by Ilene/California

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WHAT CAN YOU DO WITH THE RECYCLED MATERIAL MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS THE CHILDREN MAKE? There are MORE than 23 instruments that you can make in the Homemade Musical Instruments Category.  

DON'T JUST MAKE an instrument from recycled items. Take it further; how about starting a program Green Band?

  • Invite children to join the MUSICAL GROUP playing/singing/making noise!
    OR...

HAVE A MARCHING BAND & PERFORM!!!
Practice, practice, practice….......Too noisy--practice outside!!! 
Then put on a show for a school assembly, a few of the classrooms and/or a Parents’ Night! You can also take the group "on the road" and entertain an assisted living facility or other community groups.

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Celebrate an annual SAY SOMETHING NICE DAY! (All Ages)

On “Say Something Nice Day’ notice something you like about a person and tell them. Declare a day in your program that this is Say Something Nice Day. Each participant promises to approach one person that day and finish the sentence:
“One of the things I like about you is ________________.”
When you are back together at the end of the day, share your experiences
.

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CREATE A SUPER HERO!

The city of Metropolis, Ill., honors its most-famous resident, Superman, from June 12-15. The Superman character has been a part of pop culture for more than 60 years. Talk with the children in your program about Superman and other super heros. (This can be any time of the year! It doesn't have to be in June.)

For a fun activity, have the children in your program come up with a superhero they can be.

  • What superpower or powers will they have?
  • How will they design their costumes?
  • What will be their superhero name?
  • Why are they fun to read about and watch?
  • How are they different from us?
  • Depending on the age of the children in your program, you can have the children write paragraphs about their creation, draw pictures, create comic strips or a combination.
  • For more fun, BE PREPARED TO SHARE with the children the superhero you've created for YOURSELF!  Source: school-age-note-of-the-day June 11, 2008

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CELEBRATE DIVERSITY WITH AN ECLECTIC FOOD FEAST!

Help youth in your program appreciate diversity. Celebrate with an eclectic dinner featuring cuisine from different countries or geographical regions. Serve Puerto Rican rice-and-beans, Boston clam chowder, a Chinese stir-fry, and peach pie ...The variations on this theme are endless, and the dinner doesn't need to be time-consuming.

You can achieve almost the same effect by stopping for TAKEOUT from Kentucky Fried Chicken, Taco Bell, and your local pizza parlor (Italian or Greek).

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A very large program in Montclair, N.J. (38 staff and 225 childen attending daily) offers a PAJAMA CLUB!

  • On Friday nights, staff members operate a pajama club for all students and their siblings-- 3 years of age and older. The pajama club offers parents a night out from 7:00 pm–10:00 pm -- twice a month for a charge of $12 per child, paid in advance.
  • Children are encouraged to come dressed in their pajamas for stories, art, and music.
  • Every month, the club “travels” to a different country and explores it together.
  • Local restaurants have begun to offer discounts for families whose children participate in the club.

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HAVE THE CHILDREN IN YOUR PROGRAM MET FLAT STANLEY?

 By participating in a Flat Stanley project, children can enhance their literacy skills, make new friends and learn more about the world. This project, inspired by Jeff Brown's book Flat Stanley, involves children creating their own paper Flat Stanleys to be sent on a journey.

Children can take their new paper friend to their home, to the homes of friends and relatives and to local points of interest. Children can then write about the travels and experiences of their Flat Stanley in a journal.

The program can be extended by swapping Flat Stanleys with another program or having children mail their Flat Stanley and journal to visit a friend or relative in another city/state for a few days. Flat Stanley should be accompanied by a letter introducing the project. (You can also now connect digitally with a Flat Stanley App)

You can learn more about the Flat Stanley project and find a Flat Stanley template on The Official Flat Stanley Project website 
 

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The following are three ideas by Christine Holtz - winner of the 2008 AfterSchoolPRO Quest for Excellence Award. Christine has worked in afterschool for more than 16 years and is a School Age Program Assistant - Target Level at Luke Air Force Base near Phoenix, AZ.

#1 PROJECT- BUILD A DOLL HOUSE WOODWORKING PROJECT...
The children made BLUE-PRINTS ALLTHE WAY DOWN TO THE LANDSCAPING, and determining the kind and amount of materials needed. This required the children to come together to problem solve, debate, and compromise on different aspects of the plan. Then the construction phase started.
Children learned quickly that they needed to measure and calculate in order for their home to be accurate. Through this one project alone, children learned logical sequence, valuable communication skills, math, and teamwork.

#2 JOB CENTER

  • Here children apply for PROGRAM JOBS such as tour guides: Kids assist in orientation of incoming families.
  • Zoo Keeper: Children maintain program pets.
  • Community Leader: Children make calls to set up community projects and office assistant... 
  • These are only a few. After  children apply, the oldest interview applicants and fill the positions.
    This is a great ongoing activity demonstrating REAL LIFE SKILLS they will soon encounter as young adults joining the workforce.

#3 Another innovative idea developed due to the extreme summer heat in Arizona and the limitation of the children to enjoy the great outdoors. This was no challenge to Christine. She brought the outside in with an overnight camping area in the Drama Center. The children’s imaginations soared when tents went up, sleeping bags went down, and a paper fireplace was created. Their imagination led to surrounding the camp with rocks and caves and a fishing hole.

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CAN YOU ADAPT ANY OF THIS IN YOUR PROGRAM?
We are an after-school program in a museum, so we probably differ from many programs, but we do offer a number of special programming activities, including having the kids share and display their own collections in the museum
(Pokemon cards, rocks, dolls, t-shirts, etc...)

It's a GREAT WAY for kids to understand the importance of capturing part of the legacy of their childhood and learning why museums collect and preserve objects.

We also have Sleep Overs in the museum based on  thematic subjects such as dinosaurs, whales, mammals, Adirondack mountains, immigration, Women's history, etc... We run educational activities for kids and their chaperons until 9:00 or 10:00 p.m. (Art & crafts, museum education programs with lots of objects & artifacts to examine & explore, free time in the museum and usually a music or story telling program to close the evening.) Then campers bed down in the exhibit gallery and when they awake, we provide breakfast and a scavenger hunt through the museum before they go home at 9:00 a.m.

Our kids often make their own MINI MOVIES about particular exhibits. We are a natural history museum that also features the social history of NY State. Kids often don't see the relevance of history to their lives, so we charge the kids with making a movie about a particular period, as evidenced in a museum exhibit. Examples might include: Harlem in the 1920's, Ellis Island, Native Peoples of NY State, whales or other animal-related exhibits, etc. The kids have to conduct some research to gain background knowledge before writing scripts, creating story boards, assembling costumes, rehearsing and practicing camera work, etc. They suddenly become "experts" on a particular subject and often ask to interview curators, scientists, historians or other experts so that they can "get it right" for their films! (
Stephanie Miller, Director of Youth Services, New York State Museum)

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DO YOU INCLUDE CLUBS IN YOUR PROGRAM? Take any 'Kid Activities' Theme-and turn it into a club!
Why Should You?

• Community spirit grows as mixed-ages interact

Children interact with those they may not know

Social skills & creativity are nurtured

Older help the younger

Younger learn from the older

New skills are learned; learning is integrated

 • Mixed-ages are supported

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STAR FISH CLUB "LEARNING EXPERIENCE, INCENTIVES AND MORE"!!!  (From Tasha Palmer, California)

 I called this the STAR FISH CLUB; my theme for the year was Oceans of Fun! Basically,  I  created a poster with 84 questions the children needed to answer/research/do.The students could answer as many as they wanted to. None of the questions were theme based--but random. I used some of the questions from the website, but I also incorporated character education and various languages, math skills, etc. - Knowing how many of my students struggled with telling time or multiplication (from the previous year) I included that topic as well.

 I would create worksheets and put on the board "Question 17---See Ms. Tasha for a worksheet on telling time." ... I had grade level sheets so I could make it harder for my upper grades than lower grades. During homework time if a child had no homework or finished their homework, they would have time to work on the questions.


Students were entered into the HALL OF FAME for answering one question. There were special prizes for MEETING MILESTONES such as 24 or 48 questions. At the end of the school year, I had a SPECIAL DINNER for the families of those students who completed the awards.

Throughout the year, I would have SPECIAL DAYS for "Hall of Famers" as an added incentive and to keep the kids motivated. It was so much fun!

The kids really got into it and so did their parents. My students learned so much and really enhanced some of the skills. Their teachers were excited and willingly stayed after school to help research some of it.
...what was even better was the kids didn't see it as more homework but as FUN! From Tasha Palmer in California
I adapted this idea from a school teacher in Oregon. (See website: www2.redmond.k12.or.us/mccall/renz/masteryclub.htm)

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION ON STAR FISH CLUB QUESTIONS:

    • As for tracking the answers the children gave-I created a system in which the students wrote their answer on a sheet of lined paper to include their full name and what number they are answering.

    • I wouldn't accept any papers without this information.

    • I also had a box next to the board that the students submitted their work. Each morning I would go through the questions, check them, write comments, and on a star chart next to the child's name (which they can't get their name on the chart until they answered the first question) I would write what number they have completed. They were then able to always see which ones they have completed and also how many they have completed.

    • I would then have one of my students pass they answers back in the PM with my comments.

    • The box was left out during the day so at anytime the students could turn them in. They knew I would not be returning them until the next day. It really only took about 10 minutes in the morning as not all of the students were doing it. I did this with 125 students ages 1st - 5th grade.

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CLAYMATION MOVIES My name is Erika Thiel, I am the 4-H Program Coordinator in Bonners Ferry, Idaho. Over the past four years I have been able to offer an Art & Technology program where we make claymation movies and also do image manipulation – the list goes on and on.

At any rate, I utilize Image blender and Video Blender programs from Tech4Learning (ages range from K-12). Tech4Learning provides the software and site licenses for multiple computers AND lesson plans; the software doesn’t come free but I feel it has paid for itself with the amount of resources they provide. In addition, the lesson plans address National Education standards. For more information
click here

 

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 DOES YOUR PROGRAM HAVE A SWAT TEAM? SWAT stands for students who assist teachers.

SWAT members help students, staff, and parents before and after school and during special events. Students receive training in matters such as courteous greetings, assisting others, and maintaining a safe environment. One school (Deer Park Elementary in Texas) believes this is instrumental in helping promote an atmosphere that is orderly and friendly in their school. This is different than the school safety team. SWAT is something your program could provide and then have members offer their services for school functions.

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CHECK OUT THE ACTIVITIES OF ONE JR. HIGH AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM!

WILSON JR. HIGH AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM
Council Bluffs Community School District


CLUBS:
 
1. A BLAST FROM THE PAST!
Students work with peers in small groups to create web pages, display boards, performances, and compositions related to historical events/people. Teams of students present their project at a local competition and have the opportunity to go on to regional and national competitions. They also explore careers related to the area of history. Research, literacy, team work, problem solving are skills that are honed in this club.
 

2. SOLAR CAR...
Teams of students create model solar cars, culminating in a race in May. The program focuses on math, science and technology. Grand prize winners receive a trophy, gift certificate to "Discover" and are featured in a local newspaper story.
 

3. WEB CLUB...
Students receive training in website development, digital design, digital photography, interviewing skills and writing. Students create a CD and their own personal web site, and they interview information technology professionals in the community.
 

4. OUTDOOR ADVENTURE...
Students meet once per week and also on two Saturdays to focus on environmental issues and how they relate to students' lives. Students hike, climb ropes, learns how to survive in the wild, and explore careers related to the environment, sports and physical education. Literacy, team work, health sciences, environmental sciences are all skills acquired in the club.
 

5. REEL TO REEL...
Students work in teams to create digital video documentaries. They learn how to create a story board and interview people, use a digital camcorder and create a CD. They tour TV stations and have speakers come in a talk about careers in communication and technology fields.
 

6. EVENING PROGRAM FOR STUDENTS AND PARENTS
PIZZA AND PAGES...
Parents and students attend weekly evening sessions to discuss selected books. Dinner and baby sitting are provided. Participants keep the books at the end of the program

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TRANSITION BOARD: Have a ______(Blank) of the Day--Each and Every Day!

 

It's fun to have a daily program or classroom feature where there is a "_______ (blank) of the Day! "
This could be a doodle, riddle, trick question, joke, definition of a word or quote.

Brains crave variety and incorporating activities such as this, will certainly go towards some cognitive variety!

Each month or week, change out "What the _____of the Day" will be!  As written above, it could be the puzzle, a word definition, riddle, trick question, or quote. Great for all school ages to high school! Just put the _______on a black board or white board near the room entrance. By the end of the day---discuss guesses and answers.

    ....if you're taking the time to look at the sample board to the left--the answers are: Period in History, Reading between the lines, Long underwear, Eggs over easy, I understand, Down town, Paradise or Pair of dice!

    It's fun to see how many more ideas of your own that you and the kids can come up with! Board by BShelby-KidActivities

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    GUESS THE PERSON, ANIMAL OR THING! (This could be  a version of "Have a  ______ of the Day!"

    1. Using a picture of an animal, children's character or personality, cover the entire picture with puzzle pieces to hide identifying features.
     
    2. Take one piece off at a time; children guess who/what is underneath.

    3. This can be done as a group game, individual or team play. It could also be set up in a special daily spot--with guesses being made as removed pieces reveal who/what it is!

    4. Depending on how you play this-points can be added or subtracted. The most points of course going to the individual or team who correctly guesses with the least amount of puzzle pieces removed!

    Be sure to check out the Transition/Sponge activities and games...More than 75 ideas!!! Don't make kids sit/stand and wait. Have fun whenever you  have some "down time"...

    See page 2 for more ideas!

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Creative SAC Ideas Page 2

February 21, 2010 03:43 by Barbara Shelby

Click here for pg. 1

 

 This is a fun 'Community" idea for the month of April!

'EARTH DAY' GROCERIES PROJECT
Four Simple Steps

 

1. Borrow. Contact a local grocery store that uses large paper grocery bags. See if the manager will let you "borrow" enough bags so that each student in your school can decorate one. Let the manager know about the project and its environmental education message, of course! Grocers usually get these bags in "bundles" of 500.
 
2. Decorate.
Have students at school decorate the bags with pictures of the earth, environmental messages, the name of your school, etc. Be creative! DO NOT allow students to write their last names on any bags.
 
3. Deliver.
A couple of days before Earth Day you and/or your students return the decorated bags to the grocery store - with many thanks to the manager! The store then distributes these bags (full of groceries) to happy and amazed shoppers on Earth Day.
 
4. Report. Fill out the Report Form on the project web site with a count of how many bags your school made. Please, only one report per school. All reports will be posted on the
Earth Day Groceries site

You do not need to sign up or register, just have a great time with the project! For more information, check the FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) on the above website link.

Another Idea: If you can't use paper bags, you can have students decorate individual fliers, or even bookmarks, which can be handed out to shoppers or inserted in their shopping bags. These will be counted in the project tally, so do send in your report!
This is a great idea, even if you do it on your own!

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SURVIVOR READER! (Good Idea for Reading Club or Book Club!)
Who are the ultimate readers in your class/program? And what are they willing to do to prove it? Will they eat fried worms (gummy candy) ala How to Eat Fried Worms (Thomas Rockwell)? Can they climb a beanstalk (rope ladder) like Jack? Will they drink Freckle Juice (Judy Blume)?

Search titles to create a challenge to tax even your boldest readers.
You can also create a booklist of "survivor" titles such as Hatchet (Gary Paulsen), A Girl Named Disaster (Nancy Farmer), My Side of the Mountain (Jean Craighead George) along with a competition to see who survives reading all the survivor books. Adapted from: nea.org

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NAME FUN...Good for about grade 3 to adult--some younger children 'may' enjoy a couple!

WHAT WOULD YOUR NAME BE IF YOU USED...

(Examples shown...)


1. YOUR ROCK STAR NAME: First pet & current family car (Pixie PT Cruiser)

2. YOUR DETECTIVE NAME: Favorite color & favorite animal (Red Chimpanze) 

3. YOUR SOAP OPERA NAME: Middle name, city where you were born
(Jean Detroit)


4. YOUR STAR WARS NAME: the first 3 letters of your last name and first 2 letters of your first name
(She Ba)


5. SUPERHERO NAME: 'The' plus 2nd favorite color and  favorite drink
(The Brown Sweet Tea)


6. NASCAR NAME: The first names of your grandfathers
(Joseph Anthony)


7. TV WEATHER ANCHOR NAME: Your 5th grade teacher's last name, a major city that starts with the same letter
(Celestine Chicago)

8. SPY NAME: your favorite season/holiday and flower
(Autumn Daisy)

9. CARTOON NAME: (favorite fruit plus article of clothing you're wearing right now and add 'ie' or 'y'
(Watermellon Soxy)


10. HIPPY NAME: What you ate for breakfast plus your favorite tree
(Muffin Red Maple)


11. YOUR ROCKSTAR TOUR NAME: 'The' and Your favorite hobby/craft and favorite weather element plus the word 'Tour'
(The Designing Blue Sky Tour)

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Have a PURPLE PEOPLE EATER Theme...

A fun theme to celebrate with kids! Be sure to visit it for art, crafts, and literacy ideas. Good for Classrooms, after school and childcare programs...Also would make a fun family event!

Additionally, check out all the themes featured in left side category list of this site...

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EACH MONTH-CELEBRATE 'BONZA BOTTLER DAY'!

What is it??? It's a day just to have a reason to celebrate. We all need a day to just be silly and have fun--so celebrate!!! 
This happens each month when the day and date are the same number!
Example: January 1, February 2, March 3, April 4, May 5, etc.

Bonza Bottler Day is a favorite with many school classrooms and programs because it provides a break in routine for the students and teachers. It has been celebrated since August 8 (8-8) 1985!

When the number of the year also coincides with the number of the day and month (October 10, 2010, there is reason to have a bigger celebration (more food, more friends and more decorations).This is called a 'Bodacious Bonza Bottler Day'. As the official website  states, "Bodacious means extraordinary, impressively great in size, or enormous" Consider making this a monthly event the kids can look forward to!

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This is Page 2... Back to Page 1 for Creative SchoolAge Care Program (OST) Ideas

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Get Creative: Extend Play Activities!

February 21, 2010 00:09 by Barbara Shelby

 

As the Creativity Activity Category introduces-
Being creative in childcare programs is presenting ideas that are original, resourceful, imaginative, inspired, artistic, inventive, ingenious, innovative, productive, having vision, freshness, novel, or unique.

When planning curriculum, one of the MOST creative ideas is to build and expand  an activity! Too often a craft or art project is created by the child--and that's it. It's over very quickly!  It will go home with the child and then may stay on the family refrigerator awhile---and then it's retired to the trash heap or a 'memory box' where it may not ever be seen again.

Children often put a lot of time and effort into their projects. Shouldn't we honor those efforts? Adding extension ideas to  art and craft projects that are attempted by children is one way to do that. (Not to mention that it also helps us in planning activities) Expanding on original projects will foster imagination and go far in shaping individuals who think outside the box! Children just may get into the habit of..."Hmmmm, what can I do with that?!"

The ideas presented below are  examples of building on  simple craft, activity and art projects!  If familiar, you may have seen them in other categories about the site.

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MAKING PET ROCKS has been around for quite awhile! It's still a fun idea for children who have never made one. Don't stop with making the 'Pet Rock' but continue with some of the extension ideas!

PET ROCKS... Find smooth, flat or round rocks. Be sure to clean off any dirt or sand and dry completely before starting. Paint with acrylic paints. Decorate faces by using google eyes, yarn for hair, markers, glitter, and any other tidbits you like.

Extension Ideas:
Investigate what type of rock your pet is. What are the three main types of rock? Discuss their characteristics and give examples of the different types. Photo from shirtvalley.com


Activities:

  • Write down its funniest sayings
  • Dress it up for a costume party
  • Send it on a holiday/vacation
  • Write it a bedtime story
  • Make it a form of transportation or a bed/house/etc.
  • Give it a name
  • Give it a birthday party and a present-Give all the Pet Rocks a Birthday Party! 
  • Take it for a walk in the park and write what the two of you did
  • Have a picnic
  • Teach it a trick
  • Write out a word bank/haiku/pet journal
  • Prepare it to go to a class such as dance class/gymnastics/playgroup/sports day
  • Send it for a sleepover with a friend
  • Write out a menu sheet for its food
  • Photograph it/blog about it
  • Make a scrapbook page about it
  • Inspired by My Science Program

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 Yes--we also---Make Musical Instruments! (Homemade and Recycled Material Instruments Here) But...

 

WHAT DO WE DO WITH THE MUSICAL INSTRUMENTS ONCE THEY'RE MADE?

SOME IDEAS…
1. Start a PROGRAM GREEN BAND! (Green-because it's made from 'recycled' materials) Invite children to join the musical group ...OR...
2. Form a MARCHING BAND!...OR...
3. Have a PARADE!!!

PERFORM!!!

  • Practice, practice, practice…then put on a show for a school assembly, a few of the classrooms and/or a parents’ night!
  • How about the Marching Band or parade?
  • You can also take the group "on the road" and entertain an assisted living facility or other community group.
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    NO MATTER WHAT YOU CHOOSE TO DO WITH THE INSTRUMENTS:
  • Show children how to play the instruments.
  • Play along with a piece of music---Start out by playing some FAMILIAR SONGS with which they can play their instruments. (Maybe sing with them too?)
  • Encourage youth to listen for the beat of the song and match their strokes to the tempo of the music.
  • Give children CHOICE. Before they choose their final "Band Instrument --- let them play from a variety.
  • Put on some lively music and have child practice the instrument. Because it will be loud--you could practice outside when weather is nice!
  • Consider Choosing an instrument for yourself and join the children's' Instrument Parade!
  • It's not enough to just make the instruments - Now have some fun with them!!!

Visit the  Music in our Schools and After School Programs Category for some great Ideas! 

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 KIDS ALL PLAY WITH MATCH BOX CARS! How about introducing a little physics into it--and move the cars around? 

•  Ask kids to predict how far cars will roll. Mark predictions with tape and measure the actual distances

• Help children set up ramps at different angles to roll the Matchbox cars. 

  Compare. Change the length and angles of car ramps and compare results. 

 IN SCIENCE...STIMULATE A SENSE OF WONDER

  • Ask open-ended questions like "I wonder what might happen if..." or "If we change the temperature (or size, or shape,  or location), what do you think will happen?"
  • Answer their questions by asking, "How might we find out?" Encourage predictions.
  • Offer materials for experiments. Test out ideas. Discuss results. Ask more open-ended questions.
  • Teachers do not need to have all the answers. What you need is curiosity, a little planning, some interesting "stuff," and pleasure in watching young scientists develop.

These ideas are from the Science Category. There are also simple introduction and tip ideas for Biology, Horticulture and more...

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PUPPETS!

We have all made puppets with kids! Bag puppets, sock puppets, paper plate puppets-- and more!

Make puppets but don't stop there! There are so many activities that can go along with making the puppets. Besides the actual production of a puppet show--there is the writing. Have kids write an original play or adapt a favorite short story or chapter from a book.

If you don't have a puppet theater--MAKE ONE from a large box or cloth draped over a table. Then... PRODUCE, PRCATICE, PERFORM! Decide if the production will be for each other, classrooms, the principal and some teachers, or at a parents' event.

Remember too--Children use puppets to say and do things that they may feel too inhibited to say or do themselves. Just as with all drama, you may be surprised when you see some of your 'shy children' doing well. They are NOT playing themselves, but playing someone else! Because of this-there may be a comfort level that is not often achieved.

If you are putting on a 'production' you could also make posters, invitations, and refreshments...as well as fill the position of hosts, back-stage help and announcers.  Much more beyond the making of simple puppets!

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THEMES! Themes and interest clubs are the greatest of all ways to extend ideas. There are tons on this site--some very unique!

 With a theme so many ideas can be intergrated. Topics are explored in depth. For example a POPCORN THEME...you not only make popcorn and maybe see a movie-- but play games, dabble in arts and crafts, try some science and more.

 

Be sure to often incorporate a day, week, or month-long theme into your programming! It may be a little more up-front work--but then as long as the theme last, your days are planned.

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TONGUE TWISTERS! When done right you can have tons of fun with them... don't just say them, try some of these ideas during transitions, down time, drama club exercises and practicing pronunciation! You'll find lots of twisters HERE... laugh and have a good time with them!

 

TONGUE TWISTER ACTIVITIES

What can you do with tongue twister beside say them???

  • Illustrate various tongue twisters...
  • Write a book of tongue twisters...
  • Have a tongue twister contest between groups in your program...
  • Have youth write twisters that will stump other groups...

TONGUE TWISTER BEE: Get twisted without getting tongue-tied.

  • Think of a tongue twister, like "Unique New York," "Don't Drop Double Drum Sticks," or "Sally Sells Seashells by the Seashore".
  • The first person says the tongue twister once. The next person has to say it twice, the third person three times and so on.
  • Keep going until someone's tongue gets twisted.
  • Think of another twister and start again.
    Source: Ivy of Boothbay Harbor, ME

***IDEA: Try to say the tongue twisters with tongues stuck under the lower lip, or stuck out!!!

Also see the 'FIRST LETTER OF YOUR NAME' GAME... while at the 'Tongue Twister Category'.

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The above are ideas to get you going! Check out other ideas on the site... You may also be interested in Creative Ideas Page 1 and 2...

Would love to hear how you build and extend your program's simple projects! Send via the 'Contact' page 

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