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Month in Moments - May '20 Edition

I cannot believe it's only been a month since the last Month in Moments calendar! Time is so weird right now. With another stretch of uncertainty ahead, this month's calendar will build on what worked well from last month's calendar - an emphasis on SIMPLE ideas (huge thanks to all the friends and family who helped me rein in my crazy planning tendencies :). In the upcoming weeks, I would like to invite you to find what is thought-provoking, interesting, tough, or important in different moments and watch wonder bloom as you talk, create, snuggle, knock things down, play, and learn. Watching wonder bloom looks a bit different for each kiddo, with diverse interests and different things they are ready to do based on age, etc. In our house, we are really into bugs and counting, which inspired some lady bug making and dot counting and matching. We've been making stone bugs since we can't bring our real bug friends home. We are learning to look closely and gently at tiny friends to learn about them (Do they have wings? What color are they? Where do we think they are going?). We have also been talking a lot about family members and friends we miss - this has gotten us sending snail mail with handmade cards, jewelry, and worry dolls all over - and has boosted our interest in what the mail carrier who comes to our door does. We look at our globe and talk about where our mail is going. We talk about what we're sending to different people and why.

"...Simple arts and crafts make me feel grounded and present when I'm taking breaks from work to be present [with my kiddo]"

In most tough and inspiring moments there is room - to grow and bloom, to be resilient, to be thoughtful and caring, to find something to be grateful for, to find a new question to ask and dig into. AND... it's impossible to catch each moment of interest or emotion a kiddo has and do something with it - curiosity and feelings can be fleeting things with little learners (and we've got our own adult stuff going on and aren't always in sync), luckily kiddos tend to return to the things that interest them the most again and again and again, and that is where the activity ideas from this month stem from - the things that a lot of kiddos I know and families I know turn to again and again. I was reminded of this, when my sister (she and her partner are working from home with a 15mo) said, "I really like simple arts and crafts that I can do with things around the house. It makes me feel grounded and present when I'm taking breaks from work to be present [with my kiddo]". Through these calendars, I strive to help families and educarers create more moments of presence, curiosity, and joy together. Right no, I think that calls for routines, ways to break up these strange weeks, simple nudges to get outside, tasks that can engage kiddos so we can work - moments that let us step quickly into our most present selves as parents and caregivers. Andddd, right now, I know a lot of kiddos into dinosaurs, bugs, making sounds and dancing around, stacking things and knocking them down, and telling stories. These interests are the things that will hook them so we can focus on what we need to do and that we can then expand upon and dig into in more ways when we can play and learn together. So, once again, this month, you won't find a book list or a supply list - you'll only need things you have on hand and I know every library in my area is closed. I do suggest one book that you can order from an indie bookstore near you, or I'll post a story time link to it soon! We are obsessed with Tiny, Perfect Things by MH Clark and Madeline Kloepper right now - it is perfect for this time. So, that's what you won't find (and the one book I 100% think everyone needs right now), here's what you will find:

Simple ideas with day of the week themes. These daily themes have been helping us break up our weeks since we don't have our regularly scheduled activities that help us differentiate the days. I hope you are finding this helpful too!

  • Get ready for a week of play on Set Up Sunday - stemming from the ideas that space functions like a teacher (the third teacher - you, the kiddo, the space), take some time to set up and fiddle with different materials, books, etc around your space. If it helps, think of these as mini-stations back when you were in kindergarten. You'll get to play together with materials you can leave out for the rest of the week so that kiddos can return to them again and again, giving you a chance to drink coffee, check emails, etc.

  • Make it Monday offers an idea for something simple to create - like story stones, tall towers, lady bugs to do math with, and more.

  • Tuesday Tea Time is an invitation to create a snuggle-y and calm tradition in the midst of some global funkiness. This month, we'll actually try painting with tea! So, if you can, getting an assortment box of fruit teas might be both delicious in kiddos' opinions and fun to use as paint.

  • Word Play Wednesday offers some ideas for building pre-reading skills, like telling stories using story stones (increases familiarity with components of stories), clapping syllables, playing with rhymes, and more. I also included one of my favorite word activities - making adjective creatures. You list descriptive words, pull them from a hat, and use loose parts to create some crazy looking creatures. Please share these with me using @watchwonderbloom! I loveeee these silly critters!

  • Think about it Thursday again offers sciencey prompts to get kiddos curious about the world around the. This month is all about paleontology and geology! Make dinosaur rocks to play with and bury. Make a kid-friendly model of the law of superposition (states - in a fancier way - that if you dig a deep hole, the older stuff is on the bottom (unless something weird happens but that's for another year...)). Dig for dinosaurs using tricky tools. Walk the lengths of your favorite animals and the longest dinosaurs.

  • Fort Building Friday provides some inspiration for building different kinds of forts, including our new favorite - toilet paper tube and cardboard box cutting tree forts. Creating cozy nooks to play in, like setting up our tent in the backyard or tying a hammock to our kitchen table has made our space feel new, making us feel less cabin-fever-y.

  • Snail Mail Saturday encourages your family to connect with loved ones with handmade notes and crafts. This has been vitally important to us. HG and I took all our mail and decorated her bedroom wall with paintings and scribbles from loved ones.

Weekly-ish themes to explore repeatedly. This month, the weeks are moderately themed - the first week is about stories and rocks (I swear it kind of makes sense when you read the calendar... :), then there's music, bugs, and measuring/building. It is easier for me to plan this way and I think it creates more meaning for kiddos since you might talk about some of the same things day after day - building vocabulary and interest.

Ways to involve the whole family. If you have older kiddos at home, enlist their help! Have them do the things highlighted in blue a day/night early. They might like to try making peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to further model the law of superposition and some other geological rules (you can find my lab for 9th graders here). Giving rocks baths is one of HG's very favorite things to do! So if your little one isn't into making a layered jar, that or more and more music might be just perfect for littler learners. Making a nest of yarn instead of a spider web might work better for little ones. And, if you don't have yarn on hand, grab a sheet and make a hammock by tying it over your kitchen table!

Download and print your FREE May Month in Moments Calendar HERE!

Additional resources. These aren't actually in the calendar... but here they are :):

  • A week of kindergarten activities: A family friend has been schooling at home for three weeks with limited curriculum materials, so I helped put together a week of learning activities on topics of interest (hence bacteria and viruses - not super relevant to the curriculum, but addresses diversity of life and needs and wants). You'll also find a preschool packet for younger siblings and a parent guide. A blog post about all this is coming soon. Please note that the morning questions and math are date specific so you may want to go to "File" > "Make a Copy" and edit those to your liking if that bothers you :).

  • A book list: Originally, I wrote this list in response to tragedies in general and gun violence, however these stories are my go to stories for all big feelings. The Rabbit Listened (and Goodbye, Friend! Hello, Friend!) by Cori Doerrfeld; Maybe Something Beautiful by Campoy, Howell, and Lopez; and The Breaking News by Reul are my all time favorites.

  • And finally...a kind of random Explorers of the Wetlands Challenge created for a family friend with a 7th grader. If you are a teacher and need help planning for distance learning or are a parent/guardian and need some more hands-on tasks, please reach out! I'm happy to help!

Ideas for using this month's calendar: If you have found yourself schooling at home, these activities may just be the perfect hands-on and active additions to your day if kiddos are parked by a screen or doing work in a packet. The activities address various math, English, and science standards - if you have specific questions about curriculum links or are looking for additional resources, please reach out via the "Get In Touch" tab.

Use the ideas found here? Please share! Use #watchwonderbloom if you post on social media (and tag me @watchwonderbloom!)!

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