Rainbow Price: $139.95
This is a guide to developmentally appropriate activities in many learning areas – home life/social emotional, math/manipulatives, art/music, science/sensory, language/literacy, outdoor/gross motor, and field trip suggestions. Very little prep is needed to do the activities, just gather the supplies and books listed for a complete introduction with young children or accompaniment to your math and phonics/reading for kindergarten, 1st or 2nd grade. Each month (September through May) incorporates a theme and a character trait into the activities, and is 3-hole punched so you can place the pages in a binder for easy access and storage. Printables are included and step-by-step instructions will make it easy for any parent to work through the activities. You should plan on 2 to 4 activities per day, but plan for what fits into your schedule – “flexibility” is the name of this game. 296 pgs, pb.
Within the packet of pages, you will receive a monthly overview printed on card stock that can be hung up so mom can see what they will be covering during the month – a good visual and planning tool. Sections on the monthly overview list the activities to be done in each area of learning. An Introduction to the program explains the philosophy and a list of what will be covered by theme and character trait. The rest of the pages have beautiful photographs, and step-by-step instructions for implementation.
Let me give you a sampling of one month of the program. The theme for September is “The World I Live In,” and the character trait is “wonder.” Mom’s Toolbox is the first part of every month and this is where some special resources or items will be listed. In September the “Private Eye” loupe and the book Global Art by Mary Ann Kohl are mentioned. Anything found in the “Mom’s Toolbox” section would be good to get your hands on for incorporation later in the lesson. Home Life and Social/Emotional is the first activity section for September and includes the activities of using balloons and a laundry basket to ‘take a hot air balloon ride,’ make a hot air balloon snack, practice your manners by saying please/thank you, clearing dishes after a meal, and planning an emergency exit plan for your home. You can tell already that not all activities will work for all ages, but that’s the beauty – you can adapt as you need to, pick-and-choose as you see fit. The book list for September includes Hot Air, A House is a House for Me, Can You Hear It, Frog and Toad, and He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands. Language and Literacy for September includes tactile letter practice, children developing their own story, and making a book. Math and Manipulatives include activities such as counting and swinging, making a spindle box (counting box), making shapes, a nature math book, and playing a water bottle marble game. Science and Sensory will have your little ones exploring outdoors with simple tools like magnifiers, binoculars, nature guides, etc., making a nature journal and a pendulum, cooking up a batch of herbal tea play dough and creating nature scenes, making an artistic pond, and make a nesting set using cans. Art and Music includes using chicken wire to use as a weaving loom with fabric scraps, making a painting on a long piece of butcher paper, sculpting clay tree faces, using coffee filters to create artistic reproductions, making salt and mirror art, and learning the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” Gross Motor and Outside has activities to develop ball skills and play games like Squish the bug, Hit the Hula Hoop, Wonder-Ball and running an obstacle course. Field Trip suggestions are touring the local news station or grocery store. At the end of each month is a supply list so you can see everything at a glance for easier preparation; most items will be things from around your home. A page for monthly memories and two planning pages are included at the end of the month, as well.
Throughout each month, on every page, are photographs of the activities and children performing the tasks mentioned on the pages. Each month follows a similar format, so it’s pretty easy to get into a routine that fits your lifestyle. The Printables are on card stock and include photos, game instructions and game pieces, and other items that are mentioned during the monthly activities.
Intended to give some guidance but not dictate the schedule, Year of Playing Skillfully can become a partner for you and your family as you begin the educational journey with your young learners. ~ Donna