Archived Notes From Kate and Meredith (most recent on top)

 

Thursday June 18, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Here are a few stories about dreams.  It’s fun to use stories about dreaming to start a conversation with your child about dreams, good and bad.  If your child is troubled by  nightmares, it might be fun to make a dreamcatcher or a baku from the second two of the stories below.  

 

Dreams by Ezra Jack Keats (read aloud)

The Quilt by Ann Jonas (available on archive.org)

The Dream Eater by Christian Garrison (available on archive.org)

Dream Catcher by Audrey Osofsky (available on archive.org, search for the author)

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday June 17, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers, 

 

There are many uses for discarded boxes of all sizes.  Take a box and decorate it with paint, markers or collage materials.  What will live in the box?  Well, it could be a home for a favorite stuffed animal.  Now, you will need to find furniture or food or just a blanket for the animal to snuggle in.

 

The box could be a place to keep treasures.  Or maybe the box will be a place to keep collections.  What will you collect?  There may be rubber bands or bottle tops, ribbons or buttons around the apartment.  Outside, there are pebbles or acorns or shells or….?

 

There are many uses for boxes!!

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday June 16, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

A popular book at DLS is a folktale called, Who’s In Rabbit’s House?  It's available to borrow here.  

At school this book can serve as inspiration to make animal masks, something you can try at home too.  You’ll need paper, glue or tape, markers and imagination.  An adult can cut out a face sized piece of paper (a paper plate can work).  Cut out eye holes and then get to work decorating the mask with ears, whiskers and more!

 

Kate and Meredith

Monday June 15, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers, 

Now that the weather seems consistently warmer, take a bucket of water and a paintbrush outside and let your child paint the town with water.  We do this simple activity on the roof most summers and it’s surprising how much fun it is to paint with water and then watch the water evaporate in the sun.  Combine with chalk drawing for extra fun! 

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday June 12, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,  

 

Olivia’s Noggin by Daryl Long went the closest to viral a book at DLS can go!  In other words, we had to buy extra copies because so many children wanted to borrow it.  It was written by the uncle of a DLS graduate, self-published and given to us by the author’s brother.  The daughter of one of our teachers borrowed the book and hid it in her bedroom so she wouldn’t have to return it (she now owns a copy!).  

 

Kate and Meredith

 

Thursday June 11, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Angela Johnson has written many children's books; a favorite is Do Like Kyla.  It’s the story of a little sister who wants to be just like her big sister.  Any big or little, sister or brother or only child will enjoy this simple story. It’s available on archive.org

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday June 10, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

The Leaving Morning by Angela Johnson is a book about moving.  As so many families have moved recently or are planning a move, this seems a useful book to have on hand.  It’s available on archive.org.

 

The story is a simple one about saying goodbye, feeling sad but also anticipating a new happiness.

 

A very different book about moving is The Trip by Ezra Jack Keats. In this story, a child makes a trip box (something older children might want to try) and travels back to his old neighborhood in his imagination.  

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday June 9, 2020

Dear Parents,

There are many recommended book lists related to diversity and inclusiveness.  We have made our own, using books available in the DLS library.  This means that we have read each book on this list.  Most, but not all, are available to borow digitally on archive.org.  You can also find read aloud versions of some of them on YouTube.  And, most can be purchased new or second hand.

 

NON-FICTION BOOKS SPECIFICALLY ABOUT SKIN COLOR AND RACE

 

Shades of People by Shelley Rotner

The Colors of Us by Karen Katz

Happy In Our Skin by Fran Manushkin

All the Colors We Are by Katie Kissinger

The Skin I’m In, A First Look At Racism by Pat Thomas

Whoever You Are by Mem Fox

We Are All Alike, We Are All Different by a kindergarten class

Two Eyes,  Nose and a Mouth by Roberta Intrater

 

 

BOOKS WITH RACISM AS A THEME these are for older children.

 

The Other Side by Jacqueline Woodson

Let’s Talk About Race by Julius Lester

Something Happened In Our Town by Ann Hazard, Marianne Celano & Marietta Collins (* ages 7 and up)

 

BOOKS ABOUT DIFFERENT KINDS OF FAMILIES

 

Families by Susan Kuklin

Who’s In A Family? By Robert Skutch

Families Are Different by Nina Pelligrini

Molly’s Family by Nancy Garden 

Everywhere Babies by Susan Meyers

 

FICTION  FEATURING  A RANGE OF SKIN COLORS AND CULTURES

 

The Quilt by Ann Jonas

The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy

The Keeping Quilt by Patricia Polacco

The Quilt Story by Tony Johnston

Abuela by Arthur Dorros

Honey I Love by Eloise Greenfield

First Pink Light Eloise Greenfield

Anna’s Secret Friend by Yoriko Tsutsui

Matthew and Tilly by Rebecca Jones

Monsoon Afternoon by Kashmira Sheth

Crow Boy by Taro Yashima

More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera Williams

So Much by Trish Cooke

Holes and Peeks by Ann Jonas

My Mother’s Sari by Sandhya Rao

What Should I Make?  Nandini Nayar

The Leaving Morning by Angela Johnson

Peter’s Chair by Ezra Jack Keats

On Mother’s Lap by Ann Herbert Scott

Horace by Holly Keller

Do Like Kyla by Angela Johnson

Asha’s Mums by Rosamund Elwin*

Happy Like Soccer by Maribeth Boelts*

Bee Bim Bop by Linda Sue Park

Kite Flying by Grace Lin

Where on Earth Is My Bagel? By Frances Park

Please Baby Please by Spike Lee

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

Aki and the Fox by Akiko Hayashi

Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang

Hush! By Minfong Ho

I Can Do It Too by Karen Baiker

Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto

Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

Olivia’s Noggin by Daryl Long

Who Says A Dog Says Bow-Wow? By Hank de Zutter

 

*For older children

Monday June 8, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Gilberto and the Wind by Marie Hall Ets is available to digitally borrow on archive.org. And, here’s a link to a read-aloud

 

It’s a simple story about a little boy who plays with the wind.  After sharing this story, you can talk about things you do in the wind, remember windy days in the city or windstorms on a sandy beach.  You can write your own story about playing with the wind or make a kite out of paper. 

 

Or, try to make a pinwheel like Gilberto's, directions below!

 

You will need a square piece of paper.  Fold it in half, corner to corner twice so that you have a big folded X on your square.  Mark each line with a dot about ⅓ from the center.  Cut from each corner to the dot.  Next fold one corner from each triangle to the center of your square.  Push a straight pin through all the paper and into a stick or a pencil and you have a pinwheel.  

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday June 5, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Here is a recipe for gluten free muffins.

 

2 cups almond meal

1 ½ cups oats

2 teaspoons cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

Dash of salt

½ cup of walnuts, raisins, chocolate chips or a combination

3 eggs

1 cup grated apple (about 1 apple)

1 cup grated carrots (about 2 carrots)

6 tablespoons of melted butter

½ cup of honey

 

Mix all dry ingredients. Mix all the wet ingredients.  Combine.  Spoon into paper muffin cups or into a muffin pan.  Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes or until knife inserted into the center of the muffin comes out clean.

 

Enjoy a muffin or two and keep the rest stored in an airtight container.

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday June 4, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Whether two people sit down together for a meal or eight, it can be fun to make up a story together.  If an adult leads with “Once upon a time, there was a cat,” for example, the child can add the next sentence.  Everyone can take turns until the story ends.  It might be fun to record your story or write it down and revisit it another day.  You might make a collection of the stories your family writes together.

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday June 3, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

We tell children that plants need three things to grow: soil, sunlight and water but now let’s prove it to them.

 

An experiment that’s a lot of fun is taking two plants and seeing what happens if one has sunlight and the other doesn't.  If you planted beans in soil, you can use the bean plants.  Place one in a reasonably sunny spot and place the other in a closet.  Check on the plants every other day.  Give them water when they are dry.  Watch what happens to the plant in the closet!!

 

Kate and Meredith

 

Monday June 1, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

We and classroom teachers have had conversations with parents recently about how to respond when children don’t always want to attend school now that school is on Zoom, and here are our thoughts. 

Teachers and parents have agreed that pressuring children to attend Zoom meetings or participate in them is not a good idea.  Each child needs their own time to adjust to this new kind of school and it has certainly been more difficult for some.

 

But now that we’re a few months in and anticipating more months ahead, it seems time to make Zooms, like school itself, a non-negotiable part of the day.  We don’t mean requiring your child to sit in front of the computer or insisting that your child pay attention.  We only mean that you will turn the computer on every morning, ask your child to be in the room with the computer and make it possible for your child to be a part of whatever is happening “at school.”  After all, even when you brought your children to school physically, you could not mandate participation or enjoyment, but you could mandate attendance.  

 

Of course, we know there are days when attendance is impossible, just like during the school year;  you may be traveling, or have errands to run, or your child may not feel well.  In these cases, the decision is up to you, you can say to your child that it’s not a school day, which is different from presenting the decision about whether to “go to school” as the child’s choice.

 

It is too easy these days to get lost in the moment; it feels like the safest place to be.  Thinking about what’s changed and looking to the future can both be painful.  But, as adults, we have the capacity to do both and to make a stab, at least, at understanding our feelings during this strange period of history.  Children, on the other hand, live most naturally in the moment.  It is harder for them to distinguish past, present and future.  And it is harder for them to reflect on what they’re feeling and why.  Yet they are no less affected by the loss of the past and by the changes in their immediate future.  Our job is to help them with that sense of loss and the anxiety they absorb from the world around them.  One way to support them now is by helping them sustain their connection to a school experience.

 

One reason some children resist Zoom may be the sadness they feel that it is not school.  The reassuring intimacy they felt with teachers is harder to hold onto when your teacher is in a box.  The friendships that were such an essential part of the school experience seem impossible to maintain when everyone is in a box.  Yet sustaining connections with the world outside the family is a crucial part of development.  Children learn at school, not because teachers offer content but because they provide a world in which autonomy is made possible.  School is a world in which you forge relationships independently, learn new ways to get your needs met, explore the environment and problem solve on your own.  School is one important place where children learn to be themselves.  That’s a lot to lose and no wonder the children don’t always want to accept a substitute.

 

At Downtown Little School, we are always trying to find ways to make as much of school as possible available to children on Zoom.  We hope to sustain or build that sense of intimacy with adults.  We hope to sustain and build relationships among the children.  We want to give children opportunities to be heard, to ask questions, help find answers.  You have all been very patient with us as we work toward this goal.  The children, in their own way, have been patient too.  They all come to Zooms at least some of the time.  They have their favorite parts.  We see them dance, smile, laugh.  Some of them like to share their projects or show their toys.  With your help, let’s extend their patience and turn it into consistent curiosity and pleasure in this new school experience.

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday May 29, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

A friend and early childhood teacher sent this example of a scavenger hunt.  A DLS teacher is making a new one for her class each week.  Even without drawing pictures, you can send your child to look for a countdown of objects to be found around the house or in the backyard if you have one.  For the youngest, you might not want to go as high as ten but that is up to you!

Start with things your child can find in their room for the easiest hunt.  If it’s fun the first time, you can have a scavenger hunt every day, making the objects harder to find.  As a final treat, maybe you can offer a prize at the end!

Kate and Meredith

Thursday May 28, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

What better comfort food than biscuits and butter?  First, the butter.  Take a small container of heavy cream and pour some into a container with a leak proof lid (a recycled jam jar works well).  Now it’s time to churn butter or, in this case, shake and shake and shake the jar until you have sweet butter.

 

For the biscuits:

 

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

2-6 tablespoons of butter (depending on how rich you want your biscuits)

Dash of salt

1 tablespoon sugar (optional)

1 cup milk

 

Mix the dry ingredients.  Crumble butter into the flour mixture until it is the size of peas.  Add milk and combine just until milk is absorbed.  Pat out the dough and cut with cookie/biscuit cutter.  Or, if your dough is a little wet, drop from spoon onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 400 for about 15 minutes or until biscuits begin to turn brown.

 

When the biscuits are slightly cool, pull one apart and spread some of your homemade butter on a biscuit and gobble it up!

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday May 27, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

One way to learn about balance is making a mobile.  Find two sticks and tie them together or, to make your life simpler, use a wire hanger.  Next, you can collect objects you’d like on your mobile.  You might collect things outside like seed pods from trees, shells if you are lucky enough to be near a beach, or small stones.  If you are inside, you might gather small toy animals, interesting lids or other odds and ends.  Or, you can draw pictures and cut them out.  Next, fasten string to your chosen objects and tie them onto your sticks or hanger.  See if you can adjust the strings so that your mobile stays balanced when you hang it!

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday May 26, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Old-fashioned shaving cream isn’t something many people have at home any more, but if you can get a few cans you’ll find it’s a valuable asset!

 

Set your child up with shaving cream and some toy animals or people figures on the floor of the shower or bathtub, or at the kitchen sink. .  At school children love to cover a table with shaving cream, spreading it to the corners, and it’s surprisingly easy to clean up with a few wet rags (another job the children love). 

 

And, here’s something we’ve never tried at school-- using shaving cream to make marbleized paper.  Fill a roasting pan or cookie sheet with edges with shaving cream.  Then squirt a swirl of  paint or food coloring onto the foam.  Use a spatula to even the surface as best you can.  Swirl the colors with a chopstick or stick of some kind.  Next, lay a piece of paper, preferably something a little shiny, not porous, onto the colored foam.  Pat it down and gently lift it up.  Use a piece of cardboard to scrape off the foam and see what remains.  No promises, but it should be a piece of paper with attractively mottled colors on it.  Let your paper dry and use it for another art project!

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday May 22, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

One of our school activities is Rip Collage.  It’s easy to try at home if you have glue and paper.  Children can rip newspaper, computer paper or construction paper.  The serious rippers can try the cardboard from cereal boxes or other discarded containers.  They can make big pieces, tiny pieces and any size in between.  Some children will notice what their ripped pieces look like.  Other children may use the ripped pieces to make a picture; a person, a flower, a vehicle or even a rainstorm.  Most children will enjoy the process of ripping and gluing.  Once the glue is dry, children can use markers or crayons to decorate the collage.

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday May 21, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

A popular alphabet book at school is Alphabet City by Stephen Johnson.  And many children also love Tana Hoban’s book Circles,Triangles and Squares.  You and your child can take a fresh look at your apartment or house, at your sidewalk, park or backyard.  See what shapes or letters you can find hidden in everyday sights.  A pot lid is a circle, there’s a hexagon on the sidewalk.  Trucks are made up of many familiar shapes and just try to count how many rectangles are in a skyscraper.  It can be lots of fun to look at everyday objects from a new perspective!

 

Wednesday May 20, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

If you have soil, pots and some seeds, you can plant some flowers at home.  Marigolds are pretty hardy so less likely to disappoint.  

 

Fill a small pot with soil.  Poke a few seeds into the soil and water.  Make sure your pot has good drainage so the seeds don’t sit in too much water and rot.  Over watering is a bigger danger to plants than letting them get a little dry!  Once the seeds sprout, you can pull the scrawniest and just keep one to grow.  Eventually, you should have a flower blooming in your pot.  Save the dried seeds from the flower to plant next spring!

 

A few additional activities you can do with your plant:

-Take a picture every day and turn it into a little slideshow about how the plant grew

-Have your child measure the growing plant each day with connecting toys like lego

-Plant a few different kinds of flower seeds and track which ones grow, which grow fastest, which bloom first, etc.

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday May 19, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Children love mixing colors.  There are lots of ways to experiment with colors.  At school, we give the children paints in primary colors, plus white and black.  The children begin mixing colors by accident but become more purposeful as they gain experience.  The challenge of making the right shade of green or brown for a painting of a tree can occupy the serious painter for a long time.  Some children have taken great delight in giving their colors names!

 

Oil pastels, crayon, chalk and colored pencils can sometimes be blended to make different shades. Adding white to other colors is probably the most successful way to use these materials.

 

It’s also fun to use eye droppers or a teaspoon and watered down paint or food coloring to mix colors in jars or to watch them blend on a white coffee filter or paper towel.

 

If you are lucky enough to have some colored cellophane at home,  you can use it for a collage of mixed colors; when you put one color on top of another, the overlap is a different color.  Or you can staple a colored piece of cellophane into a cardboard frame and children can look through it to see their world in a different color, a variation on rose colored glasses!!

 

Kate and Meredith

Monday May 18, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

You may already have the recipe for Guatemalan Sugar Cookies but, just in case, we’re providing it here.  These are the signature cookie of DLS, made in any classroom,  a simple and tasty cookie!

 

2 Cups flour

1 Cup sugar

1 Tablespoon baking powder

1 Teaspoon cinnamon

1 Teaspoon nutmeg

Dash of salt

2 eggs 

1 stick butter (melted)

 

Mix dry ingredients.  Add wet and mix.  Roll dough into balls and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Flatten the balls with your fingers and bake at 325 for 20 minutes or until cookies have browned a little.

 

Cool and enjoy!

(With a picture recipe, older children can do most of the work on their own...)

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday May 15, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Some children enjoy measuring.  Take almost any object like a block or a spoon or a...ruler.  Ask your child to use the item to measure a variety of things from a shoe to a table to a pet.  Make a simple worksheet by drawing the object to be measured and putting a line for children to write or dictate the number of blocks or spoons or rulers long the object is. At school we sometimes measure with connecting toys like unifix cubes (pictured), and you could easily use Duplo as a measuring tool. 

 

It’s fun to measure people too!

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday May 14, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Children love bags!  They like to pack them and unpack them.  They like to pretend to be grown ups carrying bags.  A discarded purse or suitcase, a duffle bag or a shopping bag can become a treasured toy.  It is also fun to make bags.  Sewing a bag may be a challenge reserved for our oldest children or their big siblings.  But younger children may enjoy stapling or taping two pieces of paper together to make a bag.  They can use markers, crayons or pencils to decorate the bag and attach a paper or yarn handle.

 

If stapling is tricky for your child, you can also punch holes through the paper and children can lace the bag together.

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday May 13, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Here’s an animal guessing game that Kate made in slideshow format.  Now, try helping your child make their own Animal Guessing Game Book. Your child can think of an animal and draw a picture of it. You can take dictation of your child’s description of the animal.  One fun way to make the book is to staple a piece of paper over the drawing.  Write the clues on this paper.  Lift the flap to find the answer.

 

And, of course, the book could be a family guessing game, a vehicle or superhero or friend guessing game.  If your child doesn’t want to draw the answers, you can help by finding pictures in magazines or online to print and add to the books.  Or, if you make a family game, you can use photographs.  The possibilities are staggering!

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday May 12, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Many of you have commented on how much the children have enjoyed receiving mail from the DLS adults.  Surprise your child with a note from you.  Or let them dictate a message to mail to themselves or to a sibling or the other parent!  Take a walk to a mailbox together.  Or your child can mail a letter to a relative you see on face time.  You can ask the relative to wait to open this special piece of mail when your child can watch!

 

If you don’t want to walk to a mailbox, you can leave notes to surprise your child under their napkin at meal times or on their pillow at bedtime.  Getting notes is exciting no matter what the means of delivery!

Kate & Meredith

Friday May 8, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Body tracings! Tape pieces of paper to the wall to fill a space as tall and wide as your child.  You can open up paper bags for larger pieces of paper.  Then ask your child to stand with back to the wall and trace around them with a dark marker or crayon.  Then let your child use markers, crayons, paint or collage materials to fill in their body tracing. This job could take days!

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday May 7, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

When there is no school, no playdates, no playgrounds; when there are no classes, or trips, no museums or libraries, getting bored is not merely likely, it is inevitable.  

 

At school, if a child complains of being bored, they are usually not met with much sympathy.  Instead, a teacher might say, “Then it’s time for you to find something to do!”  You’ve probably heard us, and others, say  that boredom can be productive!  Bored children, left to their own devices, necessarily must use initiative and imagination to distract themselves.  They develop inner resources that will serve them all their lives.  

 

Should our expectations for our children change now that we face these long days at home?  Can we be fair to bored children and overtaxed parents at the same time?  Children deserve our empathy now that their world has changed so dramatically but it is unrealistic and unreasonable to expect parents to transform into round the clock entertainers. A good balance is hard to achieve, and will surely be different for each family.

 

Here’s a suggestion we heard about that might offer one small support in the quest for balance!  Have your child dictate a list of their favorite things to do by themselves.  Write each idea down on a piece of paper.  Put the pieces of paper in a special container.  Your child might want to decorate or make a label for it.  Next time your child can’t think of anything to do, pick one of the ideas out of the container!!

 

Your child can also make a list of things to do when they're feeling sad or angry.  Children want and need your support but they also feel really good when they can solve their own problems!!

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday May 6, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

What is a pattern?  It is really anything that happens over and over again.  Start a simple pattern and let your child finish it.  Use objects.  Put down one crayon, one car, another crayon and see if your child can guess what’s next.  Use movement.  Nod your head, clap your hands and nod your head and ask your child what comes next.  Draw colors or shapes on paper.  Let your child make up a pattern.  Make the patterns more complex by introducing another element like crayon, car, animal.  Or use one element twice like crayon, crayon, car, crayon crayon. 

 

Just have fun with a fundamental concept!!

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday May 5, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

We hope to see you later today at our Zooms for parents.  As you know, during the school year we lead many workshops on the topic of setting limits.  This is likely an area of extra challenge these days as everyone spends time in close quarters, schedules and routines are in flux, emotions are running high and parents are juggling lots of demands and responsibilities. 

 

We’re including links here to:

 

1. Our standard limit-setting workshop hand-out that might be familiar to many of you, and

 

2. A more detailed version for our current times. 

 

If you’d like to discuss limit-setting just send us an email, or bring your questions to today’s Zooms! 

Meredith & Kate

Monday May 4, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

An art activity that’s popular in the Purple Room is really fun for all the children.  It’s called crayon resist or watercolor resist.  When you draw with a wax crayon or an oil pastel and paint over it with watercolors, the wax or oil resists the paint producing a lovely effect.

 

In the Purple Room, the children usually use a black pastel on white paper but, really, the process works fine with any color pastel.  You can try it both ways. It’s also fun to do a white pastel on white paper, paint over it and see how your image magically appears where the paint doesn’t adhere!

 

Sometimes children are inspired to paint inside the lines instead of over them so, before they begin, you may want to show them the magic of RESIST!

 

Check out the Purple Room’s Vimeo page for Cece’s video on this project. 

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday May 1, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

If you’re up for something truly messy this weekend, you can try paper mache!  You can use an empty plastic bottle or container, cardboard tubes or boxes.  The sturdier the cardboard, the better your chance for success.  And start small; interest may flag.  Of course, you can do this project over the course of many days.

 

Mix flour and water into a goopy mess.  There are some basic recipes here, including a cooked flour/water recipe. Rip newspaper into small strips.  Dunk strips in the flour mixture and smooth onto your base.  Cover every bit of surface in layers of newspaper.  

 

You may have to leave your project to dry for a few days.  Decorate with paint.  You can tape several bottles/boxes/tubes together to create a figure of a person or animal.  You can use a mixing bowl to achieve a mask-shape.  Or, for another project,  fill a balloon with pieces of candy or tiny toys.  Blow up the balloon, cover with paper mache.  Allow to dry.  Paint it and you have a pinata!

 

Don’t forget to send us photos of any finished products!!

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday April 30, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Children love hiding and finding things.  Even older children still get a kick out of hide and seek even when the hiding places are pretty obvious; the thrill is in finding and being found and not in success in not being found.  Hiding a small toy in playdough can also be fun.  Even when your child watches you cover the toy in dough, it is fun to uncover it.  If you don’t want to be a constant part of the fun, let your child know that you will be hiding some of their toys and let them go on an unsupervised hunt!  And, finally, try hiding little treasures or wrapped edible treats so your child can go on a real treasure hunt!

 

A related activity is drawing a treasure map.  Children can certainly do this on their own as such a map is all concept and fun without any real map!  Or, you can draw simple directions for your child to follow to find a hidden treasure.

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday April 29, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

It’s spring. Things are blooming.  Maybe you and your children would like to grow some plants at home.

 

If you happen to have dried beans at home, you are ready to get started. 

 

1. Place a damp, folded paper towel into a zip lock bag.

2. Insert 5 staples about halfway up the bag. This will keep the beans in the right place so that there's room to watch the roots grow.

3. Place a few beans into the bag.

4. Tape the bag onto a wall or window. Add water as needed to keep the paper towel damp.

5. Watch what happens!  

You can also try sprouting potatoes, pineapples or carrots. Carrots are probably the simplest and most immediately satisfying.  Just cut about an inch or a little less of carrot from the top and place it in a dish with water about halfway up.  In a few days, you will see roots and then carrot tops!  Be sure to change the water every few days.

 

And finally you can try planting the seeds you find in foods at home.  Some, like apple seeds, may never grow, but if you can find any seeds in your clementines, they just might work.  A friend has a lovely plant from a clementine seed dropped accidentally into another plant’s pot!

 

Kate and Meredith

p.s. Remember Adam goes live today for all classrooms at 3:00pm!

Tuesday April 28, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,      

 

If you don’t have an actual memory/matching game, it’s pretty simple to make one.  Many children really enjoy this kind of solitaire or you can play it together.  Use index cards or pieces of cardboard or paper, all cut to about the same size.  Draw simple shapes or patterns on the cards, making sure you have at least two identical versions of each one.  You can draw two yellow circles, two red circles, two blue stars, two smiling faces etc.  Children who like to draw can help! You can also use stickers, pictures printed from the internet, or even patterned paper to make your cards.

 

Place cards face down.  Each player can turn up two cards at a time.  If they are the same, you keep the match and take another turn.  If they don’t match, turn them over as they were.  The trick, of course is to remember where each picture is so that you can get a match the next time.

Older children can play with a deck of regular playing cards (you don’t have to use the whole deck ). 

 

Kate and Meredith

 

 

Monday April 27, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

We mentioned lacing cards recently as a simple way to introduce sewing.  At school, the next step would be sewing on rug-hooking mesh canvas, as in the picture on the right.  Children start by using a piece of yarn with a bit of masking tape twisted on the end which acts as the needle.  Children can try this at home with the mesh that comes on a wine bottle, a piece cut out of a rubber mesh rug pad, or anything else you can find in the house that has small holes!

 

A next step, if you have a way to order the supplies, is embroidery on burlap. This is a popular craft in the Purple Room, but many of the children in the other classrooms may enjoy slightly modified versions.  You will need: a piece of burlap (or felt will work), an embroidery hoop, embroidery needles (these are real, metal needles with a large eye and a pretty blunt point), yarn and a Sharpie. First, the child can draw a simple design or figure on the burlap.  Then use the embroidery hoop to hold the burlap taut.  Thread the needle and begin to sew.  

 

It is hard for many children to get the hang of turning the hoop before taking a stitch or sewing up from the bottom or down from the top.  The worst that happens, however, is that the yarn goes around the hoop and makes it difficult to take the completed sewing out of the hoop without damage.

 

Younger children, especially if they’ve practiced with lacing cards, may just enjoy sewing on burlap without a drawing or an embroidery hoop.  A colorful tangle of yarn on burlap can look lovely.

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday April 24, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Many of you are looking for ways of explaining our “new normal” to your children, and in our recent parent meetings some of you especially wanted help talking about working from home. We’ve made a sample template (click to download) of a book that you can make and adapt by filling in the names and illustrating it with simple drawings. We’ll be working on more templates and will continue to share them with you.

 

Of course, children love to make books too!  You need a stapler, some paper and markers, crayons or colored pencils.  Something about papers stapled together is inspirational.  In other words, when you call a collection of drawings a book, it may have more mystique and thus more holding power. Whether your child is scribbling or drawing pictures, they often want to label the drawings.  You can print the words or older children may want you to tell them the letters so they can write for themselves.  Children may dictate a narrative to go with their pictures.

 

Older children may like the idea of a theme for their books.  You might suggest making a book of animals, dreams, foods.  Younger children will probably be happiest just drawing but might enjoy making a book of colors, a color per page.  No doubt the best ideas will come from the children themselves.

 

Have a book-making session at home; you can work on yours and your child can work on one too!

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday April 23, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Many of you have expressed concern about your children’s level of screen time, and of course this is a national conversation! If you are looking for a sane resource, we recommend the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. One of their founders and resident experts is Nancy Carlsson-Paige, education professor and author of one of our favorite books The War Play Dilemma.  You will find her perspective very much in line with that of DLS, and we think her advice is valuable during these difficult times. (Fun fact: she is the mother of actor Matt Damon.) They have an upcoming webinar for parents on April 27th called Peace of Mind for Parents: How to Practice Family Digital Wellness (During COVID-19).  

 

Right now, we are relying on screens for many things.  They are a social connection for our children and also for us.  They are entertainment and distraction. They are replacements for things we are missing like school, and trips to the library, museum, or garden. They are a hub for daily life, more than ever. This means that setting limits on children’s screen time or our own is extra hard and may even be self-defeating.  We have to acknowledge how much we need our devices, and avoid succumbing to too much self-recrimination.

 

At the same time, as we’ve said in notes past, in times of stress children need more structure, not less; more clarity, not less; more consistency, not less.  We strongly recommend a screen time schedule for your child-- it may be more hours than you’d like, but they will be planned hours that you and your child can count on.  This will help you to avoid the pitfall of using screen time as a reward or withholding it as a punishment. The Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood is recommending “Screen-free Saturdays” and this might be a good and manageable way to reset once a week and calm some of the anxiety we’re all feeling about over-reliance on our devices.

 

As always, we’re here to help.  Please let us know if you want to talk about managing screen time at your house.

 

Meredith & Kate

Wednesday April 22, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

It can be confusing for children to have parents at home full time but not always be available to them.  And of course, it’s difficult for you to work from home with children underfoot! This is a time that invites challenging behavior from many children.  If whining and helplessness are on the increase in your home, know that you are not alone.  

 

While we have no cure, one thing that some of the teachers have suggested in their notes home is giving your child the opportunity to pretend to be a baby.  Take 10-15 minutes out of your day (mark it by setting a timer) to treat your child like an infant. You can play this game with or without props. A blanket, a pretend pacifier or bottle, some baby toys and books are fun additions but, most important is to allow baby talk, to hold your ‘baby’ in your arms, maybe sing a lullaby and have no expectations for mature behavior!  When the timer rings, don’t head right back to work-- take another 10 minutes to help your baby gradually grow up-- crawling, walking, talking and then maybe helping you with a chore or two. Your praise of your child’s growing abilities will help them feel good about being big. You might also find that this game meets a need your child may not be able to articulate, and having some baby-game time once in a while may translate into less babyish behavior overall. 

Tuesday April 21, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

How about making some very simple puppets?  

 

Our favorite puppet collage at school involves squares and rectangles made from cardboard.  We ask children to make a person or an animal by gluing different size pieces together. Once the glue has dried, you can draw a face or color on some clothes, or if you enjoyed the gluing, you can add a face with buttons, beads, yarn or anything else you can think of.  Then add fabric for clothes or fur!! The children never seem to tire of this project at school so it may conjure happy memories when you do it at home for all but the Red Room who may just be excited to try this for the first time!

 

Another puppet idea: draw figures, cut them out and tape them onto a popsicle stick, a pencil, a chopstick or anything else you can find around the house that will let your child be a puppeteer.  You can make characters from a favorite book or movie, vehicle puppets, outer space puppets, superhero puppets... If drawing is the challenge, you can print coloring pages you find online or use pictures cut from magazines or newspapers. 

 

Or, cut out photographs of family and turn them into puppets!  You can glue or tape the cut-outs onto cardboard so they last longer.

 

Kate and Meredith

Monday April 20, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

You may be familiar with something called scratch art.  You can buy a little kit with papers covered in waxy black with a pointed wooden stick to scratch with.  When you draw on the black papers with the stick, rainbow colors appear underneath. Well, now you can make your own!

 

Crayons or oil pastels work for this project.  Start with a small piece of heavy paper, an index card or cardboard from a food package.  Your child can use all different colors to cover the whole surface of the paper/cardboard.  Then, cover the whole surface with black. This part of the process may be yours to do if you have younger children.  

 

Now take anything from a toothpick to a chopstick or screw and scratch away the black; draw a picture or a design and watch the rainbow colors reappear.

 

Kate & Meredith

Friday April 17, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Structure may not be your spontaneous go to during this long stretch of time in your apartment, country home or someone else’s home.  But, whether you are staying with indulgent grandparents, cranky relatives, close friends or are alone, your child will need clarity, routines and structure more than ever.

 

This is not a time for offering choices that can lead to indecision.  Indecision leads to frustration, yours and your child’s! So plan for some non-negotiable parts of every day even when we’re living in a time when you may feel you can be endlessly flexible about time.

 

First, decide what parts of your day it will help most to have planned ahead of time and share what you have decided with every member of the household.  Maybe, your walk outside will be at the same time every day. If you’re not leaving the house, maybe your dance party or some form of exercise can be at the same time.  

 

Another rule might be that everyone has to participate in certain family activities.  Maybe everyone has to sit at the table together for all meals. Everyone has to go outside or play whatever active game you’ve decided on.

 

While these rules may seem and even be arbitrary, they are the beginnings of creating new routines (or reestablishing old ones) and they will help your child feel secure in this world turned upside down.  

 

We all often feel like indulging children more, or giving them more choices,  in times of change and stress but the most reassuring thing you can do for them right now is be the one in charge, the one who keeps life predictable at home, the one who keeps them safe!

Here's a handout we made for a past workshop on Offering Choices

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday April 16, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

At school we have a book called, It Looked Like Spilt Milk. The illustrations are just white blobs against a blue background, identified as looking like anything from a bird in the sky to spilt milk.  In the end, it turns out that they are all clouds.

 

Here’s a read aloud of the book: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q-BuNmf1jec

 

There is a simple art project inspired by the book. You will need white paint, paper (any color but white and any size) and a brush.  First take a piece of paper and fold it in half and open it up again. Next, let your child apply paint to just one side. The child can then fold the paper again and smooth it down with two hands.  Open the folded paper and see what you have! What does your white paint or cloud look like?

 

Of course you can do this same project with any color paint on any color paper and it’s loads of fun whether the result looks like something or not!

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday April 15, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

As our days at home blend into weeks and a month, it’s easy to let go of structure completely.  Whether you are home taking care of your children full time or trying to balance children and work, time has a way of losing meaning!  There’s no specific time by which anyone needs to get dressed. If you’re getting out of the house at all, there’s no set time you have to leave and so it goes.  Yet, our days cry out for structure, for things that are predictable and dependable. Though your children may not know it, they crave structure too!  

 

Cece, in the Purple Room, has some suggestions to help parents organize the days for their children:

  

Try having some kind of morning meeting with your family.  You can come together and say what day it is, discuss the weather outside, what you’re having for lunch that day or something that happened yesterday.  Then go over the plan for the day. A simple picture schedule for a child is enough. Line drawings with a symbol for each part of the day are easy to manage.  For example, a sun could represent the morning meeting, a crayon could mean independent play time while two crayons might stand for time you will play with your child.

 

After your meeting (or conversation over breakfast), it can be independent play time with the promise of doing a project together after.  Give your child a choice of two activities during that time and, of course, choose something your child can do independently. It might be a choice between playing school or using Duplo.  Here’s when a timer may come in handy. You can gradually increase the length of time you expect your child to play alone or with siblings. 

Next, comes clean up time.  You can help at first, expecting your child to do more of the clean up over time.  The amount of independence you can expect will vary based on your child’s age and temperament, but, regardless, you can start small and gradually increase your expectations. 

 

After this independent play time, try reading stories aloud or try one of the school projects or do whatever you most enjoy doing with your child.

 

And the last thing, which you are all aware of, is the need to get up and move around.   Find ways to work exercise into your day. If you're not able to get outside, have a dance party, do jumping jacks, yoga, anything!  

 

Now, we hope, it’s lunch time!

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday April 14, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

We usually introduce sewing in the 4s class, but even children as young as 2 can learn the basics of sewing by using a lacing card.  And you can make one at home! Take a piece of cardboard (you can cut a piece from a food box) and draw a simple drawing, or have your child draw one.  They can color it in if they want. Use a hole punch (or nail or skewer) to make holes along the lines of the drawing, sort of like a dot-to-dot.  Pull a shoelace out of a shoe (don't worry, you can put it back later) and tie a knot at one end.  Then show your child how to "sew" through the holes by going from back to front then front to back.  

Meredith & Kate

Monday April 13, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Many of our suggestions for activities involve adult participation or, at least, supervision.  Of course, working from home with children wanting your attention creates a new need for more self-sufficient children at least for part of the day.

 

One way to help your child to play alone for dependable stretches of time is to use a timer!  While this suggestion may not be foolproof, it’s certainly worth a try.

 

If you happen to have an old-fashioned kitchen timer, you’re in luck.  Otherwise use your microwave timer, or you can order a visual timer like the ones we sometimes use at school (you can find one on Amazon for under $20).

 

First, set your child up with an activity, say, 3 puzzles to complete, a small page to color in, or a simple clean up task.  Set the timer for just 5 minutes and tell your child you’ll peek when the timer goes off. If the job is done, you’ll play a game together.  Gradually increase the length of time you expect your child to manage alone. Your undivided attention at the end, even for just five uninterrupted minutes, is a strong motivator.

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday April 10, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

After you’ve explored different found musical instruments in your home, try making simple instruments with your child.  Cover one end of a toilet paper roll with a sturdy piece of paper and tape. Place small amounts of pebbles, rice, beans, beads or buttons inside. Then cover the other end.  Now you have a shaker. Decorating it is optional. You can make multiple shakers with different things inside and compare the way the different things or different amounts of things make your shaker sound.  A small pill bottle or any other small, plastic container will also work

 

Another easy instrument to make at home is a “guitar.”   If you have a sturdy cardboard box, make slits on two ends and stretch rubber bands across to strum.  You can decorate the guitar before or after stringing it!

 

If you’re feeling daring, you can take some empty jars or glasses and fill them with different amounts of water.  Tap the jars gently with a spoon and listen to the different sounds.

 

Kate and Meredith

Thursday April 9, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

First... if you haven't already, please fill out our brief survey about online school-- it will help us improve our efforts.  Thank you!

 

Now, here’s a project that needs only your child’s imagination.  

 

It’s fun to clap or potch (slap hands on thighs) to music and it’s also fun to use musical instruments.  But how about finding musical instruments in your kitchen or your child’s bedroom or anywhere at all in your home?  Your tolerance for noise may dictate what room you choose to hunt in. A pot lid and a spoon work well for a cymbal but banging two lids together can be very loud indeed. On the other hand, jingling measuring spoons may make a pleasant sound so any room may be fair game.  Once you’ve chosen your instruments, put on some music or start singing and get to work!

 

Many notes ago we gave you some suggestions of music to listen to with your child.  Here are a few more artists you can find on the internet:

 

Stanley Lucero

Woody Guthrie

Mike and Peggy Seeger (American Folk Songs for Children)

Suni Paz

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday April 8, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Another bit of dramatic play you can offer your child is a box or bag with props for familiar stories.  It may take some time and imagination to gather what you’ll need but we hope it will be worth it. Let’s start with a Goldilocks and the Three Bears kit.

 

You may have to change the species of some of the characters if you don’t happen to have three bears and many of the props will only hint at what they are but most children will be adaptable!

 

Start with three bears (ideally big, medium, and small) and one little girl.  If you have dollhouse furniture you may be all set but, otherwise, you can use bottle caps for bowls and the pot of porridge.  You can use small boxes for beds and chairs. You can remind your child of the story by telling it or reading it aloud if you have it at home or can find it on the internet.  Then send them off with their box of props to pretend on their own. What starts out as a rehash of Goldilocks and the Three Bears may become your child’s own pleasing story.

 

Other stories that lend themselves to these kits are:

 

The Three Little Kittens

The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Caps For Sale (you don’t need all those caps and monkeys, just a few)

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday April 7, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

Try setting your child up with the things they need to play School-- with a bit of a start from you, this is a game they might be able to sustain for a while on their own. 

 

First pick out the students-- stuffed animals, dolls, large plastic animals. Then set up your school in your child’s room (or any good spot)-- ask your child where in the room the different areas will be (Blocks? Dramatic play? Rug? Drawing?) and help set them up, just like teachers set up for the school day. Finally, the school needs a schedule which you can create together that includes Songs & Story, Worktime, Clean Up, Snack and Roof (maybe Meeting too). Then it’s time for the school day to begin! Your child is the teacher and is in charge of making sure the students follow the schedule and know what to do.  Other things that can be part of the School game: 

 

-Big Names (familiar to Blue, Yellow and Purple Roomers)-- give your child long pieces of paper to make a Big Name for each student.

-Story time-- your child can read a book to the students, or you can set them up ahead of time with an online read-aloud book that they can listen to with their students

-Singing-- every class at DLS uses song cards for singing time (there's a sample on the right), your child can make some of their own song cards

-The Office.  Maybe your child needs a desk area? A buzzer to let people in? A phone to answer?

 

Have fun!

Meredith & Kate

Monday April 6, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,  

We have a regular schedule this week.  Classroom teachers will email you about modified schedules for next week due to Spring Vacation.

Here a few games to play with the whole family that use four of your five senses.

 

For touch, place small objects one at a time in a sock.  The player reaches in and tries to guess what the object is just by touching it!  If it’s too hard, offer hints.

 

For taste, use a blindfold and then offer things like salt, sugar, or lemon juice for the guesser to taste.  

 

For smell, a blindfold may be necessary as you offer orange, lemon, cinnamon, onion etc.

 

For listening, use the blindfold again and try rattling boxes of familiar foods like salt or cereal, pasta or rice.  Squeak a stuffed animal or dog toy or just whistle.

 

It may be harder than you think to use one sense without the support of some of the others!!

 

Kate and Meredith

 

 

Friday April 3, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Here’s a construction project that may well fail to produce a final product.  One reason is that it’s kind of tricky to do. Another reason is that half the materials are edible!

 

Use toothpicks and mini marshmallows to make a big dome or a little person or animal.  Mini marshmallows may be too hard for younger children to manipulate so you can try the project with big marshmallows but they are heavy and require more toothpick support.   The marshmallows harden overnight if you’d like to keep what you make. You can decorate with a paintbrush and food coloring or paint.

 

Kate and Meredith 

 

Thursday April 2, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Some time ago,  the teachers in the Purple Room talked a lot about dreams during their Zoom meetings.  One activity Cece and Jeanee suggested was playing with flashlights. Flashlights are popular at school.  Give a child a flashlight in a dark room and all sorts of games emerge. You can have treasure hunts in the dark by hiding things when the lights are on and looking for them in the dark with...a flashlight.  You can play monster games or sleeping games. What’s wonderful about the flashlight is the control it offers your child. They decide when to have light, when to have dark, when to be scared and when to stop being scared!

 

There’s also a video in the Purple Room section of the website on making picture shadows with the flashlight. 

 

Playing with flashlights is something your child can do alone or with you! 

 

We hope you have plenty of flashlights and batteries at home.

 

Kate and Meredith

Wednesday April 1, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

It’s time for a treasure hunt.  Adults, this is your chance to empty out cluttered drawers while children find intriguing objects for a collage.  Look for bottle caps, lonely beads from a broken necklace, pieces of ribbon or wrapping paper, toothpicks, really just about anything can be used.  If your home is more clutter free than ours, you can cut out pictures from magazines, start saving bottle caps. Just stop before you throw things away and you may be surprised how many treasures you discover.  

 

You can sort the objects into categories just for fun.  Ask your child to put all the blue things together or all the shiny things. 

 

Use your treasures to make designs, your name, faces. 

 

And, finally use them to make a collage using glue this time!

 

Kate and Meredith

 

Tuesday March 31, 2020

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Children can help with chores much more than you might realize! Having your child help might make a chore take longer.  But, it also gives your child the good feeling of spending time with you, the confidence boost of being helpful and a repertoire of valuable life skills. 

 

  1. Laundry.  Children can sort clean laundry into piles (socks, shirts, etc.).  Even the youngest children can learn to fold pillow cases, washcloths and dish towels; and older children can master pants and even shirts! Folding bed sheets together is also fun. 

  2. Mopping.  If you have a Swiffer-type mop, fill the squirt bottle with plain water or water and a few drops of vinegar and let your child do the floors.

  3. Windows. Fill a spray bottle with water and a few drops of vinegar.  Give your child a rag and let them wash the windows (and mirrors).

  4. Dishes.  After meals, let your child wash any plastic bowls, cups, etc. at the kitchen sink. When you unload the dishwasher, let your child put away the silverware (a great sorting task!).

  5. Food prep.  Set your child up with independent tasks to do while you’re making a meal. Some examples: ripping lettuce, peeling clementines, slicing bananas, separating broccoli florets, peeling carrots (or potatoes, or cucumbers), scooping out melon seeds, grating cheese.

  6. Table-setting.  Set one place the way you want it to look and have your child copy that model for the other places. 

 

Your children see that you are juggling a lot, and it will give them a good feeling to be contributing members of the family!

 

Meredith & Kate

Monday March 30, 2020

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

 

Water play is a favorite in all the classrooms at DLS both in our water tables and at the sink.  You can set your child up with a bin of water on the kitchen floor or at a table or in an empty bathtub, or with a chair pulled up to the sink. Measuring cups, basters, spoons, dolls, empty squeeze bottles and ice cubes all make good accessories for water play.  Many of the children love washing real dishes and some do a pretty good job! A sink of soapy water can entertain for a good long time whether it has dishes to clean, boats to sail or animals in need of swimming lessons.  And, if you happen to have food coloring at home, a change of color often extends the play! (Shaving cream is fun, too.)

 

You can also do a sink/float experiment with tin foil and pennies.  Your child makes a "boat" out of foil and loads it with pennies, one by one, seeing how many the boat can hold before it sinks.  Older children might be motivated to try and make even sturdier boats.

 

Kate and Meredith

Friday March 27, 2020

 

Dear Parents and Caregivers,

 

Perhaps you remember folding paper hats when you were a child?  Or making paper boats?

 

Here are the instructions, and you can find step-by-step photos on Instagram @downtownlittleschool. 

 

1.Take a single sheet of newspaper folded in half.  Any kind of paper will work!

2. Take the top corners one at a time and fold into the middle.

3. Fold up the extra paper at the bottom of your triangle.

4. Use a stapler to secure the hat along the bottom. This is your hat.  Now you can paint it or glue on decorations!!

 

CARRY ON TO MAKE A BOAT...

5. Take corners of your triangle and bring together to form a diamond.

6. Take bottom point of diamond, one side at a time, and fold to make a smaller triangle.

7. From inside the triangle, open and then fold into a smaller diamond.

8. Carefully pull open into a boat by pulling the top points of the diamond and here's your boat.

 

Newspaper works well, but any kind of paper can be folded into a hat (or a boat).  Use collage materials, markers or paint to decorate what you make!!

Thursday March 26, 2020

 

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

 

With apologies to the gluten-free and the egg allergies among you, here is a recipe for roll out cookies that works like a charm.  The recipe calls for cardamom but you can substitute cinnamon or nutmeg if you like.

 

½ teaspoon cardamom

2 ¼ cup flour

1 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 stick of butter

1 egg

1 teaspoon baking soda

Dash of salt

1 cup brown sugar

 

Sift flour and cream of tartar.  Beat butter. Add spice, salt and baking soda.  Beat in sugar and egg. Add dry ingredients. Roll dough out and cut with cookie cutters.  Place on a cookie sheet and bake in a 350 oven for about 20 minutes.

 

If you don’t have cookie cutters, use a blunt knife to cut out shapes or substitute a jar lid for a cutter.

 

Enjoy!

Kate & Meredith

Wednesday March 25, 2020

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

 

Here is something a little different.  Try reading this simple story or rebus with your child.

 

For those few of you who have older children, they might like to try making a rebus.  No need to have a vast selection of stamps; they can draw the pictures!

If you don't already, follow us in Instagram @downtownlittleschool and check out #downtownlittlehomeschool! 

 

Kate and Meredith

Tuesday March 24, 2020

Dear Parents & Caregivers,

 

How many uses are there for masking tape?  Ask your child or, better yet, give your child a roll of tape and some paper or cardboard and see what happens.

 

We have found that children of all ages love taping things.  Flat pieces of cardboard, toilet paper or paper towel rolls, small boxes or big are all fun to tape together.  Children may try to make binoculars, for instance, or they may just enjoy sticking things together randomly. It’s even fun to tape a plain piece of paper until its color disappears under the tape.

Children can rip tape off the roll or use a scissor (the littlest ones may need you to pre-rip some strips for them).

 

For a slightly more sophisticated project, try making tape lines, shapes, patterns or pictures on paper.  Then paint over the tape. When the painting is dry, remove the tape!

 

Photograph your tape projects and send them to your classroom teachers or to us! We're working on a gallery of the work children do at home.

Kate & Meredith

Links:

3/22/20: Welcome to our new password-protected page

3/23/20: Adam's children's album and musicians we love

The Downtown Little School
15 Dutch Street  New York, NY 10038

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