g is for {national} gummy worm day

july 16 = national gummy worm day…no better time to learn worm facts, get messy with sticky paint, play in the dirt, taste test gummy worms and gently respect the lives of real worms. our play days are set up much like preschool: when friends arrive they can go where they want and after about a half hour (or as soon as things have “turned” to what seems like an “unconstructive flow”), we go to circle time. then we carry on with snack time and a group activity of some sort and playing outside.

one job was cutting or ripping the red fabric to later stuff in a leg of pantyhose to make our own worm.

ripping fabric has proven to be a most sought after activity over the years. starting with snips made along an edge, then two people pulling them apart makes for cooperation in action.

i bought (or rescued, as some friends said after one little girl said, wait. wait. are these bait?), night crawlers at a gas station.

as i thought of what rules we could come up with, it seemed that these two were adequate: be gentle and keep them close to their dirt.

and maybe that’s true for children too: be gentle and keep them close to what sustains them.

my favorite fact that i learned this week: the longest worm ever found/recorded in the world was 22 feet long (!!!!!).

a big brother and then some more preschoolers counted out 22 of our 12″ floor tiles. a piece of tape acted as worm and we spent the morning with our own 22 foot worm.

there were also play dough worms spanning in length from one inch-the full 36 inch length of a yard stick i taped to the table.

and after i forgot to buy my intended fake worms from the fishing section at walmart, and determined to still make worm prints, i hot glued gummy worms on blocks. these worms were the sour ones, so they had a coating of sugar on them. it might be that that helped them not disintegrate…because they didn’t. they held up and made prints showing the segments and all!

as friends arrived, they had the chance to predict which gummy worm they would like best. we would have a taste test later at circle time (where no one HAD to try anything they didn’t want to, of course). after the taste test, i marked with green if yes, s/he liked it and red if no, s/he did not like it or did not taste it. then i asked them if they would move their name tag, if after tasting they ended up liking another better. no one switched. i was surprised and must have said something to that effect because i remember one friend’s reply: ms. kristin, if we know what we like then we like it no matter what else. i’m still smiling thinking of that.

and then we moved outside to eat more worms along with pretzels they could crawl through and veggie sticks made with spinach (which are like leaves that worms like to eat).

and we ended the day with special surprise: mr matt, his kids and dog stopped by to visit!

and as i’ve experienced so often, my job offers me moments of grace and i offer it to you:


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c is for {national sugar} cookie day


today was the first of four summer “play days” at preschool. these days are for last year’s preschool friends, giving us another chance to be together as a 2014-1015 school family. the tricky thing is that they were from different classes, so the first thing we did was figure out who was from what class (red, purple, green and orange…the two blue friends are my kids who were at their own schools last year). these friends had seen each other’s photos all year long on our picture boards and i had fun watching them together.

today, july 8, is national sugar cookie day (who knew!)

first we had work time inside: doing what we do during preschool, plus playing on a skateboard….that was new and had me think it might be a good thing to have more often! we also made cookies out of play dough, snipped yarn to be sprinkles, mixed glue and food coloring in pastry bags for our cookie project, all with a generous amount of giggling.

after circle time we went outside and wrote a recipe for sugar cookies, one of my favorite things to listen to.

next came the flour, kleenex and baseball bats. we loosely twisted the kleenex around a small pile of flour to use as balls. there was also a complete free for all with throwing flour at each other. i was too busy getting doused with flour to take pictures so some after shots will have to do:

we stayed outside and decorated mini sugar cookies, 12 shades of frosting, two kinds of sprinkles and a vague boundary on how many cookies to use. some made extras to take home, some didn’t eat any at all.

we finished our day inside with water drinks, clean up, and getting all the pillows and cushions we could find for song and story time…it was a sweet play day indeed.

 next week: national gummy worm day!

 k is for kindergarten round up


tonight, april 21, is kindergarten round up for usd 373. this means that our public school bound kindergartners are invited to pre-enroll for the 2015-2016 school year at their elementary schools. our home school and church school friends do not have the meetings tonight. but no matter where you are going or if you are going, we talked about the transition from preschool to kindergarten.

i liked this movie’s use of actual kindergarten children’s voices. our preschoolers noticed that the kindergarten school had the same blocks and art supplies as our preschool.

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we looked at the upcoming calendar month cards and discussed that preschool would end in may. then no preschool in june. no preschool in july. and in august friends will either come back to preschool or go to kindergarten. we used our picture chart photos to make two groups:

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a book we’re using this week is owen, by kevin henkes.

i wasn’t sure i’d  be able to find our preschool copy, so i took screen shots of a read aloud video and we took a “picture walk” through the book on my computer. here are a few favorite pages:

“owen loved his blankie. he named it “fuzzy.” he always had it with him since he was a baby. his neighbor was nosy and she told his parents that she thought he was too old for his blankie and they should pretend there was a blanket fairy and take it away. that’s why the parents look nervous.”

“when owen found out about the fake blanket fairy, he hid fuzzy in his pajama pants!! his mom and dad were so surprised their eyes popped big.”

“the mom and dad were so worried that he wanted his blankie even though he was going to kindergarten that they just told him NO- you can’t have it. he cried and then the dad felt sad and then the mom’s tail shot up because she got a good idea: she cut the blanket into tiny pieces.”

“now owen could have a little fuzzy with him anytime. he could hide it in his backpack or his pocket when he went to school.”

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i acted like owen’s mom: got a preschool blanket…and cut it apart. now everyone has their own little fuzzy.

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remember: life, love, laughter…what priceless gifts to give to our children. -p dryer


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s is for st. patrick’s day

st pat collage

st.  patrick’s day also known as “the underwear song day.” want to watch us singing the song? scroll to the end or click here.

we’re on spring break for the days before and after st. patrick’s day this year, but don’t worry: we made traps to take home and we left our preschool trap up at preschool.  since the leprechaun we sing about is named tom tom and next week the letter of the week is t, it makes me think we might see evidence that he’d been at our school…we’ll see!

we are so fortunate to have our grandma friends doing what grandmas can do best: “sit with me,” “hold me,” “watch me,” “play with me”…

now take a trip back in time for more leprechaun goodness:

st patrick's day

st patrick's day

it seems fitting to honor all our st patrick’s day fun on the day, a week and a half later, when i swept up more glitter from that sneaky leprechaun!  i tell you, he was something else!  we dressed in green all week to encourage a sighting!

st patrick's day

(and when i saw this picture of myself, i realize even more how silly i looked…especially when i ran into the grocery store)

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by the way, since it was u week we also made the u->st patrick’s day connection again:

st patrick's day

the leprechaun wants the pot of gold, the pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow, the rainbow comes after it rains, if it is rainy you might want an umbrella.

st pat

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st patrick's day

we tried our best to catch him by working on one big trap.  we used an old tree house toy and added a lot of green, gold and rainbows to try to lure him in.

st patrick's day

st patrick's dayst patrick's day

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wouldn’t you know it?  he snuck in everyday when we were outside!  we knew he had been there by the little piles of gold glitter (that he must of dropped from his bag).  he also pooped in our room.  but fear not:  leprechaun poop is small, round, sweet and you can eat it!  (green m&ms…though this nicely sorted pile was eaten by my dog before i could take them to school!)

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he left us notes and tricky clues to find a little fake leprechaun hidden around the room.

st patrick's day

he got braver and braver and by thursday i accidentally sat on him (though when i shook out the rainbow cloth he must have been hiding under, all that fell out was gold glitter and a note). 

st patrick's day

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we made leprechaun lures early in the week to encourage him to come out at preschool and then at home.

st patrick's day

these were simple and fun.

st patrick's day

st patrick's day

st patrick's day

there were a few friends who were SURE they saw him on the playground.  i totally believed them.

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st patrick's day

another thing the leprechaun does to us is pee in the water…it turns it green but doesn’t change the flavor at all.

st patrick's day

(and lest you fear that someone will think it is safe or appropriate to drink pee, offer pee, be asked to drink pee, etc, we break out of the make believe long enough to have a serious talk about the topic…which inevitably leads to other conversations about safe touch, bathroom parts, etc.  there are so many learning moments!)

st patrick's day

st patrick's day

st patrick's day

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finally, on the final days before st patrick’s day, we made individual traps.  it didn’t seem like we would catch him at school, so we thought it would be best to try on our own.

st patrick's day

i put mine up high on a window sill during story time at the end of the day and all of a sudden we heard a funny little laugh.  following the sound, we realized it must be in the trap!!!!  but again, when i grabbed the trap, all that fell out was glitter!  and his laugh stopped.  he must have snuck out of the window.

(i downloaded a sound effect laugh on itunes and started playing it during clean up time.  we’re so loud then that no one heard it until we quieted down for story time.  oh the rush.  it was fantastic.)

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st patrick's day

so, with trails of glitter, sweet treats, enough green to see it for a long time, and singing our song many, many times, we celebrated for a week!

st patrick's day

st patrick's day

bring it on in 2013, leprechaun!

(if i could have turned the light green this week i would have…instead i just did it to these photos)

st pats preschool style - 01

well, way back when it was st patrick’s day it was also u week…and i was determined to make a connection:


a leprechaun likes gold, the pot of gold is at the end of the rainbow, rainbows come after rain, in rainy weather you use umbrellas!  yeah!  st patrick’s day –> u week connection!


we had a leprechaun around and he was tricky all week.  he left us magic cups that turned our water green.  he left droppings that we could eat (green tic tacs and m&ms)!  he would mess move our shoes around!

st pats preschool style - 02st pats preschool style - 03

st pats preschool style - 04

(really it was a drop of green food coloring hiding in the bottom of the cup, but wow, we tricked them good!)

st pats preschool style - 05

st pats preschool style - 10

the glue turned green which was perfect for covering our little wooden pots.

st pats preschool style - 09

after getting covered with glue the pots went in a brown bag of green glitter.

st pats preschool style - 06

st pats preschool style - 07

st pats preschool style - 08

after a few shakes the glittery green pot was ready!  now we just needed gold!


so we built a leprechaun trap.

st pats preschool style - 13st pats preschool style - 11

i’m happy to announce we DID trap him a couple of times, but he snuck out before we saw him.  he did leave some droppings and a clue about where the gold was.

st pats preschool style - 12

st pats preschool style - 14

yes!  we found it outside!

st pats preschool style - 15

some of us kept looking for him…he could have been ANYWHERE you know!

st pats preschool style - 16


look who showed up at preschool today…and there will be more tomorrow!  after quite a bit of beard trimming, our leprechauns were born!


my son and daughter were helpful in turning stones to gold.


oh, what a leprechaun treasure!


we have our own little glitter pots to collect the treasure in…


just the right size for a little leprechaun.  happy st. patrick’s day, all!

and finally, the song. over the years it’s evolved a bit. one change that makes singing along a bit easier is that all adjectives for the clothing items have been replaced by “little.”

click here to watch us way back when singing together.