Neither sleet, nor rain, not ice, nor snow

Whether the weather be fine
Or whether the weather be not,
Whether the weather be cold
Or whether the weather be hot,
We’ll weather the weather
Whatever the weather,
Whether we like it or not.

– Anonymous                                                       

                                            

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When I woke up Monday morning, I was SURE I heard rain. I was so excited! I love rainy weather and I was especially excited because it’s getting to be the time of year when rain means SPRING! and boy oh boy am I ready for winter to be over!

Unfortunately, I was not hearing rain; much to my dismay, it was only the sound of the melting snow dripping off the roof. But hey! snow doesn’t melt without sun, right?! I’ll take that over no melting snow, I suppose, and just keep being patient for rain. Driving in to work in such nice sunny and, kinda, warm weather made me decide to scrap my original idea for this week’s theme and do something about weather. I poked around all day (luckily my Monday session isn’t until 7pm) trying to decide what to do. I didn’t want to do spring because I had that planned for a couple weeks from now when it actually IS spring, nor did I want to do rain because it wasn’t really raining and there’s still about 358628946 feet of snow on the ground, so I decided to just do “weather” and try to keep it kind of generic. I picked three books, one covered lots of weather and seasons, the other two touched on a couple different things but mainly focused on snow and rain which I thought was appropriate. The books I picked were “If Frogs Made Weather” by Marion Dane Bauer, “Snow” by Manya Stojic, and “Rain” also by Manya Stojic

I loved the pictures in all three books; they were colorful, bold, and captivating and the stories all lend themselves quite well to being read out loud. The Rain book even covers the 5 senses so you can sneakily teach or reinforce those while reading and because it repeats itself a few times, the kids pick up on it and I ended up simply pointing to my eyes, ears, nose, mouth, or wiggling my fingers to signal what sense and they all did a great job of shouting it out.

This week’s theme was a little less focused on teaching and a little more just on enjoying and acknowledging the things around us, though we may have learned a few things in the process 😉 . Monday’s group was a rather large group and we have lots of enthusiastic attendees in this group so noisy, rambunctious activities always go over well with them. We did a lot of noise making and moving around with both a SUPER basic flannel board, as well as an activity. Thursday morning’s group can often be just as rambunctious as Monday, but sometimes they’re much more subdued and I think it’s because it’s so close to nap / lunch / quiet time and their early morning energy is starting to fade, but that’s ok too.

For the flannel board, I printed out a handful of different weather-y clip art pictures and explained to the kids that I was going to put pictures of different kinds of weather up on the felt board and I wanted them to help me act them out. I had wind, sun, rain, and snow. This gave them a chance to get creative since I didn’t tell them HOW to be a snowflake or what noise rain makes, they got to decide on their own and it was really cool to watch and listen. for example, when I put the snow clip art up, one kid took his fingers and wiggled them while moving his arms down to signify falling snow, but another kid jumped up out of his seat and spread his arms and legs to make himself look like a snowflake. I LOVED it! I jumped up too and asked everybody if they would help me make a snowstorm so we all made ourselves look like snowflakes and drifted gently towards the ground until we all ended up giggling on the floor. For sun, some kids made their arms into a circle while others twinkled their fingers like rays. the last one I put up was rain, that one was a BIG hit. after we all got our rain noises out, I said “what if I told you that we could make it rain right in this room?” they all laughed or looked on confused or in disbelief. that’s when I told them that I was going to show them a trick and all they needed to do was be very quiet and use their eyes to watch me and their ears to listen. That’s when we did this…

The storm begins

1. Rub your hands together – wind rustling
2. Snap your fingers – raindrops
3. Hit your thighs with your hands – heavy rain
4. Stomp your feet while you’re hitting your thighs – heavy thunder and heavier rain.

Then the storm quiets
1. Just hit thighs
2. Just snap your fingers
3. Just rub your hands together.
4. Then all stop because the storm is over (and the rainbow appears!)

 

It was a HUGE hit and it worked so well! I was a little nervous that I might be trying this with an age group that was a bit to young, but they were excellent. It didn’t hurt, of course, that the parents joined in as well. It was pretty dynamic with the Monday session since we had a much larger group than on Thursday (thanks, crazy Michigan weather for making my theme relevant yet hindering my attendance) but it worked well even with a smaller group.

We had so much fun talking about rain and making noise that I thought “Oh! I know another way we can make a rainstorm” So I had them practice their counting and made them time me as I ran to the back and grabbed some of our shakers. I often talk myself out of using the egg shakers because I don’t want to get too redundant, but they’re always a big hit when they are brought out so I should really try to work them in a bit more. So we all grabbed our shakers and made different kids of rain noises. We sprinkled, we poured, and, of course, we STORMED. They LOVED having an excuse to bang on the plastic seats and stomp their feet to make thunder and, hey, why not?

After all was said and done, we cleaned up they rainstorm and I gave them a hint about next week’s theme by saying it would have to do with “Green”

I’m planning to do SOMETHING Irish themed but I’m still at a bit of a loss book-wise. I just can’t find many good picture books. I might just have to buy some for myself and bring them in for storytime. We shall see.

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