We had such a great afternoon for week #2 at TMH Juniors! The kids were all eager to come in and quickly found a spot for themselves at the play dough table or the Magnatiles mat. We have purposely set up our hangout/free play time with open ended play materials (but have the option of a more structured game if we see that we need to get the kids more engaged with their peers) because we strongly believe the importance of open ended play to social development. We will provide weekly opportunities for open ended play with a variety of materials to work on the following:
- allow kids to express who they are and what their interests are through play and being as creative as they can be.
- open ended play helps children learn empathy, cooperation, problem solving and leadership skills
Staring this week, everyone will sign in to TMH by choosing an emotion that describes how they are feeling. This is a great way for kids to not only be able to begin to recognize a variety of feelings, but it will help them also recognize their peers' feelings.
Each week, we will pick a children's book that has some kind of social lesson. We began introducing this curriculum today by reading the book Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and Tom Lichtenheld. It is a great book to introduce feelings, emotions and the importance of being a good friend....especially during those really challenging times. The kids loved seeing how Stick and Stone became such great friends, had lots of fun adventures together and especially loved seeing how Stick helped Stone when Pinecone was picking on him. We made sure to point out the different feelings that the characters were feeling throughout the book and how those feelings (both positive and negative) can have an impact on being a good friend. The kids were so into the story and we were so impressed with how observant they were about the different feelings and how the characters' friendship grew throughout the book.
After the book, we played a game of freeze dance. We added a feelings component and each time the music stopped, the kids had to act out a different emotion. They got really into this and even learned some new feelings and emotions through this gross motor activity.
We ended the afternoon with a super fun art project with Vin. Each child was given the chance to make their own Stick and Stone picture using real rocks (which they drew on to make a mouth). Once they finished their pictures and their rocks were glued on, the kids had to tell us how Stone was feeling and why. It was so great to see how much the kids got out of the story and how they were able to make a picture that was directly related to the story.
This week we will be talking about how how to calm down when we get upset. We will be doing some yoga poses, teaching deep breathing and other calming strategies.