The wind blows up
The wind blows down
In and around all over the town
The children run and laugh and play
Because they love a windy day.
I don't know if they typically love windy days (mine usually doesn't) but I had them all shouting this song and begging for wind last week.
March is a fickle month. I guess all of spring is fickle. It is hard to plan activities outside. I lucked out (just barely) on our leprechaun gold hunt day and knew it would be pushing it to order wind on my kite-flying day. I opted to make a kite that could have some potential at flying even if the wind did not come through for us.
I introduced our wind theme by having the kids close their eyes and think about wind. I had them share what words they thought of or could see. Wind, Blow, Cold, Kite, Leaves, March, Storm, all of these words were perfect, as if scripted, suggestions by the kids. We tried to spell some of the words. It was amazing to me, that, with minimal help ("remember which letters make the ch ch ch sound like in chair") they were able to spell the words. What an a feat! I had them take turns on the chalkboard and then we practiced writing them at table time.
We read some great windy books this year. I didn't do Winnie The Pooh and the Blustery Day, although, it is great. I had just read a bit of Pooh last month and thought I would branch out.
When the wind stops by Charlotte Zolotow
The Same Wind by Bette Killion (GORGEOUS illustrations by Barbara Bustetterfalk)
Bag in the Wind by Ted Kooser
We didn't get to Wind Garden (McAlister) but it is also a good one.
On Wednesday we made double kites. We had been really pushing addition and I wanted to test their pattern spotting skills. We used cups with numbers and dry beans as counters. I gave each child 2 cups and they had to put the correct number of beans in the cup. Then, they dump the cups together and see what they make together. I then handed them a diamond shape paper that has 2+2=____ 4+4= all the way up to 9+9= . I had the same pattern written on the chalkboard. We all used our cups and beans to solve each problem and the kids took turns writing the answer on the board. They then filled in their diamond paper and glued it to a blank piece of paper. I then had them attach another paper to the bottom and draw a squiggly line like a kite string. On the ground I scattered triangle shaped papers of all colors with the problems on some and the answers on some. To make it a little easier I had the colors of the correct answer match the problem. They had to then find matches and glue them to their kite tail. It was quite hard for some but all could do it with just minimal assistance. Some needed no help at all! We hung the kites up in the classroom before taking them home.
The next day we read Bag in the Wind. This is a longer book for preschoolers but it is quite nicely written. It is what I would call a ''quiet" book. It isn't thrilling or silly or funny. It is quiet, peaceful, thoughtful and easily related to. It is wordy but they kids listened to it. They had all seen plastic bags flying in the wind, or caught on trees or even on their own lawns. After the story, we made our own bag kites to fly in the wind. I opted to use paper bags because I wanted them to be able to decorate them. They colored, stamped and cut out shapes to make pictures (we had been studying Matisse and his cut out art). We taped ribbons to the back and I tied a thin dowel to a ribbon connecting the handles of the bags. I used bags from Target because they are sturdy, have large handles (less for me) and not as much print on them. Also, they let me have 9 of them free of charge. Awesome.
The kids adored making the bag kites and they loved flying them. They could run and run and the kite would flutter behind them. Then, as if on cue, a gust of wind jetted through the yard inflating the bags and tugging at the ribbons on the sticks. The children squealed and laughed and begged the wind to blow past again. The gales obliged just long enough for fingers to be chilled and parents to pull in to rescue them. Pure, windy bliss. My own little summerophile begged me to let her stay out in the brisk wind and she ran up and down the sidewalk in front of the house while Little Sister pounded on the glass from the front room watching her, as if begging me to talk her out and run with her in the early spring air. It was a success. Of course I took no pictures of them flying their kites, but they were so cute and they all had a good time. More importantly, I think they all appreciate the wind more. Whether or not they absorbed my explanation of how varying temperatures and pressures result in air movement is yet to be seen.