This year, we are doing "Childhood Classics"--reading great children's books--you know, the kind every child should get to know, and then doing little activities to go with it.
The first two weeks of "school", we read several Beatrix Potter books, starting with The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Throughout the two weeks, we also read Benjamin Bunny, The Tale of Jemima Puddle-Duck, The Flopsy Bunnies, and Mrs. Tiggy Winkle. We read the same book a few times each, so the children could get to know the book and the characters and become "friends" with them! We took several walks to Poppaw John's garden (lovingly referred to as Mr. McGregor by the daycare children) where we enjoyed raspberries picked straight off the plants, watermelon cut open and eaten right then and there, as well as green peppers, carrots, tomatoes, and more to carry home for snacks and lunches.
During CircleTime, we used Peter Rabbit finger puppets (bought off etsy.com last year) and sang "Five Little Bunnies Jumping on the Bed" (yes, sang just like "Five Little Monkeys"!) We sang our shortened version of "Little Bunny Foo Foo" and learned "Six Little Ducks". Rather than singing "If You're Happy and You Know It..." the correct way, we made the motions to be animals in Beatrix Potter books--If you're happy and you know it waddle like Jemima Puddleduck, hop like Benjamin Bunny, shake your bushy tail like Squirrel Nutkin...
For snacks and meals, we got a little creative--we had "bread and milk and blackberries" for breakfast one morning, as well as "rabbit pie" for lunch. (really it was chicken pot pie, but they had fun pretending it was rabbit pie!) Snacks were various garden veggies, berries, and watermelon. We made chamomile tea to taste, just like Peter had to drink!
CreativeTime included: freehand watercolor painting like Beatrix Potter, a few printed off Peter Rabbit and friends coloring pages to paint (we copy onto card stock, so the paper holds up better when painting). We made bunny ears and foam duck magnets and an awesome handprint hedgehog (Mrs Tiggy Winkle is a hedgehog!) Our goal is to have approx two "crafts" a week, free style art a couple of days, and playdoh a few times a week as well! (We recently made some lavendar scented playdoh that is irresistable!)
In addition, we have a series of Beatrix Potter videos that are so well done--The Beatrix Potter Collection. Each one only lasts about 15 minutes, so it was perfect for that time between coming inside and lunch being served. We also read a delightful book about Ms Potter writing letters (which later became her books) to a little boy, called My Dear Noel: The Story of a Letter From Beatrix Potter . I read this to my own children many years ago as a part of their own Beatrix Potter study!
We love that the children love Petter Rabbit as much as we do!
"The little stories by Beatrice Potter (1866-1943) are meant to be held in a little child's hands. They are fanciful but lovely because a lover of nature wrote them. Her watercolor illustrations are the result of her close association with the creatures of the countryside."
Karen Andeola in Pocketful of Pinecones