Quality Time with Kacey, image of a koala wearing a Maryland EXCELS T-shirt, sitting in front of a clock

Quality Time with Kacey

Activities with Kacey for Families and Providers

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS will be sharing fun and educational activities for families and child care programs.

Be sure to visit this page or social media regularly! Share your activities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that the activities described on this page and in website links are not suitable for all ages. Ultimately, all activities require adult supervision and are not endorsed by the Maryland State Department of Education or Johns Hopkins University.

Hidden Messages

Have your preschooler uncover a hidden message in this fun activity.

Materials:

  • White paper
  • White crayon
  • Watercolor paint
  • Small bowl of water

Prepare paper before the activity begins by using a white crayon to write letters, a word, or a message on a white piece of paper. Keep in mind, you will not be able to see the message. Consider using letters or sight words that your preschooler has learned. Have your child use watercolors to paint the white piece of paper until the “hidden” message appears.

Counting Time

Use your toddler’s favorite finger food to help strengthen their fine motor skills and to give lessons in counting.

Take a look at these activities from Lakeshore

Nature Scavenger Hunt

Spring has sprung! Enjoy everything that spring has to offer with a nature scavenger hunt for the children in your care. Look for signs of spring such as birds, spiders, worms, buds, butterflies, ants, green leaves, and flowers. 

You can create a checklist so the children can keep track of items they have found:

  • Smaller children can place a sticker next to each item they find together as a class. 
  • Preschoolers can place a sticker next to items they find on their own or with a friend.
  • Kindergartners and school-aged children can make an X or checkmark next to the items they find on their own or with a partner. 

Spring Science

Spring is about growth and renewal. Teach your little ones about the process of planting with this activity that promotes scientific thinking.

Read In the Tall, Tall Grass by Natasha Wing or watch a video of the book read aloud.

Next, watch a video called Grass Growing Timelapse to show how seeds sprout.

Pause at different points throughout the timelapse to ask questions about the growing process. Ask the children to tell you what they see. Why do they think that is happening? What do they think is going to happen next?

Then have the children plant their own grass seed in a clear cup, so they can observe the planting process.

What you need:

  • Clear plastic cups
  • Bag of dirt or potting soil
  • Plastic spoons
  • Grass seed
  • Spray bottle filled with water
  • Popsicle sticks

Have each child fill their cup ¾ full with dirt. Sprinkle grass seed on top. Place a little more dirt on top of the seed. Spritz the dirt with water. Write each child’s name on a popsicle stick and place it in their cup. Put the cups by a sunny window. Make sure to water the plants each day with the spray bottle. Within a week or two, you should start seeing sprouts. 

Small children can use their bodies to communicate what they see each day. If they see only the soil, they can touch their waist; if they see roots growing below the soil, touch their toes; and if they see grass growing, they can reach up high. 

Older children can record their findings each day for two weeks. You can create a data sheet where the children can record their findings.  Preschool children can draw what they see. Preschoolers, kindergartners, and school-age children can use words and/or pictures to record what they see.

Compare how long it took to notice roots. How long did it take to notice green buds of grass? Whose grass grew the fastest?

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day!

Get ready to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with these engaging ideas! 

Storytime

Read The Night Before St. Patrick’s Day by Natasha Wing or watch a video of the book read aloud.

Snack time

Next, make a healthy green snack–green deviled eggs!

What you need:

  • Hard-boiled eggs (prepared or purchased in advance)
  • Guacamole (prepared or purchased in advance)
  • ¼ cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1 tsp white vinegar
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Chopped green onions or chives (optional)

Crack the eggshells and carefully peel under cool running water. Slice the eggs in half lengthwise. Scoop out the yolks and place them in a bowl. Mash the yolks using a fork. Add mayonnaise, vinegar, mustard, salt, and pepper, and mix well.

Fill half of the egg whites with the yolk mixture. Then spoon guacamole into the remaining egg whites. If using, top with the chopped green onions or chives. Serve immediately! 

Math time

For a fun St. Patrick’s Day math activity, make sets of golden coins. 

What you need:

  • Yellow construction paper
  • Gold glitter
  • Glue 
  • Scissors

Cut the yellow construction paper into large circles. Spread glue onto the paper and sprinkle with gold glitter. 

If the children are learning how to make sets, have very young children make a set of two coins. Have them point and count. This will help them learn about one-to-one correspondence. Preschoolers can work on making sets of 5 or more.

Music time

As part of the St. Patrick’s Day fun, sing “The Teeny, Weeny Leprechaun”

to the tune of “The Itsy, Bitsy Spider.”

The teeny, weeny leprechaun climbed up the rainbow bold

When he lost his balance 

He tipped over the pot of gold

When the gold fell over

The leprechaun did cry

So the teeny, weeny leprechaun

Went up the rainbow again

 

In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb

Read In Like a Lion, Out Like a Lamb by Marion Dane Bauer or watch a video of the book read aloud. 

Talk with the children in your care about how March’s weather starts . . . cold, windy, snowy, icy. Then encourage them to describe how the weather is usually calmer and more pleasant by the end of the month. 

Then sing, “In Like A Lion, Out Like A Lamb”  to the tune of ”London Bridge is Falling Down.”

The month of March comes in like a lion, in like a lion, in like a lion.

The month of March comes in like a lion with a great big growl! (Growl with both hands out like claws!)

The end of March goes out like a lamb, out like a lamb, out like a lamb.

The end of March goes out like a lamb, peaceful and with a hush (Put your finger to your lips and say, “Shh!”)

 

Milk and Cookies

Read Milk and Cookies by Frank Asch or watch a video of the book read aloud.

For a follow-up activity, you can make pretend cookies with playdough while learning numbers and math.

First, write numbers on index cards or slips of paper. Then have your child choose one of the number cards to determine how many cookies to make. Flatten the play dough with a rolling pin, then use cookie cutters to make different shapes.

For very young children, you can start with the numbers 1 and 2. Preschoolers can use 1 to 10. Kindergartners can make larger groups of cookies, such as 0 to 25, or they pick two numbers and make two sets of cookies.

 

See activities from past weeks: