Quality Time with Kacey: Provider Appreciation Week

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

Activities for Child Care Provider Appreciation Week: May 3-7

For Child Care Provider Appreciation Week, Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS shared new activities to do with your child to show their love and appreciation for their child care provider.

You’ll find the activities below. For more fun with Kacey,  you can visit additional Activities with Kacey for Families and Providers.

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

Painted paper likeness of children giving hugsMonday

Send a hug to your provider! Using a long sheet of paper, trace your child’s head, torso, arms, and hands. Have your child decorate their traced body using crayons, paint, or markers. If you don’t have a long piece of paper, use smaller pieces of paper and tape them together. Help your child to write a note to their child care provider. If your child can’t write, then you can write the letter and have them trace their name. Share your hugs on our social post and tag your provider or send the artwork by mail or email!

 

Tuesday

Superheroes made from painted handprintsChild care providers are superheroes! Paint or trace your child’s hand or foot on paper then turn their hand or footprint into a super child care hero. Either mail the artwork or take a picture and email it to your provider.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday

Make a kindness postcard! Children of all ages can make a kindness postcard with paper and paint. For babies 3 months and up, you can tape the bag to a high chair tray for thHomemade postcards made by young children for their child care providersBaby doing a fingerpainting while having tummy timee child to squish and move the paint around with their hands. Older children can finger paint or use a paintbrush to make a picture. After the paint dries, cut out postcard-sized pictures. Write a kind message on the back and mail or take a photo and email/text it to your child care provider.

 

 

Thursday

A poem for Provider Appreciation Day with two handprints inside a heart. Help your child write or sing a song or a poem for their provider. Record the song or poem, or write it out and send it to your child’s teacher. If your child is an infant, you can send a picture with a note or poem. Alternatively, you could recreate a poem or quote you find online by printing it or drawing it. This sweet surprise will make their day!

 

 

 

 

 

Friday

Today is Provider Appreciation Day! Take time to thank the child care provider in your child’s world. Making a homemade flower is one way to say thank you.Art project with flowers made from a baby's footprint in paintArt project with a flower made from painted handprints

Look around your home for different objects or recycled materials to create a flower. You can use egg cartons, coffee filters, muffin liners, paper plates, or paper towel rolls. Give the flower to your child’s provider along with a thank you note! You can also mail it or send a photo of it to the provider.

Variation: If you have an infant or small child, trace or use non-toxic paint on their foot or hand to create a flower. 

Share your activities on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #KaceyEXCELS.

Celebrate Week of the Young Child™ 2021

Celebrate Week of the Young Child™ 2021

Celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Week of the Young Child and discover a fun activity to do each day, April 10 through April 16

Help celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Week of the Young Child™ (WOYC)! From April 10-16, 2021, Maryland EXCELS and the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC®) are honoring this important milestone.

Join Kacey, the Maryland EXCELS Quality Koala, for WOYC daily activities.

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

 

Music Monday

When children sing, dance, and listen to music, they develop their language and early literacy skills while being active.

For a fun musical project, gather recyclables to make instruments. You can make instruments out of tissue boxes, oatmeal containers, paper towel rolls, paper plates . . . just to name a few!

Check out some other ways to encourage children to connect with music:

 

Tasty Tuesday

Make some healthy, nutritious snacks with your little ones. While you’re cooking together, you can connect math with literacy skills and science. Here are a few ideas to try:

 

Work Together Wednesday

Let’s work together to keep your program safe and clean! Involve your children by teaching them what germs are and why handwashing is a must. 

Check out these helpful resources, including videos, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To help children understand, read Germs Are Not for Sharing by Elizabeth Verdick or watch a video of the book read aloud.

After reading, teach your little ones to sing this song twice while washing their hands. According to the Centers for Disease Control, we should wash our hands for at least 20 seconds. 

Sing to the tune of “Wheels on the Bus:”

The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud
Sud, sud, sud
Sud, sud, sud
The soap on your hands goes sud, sud, sud
And the germs go down the drain.

(Sing twice)

 

Artsy Thursday

Give your children the opportunity to create their own masterpieces! Children develop creativity, social skills, and fine motor skills with open-ended art projects where they can make choices, use their imaginations, and create with their hands. 

Provide multiple art mediums to choose from. Offer younger children fewer choices. Older children can choose from a larger variety of materials. Encourage your children to use any of the materials to create their artwork. 

Here are more suggestions about how to encourage children to develop their creativity and artistic skills:

 

Family Friday

Celebrate Family Friday with an indoor or outdoor campout!

Pitch a tent outside or create an indoor fort. Decorate it with comfy blankets and pillows. Add stuffed animals as extra guests.

For dinner, help children make a camp-style dinner with these burger packets.

What you need:

  • Ground beef or turkey 
  • Your favorite seasoning 
  • Shredded cheddar
  • Your favorite canned vegetables (potatoes, peas, green beans, carrots, diced tomatoes, corn)
  • Aluminum foil

Directions:

Tear off a piece of aluminum foil (about 12 in. x 12 in. per packet). Form each burger with the ground meat and place it in the middle of the foil. Sprinkle your preferred seasoning on the patty. 

Let your child add a scoop or two of their favorite vegetables on top of the meat. Top your creation with cheese. Secure the foil tightly around your dinner. Poke a few holes in the foil so steam can escape. 

Cook for 30 minutes on a grill or in the oven at 400 degrees. Make sure you let the packets cool before opening the foil.

Then finish your camping fun with dessert. Try this version of everyone’s favorite camping treat…s’mores! 

What You Need:

  • One banana per person
  • Chocolate chips (mini work best)
  • Marshmallows (mini work best)
  • Cinnamon-flavored cereal or crushed graham crackers
  • Aluminum foil

Peel the banana and slice lengthwise. Place the banana on foil or in an oven-safe dish. Add 2 tablespoons of each of the toppings: chocolate chips, marshmallows, and cereal. Wrap in foil and place on the grill or in the oven. Cook for 5 minutes or until the marshmallows and chocolate are melted. 

 

Share your activities on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #woyc21.

Visit NAEYC to learn more about the theme and other activities for the weeklong celebration! 

Activity Time with Kacey

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

 

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 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.

Create a Masterpiece

A tree made from pieces of colored torn construction paper

Dance with the Sesame Street characters as you listen to Sesame Street: Make Your Own Art Song sung aloud.

As a follow-up art activity, give your children pieces of paper, glue, and torn pieces of colored construction paper. Model how you can use the small pieces of colored paper to make a new creation.

You can tear the colored paper ahead of time or the children can practice their fine-motor skills by tearing the paper themselves. Then have the children make their own creations. 

 

 

Fall Fun!

Cover of the book The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall displaying two birds on an apple tree branch

Read The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall or listen to the book read aloud.

As a follow-up to the story, make this simple apple pie playdough* and bring the smell of freshly baked pie to your early education program! The children can then work on their fine motor skills making creations with the playdough. 

*Though this dough is not for eating, be sure the children in your care are not allergic to any of the ingredients.

Apple Pie Playdough

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp cream of tartar
  • 1 cup flour
  • ½ cup salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp apple pie spice

Directions: 

  1. Add water and vegetable oil to a small pot and stir.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine all dry ingredients.
  3. Add dry ingredients to the pot and stir thoroughly to combine.
  4. Stirring constantly over medium heat, cook the mixture until the dough starts to form.
  5. Let the dough cool thoroughly. 
  6. Transfer the cooled dough to a pastry mat or cutting board and knead the dough.
  7. Add more flour a little at a time if the dough is too sticky.

Make a Frozen Treat

What Can You Do with a Paleta? By Carmen Tafolla. Illustrated by Magaly Morales.

Listen to the read-aloud story What Can You Do with a Paleta? Then make your own healthy Mexican paleta! It is an easy and delicious treat!

Items needed:

  • 2 cups of fresh or frozen fruit
  • 2 Tbsp honey (or sugar)
  • 1 cup Greek yogurt (or any other plain yogurt)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla (optional)
  • Fresh lemon juice (optional)

Directions:

  1. Place fruit into a blender.
  2. Add honey, vanilla, and lemon juice.
  3. Blend until pureed.
  4. Add puree to yogurt and stir.
  5. Pour into popsicle molds, ice cube trays, or paper cups. Place in the freezer for at least 3 hours.
  6. Enjoy this new treat!

Building with Ice

Note: An adult should always be present at all times around any water activities.

For this project, you’ll need to prepare ice cubes ahead of time. Fill small, plastic containers and ice cube trays with water, add food coloring and/or glitter, then put the containers into the freezer.

Once the water has frozen, put the ice cubes and larger ice pieces into a larger plastic container. Let your child’s creativity shine as they build a castle or other ice structures with the ice cubes!

Beautify your neighborhood!

Book cover of "Maybe Something Beautiful" by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell

Listen and read along to the story Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood

You can also borrow this book from your local library’s digital services:  

As a follow-up activity to the story, have your child paint rocks or draw pictures for your neighbors. Your child will brighten their day!

 

Friendship and Art

An abstract art drawing done in pastelsRead and listen to the story When Pigasso Met Mootisse about friendship and art. As a follow-up to the story, decorate a letter of the alphabet for a friend. Use any art materials or recycled items you find around your home. Mail it or take a picture of the letter and text or email it to a friend.

 

 

Artful Snacks

A bowl of strawberries next to a plate with snacks shaped to look like birds and a stoplight

Make edible artwork for snack time! Your child can make colorful art project snacks using their favorite fruits, vegetables,  crackers, pancakes, or waffles. They can make flowers, ice cream cones, cars, or animals. Share your child’s edible artwork with us on social media. 

 

 

 

See activities from past weeks:

Activities with Kacey: You Are Special

Summer Activities with Kacey

Activities with Kacey: You Are Special

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS have been sharing daily fun and educational activities for families and child care programs.

The theme of the activities below is “You Are Special.”

To see the latest activities from Kacey, be sure to visit this page or social media regularly! Share your activities on FacebookTwitter, 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.

Monday

A collage in the shape of a body, made from construction paper, pictures, a paper plate, and yarn.You are special!

Create a collage all about you! Draw a body outline on a piece of paper. Draw a face or find a photo of your child. If using a photo, cut out the face and glue it on the body. Help your child find pictures and words in magazines, catalogs, or newspapers that describe your child’s favorite books, toys, games, foods, and activities. Share the collages with other family members and friends.

 

Tuesday

Storytime!

The cover of the book Hair Love

Listen to the story Hair Love about a girl named Zuri and how her hair makes her feel special.  

 

 

 

 

Wednesday

A young child putting the features on a potato head toyMusic and Movement

Sing and dance to Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes as you pretend to put on sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun. As a follow-up activity, find toys, books, and pictures around the house and identify different body parts you need to protect from the sun.

 

Thursday

Music and Movement

A group of young, smiling childrenSing and listen to the song Everyone is Special as you complete this activity with your child. Discuss with your child how we are alike and how we are different, and what makes your child special. 

 

 

Friday

Two girls smiling and sharing a bowl of strawberries“Special Me” Snack

Make a “special me” snack with your child using their favorite fruits and vegetables, or other foods. Let them choose! Brainstorm with them ways to use the foods to create a face or body. For example, use banana slices for the body, carrots for the arms and legs, and blueberries for a mouth, nose, and eyes, and something fun for hair. Be creative and share your ideas with us through social media.

See activities from past weeks:

Activities with Kacey: Reptiles

Summer activities with Kacey

Activities with Kacey: Reptiles

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS have been sharing fun and educational activities and mealtime discussion questions for families and child care programs.

The theme of the activities below is “Reptiles.”

To see the latest activities and questions, visit this page or social media!

Share your activities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #KaceyEXCELS.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that 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.

Monday

An empty dishwaher pod container decorated to look like a crocodile and a red tray with ping-pong balls and tongsHungry Crocodile Fine Motor Game

Feed the hungry crocodile with this fun game! Find an empty container with a lid that opens and closes and decorate it to look like a crocodile. Using tongs, your child can feed the hungry crocodile cotton balls, ping-pong balls,  or other small items.

Mealtime discussion question: What other items could you feed your hungry crocodile?

 

Tuesday

Swamp Sensory Bin

NOTE: An adult should always be present around all water activities and water play.

A plastic bin with water, small rocks, plants, and plastic animals

Let your child create a swamp with snakes, alligators, turtles, and frogs in a homemade sensory bin.

Fill a small plastic bin with 1 inch of water. Create a swamp habitat sensory bin by adding toy animals such as insects, snakes, alligators, turtles, frogs, and/or fish. You can also include large leaves for lily pads and small pieces of wood or sticks. Your child can create a dry spot for the animals with sticks, rocks, or leaves.

Mealtime discussion question: What kinds of animals can you find in a swamp?

 

Wednesday

Inside pages of the book The Mixed-Up ChameleonStorytime! 

Listen and read the story of The Mixed-Up Chameleon by Eric Carle.  After reading the story, add different colors of washable paint into a resealable plastic bag. Make sure that the bag is closed securely with tape. Your child can squish the paint around and observe how different colors mix together.

Mealtime discussion question: What happens when you mix different colors together?

 

Thursday

Lily Pad Leap!

Pieces of green paper cut into shapes like lily pads with numbers written on each piece.Create lily pads with chalk outside or draw on paper if you’re inside. Leap, jump, or skip from one lily pad to the next. You can play this song as your child jumps and dances on the lily pads. As a follow-up activity, have your child decorate a lily pad. Draw an outline on paper and let your child cut or rip small pieces of paper. Decorate the lily pad by gluing down the pieces of paper.

Mealtime discussion question: Do you think you could float on a lily pad like a frog? Why, or why not?

 

Friday

A snack made out of cucumbers and shaped like a snakeCreative Snacks!

Use your child’s favorite fruits and vegetables to make a snake-shaped snack for everyone to enjoy.

Mealtime discussion question: Snakes don’t have feet, arms, or legs. How do you think they move?

See activities from past weeks:

Activities with Kacey: Movement

Summer activities with Kacey

Activities with Kacey: Movement

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS have been sharing fun and educational activities and mealtime discussion questions for families and child care programs.

The theme of the activities below is “Movement.”

To see the latest activities and questions, visit this page or social media!

Share your activities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #KaceyEXCELS.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that 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.

Monday

A young girl wearing a headband with a red flower waves a colorful scarfFollow the leader!

Find colorful scarves, pieces of fabric, or ribbons that your child can use while they move and dance to their favorite songs. Take turns choosing moves and dances. For example, ask everyone to wave the scarves, fabric, or ribbons below their knees or above their heads, twirl with each hand, wave in front or behind them, wave between their legs, hop, or toss in the air and catch them. Get creative! 

Mealtime discussion question: How does dancing make you feel? What is your favorite dance move? 

Tuesday

Moving with Hula Hoops

Three children play with hula hoops

 

Listen to a reading of The Hula-Hoopin’ Queen and try hula hooping!

 

Mealtime discussion question: Have you ever tried to hula hoop before? Where do you or where would you like to hula hoop? 

 

Wednesday

Two young children watch a goldfish swim in a bowlMusic and Movement

Pretend to be a goldfish and sing, dance, and move to the song Let’s Go Swimming.

Mealtime discussion question: Where have you seen fish before? What do you think it would feel like to be a fish? 

Thursday

Scoop Game 

Two young children play indoor hockey with pom-poms

Keep your child moving and having fun while playing pom-pom scoop indoors! You will need any size craft pom-poms or cotton balls, cardboard tubes, paper plates, and painter’s or masking tape. Create a square for each player using painter’s tape in different places around the room. For the scooper, cut a paper plate so it’s square-shaped and tape it to the cardboard tube. Put the pom-poms in the middle of the room. The object of the game is to push and scoop as many pom-poms or cotton balls into your square as quickly as you can with your stick.

 

Mealtime discussion question: What other games can you and your family play with pom-poms?

Friday

A craft made out of colored paper and made to look like a slice of pizza on a paper platePizza Day

Dance and move with the Pizza Party song. Now it’s time to design your own pizza with a paper plate, red paint, and colorful pieces of paper. You could paint the plate red for the pizza sauce and decorate your pizza with triangle yellow shapes for cheese, circles for pepperoni, green squares for peppers, and black circles for olives. Or get creative and decide what shapes to use and what they represent! 

Mealtime discussion question: Do you like pizza? If so, what are your favorite pizza toppings? If you don’t like pizza, what would you like to eat instead?  

 

See activities from past weeks:

 

Activities with Kacey: Celebrate Maryland

Summer Activities with Kacey

Activities with Kacey: Celebrate Maryland

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS have been sharing fun and educational activities and mealtime discussion questions for families and child care programs.

The theme of the activities below is “Celebrate Maryland.”

To see the latest activities and questions, visit this page or social media!

Share your activities on
Facebook
, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #KaceyEXCELS.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that 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.

Monday

Beach Ball Craft

Draw a small circle on the back of a paper plate. Then draw lines to create six sections on the plate. Your child can either paint the plate or tear pieces of colored construction paper and glue it onto each section. Let your child use their imagination to create their colorful beach ball!

A multicolored beach ball craft made from a paper plate and tissue paper Two young children playing with a beach ball at the beach

Mealtime discussion question: What activities and games would you like to play in the sand or at the beach?

Tuesday

Music and Movement Activity

Sing and dance to a song about the Chesapeake Bay watershed called Back to the Sea.

A family with two children dances together in their living room

Mealtime discussion question: What are some ways you and your family can help keep the area where you live clean?

Wednesday

A cardboard box filled with toysA Baltimore Story

Listen to and read the story, Aunt Flossie’s Hats (and Crab Cakes Later) by Elizabeth Fitzgerald Howard. As a follow-up activity, make a 2020 memory box with your child. Let your child decorate an empty box (like a shoebox) and find crafts, notes, pictures, or other special keepsakes for your child to put in their memory box. Store the box in a safe place. As your child grows older, they will enjoy going through their memory box to recall stories about their special items.

Mealtime discussion question: What is your favorite item that will fit in your memory box? Why is it special to you?

Thursday

Story and Activity

Listen to Meet Chadwick and His Chesapeake Bay Friends by Priscilla Cummings, and create a Maryland masterpiece with your hands and paint.

A child's painting of fish and other creatures under the seaAs a follow-up activity to the story, your child can create a colorful masterpiece to pay tribute to Maryland. Paint your child’s hands with washable paint. Your child’s handprint will create the body of one or more of the characters from the story. Have your child create a beach scene with a Maryland crab, goose, egret, clam, or jellyfish. Let your child add eyes, nose or beak, a mouth, and other features. Share your child’s work of art with Maryland EXCELS on social media!

 

Mealtime discussion question:  What animals have you seen that live in or near the Chesapeake Bay?

Friday

A piece of toast decorated to resemble a bear's face using bananas, blueberries, and nut spreadMake a tasty and healthy bear snack!

Note: If your child has food allergies, adjust this activity as needed, and create a bear face on a plate.

Maryland has beaches, farms, rivers, lakes, and mountains. Different animals such as muskrats, raccoons, Canada geese, white-tailed deer, coyotes, red foxes, and American black bears live in different regions of the state. Black bears can be found in the mountains in Western Maryland. Make a bear snack with your child using bread or a rice cake, butter, nut butter or other spreadable food, bananas or apples, and blueberries or raisins. Spread the butter, peanut butter, or other spreadable food on a piece of toasted bread or a rice cake. Arrange sliced bananas or apples and blueberries or raisins to make ears, eyes, and a nose. Enjoy your tasty snack with your child.

Mealtime discussion question: What is your favorite Maryland summer activity?

 

See activities from past weeks:

 

Activities with Kacey: Nature

Summer activities with Kacey

Activities with Kacey: Nature

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS have been sharing fun and educational activities and mealtime discussion questions for families and child care programs.

The theme of the activities below is “Nature.”

To see the latest activities and questions, visit this page or social media!

Share your activities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #KaceyEXCELS.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that 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.

Monday

A tree created on paper with paint, leaves, and flowersCreate Your Own Trees

Draw or cut out a tree trunk with branches from a piece of paper. Take a walk and find leaves, grass, sticks, and flowers. If you can’t get outside, draw, cut out natural elements from paper or a magazine. Glue or tape the items to decorate your tree branches. Be creative! Share your pictures with us on social media. Four leaves in various shades of red and green lined up next to each other

Mealtime discussion question: Why do leaves change colors? Why do trees lose their leaves in the fall?

Tuesday

A pinecone, twig from a fir tree, rocks, and pebblesSensory Sink or Float Activity

Note: An adult should always be present at all times around any water activities.

Go on a scavenger hunt and help your child find rocks, sticks, leaves, flowers, acorns, grass, pinecones, or small (waterproof) items in your home. Once your child has all the items they want to use, fill a small plastic container with water. Make predictions about which items will float and which ones will sink. Test your guesses!

Mealtime discussion question: Do you think any of your toys can float? Which ones do you think will float?

Wednesday

Bee Kind

Listen and read the story Please Please the Bees. Snacks made from vegetables in the shape of beesAs a follow-up family activity, make bee or other insect-shaped snacks using your favorite fruits and vegetables.

Mealtime discussion question: How are fruits and vegetables alike and different? What is your favorite fruit? What is your favorite vegetable?

Thursday

Nature Paintbrushes

Use a stick, long grasses, a branch from a pine tree, flowers, leaves, or other materials you can find outside. Secure the grass, flowers, or leaves to the stick with a rubber band. Let your child paint a colorful picture using their homemade paintbrush. Paintbrushes made from sticks and leaves Child using a paintbrush made from a stick

Mealtime discussion question: What other items could you make with sticks and leaves?

Friday

Indoor campsite with a tent made from chairs and a sheetCamping Indoors

Sing and dance to this song about the outdoors with Jason Mraz and Sesame Street characters. Bring the outdoors inside! Set up a tent and camping area in your home. Read by flashlight or tell silly stories!

Mealtime discussion question: What kinds of items would you need to pack if you went on a camping trip?

See activities from past weeks:

 

Activities with Kacey: Zoo Animals

 

Summer activities with Kacey

Activities with Kacey: Zoo Animals

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS have been sharing fun and educational activities and mealtime discussion questions for families and child care programs.

The theme of the activities below is “Zoo Animals.”

To see the latest activities and questions, visit this page or social media!

Share your activities on
Facebook
, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #KaceyEXCELS.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that 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.

Monday

Paper cubes with pictures of zoo animals on each sideRoll and Move Game

Let’s go visit the zoo! Listen to the song Let’s Go to the Zoo and move and dance as your child pretends to be different zoo animals.

As a follow-up activity, find an empty cube-shaped box. Wrap the box in wrapping paper,  recycled paper, or newspaper. Draw, print, or find different pictures of zoo animals in magazines. Under each animal create a movement to accompany the animal. For example, run like a cheetah, climb like a koala, stomp like an elephant, fly like a parrot, jump like a kangaroo, slither like a snake, balance like a flamingo and waddle like a penguin. Glue one animal to each side of the cube. Once the glue dries, roll the cube and act out the parts. Another fun idea is to roll the cube, silently act out the parts, and have family members guess which animal each person is pretending to be.

Mealtime discussion question: If you were to visit the zoo, what animal would you like to see first?

Tuesday

Paper Chain Zoo Animal

Depending on the age of your child, either you or your child can cut strips of different colored construction paper. Show your child how to make a circle with the strips and loop them together. Tape or glue each circle closed. Create patterns or a rainbow zoo animal. The zoo animal can be small–or longer than you! Add a face, eyes, a tongue, teeth, or other features. Share your snakes, alligators, giraffes, and other zoo animals with us on social media. 

A toy snake made from green and yellow links of paper A toy monkey made from a paper lunch bag with arms made from strips of brown paper linked together Two alligators made from green construction paper

Mealtime discussion question: Elephants have trunks, zebras have stripes, and giraffes have long necks. What special features does your zoo animal have?

Wednesday

Four young children wearing lion masks made from yellow, orange, and white paperRead a Zoo Story

Take your child on a pretend visit to the library with a lion as you read or listen to Library Lion.

As a follow-up activity, create a paper plate lion mask. Cut the middle circle from the paper plate. Cut and glue strips of paper around the plate. Can you roar like a lion?

Mealtime discussion question: Discuss your favorite zoo animals. How are those animals alike? How are they different? Where in the wild can these animals be found? 

Thursday

Zoo Parade

Look around your house for toy animals. Create lines on paper or with painter’s tape on the floor and have your child line up their animals for a zoo parade!

Toy animals lined up on blue painter's tape on carpet A young child lining up toy animals on lines drawn on a large sheet of white paper

Mealtime discussion question: What other toys could you have in your parade?

Friday

Zoo Animal Rescue

A teal laundry basket with string criss-crossed across the top with toy animals inside Toy animals taped down to a large blue sheet of paperFind toy animals around your home. There are different variations of this fun activity. The animals can be placed into a box or laundry basket with yarn strung in different directions across the top. Your child will have to reach down and retrieve the animals through the maze of yarn. Another way to vary this activity is to tape the animals to a box, the floor, or a table with painters’ tape. Have your child “rescue” the animals from the tape. For older children, help them decorate a small box as the animal zoo. Rescue animals trapped by tape. Wrap animals in painter’s tape or pieces of recycled paper then race to unwrap the animals and return them to their home at the zoo.

Mealtime discussion question: If you could bring a zoo animal home, which animal would you choose? Where would they sleep? What would they eat? What would you play together? 

 

See activities from past weeks:

 

 

 

Activities with Kacey: Transportation

Summer activities with Kacey with toy cars and trucks

Activities with Kacey: Transportation

Kacey the Quality Koala and Maryland EXCELS have been sharing fun and educational activities and mealtime discussion questions for families and child care programs.

The theme of the activities below is “Transportation.”

To see the latest activities and questions, visit this page or social media!

Share your activities on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram using the hashtags #MarylandEXCELS and #KaceyEXCELS.

The Maryland State Department of Education’s Division of Early Childhood understands that 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.

Monday

Toy cars and trucks are on a racetrack made from tape on a floorBuild a racetrack!

Create indoor city streets or a racetrack by using painter’s tape on the floor. If you want to keep the track for future playtimes, use masking tape or duct tape on a large piece of cardboard that you can store.

Mealtime discussion question: If you could make your own vehicle, what color and shape would it be? What would it look like and what special features would it have?

Tuesday

Construction Play Area

Toy cars and trucks in a clear plastic container filled with sand and rocksCreate an indoor or outdoor construction zone for your child using sand, dirt, and small rocks (if appropriate for the age of your child). Put the materials into a plastic container. Your child can use toy trucks, bulldozers, or tractors to drive around their homemade construction zone.

Mealtime discussion question: How many different kinds of trucks can you name? What are they used for?

Wednesday

Play cars made from apples, grapes, pretzels and bear crackersLet’s Go for a Drive!

Listen to the story Let’s Go for a Drive! by Mo Willems. After you listen to the story, make fruit and vegetable vehicle-shaped snacks with your child. Some ideas are to use apples or celery for the vehicle body, grapes or crackers for the tires, and carrots or pretzels for the steering wheel. Enjoy your transportation snacks!

Mealtime discussion question: Where is your favorite place to drive with your family? What type of transportation do you use to get there?

Thursday

Movement activity

Have fun moving and dancing to the Transportation Song with your child Another fun song to move and sing to with your baby or child is the Wheels on the Bus.

Mealtime with Kacey: Have you ever ridden on a bus, train, boat, or airplane? If you haven’t, which would you choose, and why?

Friday

Tugboat Craft

Create your own boat after reading the story Bean Floats a Boat. Help your child create their own boat using items from around your home. Suggested items include lids, small plastic containers, sponges, twigs, empty juice box containers, plastic bottles, pool noodles, egg cartons, or any other items you can find that float. Add a sail using construction paper or card stock attached to a straw, popsicle stick, or twig. Let your child play with their boat during water play or bath time. Share your creations on our social media pages.

Toy boat made from a sponge with a paper sail, with a small plastic dinosaur taking a ride Toy boat made from twigs with a paper sail Toy boats made from sponges with paper sails

Mealtime discussion question: What kind of things can float in the water?

 

See activities from past weeks: