Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Presidents Day

on February 20, 2012

Our Presidents Day celebration got off to a rough start today, after a certain Baby Bear stayed awake until nearly 1 a.m., and a Little Bear woke up at 1:50 a.m., 2:30 a.m., 4:15 a.m., and 6:50 a.m. … Sleep-deprived Mama Bears have a hard time getting excited about dead presidents!

But two cups of coffee later (the second one being caffeinated coffee with sugar and cream), Mama Bear was ready to embark on the day. Since today was both Presidents Day and February 20th, we counted out the date with crayon rubbings of a penny in a heads/tails/heads/tails pattern. Little Bear struggled with rubbing her crayon lightly and evenly across the surface of the penny, so our final product left a little to be desired. She did, however, discover through the process that two groups of 10 equaled 20.

Instead of reading our usual Bible story this morning, we read and discussed Romans 13:1-5. We noted that our current President, along with past and future Presidents, are ultimately chosen by God. We also identified other authority figures and talked about how all of us have to obey some form of authority, be it a Mommy issuing a reminder to use gentle hands or a police officer enforcing a speed limit.

Next, we read Presidents’ Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays) as an introduction to Presidents Day. I’ve used this series extensively in the classroom in years past and ordered this book without previewing it. Midway through the text, I realized that was a mistake. Although geared toward a K-2 audience, the book gave no explanation whatsoever of the President’s role and offered only a cursory history of the holiday. The bulk of the text offered instead a dull introduction to Washington and Lincoln, along with a revisionist account of the Civil War. I found A Picture Book of George Washington and A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln¬† to be much more accurate, enjoyable, and age-appropriate.

After our read-alouds, I gave Little Bear the following magnetic letter tiles: d e e i n p r s t . I first encouraged her to listen to letter sounds and use the tiles to spell given CVC words. Then she used the same listening technique (with a bit more help) and all the tiles to spell the word “President.” She was quite proud of her handiwork, but Mommy failed to snap a picture.

Painting a cherry tree

By early afternoon, it was warm and mostly dry outside, so we headed outdoors for penny cleaning, finger painting and a Presidential Penny Toss. Our pennies, we cleaned with salt and vinegar, following the directions here.

While our pennies dried, Little Bear painted her card stock treetop green.

Presidential Penny Toss

Graphing the results

Next, we took our shiny pennies and did a coin toss, graphing the number of times they landed heads up and the number of times they landed tails up. I’d only planned for us to toss them a few times, but Little Bear was fascinated by the heads/tails “race” and wanted to continue to the end of our chart to see which side “won.” Baby Bear was also captivated by the process … mostly because she held out hopes of snagging a bright, shiny penny!

George Washington's Cherry Tree

We paused for some free play time while Little Bear’s green treetop dried,¬† then added red fingerprint “cherries.” (The project I adapted called for red cherry stickers or red circle stickers, but we had neither.) I’d planned to give Little Bear a paper towel tube to serve as her tree trunk, but discovered that we had none. So we improvised and used the inside of a cereal box instead. I recounted the legend of George Washington and the cherry tree, while Little Bear glued the pieces together. The finished product didn’t have the 3-D effect I’d originally planned on, but Little Bear was nonetheless happy with it.

Penny hunt

Found one!

Wrapping up our Presidents Day fun, I hid our bright, shiny pennies in Little Bear’s Thera-Flex Therapy Putty, and she thoroughly enjoyed the sensory experience of digging them out. This proved to be a great wind-down activity and one that we’ll definitely repeat.

And while Little Bear hunted for pennies, Baby Bear (alternately referred to as “Little Monkey”) demonstrated the monopoly she now has on what used to be Little Bear’s desk. I’m just glad she hasn’t yet figured out how to scale the dining room table!

Little Monkey!

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