We started with something new...a gathering song. Primus is getting older and to keep her engaged in some of these types of activities, I have to give her a responsibility. So it was her job to learn our gathering song and sing it for everyone while we got the kids sat down. We sang this song by Francie Dillon:
Our main story this time was Up, Down, and Around. It's a really cute, simple book that talks about the way various vegetables grow. Cindy had little baggies made up for everyone with one small bit of each vegetable so they could find and taste each as she read. Then we took the kids to the front yard to "plant" a magical lollipop seed (Skittles) next to a tall bush I have.
Tip: Do the planting in the front yard so it can "bloom" out of sight of the kids while they are doing their activity.
Then the kids were given their cards and sent to the backyard to listen to stories while Cindy and her sister tied lollipops onto the tree. They got to see the "blooms" and take a sucker on their way home at the end of the event.
Tip: Dum Dums are better for kids with allergies. But I find that their wrappers come off too easily. Also, bigger suckers like Tootsie Pops and Blow Pops just look prettier on the tree. So we tied up the big ones and then placed Dum Dums on branches for the kids that needed them right before they went to take them.
Tip: Use a needle and thread ahead of time to tie the string through the top of the lollipop wrapper and into a big loop. Then it's fast and easy to just hang the already tied suckers onto the branches.
The other stories we had this time: You Will Be My Friend, Alligator Baby, a Planes story,
The Book That Eats People, Down to the Sea with Mr. Magee, Roberto the Insect Architect, Mo Willems' Pigeon stories, and Snowmen At Night.
Tip: If you can't wrestle up enough play tents, use a big box. This one was from a dresser.
I also had vegetable-themed coloring pages available to go along with the first story.
At the end, I had several snacks available because this coincided with our 100th day of the school year. The day before I had Secundus and Primus count out 100 of each snack so they could practice counting by ones, twos, threes, fives, tens, and twenty-fives.
Tip: Be aware of all allergies in your group and make sure the moms know ahead of time what exactly will be served so they can monitor accordingly. Actually, I think this will be the last time that I have non-prepackaged treats. It's so much easier to keep everyone safe if the kids have to take the package to their parent to read labels and open instead of gorging themselves on a no-no food.
This March I will be planning one for older kids for the first time. I am very excited!