IPC Day School

IPC Day School

Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Going Bananas?

Do you feel as if you are actually going bananas? I know this is so difficult for everyone...moms and dads keeping little ones busy, moms and dads helping older children keep up with their school work, moms and dads trying to work from home. And then their are the grandparents and great-grandparents who are isolated and lonesome. We worry about them and need to make sure they have what they need. It is an exhausting list, but I know each of you can handle whatever is put before you with God's help.

So instead of going bananas, let's look at some kid-approved recipes with bananas:

Banana Muffins - 2 dozen large super moist muffins
¾ C. butter  (1 ½ sticks softened)
1 ½ C. sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas
4 T. sour cream
2 C. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla

Cream butter in a large mixing bowl. Gradually add sugar. Beat in eggs, thoroughly.Sift together flour, soda, and salt; add gradually to mixing bowl. Mash bananas and beat into mixture. Add sour cream and vanilla and blend. Pour into lined or greased muffin tins until ¾ full. Bake 2350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Note: If gluten is an issue, I have substituted gluten free 1 to 1 cup flour blend and these muffins turn out just right. I have also made lots of mini-muffins, too. All yummy!

Frozen Peanut Butter Banana Bites
Slice bananas into ¼" pieces
Arrange in ice cube trays or on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper
Spoon ¼ to ½ tsp. peanut butter onto banana slices
Freeze for about 2 hours.
Note: You can exchange any type nut butter for the peanut butter. You can also top each peanut buttered covered banana slice with another slice to make "sandwiches" if preferred.

Looks like mine have a little more than ½ tsp of peanut butter! Extra yummy!

Monday, March 30, 2020

Quarantined Kindness

What a wonderful calendar to remind of us ways all of us can be kind during this time of social isolation and quarantines. Thank you to our Social Studies teacher, Miss Betsy, for sharing this. I challenge every family to take this to heart and follow it. What a difference it will make in so many lives, including each of us. And be kind to yourself and give yourself some grace, parents.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

It's the Sabbath

Happy Sunday! 

This is a great day for family time and to continue in this season of Lent to prepare ourselves for Easter. I love this stain-glassed cross my grandsons created with chalk in their driveway. You can get plugged into a live-streamed church service, adult Sunday school class and Youth Sunday school class led by our different ministers or a Children's Catechesis of the Good Shepherd Sunday school class. All of these offerings as well as daily devotionals are available on You Tube IPC Birmingham. 

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Stories for Bedtime or Anytime

I hope everyone enjoyed the beautiful sunshine and cool breeze today and spent a lot of family time outdoors. After a day of family fun, books would be a splendid way to wind down and get ready for bed. I know you all read to your children, but I want to share some resources that provide other people reading books.

Here are a few tried and true sites to visit over and over:

Storylineonline.net - Listen to movie stars and other celebrities read some of your favorite books

@petethecatofficial - Author James Dean reads his books aloud every weekday at 11:00 CST; you can also pull up past stories and watch and listen

PBS Kids -  Marc Brown reading Arthur's New Puppy or go to the Arthur or PBS Kids Facebook pages for more stories

@savewithstories - On this Instagram page, celebrities, like Jennifer Garner, read favorite children's stories

Bedtime Stories Read Aloud - Look for these on You Tube - lots of wonderful books that will be worth listening to

Friday, March 27, 2020

We're Going to the Zoo, Zoo, Zoo How About You, You, You?

This Friday happens to be a gorgeous day with warm temperatures so I hope you spend a lot of time outdoors. When you need a rest, why not go visit The Birmingham Zoo? VIRTUALLY, of course! They are giving Meet the Neighbors tours, behind the scenes, and highlighting different animals in the zoo with videos on their Facebook page. Just go to Facebook and then Birmingham Zoo. Click on posts and you will see past videos and current ones. Some of the videos even have an activity page link. No admission fee, although I know they are happy to accept donations right now while they are shut down to visitors coming through the gates.

Once you have watched a particular video, decide on an activity or two to do with your child to extend the experience. These are just a few possibilities and tap into many levels of creativity and a plethora of skills from letter recognition, remembering details, and fine & gross motor skills.
  • Ask your child what they heard, what they remember from video...different age children will respond differently which is the beauty of open-ended questions with no correct answer. Making a list they can see is a great pre-literacy activity.
  • Talk about what letter and sound is at the beginning of the name of the animal.
  • Parents can write the letters in dots that spell the animal's name & let your child trace it helping them with their grip if they need it.
  • Make one of the animals out of play dough.
  • Paint or color a picture of any part of the video; could be the animal or something else.
  • Create the animal's habitat with whatever you have at home; good time to use recyclables and items from your yard; you can do it on a flat surface or in a box.
  • Make a sock (yes, we all have those stray socks whose partners were eaten by the dryer!) or brown paper bag puppet.
  • Create a rhyming poem about the animal. 
  • Write a little book about the animal - the child can dictate or write the words & illustrate. 
  • Have your child pretend he/she is the animal or one of the animals and parade through the yard moving as the animal would; some may want just one piece of a costume ( a tail, whiskers, ears) or prop to "get into character."
There are many zoos in the country you can also visit from home; I've listed just a few. Think of all the animals you can see without leaving home!

The Cincinnati Zoo - virtual daily afternoon tours
Omaha Zoo - Do The Zoo At Home with Henry Doorly Zoo's daily interactive videos
San Diego Zoo - they have cool polar bear and peguin cams & Meet the Animals videos
Smithsonian Zoo - Go to the Meet the Animals tab to choose an animal to learn about
St. Louis Zoo - Behind the Scenes Tours

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Daily Sing-a-Long

Teachers at the Day School follow many different teacher blogs to get ideas and collaborate. I thought it would be fun to share a daily sing-a-long opportunity from one such person, Vanessa Levin.
VANESSA LEVIN, Founder of The Teaching Tribe, has started going Live on Facebook every weekday at 3 PM Central/4 PM Eastern with my Preschool at Home Sing-A-Long Series. 
Facebook Live Teaching at Home
You can also catch some you missed: 
Thank you, Vanessa!
Vanessa Levin, Creator & CEOPre-KPages.com and FounderThe Teaching Tribe

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

All With A Deck of Cards

If you are like many families, you have lots of decks of cards, but many may be missing one or two. The good news is they can still provide a fun way to enhance math skills, so repurpose them!

One of my family members invented a great math scavenger hunt for his child. You will need  one set of cards 2 - 10 any suit, (no Ace, King, Queen, Jack).  This will be easier if your child already  recognizes numbers and understands ordinance; if not, this can be done with a parent and it will help them learn those things.  Hide the cards around a room. Have your child find the cards in numerical order. If they find one out of order, they just leave it and keep looking. Cheer them on and give them a big pat on the back when they have found all 9 cards in order!

Sorting is another math activity that a deck of cards is quite useful for. Depending on the age of your children, you can use part of a deck or all the cards you have. There are several sorting options:
Sort by color
Sort by pictures, i.e. suits - clubs, diamonds, hearts, spades
Sort by numbers

Matching is a simple game to play with cards. Decide how many pairs you want to include depending on your child's age. Place cards face down and begin by letting your child choose one card, then another. Take turns, remembering which cards were turned up where and trying to make a match. If you make a match, you get to choose two cards again. If not, it is the other person's turn. Continue until all the cards have been matched. Don't be surprised if your little one helps you out!

Higher - lower involves understanding amounts the numbers on the cards represent.  Simply pull two cards from the stack of cards containing only numbers and have the child declare which is higher, which is lower. With a younger child, you could have some beans, legos. or blocks and have them count out the pieces separately that correspond to the numbers on each card. Then they can visually see and count and hopefully determine the higher number. Obviously, the card game War is just a competitive version of this which would be fund to teach the older kids.

Cards work well to practice Addition, Subtraction, and Multiplication, too. Depending on the age of your child, choose what operation or what the goal will be when they choose their cards. Since each card will have a corresponding number of clubs, diamonds, etc. on them, for addition, the children can also count them up rather than do it in their heads. You can be the judge of what works and is educational without frustrating for each of your children.

Let's Build!  Building, a STEM activity,  requires creativity and problem solving. Using a deck of cards, have your child build something, anything.... a single level house, a multi level house, a tower. This will also tap into your child's patience which is a great topic to talk about. A failure is not a failure unless you don't keep trying.

Lastly, teach your children some real card games. Math and sorting will always be involved, but more importantly,  they will learn new games that the family can play together forever.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Who Doesn't Like Worms in Their Popsicles?

I know some of you love having your kids in the kitchen with you and others dread it. Your kitchen is a virtual learning lab, especially while we are all home with a lot of together time. Take the plunge and get in there and make a mess and laugh.
This homemade popsicle recipe will definitely be a winner among the kids. I actually like gummy worms, so they are a winner with me, too!  Giada De Laurentiis made this recipe for her daughter's volleyball team.  It is typical Food Network starting with a homemade simple syrup and squeezed lemons, but your favorite lemonade would work just as well. Be sure to involve your children with the measuring, pouring, assembling, and talk about the freezing process which turns the liquid into a solid. They have learned about this from Professor Paige so they may chime right in. If you do not have popsicle molds at your house, you can use paper cups and craft sticks (adults, think tongue depressor) or order off Amazon. You could also order a dry lemonade mix and gummy worms, too, if you are not going to the grocery store. For the grown-ups, I also want to try putting some herbs in place of the gummy worms. I'm thinking lemon mint and lemon basil! Bon Apetit!

Gummy Worm Ice Pops
Yield: 10 popsicles

Ingredients: 1 & 1/2 C favorite lemonade OR
½ C sugar
½ C water
½ C freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ C ice
½ C water (again!)
1 & ½ C or 8 Oz gummy worms

1. If you are using remade lemonade, pour 1 1/2 C into a container with a spout.
If you are making from scratch, add the sugar and ½ C water to a small saucepan. Place over low heat and warm, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture is just coming to a simmer. (You have just made a "simple syrup.") Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice, ice, another ½ C water to cool the mixture until the ice is completely melted.

2. Stuff about 3 gummy worms in each of 10 3-ounce popsicle molds. Adjust if your molds are different sizes. Fill the molds with the cooled lemonade, just enough to cover the worms. Freeze for at least 10 hours.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Rainy Days and Mondays

This song by the Carpenters was so very popular back in my day. It was one of those songs everyone knew the words to and loudly sang along with when it came on the radio! I am not going to include the rest of the line, because we are very definitely not going to let this get us down. Hopefully you will find something or many things on this list to help pass the time, stimulate everyone's brain, and actually be fun.

There is one wonderful activity you can do when and only when it rains....let your children don those cute rain coats and rainboots and go out in your yard and driveway and jump in puddles.

Talk about why we have puddles in some places and not others. Not only can you let them figure out why there are puddles, you could talk about slopes, gutters, the difference between grass that drains well and dirt spots that may not. You could use something to mark the space where a puddle is now and then check periodically to see if has grown bigger or if it is drying up, shrinking. Maybe each family member could estimate the days it will take for it to disappear or just guess the day it will be gone.

Measure the rain in a given time period perhaps using a glass measuring cup if you do not have a rain gauge. You could repeat this during other periods of rain. Even our four year olds understand graphing, so make a chart! Talk about more and less.

Discuss what happens to all this water...absorbs into the ground for grass, plants, and trees; evaporates back into the air so it can return as rain; is cleaned for us to have water in our homes for drinking, cooking, and bathing. You may can look out a window when it is raining and find a place where the water is running down a space rather than absorbing.

Venture outside and look at the clouds between rain and try to identify the different types you see. For instance those clouds that are full of rain are nimbus clouds. Visit sciencing.com and look for "Types of Clouds for Kids." They post a daily video about clouds, and there are directions for using cotton balls to create four of the types of clouds as a science project.

These are three books I quickly found just about puddles being read aloud. Look on You Tube for these, and I bet there are many more about puddles and the rain.

Puddles by Jonathan London READ ALOUD

Puddles!!! by Kevan Atteberry

PUDDLE by Richard Jackson/Story Time Pals/Kids Books Read Aloud

I bet your children could write and/or illustrate their own book or create a piece of art about rain or puddles or clouds.

The sky is truly the limit today!!

Continued prayers for your well-being, our Day School families, and our city, state, nation and world.

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Preparing for Easter

This year, we may all have more time and more solitude with our families to devote to the Lenten season of preparing ourselves and our hearts for the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, Easter. IPC is offering daily devotions to help with this. Adults and older children can listen and then share that message with your with younger children in words they can understand. Some parents do not feel adequately prepared to do that, but I promise you that God is with you and you can absolutely help in their spiritual formation. The daily devotions are available on You Tube IPC Birmingham. 

Catechesis of the Good Shepherd is a widely used Montessori-based Sunday school program for 3-12 year olds which draws the child deeper into an already existent relationship with God. We love our Catechesis program on Sundays at IPC and are fortunate to be able to take our Day School children up to the Level 1 atrium (ages 3-6) twice a month during the school week for one-on-one lessons and circle time with our trained catechists.  Though we are all missing our visits to the atrium while we are apart, Kay and the catechists are inviting you into the atrium for Levels 1, 2 and 3 lessons on You Tube IPC Birmingham.

As we prepare for Easter in this unusual Lenten season, we have talked about Lent as a time that we prepare, get ready in the atrium and our Chapel lessons. You may be surprised that many of your children know that the purple paraments (or cloths) and stoles the ministers wear in church indicate it is Lent. 
I want to share this from Beverly Hoyt, one of our four-yea-old teachers, Coordinator of the Catechesis Program at St. Mary's, and the wonderful formation leader who trained me.

From Beverley - 
During the season of Lent (during which we prepare for Easter), we think about the first three verses of Psalm 23.  You can ask the child what he already knows about Jesus as the Good Shepherd and refer to John 10:3b-5, 10b - 11, 14- 16 to read what the child has heard in the atrium about the Good Shepherd -Jesus - and his love for his sheep.  You can read then 23rd Psalm with the child one verse at a time and “unpack” it with the child.  Asking - "what did you hear”   and “what could this mean?"

Below is part of what we call an album page - lesson plan - for teaching the 23rd Psalm:
Indirect Aim: To introduce the Old Testament 
To connect lessons on The Good Shepherd and the paschal mysteries
To lay the ground work for further presentations of Psalm 23
Materials: Prayer table
Candle and match basket
Prayer card with verse 1-3
  • Light the candle
  • What do you remember about the Good Shepherd?
  • He calls the sheep by name and leads them.
  • We have read part of this Psalm. What does Psalm mean?
  • Most of them were written by David.  Who is David?
  • David was a Shepherd.  But Jesus is the Good Shepherd.  
  • Was Jesus a normal man?  Jesus was both man & God.  
  • He was not just a Shepherd like David, he was The Good Shepherd.  
  • Who are Jesus’s sheep? We are the sheep
  • David tells us about his relationship with God in this Psalm
  • Read verse 1-3
  • We have heard some of this before.  Do you remember the Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want?
  • What does this mean? I have everything that I could ever want and need.
                He makes me lie down in green pastures.  He leads me beside quiet waters.  How do these verses make you feel?  Safe.  Calm.  Quiet. 
Have you ever been in a green pasture?  What would that be like?  Soft.  What does a green pasture mean for a sheep?  Grass to eat.  
               Can you picture still waters?  Sheep don’t like moving water.  Actually, they only drink from still waters.  Does the shepherd know what the sheep need?  Yes.  
It’s a peaceful place and he knows what to give them.  

So this lent season you can think about these images.  Green pastures and still waters with the shepherd.  This is what lent is about.  How we can prepare ourselves for the great celebration of Easter.  
  • Verse 3 says He restores my soul.
  • What does this mean? What is your soul?
  • Your soul is your insides; the part of your body that makes you think, love, etc.  
  • Is God making me right?
  • Verse 3 also says He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
  • What does this mean? He leads me on the right path.  He leads me to the right things and God wants us to do the right thing.
  • The Shepherd that calls us by name is going to lead us to the right path for God’s glory.  We (sheep) just have to follow. 
  • Read from the prayer card
  • Sing the Lord is my shepherd or prepare ye the way of the Lord, or say a prayer
  • Put the candle out
After you discuss Jesus and the Good Shepherd and Psalm 23:1-3, you can ask your child to draw a picture of the picture he makes in his head of the Shepherd and the sheep or green pastures and still waters.

If you do this, we would love to see pictures of the children’s art!

St. Mary's on the Highlands, Birmingham, AL Facebook page

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Mo Willems' Free Daily Lunch Doodles

Celebrated children's book author, illustrator, and Kennedy Center Artist-in-Residence, Mo Willems is hosting daily doodling sessions at noon (CST) everyday. He says our current situation puts a whole new meaning to artist-in-residence! You can actually watch anytime and go back and watch the ones you missed. Each session is about 20 minutes and children will need paper and a crayon, pencil, or pen to participate. Who doesn't love The Pigeon Has to Go to School, Don't Let Pigeon Drive the Bus, We Are in a Book!, and Knufflebunny with his endearing pigeon, elephant, and piggie. Mo is also inviting children to write in with questions which he reads aloud and answers during the session. I just heard him say he doesn't like cake!!  I hope your family will tap into their creative talents and all start doodling with Mo. We can share pictures when we get back to school...What about a Mo Gallery?

                                                        To view his videos:

To submit questions:

For more information: 


Friday, March 20, 2020

Jemison Trail Scavenger Hunt

Social Distancing thankfully allows us to still get outside as long as we stay 6 feet apart from one another. Taking walks fits this criteria really well and we all can get exercise, fresh air, and the kids can run off some energy!
I have been walking on the Jemison Trail each day and decided to put together a list for a scavenger hunt if you visit the paved part of the Jemison Trail that runs along Mountain Brook Parkway. You can always add more difficult items for older children, such as certain types of trees, but this is a family friendly list so everyone can be involved.

Scavenger Hunt list of things to find, do or hear:
1. Find a trillium. ( If you are not familiar with this small, three multi-green-leafed, one short stalk   plant with a small purple "flower" on top, google a picture before you go.)
2. Find a birdhouse.
3. Find a sycamore "gum" ball.
4. Find purple flowers in trees. (There are two kinds of trees with this color flower.)
5. Find a picnic table.
6. Hear a bird sing.
7. Find a pinecone.
8. Find Golden Ragwort. ( This is a small plant with clover-like leaves and small daisy-like yellow flowers. Good images on Google.)
9. Cross some water.
10. Find some trash in trees. (This is a great time to talk about the heavy rains in February and point out that the creek rises to the height of the trash!)

Happy Trails!!