more about themes

After writing my last post I thought I would go into
a bit more detail about our "themes".

1997 summer season

But first a confession!
Even before we had children I decorated our home for the "seasons".
 It would go something like this... 
January - Winter (the colour blue, snowflakes)
February - Valentines (red/white/pink, hearts)
March - St Patrick's Day (green, clovers)
April - Easter (pastel colours, rabbits, eggs)
May/June Spring/Summer (green, flowers)
July/August - Nautical (blue/red/white, lighthouses/boats/seagulls!)
September - Autumn (red/orange/yellows, leaves, pumpkins)
October - Thanksgiving (added a turkey) then 
Hallowe'en (orange/black, witches, ghosts, jack o lanterns)
November/December - Christmas (I would start in November because it took so long to decorate!)

2010 - definitely my most zealous Canada Day to date!?

When the children came along, I expanded the themes from just decorations to include age appropriate educational materials.  I have blogged about our Valentine's Day, St. Patrick's Day, Easter and Garden Fairy themes.

2009 - food theme

As time went on we added a few more holiday themes (Chinese New Year, Solstice/Equinox, May Day, Canada Day, Sinter Klaas) and themes such as bugs, birds, ocean, space, food, garden fairies, etc.  Each year I add something new or do things differently to add to the element of surprise. (I only prepare a new theme when the kids aren't around)



Educational materials that we use with our themes...
- story and non fiction books (from the Library, as our own collection slowly grew)
- themed bookmarks
- music CD's (from the Library)
- children's DVD's and documentaries (from the Library)
- their toys, puppets, games, stuffed toys, silks
- a few craft supplies in a basket (papers and drawing supplies in the theme's colour, themed pencils, paper punches, stickers, rubber stamps, note pads)
- planned craft projects
- food and baking (to go with the theme)
- clothing (t-shirts, pj's)
- everyday items (dishes, napkins, candles, magnets)
- outings (related to the theme)
- printed colouring and activity sheets
- teaching aids (hearts for math counting games)
- poems, songs to sing
- a branch (decorated with theme related items)
- websites 
*note:  I only use the internet to collect and print information or watch YouTubes that relate to our theme, I do not include web-based curriculum/games in our themes.

  
In the past couple of years I have also added...
- our nature table (above)
- picture frames with changeable postcards, prints or paintings


Organizing it all...
Organizing all the information that I have collected throughout the year, started to become a challenge.  So, as I mentioned yesterday, I came up with a simple binder system that corresponds with storage totes that contain our educational supplies (the house decorations are stored in large totes in the basement).  The binders are colour coded - Winter (blue), Spring (yellow), Summer (green) and Autumn (red).  The supply totes are labelled with the theme/holiday on a coloured tag to match the season that it takes place in. (ie: the Christmas box has a blue tag)

Here are a few examples of what I keep in the binders...


And under Christmas you will find... 
My own 'theme planning sheets'
Notes
Activity sheets
Ideas cut from old magazine pages
Craft ideas photocopied from craft books

I find this system can either help me either get motivated or stay focused (depending on how I'm embracing the season!)  I try to update my scribbled notes regularly so that it's legible and easy to find the information.

Before the days of Pinterest I stored electronic ideas and photos in files on my computer.  I now use my Pinterest boards which you are welcome to visit or follow.

I'm always looking for new ideas for themes or ways to improve our organization, please feel free to share your themes and ideas in the comments!

Have a great day!
xoxo
~ joey ~

2 comments:

  1. Wow, can I hire you to come over and make my house look like that? It would be a dream to have the heaps of disorganized papers and decorations and nature bits and bobs turned into labelled binders and bins sitting pretty on a shelf!-though I don't have a clue where to start- maybe you could write a book!

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  2. Ever since I was a kid I'd sort things. I couldn't eat the Smarties until I had them all sorted into colours, then I'd eat the odd ones until I had the same number of each colour! It drove me crazy that originally they didn't have blue ones to complete my rainbow. I'm sure the psychiatrists have a name for my kind!
    ~ joey ~

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I really enjoy reading your thoughts and ideas about the posts that I write here. It's nice to just say hi too!
~ joey ~

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