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Blending Skills in an Arts-Integrated Learning Environment

Our amazing curriculum by ​Mother Goose Time is an arts-integrated curriculum that uses music, visual arts, dance, dramatic play, storytelling, engineering and construction to help children experience and learn about
our world. 

But what does that all mean? 

It means that the amazing Mother Goose Time staff is constantly working to create a curriculum that presents classical education concepts (abc’s and 123’s) as well as physical and social skills in a way that is engaging and fun. They provide intensive learning plus skill and character building activities that appeal to a young child’s natural instinct to play. This may look like all fun and games, but it’s also a complete curriculum!

All of those dots and stars are important skills, concepts and developmental goals. This is just ONE month in the Mother Goose Time curriculum. There are 33 skills that we work to cover, falling under these 7 categories: Social and Emotional Development, Physical Development, Language and Literacy, Mathematics and Reasoning, Social Studies, Science and Creative Development.

How do we accomplish all that in one month?

Many of the activities blend skills. If they aren’t specifically written that way, the open ended structure of the activities makes it easy to tie in a review of other skills. That’s the beauty of play based learning- flexibility! If you’re wondering what that looks like, here’s an example of just one activity.

First off, my kids love any excuse to play with water, so I knew this activity would hold thier attention for a while; allowing us to cover a variety of skills. We started this activity by scooping out and sorting the blocks for a fun color review and sensory activity.


Next he counted how many blocks of each color.

We followed up with more advanced math concepts- estimitating, greater or less than, compairing, adding and pattern making. Finally we ended with discussing the letter that each color starts with and what sound that makes.

So we blended fine motor, number concepts, colors, patterns, sorting, measurement and phonological awareness.

The best part is, he had a blast! No whinning, crying or difficulty. Just fun.

This style of teaching allows for frequent review of concepts presented in a variety of ways. Everyone learns differently, so this is a fabulous way to teach. 


If you’ve spent any time around kids this age, you know they’re always moving! Integrating dance, movement and dramatic play facilitates so much gross motor activity during our school time. Staggering active learning and more focused activities helps my children stay focused. I can’t imagine trying to get a 3 or 4 year old to stand still for an hour, nevermind actually learning anything!

Arguably one of the best aspects of this curriculum is the use of art. It provides a balanced mix of craft projects that can be used for creative and dramatic play (Make and Play Activities) and open ended art opportunities (Invitation to Create Activities). The value in these activities are truly endless. From fine motor work, cutting and pasting skills to pre-writing exercise through coloring. These activities blossom into creative play and allow for building vocabulary, communicating ideas, following directions and expressing themselves through the visual arts.

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Alphabet Island

We were so excited to start Alphabet Island this month!! X has been really interested in the ocean and pirates lately, so it’s a great fit!

From pirate fun to boat science we’ve splashed and Arrrgh-ed our way through so much learning already! The Make and Play spy glass and eye patch were huge hits.

As always, the boys LOVE our manipulatives this month! It was so neat how Mother Goose Time suggested we use our foam numbers as islands for Day 1! This fun activity was expanded even further by adding a math game element. X would roll a number one the cube dice and fish out that number island. We even were able to do a little adding!

Q has been loving puzzles lately, so he really enjoyed connecting the letters and numbers.

X spent quite some time experimenting with what his boat could hold and what would make it sink. I loved the ease of creating a tinfoil boat as suggested by our Science Experiment card. Design and physics concepts at work in preschool learning! He also explored balancing items in the boat which could result in making it flip. I use any opportunity I can to bring our school into our play, especially outside, and our Day 2: Boat unit did this perfectly!

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Caterpillars to Moths or Butterflies with Mother Goose Time

Over the weekend we explored butterflies and moths! From eggs to caterpillars to telling the difference between a moth and a butterfly. 

We started the week learning about and building caterpillars. The kids loved these “noodles” that stick together when damp. They really enjoyed building their own caterpillars. 

Next we guessed what bugs were hiding in this adorable book. These easy readers are a hit around here. X isn’t to the point of learning site words yet, but he identifies letters and immensely enjoys these books. Using the site word pointers has made him more aware that each word is made up of different letters. 

This month he wrote his name all on his own! Normally I write it in highlighter and he goes over it in pen. But this time he proudly did it all on his own.

On the back cover he was asked to draw his favorite bug. I wasn’t surprised when he chose a bee after having a bee friend follow him while strawberry picking. I adore his illustration.

These neat builders were one of this month’s manipulatives. The boys got creative using these to build a variety of bugs; real and made up!

X was familiar with the butterfly life cycle from reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar, but I see value in a mix of new information paired with review. This life cycle dispay also brightened up our learning space (not from MGT). I love the great posters that come with the Invitation to Create as well as other learning materials. I enjoy it so much as our learning wall fills with information and beautiful images that emphasize our monthly themes.

This poster is awesome! It clearly shows the kiddos the difference between moths and butterflies. It even came with a matching game to help solidify the concepts. 

I paired our Mother Goose Time days with a box from Ivy Kids that was all about butterflies. This gave us 4 days of fun projects and learning! 

It’s been amazing to reflect on how much X has learned since we first started doing Mother Goose Time a year ago. I’m so thankful for the convenience and guidance that made our preschool year so successful. Especially while I was solo parenting due to a deployment. It gave our days direction and structure filled with fun and learning. So many memories and fire for learning have bloomed from those yellow school bus boxes. 

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Preschool Exploration: Bug Habitats

This week with Mother Goose Time we had so much fun learning about all different kinds of bug habitats. From leaves to sand to dirt to hives, we learned about where bugs live! This encouraged great daily conversations about why certain bugs live in certain conditions and how those conditions help protect them from predators, find food, etc. 

I focused on incorporating our school concepts into play this week. I made “mud dough” which the boys have loved using for a variety of bug building and habitat creating projects (plus some cakes and cookies since it smells like chocolate!).

X even created some habitats of his own! I love the thought he put into factors like protection from predators and the weather. Each element served a purpose in his design.

Both boys eagerly hunted for this months bug manipulatives in our sandbox and then arranged them in the hive. This was such a quick activity to put together, yet they worked together for quite some time and really enjoyed it.

X happily engaged in some letter work this week. He’s really drawn by the texture of the sand and the ability to “erase” with a simple shake. 

I appreciated the MGT suggeston of using our cookie cutters (we recieved a cookie cutter of the letters of the month with each shipment, and now we have the whole set!) in the sand. We’ve never done that before and it added another level of intrigue to this activity.

Perhaps the biggest hit of the week was painting with worms! MGT included rubber worms while I added coffee grinds to brown paint. The grinds really gave the paint a true dirt texture. After the project the worms were given a bath and have been used in various play through out the week.

Math was not forgotten in this week’s curriculum. This game was particularly enjoyed. X used the spinner and then followed the tunnels on the board to find the numbers. He recorded which numbers he’d visited by coloring in one of the dots in the numbers den. So many great skills here! Number recognition, fine motor work, prewriting skills and math concepts like making charts. I love how all the MGT games work on a variety of skills!

This weekend we’re focusing on caterpillars and butterflies! We’ve been using our Caterpillar and Butterfly days from Mother Goose Time along with a great kit from Ivy Kids. Check back tomorrow to see the fun we’ve had!

I received this month’s Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing our experience and my opinions. All content and opinions are 100% mine and truly honest.

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Overview of Our Week

We’ve had such a busy week, but I wanted to pop in and share a little bit of it with you.

We’ve had unseasonably cool weather this week, it’s been feeling like actual spring! So of course we’ve spent as much time outside as we can! Between park dates, strawberry picking and zoo trips we still managed to get some school “work” done thanks to Mother Goose Time.

This month is all about bugs, which has certainly held my kids attention wonderfully! Bugs are such fascinating creatures! X worked really hard on creating an ant hill (complete with sand) and focused on making his ant colony as anatomically correct as possible. I loved seeing him focus and work so hard on this piece!

We also worked on a variety of math concepts using this awesome ant hill game. Counting, greater then and less then and even some adding was accomplished with this open ended game. My favorite activities are the ones that are so flexible. We can start out with some review and then move into more challenging work so seamlessly with many of our included games and activities.

Here’s an example on how we used the game to create an adding game. X would spin the wheel and deposit that many “ants” into the first hill. Then he’d do the same with the second. Finally we’d add the total number of ants together!

We had learned all about bees earlier in the week, so X was so excited when one decided to be his friend at the strawberry patch. The bee would just not leave him alone! We’d talked about how bees don’t try to hurt people, but will sting if they’re scared. This great base knowldege helped him be very careful of his bee friend and not scare it. Pollinators seem to be his favorite insects, so he loved seeing the bee do it’s job at the strawberry patch.

I received this month’s Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing our experience and my opinions. All content and opinions are 100% mine and truly honest.

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Bugs!

We’re so excited that May’s Mother Goose Time theme is alllll about Bugs and Crawly Things! X was so excited to start!

So cute and so silly in their ladybug hats!

Day 1: Ladybug was a perfect day to have our friend S join us. The activities were easy to adjust for all 3 different age levels. 

We counted and added ladybug spots with this adorable game!

Then they got their wiggle and giggle on while listening to this month’s bug themed cd.

Even 22 month old Q was plenty busy making dots with the paint dotter bottle and worked hard on his headband.

I love how versatile this curriculum is and how easy it is to teach a mixed age group!

I received this month’s Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing our experience and my opinions. All content and opinions are 100% mine and truly honest.

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Learning Through Art and Music

This week we wrapped up our Birds and Eggs theme from Mother Goose Time and it has been a blast. We learned about so many different kinds of birds after learning about their body parts. X enjoyed discussing what was different and what was the same between birds and humans. 

Here he is exploring all of the ways he could use the provided materials to build bird feet. He decided he wanted his feet to be able to stand up. This added a great sculptural opportunity and a chance to explore 3D art.

He brainstormed about construction and used great problem solving skills to create a chicken foot!

I loved how we focused on each part of a bird and then moved on to the different types.

Working with a similair topic gave X a great opportunity to focus artistically on the details of each different bird. I saw his comfort with their basic shape grow, allowing him to really observe what made them unique as well as experiment with the different materials MGT provided.

When we first started doing the Invitations to Create, X went through an experimental period. He would only spend a few minutes on the project, mostly just combining all the materials and making a “mess”. It was hard, then, for me to see what he was learning from these projects; but I trusted MGT and we stuck with them. I am so happy I did. His reasoning, planning and thinking skills have really blossomed under the open ended art opportunities. He really uses his creativity now and the focus he has to complete his design is awesome.

The Invitations to Create are so beneficial for younger kids too.

Sensory experience, fine motor work and focus building are all skills that littles work on too!

MGT also provides a huge variety of music and movement activities each month. The included monthly cd is a favorite for both of my children. Daily they turn on our cd player so they can dance and play to the variety of music. 

MGT also includes activities to build projects that can be used with the cd. From ribbon dancers to rhythm shakers we have really enjoyed these Make and Play items. I also use the cd to help get their wiggles out. Either before we start school or in the middle, moving their bodies helps them focus.  

Many of the songs include lyrics that make it easy to dance and move in theme. A favorite this month was the catchy Shake Your Tail Feathers which had my kids shaking their bums all over the house. Our whole family loved the Head, Wings, Tail and Feet which was a theme aligned rendition of Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes. We listened to this while Dada was home for lunch one day and he taught the boys how to dance to it. Mother Goose Time builds skills and helps me teach, but it also helps my family create memories.


I received this month’s Mother Goose Time curriculum free of charge in exchange for sharing our experience and my opinions. All content and opinions are 100% mine and truly honest.