Monday, July 14, 2014

Camping Color Scavenger Hunt

We love to camp in the summer. One activity that keeps our kids busy is a color scavenger hunt.  We painted the inside cups of an egg carton various colors.  When we get to our destination, the kids grab their cartons and begin their hunt.  It keeps them busy while we set up and it can be done over and over again.  

I'm always amazed at what makes it in the carton.

I love all the flowers that made it in this one!
Happy Color Hunting!

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Wednesday, May 21, 2014

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

Are you familiar with the books by Laura Numeroff?  One of my favorites to start the school year off is "If You Take a Mouse to School".

After reading the story, we created some paper mouse faces.  I love how unique and individual the mice are.

Then we did a little math, using chocolate play dough and glass beads.

We tried duplicating the science experiment the mouse did in the book.  We used baking soda and purple tinted vinegar.

In the book, the mouse creates a mouse house with blocks, so we made little pipe cleaner mice (instructions here), and then made them some houses.  

Such fun activities to go along with the story.  I really enjoy tying books into learning experiences.  It really helps bring the books to life for the kids. 

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Thursday, May 8, 2014

The Day the Pirates came to Preschool

I had a couple kids in my class who loved to play pirates.  I thought it would be a good way to tie in the letter X and have some fun pirate play at the same time.  

I created some pirate ships using boxes and laundry baskets.  I added some fabric flags and painted X's on them.  I attached the flags to the "ships" with small PVC pipes and duct tape. These were a huge hit and the kids sailed the high seas for hours. 

We used our language, small motor and creative skills to create our own pirate treasure maps, where X marks the spot!  We drew our maps with  Sharpies, crumpled them up a bit and painted them with tea, to give them an old weathered looked.

We used a lot of energy to smash balls of aluminum with plastic and wooden hammers to make our own coins, then added our "mark", X, of course!

We manipulated some "pirate play dough" (play dough with coffee grounds in it, recipe below)

We used toothpicks or "mini swords"  with our play dough, for our swashbuckler preschoolers!

We made some pirate hats, cut out two strips and made an X to decorate them.

Finally, we discovered that some pirates had slipped in and left us clues, written on X's to lead us to their treasure!  It was very exciting.  

We followed the X's and found the pirate treasure.

Inside of the treasure box, we found all sorts of "gold"!  Goldfish, Rolo candies, and some pretend gold coins.  There were also some X's included. We split up our booty and ate the Goldfish for snack.

We also read several books about pirates.  Here are a few that I have found.  
(FYI, affiliate links included)

In case you wanted to try making some pirate play dough, here is the recipe.
2 cups flour
1/4 cup salt
1 Tbsp of oil
2 Tbsp Cream of Tartar
1 cup water
1/4 cup of coffee grounds.
Heat it all up in a pan.  When it begins to come together, take out and knead.  You may need to add some more flour, if it's a little sticky.  

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Friday, March 7, 2014

Partner Painting/Friendship Painting

Have you tried partner painting or friendship painting yet?  It is a great way for children to learn about cooperation and team work.  I like to introduce it at the beginning of the year to help the children build connections with each other.  All you need is a couple kiddos, a large sheet of paper and some paint.  You can even join in the fun! 
Painting with their feet is a fun partner activity too.  I would suggest making sure the kids have something to hold on to though.  The paint can get slippery.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

All About Rainbows in Preschool

Rainbows are awesome, magical even.  Kids are fascinated with them, most adults as well.  Here is how we explored rainbows in our preschool class.

I filled empty Gatorade bottles with water and then added watercolor to create "Rainbow Bottles".  The kids had fun putting them in "rainbow" order.
We did the Ivory Soap experiment (you can find it HERE), and used colored water to drip the colors of the rainbow on to the experiment.
Hanging rainbows made with tissue paper strips, half a paper plate and cotton balls.

Blow art (excellent for speech development!) using "rainbow colors"  I love the ways these turned out.  Just be prepared for some "spittle".

Rainbows in Clouds, aka, dripping colored water onto shaving cream and watching the colors come through.  You can find the experiment HERE..

Lastly, after exploring the rainbow in so many ways we created our own Rainbow Books, I got the idea from TEACH PRESCHOOL.

Enjoy the Rainbows!

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Saturday, February 8, 2014

Discovering Glue

So many preschool and even kindergarten teachers cringe when the white glue comes out.  They envision puddles of glue, glue seeping onto the tables, onto the floors, scraps of paper floating in pools of glue.  So they grab the glue bottles and say "let me help", "just a dot, not a lot", "I'll do the glue for you".

I have been guilty of saying these exact things in my first year or two of teaching.  That was, until I had my "A-HA" moment.  I asked myself, "what are the children learning by me doing it for them" and "what is the worst that would happen if I let them hold and glue for themselves?"

 So I let go and let them...and they puddled the glue, and it seeped all over the table and floor, and soaked the papers until we could no longer move them. But something else happened.  They had fun. They began to understand that if they used to much glue the project was immovable. Their hands became stronger, their muscles developed, they learned to control the amount of glue they intended to use.  They learned because I provided the materials and let them explore, discover and make mistakes.  Something else happened too.  I learned.  I learned that I do not need to control the materials.  I learned that I do not need to "help" them.  I learned to sit back and give them control over what they created and they learned responsibility.

I understand there are budgets to keep to and it can seem wasteful to let the children puddle the glue in what seems to be a senseless act.  But it isn't senseless.  They are learning, as children do, by doing, by experimenting, by immersing themselves in the experience.  Compared to the experience, glue seems cheap. 


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Thursday, February 6, 2014

Bob Books Level 2

Now that my daughter is an official "reader", she reads anything and everything she sees.  We have used the Bob Books for quite some time now.  Did you know you can get them on Kindle?

We received a gift copy of Bob Books set 2 advancing readers  to try out.  My daughter read them all in one sitting, book after book.  She was absorbed and I loved it!! 
What I love about Bob Books are the simple pictures and text.  The simple pictures make it easier to focus on the words and yet, the pictures go along with the text.  I also enjoy the humor in the books. I think the proof is in the fact that my daughter could not stop reading them.  She read to me, her Dad, even her dog.  Thank you Bob Books! 
You can find them all at this
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