Tuesday, August 31, 2010
For infants, have plenty of mirrors around so the children can study their faces and facial expressions. Infants and toddlers can try mimicking facial expressions while looking in the mirror. Mirrors are good for older children too. For preschoolers, they can try to draw what they see in the mirror.
For infants and toddlers, look at photos of the child and family members. See if they can pick out who’s who and talk about what they see in the picture. It can be a good labeling activity for infants and toddlers.
Preschoolers enjoy looking at photos too. You can take photos of them throughout the day doing normal things like playing, eating, getting ready to go outside etc. Make a picture schedule that you can add to and change. This can also be good for toddlers or any child getting used to a new routine.
For preschoolers, make a photo matching game.
Have two photos of each child in the class and have the kids try to match them up. To make it more challenging, you can do a memory game with it were all the photos are face down on the table and the kids have to remember where the photos are in order to match them up.
Look at fingerprints.
Fingerprint each child. Have the children look through magnifying glasses so that they can see the differences between fingerprints. You can talk about how everyone’s fingerprint is unique.
You can do a measuring activity. Have the children measure how tall they are against a piece of string. Cut the string to their height and then tape them to a large piece of paper. The children can see how tall they are and will be able to compare it to their friends.
For literacy, you can find or make picture books that have different people and faces for infants to look at. You can read books that go along with the theme to children of any age. There are a lot of books to choose from. I like It's Not Easy Being a Bunny. It’s a cute book and it’s about how Bunny tries being something he’s not, but in the end, he finds out that he likes being himself after all.
For preschoolers, you can have them draw pictures and decorate pages with things about themselves. They can use handprints, family photos, pictures of their favorite foods and things to do, pieces of paper or stickers that show their favorite colors etc. If they can write, they can write a sentence or two about each page or they can tell you what to write for them. You can keep these books on hand so the children can look at them later to learn about each other and enjoy their creations.
Allow the children to paint on aluminum foil with a mixture of food coloring and corn syrup. When they are done, they’ll have shiny paintings and will be able to see a reflection of themselves.
Picture of Child
Give each child a piece of paper. Let the children either paint or trace their handprint on the paper.
They can also decorate the paper any way that they want. Finally put their picture
And name somewhere on the page and laminate it. Use the placemats during meals or let the child use it how they’d like.
Photos of the child and his or her family,
And anything else the child would like to decorate their picture with.
Let the child glue pictures onto the paper. They can also decorate the empty parts of the paper how they wish. While working on the project, you can talk about when the photos were taken, family members in the photos etc.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Thank you to Tonya from, Room to Grow: Making Early Childhood Count! for the versatile blogger award.
This is going to be hard to do but I have to come up with seven things about myself to share.
1. I don’t have kids, but I have two spoiled ragdoll cats named, Diamond and Mellow.
2. I lived in the same house from when I was born until I was 21.
3. My dream job would be a seal trainer or working with polar bears.
4. I collect unicorns of all types whether it be glass, plush, etc. I have unicorn everything.
5. The food that I really can’t stand is raw tomatoes, but I’ll eat pizza sauce or catsup. People argue with me about this, but they do taste very different!
6. I’m only about five ft tall.
7. I love making pottery and made lots of creations throughout high school. Some day, I’ll get back to it again. />
Now, I have to pass this award along to fifteen blogs that I've recently discovered.
here are the blogs in no particular order. These blogs have great activity suggestions and are fun to follow. I can tell that these people enjoy being either moms, early childhood educators or both. There are lots of great blogs out there.
Room to Grow: Making Early Childhood Count!
Crunchy and Green
The Activity Mom
Let's Promote Play
Learning Is Child's Play
The Picky Apple
Parenting Ideas that Fly
We Know Babies
Irresistible Ideas for play based learning
Teaching Tiny tots
What Do You Do All Day
Sunday, August 29, 2010
6. Rain with Thunder
10.Footsteps in crunchy leaves
12. Ice cracking
13. Hot spring
14. Babbling Stream
Click here to download the files.
The track list:
4. Grocery store
5. Fishing boat
Click here to download the files.
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
One thing that they’ve suggested that I haven’t had a chance to try is a different
version of musical chairs. They pointed out that toddlers and preschoolers do better
with games that are based on cooperation instead of competition. I thought this version
of musical chairs could be a good activity to do within the first few weeks of having
a new class to practice team work.
What you do is run the game like musical chairs using a chair or a mat for each kid.
When the music stops, you take one chair or mat away and let all the kids continue
By the end, you should have one left and all the kids have to find a way to be touching the chair somehow.
That way, no one feels bad about losing or geting bored
because they have to sit out while waiting for the game to end. When I was a kid, I hated musical chairs for both of those reasons. Now that I’m a teacher, I have to hear someone bragging to the rest of the class about how they are the winner and the rest of them are losers for ten minutes. It happens no matter how many times we tell them it’s just a game, no one in the class is a loser, we can always play again another time etc. This version solves most if not all of those problems. If anyone tries this, let me know how it goes.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
She’s one of the youngest in my group so I decided to test her on her shapes. First, I made a triangle which she guessed correctly. Then I made an oval which she thought was a circle. I told her it was close, but told her that it was an oval. It was a new word for her so she repeated it a couple of times. Then I made a square, but didn’t have a cookie cutter for that shape so it kept coming out crooked. I asked her if she knew what it was, but she wasn’t sure. I didn’t blame her for that one, but I told her I was trying to make a square and she repeated the word, “square?” I said, “Yes, it’s a square, but it was a little messed up.” After making some more stars and attempting to make a door out of a cookie cutter that she had picked out, we got back to shapes. I tested her on the oval again, but this time she had decided that it was a cake. I didn’t correct her this time because it could’ve been a cake or anything she wanted. Kay is one of those little girls who has a mind of her own and I like to encourage that.
The cookie cutter play-dough activity can also be good with letters and numbers if you have those cookie cutters. You make the letter cutout and then they can guess what it is. If they are helping you, it’s even better. If you don’t have the cookie cutters, just role the play-dough out into snake shapes and then make the letters and numbers from that. You don’t have to have an activity in mind with play-dough though. The best part of play-dough is that they can use their imagination and create anything.
Monday, August 23, 2010
I did a fun activity with the kids where they had to guess what smell was in each bucket. I bought these small buckets that close from the dollar store. The night before we did the activity, I soaked cotton balls in whatever I wanted them to smell like. It was a little hard to find at least twelve different smells that they could actually guess, but I found enough things. To make it easier and less messy, I had muffin tins that I’d put the cotton balls and the liquids or powders in so they could absorb the smell. With the powders, I added a tiny bit of water to the cotton balls so the powders would stick. After a few minutes of soaking, I put the cotton balls in their buckets and closed them up.
For the smells, I used vanilla extract, obviously for vanilla. I used coco powder for chocolate. I wanted a strawberry scent, but I didn’t have strawberries to squeeze the juice out of so I used Strawberries and Cream Vo5 shampoo. This worked well and that scent was the favorite for most of the kids. I used cinnamon. I had a spice that has a barbecue scent so I tried that. That one was a little harder for the kids to guess, but they got it. I wanted other fruit smells, but didn’t have any fresh fruit so I used several sprays. One was orange scented and the other smelled liked freshly baked cookies. They are grooming sprays that we use for our pets so they are safe, but these kids are old enough to know not to put these things in their mouths. I used apple scented body wash, bubblegum hand soap, maple syrup, mango iced tea mix and coffee. If there were more smells, I can’t remember them.
The kids really liked this activity. They had fun guessing and smelling the buckets over and over. Another thing you could add to this is to have cards with pictures that match with the smells in the buckets. They’d be using sight and smell which would be good for a five senses theme. I’d like to try this activity again with different smells so if anyone has any good suggestions, that’d be great.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
This is a little game I came up with around Easter, but this can be good all year round. You can use it for Easter, food, farming or any other theme you can relate to eggs. Even if you aren’t doing anything with eggs, it’s useful for color recognition for toddlers and even some preschoolers who aren’t sure of their colors. I only had one package of the plastic Easter eggs for this activity, but you can buy other packages that may have more colors. I took the eggs apart, put one set of halves in the carton and left the rest out so the kids could put the same colored halves together. This of course makes the whole dozen eggs. For a better color variety, you could buy different colored large marbles or balls and color or paint the cups of the carton. That way you wouldn’t have to use the same color twice.
For preschoolers, you can write numbers 1 through 12 on the eggs and then write the numbers 1 through 12 on the egg carton for practice with number recognition. The preschoolers I’ve worked with have had to do this several times before they could do it on their own. The first couple of times were spent just looking at the numbers and then they understood that the numbers matched on the carton. This works well with doing a variety of other sorting and matching activities so the concept of numbers and counting sink in.
Ocean Theme Lesson Plan
A House for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle
By the Seashore : A Natural Trail Book (A Touch and Feel Adventure)
Islands of Ice: The Story of a Harp Seal
Ocean theme word wall with pictures of sea creatures labeled.
Music and movement: Ocean finger plays:
Five Little Sea Creatures
Five little sea creatures
On the ocean floor;
The lobster walked away
Now there are four.
Four little sea creatures
Living in the sea;
The octopus crept away
Now there are three.
Three little sea creatures
Wondering what to do;
"Good-bye," said the starfish
Now there are two.
Two little sea creatures
Not having much fun;
Off swam the sea horse
Now there is one.
One little hermit crab
Sad and all alone,
Back came the starfish,
Back came the sea horse,
Back came the octopus,
Back came the lobster,
Then all five went home.
Five Cranky Crabs
Five cranky crabs were digging on the shore.
One swam into a net and then there were four.
Four cranky crabs were floating in the sea.
One got tangled up in seaweed then there were three.
Three Cranky crabs were wondering what to do.
One dug a deep, deep hole. Then there were two.
Two cranky crabs were warming in the sun.
One got scooped up in a cup. Then there was one.
One cranky crab was smarter than his friends.
He hid between the jagged rocks.
That's how the story ends.
Pouring water or sand in the sensory table,
Seashell Match Up
Sensory tub with sand and water: have kids dig for shells.
Water and fish in the sensory table with nets to catch the fish.
blue food coloring,
and some hot glue.
1. Clean out an empty plastic pop bottle.
2. Add water, blue food coloring, glitter, and maybe a few pebbles. Also, you can add sand, shells, or plastic fish.
3. Seal the bottle closed using a little hot glue and allow to completely dry before the children can play with it.
Note: Have the children tip or role the bottle to see what happens.
Discussion: What happens when you role or tip the bottle?
What happens in the actual ocean?
What kind of creatures live in the ocean?
How do those creatures get their food?
What do we get from the ocean?
Listen to sounds of different fish, sea birds and the ocean atmosphere.
Make a guessing game out of different sea sounds.
Take a trip to the beach.
Make shell or starfish imprints in play dough.
Sea shell rubbings with crayons.
Sand art in beach buckets that cover like the ones below.
Take small cups of sand and add food coloring.
Have the kids scoop the sand from the cups to the buckets in layers so they can create a cute beach bucket while practicing their pouring and scooping skills.
They came in packs of three and they had bubblegum inside.
Pasta Shell Painting
Use large pasta shells and paint.
Let the kids paint them any way they want and you can discuss how no two shells are alike.
OCEAN PLAY AREA
Turn the space under a card table into an ocean hideout for your child.
1. First, hang some blue crepe paper streamers or twisty ribbon all around the table so that it hangs down to the floor.
2. Next, place some pillow "rocks" inside for your sea creatures.
3. Provide your child with some plastic or stuffed sea animals to place in the den.
4. Decorate with pictures of the sea and place books about the sea inside.
You can add plush animals like the ones below to any ocean themed dramatic play area or put them on display.
Tuesday, August 17, 2010
The kids enjoyed playing with the bags. Even the kids who didn’t like to touch squishy things liked them. They made hand prints, trails, wrote out letters and numbers with their fingers and made creative designs. Another good thing was that once they were done with their design, they could shake up the bag and it was like a blank drawing board. You could do this with other things like pudding, shaving cream, marshmallows or any other thing that can be squished. Another teacher did the activity with pudding and the kids enjoyed that, but one of the bags popped and it made a huge mess. Doubling the bags works well though. Only use it for a day or two because the mixture starts to smell bad on about the third day.
Monday, August 16, 2010
I used things like a plastic Easter egg, paper towel, rock, piece of straw, a coin, a paper clip, cotton ball, a piece of tin foil etc. Each child predicted whether the object would sink or float and then we’d put the object in the container. It turned out that most of the kids guessed right. These kids are mostly two and three-years-old, but with older kids you could actually make a graph of their predictions so they could look back and see if what they thought in the beginning was right.
One kid told me that rocks sink because they are heavy. Another kid told me that Easter eggs float because they are light. They learned about absorption. When the cotton ball was light and hadn’t absorbed any water yet, it would float. Once it was filled with water, it was heavy and sank to the bottom. The same thing went for the paper towel. They thought it was cool because it had changed and didn’t go as predicted. Unfortunately, we only had about ten minutes to finish this activity, but they wanted to keep putting the different objects back into the water. This is a simple activity that kids really enjoy.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Download the files here!
2. Phone ringing
3. Pouring Drink
4. Keys Jingling
5. Toilet Flush
8. Lawn Mower
9. Page turning in a book
10. Bouncing ball
11. Filling Sink
14. Baby's rattle,
15. Writing with pencil
16. Kids in Pool
17. Ice Cube in Glass.
19. Hair Dryer
20. Popcorn Popping in Microwave
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Download the transportation activity here
2. Car Horn
7. Fire Truck
Thank you, Deborah (Teach Preschool) for the idea.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
I completely covered the outside of the box with white shelf paper found in the home section. My idea was to let the kids decorate the mailbox however they wanted plus cover up all the taped areas. I thought it would be fun for the kids to decide how their mailbox looked. It didn’t work out that way because the place where I work chose to use it for the hallway display for the theme. Then they combined post office with Valentines and they taped hearts on to it.
Finally, the next time post office theme came around, the hearts were removed and it was used the way I intended. The class enjoyed pretending to send cards, letters, and magazines and of course bills back and forth.
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
I used this for a display during ocean week. I can’t remember where the jar came from, but it is plastic and is mostly square as you can see in the picture. I used colored rocks that you find in the craft section for the bottom. I found plastic plants in the aquarium section to represent sea plants. I included some sea shells and different kinds of rubber fish that I found at the dollar store. Then there’s the water which I made blue with food coloring and I added some glitter. The background is a plastic poster with scenery which I also found in the aquarium section. I taped it to the inside of the jar and it stuck pretty well. The children enjoyed it and would stop to look at it every time they passed the display table. Since this was something they couldn’t touch, I also brought in those animals that you put in water and watch them grow. Each morning, we’d look to see how much the snail and starfish grew. The kids learned that things don’t grow immediately. It takes time.
Monday, August 9, 2010
Click here to download the files.
- 1. Chickadee
- 2. Dog
- 3. Horse
- 4. Cat
- 5. Duck
- 6. Rooster
- 7. Pig
- 8. Bull
- 9. Polar Bear
- 10. Tiger
- 11. Penguin
- 12. Seal
- 13. Baby Penguin
- 14. Hippo
- 15. Elephant
- 16. Frog
- 17. Snake
- 18. Guinea pig
- 19. Dolphin
- 20. Whale
I found this online somewhere. It seems to be a popular recipe, but I found it listed as silly putty, but it comes out more like goop or gack. I tried this a while ago with the kids and it worked great after drying out for a day. They could mold it however they wanted. They could make a ball that would actually bounce. I was looking for the rubbery texture of silly putty, but this worked out well and they enjoyed it. It lasts for about a week or even longer if refrigerated.
2 parts Elmer's Glue
1 Part Liquid Starch
Optional: Food Coloring.
Pour starch slowly over the glue and mix.
If it is too sticky you can add more starch.
Cover and refrigerate overnight.
It may need to dry out a bit before you can use it.
Store in an air tight container or plastic bag.