Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Spring Time Flowers

Spring has come into full bloom and the children have been enjoying picking all the flowers.  So instead of having them just pick the flowers and put them in their pockets we decided to go on a I spy color hunt using the flowers that could be found in the play yard area.  We placed masking tape on each child’s wrist with the sticky side out.  As the children found that color of flower that we were looking for in the I spy game, they picked that color of flower and place it on their wrist making a flower bracelet.  They wore them with pride the rest of the day.  Even the teachers made their very own bracelet.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Jump Frog Jump Color Floor Game

Make a game board out of blue butcher paper.  Make a square grid on the paper.  Mark one end Start and the other Finish line.  Place a set of colored bean bag frogs on the start line along with a colored dice (made from a mailing box 6 X 6).  Have children take turns rolling the dice.  As each child rolls the dice they identify that color and then find the frog that matches that color and moves the frog one square ahead.  See if they can predict which frog will win.  I like to use these types of games with the children, each child gets a turn but there are no winners or losers.   

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Lemon Juice Astringent

Here is one for the teachers and moms.  Sometimes we need to take a little time of us.  Here is a fresh and easy way to bring a little life to ourselves, so take a break and do a little something for you.
When it comes to finding good beauty products you don’t have to look any further than your kitchen cabinets.
One of my favorites to use is fresh squeezed lemon juice.  The high content of Vitamin C and citric acid in lemons makes it an effective skin care aid.
It helps:
• Exfoliate by removing dead skin cells
• Brightens
• Lightens acne spots
• Lightens age spots
• Removes blackheads
• Stimulates collagen

Squeeze fresh lemon juice into a glass jar and dab onto face with cotton ball.  Let it sit on face for 10 to 15 minutes, rinse with warm water.  Follow by a moisturizer of choice.  Fresh squeezed lemon juice will last for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator.  If you have a large batch of juice you can freeze the juice in ice trays and then place the cubes in a freezer bag.  Thaw one cube as needed.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Paper Buttercups

Set out a supply of paper scuffle cups and paint.  Let the children flatten one scuffle cup by pulling the edges of the cup until there are no folds left, this will make the cup lay flat.  Have the children paint each type of cup.  Allow them to dry.  Once the cups are dry have the children assemble their flowers with tape or glue.  The children can add any type of stem of their likings.  Place their flowers around the classroom and bring in a little spring.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ladybug Dice Game

Make a ladybug out of construction paper, glue onto green scrapbook paper and laminate for durability. (I used scrapbook paper that looked like grass) Get a supply of black pom poms.  Have child roll a dice and identify the number on the dice, next have the child count out the number of black pom poms to match the number on the dice. Once child has the right amount of pop poms have child place them onto the ladybug. When the ladybug is full of spots child is done. With this dice game all children are winners.  You can exchange the dice for number cards if you like.
If you need to challenge some children have them use two dice and add them together, once child has added the two dice together have child count out that many pom poms and place them on the ladybug.
You can also use different styles of dice.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Blooming Tree Handprints

The trees in the orchards are in full bloom, so we have taken this opportunity to make blooming tree handprints.  The children painted their arm and hand with brown paint and made a print with it. (Forming the tree trunk and branches)  Once they rinsed their hands they came back and painted their hands with different colors of paint and made prints to form the blooms on the tree.  To finish it off the children used their fingers with green paint to form grass under the trees.
If you do not want the children going back and forth from the sink, you can set a dish pan out with a small amount of water in it along with rags and towels. 

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Painting with Preschoolers

Painting with preschoolers is a fun activity that allows children to express their creativity.  When painting with preschoolers don’t just stop with painting on paper.  The more opportunities and materials that you provide for the children to paint on the more ways children will have to express themselves.

Painting on small Styrofoam packaging

Painting on Large Styrofoam packaging  (Turn it into a wall hanging)

Paint on Apple crates
Paint On…

• Wood sheets
• Sandpaper sheets
• Wax paper
• Brown Paper Bags
• Fabric
• Foil (add glue to paint so that it will adhere)
• Dry Wall Scraps
• Canvases
• Cardboard
• Newspaper Sheets

Friday, March 18, 2011

T is for Toad

On Fridays we feed the toads before leaving for the weekend.  Today we feed the toads crickets, the children estimated how many they thought each toad would eat.  As they watched them they counted and laughed, counted and laughed.  They had the best time watching them eat crickets.  One toad ate 7 crickets in 10 minute. 

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Every Thing is Green

Have the children practice ordering their numbers with this green shamrocks pocket chart. 

Collage green shamrocks are hanging about.

Color shapes for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

Newspaper hats all in green.  The children decorated their hats with all different kinds of green collage materials.  We will be having a St. Patrick’s day parade tomorrow.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Nuts, Bolts and Washers

I love that my husband is a Contractor!  It gives me an endless supply of items to bring into the classroom.  Especially when these items are real, the children seem to enjoy them that much more.  Have you ever noticed that when you bring something out that the children have seen an adult use it keeps their attention longer?    The nuts, bolts and washers that I found so freely in my husbands garage have turned into the best learning tool.
We place them on activity trays and the children have to place the right washer and nut onto the bolt.  It is a great way to build on fine motor skills, and size serration skill.  You will find that when you bring out these trays you will have to drag the boys away form it.
We also use these nuts, bolts and washer for weighing activities.
Supervision is needed when using small items like these.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bee Finger Puppet

I have created a new friend to go in my transition tool belt.
With the school budgets as they are it is harder and harder to be able to order materials for the classroom.  So with that in mind we (myself and other teachers in our program) have created a bee puppet using a yellow dish glove, white lace, wiggle eyes and black rick rack.  The total coast for 10 bee finger puppets was about $5.00.  That means that our finger puppet only coast us $0.50.  Not only did we save money for our classroom but we also had a lot of fun working together to create fun finger puppets for our classroom.  

Here is the song that will go with the new bee finger puppet.  I will be using the bee and song to transition children from cleaning up time, to lining up to go outside.

Buzz, Buzz Bumblebees 

Buzz, buzz bumblebees,
Flying all around.
Stop stand still, do not move around.
Shh, don’t make a sound.

Buzz, buzz bumblebees

Hurry up, in the jar
Before they sting your hand.

Buzz, buzz bumblebees
Hold your jar real tight.
We will carry them outside
Then let them all take flight

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Veterinarian Prop Box

The children spent the day pretending to be veterinarians. We learned a lot of new vocabulary words with our prop box (stethoscope, vaccination, flea, tick, leash, kennel, groom, and collar). I enjoy bringing out different prop boxes to spark the imagination. Every time you bring out that box something new will come from it.

Here is what’s in our box

Roll Bandages, Disposable Masks, Small Stuffed Animals, Stethoscope, Pet Grooming Tools, Dog leash, Dog Collars, Dog Bones/Milk Bone Box, Cotton Swabs, Food/Water Bowls

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hanging Words and Names Out To Dry

Set up a clothes line with clothes pins for children to hand their name out to dry. They can even hand words of study out to dry. This is a fun way for children to work on letter recognition and also learning that letters form words.

Here is what we did:
• Write each students name on a sentence strip and cut apart, putting the letters in an envelope and write students name on the out side of the envelope.
• Write words of study on a sentence strip and cut apart, putting the letters in an envelope and write the word of study on the out side of the envelope along with a picture on the word pasted on the envelope.
• Students take a name or word of study from the pile of envelopes and attach the letters to the clothesline in order using the clothespins.

Materials: Yarn, dowels, mini-clothespins, sentence strips, envelopes, plaster of paris and an empty container, we used paint cans that were donated from the local paint store. (butter tubs, yogurt tubs, or any other type of container) Pour plaster of pairs into the container and place one dowel in the middle of the container and let dry. String yarn between the two dowels to create your clothesline. Hot glue yarn to the top of the wooden dowels to keep it in place. We placed the envelopes in the paint can for the children to access on their own. We also placed a basket of clothes pins near the clothes line.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Keeping Germs at Bay

The spread of germs in a preschool classroom is something that we all deal with on a daily bases. This year we have set up a system in each classroom for the staff and children to use. When we see a child put something in their mouth or if a child has a runny nose and that child is done using an item (toy) we put that toy in a container marked dirty toys. The children also help with this process by knowing if they have a runny nose and that when they are done with something they will automatically place that toy they are finished with in the dirty toy container. Child will then wash their hands after placing toy in container and after blowing their nose.

Staff through out the day will take the toys in dirty tube and disinfect them before placing them back to where they belong.

Here is what we have done to help with the spread of germs in the classroom

• Do daily health checks before children can be dropped off
• Sanitize toys weekly
• If we have a out break of illnesses we then do it daily (sanitize toys)
• Utilize the dirty toy container
• Have children wash hands often (upon arrival, after bathroom, after blowing nose, before eating, after using water table, after using play dough, after coming in form outside) by us having them wash their hand frequently colds are down this year.
• Disinfect soap dispensers and paper towel holders daily

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Creative Art it's the process

What is Process Art?

Process art emphasizes the “process” of making art (rather than any predetermined composition or plan)

Why Process Art?

When working with process art children are able to explore, create and develop their own original ideas. They are able to feel the dough, see the colors and touch the textures. Teachers are only there to facilitate giving inspiration, materials, guidance and tools to inspire them to be creative. When teacher practice using process art the children will create original art work which reflects his or hers own personal interpretation.

What they learn in the process of creating

• Balance and design
• Depth perception
• Form
• Color mixing

Teachers who respect children’s ideas help them to learn to think and solve problems for themselves. Children who feel free to make mistakes and to explore will also feel free to invent, create and find new ways to do things.

To have a successful process art program in your class you will need to have a well-stocked cabinet of art supplies.

Creating a house with found materials

Creating their very own Big Red Barn

Creating birdies and nest 

Creating their very own version of a Giraffe 
All of this by just allowing them time and their own imagination. The possibilities are endless for them if you just provide the materials.

When I create art I am learning:

• To exercise my imagination and creativity.
• About how colors mix and to form new colors.
• Concepts of shape, size and location.
• Eye-hand coordination.
• About things that are sticky and things that have different textures.
• How to create patterns and designs, a math skill.
• To distinguish patterns from background, a reading skill.
• To express my feelings and ideas
• That my ideas have value.
• An acceptable way to make a mess and have fun sharing ideas with others.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Science Discoveries

Discovering the world around you!

Young children’s innate curiosity about investigating their world makes them natural scientists.

Young children are born scientists, whose boundless curiosity and developing skills give them the motivation and capability to investigate and better understand their world.

To learn about science is to….

• Learn how to think
• The abilities to comprehend
• To Apply
• To Analyze
• To Synthesize
• To Evaluate

To learn about science is essential for higher-order of thinking and problem-solving skills. These skills are needed to form the foundation of all learning.

When we teach preschool children science we are teaching the skills children will need throughout their lives to think about a problem and to explore its possible answers.

When teaching science to preschoolers you are also incorporating Math, Literacy and Motor Skills.

As we teach children to “experience” science, remember that it’s an approach to learning and life.

These science activities are designed to be open-ended. Remember that hands on learning, is the most appropriate way for children to explore and learn about their world.

Color Rain/Color Mixing

Discovering Goop

Discovering Bones

Making Discovery Bottles

Rain Meter

Observing Snails

Observing Worms

Ice and Rock Salt Experiment

Exploring Bubbles

Environments which facilitate exploration, cultivate creativity, encourage wonder and problem solving, are environments that plant the seeds for a love of life long learning.

Our job is to connect the experiences to the concepts in a manner that allows the children to be actively involved in their explorations and discoveries about the world around them.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Digital Camera in the Preschool Classroom

My digital camera is a valuable tool in my preschool classroom.  I use my digital camera to organize the classroom, for project boards, documentation of learning experiences, classroom portfolios, class picture books, name cards, and picture slide shows for parent nights.

Organizing classroom shelves for the children’s centers
I take pictures on the items in each container and place one picture on the container and one on the shelf.  This allows for children to pick up on their own knowing what goes in what container and which shelf to place the items on.  I also type out the word for each label for a print rich environment.

Organizing their own personal space.

Marking an area to sit while at carpet

Pictures are taken of each child through out the year for documentation of their learning experiences.  These pictures show the growth of each individual child through out the year.  At the end of the year we take all the sample work and pictures and create a portfolio for each child to take home at the end of the school year.
Project Board 

Name cards to help promote writing 
We make a name card for each child in the classroom and place them in the writing area so that children know how to write one another’s name.
Class Books
We create familiar children books using pictures of each child in the classroom.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Brown Bear Brown Bear

I went Walking

These titles are just a few that we use with children’s pictures.

More class books to help promote an interest in writing and building is to take pictures of children do those things and turn it into a class book.  We have one in the writing area (Look at what I am writing) and one in the block area (Look at what I can build).
Classroom Management 
I like to use pictures of the actual children in the classroom because it gives a since of ownership and that it is their classroom and their rules not just the teachers.


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