October 19, 2012

Frankenstein Candy Wraps

Since we played our Fishies for Frankenstein game on Wednesday, and I had been scouring Pinterest for ideas (that site is addicting, right?!), I decided to give the kids a special treat to celebrate Fall Break.  I didn't find quite what I was looking for online, but when I was in the Halloween aisle at the grocery store, it hit me - Frankenstein Candy Wraps!
These are super easy, and pretty quick to whip up.  Here are the supplies you'll need:
  • Scotch tape
  • Glue (I used Elmer's clear gel) or glue dots
  • Black Sharpie
  • Small googly eyes
  • Purple (or black) construction paper
  • Green Post-Its, 3x5 size (copy or construction paper would also work)
  • Scissors
  • Fun-size candy bars (I used Kit Kats)
First, tape the ends of the candy bar wrapper down.  Place your candy bar on the green Post-It, and wrap around, so that the end of the Post-It lies on the back of the candy bar.  Even though the Post-Its have a sticky component, I still taped mine, since they don't seem to stick very well when you curl or wrap them.

Next, cut a strip of purple construction paper about 1"x4".  Cut uneven triangles across one long side (this is the hair).  Place Frankenstein's hair over the top of the green wrap, and tape in place on the backside.
Now you'll add the facial features with your Sharpie.  Be creative and make your Frankensteins as cute or scary as you'd like!  I didn't want to scare my pre-k kiddos, so I made mine cute and friendly.  :) 
Glue on the googly eyes, and make sure to add a scar toward the top, and over the left eye.  Give him a nose and a stitched (or unstitched) mouth.  For girls, you could even add a little bow with pink or red construction paper (or ribbon) and maybe even eyelashes!

Now your sweet treat Frankensteins are ready to be gifted!  My kids gave each of their teachers one with a little note saying "Happy Fall Break!".  Let your kiddo help you make a batch for friends, a party or even a random act of kindness.  :) 
Happy Fall!

Ff is for Frankenstein

 This week, our pre-k kiddos studied the letter Ff.  And since it's October and Halloween is right around the corner, we decided to tie in Frankenstein!
I found this cute cereal box Frankenstein idea on Pinterest, but made mine look a little friendlier, and left the top open.  The kid-version of Frankenstein, so to speak.  :)
After brainstorming for what seemed like forever, I came up with a fun game for the kids to play, reinforcing not only Ff, but reviewing the other letters we've learned so far (Aa-Ee).
Fishies for Frankenstein!

We already had a fishing game, so I just placed post-it letters on each fish.  I put the fish in a bucket, and the kids had to use their fishing pole to catch a fish.  Once they caught one, they had to say the letter, and if it was F or f, they got to feed our friendly Frankenstein!  If they caught a different letter (not Ff), they still had to say the letter name, then place it on the table.  Frankenstein only likes fishies with the letter Ff!
We also practiced Ff in sign language, sounded out Ff, traced it with our fingers, and practiced skywriting Ff.  Ask your kiddo to tell you all about our Fishies for Frankenstein game!

October 18, 2012

Falling for Leaves

This is the view of our school backyard.  Isn't it absolutely gorgeous?  I love the beauty that fall brings - the colorful leaves, the harvest of fall fruits and vegetables, and the crisp autumn air.  It's my favorite time of year!
Since it was a short week, we packed in a lot of fall leaf fun in just two days. We read the books I Am a Leaf and Ruby's Falling Leaves.  We learned that leaves help make food for trees and that there are many different kinds of trees and leaves.  We went outside into our beautiful backyard, and each kiddo collected a bag of colorful leaves.  They paid special attention to the color of the leaves, and they noticed that leaves come in different shapes and sizes.
I Am A Leaf (level 1) (Hello Reader, Science)Ruby's Falling Leaves (Max and Ruby)
Again this week, we had the spider web shape sorting activity out, since only a few kids got to do it last week.  They are doing great sorting and using the tongs to pick up the small objects from the basket!
In writing, we practiced tracing straight and zig-zag lines, which will help with letter formation.
For math, we played a scarecrow roll & cover game.  (Roll the die and cover the number.)  This game reinforces numbers 1-9, and is a fun learning tool to practice number recognition. 
We made hand/arm print fall trees with ink fingerprint leaves that turned out simply beautiful!  There is an adorably sweet poem attached, so that your child's tree can be a keepsake.
Have a wonderful Fall Break!

October 14, 2012

Silly Spiders

Friday's class was all about spiders, and boy were we busy!

We read the books The Very Busy Spider and Boo Who? (a lift-the-flap trivia story), and had several spider activities for the kids to do.  I'm thinking that in the future, I may need to devote an entire week to spiders!
Very Busy Spider, The
During centers/playtime, one of the activities the kids could choose was this spider counting game.  The spiders started out in a bowl, and the kids had to put one spider at a time at the end of each webline.  Then they had to count them, using one-to-one correspondence.

We also had a free play spider table, with a web, several colorful spiders, and lots of realistic-looking spiders.  I think they creeped-out a few of the kids, but I did notice most of them playing and making up their own silly spider stories!

I wish I had gotten pictures of the other things we did.  We were just sooooo busy!

For writing, each child traced his/her name on a spider web.  If you'd like your child to practice name writing at home, I recommend first writing their name in highlighter.  Then have them trace over the letters with a pencil, marker or crayon.  Highlighter is a lot easier than dashes or dots!

In literacy, we played a spider web letter game, using letters we've covered so far - Aa through Ee. 

In math, we sorted a basket of small blocks shaped like triangles, squares and circles onto spider webs that were shaped like triangles, squares and circles.  The kids used tongs to pick up each block, so they also got a fine motor muscle workout as well.

  Ask your kiddo how many legs a spider has, and how a spider catches its food.  What was your kiddo's favorite part about our spider mini unit?

We had an absolutely spiderific day!

October 13, 2012

Bats Fly at Night

On Wednesday, our theme was bats.  We read the books Bats at the Library and  Bats (a Scholastic Science Reader), and talked about many bat facts.  The children made the connection that bats are awake at night and asleep during the day, just like owls.  These kiddos are thinkers!
Bats at the Library
We also learned that most bats eat bugs or fruit, and that vampire bats bite cows and birds...not people!  Bats sleep upside down and use echoes to find their way around.
We had a bat play table with lots of toy bats, and we made bats to hang up on our curtains.  Take a peek in our classroom, and check them out!

The pre-k'ers also learned the song "Five Little Bats", and used geoblocks to form bats on a mat.

In math, we used a 10 frame to practice counting 1-10, and then we placed the corresponding number of dots in each box.
It was a batty good day!

October 12, 2012

Ee is for Easter Eggs

Ee is for Easter eggs!
I made up a simple game for the children to end our week of letter Ee.  I placed a strip of paper inside 12 eggs. Some had an uppercase E, some had a lowercase e, and others had random upper or lowercase letters that we've already studied.
The kiddos worked in pairs, opening each egg, and deciding if the letter on the paper was E, e, or some other letter.  They really enjoyed this activity!  I think breaking apart the eggs was probably their favorite part.  :)
We then made the sign for Ee, sounded out short /e/, long /e/, and tried to give a word beginning with Ee.  Most kids said elephant or eggs.  Don't forget eels and erasers!  Earlier in the week, we practiced skywriting Ee as well.
Next week's letter is Ff...maybe for Frankenstein!

October 11, 2012

Dd is for Dots

Dd is for dots on a Dalmation dog!
Have you seen the do-a-dot markers?  They're similar to bingo markers, except washable and in every color of the rainbow.  We love them!  They're perfect for projects like this:
The kiddos sounded out Dd, traced it with their finger, and used the black dot marker to place dots on D and the dog.  Some kids even counted the dots - so they got a literacy and math lesson.  Score!
At this point, your child knows the American Sign Language symbols for letters Aa through Dd.  If you'd like to reinforce this with your child, you can find a chart here.  When we make a specific letter sign, we also say its sound at the same time.
Next up...Ee!

Cc is for Carrots and Cream

If there's one sensory activity that kids cannot get enough of, it's definitely shaving cream.  Enter our letter Cc activity - carrots and (shaving) cream!
The kids formed lots of Cc's in the cream with the use of a plastic carrot as their writing utensil.  They made the two Cc sounds - soft /c/ (like cereal) and hard /c/ (like cocoa).
Then came the fun part - "erasing" and running their little fingers all through the cream!  They squished, smoothed, drew and even ran Matchbox cars in the cream.  It was a delightful experience for the kiddos, and I think the teachers enjoyed watching their excitement just as much!  We even had a few who ended up with shaving cream in their hair and on their clothes.  They definitely had a blast!
Next up...letter Dd!

October 10, 2012

Bb is for Blue

Bb is for blue...blue paint, that is!
Our letter Bb sensory activity was forming Bb on a ziploc baggie filled with blue paint.  They used either their finger or a q-tip to write Bb, and then sounded it out.  Some kids commented about how squishy the baggie felt.  Afterwards, they got to make their own designs on the baggie.  :)
When we're covering the letter of the week, I always ask the kids if they can think of something that begins with that specific letter.  Sometimes it's easy (like with Bb), and other times it's hard (like with Ee or Ii).  You can help!  Talk with your kiddo about the letter of the week, its sound(s), and name a few things that have the letter's beginning sound.  Example: B is for bear, balloon, and bubble!
Coming up next...Cc!

October 9, 2012

Aa is for Applesauce

I know this is a little late...well, a lot late.  Several weeks actually!  Better late than never, right?
Each week, we will introduce a new letter, beginning with Aa and ending with Zz.  Your kiddo will get a Letter of the Week writing practice worksheet to complete at home for "homework".  Since preschoolers are still developing their fine motor muscles (used for holding writing utensils), it's sometimes easier for them to write with something thicker - like a chunky pencil or marker.  Give it a try!
For each letter, we try to do some sort of sensory activity.  Letter Aa was fun and tasty!  The children practiced forming Aa in applesauce!  They loved how it felt squishy and cold.  As part of this activity, they also sounded out Aa - short and long sounds, showed me the sign for Aa (American Sign Language), and then they got to eat some applesauce!
Over the next few days, I will attempt to get you all caught up on our letter learning fun.  Hang in there with me!  :)

October 8, 2012

Owls ~ Hoot! Hoot!

Monday's class was all about owls.  We read the books Owl Babies and Good-night, Owl!.
Owl Babies
We learned that owls are nocturnal animals, so they are awake at night, when we're sleeping.  We also discovered that owls are birds, and they hunt for mice, rats, and other small rodents to eat.
The kiddos made these cute owl projects, based on an idea from Inner Child Fun.  If you haven't checked out this website, head on over there right now!  She's got tons of amazing, easy-on-the-wallet projects to do with your kid.  This site is an awesome resource for parents and teachers! 
Because the kiddos always ask if they can take their art projects home the same day they're created, I made some modifications - we used marker instead of paint (eliminating drying time), and we used feathers instead of fabric for the wings. I think they turned out quite cute, and the children were very proud of them!
We also learned a new song about owls.  Some of you were even lucky enough to see it performed live at pick-up!  It's super simple, but one that will help the kids remember that owls are awake at night.
It Is Nighttime
(to the tune of "Goodnight Ladies")
It is nighttime (arms out, like you're flying)
It is nighttime
It is nighttime
When owls fly around
It is daytime (hands together next to face, like you're sleeping)
It is daytime
It is daytime
When owls are asleep
Ask your kiddo to sing it for you, as well as to give you some owl facts.  :)
See you on Wednesday! :)

October 6, 2012

Shake It Up Paintings and Spooky Science!

 Look at these gorgeous paintings the kids created on Monday!
They were created using a cylindrical container, paper, marbles and 2 colors of paint. After all that was placed in the container, the kiddos shook it up! I let them shake it for as long as they wanted. Some were finished in just a few seconds, and the others shook for a few minutes. They all turned out great!

On Friday, we did sort of Spooky Science experiements.  Ok, so they weren't so spooky, but they did still get lots of ooohs and ahhs, which is always the goal!
Our first experiment was the homemade lava lamp.  We added vegetable oil to an empty bottle, followed by red-tinted water.  We watched how the water seperated from the oil, and ended up in the bottom of the bottle.  Then came the fun part - each child got to drop a piece of an Alka Selzer tablet into the bottle.  We put the cap back on, and watched the magic happen!
This picture doesn't do the experiment justice.  It's a pretty amazing experiment! 

Our second experiment used a carved jack-o-lantern, vinegar, baking soda and green food coloring.  It started out looking like this....
and ended up like this!

The kiddos asked us to do this experiement over and over!  We heard lots of squeals, screams, and even one child, who exclaimed, "This is awesome!"  I love hearing that!  The children called it the burping/spitting up pumpkin.  We'll go with that!  They decided he must be spitting up from a tummy ache.  Maybe too much candy!
Also on Friday (but not nearly as exciting), we did our letter Dd activity (posts coming soon on our letter activities), and read the books It's Fall and Fall Changes.
See you on Monday for another exciting week of pre-k!

Fire Safety

On Wednesay, we had a lesson on fire safety.  We read the books Fireman Small and Even Firefighters Hug Their Moms.  We talked about what to do if your clothes ever catch on fire - stop, drop and roll.  We will review this again next week, and each child will have the opportunity to earn a certificate after demonstrating how to stop, drop and roll.
Our art project was a firetruck shapes craft.  We used a large red rectangle, long white rectangle, red square and black circles to form a firetruck.  Each kiddo got to pick which number he/she wanted to put on the firetruck.  We often hear the firetruck from the station down the street, and they know that one is engine #12!

For math, we worked in small groups of 2 or 3 to put together this cute fireman strip puzzle.  Each strip has a number at the top, and the kids had to work together to put the numbers back in order, from 1-10.  This was a challenging activity, but once they finished, they were so proud!
In writing, we practiced tracing our names over highlighter.  This is a good activity to practice at home as well, and seems to work better than using dots or dashes.  If your child is having trouble gripping a pencil correctly, try using a chunky pencil or marker, and make sure they are resting their hand on the paper.  This gives them much more control, and they are able to form lines and curves easier. 
As always, thank you for everything you do, and for taking the time to work with your kiddo at home!  :)

October 5, 2012

October Sensory Tables

October is here, and that means pumpkins and colorful fall leaves!  We have changed our sensory tables in the block room, and the children are having a great time exploring the new textures. 
In the red table, we've added dry oatmeal, mini plastic pumpkins and silk fall leaves.  I've noticed several kids just running their hands through the oats.  (Sorry for the sideways picture - I rotated and saved it about a thousand times, and it still uploads sideways!)
In the corn table, we still have...well, corn!  The kids just can't seem to get enough of it - it's almost as popular as the sand table.  We've added pom pom "pumpkins", as well as a few new scoops, and a fall striped bucket.
Have you tried sensory tubs at home?  They are so much fun!  You don't have to spend much, if any, money to create one, and most items can be found around your house.  Try shaving cream, oatmeal, beans, applesauce, or even water.  Add in some spoons, scoops, cups and bowls, and you're set!  Children get good practice scooping, dumping, pouring, and mixing with sensory tubs.
Try it out - it's easy, fun, and your child will love it!  (Special bonus: you'll even have fun putting it together and watching your child enjoy it too!)

October 4, 2012

Color Clip Match

As part of our color review, I made this color clip match game for the kids.  This not only reinforces color recognition, but also works those fine motor muscles in their hands.
I found a cute crayon gift box in the dollar section at Target (Don't you love that part of the store?!), and cut it apart.  Then I punched holes down the side, and attached the little punched-out circles to mini clothespins.

I gave the matching board to students individually, mixed up the mini clothespins, and called out a color one at a time.  The kiddos picked up the correct pin, then attached it to the corresponding color on the board.  
If your child needs extra practice with colors, there are many different activities you can do!  Check out the list below.
  • Focus on 1 color at a time, or focus on the color that your child needs help identifying. 
  • Ask your child to name his/her favorite color, then have him/her find 3-5 objects of that color around the house.
  • Color with your child, because one of the best ways they learn is by example.  Say "I'm going to color the flower purple."  Then point out a purple crayon or marker. Have your child say which color he/she is going to use, and then have him/her point it out for you.
  • Check out some online color games at Gamequarium Junior, PBS Kids, and Disney Junior.
  • Take a trip to Lowe's, Home Depot or Wal-Mart, and grab a few paint chip samples. They're free, and you can easily make matching games with them. Have fun!

October 3, 2012

Apples Aplenty!

Hello Pre-K Families!
Last week was another exciting apple week for the children.  We read the books Apple Farmer Annie, Apples and How They Grow, Curious George: Apple Harvest, and The Apple Pie Tree
 We learned about the life cycle of an apple tree with this simple cut and glue activity.  The kiddos cut out the pictures, we talked about each one, and decided in which order to put them.  They did a great job!
In art, we made these super cute paper plate apples.  After we graphed our favorite types of apples, the children chose which color to paint their apple.  We also looked at the inside of an apple, and discovered that when you cut it horizontally, you can see the seeds and a star!
We also made paper bag apples.  We stamped red paint onto a paper bag apple cutout, using what else?  You guessed it - an apple!  I found this idea here.

 We continued singing our "10 Little Apples" song, and learned a new song, which includes how to spell apple.  The kids were so excited that they learned how to spell apple!
Apple Song
(to the tune of Bingo)
There was a farmer, had some trees
His apples were so tasty
A-P-P-L-E, A-P-P-L-E, A-P-P-L-E
His apples were so tasty!
Speaking of tasty, to end our week, we made our own version of apple pies!  They were so good, and the kids did a great job listening to and following directions.  We were so busy "cooking" and eating, I didn't even have a chance to snap a picture before the apple pies were all gone!  To make one, we scooped some apple pie filling into a bowl, crushed 1 whole cinnamon graham cracker over the top, then applied a generous swirl of whipped cream on top.  Easy peasy!
I hope your kiddo has had as much fun learning about apples as I have!  This is definitely my favorite time of year.  Ask your preschooler what they've enjoyed most about apples, and which kind is their favorite.
Have a wonderful Wednesday!