March 25, 2013

10 {Snowy} Day Activities Round-Up

Ok, first of all, is this crazy weather, or what?!  Here we are at the end of March, and we've gotten about 5 inches of snow, with more falling as I type.  Last year at this time, we were experiencing 80 degree temperatures, and enjoying the beginning of a no-jacket, warmer-than-usual spring.  This is complete madness, I tell you!
Whew.  Now that I've gotten that out of my system, I'd like to share some fun, inside activities that you can do with your kid using materials you probably already have at home.  (Because we don't need to make a special trip to get craft supplies in this mess!)
Today (Monday) is a snow day for our class, and your kiddo will probably want to play in the snow a little bit.  So you'll indulge, then warm them up with hot chocolate, a snuggly blanket and some tv.  You might play Barbies or Legos and watch a movie, but then what?!  At my house, my daughter isn't satisfied with tv.  She'd rather be doing something hands-on.  Are your kiddos like that?
Here are some fun things to do while it's freezing outside!
At breakfast or lunch, give your kid some magic milk!  No, this isn't just for St. Patrick's Day.  You could use your child's favorite color or something with a springtime feel - yellow or orange, maybe?  Details on this super-easy, yet super-exciting trick are over at Feels Like Home.
Magic Milk
Hop over to Make and Takes for an adorable bunny craft made out of plastic Easter eggs.  So cute!
Make an Easter card or two (or three!) for out-of-town relatives, neighbors or friends.  Inner Child Fun shares the details for this quick and easy craft.  No inkpads?  No problem!  Washable markers work just as well when "painted" on little fingers!
Kids Activities Blog shows how to make this festive pencil-stamped Easter egg.  Again, I think markers would work for this just as well as an inkpad.
Easter Egg Craft: Simple Pencil Eraser Stamps for kids
Got some of those marshmallowy peeps hangin' around your house?  Do some easy science experiments with them!  Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas gives the deets on this activity, as well as a few experiments with eggs.
Make these adorable bunny ears with your kid using construction paper, glue, scissors and a stapler or tape.  This and other sweet Easter activities, crafts and printables are over at Kaboose.
Isn't this little bunny family too cute?!  I think this would be a good one for my own family to try at home!  I love it!  Head over to iVillage to check it out!
Cardboard Tube Bunny Rabbit Family
DLTK supplies a printable template and instructions for how to make this "egg-cellent" wreath, just in time for Easter!
Easter Paper Plate Wreath
Practice letter recognition with this idea from No Time for Flash Cards.  If you don't have letter magnets, just write letters on a piece of paper, cut them apart, and stuff them into the eggs!
alphabet for starters
Oh. my. goodness.  You have got to go over to Creativity in Progress to find out how she made plastic Easter eggs into these darling little tea cups!  And seriously - what child, boy or girl, doesn't like a tea party?!  Craft up a few of these, grab a blanket and some stuffies, and have a seat on the floor for some some good ol' pretend play with your little one!
Creativity In Progress plastic egg teacups and more
If you still need more ideas for keeping your kid occupied, because let's face it, we may be inside for a couple days, check out Inner Child Fun's 50 Ways to Keep Kids Entertained During a Blizzard.
Whatever you decide to do today, have fun, giggle a lot, and enjoy this day with your child.  Hug them, kiss them, and make sure they know just how special they are to you!
See you soon!

March 23, 2013

Green Eggs and Ham

We continued on with Dr. Seuss month and one of his most famous books:
The kids adore this book!  They love the sing-song rhymes, and they helped to say each set as we read along.
"Do you like green eggs and ham?
I do not like them, Sam-I-am.
I do not like green eggs and ham."
For art, we made a plate of pretend green eggs and ham.  We used white foam and a green pom pom for the egg, and green foam and a white page reinforcer for the ham.  The kids added a "Green Eggs and Ham" sticker wherever they wanted on their plate.  Yum!
At the math center, we gave the kids a basket of green eggs, numbered 1-10, in random order.  Their job was to open the egg, then add the corresponding number of yellow poms, and close up the egg.  After all of the eggs had their yolks back in, the kiddos had to place the eggs in numerical order, 1-10 in the carton.  This was definitely a fun math game for them!
By far, the highlight of the day was actually cooking green eggs and ham!  Each child got to help crack open two eggs.  Then we whisked them together, and added green food coloring (about 20 drops).  We added a few pats of butter (in honor of our previous assistant-extraordinaire, Ms. Threasa) into the skillet, and began scrambling the eggs, adding in the diced ham after a few minutes.  I'm excited to say that all 7 kids that were present had 3 helpings of green eggs and ham!  I think they kind of liked it!!
"I do!  I like them, Sam-I-am!"
Other activities of the day included:
  • skywriting, sounding and signing letter Ww; see our Ww activity here.
  • March sensory tubs and easel "paintings" with dot markers
  • housekeeping center
  • out-of-the-blue conversation at Circle about what they want to be when they grow up - we heard kids say things like teacher, hair-cutter, doctor, mommy, and cleaner

At the end of class, we read another Dr. Seuss book:
"Think left and think right and think low and think high.
Oh, the thinks you can think up if only you try!"

Ww is for Water

What kid doesn't like playing in water?!
Our letter Ww activity proved to be one of the most-liked activities so far.  I gave the kids a tub of water with white upper and lowercase Ww's.  They had to catch the Ww's with a white spoon and measuring cup, and place them in a bowl.
Once they finished catching the Ww's, they got to play in the water.  Fun!
We also practiced skywriting Ww, sounding and signing it, and thinking of words that begin with the /w/ sound.  We heard lots of words like:
walrus, water, wind, and wagon.
For more fun Ww activities to do with your child, please visit:
Have fun with your little wiggle worm!

March 21, 2013

Welcome, Spring!

Well...sort of!  A year ago, we were experiencing 80 degree weather, but not so much on the first day of Spring this year.  I think the high was something like 30 yesterday, and the wind made it feel even colder.
Even so, we still celebrated the first day of Spring in our class.  We read the books:
At the math center, we played a Spring roll and cover game from Mrs. Jones's Kindergarten.  This game reinforces number recognition 1-12.
At the literacy center, we played a Bunny and Egg Alphabet Match file folder game.  The kids worked with a partner and, one at a time, reached into the box and pulled out a lowercase letter.  They had to match the lowercase to its uppercase partner on the board.  This was challenging!

The kids also worked on the Spring Showers pages of this seek and find book:
Here is the Spring portion.  I'd take rain over cold temps any day!
Come on, warm weather!!

March 20, 2013

Vv is for Valentines

We completed our letter of the week activity for Vv on Monday.  The children used valentines to form a letter V.
It's hard to tell from the picture,  but the Vv on the green cardstock is actually made of pipe cleaners.  The kids traced the letter Vv with their fingers, getting a good "feel" of how this letter looks and is formed.
For each letter we study, we always ask the kiddos to show us Vv in sign language, as well as to make the /v/ sound.  They are also usually able to give us a word or two that begins with Vv.  We talked about words like:
violin, valentines, vulture and vanilla.
Again, this is a tough letter in terms of a preschooler's vocabulary.  Try to think of a few more words with the beginning /v/ sound, show your child a picture, or vividly describe what the word is.  This activity will definitely increase your child's vocabulary!
For more fun activities with the letter Vv, check out:
Have a very fun time practicing the letter Vv! 

My Many Colored Days & Color Review

How do you feel today? 
We had a great day in preschool on Monday, and we read about how feelings are associated with colors in the Dr. Seuss book:
My Many Colored Days
"On bright red days
how good it feels
to be a horse
and kick my heels!"
As we read through this book, we reviewed our colors, and talked about feelings as well.  It made me so happy that each child felt "fine", "good" or "happy"!  They used positive and descriptive words to express their feelings, and then assigned them a color.  I suspect most of them chose their favorite color to correspond with their happiness, which makes perfect sense.  Thinking of and seeing my favorite color makes me happy too!
At our science center, we matched color words to their dots...
and mixed primary paint colors to get the secondary colors.  I didn't use the "primary" and "secondary" terminology with the kids, because they are just learning that they can mix certain colors to achieve a completely different color.  It's pretty amazing to them!
At the end of class, we went over to the block room to read:

Mouse Paint
Again, we reviewed colors and which primary colors are used to mix secondary colors.  Most of the kids have a pretty good knowledge base of their colors. It's always fun to have a review day though! We reviewed the rainbow colors - red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, and other colors - brown, black, gray, pink and white.
Here are some other websites you can visit for games and activities:

March 19, 2013

Rainbows & St. Patrick's Day Celebration

*Warning: lots of pictures ahead!*
Last week, we were busy little leprechauns, learning all about St. Patrick's Day, shamrocks and rainbows.  I'm going to sum up our Wednesday and Friday classes all in this post, rather than splitting it up into two seperate ones.  Don't freak out!  I know it's out of the norm (really, I don't even know what the norm is anymore), but I promise, it all fits together nicely!  Let's start with our rainbow theme...
On Wednesday, we read a rainbow emergent reader and:
We graphed Fruit Loops, talked about more and less, and made a rainbow-patterned necklace.
The children painted shiny rainbows with the help of a little corn syrup added to the paint.  Check out the ones in the hallway, and tell me you don't just want to touch them to make sure they're not still wet!  We also worked on the order of the colors in the rainbow.

We made beautiful torn paper rainbows for our art projects.  They are also in the hallway, brightening it up and anticipating the arrival of Spring!
On Friday when we walked in the room, this is what we found:
 a big, leprechaun-made mess!  That pesky little man threw bean bags and blocks all over our room, including in our palm tree!  And you know what else?  He put a pink mustache on one of our babies!  The children were delighted to find the room in such disarray and knew right away that we had been tricked by a wee Irishman!
After we cleaned up and settled down (just a little!), we read:
In math, we played a roll-a-shamrock game, where the kids rolled a die, then used a dot marker to stamp the same number of dots on the shamrock.  They also had the opportunity to play the shamrock pattern match file folder game again.
In art, we colored and cut out a leprechaun, complete with beard.  I didn't get a good picture, but I am very pleased with the improvement in coloring.  All of these fine motor exercises and activities are starting to pay off!
At the end of class, we did a Flower Color-Change experiment.  This also involved color mixing (which we did today as well), using food coloring and water.  Currently, we have 3 white carnations in red, orange and yellow water.  (The other 3 are coming soon!)  We will check on them each class day to see which one starts to change first!
Hope you all had a fabulous St. Patrick's Day!

March 12, 2013


On Monday, we began our week-long celebration of St. Patrick's Day with a lesson on shamrocks.  This is such a festive holiday - you just can't help but get excited and maybe even dance a jig!  (Not that I danced a jig or anything...just sayin'.)
In Circle, we introduced the letter Vv, and continued counting our bananas by ones and tens.  Each day, we also practice singing the Days of the Week song, as well as saying the whole date.  (Ex: Today is Tuesday, March 12, 2013.)  We talked about the difference between shamrocks (3 leaves) and lucky four-leaf clovers.  We read the book:
At the math table, the children matched shamrock patterns.  I found this over at Preschool Printables a loooooooong time ago.  Check them out for lots of free file folder games and other printables to work on at home. 
You may have noticed that we do a lot of matching activities in preschool.  This is for good reason - the children are learning how to recognize things that are the same and different, which will help them with letters and numbers as well.

In art, we printed shamrocks using green paint and shamrock cookie cutters.  This was an easy peasy craft, but one that the kiddos really loved!  Some were content printing just a few shamrocks, while others decided to fill the entire sheet of paper!

Here's where those mad matching skills come in handy:
The kids matched the letters in shorter words like "green" and "windy", then said each letter name.  After that, we moved on to a more challenging set with the words "shamrock" and "rainbow".  Again, they matched the letters and said each letter name.  They did a fantastic job with this!!  (Word labels by RFTS Preschool.)
At the end of class, we had a {very condensed} lesson about taking care of our teeth, and we read:

We also:
  • colored a picture with Piglet and a four-leaf clover (fine motor skills).
  • made leprechaun faces using a playdough mat and green playdough.
  • played in the block room.

March 11, 2013

Uu is for Upside Down!

I think that the more memorable you can make an experience for a child, the more likely they'll be to actually learn from it.  With that in mind, we wrapped up our study of the letter Uu by writing upside down!
I had the kids lay on their tummies on the small table in our housekeeping area (one at a time, of course).  I put a sheet of paper on the floor and handed them a marker.  While I held onto them, they wrote a couple of Uu's!
Uu is a hard letter for young children, not only because it's a vowel that makes two sounds, but also because their vocabularies may not include too many words with the /u/ sound.  You can help to expand your child's vocabulary by talking about words and showing pictures of things like a ukulele, umpire, Utah or even a unibrow!
We also practiced the American Sign Language sign for Uu, as well as learned the short and long /u/ sounds.  Ask your child if he/she can show you how to skywrite Uu!
For more fun Uu activities, check out:

Fox in Socks

Hello!  Aren't you loving this gorgeous weather?!  I'll take misty sprinkles any day over snow and ice!  Well, I'm still playing catch-up from last week, and hopefully I'll be finished very soon.  I realized that I still haven't blogged about our Dr. Seuss Day, and I promise I will get to that one too!
Since Dr. Seuss is so important in the world of reading, especially for younger children, we usually spend most of March reading his books.  Last Friday, we read:
Fox in Socks (Dr. Seuss Classics)
This one is a tongue twister indeed!  It's silly and funny, and the kids and I had a delightful time attempting to quickly repeat some of the rhymes, including:
"a muddle puddle
tweetle poodle
beetle noodle
bottle paddle battle"
Say that 5 times fast!!!

For centers, staying with the Fox in Socks theme, we practiced matching and rolling socks.  This is not only a fun, hands-on matching activity, but it also provides real life skills.  I was surprised and happy to see that a couple of our kids have already been practicing this skill at home!

And by far, the favorite activity of the day was the blue goo, made of shaving cream and blue food coloring.  Why blue goo?  There is a section of Fox in Socks that talks about it:
"We'll find something new to do now.
Here is lots of new blue goo now.
New glue.  Blue glue.
Gooey.  Gooey.
Blue goo.  New goo.
Gluey.  Gluey."
So I thought it would be fun for the kids to drive the Matchbox cars in the blue goo.  Which they did.  With great excitement!  Only one problem...

The kids turned into Smurfs!
They washed and washed their little hands, but that pesky blue food coloring would not come off!  Now seriously, doesn't this sound like the beginning of a Dr. Seuss book?!
This is definitely a "live and learn" experience for me.  Yes, we've played with shaving cream plenty of times, but I've never changed its color.  Next time we will have to come up with something different, so that the color isn't transferred to their skin.  Thanks to all the parents who graciously responded with laughter, grins and comments like "Hey, that sounds like fun!".  I appreciate your understanding!
On Friday, we also...
  • completed our letter Uu activity (post coming up next).
  • played sock basketball, after matching and rolling 10 pairs of socks.
  • colored and decorated a sock to put on Fox.
  • painted with dot markers and embellished with foamy sports stickers.
"Fox in socks, our game is done, sir.
Thank you for a lot of fun, sir."

March 9, 2013

Hop on Pop and Rhyming

Once kids get the hang of opposites, they somehow just "get it".  Not so much with rhyming!  This is a much harder concept for some kids, because they have to be able to hear that two or more words have the same ending sound.
In Circle, we read:
and played a game called Rhyming Basket.  I filled a basket with small toys/supplies from around the room, one for each child.  I gave a child the basket and called out a word that rhymed with an object in the basket.  For example, I said "rain", and a child pulled out the train.  It was a fun game, and they really had to think about which object rhymed with the word I called!  You could easily play this at home with anything you have.  When you call out a word, it can be something real or made up.
To practice rhyming, we played a picture matching game with words that rhyme.  (I made the cards, because I couldn't find exactly what I wanted online.)  I placed the cards on the table, face up, and asked the kids to find rhyming pairs.  Below, a student found hat and cat.  You can play a rhyming game at home using items from around the house.  For example, you can gather items such as a sock, rock, ball, doll, etc.  Have your kid pick out two items at a time that rhyme.

For fine motor practice, we played a rainbow pom pom drop using tweezers.  The children were given a bowl of poms in all different colors, and they used the tweezers to pick up one at a time.  They placed each pom in its coordinating cup (labeled with the same color star).

We introduced the March sensory tubs to the kids as well.  The base is made up of a pasta called "acini di pepe".  I have no clue how to pronounce that, but it looks like tiny gold nuggets, which I thought was perfect for St. Patrick's Day!
Other items in the March sensory tubs include:
  • green plastic cup with green flower
  • sparkly green pom poms
  • green shamrock coins
  • green beads, lids and a chenille spring
  • bunny and butterfly erasers
  • green spoon for scooping
  • shamrock cookie cutter
  • black pot with popsicle stick leprechaun
Other activities of the day included:
  • completing a rhyming worksheet
  • number puzzle
  • train center
Another easy way to practice rhyming is just to say a word and have your kid rhyme another word.  It can be real or made up, as long as it has the same ending sound.
Have a rhyming good time without spending a dime!