Yesterday was one of those days that makes you remember why you teach little children. It was also a day for the lesson plans to be set aside. The children were in charge of their play today and boy did they get creative. It started with a new piece of climbing equipment and went from there.
Our classroom became the firehouse and the children were firefighters and rescue personnel. We, the teachers , were the poor victims in need of rescue. Art smocks became fire coats and backpacks became air tanks. They used pool noodles as fire hoses and rest mats as their bunks. They even took the play into the housekeeping area to serve meals for the firefighters.
It is so much fun to watch children use their imaginations and create their own play setting. As teachers we sometimes lose track of how important this type of play is to children. Their imagination needs to be encouraged as it develops so that they can grow into thinking individuals that can problem solve and think outside of the box.
So as teachers we need to look at the ordinary things we bring into the classroom and not only allow but… Continue reading
As spring time unfolds and the weather warms we all want to get outside. If you are the parent of a preschooler , or any aged child, you can take the learning right outside in the yard or the park or anywhere you happen to be. Being observant is a skill that is important to develop in young children. You don’t need to be prepared with a lesson or an activity. Just go outside and see what you can see.
The younger your child is the closer to the ground you will be searching for something to observe. Start by talking about what you see, hear and smell. Find something to focus on and talk about what you see. Describe in detail what you are looking at and then ask your child to look for the same things . If you see a flower ready to bud, talk about the color and what is going to happen next. Ask them to find more, even if its right next to the one you found. Watching a worm inch through the dirt can be fascinating when done through the eyes of a child. Don’t forget to look up too. You can… Continue reading
What kid doesn’t love blocks? Blocks come in so many different shapes, sizes and weights. Our classroom has all sorts of different blocks, but the ones that they seem to love the most are the ones the BIG blocks that they have to move their whole bodies to use. I’m talking about these:
Don’t they look cool? These are sooo easy to make and even better…CHEAP to make! We all have boxes lying around or know someone who does. All you need to start is a few boxes. Get an arrangement of different sizes and shapes. You don’t need to go buying boxes, but use what you have or will have (from online shopping, shoe boxes, paper ream boxes, etc.). Regular items that you may have around the house that you can save the box after use would be cereal boxes, rice boxes, sweetener boxes, paperclip boxes, etc. If it’s made of cardboard and can be closed on all sides, it’s fair game! You also don’t need a lot, you are going to build your collection of blocks over time. The boxes don’t need to be overly sturdy but you don’t want something that is easily squeezed either.
The next item you… Continue reading
The kids enjoyed a variety of art activities. We learned that the simplest of art projects were the most liked!
For the above activity, we put out brown and green paint and told the children to make a coconut tree from the book Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. We love to see the variability in the abilities of the different ages. This next activity we clipped paper to both sides of the easel and left strips of dot stickers in the tray. We gave the children no directions, just that they could put as many stickers on the paper wherever they would like.
Notice the stickers in the corner in the picture on the right? The little boy who made who placed those stickers said they were his Chicka Chicka Boom Boom trees.
During circle, we explored a real coconut and charted what we saw, what it felt like, sounded like and smelt like. After we played a modification of the games Hot Potato and musical chairs.
The kids passed around… Continue reading
This is such a simple activity that takes all of 10 minutes to make and the kids will just love! All you do is take some ziplock bags, put a little paint inside and use duck tape on the top. Give the kids a Q-tip and let them draw, write letters, numbers, shapes, let their imaginations go wild.
This is a great wait to target writing skills without using paper and pencils.
We had a fun week with the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom theme this week. The kids learned a lot about the alphabet and coconuts. Here are some of the math activities we did this week:
We played a game that we made with templates from the Making Learning Fun website. The directions had ‘boom’ cards which, when drawn, the child lost a turn. We took these out as they were already waiting long enough for a turn.
We simply printed out the number cards in color and laminated and printed out one number tree for each child.
We started with a nice neat pile with the numbers upside down, but they didn’t stay that way long. Each child had a turn picking a number, they told us what it was than used a bingo dauber to mark it on their tree. You can see my notes in the above picture-we also used this as an assessment and noted which children could label which numbers, who could match numbers, etc.
The kids seemed to really enjoy this game and we were quite surprised how long they played it for. We will definitely do games like this again!
Unfortunately we only remembered to take one… Continue reading
We are teachers who believe there is no need to use worksheets to learn until about first grade. Here is a great article on this very topic. Young children need fun, hands on activities to learn, and that is what we do here at Bright Starts. It saddens us that so many teachers think their job is to spend hours sifting through books and standing at the copy machine while they could be making fun learning experiences that can be used over and over again. Sure, it takes time to make some of these activities, but many can be used repeatedly over years. Here are some examples:
- Have children lay down in different shapes like circle, square and triangle-also targets motor planning and problem solving
- Use Bendaroos to make shapes instead of having children draw them-also targets fine motor skills
- Laminate shape printouts and use as playdoh mats-also sensory play
- Shape puzzles-also targets fine motor skills and problem solving
- Paint, let kids mix colors together to make new colors-also targets cause and effect, sensory and science skills
- Play matching games such as matching the paintbrush to the same color paint can-also targets visual processing… Continue reading
It’s Dr. Seuss week so this week is filled with fun and imagination. The books we plan on reading this week are The Cat in the Hat, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, Green Eggs and Ham and The Foot Book. So far, the kids are having a great time listening for all the rhyming words in these great stories. The kids have had so much fun with the activities we have been doing that we haven’t had time to finish all that we planned. We anticipated this though and made Friday our Dr. Seuss’s brithday party day with all the leftover activities from the week.
Back to Monday…
We had a great time during centers:
We set out laminated red hats and laminated strips of paper. Some kids were thrown off by the fact there were other colors besides just red and white while others used all the colors in their patterns.
For literacy, we worked on the letter “C”. We turned this into a literacy/fine motor activity as the children cut red strips of paper and glued them onto their letters.
During circle, we played a… Continue reading
Gak…oh what fun! I’m actually serious, it looks icky, but it’s a lot of fun and GREAT for those kiddos with sensory needs! This is very easy to make. We mad each child their own and they took it home in a plastic baggy. Here is what you will need:
Mix 1 tsp. Borax in 1 cup warm water in one container. In a separate container, mix 4 oz. glue with 1/2 cup water. You can add a couple drops of food coloring if you wish. If you don’t have food coloring, you can use a drop or two of tempera paint. Combine the water and Borax mixture into the water and glue mixture. The texture will change instantly. Let kids put their hands in now and mix it together.
Mix till it’s the consistency you want and take out of the container. You can dump any liquid that is left. Kids will enjoy watching the gak flatten out on the table, hiding and finding little objects in the gak and making different prints with it. Seal in a bag to save for later or send home.
Here is what you will need:
- heart cut outs (2 per child)
- strings of yarn
First, dip yarn strings in paint. Use a paintbrush or something else to make sure the string gets full of paint. Leave ends paint free.
Next, have kid place a string for each color they desire on the heart cut out. They can zig-zag the string, pile it up all in one spot, however they choose. Just make sure that an end of each string is sticking out as it will need to be pulled at the end.
The final step is the cool part. Take a second heart and place on top of the first, with the strings in between. Gently place your hand on top so not to squish too hard but so the paper won’t move. Have the child pull out each string at one time. This will be your final result:
We sent one heart home and used the other to decorate our window.