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Monthly Archives: March 2012

Homemade Blocks

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… Continue reading

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Week

Last week, we wrote a post on Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Math. Today, we are going to show you what else we did during  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom week.

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… Continue reading

Sensory Paint Bags

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.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Math

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… Continue reading

Math Without Worksheets

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:

Shapes

  • 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

Colors

  • 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… Continue reading

Dr. Suess Week…Day 1

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:

One center had Dr. Seuss hat patterning. 

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… Continue reading

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