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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

Gak

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… Continue reading

Valentine Yarn Hearts

Here is a fun art activity for Valentine’s day.  We used four colors, but you can use more or less.

Here is what you will need:

  • paint
  • 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… Continue reading

Number Wheels

Here is a fun little activity we did last week and it’s VERY easy to make!  We made enough for three children to do this center at one time.

What you will need:

We started with a large circle shape and added 12 smaller circles around the outer edge.  Make the numbers look like a clock.  Print, laminate and you are done with that part.  Here is an up close view:

Next, you make the cards to go in the center of the wheel.  The cards you make will depend on what skill you are looking to target.  We made cards with circles (1-12) for counting and matching to the numbers as well as cards with the number words to match to the numbers for our older kiddos.  Use Velcro to attach cards to the circle. When matching, the children take a clothespin and clip it on the correct number, which also works on fine motor skills.

Although we didn’t do this, you could also make numbers for the cards so kiddos can match the same looking numbers.… Continue reading

Circle Time Number Bear

 This is our number bear.  Our kids love having a turn with the number bear at circle time.  Each day the special helper, with the help of the other kiddos if needed, tells us which number is next.  Next, they add a button and we count them together.  Once the bear is filled with 10 buttons we take them all down and start over.  We have a younger group this year, so we waited and introduced the number bear after Christmas break.  In the spring we will switch to something else so we can work on numbers 11-20.  This is a fun little activity that helps to learn counting, 1-1 correspondence and number identification.

Scissor Skills and Preschoolers

Does the idea of a pair of scissors in your preschoolers hands scare the bejeebers out of you? Well it should. Those little things are sharp and can cut all sorts of stuff like hair, clothes, the curtains and even the cats whiskers. So why am I writing about actually putting these tools of destruction in your child’s hands you ask? Well, because scissor skills are an important developmental step for your child.
Using scissors develops your child’s hand strength, coordination, motor planning and eye/hand coordination. These are all skills that carry over to other activities, like writing, doing math problems and even playing sports.
So let’s talk about letting your little one practice that all important skill of using scissors and keeping the cat’s whiskers safe. First some general guidelines:

  • Use good quality kids scissors like Fiskars or Wescott. These are not expensive and they are sharp enough to actually cut and allow your child to experience success in their earliest attempts at cutting. Cheaper scissors will only frustrate their efforts and in actually may lead to them to explore to find something the scissors will actually cut.
  • Set guidelines for cutting practice. “Only when mommy is around”,… Continue reading

About Miss Margaret and Miss Kristen

Welcome to our blog!  We are glad you are here and hope you enjoy what we have to offer.  Here is a little about Miss Margaret and Miss Kristen who, combined, have over 30 years teaching experience!

Miss Margaret is a teacher.  Just like all of you, when her children were young she acted as their first teacher. They he read together and counted together and studied the wild things in their back yard together. When they got old enough to go to school for their learning Miss Margaret realized that she was still a teacher so, went to school to become a “real” teacher.

Miss Margaret earned a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and used it to teach kindergarten for a few years. Then she earned a master’s degree in literacy and taught in Head start for a few years. Finally, she took some classes so she could work with students with disabilities. Now Miss Margaret started her own early education program (with Miss Kristen) to put all her skills to good use. Teaching young children has become her passion, she doesn’t go to “work” each day, she goes to “school” and loves  it.

Miss… Continue reading

Snowmen, Marshmallows and Math

 Here is a fun little winter math activity.  First, we printed and laminated counting grids from the PreKinders website.  We used the grid with 10 snowmen for our younger kiddos and the ones with 20 snowmen for our older kiddos.  Each child got a turn rolling the big die.  They counted the dots and covered up that many snowmen with min-marshmallows.  It may have been better if we had the older kids use two dice to work on 1-1 correspondence counting to 12 instead of just 6.

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