Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


Leave a comment

It’s Getting Spoooooky in Here

Halloween is right around the corner and we have been enjoying lots of silly and fun Halloween themed books and activities.  I have tried to weave in a number of activities using acorns, leaves, and pumpkins while also having fun with all of the Halloween excitement!

Preschool Science:

Pumpkin and Acorn Investigations

Before heading to our field trip last week we discussed pumpkins, their life cycle, and studied in detail our own ‘classroom pumpkin.’

61qmWMe+u4L._AC_US160_.jpg

After reading many books about pumpkins we discussed the life cycle of the pumpkin, and the children put in order life cycle cards as a group.

We Modge Podged pumpkins with pieces of tissue paper.  They chose a pumpkin, put glue on the pumpkin, and then carefully glued a small piece of tissue paper on top of the glued area.  It was a delicate art task, and they did a beautiful job!  Each of the pumpkins turned out very unique!
IMG_8923.JPG

IMG_8950.JPG

 

IMG_8924.JPG

IMG_8927.JPG

IMG_8926.JPG

IMG_8947.JPG

We are still in the process of completed a class Pumpkin Investigation!  More details on that coming soon!

Preschool Literacy:

Last week we read this silly story, “Where’s My Mummy?”  The children thought it was so funny that the Mummy was scared of a teeny, tiny mouse after seeing all of the other Halloween creatures creeping around at night.

51bJfThtw6L._AC_US160_.jpg

After this story we made these toilet paper mummies:
IMG_8832.JPG

The children have also loved this Halloween Parody of “Goodnight Moon”

61ZhInczpJL._AC_US160_.jpg

Another Halloween favorite is “Room on the Broom”

61S45JlZHFL._AC_US160_.jpg

“Big Pumpkin” is another holiday favorite!  Each of the Halloween characters tries to pull the pumpkin, but can’t do it.  Of course the tiny bat has a great idea to work together, and they pull the pumpkin off of the vine!

519kq1ugNsL._AC_US160_.jpg

You can usually find one or two students at any point in the morning reading some of the many books found around the classroom:

IMG_8948.JPG

I pulled out the architecture blocks on our platform.  For a special Halloween addition, I added small Halloween creepy, crawlers.  Children worked together to build detailed “haunted houses.”

IMG_9224.JPG

IMG_9223.JPG

IMG_9074.JPGIMG_9076 2.JPGIMG_9075.JPG

Sensory Play:

We have had a lot of opportunities to get our hands dirty with Halloween sensory play!  They came into the classroom last week to find our sensory tub filled to the brim with black beans, and lots of fun Halloween items to explore!

IMG_8917.JPG

Today the children got to make Oobleck with me for the first time!  This sensory recipe is always tricky for me to perfect!  It is a simple combination of cornstarch and water.  But, the combination has to be just right to get the solid/liquid/sticky/drippy substance just right.  If you want to make this at home, here is a link to Fun at Home with Kids.  She has a great recipe for it!

We made one tray of purple and one tray of black oobleck.  We were able to get the combo just right, and it was super, slimy fun!

IMG_9216.JPGIMG_9218.JPGIMG_9220.JPGIMG_9221.JPGIMG_9212.JPGIMG_9215.JPG

Preschool Math:

We have been working on our counting, one to one correspondence, and using objects in our to count with every day!

IMG_9077.jpg

We used the acorns we collected to practice our counting outside on the blacktop!  Some children worked by themselves, and other children worked as a team!IMG_9066.JPGIMG_9068.JPG

 

IMG_9072 2.JPG

I’m proud of their progress!

IMG_9073.JPG

We have also counted pumpkin gems on the light panels.  We used the dry erase markers, and they have worked on writing their numbers next to each circle.

IMG_8984.jpg

Field Trip:

Last Thursday our class all went together to a local farm for a field trip!  To prepare for our field trip, I pulled out my giant barn, barn animals, and a tray of oatmeal for the pumpkin patch.

IMG_8943.JPGIMG_8946.JPGIMG_8945.JPGIMG_8942.JPG

There was a lot of pretend play around the barn, and this led to discussions about what we were going to see and do at the pumpkin patch!

We had a fabulous trip the pumpkin patch, despite the heat!  We learned about pumpkins…

IMG_9044.jpg

IMG_9016.JPG

 

IMG_9020.JPG

Slide down the slides into a giant corn pit…

IMG_9031.JPGIMG_9032.JPGIMG_9030.JPGIMG_9028.JPGIMG_9033.JPG

Played in the corn pit…

IMG_9025.JPGIMG_9024.JPGIMG_9022.JPG

Went on a hay ride to visit the cows…

IMG_9040.JPGIMG_9043.JPG

And we even attempted a super long corn maze…

IMG_9013.JPG

All in all it was successful first field trip!  What a busy month, with more fun things right around the corner!

 

 

 

 

 


Leave a comment

The Mitten & Animal Adventures

IMG_2841 2

Before I jump right into The Mitten and all of our new animal adventures, I wanted to share some of our last few Valentine’s activities we did throughout February.  Unfortunately this past month was really interrupted with National Holidays, teacher workdays, and lots and lots of snow!  We would just get started with something and then get interrupted for a snow break.  But, we managed to squeeze in some Valentine’s Day fun on two different days.

The blog has been quite quiet the past few weeks while I have busily working on assessments and portfolios.  I was able to write a portfolio for each child in the class, and meet individually with all of my parents.  It was so nice to sit down with everyone and discuss all of the growth and progress each child has made this year.

 

The pictures above and below are of D, C, and H playing in our huge sensory tub of pink salt.  I died many large boxes of salt pink, and then added scoops, glass containers, long pink spoons, heart gems, and a giant restaurant style salt shaker.  The kids quickly figured out how to unscrew the lid and fill it up with salt.  Then the boys would hold out their scoops and wait to have them quickly filled by the giant salt shaker.

This activity builds fine motor skills, cooperation, verbal skills, problem solving, and scientific processes of pouring and filling.  They were busy with this tub for quite some time.

Sensory Play:

IMG_2840 2

IMG_2837 2

 

IMG_2842 2

 

Process Art:

J brought in the most beautiful sunflowers for Mrs. Brittany and I for Valentine’s Day.  As much as we were enjoying them, we decided to put them in the art studio as an invitation to create.  I put the flowers in a large vase next to the easel with yellow, brown, and green paints.

IMG_2931

 

 

IMG_2925

 

Fine Motor:

For some fun fine motor work I covered a table with long strips of crepe paper.  The children each got to stand at the end of the paper and cut all the way down to the tape.  This provided a fun way to cut using scissors in a new and different way.

IMG_2950

We turned it  into a cutting race to see who could make their way to the tape first!

IMG_2968

 

Classroom News:

Our new sweet friend A started coming to school in the past few weeks.  She had a great time making new friends, and getting adjusted to life at Crozet PlaySchool.  A quickly discovered the Valentine’s themed learning trays.  She made some bracelets for mommy and daddy.

IMG_2934

A and A spent a long time moving our winter erasers from the container to the muffin tray using the tongs.IMG_2930 2.JPG

She also explored the jump ropes with her buddy A outside.

IMG_2937

And they got out our new set of sidewalk chalk for spring.  It was so great to see both girls bond right away!  It was great to see her warm up to our school on the first day:)

IMG_2935

Preschool Literacy:

We kicked off our study of animals by reading one of my favorite winter stories, “The Mitten” by Jan Brett.

the mitten.jpg

After reading the book a number of times in the morning, we acted out the story using large puppets from the Jan Brett website.  If your child is still interested in the book and would like to learn more, Brett has a fabulous website with lots of resources.

IMG_2956

I brought a large sheet down into the classroom and we clipped it onto the chairs to make a large mitten fort.  Then each child got to act like their animal as they crawled, dug, or hopped their way into the mitten.  Lastly our mouse got in the mitten and caused the bear to sneeze!  This was a wonderful way to incorporate early literacy skills such as story parts, characters, and problem solving.

IMG_2985.JPG

To give the students another way to “act out” the story I opened a snow sensory tub.  We made a batch of “blizzard in a box,” and then I added the figurines from Safari Ltd that matched the story.  They had a great time hiding the animals in the snow and making snowy forest scenes just like the book.

IMG_2963

IMG_2986

 

IMG_2952.JPG

Little hands in the tub…

IMG_2945.JPG

Also to go along with our kick off to studying animals Mrs. Brittany came up with this simple and very popular sensory tub!!  She added our large safari animals, soap, water, scrub brushes, and sponges.  The children got busy washing, scrubbing, and bubbling up the animals!

I love to see all of their little hands reaching into the tub to get wet and soapy!

IMG_2973

D scrubbing the lion very carefully.

IMG_2965.JPG

Preschool Math:

IMG_2993.JPG

We also played some great animal inspired games last week!  The game pictured above is called “Hiss.”  A bunch of students were playing with us, but of course they walked away when I took the picture.  Each child draws a card and they add it to a snake on the table by matching up the colors.  Once the snake gets a head and a tail it is complete and the player says “Hissss” to keep their snake!  It was a great game for color recognition, problem solving, turn taking, and practicing patience.

Celebrations:

Although we had to postpone our Valentine’s Day celebrations, we still squeezed in some time to have fun.  We got to bounce in the bounce house one morning!  These were the best pictures I could get!

IMG_2998IMG_2999

Each child got to roll out their very own pretzel, and shape it into a heart.  Here is B and D rolling out their pretzels.  They went straight into the oven and into our bellies before I could get a picture.

IMG_2959.JPG

Once our pretzels were finished cooking we enjoyed them and M’s special heart shaped cookies for her birthday!  We even got to decorate the cookies with pink and white icing! Yummy!

IMG_2970.JPG

IMG_2969.JPG

Happy Birthday M!

Yoga News:

Mrs. Kay also brought some new mats and a new format for our yoga time recently.  Instead of reading us a book and working on poses throughout the story, she told us a story out loud.  We had to listen to the story and then we posed as different story parts.  The picture below shows everyone trying to reach behind their legs to be a spider.  It was hard!

IMG_3005

And our favorite part of yoga, savasana.  Ahhhh relax and breathe.

IMG_3006IMG_3008

We had a few extra minutes at the end of yoga, so Mrs. Kay joined our mats together into a long line and we made a “Dragon’s Rainbow.”  Everyone got into downward dog, and then the first person crawled under the tunnel and went into downward dog at the end.  This repeated again and again!  It was really fun and hard work to stay up in down dog for so long!

IMG_3011IMG_3010IMG_3015

Now that we are mostly caught up, I can’t wait to share more of our animal study with you soon!

 


2 Comments

Christmas Countdown

IMG_1686

This December packed a big punch at Crozet PlaySchool.  We had something up our sleeves in every corner of the room, and it was so fun to watch the play unfold this month.  Above is one of our many sensory tubs this month.  It was filled with Peppermint Cloud Dough!  I made a huge batch of green cloud dough, added peppermint extract, and lots of fun Christmas people, baking cups, and spatulas for pretend play.  This was by far the favorite tub of the month, and I actually didn’t change it because there were children playing with the dough every day!

Below is another tub that was filled with pretend snow (plastic type from the craft store) and lots and lots of festive finds tucked inside the snow.  The children loved to take the mini boxes and fill them with items and give gifts to each other.

Sensory Play:

IMG_1508

The last week before Christmas we made “Christmas Fluff.”  I found the recipe from Sow Sprout Play, and it was fantastic!

I am definitely going to make this again using different colors and bits and bobs, because the kids loved it!  You can see from the collage below how many hands were digging into this sensory bin.

IMG_1800

 

Table Invitations:

IMG_1639

This table might look like a wrapping station gone wrong, but it was actually one of the most popular table invitations this month.  I left out mini boxes, jingle bells, squares of paper, table, and ribbons.  The results were lots of wrapping, cutting, taping, measuring, and creating pretend presents for our friends.

IMG_1628

You can see in these step by step photos how much work went into each child trying to wrap their own gift.  B fills his box with jingle bells…

IMG_1624

Then he uses the tape to wrap up his box…

IMG_1627IMG_1626

Below are a few of the wrapped presents I found on the table later that morning.  B’s present is in the middle, wrapped with lots and lots of ribbon and tape!  There is so much fine motor work at this station, but the children saw it as a fun seasonal activity.  I know as a mommy, that often we get in a hurry this season and our children want to “help” us wrap, but we don’t have time to allow them to help (or maybe that is just me waiting until the last minute!).  This was a great way to allow them to help and do all of the fun wrapping activities they love!

IMG_1676

IMG_1640

D hard a work cutting her wrapping paper.

IMG_1669

Another table invitation was playmobil Santa and his friends in the snow.  I created this table invitation using fake snow (white pebbles) and two different playmobil sets.  The children loved the little parts to the tray and acting out different holiday stories.

IMG_1531IMG_1530IMG_1529

 

IMG_1543

Another wonderful table invitation was the light panel, jingle bells, and a magnetic wand.  A few of the boys above H and D spent a great deal of time taking turns picking up jingle bells with the magnetic wand.  They tried to see how large of a jingle bell shaker they could create if they collected them all!

IMG_1527

Below is an activity I have done in the past, and I pulled it out again this year.  It is a Light Brite cube!  I made my own paper drawings on each side of the Light Brite.  The children could stick in the pegs and make ornaments on the tree or details for the gingerbread men.  Some of the children loved to just see the light come through the holes once they had been created.  They spent a great deal of time just punching row after row of holes into the paper.  This is such a great sensory (light) and fine motor activity!IMG_1728

The last table invitation was left out on the train table the week before our break.  I put a large pile of Christmas colored pom poms, tree blocks, snowy trees, and ornaments for the children to play with.  They created different scenes including the one below by setting the wood blocks up in different ways and using the pom poms and trees as a way to “decorate” their creations.  I love seeing loose parts played with in the classroom!IMG_1811

This invitation to play wasn’t on a table, but it was located near our dramatic play area.  I set up a little tree for decorating, books for reading, and different hats/headbands for acting out Christmas stories!

IMG_1652

 

Preschool Math:

IMG_1661

This month we continued talking about numbers using snowmen!  As a group I would call out a different number, and they had to make their snowman that many snowballs tall!  Then they each tried to write the corresponding number next to their snowman.  (And yes, that is a random sock on the floor next to M’s work!)

IMG_1660

Some more of their hard work in their journals!  They added details to their snowmen including  arms, faces, and hats!IMG_1662

Preschool Literacy:

IMG_1681

We also wrote our names on circles and created our own snowman using our name!

Process Art:

IMG_1555IMG_1553

The children created this beautiful Christmas Tree on our window at the entrance of the classroom.  Ms. Brittany and I unrolled the contact paper so the sticky side would face the kids.  Then we offered them a variety of pipe cleaners, gems, and popsicle sticks to create a Christmas tree.  The results hung on our door for most of December!

IMG_1556

 

IMG_1803

Christmas Crafts:

 

This month we also did a lot of “crafts.”   Most of the activities were pre-planned for the children to participate in during the month of December.  I always prefer process based art for little children, but I do feel that it is nice to do crafts that can have a specific outcome.  These Christmas tree ornaments are a good example!  Each child completed the project in their own way, but they still could be hung on the tree at home!  Lovely indeed!

 

Merry Christmas!

IMG_1810

 


Leave a comment

Let’s Talk Turkeys

 

IMG_1272

IMG_1273

We had so much fun this week making lots and lots of turkeys!  We made these adorable clothespin turkeys using cardboard and painted clothespins.  They are great because the feathers can get moved all around, AND it works in a great deal of fine motor pinching practice at the same time!

IMG_1281

Then we made these beautiful “Salty” turkeys as I called them!  First we drew a turkey outline with glue.  Then we covered the entire picture with a huge layer of salt.  After we dumped the extra salt off, the children used droppers and liquid watercolors to paint the turkey.  This is an art project and a science experiment rolled into one!  They were fascinated with watching the paint spread out through the salt.  Some of the colors even mixed on the salt to make new colors!

IMG_1287  IMG_1293 IMG_1295

 

IMG_1299

IMG_1282

I tried to take a lot of pictures, because this art is very fragile.  Once the salt, glue and paint begin to dry the salt starts to fall off.  It definitely isn’t art you can hang on the wall.  I tried something new this year, and I sprayed the turkeys after they dried with an acrylic coat of spray, but they still were falling apart.  We will send them home (sorry about the mess), but they probably won’t last too long!

IMG_1323

 

IMG_1307
IMG_1203

We also made beautiful turkey patterns using this homemade felt puzzle!

 

IMG_1202

 

IMG_1201

IMG_1208

One of my favorite projects this week was making these Thanksgiving Day Centerpieces.  First they filled little glass jars with rice, pipe cleaners, and bits and bobs.  They were so creative with this project, and each one turned out so unique.

IMG_1209
IMG_1257 IMG_1255


IMG_1212

Our final products!  We will definitely do this again!

IMG_1216

 

IMG_1310
This is a picture from our rainy day walk this week.  It is so hard to get everyone to look at the camera!

IMG_1260

This is little M taking her turkey painting very seriously.  Ms. Brittany drew these awesome turkeys for the kids to paint at the easels.

IMG_1261

 


Leave a comment

Make New Friends and Keep the Old

IMG_7392

 

Before we had our great Valentine’s Day Celebration, we took a great deal of time talking about the friendships.  We specifically discussed how to make friends, what we do with our friends, and how we can keep or help our friends in our classroom.  Above is a picture of our sweet wire hearts we gave to our mommies for Valentine’s Day.

IMG_7211

Each child got their own copy of a friendship book I created using pictures of the children doing different activities with their friends throughout the school year.  They dictated the words of the book to me, and then we read the books during our meeting time.

IMG_7172

The kids loved our Friendship flower shop that we set up in the dramatic play area.  The shop had a cash register, flowers, money, bracelets and necklaces, and lots of loose flowers!

IMG_7163

We had so much fun in both of our Valentine’s sensory bins, the Valentine’s Soup and white beans with lots of Valentine’s goodies.

 

IMG_7170

 

 

IMG_7154IMG_7156

The Valentine’s play dough got lots of use from everyone in the classroom.  I always love to go into the art room after they are done and see what types of creations have been left behind by their busy fingers.

 

IMG_7174IMG_7175IMG_7178

 

 

IMG_7191

Cupid’s fruit kebobs were one of our favorite snacks as well!  They are getting so adept at serving themselves, and preparing their own snacks.

 

IMG_7185IMG_7187IMG_7189IMG_7190

 

Some other fun Valentine’s fun included the Sweethearts game pictured below.  They had to roll the dice and fill up the Sweethearts board with heart candies.

 

IMG_7183IMG_7202

L and D were loving the spin art hearts we made!

 

IMG_7274

 

Each child got to work on a “Friendship Painting” by rolling balls in a box by working together to get the paint splattered all over the paper.  At the end of the painting they each painted their hand and put in on top of the picture.

IMG_7336IMG_7345

We also gave ideas for what our recipe for friendship would be during morning meeting.

 

IMG_7281

One of our favorite baking activities was making a loaf of friendship bread.  We made two loaves, and gave one loaf to our favorite assistant Brittany! 

 

Now that I am back up and running on my computer, I should get us up to date on our blogs and happenings in the classroom! 


Leave a comment

Valentine’s Celebrations

DSC_0025

 

We had so much fun celebrating Valentine’s Day a few weeks ago! We got the chance to have a small party in the classroom, and enjoy each other!  Valentine’s Day started with some face painting, and necklace making.  Instead of making necklaces for themselves, the finished necklaces were given to a friend in the classroom!  Extra care was taken to string necklaces for our buddies!

 

IMG_7414

We did a TON of baking the week of Valentine’s Day!  First we made our own sugar cookie dough, rolled our dough, and stamped our own heart cookies.

 

 

IMG_7411

They looked quite sweet after we baked them in the oven!

 

IMG_7412

 

 

DSC_0028

The morning of our Valentine’s Party we tried our hand a mini heart cheery pies.  This was our first time making cherry pies, and they turned out perfectly. 

 

DSC_0030

We rolled out the dough, cut out our hearts, put in our filling, and shut our pies by pressing a fork around the edges.  Then we sprinkled some sugar on top!

DSC_0032

Lastly, we licked our fingers to remove any extra sugar!

DSC_0033

DSC_0034

DSC_0037

Then our parents arrived, and we got to work decorating our cookies!  Instead of mounds of sugar and sprinkles we opted for a different decorating technique!  We dipped q-tips in food coloring and made designs on top of our cookies!

 

DSC_0038

DSC_0040

DSC_0042

We also played some Valentine’s math games, decorated heart crowns, and enjoyed our snacks.

 

DSC_0043

Before leaving the parents got to hear some of our friendship songs we had learned in the past two weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day.  All in all it was a great day celebrating all of these cuties and their friendships with each other!

DSC_0044


1 Comment

Christmas at Crozet PlaySchool

IMG_6356

 

Even while we were focusing on our letters each morning, the classroom was filled to the brim with lots and lots of Christmas fun!  The first week in December the children walked into the art room to find Playmobil Santa had landed in our art room on a pile of white cloud dough!  The cloud dough was filled with silver glitter for some added sparkle.

IMG_6385

 

Table Invitations:

 

IMG_6361

The tables were filled with fun invitation to decorate Christmas trees in a few different ways.  We had a felt tree, a tree on the old Light Brite, and a mini Christmas tree with little ornaments.  They got a chance to decorate and re-decorate their trees throughout December. 

IMG_6363

IMG_6398

 

Sensory Play:

 

IMG_6370

For some themed sensory play we had a large tub filled with fake snow.  Then I filled it to the brim with snowman cups, Christmas  goodies, and present boxes.

IMG_6373

 

We also had fun digging into the hot chocolate sensory tub.  I dyed rice brown last year and also added chocolate extract to made it smell like cocoa.  I was surprised to find that the rice still smelled great when I opened the bag from last winter!  I added some holiday spatulas, cotton balls for marshmallows, and cups and plates. 

 

Process Art:

 

IMG_6375

 

We also had a lot of fun working with a new art process.  Buggy and Buddy highlighted this technique on her website, and I thought it looked fun and the end product was beautiful.  First we filled a tray with Sta-Flo (liquid starch).  Then each child dropped acrylic paint onto the Sta-Flo starch.  After swirling the paint around on the pan each child laid their watercolor paper onto of the starch.  It was quite drippy and messy, but we embraced it!  After the papers dried I cut them into Christmas tree shapes, and we glued them down onto white paper.  I thought the end product was lovely and each tree was so different.

 

IMG_6377IMG_6380IMG_6382IMG_6389IMG_6391IMG_6394

 

IMG_6701

 

We also made some Candy Cane puffy paint.  We mixed glue and shaving cream and red watercolors for some puffy paintings.

 

IMG_6692

 

We also found our names hidden inside of ornaments while we watercolored!

 

IMG_6697IMG_6699IMG_6702

 

 

Special Events:

 

IMG_6407

 

We also had fun celebrating L’s 5th birthday!  Thanks to his mom for these fabulous Olaf and snowflake cookies! 

 

IMG_6417

 

IMG_6411

 

IMG_6413

 

 

 

 

IMG_6403

 

The kids worked on these beautiful Christmas tree ornaments for their parents.  I hope they were surprised when they opened their gifts!  Each child planned out their tree, and they are each so different.  I helped them with the sewing, but they quickly caught the hang of it.  Then we sewed the tree closed and added stuffing to the inside.  Of course they each wrapped up their tree for their parents to open.

 

IMG_6780

 

Learning Trays:

 

IMG_6675

I also saw this simple coloring idea on Buggy and Buddy.  I made a sheet for each child and they added all of the details.  E even added a string of lights behind her tree. They were really drawn to this activity.  Sometimes coloring books have so many details, and think the simplicity of the coloring paper made it fun for them.

 

IMG_6676

 

We also had some fun holiday themed learning trays, too.  They worked on moving the holiday erasers into a gingerbread men muffin tray.  They also got a chance to make icicle ornaments with these fun glittery pipe cleaners. 

 

IMG_6678

 

 

Sensory Play:

IMG_6668

 

After reading The Grinch Who Stole Christmas we made some fun glitter “grinchy” gak.  We loved exploring this glittery gak. 

 

IMG_6669IMG_6670IMG_6671IMG_6673

 

 

 

 

IMG_6681

When they had so much fun filling the Christmas coloring pages, I left the invitation to fill in Christmas trees and gingerbread men on the chalk board.  E went to town filling it out one morning.

 

IMG_6686

 

All in all it was a very Happy Christmas in our classroom!


Leave a comment

Giving Thanks in Our Little School

IMG_5747

We kicked off November with lots of new learning trays.  One favorite learning trays was moving mini pumpkin candies from the large tray to a pumpkin muffin tray.  There is something about manipulating candy that is exciting!

IMG_5749

 

We also matched our letters on pumpkins using stickers.

 

IMG_6137

 

Sensory Play:

 

IMG_5766

One of the fall sensory tables I set up was full of pinto beans, pumpkins, and silk leaves.  To add some excitement to the sensory bin I put the gutter on the side of the table for the children to explore.  They got right to it!  It became a “pumpkin factory” among other things. 

IMG_5756IMG_5757IMG_5761IMG_5762IMG_5765

 

IMG_6149

Inside of the classroom I filled up the other sensory tub with dried corn on the cob.  To the corn I added scoops, buckets, jars, cupcake liners, and tweezers.  The children spent a lot of the morning picking these corn cobs apart. 

IMG_6115

IMG_6114

IMG_6117

IMG_6112

 

IMG_6119

 

Play Dough:

IMG_6123

We also spent a lot of time making turkeys from our wonderful smelling fall play dough.  They knew just what to do!

IMG_6127

 

 

Process Art:

 

IMG_6029

We made some beautiful Thanksgiving themed salt dough ornaments. 

IMG_6032IMG_6038IMG_6107

 

 

IMG_6122

We worked on this canvas over a series of days in the classroom.  The first day I sectioned off the canvas into squares, and offered a number of paint choices.  After giving the kids a few days to pain the canvas, then I offered them the crayon melting machine next to the canvas.  They dripped and dropped melted crayon all over the canvas.  The final product was lovely and it is hanging in our art room now!

IMG_6140IMG_6160

We used the paint blotters to make some really wild turkeys!

IMG_6163IMG_6166IMG_6168IMG_6170

They also made some beautiful Thanksgiving tea lights with handles this year for their Thanksgiving dinner!IMG_6175

 

 

IMG_6177

After reading  a number of books about the Pilgrims and the Indians and the First Thanksgiving we also made some gorgeous Indian headbands for our mini Thanksgiving Feast!

IMG_6303

The children chose to wear their Thanksgiving headbands or their Pilgrim hats to our feast.  We ate pretend popcorn turkeys,  made our own pumpkin fluff (which only D ate), and decorated some Thanksgiving cookies.

 

IMG_6288IMG_6290IMG_6291IMG_6292

Love this little group to pieces! 


Leave a comment

“Egg”stravagant Spring Time

Our bird study blended right into a big discussion all about “eggs”.  We talked about eggs, we painted eggs, we played with eggs, and of course there was some discussion of the Easter bunny too!

 

IMG_3852

R joined our class for the last few months of school, and she has blended right in with the group perfectly!  She is full of excitement, and art projects seem to be her passion right now.  She enjoyed this contact paper project I presented on the easel.  I cut out shapes and provided the outline along with cellophane paper to fill in the shape.  The result was just beautiful in the art room.

IMG_3874

This art project is great for fine motor development, and using an easel for preschool art actually has many benefits.  Another wonderful blog that I read frequently, Small Potatoes, describes 5 wonderful benefits of easel art in this blog post.  This blog is a wonderful resource for play tips, sensory activities, and art inspiration at home.

Table Invitations:

IMG_3832

One week children found this on the classroom tables.  These are actually little drink glasses from the dollar store.  I turned them upside down and wrote upper case and lower case letters on the glasses.  Children matched the lower case letter to the uppercase letter on the light table. 

IMG_3770

I love providing unique materials that engage the kids in new ways.  This is a long bath mat turned upside down.  Children had to use the tongs to move the marbles from the bowl to balance on the suction cups of the bath mat!

 

IMG_3804

Exploring Sense of “Self”:  I presented this table invitation to encourage students to learn to draw themselves.  I have been doing small mini lessons with the Handwriting Without Tears program to encourage self portraits and develop their ability to draw their bodies and faces.  They have come a long way since the beginning of the year!  I love seeing their self portraits, and the details they choose to include…

 

IMG_3818

 

Play Dough:

IMG_3844

We explored some lovely spring colors with our play dough last month!  I made a large batch and then split it into purple, pink and blue.  On the play dough tray I provided spring gems in bright colors, flower gems, and then an assortment of cookie cutters including sheep, bunnies, and eggs.

 

Learning Trays: 

IMG_3775

Our learning trays this month have been filled with all sorts of different interests.  The picture above shows a counting tray I created.  Using small play dough cakes, I would place a number in the play dough and the child would match the correct number of matchsticks to the number.

IMG_3829

This was a fun egg and sound guessing game.  I filled plastic eggs with different loose parts from around the house.  The child would shake the egg and try to guess what was inside based on the sound of the egg.  Some of the items were easy to distinguish like the pennies and paper clips, and some were more difficult like the plastic tags and links.

IMG_3897

R is exploring a learning tray of fettuccini pasta and a small colander.  This would be a quick and easy exploration to set up while you are trying to cook dinner!

 

 

IMG_3908

I printed out each child’s name and they placed an assortment of stickers overtop of their letters.  It was great fine motor and letter practice!

IMG_3842

We played with this learning tray a few times as a whole class, and then I put in on the shelf for individual exploration.  Each child would crack open an egg to find a letter inside.  Then they matched their letter to the ABC sheet provided.  Just adding the opening of the egg created so much excitement to a simple letter puzzle!

 

Sensory Play:

 

 

IMG_3866

Our Easter Sensory Bin:  green Easter grass, eggs large and small, bunnies, and carrots.

 

 

IMG_3788

This water sensory tub was a huge hit for most of the week!  I created it using the liquid watercolors, gutters cut in half, a second tub to catch water, funnels and cups.  They loved watching the water splash, move, and fill up again and again.  In the picture above M and L are pouring the water while L is entranced by it sliding down the gutters!

 

IMG_3811

IMG_3824

Both age groups were super involved with this water activity.  It will be repeated again I am sure!

Dramatic Play:

 

 

IMG_3819

For some wonderful spring themed dramatic play I created a “Flower Shop” for the kids.  I provided a shelf filled with cups, pots, and loose flowers, a store front, cash register, money, paper and pens for note taking.  This was a busy flower shop, and the children enjoyed making flower arrangements for each other.

IMG_3823

 

Process Art:

 

 

IMG_3809

This past month the children created a wonderful group art project using a very large sheet of contact paper.  I laid the paper out on the table and provided lots of spring colors to stick anyplace they wanted.  The results were so pretty, and I love seeing it hanging on our doorway everyday.

 

 

IMG_3835

I drew a bunch of blank eggs on the chalk board wall and waited to see if they would fill in the eggs with different designs!

IMG_3848

One of my favorite projects this past month was a super sized egg!  I got the idea from Fun at Home With Kids’ blog about a big Easter Egg.  I changed our eggs slightly and provided the textured rolling pins for the students to make large scale designs for their eggs.  Here is L in the middle of making her Very Large Egg!

IMG_3845

 

IMG_3855

The children painted wooden eggs with our liquid watercolors, we added them to the Easter Sensory bin and played hide and seek with the eggs outside.  The hide and seek game was such a great way to reinforce colors, counting, and more and less than. While we were playing I would hear,

“We need one more blue”

“There aren’t any pink eggs in the carton, help me find them”

“Only one more egg left!”

IMG_3911

 

 

IMG_3884

We paper mached paper eggs with tissue paper and modge podge!

IMG_3901

I had so much extra tissue paper we used some to do some bleeding tissue paper art work!

IMG_3906

And just for fun we made Easter bunnies using Easter colored marshmallows.  They got to eat a few marshmallows when they finished their bunny too!

 

That just about covers all of our “Egg”stravagant Spring exploring!


Leave a comment

Lucky Leprechauns and Rainbows

IMG_3557

This post is full of March madness!  I am little behind on my blogging so you will have to stick with me while I show you all of the great fun we had last month exploring green and rainbows!

 

Play Dough:

 

For play dough this month I made a batch of green dough with gold sparkles.  On the play dough tray I included shamrocks, gold coins, green straws and pipe cleaners and a collection of green dyed pasta.  The rainbow pipe cleaners were very popular with the kids.  They would form two balls and then create their very own rainbows!

IMG_3553

IMG_3554

 

You can see from the pictures all of the variety of ways the children used the loose parts with the play dough.

 

IMG_3582

 

Math Concepts:

 

To incorporate counting, numbers, and gold coins I found the idea for a “Lucky Hunt” from the No Time for Flashcards blog.  I know I have linked back to her blog before, but she really has some fantastic and simple ideas for playing and learning!  I simply used a piece of green construction paper and put seven circles on the paper to represent seven gold coins.  To add on to her idea, on my lucky hunt paper I wrote down the numbers one through seven and sent the children out to hunt for gold coins around the classroom.  Once they found their coins we pointed and counted the coins slowly together as a group.  We repeated this game a few times throughout the week!  

 

IMG_3649

 

Process Art:

 

We did some wonderful process art over the month of March! 

IMG_3597

For this rainbow painting, the children helped me squirt the colors of the rainbow on the paper and then they used a large comb scrapper and scrapped the colors across the paper.  I also cut out a shamrock from a sponge from the dollar store and they stamped shamrocks along the bottom of their rainbow.

 

IMG_3606

Above is a picture of a few of the Leprechauns the children made too!  I gave them strips of orange paper and they had to use their fine motor skills to rip the paper into strips.  This is actually quite hard work for little hands!  They we discussed the parts of the face, and they added eyes, drew the nose mouth and freckles.  I love how different each of the leprechauns looked in the end!

 

 

IMG_3670

One of my favorite projects this month was our clay rainbows.  Above C is beading each of the pony beads onto the pipe cleaners of her rainbow.  Once they were happy with the amount of beads they added to the pipe cleaners, we rolled a second ball out of clay for the other side of the rainbow.

 

Isn’t the finished project amazing?!  Again, I love how all of the rainbows are a little bit different (including Ls rainbow in the middle that just has one cloud)!

 

IMG_3669

 

 

IMG_3587

We also made shamrocks by rolling around marbles!  L is working on his shamrock above and you can see the amount of concentration he has on his project.  It takes a great deal of hand-eye coordination to get the marbles to roll the way they wanted them to in the box!

 

Rainbow Snack:

 

I asked each child to contribute one part of our rainbow snack activity (thank you Moms!!)  Everyone participated in helping to make our snack!  After washing their hands each child got to peel, cut or place their fruit in the correct order of the rainbow.  This was such a simple snack of all fruit, and was gobbled up by the children! 

 

IMG_3662

Below is my attempt at a group shot!  They really were excited about the rainbow snack, I promise!

 

IMG_3663

 

IMG_3666

 

Sensory Tables:

 

In my last blog post about Dr. Suess, I forgot to include my “Green Eggs and Ham” sensory table that we had up last month.  For this sensory table I lined the bottom of the tub with green colored sand, added the pots and pans from our kitchen, along with some of my youngest daughter’s egg toy.  There was quite a bit of baking and imaginative play that took play in this tub!

IMG_3561

Our St. Patrick’s Day tub was filled to the brim with split peas, gold coins, pots of gold, and shamrock treasures.  It was used again and again for pouring, scooping, hiding, counting, and talking about all things green!

 

IMG_3581

For the first time we explored Jell-O in school.  I made a very large batch of green Jell-O.  I cut the Jell-O into small squares and laid it on one of our large white trays.  They children spent time exploring it, squishing it, and using their hands to investigate the different texture of Jell-O.

IMG_3653

After they had explored the Jell-O, I added a bowl of green shaving cream and some paint brushes.  I didn’t give them any directions for this portion of the exploration.  They enjoyed scooping the green cream onto the Jell-O tray and mixing it up.

IMG_3656

 

Process Art:

 

I made a batch of homemade paint last month too!  I mixed clear hair gel (from the dollar store), liquid watercolors, and confetti.  The gel give the paint a shiny texture and is sticky enough to pick up the confetti as you paint with it!  This paint tends to bleed while it dries, so I simply rolled out large pieces of butcher paper to let them paint on.

IMG_3569

 

 

IMG_3570

Math and Shapes:

 

Another theme that I wove into March was a discussion on shapes!  We read a few shape books, and we will be re-visiting shapes again in May.  Both of these great art ideas below came from two websites I highly recommend.  I actually get both of them sent directly to my email account when they post a new blog post. 

 

IMG_3576

In the picture above I drew on large pieces of finger painting paper with a sharpie different shapes.  I ordered these wonderful confetti finger paints from Discount School Supply and they are really great.  The colors are vibrant and each color has different little pieces of confetti in the paint.  They had to use the finger paint to fill in the shapes on the paper.  I saw this idea on Fun at Home With Kids!  It is a wonderful blog, packed full of ideas!

 

IMG_3584

 

Another great shape project we did last month came from the Imagination Tree blog.  She posts about all sorts of things from sensory bins, art projects, and homemade light tables.  This activity was so simple and cheap too!  I took old cardboard tubes and bent them into different shapes.  The kids used the tubes as stampers and put the tube in the paint and stamped it onto the paper.  Great for shape recognition and color re-enforcement! 

 

I will stop here, but I still have more to share from last month’s adventures!  Stay tuned!