Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


1 Comment

Murals and Spring Fun

IMG_4210.jpg

We worked hard throughout April to create our last few animal murals.  We spent a week discussing the ocean and all of the amazing animals that live in the ocean!

Process Art:

The picture below shows A coloring a tin foil fish with sharpies.  After they colored their fish, we squeezed out glitter glue on top of the foil to give the fish their scales.  A and C are using our watercolors to paint their jelly fish.  Once their jelly fished dried, they got to cut the long tentacles on the bags.

IMG_3959.jpg

 

IMG_3960.jpg

IMG_4416.jpg

We also worked on our Desert Mural too!

IMG_4133.jpg

We made cacti by painting large green strokes with the paint rollers, and then adding lots of prickly spikes!

Below is a close-up of our shape lizards.  The children glued shapes onto their lizards and then dropped silver paint on top to give them shiny skin.

IMG_4031.jpg

The last part of our animal project was creating our special animal with clay.  Each child got to pick an animal to represent with clay.  I printed out a real-life photo of the animal for each child to look at while they were making their project.

IMG_4340.jpg

 

IMG_4341.jpg

Once the clay dried many children decided to paint their clay pieces too.

 

IMG_4359.jpgIMG_4360.jpgIMG_4554.jpg

IMG_4557.jpg

 

IMG_4556.jpgIMG_4549.jpg

IMG_4558.jpgIMG_4552.jpgIMG_4553.jpgIMG_4548.jpg

While we were discussing the ocean I set up a large ocean sensory tub.  I filled the tub with water and lots of different colored water beads.  Then I added large ocean animals, and they went to town!

Sensory Play:

IMG_3948.jpg

 

 

IMG_3951.jpgIMG_3950.jpg

The children have also still been very busy building animal homes and habitats around the classroom!  They love to use the Magnatiles to make divided homes for the animals.  The home area below using Magnatiles, connecting blocks, birds, elephants, and a stuffed animal brought from home!

IMG_3764.jpg

 

IMG_4407.jpg

More animal houses!

IMG_4408.jpg

Sensory Play:

Another sensory tub I created for the end of April was a giant construction site.  The children love to play with the trucks, and play mobile people.  I combined both of these with a huge tub of pinto beans!

IMG_3955.jpg

IMG_4261.jpg

In celebration of spring we put out a large tray with kinetic sand, spring cookie cutters, and lots of colorful gems.

 

Preschool Literacy:

We have continued to follow along with two to three Handwriting Without Tears lessons a week.  We have now covered all of the letters that only have straight lines and diagonal lines.  We only have curved letters left, and we will have worked through the entire alphabet!

In addition to the handwriting lessons, we have started discussing the phonetic sounds that each letter makes.  I pulled out my phonetic buckets to accompany our lessons.  Each bucket has small charms or tiny toys that represent each letter sound.  Then I laminated these Constant-Vowel-Constant grids.  Children got to come over to work in small groups to sound out these simple C-V-C words.  They had a great time with this new task!

IMG_3981.jpg

Light Table:

IMG_3966.jpg

I drew different lines and designs on large pieces of paper.  Then I collected different stones to place along the lines or around the spiral.  Each of the children got a chance to work at the light table, and they all had different versions on how to line up the pieces.IMG_4002.jpg

IMG_3999 (1).jpg

Then I put stirring sticks and gem ice cubes on the light table.  They really came up with some creative designs.

IMG_4337.jpg

 

IMG_4388.jpg

I can’t wait to see what adventures await the last month of school!

 


Leave a comment

Preschool Happenings

IMG_2622

Process Art:

The colder months tend to keep us inside a bit more, but we also get a chance to explore new materials and techniques in the classroom!  We have worked on a few projects using liquid watercolors this month in a variety of ways.  Liquid watercolors are similar to water color paints, but with a lot of versatility.  You can paint with them of course, but also add them to play dough, gak, and lots of sensory recipes for a pop of color.

For these paintings the children were given large bowls filled with the watercolors and paint brushes.  They went to town painting different designs with the liquids.  After their paintings dried, I thought it would be great to introduce our crayon melter to the class.  We discussed the safety rules for the crayon melter, because it can get quite HOT!  They did a wonderful job being very careful with the melted wax.  Using the Q-tips they simply dripped or painted with the different wax colors.

IMG_2621

H and M wanted to try the crayon melter on plain white paper instead.  They were busy working with this new medium for a long time.  Painting with the melted crayons provides wonderful hand-eye coordination and development.  It also allows them to assess risks and take risks in a safe way, by being careful around the heater.  Lastly, it was always important to put the Q-tip back in the correct color or the crayons would get really muddy.  We learned this the hard way, and everyone worked diligently to make sure their Q-tips were put back correctly (color matching!!).

IMG_2616

 

IMG_2547.JPG

Another way we used the watercolors was with the pipettes and paper towels.  The children simply squeezed the colors out of the pipettes to create beautiful designs and images on their paper towel.  They had to make sure not to get the paper towel too wet or the colors would run together.

IMG_2548.JPG

The pipettes can sometimes be a bit tricky to use, and they really have to concentrate while using their pincher skills to squeeze the paint onto the towels.

IMG_2543.JPG

C and D working side by side above!  I loved seeing Cs two-handed pipette painting!

IMG_2551.JPG

After our paper towels dried we cut them into snowflakes and hung them on our classroom doors.

IMG_2552.JPG

 

 

IMG_2625

I think my group this year has used up almost every last piece of chalk that I have!  They simply love side walk chalk.  As a group they are really starting to come together, play as a group, and do group projects that they plan together.  One of their favorite things to do outside has been to “paint” with the chalk in the rain puddles on the road.  They will gather up all of the chalk and get to work!

IMG_2627

You can see B above offering different colors to friends in the roadway.  The results are very cheerful on a rainy day too!

Light and Shadows:

IMG_2615

Another fun invitation to create has been these tracing papers on the light table.  I got the great idea from the Teach Preschool blog.  She has a fantastic blog and so many wonderful ideas.  I drew simple lines, curves, and points for the children to trace on the light panel.  They had to lay a piece of tracing paper on top of my original and trace the lines with a marker.  You may have seen some of these tracing papers coming home.  Many students did this again and again!

IMG_2611

Sensory Play:

IMG_2557.JPG

In the sensory tubs we have had two new materials!  The multicolored rice “Ice Cream” tub is pictured above.  The students have really enjoyed this tub, and have opened up a few ice cream shops during the day.  They will make different flavors and offer them to friends that happen to pass by!

IMG_2550.JPG

We also had this really colorful “Valentine’s Day tub.”  I filled the tub with white beans, cupcake liners, and lots of fun Valentine’s Day goodies.  They love the heart boxes, and filling them up with beans.

IMG_2589.JPG

Our play dough this month has been this beautiful rose scented pink play dough.  I added a lot of soap scent to this dough, and it really fills up the room when the children start manipulating it!

The play dough tray has pink gems, heart roller, heart shaped cookie cutters, and lots of heart cupcake liners.

T made the most beautiful creation with all of the heart shaped cookie cutters.  I had to capture it in a picture!  Stunning!

IMG_2649

 

IMG_2643

Now that the snow has finally melted, it left my yard a beautiful muddy mess!  That has made the mud kitchen a hot commodity!  H is stirring up a large batch of mud soup, and M is making cupcakes below!  She even requested a special pouring cup to measure each muddy cupcake correctly.

IMG_2639

 

Preschool Math:

IMG_2595.JPG

Lastly, we have been getting out our preschool learning trays almost everyday!  They have really enjoyed all of the math games that use old candy.  In the pictures above M is completing a color pattern.  The first patterns are given to her, and then she fills in the blank hearts with the corresponding candies.

You could even play this at home, and it would be a fun way to use your extra candy!

IMG_2593.JPGIMG_2596.JPG

T and B getting to work on their pattern papers.

IMG_2598.JPG

D working diligently to find the correct colors to match the patterns.  I was so so proud of their hard work and math skills!


Leave a comment

Painting on the Light Table

IMG_2162.JPG

We had so much fun with this project last week I wanted to dedicate a whole post to it today!  I purchased this amazing and large light panel from another preschool over Christmas break.  I was excited to try some new activities with it, since our light panel is rather small and not great for large art projects.  I laid a piece of plexiglass overtop of the light panel, and then protected the wooden edges with Saran Wrap (just in case!).  I gave each child a few large scoops of finger paint.  They chose the color combinations they preferred, and got straight to mixing their paints on the panel!

IMG_2176.JPG

Children love to finger paint, and usually can spend long periods of time doing just that!  But, when I added the light table to the finger painting experience they really went to town.  Each child seemed to take their time, have more deliberate mixing techniques, and use their fingers in different ways to create lines, circles, and curves in their painting.  These marks were made more apparent because of the light panel shining through!

IMG_2161.JPG

As each child started to paint they began to realize that they were changing the color.  Almost each child would exclaim in the middle of the activity, “I’m making PINK or I’m making PURPLE”  It is so fun to watch these experiences unfold, and to revisit some concepts we discussed in the beginning of the year like colors and color mixing.

IMG_2160.JPG

IMG_2196.JPG

Once each child had painted for quite awhile on the light panel I then asked them if they could create lines, circles, squiggles, or a pattern of some kind in their paint.  Then I laid a white sheet of paper on top of their design and we created a print from the pattern they made.  We would repeat this same thing two or three times.

IMG_2197.JPG

Then I would clean up the plexiglass for the next child to start anew.  It was so neat to see a line begin to form and the oohs and aaahs while they watched their friends paint on the panel.  Such anticipation for their change at painting!

IMG_2199.JPG

 

IMG_2200.JPG

I love the picture below I caught of M showing me her sticky, messy fingers!  “Look Ms. Clare!!”

IMG_2201.JPG

We will definitely be painting on the light table again very soon!  More updates coming later this week as well!

 

 


Leave a comment

Light and Shadow Project Revisited

IMG_6125

 

We have experimented with a few different set ups with our light and shadow project.  This year I tried a new approach to the overhead projector.  I moved the projector to a high traffic area in our classroom, and hung up a sheet to give the students a nice clean image from the blocks and projector.  Then we stacked blocks on top of our platform to observe the change in shadows and colors on the screen behind the blocks.

 

IMG_6130

Of course we got busy playing with the blocks, adding different materials, putting up the tea light, and peg dolls.  They got right to work.

 

IMG_6146

Later on I added the color lens basket to the overhead area, and this is what they did with all of the color disks.  They also started to dance on the platform in front of the projector.

 

IMG_6846

We explored penguins on our light table this January!

 

IMG_6905

Played with gems, magnatiles, interlocking blocks on the overhead as well.

 

IMG_6918

The creations were quite spectacular!

 

IMG_7330

In February we explored pink dyed salt on the light table with heart gems and little glass cups. 

 

IMG_7332

M always seems to be one of our most avid light explorers!

 

I am excited to introduce a shadow puppet theatre this month to go along with our fairy tales unit.  They always enjoy exploring light and it’s fascinating qualities in the classroom.  There truly are so many ways to use the light table and the overhead projector!


Leave a comment

Light and Shadows

IMG_2538

In October I opened up a new section of the classroom.  It is our new light and shadows area.  In reality, it is nook tucked away that provides the perfect wall space for the projector and I can keep the lights dim on that side of our classroom for children to explore!

 

I opened the area with a long explanation about the projector, how we care for it, how to turn it on and off, and just how gentle we have to be with the glass.  So far so good!  I also bit the bullet and bought our very own light panel.  I have had my eye on them for quite awhile.  This one was on sale for $100, when it is usually $190!  Steal?!  It has been such a great investment and so exciting to watch the children explore the light area. 

 

Of course on the first day M couldn’t have been dressed more perfect for our new area!  She was wearing a glow up skeleton shirt for Halloween.  She fit right in!

IMG_2518

 

IMG_2523

 

For now our exploration with the projector and light panel has focused on colors and loose parts.  I provided the children with “swizzle sticks” from the dollar store and colored counters in a basket.  It was fascinating to watch them work with the projector and try to follow their images as it was projected on the wall. 

 

IMG_2620

After about two weeks I moved the light panel to the table and provided a few cups of loose parts.  Two cups had the colored counters, and the other two cups held some beautiful gems.  They were invited to explore with them freely.

 

L made an image of “Tangled” on the light panel.  Pretty impressive!

 

DSC_0133

 

IMG_2687

Some additional materials I provided for the children were “Wedgits” that are a wonderful stacking and building material.  This set is also translucent and provides lots of fantastic reflections.

 

IMG_2701

During the month of October the children had been talking a lot about skeletons.  They were interested in the skeletons in our Halloween books as well as the skeletons I provided in the sensory and gak play.  I found two sets of x-rays on Amazon.  One set was the human skeleton and the second set was animal x-rays.  We looked at them together as a class over a series of a few mornings, and then I left them for the children to explore.  I also put some skeleton books nearby by the projector for further reading and discussions.

 

I am looking forward to seeing what comes next in our exploration of light and shadows.  This will be an on-going theme this year with the children.

 

DSC_0130DSC_0131