Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet

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Giving Thanks


The children worked on the most beautiful salt dough ornaments for Thanksgiving last week.  We made two batches of salt dough, added powdered paint, and then mixed the yellow and orange paint into the dough.

The results were bright, vibrant ornaments!  Some children chose one color, and some children chose to mix the two different colors.  Then we cut out the ornaments and pressed a variety of seeds and beans into them.  Lastly, I baked them in the oven at 200 degrees for a few hours.  I hope they looked lovely at Thanksgiving!



Process Art:

Squiggly and Bumpy Art!

We tried a new painting technique last week as well!  It was extremely simple and cheap supplies, that anyone could do at home.  We drenched pieces of yarn into a cup of glue, then we laid the yarn in a design on a piece of cardboard.IMG_9744.JPG




Once the yarn had dried overnight, we painted the board with these beautiful fall metallic paints.




The last process art activity we did was making “bleeding tissue paper” turkeys for Thanksgiving.  The children were calling our turkey feathers a giant feather factory;)




Each child was given five our six feathers, and a bowl of different colored tissue paper.  They simply painted over their tissue paper with water and we let it sit overnight.  The next day we peeled off the tissue paper to reveal the most beautiful colors underneath.


Each child drew on their turkey’s face, and we added the feathers to the back of the turkey body for the finished turkey!

Preschool Literacy:

The children came into the classroom last week to find a new activity set up on the light panels.  I drew each of their names in a large dark marker on white paper.  They could trace over their names using different colored crayons for fine motor practice, letter development, and repetition practice.  I have begun to introduce everyone to their names with a capital letter first, followed by the lower case letters.  Many of them say, “that isn’t my name.”  It is important to see their name written in a variety of contexts, and begin to understand the lower case-capital letter connection.





On the other light panel I put a large jar of gems for them to cover their name with the gems.  Using the light panel with this literacy work is a wonderful way to engage  their senses while children work on a more traditional “paper/pencil” task.  They are able to sit at the light panels for longer periods of time, and the light holds their interest longer than just desk or seat work.


Look at the concentration…



Sensory Play:

We had a new fall play dough table set up the past few weeks.  I made a batch of orange play dough  and added cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg to give it a nice fall scent.  Then I made a play dough tray packed to the brim with leaf gems, pumpkin gems, wooden acorns, and leaves attached to popsicle sticks.



Pumpkin Soup:

We read this great fall book a few mornings, and we decided our room needed a batch of pumpkin soup!


We made a large tub of orange colored water; added gems, scoops, bowls, and egg beaters.  They went right to town mixing, stirring, and chatting about their “soups.”



Preschool Math:


We have been counting so many things this fall!  Leaves, pumpkins, ghosts, and much more!  It was time to put our counting knowledge and transfer it to number recognition.  I set up this math table before the holiday, to work on our numbers!  The table had Handwriting without Tears Number Cards.  These cards are made it the tiniest piece of sandpaper, so children can trace the numbers with their fingers.  There were wax “wiki stix” that they could use to shape into the numbers, cork boards, beans, gems, and wooden numbers.  Children could freely explore the table throughout the week.  Some children made the numbers on the cork boards, and then counted the corresponding amount of gems.IMG_9903.JPGIMG_9902.JPGIMG_9904.JPGIMG_9623.JPG

Then Ms. Melissa and I worked with each child to create a number page in their learning journals.  We traced the sandpaper numbers, drew the numbers on the chalkboards, counted the numbers, and lastly dotted the numbers in our journals.  They worked hard to write the numbers on their own, or using small dots as a guide.  Most everyone in the class has 10 pages filled with the numbers 1 – 10!  I hope they are noticing numbers all around them!

We also had a great time setting up some very simple marble runs during free time in the classroom!


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Let’s Talk Turkeys




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!


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!

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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!




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






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.

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Our final products!  We will definitely do this again!



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


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



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Giving Thanks in Our Little School


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!



We also matched our letters on pumpkins using stickers.




Sensory Play:



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. 




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. 








Play Dough:


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




Process Art:



We made some beautiful Thanksgiving themed salt dough ornaments. 





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!


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


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




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!


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.



Love this little group to pieces! 


Pumpkin Soup and Pumpkin Goop


I’m not even sure what to even call this fun mixture, but pumpkin goop or pumpkin mud seems fitting.  We mixed this interesting sensory recipe together as a whole group.  It called for sand, cornstarch, pumpkin pie spice, and water.  It turned into a combination of pumpkin smelling mud that just made you want to dig your hands in and get dirty!  The pictures tell the story of how much fun we had with this stuff!


We mixed the pumpkin mud together and then I had ice cream containers (from the dollar store), spoons, and small cups.  They went to town!

Below is a picture of P inspecting the pumpkin mud as it dropped from one container to the other.  It was very messy, but very fun!



I took a whole series of pictures while L was working with the pumpkin mud.  She stayed at this sensory table for a long period of time.  You can see how involved she was with playing, touching, pouring, and learning about this fun sensory experience!






Another pumpkin themed sensory table was our Pumpkin Soup.  I used orange tinted water, bowls, scoops, turkey basters, colanders, and pumpkin gems to create this sensory table.  First I read the book Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper as our read aloud.   Then I invited the children to come over and pretend to be one of the main characters from the book, the duck, the squirrel, or the cat, and make their own pumpkin soup for each other!







Pumpkin Investigation (Science)


We have been working hard to learn about pumpkins.  Over the past two months we have discussed and read about the life cycle of the pumpkin, and taken quite a bit of time to inspect our classroom pumpkin.  The final step was to of course cut open and scoop out our classroom pumpkin.  We took turns scooping out pumpkin seeds from our classroom pumpkin.  A few children helped me with digging for seeds, but I found myself working on this alone! 





Then I cleaned the seeds and dried them.  We used the seeds for counting practice.  I brought children over one at a time to work with me on number sequence, one to one correspondence, and greater than and less than concepts.  I would change the numbers and make the investigation more or less challenging based on the needs of my students.  Even Snow White sat down to do some counting with me…



More Table Invitations:

Sorting colored pasta.  I left this large bowl of dyed pasta out on the tables over a series of a few days.  I invited children to sort the pasta based on their color and distinct shape.  Then we got to try sewing for the first time, and both classes made their own pasta necklaces!




Felt turkey patterns:  The children chose one card and then used the felt feathers to create the pattern around the turkey.  Wonderful math and problem solving skills being used! 



Fall Themed Color Sorting:  sort the leaves based on color and sort the pumpkin gems based on color.



Pattern Blocks:  I originally laid out this invitation to get the children sorting the pattern blocks based on color.  But, once they quickly mastered the color sorting, they started creating designs with the pattern blocks on the felt pieces.  Very open ended play with lots of math concepts involved!


C is working hard on one of our thanksgiving themed learning trays.  She was picking up the pumpkin candies using the large tongs and putting them in the ice cube tray.  The smaller tongs were left as a challenge once the large tongs were mastered.



This picture makes my heart happy as my class is all gathered around one mat and two learning trays.  They are talking, taking turns, practicing their beading and cutting skills in a social setting.  One tray they are using is our beading learning tray.  There is a bowl of wooden beads and pipe cleaners for stringing.  The second tray is filled with lots of things to spark cutting practice.  The tray has strips of paper, straws, and bits of yarn.  The straws are very fun, and they love watching the straw pop apart while they are cutting.


While E is waiting for her friends to arrive she often pulls out the trays and explores them when I am getting the classroom organized for the morning.




Process Art:


As we finished up our pumpkin investigation we made pumpkin sun catchers for the classroom windows. 




Process Art Turkeys:

I found so many wonderful turkey crafts online.  I really wanted to make turkeys with the kids that were more open ended.  We started with a large piece of finger painting paper and a variety of paint brushes and paints.  I let the kids paint in any way they wanted.  I encouraged them to cover as much of the paper as possible.


Their large papers looked like this:



Then I cut apart their paintings into long feather pieces for their turkeys.  Then they glued their feathers and turkey body onto a large piece of construction paper for a large process art turkey!  I think the finished product turned out lovely!




For more process art both classes made Thanksgiving luminaries for their family dinner table.  First we found small leaves outside and I laid them down under a book to flatten them out. 




Once they were glued on and dried we added white tissue paper to the exterior of the glass luminary.  The results were so special!  I even lit the candles for the group because they were unsure of how the glass would look once it was covered in tissue paper. 



Play Dough:

I created a turkey play dough tray for the past week as a table invitation to play.  The turkey tray had brown play dough, googly eyes, foam beaks and at first candy corn.  Do not put candy corn in your play dough!!  I found out the hard way that it starts to melt inside the dough, and it ruined a bunch of the batch.   I’m not sure what happened, but lots of play dough and candy corn got tossed in the trash!






I have a few more turkey and Thanksgiving projects up my sleeve!  Until I get everything posted have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!