Making rainbow fish collages in preschool

The kindergarten children from this class have been reading the book “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister and today they made their very own rainbow fish collages…

The teacher set out a basket of tissue paper squares and some aluminum foil to add a little bit of shimmer…

Each child took their own approach towards making a rainbow fish collage…

Some of the children chose to use glue bottles and other children chose to use glue sticks…

Some of the children preferred to create alone and others liked to pair up and collaborate…

Some of the children scrunched the tissue paper and others preferred to leave theirs smooth and flat…

Some of the children preferred using more tissue paper and others preferred more foil…

I didn’t notice this on my own but this little boy pointed out to me how he chose to add four of each color of tissue paper on his fish…

After the children finished designing their rainbow fish collages, they placed them on the drying rack…

I can always tell when I go into a classroom where the children are used to making decisions, getting their own supplies, or using their own creative ideas. As the children in this class made their fish, they talked and laughed with each other and moved about from table to table to get their own supplies. I loved seeing how relaxed the children were and how they were very comfortable and confident creating their fish collage in their own way. Although the children were constantly talking and moving about, they continued to stay on task.The children in the classroom are definitely confident thinkers and doers!

Available on Amazon

By | April 30th, 2011|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Fostering organizational skills through play

This is a  pile of magnetic numbers and a magnetic cookie sheet I bought at the dollar store. I have been organizing my activity boxes for future use…

There was a second cookie sheet on the table without any magnets…

As Tristan sat down to play, I realized that his focus wasn’t on the numbers or the order of the numbers but it was on the organization of the magnets…

As Tristan played, I reinforced the words organized and unorganized through casual conversation…

Tristan was proud of how he was able to organize the magnets…

I am linking to The Play Academy!

By | April 29th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , |6 Comments

A kitchen timer and a preschooler

Last week, I bought this little egg timer. My plan was and, still is, to add it to one of my activity boxes. I hadn’t decided what else to include with the egg timer yet so I left it sitting out on my counter…

My little friend Tristan found the egg timer on my counter and for the rest of the day, he carried it around. He used it to tell everyone what “time” it was. He would turn the dial and say, “Hurry up, it’s time to go,” and then make the bell ring. “Too late time is out” he would announce…

He used his fine motor skills to turn the dial back and forth…

He had me listen to the ticking sound and often reminded me, in his own words, how time was of the essence!

All of this play, motor development, and exploration of time was far more than any game I could have planned. So now I know what to add to the activity box – just more egg timers!

 

Link Party Thursdays

Building daily living skills in preschool

There are lots of opportunities for young children to build daily living skills. When my little friend Tristan came over today, I thought we could do some art activities in my studio but he wanted to help me with some cleaning and arranging instead. As we started working together, I realized that this was an opportunity to explore daily living skills so we went with it…

Daily living skills can include just about any thing from folding a towel to washing hands to pouring a cup of milk….

Daily living skills can start early. When I am writing lesson plans for toddlers, I always include a section on daily living skills. Toddlers love to sweep floors and wipe tables which are skills that lead to additional developmental growth in areas such as fine motor control, cooperation, and large motor control…

 

But daily living skills don’t have to be written on a plan. Tristan’s interest in helping me organize my studio happened naturally and took precidence over my plan to make a turtle with him. Investing time in a task like folding a towel was probably far more rewarding for Tristan that making that turtle…

Tristan helped me for well over an hour and not once did he ask to do something different. He seemed completely happy just helping me…

And after everything was pretty much picked up and organized for the day, Tristan wandered over to do a little writing on the chalk board…

By | April 28th, 2011|Categories: Daily Living Skills|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

Turtle shell prints for preschoolers

I don’t know what it is about turtles but I just love them and I am always trying to think of new ways to make them so they are a little less craftsy and a little more artsy….

This turned out to be a fun way to make turtle prints to go along with the book – “The Foolish Tortoise” by Eric Carle. Start by cutting out “shell” shapes or ovals from a piece of Styrofoam. I saved my pieces of Styrofoam from packages of meat and then washed them good with soap and hot water…

Older preschoolers can use a toothpick to carve lines or circle-shapes into the Styrofoam – younger preschoolers may need a little assistance to do the carving or can press the shapes into the Styrofoam with a small cookie cutter…

Next, roll some paint over the lines made into the Styrofoam…

Then flip the Styrofoam, paint side down, onto a sheet of paper and rub it. Now lift and you have a turtle shell print…

Provide several pieces of Styrofoam and different paint colors so that the children can explore making a variety of turtle shell prints…

Here is one with the more rounded prints…

Crayons can also be supplied so the children can add arm, legs, and a head if desired. I liked the shells without anything but here is a sample both ways…

Yes, even a preschooler can draw better than me 🙂

More Turtle Links

Fingerprint Turtles from GummyLump

Paper Bowl Turtle from Play and Learn with Dana and Gummy Lump

Recycled Sea Turtles from We Heart Art

Rock Turtles from Preschool Daze

Cake Pan Turtles from The Artful Parent

Torn Paper Turtles from Ramblings of a Crazy Woman

By | April 27th, 2011|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , |12 Comments

Keeping the glue bottles with brushes clean in preschool

This is one of my favorite glue bottles that I highly recommend for young children…

The only problem is that after some use, the glue lid gets impossibly stuck to the bottle…

I spent a long time cleaning the tops of these bottles and even ended up with some pretty sore fingers trying to pry the lids off. Then I put the bottles (only the ones that had lids completely glued shut) in the dishwasher.  After running the bottles through the dishwasher just one time I found that the bottles or the lids didn’t melt but the glue holding the lids closed softened and the lids opened right up.  As soon as they came out of the dishwasher, I took a damp paper towel and wiped them down really good and the bottles worked like a charm again…

You can purchase these glue bottles from Discount School Supply! And no, I am not getting paid by Discount to tell you this:) I just really like these bottles!

Speaking of Glue – One of my favorite posts was shared with me a long time ago by one of my favorite teachers, Teacher Tom.  It is called The Glue Table – hop on over and give it a read too.

By | April 27th, 2011|Categories: Quick Tips for Preschool Teachers|Tags: , |7 Comments

Preparing for graduation day in preschool…

It won’t be much longer until it is time for graduation day at preschool…

This is an exciting time and milestone for young children as they are preparing to enter into their elementary school years…

Here are a few tips if you are planning your graduation ceremony…

Graduation Decorations: Decorate the doors and halls before the big day…

Graduation Diplomas: If you are going to hand out diplomas during the ceremony, practice the hand shake and receiving of the diploma ahead of time so the children will know what to do…

Graduation Hats: Make your own graduation hats or order them early so they will arrive on time. Make sure that the hats will fit too…

Graduation Songs: Choose a few songs for the children to sing for the parents. If you plan for the children to learn a new song, then start teaching it early otherwise choose old favorites that the children have learned through out the school year. Find songs with movement and choose songs that the children can master easily. If the children are not familiar with the songs you choose, the children will not enjoy it as much and you want this to be fun for them! Here is a song I found on You Tube – you can see the children have learned the song well and are having fun singing along…

Special Recognition

One idea is to give each child a certificate of recognition. This can be done in a fun way and builds off positive traits of the child’s personality. Ideas for special recognition may include, for example…

  • Child most likely to become a movie star (Likes dramatic play)
  • Child most likely to become a superhero (Likes to help others)
  • Child most likely to become an engineer  (Likes to build with blocks)
  • Child most likely to become a dentist (Child who recently has lost the most teeth)
Remember – it is important to build off the positive qualities of a child and never attempt to poke fun of a child’s not so positive qualities as this can definitely backfire.
Slide Show
A short slide show presentation of the graduating class is always fun for parents.  Make sure that you include each child equally in the slide show and that you do not make the slide show too long.  A simple presentation of the children doing a few fun things throughout the school year is plenty to entertain the audience.
Length of Graduation: Keep your ceremony short and then invite the parents to stay for punch and cookies. A long graduation ceremony doesn’t make it better, only longer:)

Final tips…

  • Make sure you have enough seating for all the parents.
  • Make sure you have enough programs to hand out to all the parents.
  • Make sure you don’t misspell a child’s name on the diploma or on the program.
  • Make sure you have a microphone or can be easily heard throughout the program.
  • Make sure the room is not too hot for lots of folks to sit together.
  • Make sure you have a plan for plenty of parking spaces.
  • Make sure you have plenty of punch and cookies for the guests.
  • Make sure you have plenty of help for set-up, clean-up, and serving during the event.

Other Links to Graduation Ideas…

How to make a felt graduation hat from Little Birdies Secrets

How to make a paper graduation hat by Sherry Osborne

Preschool Graduation Poems from the Preschool Professor

Graduation Music and Songs From Preschool Education

More Graduation Ideas from Pre-K Pages

Preschool Songs for Graduation

Available on Amazon…

The photos in this post were taken in the beautiful Learning Time Preschool campuses!

By | April 26th, 2011|Categories: Special Occasions|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Creating a flower collage in preschool

Collages are a simple way for children to extend their understanding of different concepts that they are exploring or showing an interest in…

Collage materials can include any kind of materials you can possibly think of. These children are making what I would consider one of the most basic types of collages using pictures and glue. The children are simply cutting out flower pictures and gluing them to their paper…

As the children create their collages, the teacher can invite conversation about the different kinds of flowers that are in the pictures…

By providing a large variety of flower pictures, the children are able to sort through the pictures and pick the ones that appeal to them the most…

Some children may want to add each type of flower to their collage. Other children may only want to add a few flowers or even several of the same kind of flowers to their collage. The key is providing plenty of materials so that children can make decisions and explore the process…

You can let children hunt for flowers in a magazine, print some photos from the internet, or go outside and find some real flowers. The way to make the process more inviting is to provide lots of choices!

There are many ways to explore the process of making collages. The links below are some wonderful examples of collages using a variety of materials you can share with your preschoolers…

Circle Collage from Teach Preschool

Multi-Media Collage from Casa Maria

Shape Collage from Mom with a Lesson Plan

Giant Rainbow Collage from The Imagination Tree

Fabric Scrap Collage from Family Fun Notebook

Melted Plastic Bag Collage from Tinkerlab

Texture Collage from the Picky Apple

Felt Collage from Giggles and Crayons

Mother Nature Collage from No Time for Flashcards

By | April 25th, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom|Tags: , , |5 Comments

An earth day poem: What do you see?

I wrote this little earth day poem based on the story “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr. and  Eric Carle.

Teacher, teacher what do you see? I see lady bugs, sorting, and counting games looking at me….

Teacher, teacher what do you see? I see paper animals, trees, flowers, and instruments looking at me…

Teacher, teacher what do you see? I see bowling pins, spy games, and painting tools looking at me…

Teacher, teacher what do you see? I see paint holders, sorting trays, dinosaurs, and caterpillars looking at me…

Teacher, teacher what do you see? I see paint canvases, baskets, and vests looking at me…

Teacher, teacher what do you see?, I see butterflies and sensory play looking at me…

Children, children what do you see? We see the opportunity to play, create, explore, and learn…

That’s what we see.

By | April 23rd, 2011|Categories: Special Occasions, The Value of Play|Tags: , , , |6 Comments