The value of name recognition in preschool

One of the best places to start when it comes to teaching young children how to read is to begin with their name. Young children are highly interested in their own name. It has meaning and value to them – it is personal…

Because my wall space is limited, I don’t have a traditional “word wall” like many classrooms do but I do have space for smaller charts throughout the classroom. I have two charts on the wall that display each child’s name at all times. One of the charts is an attendance chart and the other is simply a name chart. The charts are down low so the children can  see and touch their names whenever there is a desire or reason to do so…

Rather than just printing the children’s names on a list to hang on the wall – I like to print each child’s name on a sentence strip and then laminate it. I want the children to be able to interact with their name by looking for it, moving it and using it…

The children also find their names through other activities in our classroom like through different graphs and charts we explore…

We also keep our names handy in our crayon bags so the children can take them out anytime and use them to try and write their own names…

And we play games that invite us to examine our names even further like this sensory name game I have previously shared with you….

In the past few weeks, I have been amazed at how much progress the children have already made in recognizing not only their own name but the names of their peers.  We have a lot of names that start with the letter K this year. It has required my “K” children to look for more than just the first letter in their name….

Name recognition can happen naturally over time. It just takes keeping those names visible and an interactive part of the children’s day.  Everyday our students are looking for their names – on walls, hooks, charts, papers, and in the games we play….

 

That name up there on the wall

Isn’t just for decoration.

It has meaning, value, and is very personal

in early childhood education.

~Deborah

By | October 31st, 2011|Categories: Name Recognition|Tags: , , |11 Comments

Outdoor fall parachute play in preschool

We have been taking advantage of playing outdoors during these last few pretty fall days.  I recently read this wonderful idea shared by How Long is the Hall and knew my children would love to try this too…

The children helped Miss Abby spread out the parachute then ran around the play yard to gather leaves and put them on top of the parachute….

Once they had a good pile of leaves on the parachute, we gathered around the parachute to make them fly in the air.  I couldn’t remember the song that How Long is the Hall used in her post so we just said, “Pop, Pop, Popcorn!”  I know this makes no sense but the kids didn’t care!  When we said popcorn the kids would jump up and make all the leaves fly into the air…

One of our favorite things to do is to hide under the parachute after we toss the leaves into the air…

I thought I would mention that I bought this parachute from our local PartyCity store in the section where they sold circus party supplies.

I am sure going to miss these pretty fall days..

 

Early childhood is like fall…

A season filled with wonder, and beauty, and change that rushes by all too quickly.

~Deborah

Links to Grow On…

Parachute Play in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Parachute Play by Messy Kids

Parachute Games by NurtureStore

Quack, Quack, We’re Back parachute game by How Long is the Hall

Parachute Games by Rhyme Time

Linking up with Mama Pea Pod: Outdoor Play

By | October 30th, 2011|Categories: Outdoor Play|Tags: , , , |18 Comments

Snap painting is very messy in preschool

I have been wanting to try snap painting for some time now so this week I decided just to give it a go. I gave each child a metal cookie sheet that I got from the Dollar Store and set out the rubber bands we use for our DIY Geoboards.

The children have been doing a lot of designs over the past few months with our Geoboards so I invited the children to make a design with the rubberbands kind of like they do on the Geoboards…

As they added their rubberbands to their pans, they like to stop and play them like guitar strings. This was definitely a multi-sensory activity.

After the children added a few rubberbands to their pans, then we slid some paper underneath the rubberbands…

At this point, I have to say that the children added paint to their paper and rubber bands through different approaches. But the main goal was to get the rubberbands covered with some paint. I showed the children how they can add paint to their paper then pick the paper up and rub it on the rubber bands…

In the end, each child used their own method of adding paint to the rubber bands…

Once the children added paint to their paper, they held the paper up (in many cases they asked me to help them with this part) and then rubbed the rubber bands into the  paint.  Then we removed the paper with the paint on it and underneath was a clean piece of paper for the children to snap paint on…

Then the snapping began! Oh my! We had paint splattering everywhere and the kids were loving it!

They pulled back on their paint-covered rubber bands and let go to ‘snap’ the paper…

These photos do not give justice to how much paint splattering took place with this activity. I recommend you cover your tables with paper and perhaps the walls and chairs too!  Our paint was washable so we just washed everything down after we were done…

While we painted I heard words like, “This is cool!” “Can I have another piece of paper?” “Look there is paint on the wall!” “Can we use all the colors?” “You got red paint in your hair!”…

This was a great painting process – perhaps next time we will take it outdoors:)

By | October 28th, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , |20 Comments

Super duper spiderweb game for preschoolers

Every chance I get, I try to switch up my magnet board to something new and interesting and this simple magnetic spider game turned out to be super fun…

I actually tried several approaches to using these magnetic spiders.  The spiders are made out of pipe cleaners. The wire in the pipe cleaner is magnetic so if you use a good magnet tool, you can make the spiders crawl or at the very least, they are fun to pick up with a magnetic wand).

My kids like to see how many spiders they could pick up at one time with the wands.  Then they would toss them back onto the spider web…

I had this center out for a couple of days and as I said earlier, I tried several approaches. I also put spiders in a bottle to see if the children could move the spiders with a magnetic wand…

Some of the children could get the spiders to move but others really had trouble with it and found it frustrating…

The children preferred to just use the wands to pick up the spiders from the magnetic board or cookie sheet. The next favorite thing to do was to smash the spiders with the magnetic wands:)

So perhaps this game should be called The spider grab and smash game!

Links to Grow On

Magnetic Painting from Rockabye Butterfly

Puffy Paint Magnets from Handmade Beginnings

Weaving Spider Webs from Teach Preschool

By | October 27th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , |11 Comments

Simple spiders our preschoolers made

Our preschoolers enjoyed working with the paper tubes since we haven’t done much with them this school year so far…

The children started by cutting the spider legs on one end of the paper tubes.  They were supposed to see if they could come up with eight legs but in the end, we had all kinds of spider legs going on…

After they cut their spider legs, then they painted their spiders any color they liked. We had red, green, purple, and pink spiders. Nobody wanted a black spider…

And after the paint dried, we added googly eyes to finish our spiders…

We also tried making a few with cut up paper towel tubes and that worked just as well!

Links to Grow on…

Toilet Roll Octopus by MeloMomma

Cardboard Tube Lion by TPcraft.com

Cardboard Tube Farm Animals from Crafts by Amanda

Paper tube Snakes from Play Pennies

By | October 26th, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

DIY yarn machine in preschool

This is a simple way I use for children to get their own yarn and to help keep the yarn organized in the process…..

I call this my yarn machine. It is very basic – you just drop a ball of yarn (make sure it is a ball) in a tissue box then thread one end of the yarn through either the top of the box or through a hole in the side of the box…

These boxes are actually taped together so I can pick up the entire unit and put it away…

I use the tissue boxes as individual boxes too like when we made our spider webs yesterday…

I was going to paint or cover each box with paper the same color as yarn in the box but decided that it was fine like it is for now. The kids can easily tell which color of yarn is in each box based on the thread that is coming out of the box…

So – there you have it! My DIY Yarn Machine:)

Books on Amazon…

By | October 26th, 2011|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , , |24 Comments

Very busy making spider webs in preschool

Today we read the book, “The Very Busy Spider” by Eric Carle. This is one of my all time favorite books. Everytime I read it aloud to a group of children, I have a captivated audience…

One of the best parts of this book is the web that is being formed throughout the book. The children love to feel it – and so do I…

We spent the entire day exploring spiders starting with this fun little spider chart I made on my computer.  I just used spider clip art off of the web and created my own little poster. The bottom says…

1. Spiders have 8 legs

2. Spiders eat mostly insects that fly.

3. Spiders catch insects in their sticky web.

Then we made our very own spiderwebs…

I let the children choose the color of yarn they would like to use for weaving their webs…

These are Styrofoam plates with little triangle cut outs around the edges to help hold the yarn in place…

Most of our children wanted to use multiple colors of yarn, so we just kept tying on new colors of yarn to the ends of their yarn pieces and let the children keep on weaving as long as they wished…

When they were happy with their webs, we let them add a spider to the end of the last string. The spider dangled down from the webs. Our pre-k children got the weaving concept down easily. Our threes were not all able to keep their weaving on course but their webs turned out just as fun and they loved the process since we kept the weaving process open to their interpretation…

Don’t you just love these webs?

You may be wondering how we managed to keep our yarn all organized with such a process so tomorrow, I am going to introduce to you our amazing yarn machine:)  You will love it!

Links to Grow On…

Don’t Get Caught in the Spider Web Game from Teach Preschool

Itsy Bitsy Spider Day in Preschool from Teach Preschool

More Spider Fun found here on Teach Preschool Pinterest

By | October 25th, 2011|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , |24 Comments

Making squishy fishy aquariums in preschool

We explored fish a few weeks ago and made squishy fishy aquarium. You can see how to make these sensory gel bags by clicking here.

The children put green and yellow food color in their gel bags because Mrs. Stewart (me) was not thinking very clearly that day. For some reason, I had it in my head that green and yellow make blue.  Have you ever had one of those days?

So instead of blue fishy bags we had a variety of green and yellow fishy bags. I am so glad children don’t really care about the final product as much as the process…

You can’t see the fish in there all that well in these pictures but the children also added foam fish to their gel bags…

I hung all our fishy bags in the window which made them tempting to walk by and feel throughout the day…

The light shining through makes our green and yellow squishy fishy bags quite a beautiful display…

So to make up for my brain lapse on color mixing, I served the children jello aquarium cups instead…

Yum but sweeeeet!

Available on Amazon

Linking up to No Time for Flashcards: Link and Learn

By | October 24th, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , |14 Comments

Melted crayon art in preschool

If you follow very many blogs then you will know that this has been a popular idea over the past month and I was excited to try it in our prek class too.

Our prek students love doing this type of activity because they get to use “grown-up” tools in the process…

Each child was given a square art canvas board for their melted crayon art.  The children selected the crayons they wanted to use and arranged them on their boards. In reading how to do this, I read that crayola brand crayons melt the best so I set out several packs of crayola brand crayons…

The children ended up with some beautiful designs.  Most of the children would turn their canvas on different sides to make the crayon melt in various directions as they used the blow dryer…

Most of the children used lots of different colors of crayons but this child just chose to use orange crayons. You can see how the tip of the crayon is just starting to melt.

We used the hot setting and high speed of the blow dryer because the children didn’t want to wait for the slower settings to work…

And Ms. Abby wanted to make one too but she let the kids help her melt the crayons…

So here are our finished melted crayon art canvases…

This wonderful idea can also be seen at Sara’s Art House and Whatever!

See how to make a simple melted crayon picture here!

See more crayon ideas here!

By | October 23rd, 2011|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , |18 Comments

Exploring pumpkin seeds in the preschool classroom

Pumpkin seeds are a wonderful resource for sensory, math, art, and play. We cut open two pumpkins last week and I saved the pumpkin seeds from both of them…

The children discovered that the inside of a pumpkin is very slimy and the seeds are slippery and wet…

I separated all the pumpkin seeds out from the slimy pumpkin guts and then I colored the seeds (later in the day) with a tiny bit of vinegar and food color.  I am not so sure I would have needed to add the vinegar but it worked fine for me. I was given the idea of coloring the pumpkin seeds by Erica on my Teach Preschool on Facebook page. You can see Erica’s pictures here.

I spread the seeds out on some paper and let them sit over night. The next day, they were still a little wet so I baked them at a very low temperature (200 degrees) for a few minutes (about 15) until they were nice and dry. Then I brought them back to school…

The children explored the seeds with their hands…

They used cups to scoop and pour pumpkin seeds…

Then we set out cut-up brown paper bags from the grocery store to use as our canvas for seed mosaics…

The children squeezed out glue on their paper and then added pumpkin seeds on top of the glue…

Every child made their own unique design with the pumpkin seeds…

For this activity, I told the children they would need to make puddles with the glue instead of just lines so that the pumpkin seeds would have plenty of glue to stick too…

The next time I share this activity with the children, I will set out heavier paper like cardboard because I discovered if you bend the paper after the seeds dry on the glue – the seeds tended to pop off the paper…

After making their mosaics, the children used the remaining seeds to make pumpkin seed exploration bottles…

Some of the children filled the bottles all the way to the top and others added orange construction paper to their bottle too…

And yes, we had pumpkins seeds all over the table and floor by the time we finished. Here are our finished pumpkin seed exploration bottles…

And here are some of our completed pumpkin seed mosaics…

By | October 22nd, 2011|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , , |20 Comments