The magic of tape

Somewhere towards the middle of the school year, I put all of our colored tape on a paper roll holder for our preschool class to use for a project that I can’t even remember. I hadn’t intended to keep the tape on the holder but my students used the tape every day in all different kinds of ways so when you have such interest, you stick with it…

The magic of tape by Teach Preschool

On our last week of preschool, I moved the tape holder to our outdoor classroom and set it out with a bunch of sticks. There was no agenda here, just an invitation to explore the tape in a new way…

The magic of tape by Teach Preschool

Being surrounded by woods, there is an endless supply of sticks so my students used the tape to wrap the sticks. None of my students asked me what they should do or what this was for or what they could make – they just jumped in and went to work wrapping their sticks…

The magic of tape by Teach Preschool

Some of my students still prefer to use a pair of scissors to cut the tape and others have gotten quite proficient at tearing the tape from the roll. The tape used here is a paper tape that I purchased from our local school supply store at the beginning of the school year. I will have to restock for next year…

The magic of tape by Teach Preschool

Some of my students wrapped four or five (or more) sticks to take home with them by the end of the week. I was given the scoop by one little girl that her sticks were actually “magic wands.” …

The magic of tape by Teach Preschool

So what benefit is wrapping tape around a stick? Well besides all the motor skills development involved (twisting, pinching, pulling, cutting) and the eye-hand coordination involved (getting the tape stuck where you want it to stick and keeping it going in the right direction) and the decision-making (choosing colors) and critical thinking (regulating how much tape to tear off the dispenser, calculating how much tape is needed to fully wrap a stick) and the concentration it takes to completely wrap a stick – the children are also exploring the freedom of creative expression and the use of their imagination. After all, a stick is not just a stick if you use your imagination!…

The magic of tape by Teach Preschool

So I thought I would look back through my archive of photos and put together this little collage of our tape dispenser in action. As the year progressed, my students learned to master the use of our tape and enjoyed the creative outlet that our colorful tape provided…

Using tape in preschool by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On…

Tape activities on Pinterest

Large Motor Fun with Tape Shapes by Teach Preschool

It’s not a stick by Teach Preschool on No Time for Flashcards

Bubble painting at the easel

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles.  We had bubbles going everywhere in our outdoor classroom and one of our bubble fun activities included bubble painting at the easel…

Bubble Painting by Teach Preschool

To set it up, add color (we used liquid watercolor) to your bubbles. Add a few bubble wands and you are ready to bubble paint…

Bubble Painting by Teach Preschool

To get us started on bubble painting, I bubble painted along with a few of my students so they would get the idea…

Bubble Painting by Teach Preschool

Sometimes, blowing bubbles can be challenging and when you are trying to aim for the paper on your easel, it can even be more challenging. We had to think about where to blow, how hard to blow, and even how fast to blow so the bubbles would come out and land on our paper…

Bubble Painting by Teach Preschool

If we would get lucky, a bubble would land on the paper and not pop. Then we could pop it with our fingers or the bubble wand…

Bubble Painting by Teach Preschool

The more time each child took to blow bubbles, the more colorful their paper was. Some of our children really stuck with the process and came back to try it several times while others decided that trying to get lots of bubbles on the paper was a bit too slow going  – especially since we had lots of other bubble activities going on around the room…

Bubble Painting by Teach Preschool

I know that I don’t count, but I actually really liked blowing the bubbles on the paper!

Bubble Painting by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On

Making Bubble Prints in the Classroom by Teach Preschool

B is for Bbbbbbb Bubble by Teach Preschool

Bubbles on Pinterest

By | May 30th, 2013|Categories: Painting|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

Colored water play in preschool

This is the type of activity that you would definitely set up for outdoor play but we were able to enjoy our colored water play in our outdoor classroom…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

At the colored water play station, the children found clear plastic cups, pipettes, and three clear jugs filled with colored water. We added red, blue, and yellow Sargent Art 22-6210 10-Count 4-Ounce Watercolor Magic to color the water…

The colored water was placed near our empty water table for the children to dump their excess water out as they went along and the process was left entirely open ended for the children to explore…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

At first the children wanted to fill their cups with one color all the way to the top so it took a little bit of trial and error for the children to realize that if they would only fill their cup part of the way and then go to the next water dispenser to fill their cups up the rest of the way, they could mix the different colors…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

As the children explored the different colors, they began to catch on to how they could make new colors. At first, the children wanted to use all three colors of water so we had lots of yellowish brown water…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

But later the children began to be more intentional in their water color mixing and produced different shades of green, orange, blue, and purple…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

The colored water play station stayed busy with children mixing colored water for about an hour. We had to refill the dispensers once and dump the excess water out of our water table along the way too.  I have to say that this process really gave the children the opportunity to explore color-mixing like no other opportunity I have ever provided…

but later the children began to be more intentional in their water color mixing and produced different shades of green, orange, and purple...

By the end of their time, the children were confidently choosing the color of water they wanted to make and knew exactly what colors to mix to get that color…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

The children also spent time working together to help each other. When the water level got low, one child would hold the cup while the other children would tip the dispenser to help get the water to come out…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

If you don’t want the children to mix the water in the dispensers, then keep the lids on. By the very end of our time, we took the lids off and the children mixed the water in the dispensers too so we no longer had pretty water to work with but another lesson learned by me and the kids!

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

Oh, and what happened as the children emptied their cups into the other water table, some of the children switched and played with the fish in the water table and some of the children chose to stay and continue mixing colors. One little girl made cup after cup of purple water to fill our empty fish aquarium with purple water…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

As I mentioned earlier, this is most likely a process you would want to take outdoors because water will get on the floor and the children will overflow their cups at times. It didn’t take long for our children to learn to manage the flow of the water in the dispensers but throughout the process, we had quite a few overflows…

Colored water play by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Handprint Color Mixing by Teach Preschool

Mixing Colored Water (Small Amounts) by Teach Preschool

Simple Idea for Mixing Paint Colors by Teach Preschool

 

By | May 27th, 2013|Categories: Science and Nature, Sensory Play|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Wonderful watermelons

The sweet smell along with the beautiful pink and green color makes a watermelon an especially inviting fruit to taste, create, and hold. We spent some time on our last day of preschool doing just that – exploring and creating watermelons…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

We began our short study of a watermelon by reading the book The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

This is a super silly book about what might happen if you swallow a watermelon seed. If you don’t mind a little burping, then you will think this book is quite funny. My kids thought it was super funny but it did raise the question as to whether or not you should swallow a watermelon seed. In the end, we decided that it probably wasn’t a good idea to swallow a watermelon seed but that if you do, the watermelon seed isn’t going to really grow inside you…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

After reading our story, we passed around a real watermelon and talked about its shape and weight…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

And then we cut our whole watermelon in half to see what it looked like inside and drew some pictures of watermelon on our white board…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

Then the children tasted some watermelon for snack time and made their own watermelons from paper napkins…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

To make their paper watermelons, the children started by drawing an outline of their watermelon shape with a pencil…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

Then the children brushed watered down glue on top of their drawings…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

And then begin tearing their pink and green napkins into small pieces and adding the pieces to the glue to fill in their drawings…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

The children found if they opened up their napkins before tearing that it would be much easier to tear the paper…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

Every paper watermelon turned out beautifully…

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

Wonderful Watermelons by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Simple watermelon sun catchers by Teach Preschool

Watermelon Exploration in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Watermelon Song and Painting by Teach Preschool

An octopus has eight legs and so do we!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we read two books about Octopuses and in our second book we learned that an octopus has eight legs or technically eight arms with suction cups (squids have tentacles)

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

After reading the book My Very Own Octopus by Bernard Most, we asked the children if they would like to have a pet octopus too! Most of our students did not wish to have a pet octopus but they did want to tell us about their pet dogs, turtles, or other pets they had…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

As we read the book, we discovered that because an octopus has eight legs, he can do lots of things that we can’t do with only two legs (or arms) like hold eight different things at the same time or shake your hand with eight different hands. But even with all the cool things a pet octopus might be able to do, our students still preferred having a pet dog or turtle…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

But when I told the children that they actually can have eight legs, they told me that this could not be possible. The children were certain that they could only have two legs so I set out to prove to them that they could indeed have eight legs…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

We started by selecting four children to sit back to back on the floor and counted how many legs we now had in all. Then the children were invited to stand up, hook arms and try walking with all eight of their legs…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

Have you ever tried walking with eight legs? This is not an easy task! It requires some coordination, cooperation, and lots of giggles along the way…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

And who decides which way you are going to go when you have four heads to work with too?

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

Now that we knew we could have eight legs like an octopus, the children took a few minutes to count out eight legs for our felt board octopuses and then they were off to go and explore in our centers…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

O is for Octopus by Teach Preschool

Simple Spiders (that look like an octopus) by Teach Preschool

Jellyfish in a Bottle by Boohm’s play blog

Hanging out with an octopus

As I mentioned before, we have been exploring a broad range of under the sea and water type activities and one of our mornings was spent exploring and making the popular sea creature called an octopus!

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

We had two books selected for our study of an octopus but the one the children spent the most time wanting to discuss was “An Octopus is Amazing” by Patricia Lauber.  Mrs. Courtney and I hadn’t planned on actually reading this book to the children but rather take a picture walk to talk about different types of octopuses (or octopi).

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

However, the children (Our Prek Class) asked so many questions as Mrs. Courtney walk them through the illustrations of the book that she pretty much ended up reading the entire book after all…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Some of the facts that were in the book were hard for the children to believe. Like they could not wrap their mind around the fact that octopuses start off as tiny as a flea and that some never grow larger than one to two feet long…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

The children also learned that octopuses have suction cups on their legs they can use to grab hold of things similar to how we use a suction cup to hold up our pictures on the windows. Our book told us that in one study, an octopus is so smart that he used his suction cup to open a jar to get to the crab that was inside the jar. So we tried opening a jar too using a suction cup…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

It always so much fun when one book can lead to so much discussion and discovery. As part of our morning discussion on octopuses, the children made a paper octopus that they could take home at the end of the day…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

The children cut eight legs (seven lines) on their paper stopping right in the middle of their paper. This process was very much a process about following directions and cutting on the lines but my prek students were loving the process from beginning to end…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Then the children added dots to each of the eight legs to represent the suckers we had talked about in our book…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Once the children added as many suckers as they liked to each of the eight legs, the children added a face to their octopus..

 add a string, and whew - the octopus was finished...

Some even ended up with whiskers…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Then the children curled up each of the eight legs…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Stapled the octopus body closed…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Punched two holes, added a string, and whew – the octopus was finished…

Hanging out with an octopus by Teach Preschool

Some of the children preferred to put their completed octopuses in their cubbies and some of them chose to hang them in the window for the morning. But everyone took them home at the end of the day…

 add a string, and whew - the octopus was finished...

And what do you think happened after all the time making an octopus?  Well most of the kids went off to play in one of our other centers but this little guy went off to the art center and made another octopus all by himself…

 add a string, and whew - the octopus was finished...

Available on Amazon

By | May 23rd, 2013|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

Making simple boats that float

We have been exploring a broad range of under-the-sea type things from sea animals to water to boats that float in the water. For our exploration in boats, we read the book Little Tug by Steven Savage and then the children were invited to make two different types of boats…

Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

Little Tug is a simple book with fun illustrations about the smallest boat in the water and all the ways Little Tug helps the big boats…

Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

It is a great book for promoting discussion on the different kinds of boats illustrated throughout the book…

 It is a great book for promoting discussion on the different kinds of boats illustrated throughout the book...

To extend our reading of Little Tug the children were invited to make their own boats using two different types of materials. At one table, the children found pieces of Styrofoam, scissors, markers, and toothpicks…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

At the other boat making station, the children found wine corks (purchased by the bag full), rubber bands, craft foam, and toothpicks…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

The children went right to work making their boats. The Styrofoam boats were the easiest because the children only needed to decorate the foam sheets, add a Styrofoam sail with a toothpick, and they were ready to go…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

The wine cork boats were a little more challenging but only because the children had to wrap the corks with a rubber band to keep them in place then poke a toothpick through the craft foam to stand up on their boat…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

As the children made each type of boat, they were invited to take them over to our lake and give them a spin…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

To invite pretend play with the boats, we set small animals all around the lake that the children could put on their boats. The children decided to add some of our larger animals to the mix and soon found out that the big animals would fall off or sink their boats…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

We had lots and lots of boat making and floating and pretend play going on all throughout the morning…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

Since our cork boats wouldn’t hold the animals, the children preferred just to put those boats in their cubbies to take home and only play with the Styrofoam boats.  Some children, however, did try a little experimenting with both types of boats though…

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

This was a super fun day of exploring water, boats, floating, sinking, balance, wind, air, and sails. And talk about pretend play – the children took these animals on so many boat rides that I am quite sure most of the animals ended up a little sea-sick!

 Making boats that float by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Exploring Sink or Float in Preschool

Ice Boats from Learning 4 Kids

Sink or Swim from Happy Whimsical Hearts

Sailing across the deep blue sea

If I had more time and the forethought, I would try to have some sort of prop for every book we read in our classroom. Sometimes a simple prop can invite the most dynamic story telling and dramatic play…

Sailing across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

We recently read the simple book Pirate Boy by Eve Bunting. This book is about a little boy who questions what lengths his mommy would go through to rescue him from a band of imaginary pirates…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

This is such a sweet book with the primary focus on a mother’s love for her child being demonstrated through a fun and engaging adventure at sea…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

I knew when I got this book that I needed to make sure that I had a way for my students to retell this story or at the very least, build on the illustrations of the story. I needed a few props…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

I gathered two boxes and decorated (and reinforced) them around the edges with duct tape…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

And I also purchased two “steering wheels” which are really wagon wheels found at Garden Ridge but look incredibly like the wheel on the pirate’s ship in our book. My students were certain it was a real steering wheel from a real ship…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

You might be thinking “Wow that is a big investment for one story prop!” and you would be right if I didn’t have any other plans for my wooden wheels but I have big plans for those wheels. I will put those plans into action as soon as I can get my hubby’s help…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

In the mean time, our students spent the entire morning exploring our deep blue sea in their ships along with the wooden wheels, treasure boxes, some gems and anything else the children decided to add along the way…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

Of course, not every story telling prop or dramatic play prop needs to be extravagant to invite play but sometimes, there are those special items that I just can’t resist…

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Sink or Float with Nature by Teach Preschool

Everyday Dramatic Play by Teach Preschool

Promoting Communication Skills by Teach Preschool

Ready for Kindergarten

For parents, caregivers, and teachers, there is always that big question when a child is getting into the final years of his preschool experience.

Will my child be ready for Kindergarten?

Ready for Kindergarten by Deborah J. Stewart is a book that is designed to give you the tools and insight you need to help your child prepare for kindergarten. Ready for Kindergarten offers simple to follow guidance and tips on where to focus your energy, how to support the learning that naturally takes place, and how to make the most of your child’s pre-kindergarten year.

Inside the pages of this book you will discover…

  • The importance of Building Strength from Fingers to Toes and helpful tips making sure your child is developing the large motor and fine motor strength and control needed to be ready for kindergarten.
  • How to foster your child’s Confidence as You Go so that your child will enter kindergarten feeling secure in his ability to learn and make friends and be a good decision-maker along the way.
  • And finally, you will be guided through the things your child should know in the core content areas of academic learning and how to help your child master skills through natural, everyday, play experiences.

Did you know that your child needs to be “Back Pack Savvy?” As you read along, Ready for Kindergarten will give you the inside scoop on how to help your child be back pack savvy as well as other easy to overlook skills for helping your child prepare for kindergarten success!

Ready For Kindergarten by Deborah J. Stewart : Available on Amazon Now

 

Who will benefit from Ready for Kindergarten?

Parents of preschool and prekindergarten age children will find this book insightful and helpful whether it is to promote learning at home or to support and understand the types of learning taking place in the preschool or prekindergarten classroom.

Preschool and Prekindergarten Age Teachers will find this book to be a wonderful resource not only for themselves but to give as a gift for their parents or to add as a parent resource in the classroom.

Grandparents of preschool and prekindergarten age children will find this book to be a terrific gift to share with their grown children and as a valued resource for catching up on the current trends in kindergarten readiness.

Administrators of  Child Care Programs and Preschools will find this book to come in handy the next time a parent is asking that question “What else can I be doing to help my child prepare for kindergarten?”

Nannies and other Childcare Givers are often asked to provide additional support for helping young children prepare for kindergarten and this book will give new insight and tools to meet that call for action.

A sneak peak from inside the pages of Ready for Kindergarten

Here is a sneak peak at how this book is organized to help you in the process of helping your child get ready for kindergarten…

Ready for Kindergarten is  divided up into easy to find topics so that you can go back to any topic as needed. Along with each topic, you will find the following sections…

What Your Child Should Know: In this section, you will be given an overview of the developmental skills your child should have a good grasp of before heading off to kindergarten.

How You Can Help: In this section, I’ll give you tips and suggestions on how you can help your child master the developmental skills.

Review, Revise, Revisit: In this section, we’ll discuss simple ways you can figure out how your child is doing. As you review your child’s progress, you will want to revise your plans and activities to fit your child’s interests and abilities. Then revisit the activities to give your child additional opportunities to build new knowledge and to develop new skills.

 Ready for Kindergarten is available on Amazon for preorders at a special price!

Click on the book below to learn more about how to get your copy of my new book from Amazon.

A brand new book with a brand new look at getting ready for kindergarten! Preorder your copy today!

Ready for Kindergarten will be made available to the public in August!

Deborah

DIY fingerprint paint pads and bugs

I love all the different bugs, animals, people, and other designs you can make through the use of fingerprint art and recently, I found a way to make the fingerprint painting process a better experience for the children by making my own DIY fingerprint paint pads…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads

I have tried different kinds of painting pads for printing and even washable ink stamp pads for printing but trying to add just the right amount of paint to my paint pads or keeping the colors of my ink stamp pads from getting all mixed up and mucky has been a challenge…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

So I tried a new type of paint pad. I picked up a few packages of “Handy Shammy” from the Dollar Tree…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

Cut a shammy into smaller pieces then get them wet and wring out the water. Next add a small puddle of paint on top of each piece of shammy and rub it in with your finger or a paint brush. I just used my finger…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

And now you have a paint pad that absorbs the paint just a bit but keeps the paint usable for print making. If the paint on the shammy starts to get all used up, just add a little more and rub it in again. We didn’t have to add more paint but it would have been no problem to do so…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

We used our paint pads for two different projects in preparation for our Mother’s Day Tea party including making place cards for our tables…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

And for decorating our gift bags for our parent gifts. Because the paint doesn’t go onto the paper too thick, the children could go ahead and add their legs or faces or other features to their fingerprints without having to wait for the paint to dry…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

When finished, the pieces of shammy can be rinsed out and set aside to dry for use again or just tossed in the trash if you are in a place where you need a quick paint pad but don’t want to save them when you are done. And mixing the colors on the shammy paint pads can be part of the fun without having to worry about having mucky colors or ruining your expensive ink stamp pads…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

Oh, and we supplied small pieces of damp paper towels for those who preferred to wipe their fingers off between colors but not every child was all that worried about it…

DIY Fingerprint Paint Pads by Teach Preschool

By the way, I have only tried this with the Shammy from the Dollar Tree so it may work differently depending on the kind of shammy you would buy and I haven’t tried adding paint to a dry shammy – only a wet one.

Available on Amazon

By | May 19th, 2013|Categories: DIY, Painting|Tags: , , , , , , |11 Comments