Fun with some bugs!

One thing my three year old grandson is completely enthralled with is bugs. What do you do if you have a kid who loves bugs? You find a book about some bugs and spend lots of time playing with pretend bugs and looking for real bugs too!

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

You can’t take my grandson anywhere and expect him to walk faster than a snail because he is always looking for bugs and stopping to point them out. I can’t remember the last summer where I spent so much time looking at bugs!…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

We have found ant hills in the grass, Pill Bugs (roly poly) in the driveway, butterflies fluttering everywhere, and spiders in the windows of our detached garage…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

And on one afternoon, a caterpillar literally dropped out of the sky (one of the trees) and landed in my lap…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

I let my grandson keep the caterpillar in a jar over night so we could learn a little bit about it…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

Then the next day, we found a tree and let the caterpillar go…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

The caterpillar crawled way up high until we couldn’t see it any more…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

With so much attention on bugs, I searched for a fun children’s book to add to my classroom and found the book titled, “Some Bugs” by Angela DiTerlizzi. “Some Bugs” is filled with wonderful illustrations and simple text of all kinds of bugs, many of which we recognized from all of our recent bug hunts. I also set out some of my DIY lid bugs for play…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

It didn’t take long before my grandson spotted the new bug book and we sat down together to read it…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

And just like he does when we are walking outside, he stopped and pointed at almost every bug in the book…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

The book is filled with LOTS of descriptive vocabulary commonly associated with the way a bug moves or looks or sounds such as “crawl, flutter, buzz” and so on…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, my grandson spent a little time over at the water tub dishing up a few bugs for play…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

There are many ways I will be able to build on his interest of bugs over the summer and I find it lots of fun to find new books and interesting bugs to explore with along the way…

Fun with some bugs by Teach Preschool

You can read more about the DIY bugs I made by clicking here –> DIY Bugs on the Sticky Table!

Available on Amazon

By | June 12th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Let’s go on an up walk

Yesterday, I shared with you how we built “up” and today I would like to share with you how we took our class on an “up” walk…

Lets go on an up walk by Teach Preschool

Mr. Hayden read the book “Stuck,” by Oliver Jeffers.  If you’ve not read this book, I would highly recommend it!  The story begins when a little boy named Floyd gets his kite stuck in a tree…

Let's go on an up walk by Teach Preschool

In an attempt to get his kite unstuck, Floyd takes off his shoe and throws it into the tree…

Let's go on an up walk by Teach Preschool

Yep, you guessed it!  The shoe got stuck too!  Floyd then continues throwing one thing after another into the tree in an attempt to get the previous items “unstuck.”  The silliness of this book captivated the children, so much so that they all crowded around Mr. Hayden, anxious to see what Floyd would throw into the tree yet again…

Let's go on an up walk by Teach Preschool

After reading “Stuck,” Mr. Hayden invited the children to go on an “up” walk to see if they could find something that was “stuck” in the trees.  So we all gathered up our coats and hats and went outside to enjoy the unusually warm day…

Let's go for an up walk by Teach Preschool

When we got outside of the classroom, we immediately looked up.  Since there aren’t any trees around our driveway, there wasn’t much to see except for the sky on this beautiful day.  So we began our trek down the hill and through the outdoor classroom until we reached the woods…

Let's go for an up walk by Teach Preschool

Every few minutes or so, the children would stop walking and Mr. Hayden would invite them to look up and tell us what they saw…

Let's go on an up walk by Teach Preschool

The children told us that they saw clouds, a few birds, and lots of bare trees.  And in those bare trees, we did something that was stuck!  Birds nests were stuck high up in those trees!  But don’t worry, none of the children threw their shoes up into the trees to try to get it “unstuck.”

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By | April 10th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Building up the word “up!”

We recently spent a whole day exploring the concept of up.  It really was a “Great Day for Up…”

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

We started our day by reading Dr. Seuss’ “Great Day for Up.”  Like most Dr. Seuss stories, this book is filled with wonderful rhyming phrases.  The book moves quickly and is all about things that can go “up…”

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, we had a short discussion about things that can go up.  We looked back in our book for some clues from the pictures.  The children mentioned that birds, airplanes, and kites are all things that can go up.  Then we moved on to our Scholastic My Big World Magazine to explore more things that can go up…

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

Inside our My Big World magazines, the children did indeed find more things that can go “up” in the spring time.  They found butterflies, flower blossoms in trees, and raindrops that fall from the sky…

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

After discussing so many things that are “up,” I challenged the children to build something that goes “up…”

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

At one of our tables, the children found baskets filled with blocks for stacking on trays and dice.  The object of this game was for the children to roll the dice, then try to build “up” a tower with then number of blocks shown on the dice…

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

This was such a simple game to set up and it kept the children busy off and on all morning!  The children stacked the blocks as high as they could until the blocks came tumbling down…

Building up with the word up by Teach Preschool

The children would roll their dice again begin building up once more.  When the blocks fall onto their trays, the children would laugh hysterically, and then stack them up again until the baskets of blocks were completely empty…

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

Stacking blocks takes a great deal of focus and a steady hand.  It is a challenging, yet engaging, activity for busy preschoolers who are always on the move…

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

The children beamed with pride and accomplishment as they called Mr. Hayden and I over to see how tall they could build up.  So many things can go “up,” but just talking about them isn’t quite as meaningful as being able to build something that goes “up…”

Building up the word up by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | April 9th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , |0 Comments

Exploring the inside of our outside

Yesterday, I shared with you how we made our own x-rays and today I want to share with you a few other ways we explored our bones and x-rays. I was a little concerned when we started exploring x-rays, bones and our bodies that it would be hard to come up with things that the children would really understand and enjoy but instead this study has been a very interesting and fun study for my pre-k class…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

To further introduce bones, x-rays and our bodies to the children, I read them the Dr. Seuss book, “Inside Your Outside.” This book is kind of long but my prekindergarten age students were glued to every single page from beginning to end…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

As we read the book, we stopped to take special note of the skeletons illustrated throughout any page in the book that might show up…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, the children were off to spend a little time creating their own bones.  At one of our tables the children used play dough to design a skeleton for our paper model…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

Using the pictures of skeletons we had out on the table and in our book, the children began adding bones to our little guy on the table…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

As the children formed up different bones, they began adding them to the paper model on the table…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

Throughout the process, we discovered that some of the bones in our bodies are made up of different shapes and sizes and many pieces to help us be able to bend and move. After all, if our bones were just one long piece, we wouldn’t be able to use our legs to run or jump or our hands to pick things up and write…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

All throughout the morning, the children continued to stop by and add more bones to our paper model. Along the way, we discussed the names of some of those bones…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And in the meantime at another table, the children also worked on creating x-ray drawings with chalk and black paper…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

All throughout the classroom, the children were busy making their own x-rays, bones, and exploring our bodies…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And documenting their discoveries…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And then coming back to our paper model to continue adding new bones…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

And once again, my students amazed me with their ability to work together, create, and accomplish great things…

Exploring the inside of our outside by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Polka dot painted fish

We recently spent time exploring “under the sea” and the children created one of our old favorite paper plate activities – the polka dot painted fish…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

We started out our morning reading Blue Sea by Robert Kalan.  We’ve written about this book a few other times and shared some really great art ideas related to it.  It is such a simple book with bright, vivid colors and pictures that it really inspires so many activities around the classroom!  Blue Sea is also a great book for introducing or reviewing comparative words  like big, bigger, and biggest…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

After listening to our story, the children went off to the centers.  At the art table, they found paper plates, assorted colors of paint, and paint dabbers.  There were also scissors, glue, and googly eyes…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

Before getting started, Deborah showed the children how they could use the scissors to cut a triangle shape out of their paper plate.  When stapled to one side of the paper plate, the triangle wedge would become the tail and the missing piece would be the fish’s mouth. The children thought that simple detail was pretty cool so they were excited to go off and cut out their own fish mouth and tail…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

I think the best part of this process was watching the kids cut out their own fish mouth/tail.  Every child’s effort to cut out the mouth/tail turned out differently. You may be thinking that this is a “cookie cutter art project” and perhaps in many ways it is but there was a lot of process behind this craft that interested our students starting with the cutting process and moving on to explore the paint dabbers…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

The paint dabbers had been set out on the easel the day before, but just a few children had the chance to use them.  So we set them out again with our paper plates to decorate our fish…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

Some children chose to dab the sponges on their fish to make polka dots.  Other children chose to smoosh the dabbers onto their paper, dragging it around to spread the brightly colored paint.  Whichever technique the children chose to use, each child’s fish turned out terrific…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

Some of the children chose to add their googly eyes right away, while others chose to add them after they had finished painting their fish…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

When they were finished, we had the cutest polka dot painted fish with some of the best tails and mouths ever.  One mom said her daughter was so proud of her fish and played with it all afternoon…

Polka dot painted fish by Teach Preschool

Links to grow on:

Ff is for Fish

Fish in the Water

Foil Fish in Preschool 

Available on Amazon

By | March 31st, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Storytelling on the easel

This week we have been exploring waves in the ocean through our literature, art, water play, and other experiences in our prekindergarten classroom….

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

If you are ready to take your students on a picture book walk, then I highly recommend the picture book “Wave” by Suzy Lee. “Wave” is a book with no words so when Mr. Hayden sat down to read it with our class, he invited the children to look closely at each page of the book and tell the story in their own words…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

The book begins with a picture of a little girl looking out over the ocean watching the waves come in and out from the shore. As Mr. Hayden opened each new page, our students began discussing what they saw happening on the page.  It was interesting because our girls tended to assume the role of the little girl in the book and told the story from her perspective; “I am running away from the waves!” or “I am mad at the waves!” or “Now I am playing in the waves!”….

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

At the end of our story, the little girl in the book gets soaked when a huge wave comes and lands right over the top of her…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

You will notice that through out the story, the pictures are illustrated in two distinct different colors. The waves are illustrated through different shades of blue and white while the little girl, the seagulls, and anything else on the beach is illustrated through different shades of black (pencil or charcoal type drawings)…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

After the children went on their picture walk with Mr. Hayden and told their own story of each page of the book, Mr. Hayden invited the children to notice how the book was illustrated in this unique way.  Then we invited the children to explore the story again by creating their own picture on the easel with different shades of blue paint and a pencil…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

And this is where my story begins. You see, when I planned for this activity, I was imagining the children simply painting and drawing wavy lines.  But the story had a much bigger impression on the children than I had anticipated. The children started by drawing their own scene with the pencil…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

The scene on the easel was similar to the illustrations in the book. The children used the pencil to draw a person and any other detail they wished to add…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

And then the children began to add waves with the different shades of blue paint…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

The children swished their brush up and down and around towards the person they drew because that is what the wave in the book did…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

As this little girl painted, I could hear her saying things like, “Look Out! Here comes the wave!” and then the ‘water’ would swoosh right over her drawings…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

As she told her story at the easel, her characters began to disappear under the large waves until all the drawings were completely ‘under the shades of blue water’…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

If it wasn’t for having listened as the children painted or having these photos taken as the children painted, then it would be easy to walk by the easel at the end of each child’s turn and think  to yourself, “Wow, another blue blob!”…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

Each child told a story that ended with a large blue blob in the center of their paper but underneath that large blue blob was a story of a mommy or a child enjoying a conversation or a dance or fight with a wave that grew bigger and bigger until everyone got all wet…

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

So when that big blue blob of paint comes home to mom and dad, they will know (or be told by me) that this was a story and not a painting and perhaps their child will be ready to tell them the story too!

Storytelling on the easel by Teach Preschool

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All pumped up for water play and moose track soap

If you want to keep a group or even one child engaged in an activity then pull out the water table or water tub and get ready to get all pumped up for water play…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

Before telling you about this water play experience, let me first share with you why we chose this water play experience.  The connection is important to my story. Over the past few weeks, my students have developed a huge interest in all the animal tracks they keep seeing out in the snow…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

The children’s interests in the animal tracks gave me the perfect opportunity to read them the story “Moose Tracks” by Karma Wilson. This book is a wonderfully illustrated book about animal tracks left all over the bed, walls, tables, and more inside someone’s house but the “story teller” doesn’t know who left the tracks. The end of the book does reveal who left the tracks which happens to be a moose.  Also at the very end of this book, there is a picture of a bottle of soap that says “Moose Track Soap” on it for cleaning up all those tracks left by the Moose…

Moose Track Soap and Waterplay by Teach Preschool

After reading the book, I asked the children if they would like to make moose track soap and of course they all said “yes!”  You should know that we didn’t get right on it. I still had to gather up some empty soap dispensers and then bring them in on another day.  I had been saving the soap dispensers from home and in the classroom for a few months but finally just bought a few empty soap dispensers. About a week later, one of my students began asking when they were going to get to make “Moose Track Soap” and since I now had enough dispensers for all the children to join in we were ready to get started…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

To make moose track soap you will want to not make the same mistakes I did so be sure to make note…

  1. Pour a good squeeze of liquid soap (can be almost any kind but we used dawn dish soap) into the bottom of your empty soap dispenser.
  2. Add a small amount of water (not a lot of water).
  3. Add liquid food color to make the water different colors.
  4. Now shake the bottle really good so you get lots of soapy foam.
  5. Set the foam filled bottle out for the children to pump away.

The reason you don’t want to add a lot of water (like you see I did in some of these photos) is because the children will pump through the water super fast and you will have to keep refilling the bottles.  If you add only a little bit of water and then encourage the children to keep shaking the solution before and during play, it will keep it sudsy in the bottle and the children will be able to pump out lots of foam which will make one bottle of moose track soap last much longer and the colorful soap foam is fun to see and explore…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

My prek kids were certainly capable of making their own moose track soap mixture once we figured out the best approach but even if too much water was added, that’s why we used the water tub for pumping out the soap…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

So now that you have the scoop on how to make “moose track soap” keep in mind that this experience doesn’t have to go with the book. The experience of pumping soap through a soap dispenser was like magic to my students. They stayed with this process for a very long time and loved it…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

And after preschool, my two year old (almost three now) grandson came to the classroom and spent a long time exploring the pump soap dispensers too…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

Pumping the soap out into the water tub gave the children an incredible work out for their arm, wrist, and hand strength…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

The children had to work on keeping the bottles from slipping in the water tub as they pumped out the soap which led to quite a bit of concentration, self-correcting, balancing, and focusing the movement of their bodies and arms and hands.  All of which are important life long skills for developing strength for writing as well as using a soap dispenser when it time to wash hands…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

And of course, there was also the component of color and color mixing as well as a little bit of soapy science as the children realized that making lots of soapy bubbles required shaking the water and soap mixture rather than adding more water…

All Pumped up for Water Play by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Rainbow Fluff from My Buddies and I

Rainbow Foam Sensory Play from Fun at Home with Kids

 

What can you find in a people house? Exploring with Dr. Seuss

We started our day with the question, “What can you find in a people house?”  To answer our question, we read the Dr. Seuss book “In a People House” and then spent the morning exploring things you can find and do in a people house all around the classroom…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

One thing we hoped to never come home and find in our people house is a mouse and bird taking a tour. In this Dr. Seuss book, a mouse and bird do get caught taking a tour of a people house and by the end of the book, they get kicked right out of that house…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

As I read the book aloud, the children chimed in to say whether they had the same things described in the book in their own houses. After reading the book, we passed few things I had brought from my own house around the circle…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

Most of the things we passed around the circle could also be found in our book like a pillow, mirror, comb, brush, banana, salt and pepper shakers, hammer, toothbrush, telephone, dishes, clock, hammer, and even a lamp…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

Most of the items (not all) that were passed around our circle were also made available for the children to take their time to explore through out the morning on our discovery table…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

The children discovered that dishes can be found in a people house as they washed dishes left out in our dishwater tub…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

All throughout the morning, the children continued to explore the things they can find in a people house…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

Although there was a telephone similar to this one in our book, most of the children agreed that they don’t have a telephone that looks like this in their people house but they do have a phone…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

Some of the children spent time drawing what they can find in a people house…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

Connecting literature to the things we do and the things we see around the classroom helps us bring the words of a book into action and promotes the opportunity to act out, explore, draw, tell stories, and enjoy the ideas shared in our book all throughout the morning…

In a People House shared by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

See our collection of Dr. Seuss Ideas on Pinterest!

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss!

Read Across America Day with Dr. Seuss!

By | March 1st, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment

Cotton ball clouds

We recently spent a few days exploring different types of weather.  We also focused a great deal on raindrops and clouds.  This simple activity that I would like to share with you today sparked some great use of vocabulary and imagination…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

To begin our discussion on clouds, we read the book “It Looked Like Spilt Milk” by Charles Shaw…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

This is a classic picture book that perhaps many of you have used in your own classrooms before.  The narrator describes the different things he sometimes sees when he looks at the clouds, like rabbits and birds.  The children guessed long before the end of the book that each of the illustrations were clouds but the author waits until the last page to reveal that these were indeed all clouds…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

The reason I love this book so much is that there are so many different directions you could go with this book.  Today I’m going to share a little game we played and then an art activity to go along with it…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

Deborah began our circletime game by taking out the large felt board.  On it, she placed puffy shapes that she had cut out of white felt.  Deborah pointed to a shape and then asked the children what they thought the shape looked like.  They all shouted out their answers at the same time…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

There were no rules or right or wrong answers in this game.  The children were simply free to use their imaginations.  After our short felt board game, Deborah passed cotton balls around the circle.  Each child took one and held on to it as Deborah showed them how to pull and stretch it to make a fluffy cotton ball cloud…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

After the demonstration, the children took their cotton balls and went to the art table.  There they found black paper and glue.  We challenged the children to create a new picture or shape out of their cotton balls…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

Once they had a nice puddle of glue on their paper, the children worked and stretched their cotton balls into a fluffy cloud.  Then they placed them on their paper and manipulated them into the shape that they desired…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

When all of the children were finished, those that wished to share showed their clouds to the class…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

Again, we all shouted out our guesses as to what we thought those clouds might be.  Some were monsters, blobs, caterpillars, and circles…

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

Cotton ball clouds by Teach Preschool

But more than anything, I think these fluffy little cotton ball clouds were a wonderful way for children to use their imaginations…

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Clouds in Jars and On the Table Top Too!

Exploring Raindrops and Clouds in Preschool

Disappearing Clouds

By | March 1st, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , , |0 Comments

Exploring space with Dr. Seuss

In celebration of Dr. Seuss week, our Pre-Kindergarten class enjoyed the book “There’s No Place like Space” as well as a few space related activities we had set up to explore around the classroom…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

“There’s No Place Like Space” by Tish Rabe is a simple book that explores the solar system in the usual whimsical style of Dr. Seuss. The Cat in the Hat leads the way through space highlighting the planets, sun, moon, and stars as well as other basic concepts my prekindergarten age students found fun and interesting to discuss…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

At the end of the book is a terrific glossary of terms that Mr. Hayden used to spark more conversation with the children about space. It always amazes me how much my students already know about these kinds of topics…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

After reading the book, Mr. Hayden invited the children to play a simple game to review the names of each planet by listening to the sound of the first letter of each planet then seeing if they might have the name of that planet in their hand. Our students easily recognized the sound of the first letter of each planet as we have been exploring those sounds all throughout the year…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

After our game, the children were off to explore the space centers set up around the classroom including creating their own puffy paint universe…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

To make our puffy paint, we simply mixed together approximately one tablespoon of glue with one half cup of shave cream then added a good squeeze of liquid tempera paint to make the glue and shave cream mixtures bright colors for the children to work with…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

The children began their universe by drawing circles or stars on their cardboard canvases. Then the children used a spoon to add color and texture to each of their planets or stars…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

Once the children completed their universe, they gave each of their planets a name. Some of the children chose to give their planets names based on the real planets they learned about in our book while other planets were named after friends or were inspired by the color or shapes of the planets they had made…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

Every universe was uniquely designed and one of the best parts of this experience was listening to the children’s conversations they had with each other about the planets along the way…

Exploring Space with Dr. Seuss from Teach Preschool

The puffy paint needs to dry overnight and after it is dry, it feels kind of like plastic. Puffy paint is one of our favorite mediums to create with.

Available on Amazon

By | February 26th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books|Tags: , , , , |1 Comment