Let’s explore colorful glue in preschool!

Our preschool age students (ages three and four) have spent their first two weeks in preschool exploring the different tools they can and will continue to use in preschool. A tool they used this week was the ever popular squeeze bottle filled with colorful glue…

Exploring colorful glue in preschool

You can’t go into this process with the mindset that the children are going to lightly squeeze a few lines and dots of glue and then go off on their happy little way to do something else. No, this is a process that the children are seriously invested in…

Exploring colorful glue in preschool

They will start off with a few squiggles of lines here and there and then realize that they can make puddles too…

Exploring colorful glue in preschool

The children will stick with this process for a long time. They work their fine motor muscles, they focus, they trade colors, they make lines, dots, puddles, and just keep at it…

Exploring colorful glue in preschool

We could turn this process into a lesson on regulating glue but for today, the focus was on exploring. You see, before we can begin the process of building self-regulation skills, we first need to give the children opportunity to explore so that they can fulfill their intrinsic need for making puddles. As the children explore, we can use the words “dots, lines, blob, less, more, puddles, circles,” and the list goes on…

Exploring colorful glue in preschool

The children are using a cardboard canvas for their colorful glue designs and it will take a few days for their puddles designs to dry…

Exploring colorful glue in preschool

Each new school year comes a new group of students who sit down to explore the process of squeezing out colorful glue. Yet within just a few weeks, the children quickly begin to understand that they need to regulate their use of glue for the various kinds of gluing processes we offer. Young children are so capable and quick to figure it all out.

Exploring colorful glue in preschool

Links to Grow On

Squeezable and Colorful Waterplay

Designing with DIY Colorful Glue in Preschool

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Read and then press here!

The children’s book “Press Here” by Herve’ Tullet is always a favorite in our classroom and I love it because there are just so many ways we can expand the book all throughout the classroom…

Reach and then Press Here!

“Press Here” by Herve’ Tullet is an interactive picture book about dots. The children are invited to interact with each page of the book by either pressing a dot, blowing on a set of dots, or some other type action. As the children take a new action and turn the page, something happens to the dots. It’s a very cool read-aloud experience…

Read and then press here!

There are so many different ways one can expand on this book throughout the classroom so we explored lots of different processes including making dots of clay…

Read and then press here!

To make our dots of clay, the children first had to practice the skill of rolling up a square of clay between their two hands to form a small ball. Making small balls of clay is no easy task for young children but soon they figure out the right amount of pressure, rolling, and shaping to make their balls of clay…

Read and then press here!

After all the rolling, the ball of clay is then placed on top of their yellow dot (like the dot in our book) and the children then pressed down on their ball to make a clay dot…

Read and then press here!

The clay I brought in for the children to use was purchased at Hobby Lobby and is a very soft moldable clay for kids that comes in small rectangles of bright colors. I cut the clay into squares in advance so the children could keep their focus on making the small clay balls for today…

Read and then press here!

Our press here boards are laminated so the clay wouldn’t permanently stick to the boards. My goal was to let their clay dots dry out so we could use the dots for other games later. Well, the dots never did dry up…

Read and then press here!

I couldn’t figure out how to fix that either so eventually, the children just played with the clay again and mixed it all up together. Oh well, we still enjoyed the process of creating with clay and talking more about one of our favorite class books!

I couldn't figure out how to fix that either so eventually, the children just played with the clay again and mixed it all up together. Oh well, we still enjoyed the process of creating with clay and talking more about one of our favorite class books!

Links to Grow On…

Let your students press here! by Teach Preschool

Interactive Books for Children by Pre-K Pages

Press Here Movement Game by Home Grown Friends

Magnetic Sensory Bottle by  Preschool Inspirations

Tracing letters, numbers, and shapes on the flannel board

There are so many creative and fun ways to introduce tracing letters, shapes, and numbers around the classroom without ever setting out a worksheet. Where I can find alternative, hands-on ways for my students to practice skills, such as tracing, I get all excited and run with it…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

This idea may look very simple, and it is, but it has been one of the best tools for giving my students a little practice in tracing letters or shapes (we haven’t tried it with numbers yet) in my classroom…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

For shape tracing we use our large DIY flannel board so I can talk with the group about the shape. For tracing letters, we use our  small flannel board (we call them lap boards) for tracing…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

To prepare, I simply create my own dot-to-dot or dotted-lined letter by sticking small pieces of colored masking tape to my flannel board. I never leave the tape on longer than a few days so it doesn’t leave a sticky residue and I only use an easy-to-remove tape like masking or painters tape…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

This process lends itself to making upper or lowercase letters anytime you want. It is easy to switch up anytime too. I’ve been focusing more on the uppercase with this process since I have other processes that focus on lowercase around the classroom…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

We don’t spend a lengthy amount of time on this process. For us, it is a quick part of our morning routine that takes just a few minutes. While my weather person is drawing the weather, my students pass the board around the circle and trace it with a finger…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

The board can be left out during the day for more tracing and one could add a variety of tools for tracing like a pencil with no led, a straw, or other tool that a child can hold. So far, we just use our finger to give the children the idea of tracing a shape along with a little practice in the skills of tracing…

TTracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

I also invite the children to say the name of the letter or make the sound of the letter but still remain very casual about the process. The children talk with each other or with me as the tracing board makes its way around the circle…

Tracing on the Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On

DIY Make Your Own Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

10 Fun Ways to Use a Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

Felt Fun Ideas on Pinterest!

Large motor play for preschoolers

Getting large motor skills moving in the classroom is a very important aspect of developmental growth. Throughout the school year, you need to make sure you are investing time in planning activities that promote various types of large motor skills…

Large motor skills in the preschool classroom by Teach Preschool

What kind of large motor activities are there?

Circle games

Ring-around-the-rosie or duck-duck-goose are two examples of simple activities that get children moving, running, jumping, sitting, and standing…

Large Motor Skills for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Relay races

Relays can be simple and fun and they really do not need to be a race as much as an activity that encourages different kinds of moving. Roll the ball relay – the teacher rolls the ball to the first child in line, the child picks up the ball and runs it back across the room to the teacher then sit’s down behind the teacher. Now the next child in line goes.

Bringing the ball back to the teacher

Relay races don’t have to make sense, just get children moving from one place to the next and relays can be done with any type of object.  Take, for instance, this stack the box relay

Stack the Box Relay Race by Teach Preschool

Pushing and Pulling

Invite large motor play by providing things your students can push and pull…

Large Motor Skills for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Balance

Create opportunities for children to explore balance. Young children are still building their sense of balance and motor control. Whether it is walking across a balance beam or standing on one foot while counting to five, take time for building balance…

Large Motor Skills for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Action songs and rhymes

There are many wonderful CD’s out there that get children dancing and moving like songs from Greg and Steve or Hap Palmer’s “Sammy” song.  If you don’t have a CD – then make up action songs that get your students to stretch, bend, twist, march, and jump.  Try action songs like musical chairs; the limbo; head, shoulders, knees, and toes; and the Conga..

Large Motor Skills for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Parachute play

We have lots of different kinds of parachutes we use for playing games both indoors and outdoors. Parachute play invites children to move their whole bodies as they lift their arms up and down, walk in a circle, bend and unbend their knees. In addition, parachute is a wonderful way to promote cooperative play…

Large Motor Skills in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Take a Walk

We happen to have some wonderful trails behind our preschool so taking a walk for us is always an adventure. Whether you take a walk in the woods or around the building, walking is a great way to get some exercise…

Large Motor Skills for Preschoolers by Teach Preschool

 

Organized Sports

Yes, preschoolers can play a simple game of basketball, kickball, bowling, and dodge ball too. Change up the rules a bit, use soft bats and balls, take the basics of the sport and modify it to the age group you are teaching…

Playing basketball

Equipment

Hula hoops, tape on the floor, balloons, balls, push toys, laundry baskets, and jump ropes are all examples for simple tools that can lead to wonderful indoor large motor activities…

Hula Hoop Play | Teach Preschool

Free Play

Make sure you are assessing the skills of your preschoolers. Can they make a circle, take turns, cheer for their friends, and follow simple rules or instructions of a game or a song? Do your preschoolers stretch, hop, run, march, jump, and bend daily? Your role is to make sure they do…

Large Motor Play by Teach Preschool

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By | February 15th, 2015|Categories: Large Motor Skills, motor skills|Tags: |0 Comments

Pouring in preschool and why we do it!

As I plan for a new school year, I am thinking through some of the life skills that I want my students to work on through out the school year. There are many life skills that we can promote though out the school year but today, I want to talk about pouring and why we do it…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool.jpg

I’ll bet you have heard parents or teachers say, “If I let the children pour it, they will spill it!”  Yep! Nine times out of ten this will be true. Young children are developing the skill of pouring and in the process of developing and mastering their pouring skills, they will most likely have a few spill-overs along the way.  However, in order for young children to master their ability to pour they first need to be given ample opportunities to practice their pouring skills…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Why is Pouring Important?

As children develop their skills to pour, they are also developing other types of skills. Let’s take a look at a few of those skills along with the photos I am sharing to see the different ways children can explore the pouring process…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Critical Thinking Skills

As children pour they have to think about how fast to pour, how long to pour, how far to turn the spout, when it is time to stop pouring which helps with mathematical and scientific thinking too…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Self-Regulation

As children pour they are becoming aware that they can make decisions such as whether to stop pouring or to just keep on pouring and that their decisions will result in natural consequences…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Spacial Awareness

As children pour they begin to gain a better understanding of the amount of space they have to work with and how much water or sand or other is needed to fill up a cup or container and how much is too much…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Eye-Hand Coordination

As children pour they are strengthening their ability to control the flow of what they pour and they are developing their ability to be more concise in their pouring so they can master pouring into smaller spaces, opening, and containers…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Independence

As children pour they are developing their ability to take care of tasks on their own like serving their own snack and pouring their own cup of juice…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

 

Providing Opportunities to Pour

Eye-Hand Coordination, Critical Thinking Skills, Self-Regulation, Spacial Awareness, Independence: These are all pretty important skills to nurture throughout the school year and the best way to promote these skills is by giving young children opportunities to explore the pouring process.  Pouring can be explored through simple opportunities such as playing in the water table or sand table and even through dramatic play.

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Pouring can also be explored through more structures opportunities such as pouring a cup of juice or water for snack, inviting the children to participate in cooking activities, and allowing children to pour their own paint or glue in preparation for an art activity…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

And of course, opportunities to develop strong skills in pouring can be promoted both through indoor and outdoor play and exploration as well as age appropriate tasks and responsibilities…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Providing Tools to Pour

Of course, if you are going to promote pouring, you will need to provide plenty of containers for pouring. Containers can be found around the house like an empty salt box or empty water bottles…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Or you can purchase a variety of child-sized containers such as pitchers and cups for pouring…

Pouring in Preschool by Teach Preschool

As I make my plans for next school year, I want to make sure I have included in those plans lots of opportunities for pouring along with a variety of tools for pouring play! Perhaps you have other ideas to promote pouring skills. I’d love to hear what your students enjoy in the classroom or your child enjoys at home. Just leave a comment below….

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By | August 2nd, 2014|Categories: motor skills|Tags: , , |2 Comments

The popping path!

When my grandsons popped over to the preschool classroom last week, they found a popping path all set up and ready to go…

The Popping Path by Teach Preschool

There was no need for me to explain what to do or how to do it, the popping path was an invitation to “pop!” and the boys went popping down the path right away…

The Popping Path by Teach Preschool

The bubble wrap popping path had three sections. In the first section, I put sheets of colored construction paper under the path to brighten up the path a bit and to add opportunities to recognize colors along the way. I added some clear packing tape in places around the path to keep it from sliding around the floor as the boys walked on it…

The Popping Path by Teach Preschool

On the second section of the popping path I put round wooden number disks under the bubble wrap so that the path would have a different feel to it and the numbers on the boards also gave us opportunity to identify numbers or do a little counting as we popped down the path…

The Popping Path by Teach Preschool

And the third section of the popping path was just a strip of bubble wrap without anything extra underneath and taped to the floor…

The Popping Path by Teach Preschool

My photos are a little blurry because the boys were in constant movement as they walked around and around the popping path. My older grandson would stop on occasion and stomp his feet on the bubble wrap but my younger grandson just kept on walking all around the path…

The Popping Path by Teach Preschool

Along the way, the popping path would sometimes get messed up so we would stop for a quick second and to straighten it up and, if needed, add a little bit more tape…

The Popping Path by Teach Preschool

If you would like to see a very short video of the popping path in action, I posted one on Instagram which you can see if you click here —>  Popping Path Video or below if I have things working properly…

Happy Popping!

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By | June 13th, 2014|Categories: motor skills|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Simple gift bow game for preschoolers

I think I have said this before but it is worth repeating, Christmas bows are awesome! They come in bright colors, they are shiny, and they can be used in all kinds of ways in the classroom…

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Mrs. Courtney recently shared a terrific collection of ideas we have done in the past with gift bows which you can see by clicking here. After sharing her post, Margaret from Your Therapy Source left a comment with additional suggestions for getting kids moving with simple games with bows and so these ideas are compliments to you Margaret!

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

For our first game, we tossed a bag full of Christmas bows in the middle of the floor then went on a color hunt! I called out a color and the children had to run, grab that color of bow, then go back to their spot in the circle…

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

A fun way to work on color recognition and get some exercise in the process!

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

For our second game, the children gathered up all the bows and tossed them into the center of our “parachute.” We used a round tablecloth for our parachute because it was smaller and we don’t have a very large amount of space in the classroom for a big parachute…

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Once all the bows were on our parachute, we worked together as a class to shake the bows off the parachute then put them all back on again…

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Keeping everyone doing their part of the parachute game is a good lesson in cooperation and collaboration so we stopped every once in awhile to regroup and then off we went to shake those bows again…

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

Super simple fun! Thank you Margaret for adding fun ideas for play to our fun pajama party day!

Simple gift bow games for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

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By | December 20th, 2013|Categories: motor skills|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Fun with feathers and beads

As our Thanksgiving feast was drawing near, I decided that I would fill our classroom centers with materials that were somehow related to either our Thanksgiving feast or some of our Thanksgiving books. One item that we found in many of our Thanksgiving related books were feathers so we filled our classroom centers with different ways we could have fun exploring and working with feathers...

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

Many of our Thanksgiving related books included photos of turkeys with beautiful colors of browns and whites and even some feathers of a variety of colors. So in one of our centers, we set out white feathers with a variety of beautiful colored wooden beads that would fit easily over the ends of our feathers…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

I drew several small pattern cards as a way to invite the children to make patterns with the beads on their feathers but I must say that the cards weren’t really ever used…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

Many of my older students had their own patterns in mind and never looked at the cards and many of my younger students just preferred focusing on putting as many beads on a feather that they could…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

The Styrofoam trays were simply used as a way to stand the feathers up so the beads would not fall off and so the children could display their beaded feathers as they went along…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

The feathers were a perfect tool for my younger students to use. The stiffness of the feathers helped them to easily guide a feather through the hole of a bead which eliminated some of the frustration in beading that many of my threes encounter. Instead, they quickly discovered they could master the process and stayed with it for much longer than they normally would…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

After a child decided he or she was finished exploring the feathers and beads, then we slid the beads back into our basket and set the feathers out for others to come and give the process a try. I stopped to take a few photos while the feathers were still all set up because I found the completed feathers all set up in their trays to be quite beautiful and artistic…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

I have detailed for you this one example of how the children explored with feathers throughout the week but here is a quick look at another example…

Feathers and Beads in Playdough

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

At this center the children explored the feathers and beads by putting them into the playdough. Another interesting and very open ended form of fine motor play…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

Although I set out googly eyes for the children to use, they were never touched. Instead, the focus was solely on exploring the beautiful brown feathers and brown tones of wooden beads.  Interestingly, it also seemed the children either preferred to only work with the beads or only work with the feathers and very few, if any, of the children chose to mix both beads and feathers on their playdough creations…

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

Two simple ways (among others) that our students spent time exploring with feathers….

Fun with Feathers by Teach Preschool

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Investigating the parts of a spider through fine motor play

Our little scientists spent the last 30 minutes of our day investigating spider parts through this intriguing fine motor building process…

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

This process was simple to prepare but needs at least 24 hours advance notice to get it ready. What you see here are our “spider parts” in gelatin. I have always wanted to try something like this and finally took the time to put it together and it was totally worth it…

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

To make the gelatin molds, I simply used three packets of gelatin and followed the directions on the box. The directions said…

  • Add one cup of cold water and let the water settle a minute over the gelatin.
  • Then add three cups of boiling water (I used a little less) and then stir until all the gelatin is fully dissolved.
  • Next pour your gelatin into your containers (I used little plastic containers my mom collected over time from Kentucky Fried Chicken with a lid).

Then you can wait a bit to let the gelatin gel just a bit and then add items (like spider parts) to the plastic container or do like me and add them right away. Because I was impatient, my googly eyes floated on top and the other heavier pieces sunk to the bottom but it still worked out really well.

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

The children were totally entranced with removing the spider parts from their dishes…

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

Each child had their own spider part dish to explore but I made a few extra and some of the children explored two dishes…

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

The children used their tweezers to pull out the pieces of the spider and set them on a tray….

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

Some of the children even explored the gelatin with their fingers. It isn’t sticky but it is wet and jiggly…

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

Most of my students just enjoyed using the tweezers but whether they used their hands or tweezers to pull out the spider parts, the children were focused on using fine motor skills throughout this very interesting process…

Spider parts investigations by Teach Preschool

We had already talked about the parts of a spider earlier in our day so this process had no intended outcome other than to explore. One little guy shouted out to me each time he pulled out a new spider part – “I did it!”  Super fun!

Investigating the parts of a spider by Teach Preschool

My blogging buddy over at Fun at Home with Kids has some amazing examples and recipes and ideas for Gelatin Play that you will want to hop on over and check out.  She totally had me inspired to give our spider part investigation a try!

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By | November 7th, 2013|Categories: motor skills, Science and Nature, Sensory Play|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Simple sewing jars

We have been introducing several types of sewing processes into the mix of things we do in our classroom and these simple sewing jars have been a nice way to introduce the basic concept of sewing to our little ones…

Simple Sewing Jars by Teach Preschool

The jars are clear plastic jars that I picked up over the summer from the Dollar Tree. They originally had scented water beads inside them and were being sold as a room freshener. But each time I picked up a jar, I would transfer the scented water beads to another container and then clean out the jar and set it aside to use in my classroom…

Simple Sewing Jars by Teach Preschool

I have so many ideas for how we will use these jars for play in my classroom but for starters, we added a couple of lengths of yarn inside each jar for the children to use as simple sewing jars…

Simple Sewing Jars by Teach Preschool

Because the lids of the jars have nice big holes, I decided for now not to add a sewing needle to the process. The children were able to pull the yarn easily through each hole in the lid even if the yarn started to get frayed just a bit…

Simple Sewing Jars by Teach Preschool

I took the time to introduce the jars to the children and explain how they can use their fingers to push or pull the yarn in and out of the holes of the lids any way they wished…

Simple Sewing Jars by Teach Preschool

The yarn is easy to remove from the lids after the children finish sewing so it makes it easy to use the jars for new processes. For our next sewing process, I am going to add large beads to our sewing jars and keep exploring the possible uses for sewing with the jars…

Simple Sewing Jars by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On

Sewing Rainbows by Childhood 101

Tot Sewing with Burlap by Tutus and Tea Parties

Classroom Sewing Kit by Sewing School

By | October 6th, 2013|Categories: DIY, Fine Motor Skills, motor skills|Tags: , , , |10 Comments