Under construction with our DIY fix-it box

I have a collection of toy hammers, nails, and other plastic tools that I have accumulated over the past several years and  my grandson has recently found a big interest in playing with them.  To give us a place to store all the tools and to give my grandson a different way of playing with them while indoors, I was inspired to create a DIY fix-it box!

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

To make the DIY fix-it box, I recycled an old box by spray painting it first then cutting different sized holes for play. I think I may add a few more holes before it is all said and done, but for now, my grandson has enjoyed the box as is…

Fix it box

This is a very sturdy box so when my grandson crawls across the top or pounds the box with the hammer, it holds up pretty well but of course, any time you use a box there will eventually be some wear and tear…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

I put holes in the box for the nails and screws to fit in and added rubber bands just for a different twist on using the box…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

My grandson likes to pull all the nails out and push them back in or drop the plastic wood pieces through the hole in the end of the box…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

When my grandson discovered he could open the box, he found the inside of the box to be just as interesting (if not more) as the outside of the box…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

Inside the box were more tools, a calculator, paper, clipboard, and crayons to invite additional kinds of play…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

And then there is the natural desire to climb inside the box to check things out…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

The fix-it box will eventually make its way to my discovery center in my classroom but for now it is undergoing seriously play testing…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

Here is a little collage of the fix-it box in action…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | July 26th, 2013|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , , , , |10 Comments

From seed to flower at the sticky table

The sticky table is one of my favorite ways to add a little fun to our classroom day and today, the children extended their study of the growth of a seed to flower using the sticky table…

For those of you who don’t know, the sticky table is simply a table covered with clear contact paper – sticky side up. I use clear packing tape to hold the contact paper in place so it doesn’t move around as the children stick and unstick the pieces I have set out to go with the contact paper…

Today, we were extending our discussion on the growth from seed to plant which you can read more about here and here

To extend our discussion on the growth of a flower, I set out beans (seeds), felt stems (shoots). leaves, flowers, and green yarn (roots)…

Even though we have discussed the pattern of growth from seed to flower, the children are given the freedom to explore the materials on the sticky table however they would like…

My prekindergarten children easily made flowers with roots and seeds but my threes preferred to go about the process in an entirely different way…

It didn’t matter which way the children explored the materials, it still gave us plenty of opportunity to use the words seeds, flowers, stems, shoots, roots in casual conversation as I stopped by to see their work…

The older children did model the growth of a plant for the younger children. One of the things I love about having a mixed age group…

But in the end, the threes chose to interpret this process in a way that was meaningful to them…

Books from Amazon

 

Links to grow on…

Exploring Everything Sticky from the Seeds Network!

Exploring color sticks in preschool

I save the oddest things when I find them. Like these colorful Popsicle sticks. I bought them at the end of summer from Walmart and put them away in a basket for a rainy day and it has been raining here all week long….

When I purchased these, I intended to set them out on my light table – which I will do on another day – but I had so many of them that I decided that it would be fun to put them all out on the art table for the children just to explore…

The children found the sticks sitting on the table and dived right in. I noticed that the first thing they did was sort them all out by colors.  Each child wanted to have all of one single color to him or herself so together – they did a little color sorting…

After sorting out the colors, the children began to try other types of play. Some of the children just liked holding and feeling them…

Some children liked stacking them together or crisscrossing them to make designs…

Some of our children shared their patterns with me…

 

While others preferred constructing shapes like this ladder…

We had other shapes too…

And in the middle of all of this – I had one child make the great discovery that if you put a yellow and blue color stick together – it will make the color green!!

Super exciting play and lots of learning going on!

Available on Amazon

By | October 19th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , , , , |31 Comments

Building trucks with simple materials in preschool

When our curriculum coordinator, Mrs. Fisher, showed me the items she had planned for this transportation activity box, she was worried that the children might not really like it. I love the unpredictability of children…

Mrs. Fisher put some cards with simple shaped trucks printed on each card in the activity box with some straws and lids…

The activity box stayed out all week long and all week long, I found children designing their trucks…

This little one loved the bendable end of the straws…

And this little girl decided to collect all the pink straws for her truck…

And adding the lids to the activity box was very clever indeed….

Some of the children decided to extend their designs beyond the truck and onto the table…

Preschoolers have a way of keeping us guessing at what they will enjoy and what they will ignore…

Preschoolers also keep us guessing on how they will ultimately use the materials we provide…

But the unpredictability keeps us on our toes – it keeps us observing and evaluating what children will find interesting, what they will do, and what they can do…

By | May 29th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , |8 Comments

Who is really teaching preschool?

Today, I happened by this class to see what was up and while there, I discovered the real teacher hard at work play.

This young teacher (a Pre-K student) was holding a set of cards that had been made for the transportation activity box. Each card had a different color of car on the front along with another set of cards with color words on them…

The “teacher” held up each color word card and asked her very attentive “student” to say the name of the color word on the card then spell the color word out loud…

The “teacher” and her “student” went through each card until every color word had been read aloud and spelled aloud…

After each color word was spelled out loud the “teacher” would then announce – okay let’s sing it! Both the “teacher” and the “student” would then break out and sing a little tune…

“G-R-E-E-N”

“G-R-E-E-N”

“G-R-E-E-N”

And then move on to the next color word…

Normally, I would say that perhaps this approach to teaching is a bit outdated or perhaps not developmentally appropriate and suggest an approach that is more play based or process oriented…

But who am I to interfere when the real professionals are at work play?

Cards and color words are from PreKinders!

Buzzing little bumble bee prints in preschool

This is a simple bumble bee activity box to throw together….

All you need are yellow ink pads, black crayons, and some pieces of paper….

Invite the children to press their fingers on the yellow ink pad and then make yellow prints on their paper…

Once they have their prints on the paper, invite the children to use a black crayon or marker to add additional bumble bee features…

Some of the children really went all out adding all the extra features to their bumble bee prints..

Other children preferred just to explore with the finger printing process…

A simple way to let little busy bees explore!  This little girl made an entire bumble bee family…

Books on Amazon


 

By | May 15th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , , |6 Comments

Counting and sorting bugs in preschool

In the activity box this week, the children found these bright and colorful bugs and bug cards.

The bug cards came from PreKinders – you can go to Prekinders to download your own set if you would like a set…

Some of our students enjoyed sorting the bugs by color…

And others just preferred to play with the bugs…

Notice how everyone at this table is just exploring the bugs….

And all the children at this table were in a big race to sort out all the colors….

Super simple and fun idea for the classroom!

Available on Amazon

By | May 14th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , , , |6 Comments

This is a little frog game for preschoolers

Dawn is always so busy making wonderful games and activity boxes for the children at preschool and this is one of her latest games she put together….

She added lili-pads, frogs, and a dice…

The children will make up their own rules of how to play the game…

The dice is included to promote a little counting but some children may just prefer to hop from lili-pad to lili-pad.  I never know what the children will do so I look forward to seeing this in action!

Looking for more to do with frogs?

Check out these ideas…

One Green Frog Went Hop (Song by Deborah)

Frog Game Mat from Teach Preschool

Pond Unit from Pre-Kinders

Lili-Pad Hop from Toddler Approved

Folded Frogs from Little Illuminations

Tadpole to Frog from Almost Unschoolers

Five Green Speckled Felt Frogs from Oopsey Daisy

Paper Plate Frog from Refined Metals Academy

Three Little Frog Rhyme from How Long Is this Hall?

Frog Play from Strong Start

By | May 9th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes, Games|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Making horses in preschool with sticks and yarn

The past week the children at preschool have been exploring animals on the farm. In one of the activity boxes were craft sticks and some strips of yarn…

It wasn’t obvious to the children how these materials could be used to make farm animals so I sat at a table and made my own horse. I got a few giggles from the children out of it – I really don’t see why:)…

It didn’t take long before the children started making their own horses too…

We had a full horse farm going including a farmer that really needs a haircut…

And a horse corral to keep our horses from wondering off….

And the best part was shuffling all the pieces back up into one big pile so we could start over…

I always find it hard to find horse activities that the children can really participate in but they loved this song that we sang…

High Stepping Horses

Unknown Author

High stepping horses,

High stepping horses,

High stepping horses,

Clippety, clippety clop!

(Make fist go up and down as you sing or chant the words)

Change the word “high, soft, loud, fast, slow…”

 

Riding on a Horses Back

by Deborah J. Stewart

I’m riding on a horses back

He’s taking me down the track

When he goes, “clippety-clop”

I go, “bumpety-bump”

Riding on a horses back!

(Now repeat but say “Giddeup horsey” to make the song go faster and “Whoa horsey” to slow the song back down again).

And the teachers whipped up a few horses for the children to play with…

Here are a few horse links you may like to check out as well…

Paper plate horse by Our Crafts-N-Things

Handprint horses by Our Crafts -N-Things

Stick horses by Getting Messy with Ms. Jessi

Footprint horses by Miller Moments

Farm week by Teach Preschool

By | May 3rd, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments

Fostering organizational skills through play

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

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

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

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

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

I am linking to The Play Academy!

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