10 playful ways to transform a pizza box

Pizza boxes are a fantastic tool for play!  They are small and can be stacked easily for storage purposes.  They are portable and are perfect for on the go.  Simply open the box to store all of your extra parts or pieces.  Pizza boxes are also super versatile and rather inexpensive.  Today I am sharing with you 10 playful ways to transform a pizza box..

10 playful ways to transform a pizza box by Teach Preschool

To turn a pizza box into a terrific fine motor activity, all you really need is an exacto knife and a little creativity.  These preschool pizza box games are easy to create and can be used in a variety of ways around the classroom…

Pizza Box game with lids

Weaving box

Foam block pizza box game

Another super way to promote fine motor skills is by offering tools.  Our DIY fix-it box is an inexpensive way to create a tool bench and to use all those play tools that we always seem to accumulate…

DIY Fix it Box by Teach Preschool

Puzzle making is also a great fine motor and critical thinking activity.  Our DIY pizza box textured puzzles are a fun twist on a traditional puzzle…

Pizza Puzzles

As suggested over on Libraryland, pizza boxes also make great felt or flannel boards!  Apply your felt to the outside of the pizza box and store all of your characters and accessories inside.  What a great way to organize classroom felt theme sets!  A pizza box felt board set would also be a great travel toy for children…

10 playful ways to transform a pizza box by Teach Preschool

This pizza box tic tac toe set from 365(ish) Days of Pinterest would also be a great travel toy…

10 playful ways to transform a pizza box by Teach Preschool

Pizza boxes can also be transformed into art tools.  Munchkins and Moms turned a simple pizza box into an awesome pizza box easel

10 playful ways to transform a pizza box by Teach Preschooll

When your child is finished creating artwork on his easel, he can lay it to dry in a pizza box drying rack

Pizza Box Drying Rack from Teach Preschool

Pizza boxes can also be used for dramatic play.  This DIY pizza box kitchen is just as much fun as any play kitchen you could buy in the store and it can be put together for a fraction of the cost!

Pizza Box Kitchen by Teach Preschool

This transportation roadway set from Not Just Preschool is also pretty darn inspiring!   I can think of several little boys and girls that would love a roadway set like this one.  And it would make a great gift…

10 playful ways to transform a pizza box by Teach Preschool

Of course,  you can always use a pizza box for its intended purpose, pizza!  This dramatic play pizza shop from Pre-K Pages is just adorable!  It would provide hours of endless play at home or in a classroom…

10 playful ways to transform a pizza box by Teach Preschool

A few things you might want to take into consideration when transforming a pizza box into a tool for play:

  • You can certainly upcycle a used pizza box, but you will want to be sure that it is clean.  A greasy pizza box could ruin a play set.
  • You can order pizza boxes off Amazon rather inexpensively in bulk.  If you don’t need 50 pizza boxes, then split the cost and share with your fellow teachers.
  • Your local pizza restaurant may be willing to donate a few boxes.  It never hurts to ask!
  • Pizza boxes come in various sizes from the rather small personal pizza sized box, all the way up to the extra large sized pizza boxes.  Choose the size that works best for you.

Available on Amazon

 

By | May 24th, 2014|Categories: DIY, Flannel Board|Tags: , |9 Comments

DIY Memory Box

We are down to our very last week in preschool and so since my Pre-Kindergarten age children will be moving on to a new school, we have been taking some time to share some of our favorite memories with each other about preschool…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

In the process of sharing our memories, we have been talking about what it is to remember something or someone. Our discussions and activities on the word “remember” or “memory” has taken several twists and turns from defining the word “memory” to playing memory games to creating new memories and celebrating old memories. This little twist on the word “memory” was just one way we had fun exercising our memories..

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

To make a DIY Memory Box Game Board, I simply hot glued a set of gift boxes to a piece of foam board. I chose to add 12 gift boxes because that is how many I had in my package. I got my set of boxes from the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree always sells these boxes during the holidays and sometimes all year round in the birthday party section of their store…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

I also added numbers to the lids of each gift box but to be truthful, I don’t know that adding numbers was such a good idea. It has worked out for us but originally I was thinking of this a math game rather than a memory game. I can always get more boxes and put new lids on my game if it really starts to bother me. I use this size of gift box all the time for art and other types of games…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

My grandson likes to open all the lids to my DIY memory box game and see what is hidden inside…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

However, let me get back to the topic of how we used the DIY Memory Box Game in my pre-kindergarten class. I filled each box on the board with an interesting toy and as a small group, we played a memory game.  The object of the game was to see if we could remember what was inside each box after taking a look.  So first we opened each box in numerical order and one at a time to talk about what was inside each box…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

We learned a few ways to help us remember which object was in which box along the way too such as creating a rhyme; “A purple crayon is so fun and likes to hide in box number one!’  Or we learned that thinking of a way to play with the object word and number word can help to jog our memory so we can remember what is inside each box like “Six singing birds sat by the seashore.”  Or we learned that we can think of the shape of an object and how it might be similar to the number such as “the purple crayon is a long straight line just like the number one.”…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

Now remember, today I am sharing with you how my Pre-Kindergarten class played the memory game and that our discussion was on exercising our memories. Had my threes been in class, we would have simplified and played the game a little differently…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

Once we took a look at each item then we put the lids back on and I called a child’s name and asked “Can you remember what was in box number four?” If the child needed a hint, I would repeat one of our rhymes or another hint that would help the child remember what was in the box. Most of the time, the children remembered what was in each box without my help but a few objects were a bit more tricky to remember…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

This was just one of many ways we have explored the DIY Memory Box in our classroom. As I mentioned already, with my threes or even with my grandsons, the exploration is adapted to what they would enjoy…

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

DIY Memory Box by Teach Preschool

 

Available on Amazon

By | May 20th, 2014|Categories: DIY, Games|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

DIY chalk rocks for preschool

The other day I shared with you my DIY rainbow rocks so while I am on a DIY rock making mission, I thought I would share my DIY chalk rocks with you too…

DIY Chalk Rocks by Teach Preschool

I really should wait to share these with you after they have been out in the classroom for awhile but I wanted to go ahead and give you a sense of other things I have been making and adding to our indoor and outdoor classrooms for play and exploration…

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

To make my chalk rocks, I simply used chalk spray paint to cover a set of rocks I collected from our yard. I tried to find mostly smooth rocks but some are not so smooth…

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

I set the rocks out on a tray along with white chalk and a few erasers and damp paper towels (also to use as erasers) for the children to explore the challenge of writing on a rock…

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Some days, we have lots going on in our classroom and I don’t get around to seeing everything the children do. I honestly thought none of the children had really tried checking out the chalk rocks yet but Mr. Hayden was paying attention and captured these terrific photos of the children drawing on the chalk rocks while I was off tending to other centers throughout the classroom day…

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

I have lots of ideas swirling around in my head about how I want to use the chalk rocks from story telling ideas to writing and games that I want to introduce…

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

But for now, the chalk rocks were set out for the children to get familiar with and to explore the idea of writing on them…

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

And now that I have looked through all the photos of the DIY chalk rocks, I can see that most of my students have taken the time to explore them. I just love how my students never miss a beat when it comes to exploring the entire classroom!

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | April 30th, 2014|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Exploring our DIY rainbow rocks in preschool

Now that our outdoor classroom is back up and running, I enjoy filling it with all kinds of interesting things for the children to explore and one of my latest additions was a set of DIY rainbow rocks…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

To make a set of rainbow rocks, Mr. Hayden helped me gather up rocks (we have piles of them all over for various reasons) and spread them out on a sheet of paper…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

Then we painted our rocks with spray paint…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

We had all the rocks painted except for our last batch when my grandson showed up and wanted to help paint some rocks too! So he “helped” paint our orange rocks for a few minutes before losing interest and moving on to do something else…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

After our rocks were completely dry, we placed them in small jars to set out on our discovery table…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

In case you are new to reading my posts, then you might not know that we have an outdoor classroom that is only open during the warmer seasons. The outdoor classroom is actually a screened in porch that I converted into an outdoor classroom as a place we could go during warmer days to play. With our preschool surrounded by woods, the bees and other critters can be excessive at times so this gives us a way to be outdoors with a little protection in the process.  Oh, we still venture out into the woods and play outside of the outdoor classroom too but I can set up the outdoor classroom with some amazing furniture and materials without worrying about weather damage or the bees and wasps bugging us while the children play…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

Because the outdoor classroom floors are made of wood, I am also able to use clear glass jars instead of plastic jars to display our materials. I have both glass and plastic but I love the glass jars best for the outdoor classroom. These jars are made of a strong glass that has to be smashed pretty seriously before they will break. Dropping them on the shelf or on the floor wont break them but we still teach our students how to handle the jars with respect and care…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

We set our colorful jars of rainbow rocks out on the discovery table along with tools for play and exploration. We also had plenty of rainbow rocks left over to add to our sand table…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

The rainbow rocks are primarily a resource for the children to explore freely throughout the classroom. The children used them for play in the sand table…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

They weighed the rocks on our different types of scales around the classroom…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

They sorted them in our sorting boxes…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

They explored them with the magnifying glasses…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

The rocks will remain available in the outdoor classroom for future play and as I add other tools and materials to the discovery table or the classroom, the children will continue to explore the rocks around the classroom. One of their favorite things to do for now is to take them all out of the jars!…

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

A few of our DIY rainbow rocks have been taken home already. The children asked me if they could choose a favorite color to take home and since I made so many, I am happy to let them pick a rock to take home and share with mom and dad. What a great way to build their own collections and to bring home discussion about what we are doing at preschool too!

DIY Rainbow Rocks by Teach Preschool

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By | April 28th, 2014|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , , , , , |5 Comments

Rubber loom bands in a discovery bottle

Last week I shared with you how we used rubber loom bands to make our own musical instruments. Well, I collected way more loom bands than I needed for that particular process so while home on spring break, my grandson and I came up with a way to use up some of those loom bands…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

This really couldn’t be more simple but my grandson enjoyed the process and loved making his own discovery bottle all by himself.  He started by putting a few loom bands in an empty water bottle…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

Using his fingers to pick up the rubber bands and dropping them through the neck of the water bottle was great fine motor control and skill building material for my grandson…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

Oh but after about two minutes of picking up rubber bands and poking them into the bottle just a few at a time, my grandson decided he had a better idea and grabbed a big bunch of rubber bands to put inside the bottle instead…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

But he started to figure out that in order to fill up his bottle with these rubber bands, he was going to have to be more patient… eventually…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

So he went back and forth between trying to fit big handfuls of rubber bands into the bottle and just a few at a time into the bottle until he was happy with the amount of rubber bands he had in his bottle…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

And then he was off to fill his bottle with water (which was actually his favorite part of this process)…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles2026

I made sure the lid was hot glued to the bottle nice and tight then my grandson was off to explore his very first, very own, made all by himself, discovery bottle…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

My grandson ended up making two rubber loom band discovery bottles and I made one (so we had an extra for my younger grandson after naptime)…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles by Teach Preschool

The brightly colored rubber loom bands look great in the water and they do a terrific job of floating slowly around the water as you move it back and forth. I think a taller bottle would look awesome and it just so happens that I still have a few left over to make one more discovery bottle to keep in the classroom…

Loom Band Discovery Bottles2042

Available on Amazon

By | April 11th, 2014|Categories: Discovery Bottles, DIY|Tags: , , |2 Comments

Xylophone painting

One of my favorite musical instruments to explore in the preschool classroom is a xylophone.  A xylophone is simple in design and can lead to an exploration in sound, color, shape, and of course – music… Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool As the children came into the classroom today, they found each center in the classroom filled with different opportunities to explore a xylophone. At the art table, the children explored xylophone painting however, they didn’t paint a xylophone… Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool Instead, the children used my homemade xylophone mallets as a paint brush to paint with… DIY Xylophone Mallets by Teach Preschool The DIY xylophone mallets were easily made by hot gluing a pompom to the end of a white baking stick. The sticks came in a package of 20 in the isle where you find cake decorating supplies at the grocery store.  I made several sets of these DIY xylophone mallets to use around the classroom… Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool The idea of this painting process was to use the DIY mallets like you would when you play a xylophone only dipping the mallets into paint first and then playing with them on a piece of paper…. Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool Like most things the children do in our classroom, each child had his or her own way of approaching this painting process… Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool Some of the children liked to use the mallets to make dots while others preferred to rub the mallets around on the paper… Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool I thought more of the children might actually go up and down with them like you would when playing a xylophone, especially since they were exploring xylophones all around the classroom.  But many of the children were more interested in using the DIY mallets more like they would a regular sponge or paintbrush than a xylophone mallet… Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool The pompom on the end of the sticks made a perfect tip for painting. The pompoms held the paint nicely and spread the paint smoothly and evenly around the paper. The DIY mallets were definitely intriguing to the children to paint with no matter which way the children chose to paint… Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool You may not be exploring xylophones in your classroom but making and painting with your own “pompom” paintbrushes are definitely worth giving a try! Xylophone Painting by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On Making craft stick xylophones Exploring xylophones in preschool

By | March 25th, 2014|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , |3 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

Available on Amazon

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

DIY Friendship Blocks

I put together a set of friendship blocks (or tubes) for my class to play with and as to also use as a tool for helping my students get more familiar with each other…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

To make our friendship blocks, we printed a photo of each child on paper and cut it out. Then we taped each photo to a tube using clear packing tape and placed all the tubes in the shelf in our block center…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

In my years of teaching, I have noticed that my students tend to begin the year playing beside each other (parallel play) rather than with each other. Because of this, it isn’t unusual for the children to take quite some time to learn each other’s name or to really put a name to face…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

Our friendship blocks are helping the children draw connections between faces and names. The friendship blocks also give each child a sense of community and belonging as they see their personalized block standing up and along side all the other children in the classroom…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

The friendship blocks are available for play all throughout the day but we have also been using them as a large group to create friendship towers…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

Or to invite discussion about ourselves or each other…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

Some of the children like to set their friendship tube next to them throughout the day while they do other activities…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

And as a little bonus, I printed and cut out an extra set of photos for our magnet board.  Yes, we are finding ourselves all over our classroom…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

And with the help of our friendship blocks and our people magnets, my students are getting a solid grasp on who is who in our classroom and are quickly feeling more comfortable with each other and as a community…

Friendship Blocks by Teach Preschool

About our Tube Blocks

To learn more about where we collected these tubes for free, be sure and read this post —-> Building and playing with our free tube blocks and where you can find them too.

Available on Amazon

By | September 30th, 2013|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , , , , |10 Comments

Five senses discover and explore kit

This week our Discover and Explore team has chosen to share with you simple activities you can do to promote and talk about the five senses…

Five Senses Discover and Explore Kit by Teach Preschool

In my classroom, we explored the five senses in a variety of ways but the children really enjoyed exploring my DIY five senses kit. Mrs. Courtney gave me the brilliant idea of saving these plastic containers with the dividers (mine had fruit or veggies in them) for things like collage materials and sorting games and paint holders. Since the containers come with a lid, I can prepare them ahead of time and set them out as needed…

Five Senses Discover and Explore Kit by Teach Preschool

I decided to take two of my saved containers and make two five senses kits for my class to discover and explore. I filled each container with…

  • Smell: A smelly fall candle
  • Taste: Mini-Boxes of Raisins (enough for each child to have one)
  • Touch/Feel: Sand paper and Carpet Scraps
  • Sound: A windup egg timer
  • Sight: A few gems and mini-magnifying glasses

And I put a label for each of the five senses inside each compartment of the kit…

Five Senses Discover and Explore Kit by Teach Preschool

I never know if my students will find something like this fun or not so I was super excited to see a group of children exploring the materials all throughout the morning. There was never a time when the materials were not being explored and some of the children asked me questions about the materials like, “What is this soft thing in here?” so I could explain  “It is a piece of carpet for you to feel with your sense of touch.”…

Five Senses Discover and Explore Kit by Teach Preschool

The items that got the least attention were my candles so perhaps putting something a little more interesting in place of the candles would be smart…

Five Senses Discover and Explore Kit by Teach Preschool

The favorite senses to explore were taste (since everyone got a box of raisins) and sound (the children loved playing with the egg timers) with the magnifiers coming in at a close third…

Five Senses Discover and Explore Kit by Teach Preschool

Stick around and check out all the other Five Senses ideas shared below…. Available on Amazon

 

Discover and Explore

Discover and Explore: Forest!

Upcoming Themes:

Currently Open – Five Senses

September 25 – Pumpkins

October 2 – Community Helpers

October 9 – Halloween

Please read the following guidelines for sharing:

  • Share family-friendly posts related to the weekly topic — kids activities, crafts, recipes, nature outings, printables, etc.
  • By linking up, you are giving me permission to share your post including one photo in our weekly feature post and on social media channels.
  • Visit 2-3 other posts that have linked up, find some new ideas & meet new friends!
  • If you’d like, grab a button for your post — we love to share and want to find lots of great activities to highlight for you!

The linky will remain open for one week. Then all five co-hosts will feature activities in a separate post the Friday after the linky closes. All featured posts will be shared on the Discover and Explore Pinterest Board.  (Be sure to follow so you don’t miss any features!)

The Discover & Explore Team

KC Edventures  **  Buggy and Buddy **  Fantastic Fun & Learning **  Twodaloo

and me!



DIY chalk box

I don’t know if you have ever tried chalkboard paint but I happened to pick up some a short while ago and I must tell you that once you get some chalkboard paint, it is hard not to get carried away with DIY chalkboard paint projects…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

One of my projects included making a set of chalk boxes. To make a chalk box, I gathered up some left-over sturdy gift boxes I had from last Christmas (I always stock up on them when they go on sale), a box of white chalk, and my Valspar chalkboard spray paint (purchased at Lowes)…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

I sprayed the outside of each box, both tops and bottoms, with the chalkboard paint and let them dry overnight. Then the next day, I put the boxes back together and added the filling back into the boxes along with one piece of chalk inside each box…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

In my class, we had been talking about and using chalk quite a bit lately so I made a chalk box for each child to serve as a token reminder of our discussions and activities involving chalk…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

Before the children opened their chalk boxes at school, I had them guess what they thought might be inside their little black boxes. Some of the children easily guessed that the boxes had chalk in them while others were not so sure what was inside…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

The children took a few minutes to explore their chalk boxes by drawing shapes on the chalkboard side of the box…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

The children used the box fiberfill as an eraser to erase their chalk drawings…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

In my future chalk box making excursion, I will consider using just a bit larger boxes so the children have just a little more space for drawing but my students loved their boxes and were super excited to get to keep one of their very own…

DIY Chalk Boxes by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

 

By | September 14th, 2013|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , , , , |5 Comments