Bears need exercise too!

Sleeping in a cold, dark cave for weeks at a time can make anyone stiff and sore – even a bear! No worries, our students helped their bears loosen up all those stiff muscles with a little exercise.

Bears need exercise too! By Teach Preschool

To make sure the bears got a good work out, the children took their bears over to our gym mat. Along the wall were photos of bears in different stretching positions the children could try…

Bears need exercise too! By Teach Preschool

And on the mat were different games the bears could play (with the children of course)…

Bears need exercise too! By Teach Preschool

The bears got a great workout all throughout the morning on our bear exercise mat…

Bears need exercise too! By Teach Preschool

Our students got a pretty good workout themselves in the process of helping their bears get all warmed up…

Bears need exercise too! By Teach Preschool

And the photos were perfect for giving the children a variety of prompts for stretching techniques…

Bears need exercise too! By Teach Preschool

Now that the bears have had a good grooming, physical, and some exercise it is time to head on over to the portrait center to draw a photo with bear. And that is exactly what my next post will be all about so don’t miss it!

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Links to Grow On

Wake up Bear by Teach Preschool

Tucking our bears in for a long winter’s nap by Teach Preschool

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

Time to Hibernate by Teach Preschool

By | March 30th, 2016|Categories: Teach Preschool Blog|Tags: , , , , |2 Comments

A healthy bear is a happy bear

After a long winter’s nap, the children woke up their bears, groomed them, and then made a visit to the bear health center. After all, a healthy bear is a happy bear!

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

Before heading off to the bear health center, we read all about baby bear check-ups with our Scholastic magazine. Did you know mama bears have their babies in their sleep and then the scientists crawl in the cave while mama bear is sleeping and give the baby bears a checkup? I didn’t know that…

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

After reading all about baby bear check ups, the children were ready to give their own bears a check up. At the bear health center the children could measure their bears…

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

Weigh their bears (but need to make sure the scales are working first)…

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

Treat their bears for any scratches or cuts (It seems some of our bears got pretty banged up in their caves)…

Check the bear’s body temperature…

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

And give the bears any medication that might be needed…

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

Giving a bear a good physical is a lot of work!

Giving bear a check up by Teach Preschool

Once the bears were all fixed up and now in good health, then they could receive a Healthy Bear certificate to hang up in their cave…

A Healthy Bear is a Happy Bear by Teach Preschool

Whew! It’s a good thing we checked on those bears. Now they were ready to head off for a little stretching and exercising which is my very next post so stay tuned!

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Links to Grow On

Wake up Bear by Teach Preschool

Tucking our bears in for a long winter’s nap by Teach Preschool

Time to Hibernate by Teach Preschool

By | March 30th, 2016|Categories: Dramatic Play, Spring|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

A visit to the apple market : an apple dramatic play center

Last week we did lots of apple exploring and I mean lots. I bought a bag of each color of apples (red, green, yellow, and even a set of Gala apples) for the children to explore all through the week. My students ate, investigated, smelled, cooked, and explored apples in many different ways. We transported apples from one place to another including our Apple Farmer’s Market dramatic play center….

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

Before heading off to play in our Apple Market, we read the simple and brightly illustrated book “Apple Farmer Annie” by Monica Wellington. Annie takes us on her adventures of growing apples, picking apples, cooking apples, hauling apples to the Farmer’s Market, setting up an apple stand, selling apples, and then heading back home…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

Both of our classes spent time at the Apple Market and both the younger and older children equally loved playing in the apple market center. I chose to set up the apple farmer’s market center in our outdoor classroom on the “tinker table.”  I covered the table with a bright red table cloth, added calculators, pencils, scales, a money drawer, pretend money, and apples…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

Now that we had read about Annie and discussed some of the things Annie did with her apples, the children were ready to visit our apple market too!…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

All week long the children bought and sold apples to each other…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

The children came and went from the Apple Market as they wished. Some would come and go, others would stay for a long time…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

The children explored the scales and calculators or just spent time counting money…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

The children talked with each other, made their own rules for play, took food orders, and wrote down lists or numbers…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

Sometimes the apple market was very busy…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

And other times, business was a little slow…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

There was always something to do at the apple market all week long and since my students are still learning about each other, it was a wonderful way to invite them to talk to each other and cooperate with each other…

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

What a wonderful beginning we are already having to our preschool year!

The Apple Market dramatic play center by Teach Preschool

 

 

 

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By | September 6th, 2014|Categories: Dramatic Play|Tags: , |22 Comments

The water play kitchen

Over the summer months, the wooden furniture in my outdoor classroom often needs repaired, repainted, or just stored so that it will remain in good condition for the new school year which begins for us at the end of August. But since my grandsons still come over to play, I like to use the space for their needs and so I simplify the room a bit. This summer, I have turned the space into our water play kitchen…

The Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

My outdoor classroom is a screened-in porch that has lots of space. It gives my grandsons an alternative place to go that doesn’t have mosquitos nipping at their little arms and legs all the time. Living in the woods is beautiful and of course, we do spend lots of time outdoors but sometimes, it is nice just to be able to get outdoors without having to battle all the critters…

Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

I chose to create a water play kitchen because my grandsons are all about water play. They don’t just like it – they love it and since I am following their interests, I knew that this would be a big hit for them and simple for me to manage over the summer…

Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

Everything in the water play kitchen will and does get wet – including my grandsons!

Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

I keep adding little things along the way just to keep the play interesting and to let them try something new like my water jugs.  It took my younger grandson a few tries to figure out how to make it work but he figured it out and went to town filling up cups and dumping water into the buckets…

Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

I also added a small sand table for water and sand play…

Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

A fun way to explore water, sensory, and a little pretend play all through the summer!

Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

At the end of summer, and before school starts, I will transform this room into my outdoor classroom by once again, bringing out all my wooden accessories and giving it more of a Reggio inspired type approach but for now – this works just fine for my two little guys…

The Water Play Kitchen by Teach Preschool

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Waking up our bears

Over the past few days, I’ve shared activities in our hibernation unit.  First we built our bears.  And then we made caves for our bears and tucked them in for a long winter’s sleep.  Today I would like to share the last installment of our hibernation unit: waking up our bears…

Waking up our bears by Teach Preschool

It was a long winter and spring had finally arrived!  We diligently marked off the days till the first day of spring when our bears would awaken and we could play with them…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

When the first day of spring arrived,  the children were anxious to be reunited with their bears.  First thing in the morning, just before our circle time, we invited the children go and wake their bears…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

We’d spent several long weeks tiptoeing around our bears as they slept quietly in our stairwell.  The children were ecstatic to have the bears join us again in the classroom!  We celebrated by dedicating a whole day to spending time with our bears.  We started out by inviting our bears to circle time.  They listened intently to our story as the children hugged them close…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

The children and their bears listened as Deborah read “Children Make Terrible Pets” by Peter Brown…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

This book is super cute.  It is about a bear named Lucy who happens upon a little boy in the wild.  Not understanding the boy’s language, Lucy decides to call him Squeaker.  After lots of good times and adventures together, Squeaker begins to miss his family and begins acting in a way that makes Lucy come to understand that children do not make the best pets…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, we gathered up our bears for a little lesson in patterning.  Together we laid the bears out on our picnic blanket, alternating bears up and down, and then reviewed our pattern aloud...

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

We discussed a few more patterns and then set off with our bears in tow to explore our centers for the day.  At our first center, the children worked on creating their own patterns with colorful bears…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

Our art table held simple materials for children to draw pictures of their bears so that they could record their memories of the times they spent together.  First the children worked on making teddy bear self-portraits by tracing around their bears…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

Then the children drew faces on their bears and adorned them with clothing…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

There was also a sticky board playhouse for the children to enjoy with their bears…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

Together as a large group, we also did some gummy bear science.  Don’t worry, no bears were harmed in this experiment…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

After a long winter’s hibernation and a full day of play, the children were ready to take their bears to their forever homes.

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By | January 10th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books, Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Sailing across the deep blue sea

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

Sailing across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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

Across the deep blue sea by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On

Sink or Float with Nature by Teach Preschool

Everyday Dramatic Play by Teach Preschool

Promoting Communication Skills by Teach Preschool

Make and play with Venus Fly Traps

The Venus Fly Trap has to be one of the coolest plants to check out in preschool. After a discussion in our classroom on this rather unique plant, we made a simple paper plate Venus Fly Trap and then used them to catch a few bugs in our sensory center…

Venus Fly Trap by Teach Preschool

Our discussion was kicked off by our Scholastic magazine’s coverage of the Venus Fly Trap…

Venus Fly Trap by Teach Preschool 2

Then the children headed to our outdoor classroom to make their own paper plate Venus Fly Traps. They started by cutting around the edges of a green paper plate…

Venus Fly Trap by Teach Preschool 3

Then they folded their paper plate in half and added eyes or other features to complete their hungry plants…

Venus Fly Trap by Teach Preschool 5

Then the children took their bug eating plants over to feed them at the bug/rice sensory table…

Venus Fly Trap by Teach Preschool 8

We had lots of Venus Fly Trap pretend play going on all throughout the morning…

Venus Fly Trap by Teach Preschool 9

And lots of squeezing fly traps and pinching up rice and bugs – some great fine motor strengthening through our play…

Venus Fly Trap by Teach Preschool 6

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At play with the sticky board playhouse

This month has been a sticky month for me! Today, I want to share with you our super fun sticky board playhouse…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

On the first day of spring, our students woke up their teddy bears who were asleep in their caves all winter long and invited them to come and celebrate the first day of spring together…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

Part of our celebration included this little play house for the bears to sit and relax and to promote a little dramatic play for the children to enjoy…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

If you are thinking that this will be a fun idea to make just for your girls, think again because our boys were the first to head over and check out the sticky play house…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

I have written about sticky boards and sticky tables so much that I hesitate to once again tell how to make one but if this happens to be your first visit, you will wish I did. So to make the sticky playhouse – simply place a sheet of clear contact paper on a table or board, sticky side facing up or out. We cut our furniture, vases, flowers, and other pieces of the playhouse out of craft foam. In our case, everything was sized to fit our bears in preparation of our celebration…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

Some of the children spent time playing house with their bears and others preferred just rearranging all the furniture and other pieces in the playhouse…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

This was such a successful experience that I hope to go back and whip up some more sticky board playhouse pieces. Hmmm, perhaps a sticky board farm? …

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On

Hibernating bears in preschool by Teach Preschool

Gummy Bear Science by Teach Preschool

The Bears are Still Awake by Almost Unschoolers

Time to Sleep by Preschool Playbook

By | March 27th, 2013|Categories: DIY, Dramatic Play|Tags: , , , , , |8 Comments

DIY pizza box kitchen

I have seen lots of really cool cardboard kitchens and have wanted to make one so I finally sat down and made my very own pizza box kitchen…

I don’t know about you but I don’t have a lot of space in my classroom and so I have to think “out of the box” in order to bring  all different types of play into my classroom…

To make the pizza box stove top/oven…

  • I cut out four red and four black circles from foam sticker sheets and stuck them to the top of the first pizza box for burners.
  • I painted arrows and lines on four wooden drawer knobs and screwed them into the front of the box.
  • I used yellow foam sticker sheets to add the words to my stove top.

I already had a small set of pots and pans, which I now store inside my pizza box stove top, and if the children want to open the lid and pretend it is an oven, they can do that too…

For the pizza box sink…

  • I cut a hole in the top of the second pizza box and put an aluminum cake pan inside the box to give it a silver looking sink.
  • I poked two more holes in the top of the box to slide a real kitchen faucet with handles then screwed them in place using the attachments that came with the faucet.
  • The faucet cost me $6.00 on clearance at Walmart last year.
  • The bottom legs of the faucet sit behind the aluminum pan so the pan does not slide around inside the box. Surprisingly, it all fit together like a glove.
  • I used duct tape around the inside edge of the sink to make it look more real too and to reinforce the edges a bit.
  • Of course, this sink is not waterproof so it would need to be just for pretend play.

After I completed the pizza box sink, I used packing tape to seal it closed so the faucet would stay in place but really, if the faucet came out, it would be super easy just to put it back in the box. I might even let my students take the whole thing apart one day to explore the inner workings of a faucet. For now, I wanted the focus to be on promoting dramatic play…

I can put my pizza box kitchen set just about anywhere and my toddler age grandson loves it just as much as my preschool age students do…

So now I have a fun DIY kitchen set to pull out for play on my coffee table at home…

Or to play with on a table in my classroom…

Or to even set out on my classroom bookshelf…

My students have been playing away with our new pizza box kitchen set!

Available on Amazon

By | December 14th, 2012|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , |15 Comments

Everyday holiday play in the preschool classroom

During the holidays, it seems there is much to do in a short amount of time from parent gifts, to hand painted wrapping paper and pretty made Christmas cards to baking cookies and making decorations for the classroom.   All of these tasks are part of my holiday planning but in the midst of making so many things, I also want to make sure that my students are given ample time for holiday play…

We have a small Christmas tree in our classroom that the children decorated all by themselves.  The tree is sitting over in our dramatic play center. The children can decorate it, undecorate it, stack gift boxes under it, or incorporate it anyway they wish as part of their holiday play…

We also have a variety of magnetic gift boxes, tags, and bows to invite pretend play.  My students spend a big part of their play giving gifts, pretending to open them up, and acting all excited about their imaginary gifts…

 Mrs. Courtney and I spend a big part of our day pretending to open up gifts too!  You can read more about our magnetic gift boxes and bows by clicking on this post

The children also enjoy a little holiday play by filling up empty tins with items from around the classroom and adding a magnetic bow or gift tag to give as pretend gifts…

And don’t forget the holiday sensory play…

My students love diving into our candy cane shave cream play…

And how about holiday fine motor play…

There are lots of ways to promote play during the holiday season and over the next few weeks, I will be sharing with you some of the things we are making and doing to celebrate the holiday season in our classroom but keep in mind, every day – we take time for holiday (and unholiday) play…

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By | December 6th, 2012|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , , , |10 Comments