Raindrop graphing on the flannel board

The flannel board is such a great teaching tool when you think outside the box a bit. This week, we turned the flannel board into a raindrop measuring graph!

Raindrop Measuring Graph by Teach Preschool

With all the rain this month, it has been a good opportunity to dive into a little rain science and math. The children were each given a small measuring bottle then invited to predict how much rain their cup would get in it if left outside for the morning.

Raindrop Measuring Graph by Teach Preschool

Most of the children predicted that they would get up to the number five line. One parent mentioned that it could be that the children chose four or five because many of the children are now age four and five. I thought that was a pretty good observation.

Raindrop Measuring Graph by Teach Preschool

After their predictions, the children placed their bottles outside in the rain and left them for the school day. Later in the day, the children got their bottles and checked out the actual measurement.

Raindrop Measuring Graph by Teach Preschool

As you can see, there wasn’t quite as much rain in their bottles as they had predicted. I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get much rain that day. I think we should do a do-over the next time our weather person says it is going to be another rainy day!

Raindrop Measuring Graph by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

The Rain Jar by Teach Preschool

Painting with the Rain by The Nurture Store

Rainbow felt puzzles

Rainbows are such a wonderful way to review and explore color and color mixing. As part of our exploration of rainbows, we invited the children to put together these simple felt rainbow puzzles.

Felt Rainbow Puzzles by Teach Preschool

We often sit down as a large group to explore different kinds of concepts through a hands-on activity. For the rainbow felt puzzles, each child was given their own small DIY felt board and felt puzzle set.

Felt Rainbow Puzzles by Teach Preschool

Miss Abby used the large group time to promote discussion with the children about size, shape, color, and rainbows.

Felt Rainbow Puzzles by Teach Preschool

Even though the children worked side-by-side on their rainbow puzzles, they still were given lots of room to put their puzzles together in their own way.

Felt Rainbow Puzzles by Teach Preschool

I always enjoy sitting down together as a large group to do a process such as this. It gives us time together to promote discussion, build community, and learn from each other.

Felt Rainbow Puzzles by Teach Preschool

Oh, and in case you were wondering, the felt we are using and that I love the most is a stiff felt. It cuts easily and holds it shape much better than soft (flimsy) felt.

Felt Rainbow Puzzles by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

The Rainbow Center by Teach Preschool

Amazing Rainbow Sensory and Discovery Bottles from 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

Available on Amazon

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!

DIY Lap boards for preschool

I was recently asked by lots of folks to talk a little bit more about what I call “Lap Boards.”  So for those of you who asked or would like to know more, here are a few details…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

Although I refer to my small boards as “Lap Boards,” I also change what I call them depending on what I am using them for. For example, sometimes I might call them a story board or sometimes a counting board. But essentially, no matter what I call them, they are simply small DIY felt boards…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

I call them lap boards most of the time because we often use them on the floor when working on a process as a large group. The lap board goes on the child’s lap or on the floor in front of each child so that the children can have a sturdy, independent space to place objects on and to work on…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

I like the lap boards for giving children a space to work on for several reasons but probably my top reason is that my DIY lap boards are a quiet space to work on and they are soft so most things we are working with don’t easily roll off the edges when the board get’s bumped or shifted around.

How to make a Lap Board

I always keep at least 11 lap boards in my classroom. Ten of them are for the children to use and one of them is for me to use when I am working with the children on a specific process. I store the lap boards on a top shelf in my classroom to pull down as needed…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

To make the lap boards you will need a set of small art paint canvases. My canvases are around 8″ x 10″ stretched canvas (stretched around a wood frame). I purchase my stretched canvases from places like Walmart or Michaels when I see them go on sale or being sold in a multi-pack for a good price…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You will also need a supply of white (or whatever color you would choose) flannel to staple around each canvas.  I bought two yards of white flannel and had left-over after covering 12 canvases…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

To make the lap boards, you simply cut your flannel to fit firmly around the edges of each canvas and then stretch the flannel so that it sits nice and tight on across the front of the canvas. Then flip the canvas over and staple the edges of the flannel firmly to the board surrounding your canvas.  I use a staple gun to staple the flannel to my boards…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

If you have too much excess flannel on the inside edges of the back of the canvas, then trim away the excess flannel so that the edges are neat and tidy looking…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

Once the flannel is firmly covering and attached to your canvas, then you now have officially made a lap board…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You can now use your lap boards during circle time to retell a story with felt pieces you have prepared. Instead of the teacher being the only one to tell a story or having to wait on each child to take a turn, the story board allows all the children to be involved in the story telling process together…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You can use your lap board in a center for children to count, sort, compare, or explore a variety of materials in different ways. The material will not be so clanky in the classroom as they are on a soft surface rather than a hard table or tray…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

You can use your lap board at a table or on the floor for children to have an individual space to explore whatever type of process you have in mind…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

I have had six of my DIY lap boards for three years without a problem of them being ripped, broken, or ruined in some other way. But last year, I had them laying on the floor and the children stepped on them with muddy shoes which left nice little mud shoe prints on most of the boards that I couldn’t wash out. So this year, I added a few more boards to my collection of boards, took off the old felt off my older boards, and covered all 12 boards with new white felt so they all looked new again…

DIY Lap Boards by Teach Preschool

We introduced the lap boards to our students today for the first time this school year and will begin using them around the classroom as the year progresses. I hope I have answered all questions but if you have a comment or question for me, feel free to leave me a comment below!

Available on Amazon

By | September 5th, 2014|Categories: DIY, Flannel Board|Tags: , , , |10 Comments

Ten fun ways to use a flannel board

When I first opened my own school, I went on flannel board making spree which you can see how I made my own by clicking on this post: DIY Make Your Own Flannel Board. At the time, I made two large flannel boards and 8 small flannel boards and have used these same flannel boards ever since. However, I use them for all different purposes which I thought I would share with you today…

Ten Fun Ways to Use a Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

1. Story Telling Board

Of course, the most common use for a flannel board (also called felt board) is for retelling simple stories from a book or making up stories of our own…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

2. Counting Board

Our small and large boards are often converted into counting or math boards. I like to use them because the materials (like buttons or dominoes) don’t slide easily off or around the boards as they would a tray and the flannel boards are also a quieter surface for noisy materials…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

I also like to give each child their own small counting board so they have their own space to work with…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Whether that space is on the floor or on the table, the small flannel boards give the children a nice working area of their own…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

3. Graphing Board

We use our large flannel board as a graphing board all the time.  I simply divide the board up into columns by adding tape across the board.  Once we are done with our graphing process, I take the tape off and the board is back to normal again…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

4. Estimating Board

We often use our flannel board to estimate numbers such as we did in this photo. I start with a pile of mittens and the children estimate how many mittens they think are on the board. And then we spread them out to count how many mittens are actually on the board…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

5. Patterning Board

The felt board makes a great surface for making patterns as well. When our pattern goes a little long and we need more space, we just put our pattern boards together…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

6. Sorting Board

We are often using our flannel board as a canvas for sorting felt or real objects…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

7. Game Board

And the flannel board makes a great game board. Once again, I use tape to create any game I wish on the board like this parking lot game for my grandson to roll his cars around on…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

8. Lap Board

We often refer to our smaller flannel boards as “Lap Boards”. This is because the children can hold them in their lap to work with while we are sitting as a large group on the floor….

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

9. Creativity Board

The flannel board offers lots of opportunities to be creative. Whether it is putting together a candy cane out of felt pieces or making a design of paper hearts, the ideas for being creative on a flannel board are endless…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

10. Collection Board

And finally, we often refer to our flannel boards as our collection boards. We use them to set out collections of leaves or rocks to admire and observe and discuss our collections with each other…

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

So as you can see, the flannel board is not just a flannel board. It is a collection board, a math board, a story telling board or any kind of board you want to name it and use it for. It is a wonderful tool for the classroom so don’t just keep it tucked away as the “teacher board!”

Ten Fun Ways to use a Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

 

By | January 13th, 2014|Categories: Flannel Board|Tags: , |8 Comments

Simple shape games on the felt board

I just love the felt board but more importantly my students love it. The kinds of games we play with the felt board are not all that complicated and all I really need are just a few bight and colorful felt pieces and I have everyone’s attention…

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Before reading our book “Mouse Shapes” by Ellen Stoll Walsh, I took a few minutes to cut out different shapes from my collection of felt scraps.  I didn’t do the smoothest job cutting but no matter, with the help of our book, my students were able to easily recognize each of the felt shapes…

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

With our pile of felt shapes, here are a few games we played together…

Estimating Shapes

To play this game, the children start by guessing how many shapes they think are in my loose pile of shapes.  I might say something like, “Take a good look and think in your mind how many shapes are on the board.”  Of course, the children will immediately shout out a number which is part of their fun.  Once the children finish shouting out a guess, we count out all the felt shapes to see what the actual number is…

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Identifying Shapes and Colors

Now that all our shapes our spread out on the board, we can take a minute to identify the name or color of each shape with a quick game of  “I Spy a Shape.”  I will simply begin by saying something like, “I spy something orange sitting on my board what do you think it is?”  or “I spy something with five points on my board, what do you think it is?”

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

So far we have played two simple games without spending a long time on either game. Perhaps this is all your children will be ready for and it is time to move on to something new, but my students almost always want to keep going with a new game. 

What Can We Make with Shapes?

In our book, the mice built different objects with their shapes so we took about 30 seconds to see what we could make by putting our shapes together. This game was really to prepare the children for one of our centers – so not really a game as much as a quick way to model the idea of what they could do later on their own. While I made something with the shapes, the children tried to guess what I was building or gave me tips on where pieces could go in the process..

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Okay, so perhaps now your students are ready to move on. Now would be a good time to do so! But if they want to keep going or if you want to get the board out again later, here is another idea…

What’s Missing?

Now that we have covered all the names and colors of our shapes, I rearranged the shapes on my board and had all the children close their eyes.  I even tell the children to cover their eyes with both hands so I will know that no one is peaking! Now if you think my students will not peak then guess again.  Don’t get hung up on whether kids are peaking or not – just have fun with it…

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Now remove a shape and tell everyone to look up and see if they can figure out which shape is missing.  On the first round, my kids are not so sure because they didn’t know what the game was going to be. But by the second round, everyone can tell me very quickly which shape is missing.  I try to be sly about removing a shape from the board but my kids are too savvy for me and can guess which shape is missing very quickly…

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

So, now are your kids ready to move on to something else? If yes, then it is time to stop playing games and move on but if they are still interested you can try the next game…

Stand Up and Sit Down

You will want to make sure you cut enough shapes so each child can hold one in his or her hand.  I had to cut an extra star and then every one had a shape to hold. Once each child has a shape, then you can begin the game.

If you have a star then stand up!

If you have an oval then stand up!

If you have an oval or a star then sit down.

Keep calling out shapes and giving directions to stand up or sit down (or turn around or jump up and down).  We get the game moving pretty fast and it gets totally confusing by the end but everyone is laughing and moving which is what matters most about this game.  We already have spent time focusing on names and colors and numbers so now its time to just get moving. When ready to pull it all back together, I have the children come and put their shape back on my board…

Shape Games on the Felt Board by Teach Preschool

Wrapping it up

Now that we have played all these games (or most all depending on the day or felt board pieces) then I send the children off to play in our centers which on this day, was also all about shapes. Yes, it was shaping up to be a very busy morning…

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Make Your Own Flannel Board by Teach Preschool

Exploring Shapes with Blocks on the Table Top by Teach Preschool

DIY Mouse Shape Dice Game by Teach Preschool

Learning about our bodies is fun with felt

I want to welcome my guest today who is Asia from Fun at Home with Kids. Asia, along with the help of her adorable daughter, is here to share with you this amazing life size anatomy made from felt!

 

Fun with Felt Anatomy!
I am so thrilled to be able to guest post for Deborah today; what an honor!  I’m Asia and I write over at Fun at Home with Kids.  I’m a former teacher (M. Ed) who now stays home full time with my two kiddos: X, a one year old, and S, a four year old. S has been very interested in learning about human bodies and anatomy for about a year now.  I was a Biology major in undergrad and kept my Anatomy textbooks, which she loves to peruse.  She’s also recently discovered the allure of the Magic School Bus Inside the Human Body book.  I’m always looking for ways to make concepts S is interested in more accessible to her.  I have seen so many amazing models of human bodies, but I felt like their small size left a bit to be desired.  So I settled on creating a life-sized felt double of her body to teach her a bit more about anatomy.
Fun with Felt Anatomy!
To make the body double, I had S lay on a few yards of felt and I traced her and cut the resulting outline out with some nice sharp scissors.  Using an anatomy book, she chose which parts of her body she wanted me to make.  I eyeballed the size and shape of everything; since she is 4 I wasn’t too concerned with making everything super accurate – the general idea was fine.
As we created the different parts from felt, we’d talk about the role of each in her body.  As we created the digestive tract, for instance, we talked about the path food takes through her body.  When we created bones, I would have her press on various parts of her body to feel a bit of the bone underneath and inhale sharply to see the outline of her rib cage beneath her skin.

 

Fun with Felt Anatomy!
We talked about how her heart was the size of her fist, and how it wasn’t shaped like the hearts you make on Valentine’s Day (she may have not been entirely sold on that last concept, haha).  We talked about how her heart gets food and air to all the parts of her body.

 

Fun with Felt Anatomy!
And finally, we made her the anatomy model by laying the felt body parts on top of her shirt.  Felt is slightly sticky, so everything held together.  We happen to have a Giant Feltboard downstairs that we made as one of our DIY projects, so we can use all these pieces there as well.  It took less than 30 minutes to create the body and all the related parts.  S really seemed to grasp the scale of things and enjoyed her peek at what goes on inside her body.

 

See more ideas from Asia

 

If you enjoyed this post, you may also enjoy our recent post on using manipulatives to reinforce learning about Raising Butterflies, or you may be interested in following us on Facebook, Google+ (personal page), Google+ (blog page), Pinterest, or in Subscribing by Email.

 

Thank you Asia (and little S) for sharing with us today!

 

Available on Amazon

By | July 2nd, 2013|Categories: Flannel Board|Tags: , , , , |21 Comments

An octopus has eight legs and so do we!

As I mentioned in my previous post, we read two books about Octopuses and in our second book we learned that an octopus has eight legs or technically eight arms with suction cups (squids have tentacles)

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

After reading the book My Very Own Octopus by Bernard Most, we asked the children if they would like to have a pet octopus too! Most of our students did not wish to have a pet octopus but they did want to tell us about their pet dogs, turtles, or other pets they had…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

As we read the book, we discovered that because an octopus has eight legs, he can do lots of things that we can’t do with only two legs (or arms) like hold eight different things at the same time or shake your hand with eight different hands. But even with all the cool things a pet octopus might be able to do, our students still preferred having a pet dog or turtle…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

But when I told the children that they actually can have eight legs, they told me that this could not be possible. The children were certain that they could only have two legs so I set out to prove to them that they could indeed have eight legs…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

We started by selecting four children to sit back to back on the floor and counted how many legs we now had in all. Then the children were invited to stand up, hook arms and try walking with all eight of their legs…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

Have you ever tried walking with eight legs? This is not an easy task! It requires some coordination, cooperation, and lots of giggles along the way…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

And who decides which way you are going to go when you have four heads to work with too?

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

Now that we knew we could have eight legs like an octopus, the children took a few minutes to count out eight legs for our felt board octopuses and then they were off to go and explore in our centers…

An Octopus has eight legs and so do we by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

O is for Octopus by Teach Preschool

Simple Spiders (that look like an octopus) by Teach Preschool

Jellyfish in a Bottle by Boohm’s play blog

Shapes on the flannel board graph | Virtual Book Club | Lois Ehlert

The bloggers of the Virtual Book Club are celebrating the works of Lois Ehlert this month and so my class has been busy reading up on a few of the beautifully illustrated books by Lois Ehlert…

The Lois Ehlert book titled, “Color Zoo” takes a creative but simple look at shapes (and colors) and how different shapes can be layered on top of each other to make an animal shape…

After discussing all the shapes and animals in the book with the children, I then invited the children to help me sort a set of felt cut out shapes onto our flannel board graph….

To create the graph, I simply used colored tape on the flannel board to create the lines of the graph.  I cut out plenty of red felt squares, orange felt circles, and yellow felt triangles for the children to add to our large group graph…

Each child came up to the graph, selected one shape out of the baggie and placed the chosen shape on the graph.  We talked about how the graph has three columns and each shape should be placed in its own column so we can compare the number of shapes as we go along…

The children easily caught on to the idea of keeping each shape in the correct column. The children continued to come up to the flannel board and add a new shape from our baggie of felt shapes to the flannel board graph…

Throughout the process of adding shapes to the graph, we considered how many shapes were in each column and which column had the most or least number of shapes. We discovered as we kept adding more shapes to the board, the number of shapes in each column would change too…

This was our very first large group graphing experience this school year and the children did a remarkable job all throughout the process…

Then the children were invited over to the art table to create their own animals from construction paper shapes…

A wonderful morning of exploring our shapes together…

Available on Amazon

Up and coming authors that will be shared in the Virtual Book Club include the following…

  • October 15th-Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • November 19th- Tomie de Paola
  • December 17th- Jan Brett
  • January 21st-David McPhail
  • February 18th-Dr. Seuss
  • March 18th-Julia Donaldson
  • April 15th-David Shannon
  • May 20th-Leo Lionni
  • June 17th-Gail Gibbons
  • July 15th- Jez Alborough
  • August 19th-Donald Crews

VirtualBookClub

To see more ideas from the other participating Virtual Book Club just check out the linky below! Remember, if you are viewing this post by email or in a RSS Reader, you may need to click on the title of this post to view the linky from the blog post…

Participating Bloggers

Toddler Approved, Mom to 2 Posh Lil Divas, Rainy Day Mum, Reading Confetti, Inspiration Laboratories, Play Dr. Mom, Mommy and Me Book Club, Kitchen Counter Chronicles, Two Big Two Little, Creative Connections for Kids, The Golden Gleam, Juggling with Kids, Taming the Goblin, Crafty Moms Share, Ready Set Read 2 Me, Famiglia and Seoul, The Good Long Road, The Educator’s Spin On It, Imagination Soup, 3 Dinosaurs, Royal Baloo, Being A ConsciousParent, No Twiddle Twaddle, Crayon Freckles, The Pleasantest Thing, Adventures in Reading with Kids, Smile, Play, Learn, Creekside Learning, Our Feminist Playschool, and Teach Preschool!

Lois Ehlert Virtual Book Club Linky

There are a few rules for this blog hop that we ask you to follow, so make sure to read them:
  1. Link up only posts inspired by Lois Ehlert that share children’s book inspired crafts, activities, recipes, etc. Any other posts will be deleted.
  2. Visit other blog posts on the linky and comment on or share the ones you love!
  3. Add our Virtual Book Club button to your post if you’d like.

 

Candy canes on the flannel board in preschool

I made this simple candy cane flannel board activity with colorful pieces of felt and set it out in a basket on the floor for the children to play with….

I added felt color strips for the candy cane stripes.  Originally, I was only going to make red and green stripes but in just about every holiday activity we have done so far, my students have asked me for a “pink marker” or a “purple crayon” and so I realized that I need to be more open minded about colors during the holidays…

After all, a yellow, green, purple, and red candy cane is far more fun to make!

Some of the children carefully placed their candy canes on the board in a clear pattern and others preferred a more free approach to this activity…

This is the type of activity I leave up for several weeks. My felt board is always on the wall for the children to stop by any time they wish and give it a try….

Some of the children will come back to the felt board over and over again and other will try it once and never come back.  I switch out the felt board activities regularly but I also leave them there long enough for the children to have plenty of opportunity to explore at their leisure…

The candy cane felt board has been very popular over all…

 

Available on Amazon

By | December 12th, 2011|Categories: Flannel Board|Tags: , , |8 Comments