Marble play in a Christmas ball

If you happen to start early, you can find clear plastic Christmas ornaments at Walmart and other stores that carry craft supplies. I like to stock up on them when I get the chance and I had quite a few left over from last year. Now that I have some time at home with my grandsons, we took out a few marbles and our Christmas ornaments for a little creativity and play…

At play with Christmas Balls and Marbles by Teach Preschool

To make mommy a gift, I added a couple of drops of acrylic paint inside each ball. Just a tiny drop is all you need for this…

At play with Christmas Balls and Marbles by Teach Preschool

Then my grandsons dropped in a marble and we taped up the top. Then the boys shook the marbles all around the balls which is definitely the fun part…

At play with Christmas Balls and Marbles by Teach Preschool

Once the paint was all swirled around inside the plastic ornaments, we dumped out the marbles and had a set of beautiful ornaments to give mommy and their other grandma for Christmas…

At play with Christmas Balls and Marbles by Teach Preschool

Since shaking the marbles is really the fun part, we put a few marbles in empty clear plastic ornament (no paint added this time) and taped up the top…

At play with Christmas Balls and Marbles by Teach Preschool

Then the boys started shaking away. They were so serious as they concentrated on the marbles going around the ornaments…

At play with Christmas Balls and Marbles by Teach Preschool

The boys enjoyed watching the marbles spin around the balls really fast and then really slow….

At play with Christmas Balls and Marbles by Teach Preschool

Looks like I will need to restock on our plastic ornaments for next year!

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By | December 24th, 2013|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Winter in a bottle |A kid made Christmas ornament

Winter time has started early this year for us and my students are so excited. To capture the essence of winter, my students created their very own winter in a bottle and turned it into an ornament as one of our parent gifts this year…

Winter in a bottle Christmas ornament by Teach Preschool

To make our winter in a bottle, we gathered…

  • Empty water bottles
  • fake snow
  • pine branches
  • berries

Before making our ornaments, I set the bottles, pine branches and fake snow out for the children to explore. They enjoyed the sensory experience of playing in the snow and filling their bottles…

Christmas in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

Some of the children decided they were snow scientists as they used the variety of tools we set out for play…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

All throughout the morning, children stopped by to explore the winter in a bottle center…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

Later in the morning, we used the materials to make an ornament as one of our parent gifts.  To make the ornament, the children started by filling their bottles with a small amount of fake snow…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

Then the children added a pine branch to represent the many pine trees we have outside our classroom…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

And to add a little bit of color, the children added some berries that we found on one of our trees outside. We didn’t set the berries out for play and we have talked often about not eating the berries the children find outside in our environment. The children plucked a few berries off the branches to add to their bottles…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

Once the children completed their winter in a bottle, we closed it up with a lid and added a ribbon around the top of the bottle for hanging up their ornament…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

I went back later to hot glue the lids onto the children’s bottles to make sure the bottles would make it home without falling open along the way…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

After the children completed their Winter in a Bottle ornaments, we wrapped them up with red material, purchased at Hobby Lobby, and set them aside until it’s time to take them home…

Winter in a bottle ornament by Teach Preschool

A couple of things to note (trying to think of what questions folks often ask me)…

  • We couldn’t use real snow or it would melt before the children would get it home but don’t worry, we played and will continue to play in plenty of real snow too.
  • We didn’t want the bottles to be too heavy so they would hang nicely on a tree at home without weighing down the tree branches.
  • The pine needles on the pine branches may well dry out and fall off over time but this can be part of the learning process for the children.
  • The plastic water bottles we collected and used are called Aqua Pod!  They do not have a label on them that leave a sticky residue which is wonderful. They are not super thick but we love them.  These bottles are available at grocery stores like Marsh.

20daysofakidmadechristmasPIN-460x614

This idea is only one of many wonderful ideas for making beautiful Christmas ornaments with kids.

  • To share your own ideas or to see the 50+ kid made ornaments being shared, stop by Mama Miss today!
  • See the schedule of all the other blogs joining in this kid-made ornament series by clicking here!

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By | December 17th, 2013|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , , |6 Comments

Cardboard collage ornaments

We’ve been busy decorating our classroom this week and these ornaments were just thing our little Christmas tree needed…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

Mr. Hayden assisted the children in our annual tradition of setting up our classroom Christmas tree…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

Once the tree was fully assembled, it was in need of decorations.  We had a Christmas ornament station available as one of our centers.  The children knew just what to do and set to work creating some of the prettiest ornaments I’ve seen…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

The children set off to design and create their own ornaments to decorate our tree.  Various collage materials were set out on the table for the children to use.  In case you were wondering, these nifty little collage trays are fruit trays found in the produce section of the grocery store…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

Circles were cut out of cardboard to use as ornaments.  Crayons, tape, stickers, scrap paper, pom poms, and glue were all available for the children to use in their creations…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

How the children chose to use the collage materials was completely up to them.  Some children filled their entire circle, while others chose only to color it in with crayons.  A few of our children chose to work together…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

Some of our children made more than one ornament.  Regardless of how the children chose to create their ornaments, they were each unique and so special in their own ways…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

The wonderful part of this Christmas ornament station is that it ran completely independently.  The children were familiar with all of the materials and knew exactly what they wanted to do with them.  Like our Christmas card making station, this is an easy center to put together that could keep our children busy for days…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

And our Christmas tree would be ever so beautiful because of it…

Cardboard collage ornaments by Teach Preschool

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By | December 7th, 2013|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , , , , |2 Comments

Christmas ornament math

I love Christmas time in the classroom!  There are so many opportunities for authentic learning to take place using unique, yet inexpensive materials.  These Christmas ball ornaments definitely fit the bill!  Today I am sharing how we used these beautiful ornaments to explore math concepts, but there are so many more ways that they can be used in the classroom…

Christmas ornament math by Teach Preschol

For this activity, we worked in small groups.  Each child had their own small felt board that we often like to use during circle time activities to display the items we are working with…

Christmas ornament math by Teach Preschool

Small baggies were filled with ornaments.  Though these ornaments are shiny and pretty, they are only made of plastic so there is no worry that they will break.  Each bag contained only two colors and the children were given the opportunity to pick their own baggie…

Christmas ornament math by Teach Preschool

We like to estimate a lot in our class.  So, to begin our lesson, we asked the children to estimate how many ornaments were in our baggies.  The children shouted out their estimates.  Then we opened our bags and spread the ornaments out on our board so that we could count them…

Christmas ornament math by Teach Preschool

After counting the ornaments, we discussed whether there were more or less or the same as the children’s initial estimates…

Christmas ornament math by Teach Preschool

Next, we worked on making simple patterns with our ornaments.  Our younger children worked on creating AB patterns.  We encouraged our pre-k children, and others that were ready, to create more elaborate patterns.  When all of the children had a simple pattern made, we went around the circle taking turns sharing our pattern out loud…

Christmas ornament math by Teach Preschool

At the end of our math lesson, we piled all of the ornaments back into a box and set them out for the children to play with for the rest of the day…

Christmas ornament math by Teach Preschool

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By | December 6th, 2013|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Designing our own shiny gem ornament graphs

Did you know math can be shiny and beautiful?  Well it just so happens that in my classroom, math can be very shiny and beautiful when you are designing your own shiny gem ornament graph…

First of all, I should let you know that I had planned to print up some graphs for my students to use for this graphing activity but by the time math day came around, I never got around to making the graphs. So, I decided that I would invite my students to design their own graphs…

I started by giving the children some guidance on how to draw a graph using a ruler and a pencil. We talked about how to draw our lines so we had columns.  Now you may be thinking, “Isn’t this too hard for preschoolers?”  In the back of my mind, I had no idea how much of this my students would fully grasp but I wasn’t worried about whether or not they drew a graph like mine. My goal was to introduce the graph drawing process then let the children go off to the table  and interpret the process in their own way…

I also showed the children how I could spread my jewels out on the graph and then sort them into the columns. My large group graph designing lesson lasted all of about five minutes…

Then the children were off to the tables where they had paper, rulers, pencils, and a plastic ornament filled with about 20 jewels waiting for them to design their own graphs…

Every child did a remarkable job drawing their own graphs.  We had some that turned out very much like the graph I had drawn for them and others were a modified version of the graph I had demonstrated but all of the graphs were outstanding…

As each child completed his or her graph, they dumped their gems out of the ornaments and onto their paper to begin the process of sorting and graphing.  Some of the children completed their graphs quickly and others took their time to complete the graphs.  Each child made their own decision as to whether or not their graph was ready for sorting and graphing gems…

Then the children began sorting the gems on their graphs. Again, the way each child organized their gems depended on how his or her graph was designed…

Most of the children sorted their gems by the type or color of gem…

Some of the children sorted and lined their gems up in each column of their graph…

Other children sorted and grouped their gems into squares on their graphs…

As the children completed their graphs, Mrs. Courtney and I walked around and asked the children questions like “Which column on your graph has the most gems?”…

And “Which column on your graph has the least number of gems?”…

The process of designing their own graphs combined with the beautiful gems created an interesting process for the children to explore…

Points to Ponder

  • I do not recommend sitting children at a table and having them follow you step-by-step through a process like this.
Having the children follow you step-by-step doesn’t allow students to work at their own pace and it puts pressure on the children to perform or do what you do rather than encourage children to think for themselves and build their own understanding of the process. Having the children follow you step-by-step also removes the opportunity for you to observe the children and reflect or assess their understanding of the process because they are simply copying you.
  • I do recommend sharing a process such as this, in simple terms, from beginning to end and in as few steps as possible before sending the children off to explore or interpret the process on their own.

By letting the children explore the process on their own, you will be better able to observe what they understand, what they can do, and even evaluate what processes your students are mastering. You will also be better able to determine what processes you need to give the children more experiences with through alternative approaches…

  • And finally, it is important to keep in mind that my students have been exploring the graphing process through many different, hands-on activities like our button sorting shown below. Before jumping into a graphing process like what I have shared today, make sure you are exposing the children to plenty of sorting, organizing, and graphing processes through your centers, play, and other both small and large group activities.

Questions you may have

  • The gems and rulers are from the Dollar Tree
  • The clear plastic ornaments are from Walmart but we also used small, clear water bottles which were just as cool as the ornaments.
  • My students are between the ages of almost four to five.

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By | December 15th, 2012|Categories: Christmas, Holiday Ideas, Mathematics|Tags: , , , , , |5 Comments

Glittery glue ornaments in preschool

In my last post, I shared with you our glittery stars and mentioned how we saved the glitter for another adventure.  Well this was our next glittery adventure….

It is hard to tell in these photos, but the children are using plastic holders that I had left over from Christmas. The holders were originally the packaging used to hold small store-bought Christmas ornaments.  We used the store-bought ornaments on our classroom tree and I saved the plastic holders for this idea…

I cut the holders apart and invited each child to choose one they would like to use.  The children started by filling the bottom of the plastic holder with a thin layer of glue…

Once each child’s plastic container was filled with glue, the children then added glitter on top of the glue.  This was the same glitter we used to make our glittery stars

This time, the children used their fingers to sprinkle the glitter on the glue rather than using the glitter bottles…

By using their fingers to sprinkle on the glitter, the children got a nice fine motor work-out as well as a fun sensory experience…

The children added as much glitter to the top of the glue as they wanted because in the end, I had them shake the access glitter back onto the glitter tray so it didn’t matter if they over filled the containers for now…

After the children completed their glitter sensory play and filled up their containers, I set all the glittery glue containers aside to dry for over a week…

And once the glue was completely dry, we peeled the glue ornaments out of the containers and here are the results…

Make sure the glue is completely dry before peeling from the container.  If the bottom is still white, then it is not ready to peel…

I added a length of yarn so the children could hang them from their trees…

 

By | December 22nd, 2011|Categories: Christmas|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments

We made melted snowman ornaments in preschool

We made these little snowman ornaments in my pre-k class a couple of weeks ago and last week one of my little boys said, “Mrs. Stewart – those melted snowmen we made last week were really great! We are giving mine to my grandma!”  So with this great review – I wanted to share them with you!

You will need some plastic cups (the clear kind but not the crystal clear kind).  I don’t know what number is on the bottom of these cups but you will want to try this first on your own to make sure your cups will melt. I tried a couple of different kinds of cups like the one shown below and both worked fine…

I let my students use permanent markers to draw their snowmen face on the cups. My students love permanent markers and we use them often so the children are very good about using them carefully…

While the children were decorating their cups, I had the oven preheating over at my house to 250 degrees Fahrenheit…

Once everyone had completed their cups (they were drawing snowman faces on their cups) – then we took a quick fieldtrip over to my house to bake them in the oven (my house is a brief walk across the parking lot from the preschool). I could have baked them without the children present (and so can you) – but I really wanted the children to see the melting in progress….

I printed each child’s name and the year on the back of each cup before putting them in the oven to make them a fun keepsake at home.  I let the children watch the snowmen melt. The oven wasn’t hot to the touch so we were good there but I still reminded the children not to touch the oven and they all did very well.

Once the snowmen (cups) were all melted, then we took them out. It takes about 2  to 3 minutes for the cups to melt down and they cool in about 30 to 60 seconds…

Our melted snowmen went right home (the parents were outside waiting so I didn’t get to take a better photo of the finished snowmen before they went home!).  This is something so simple that I have told my students if they want to make them again any time soon, just say the word and we will give them another go!

 

Links to Grow On…

I love the Christmas Playdough Snowman from Learning 4 Kids!

By | December 15th, 2011|Categories: Christmas|Tags: , , , |17 Comments