Gathering up simple materials for creative art

We are always looking for unique art materials to make the art process interesting and fun for our students and one of our favorite types of materials to use are things the children would normally see or have at home…

Two unique art materials by Teach Preschool

For this art activity, we used cotton swabs for painting and egg cartons as our paint palettes.  First I would like to tell you about our upcycled egg carton paint palettes…

Two unique art materials by Teach Preschool

We have a great pharmacy in our town that likes to save recyclables like egg cartons and cardboard tubes and discarded envelopes for us.  Deborah stops in on occasion to see what they have saved for her and brings all of the treasures home to use at a later time.  You may be wondering why a pharmacy would have discarded egg cartons.  Well, this pharmacy also has some grocery items like milk, eggs, and ice cream.  You know, all the necessities!  A store can save up a lot of interesting things in a hurry and they will save them for preschool teachers like us or anyone else crazy enough to want to store a hundred egg cartons or a huge box of envelopes in their garage to use at a later time.  All of our egg cartons hold one dozen eggs, so there are 12 separate little spots, perfect for holding paint, sorting beads, or counting tokens.  We cut our egg cartons in half and washed them out well before filling them with paint. For styrofoam egg cartons, they can be washed in some dishwashers as well…

Two unique art materials by Teach Preschool

After filling our egg cartons with paint, we set out another simple but unique art material: cotton swabs.  It’s always interesting to see how the children will use a new tool…

Two unique art materials by Teach Preschool

The children dipped the cotton swabs into the paint and then dabbed it onto their paper.  Some of our children began exploring their cotton swab paint brush by just making lots of dots on their paper…

Two unique materials by Teach Preschool

Others used the cotton swabs to swipe the paint on their paper, as they might with a paint brush…

Two unique art materials by Teach Preschool

Two of our girls were feeling the Valentine’s day spirit and chose to paint hearts with their cotton swabs…

Two unique art materials by Teach Preschool

Two unique materials by Teach Preschool

And our one little guy who started out making dots on his paper soon realized that those colorful dots could be smeared all over his paper with a few swipes of the cotton swab.  The dots and colors mixed together to create lines and beautiful blobs…

Two unique materials by Teach Preschool

Deborah saw how much fun the children were having with their two new art materials and decided to have a go at it herself…

Two unique art materials by Teach Preschool

Introducing new art materials can be hit or miss with our class.  But these two simple, inexpensive tools really seemed to be winners for us!  Do you have any unique art tool ideas that you would like to share?  Leave a comment below letting us know your favorites!

Available on Amazon

By | February 1st, 2014|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , , |8 Comments

At play with marbles and tubes

What can you do with a bag of marbles and a whole bunch of left over wrapping paper tubes? Our prekindergarten kids figured out something fun to do and all we needed to add to the mix was a roll of tape…

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

You may be wondering where all the tubes came from. I actually collected them right after Christmas time from our local recycle drop off site. I get lots of snazzy classroom materials from that site like boxes and shoe box lids and this time I made sure to drop by a couple of days after Christmas and see if there just might be any paper tubes and there were bunches…

Tubes and Marbles by Teach Preschool

My prekindergarten class found the tubes set out on a table along with a roll of clear packing tape. We used the tape to connect the tubes together to create longer tubes…

Tubes and Marbles by Teach Preschool

I assisted the children in helping them tape the tubes together so they wouldn’t fall apart quite so quickly and once we had a long row of tubes put together we started on a new row…

Tubes and Marbles by Teach Preschool

The connected tubes stretched from one end of our classroom to the other end going up and over tables and chairs…

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

The children learned through trial and error that they had to position chairs strategically under the tubes in order for their marbles to roll from one end of the tube down to the other end of the tube…

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

The children worked in teams with some of the children at one end of the tubes dropping in marbles and other children at the opposite end of the tubes catching marbles in a cup.  We started out without cups and marbles went shooting all over the floor so we learned that it was much better to catch them in a cup and they came out fast!..

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

The children took turns dropping and catching marbles…

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

After spending time exploring the marbles and tubes, the children also discovered that they could talk in one end of the tubes and listen in the other end…

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

But there was usually more talking than listening going on…

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

A wonderful morning of engineering and designing and collaboration and cooperation going on…

Marbles and Tubes by Teach Preschool

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By | January 24th, 2014|Categories: Engineering|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments

Building life skills with lid soup!

I am an avid saver of all kinds of lids. I love the colors, the shapes, the sizes and the many, many things you can do with them in the preschool classroom. For a little waterplay fun, the children whipped up some lid soup…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

There wasn’t much to prepare here. Just add water and lids and some tools for play and you have lid soup…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

And no real need for any guidance or instructions. The kids instinctively know how to make their own lid soup as soon as they see the water table all set up for play…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

Oh, and don’t be surprised if your students add other ingredients to your lid soup. My students decided to add a few dinosaurs to their soup. I am not sure if the dinosaurs are actually part of the soup or if they just stopped by to take a swim in the water table…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

You see, the goal of this process isn’t to define for the children what I think should be fun but rather to give the children tools for play so that they can then apply their own ideas based on what they think is fun…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

Whether a child is stacking and balancing lids in a cup, pouring water from a ladle, or giving a dinosaur a bath these types of play are fostering new skills which can also be used in real life situations such as pouring a cup of juice in a cup or scooping up their own snack…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

And as the children play, they are also focusing, concentrating, communicating, collaborating, and building life skills…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

So if you haven’t had lid soup yet, start saving up those lids (or have the kids help you do it) and then step back and observe the kinds of play, learning, and development that is happening as the children play…

Lid Soup by Teach Preschool

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Links to Grow On

Lots of Lids by Teach Preschool

Patterning with Partners and Lids by Teach Preschool

More things you can do with lids on Pinterest!

By | October 9th, 2013|Categories: Sensory Play|Tags: , , , |6 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

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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

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!



Sorting recyclables in preschool

We’re celebrating Earth Day and one great way to show that we care about the Earth is by recycling!  See how we examined the process of sorting recyclables in circle time…

Sorting recyclables in preschool by Teach Preschool

To begin our Earth Day celebration, we read The Earth Book by Todd Parr.  This bright, colorful book gives wonderful suggestions for how we can help save our planet…

les in preschool by Teach Preschool

As with all of Parr’s books, The Earth Book’s illustrations are simple, yet bold.  His style of writing is humorous, which our preschoolers love…

les in preschool by Teach Preschool

After enjoying The Earth Book, we brought out baskets labeled with the words paper, plastic, metal, and glass…

les in preschool by Teach Preschool

Then we brought out our bag of recyclables.  The children took turns passing the bag around the circle and pulling out a recyclable object…

les in preschool by Teach Preschool

Our bag contained a wide variety of items that could be recycled: yogurt containers, cereal boxes, foil, cans, salad dressing bottles, etc.  Once the children picked an item, they were to choose which basket they thought it might go in…

Exploring Recycling for Earth Day

Some items were obvious, but others were a bit tricky…

les in preschool by Teach Preschool

When the children had a difficult time determining which basket their item went in, we helped them examine the item by asking questions like, “Can you rip it like paper or cardboard?  Is it shiny like metal?  Can you see through it like glass?”

les in preschool by Teach Preschool

We continued to examine recyclables throughout the day in our centers. I will share more in the next post so check back!

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Links to grow on: 

Making a trashy collage for Earth Day by Teach Preschool

Making a recycle city collage by The Seeds Network

Recycling think and sort game by No Time for Flashcards

 

By | April 13th, 2013|Categories: Circle Time|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

Totally Tubular: Creative expression on a tube

I recently had a parent donate a paper roll dispenser to my class and so we have been having some fun exploring different ways we can use our paper roll dispenser, besides just dispensing paper.  Over the past few weeks we have been going totally tubular and placing different sizes of tubes on our dispenser for a little creative expression through painting, drawing and writing…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

For painting, we put two of our tube blocks on the paper roll dispenser and set out some paint for the children to explore. The children enjoyed painting all around the tubes and turning the tubes as they went along….

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

Because there were two tubes and two sets of paints, most of the children explored the totally tubular center with a friend.  What a great way to promote creativity, conversation, and collaboration!..

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

And as a reminder, you can read more about the tubes that we are painting on in my previous post titled, “Building and playing with our free tube blocks and where you can find them too“…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

Not only did we do a little tube painting, but we also tried a little tube drawing only for the drawing tube, we used an oatmeal container covered with paper…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

The oatmeal tube gave our students a larger canvas to work with.  As each child finished drawing, we either removed the paper and added a new one to the oatmeal container or we covered the drawing with a new sheet of paper or we left it and others would come and add to the drawing that was already there.  We let the children tell us what they preferred to do as we went along throughout the day…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

Some of the children preferred to work alone on the drawing tube and others preferred to draw with a friend…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

Instead of changing the tube, this time we kept the oatmeal container and changed out the paper from white drawing paper to black construction paper…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

The children used white chalk to draw on the black construction paper…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

No question that the tubular painting was the biggest favorite of the children overall but each new tube, process, and writing tool has provided its own type of interesting experience along the way…

Totally Tubular by Teach Preschool

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By | January 17th, 2013|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , , , |4 Comments

Building and playing with our free tube blocks and where you can find them too

I have had lots of folks asking about our wonderful new addition to our block center that we call “tube blocks.”  We have been building and playing with our free tube blocks for a few months now and yes, I said free! Let me share all about them and where you can find them too…

Tube Blocks by Teach Preschool

The tube blocks are made out of a very strong, solid cardboard.  They come in about three different heights (lengths) ranging from about 4 inches tall to 8 inches tall…

Tube Blocks by Teach Preschool

The tube blocks are very strong but not too heavy for play and we are continuously exploring different ways we can play, explore, and create with our tubes…

Tube Blocks by Teach Preschool

Inside each tube are these little white plastic rings (see below) that can easily be popped in and out of the ends of our tubes.  We have been removing the rings to also use for play (which I will share some other time) but the important thing to note is that with each tube, also comes two plastic rings…

Tube Blocks by Teach Preschool

We have used our tube blocks to build snowman towers.  I created a snowman head for each child and the children stacked the tubes on top of one another then added the snowman head to the top to make their own snowman towers…

Tube Blocks and Snowman Towers by Teach Preschool

As the children built their snowman towers, we counted the number of tubes they used and compared which snowman towers were the tallest or shortest…

Tube Blocks and Snowman Towers by Teach Preschool

The children are beginning to integrate the tube blocks with other toys in our classroom in different ways and I think they will only continue to get more creative with their use of the tube blocks as we progress through our school year…

Tube Blocks by Teach Preschool

Where to find tube blocks

Tube blocks are actually cartridges that hold film paper used by stores that print digital photos.  Stores like CVS, Walgreens and others use them in their digital photo development machines. When the stores are done using them – they throw them away! Yikes!   I stopped by a lot of different stores before I was able to find a photo person that would save them for me.  You have to find a store that prints LOTS of digital photos and then get the person in charge of the photo department to agree to save and donate the leftover tubes to your school or program . And, by the way, some of the stores are getting newer digital photo processing machines that will not use these tubes for their paper so stock up while you can!

My favorite Walgreen’s lady has been saving these tubes for me for several months now and I stop by regularly to pick them up so the saved tubes don’t take up space and get in their way…

Tube Blocks by Teach Preschool

I will share more about how we are using these tubes in future posts for sure so if you happen to have a photo department near you, stop by and see if they have these tubes and will save them for you too!
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Thank You

A special thank you to the teachers in Southern Indiana that shared their idea and use of the tube blocks with me.  It took me awhile to find them where I live but I finally did! We love them!!

By | January 15th, 2013|Categories: Around the Classroom|Tags: , , , |4 Comments

How to make toddler tubes

Being a fairly new grandma, I find that I am constantly having to come up with toddler toys when my grandson comes over to play. My grandson and I had a little fun making toddler tubes and here is how you can make them too…

First you need roles of duct tape.  Duct tape comes in lots of colors now so choose the colors you like best.  I picked up my tape from Walmart and chose red, blue, yellow, and green. I tend to like the basic colors for really young children…

After your toddler is done stacking or rolling the rolls of tape around the floor, then you can use the tape to cover the paper towel tubes…

My job was to wrap the tape around the paper tubes. My grandson’s job was to test out the new toys as they were ready to go. Our toddler tubes passed the toddler play test with flying colors. Duct tape really can fix just about anything.

I made two toddler tubes of each color…

Once our tubes were all set to go, I played with the toddler tubes too!  I arranged the tubes on the floor in different shapes or patterns while my grandson ran around and watched me…

Then I would get out of the way and see what my grandson would decide to do next (mommy came and joined us too!)…

It is always interesting to observe toddlers at play. With each change of the toddler tubes, my grandson would find a new way to play with them…

And of course, we had to see if our cars could drive through them…

It was VERY hot outside today so our little adventure making and playing with toddler tubes was a good way to keep us busy indoors…

 

Available on Amazon

 

Links to Grow On

Learn with Play @ Home: Baby Play: Post the Blocks

The Iowa Farmer’s Wife: Baby and Toddler Sensory Bottles

Mom Tried It: Motor Skill  Activity for Toddlers

Janet Lansbury: Ten Best Ways to Encourage a Toddler to Talk

By | June 28th, 2012|Categories: DIY, Infant and Toddler|Tags: , , , , |18 Comments

Making a trashy collage for earth day

Through some of our reading materials, the children explored ways we can help take care of our earth. One part of this is being aware of what we do with trash….

After we played our “Trashy Fishing Game,” the  children used some of the left over materials to create a trashy collage…

To make their collage, the children stared by sorting through the items we collected in our trash pile…

Then the children selected a few pieces of trash they would like to glue on a sheet of construction paper…

In our trash pile were plastic lids, pieces of cardboard, scraps of plastic baggies, newspaper squares, and other odd items.  While sorting through the trash, we used the word “recycle” and what it meant to recycle…

The children printed the word “trash” on their paper since this was our new word of the day.  We often illustrate the words that go onto our word wall through our artwork…

Super simple and a great way to promote lots of conversation about trash, recycling, and taking care of our earth…

Books available on Amazon

Want to see more earth day activities? Check out all the ideas on my Linky Page!  (For those of you viewing this by email, you must come to the blog to see the linky page).