DIY chalk rocks for preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks by Teach Preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

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

DIY Chalk Rocks in Preschool by Teach Preschool

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

Sink or Float: an exploration with nature

Water is such a wonderful resource in the preschool classroom as it can be used for all types of play, exploration, and learning. One of our most recent water activities was to gather up some items from nature then answer the question “Does it sink or float?”

Sink or Float with Nature by Teach Preschool

The children started out by reviewing a short checklist of nature items I put together based on the kinds of items I knew were available around our school grounds…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

Then each child took their checklist outside to find and gather each of the items on their checklist…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

As the children found each item, they brought the items inside and set them by their name until they had every item on the list sitting on the table…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

Now we were ready to begin our exploration with sink or float. The children chose the first item on their list which was a piece of bark and made a guess as to whether the bark would sink or float. Once the guesses were all in, the children dropped their bark in the water to check their guesses and make any other observations they found interesting…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

The bark was then removed from the water and we repeated the process for each item on our check list which included sticks…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

Leaves…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

Rocks…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

And flowers…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

This bright group of students were able to guess quickly which nature items might sink or float but some of our items tricked us a bit since it had rained the night before. The bark was particularly tricky because although some of the pieces of bark floated, some of them sank depending on how wet they were. We also took a few minutes to watch our leaves float across the water by blowing on them…

Sink or Float: An exploration with nature by Teach Preschool

A terrific study on the concept of floating vs. sinking!  If you would like a copy of our checklist – just click here for the PDF!

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Links to Grow On

Exploring what will sink or float in preschool by Teach Preschool

Balloons and Water by Teach Preschool

Sink or Float Bottle by Chasing Cheerios

F is for Float by Brilliant Beginnings

By | May 18th, 2013|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |7 Comments

Our Earth rocks: a pour painting activity

To continue our celebration of Earth day we created Earth-inspired pour painted rocks. Although we do all kinds of pouring in our classroom including pouring in the water and sand table, pouring our own juice at snack time, and even pouring glue for art – pour painting is a process that we hadn’t tried before…

Earth rocks and pour painting by Teach Preschool

Any kind of pouring that takes place involves the use of eye-hand coordination and the ability to judge when to stop and when to keep going but the nice thing about pour painting is that you really can’t get it wrong no matter how much or how little you pour…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

To encourage the children to focus on “pouring” and not on “dumping” the paint, we encouraged the children to slowly pour the paint from the cups and to keep switching back and forth between colors until they had used up all of their paint. Here is how the process looked…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

The children held a cup of paint high above the center of their rock, then slowly began pouring…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

The children poured a small amount of their first paint color onto their rock then they chose their second color and began slowly pouring it in the center of their rock, on top of their first color…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

The children alternated pouring their colors on top of each other until their rocks were covered and their cups were empty…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

This process is wonderfully simple, yet the results are so beautiful!  By alternating the colors that are poured, the paint is pushed down the rock, creating brilliant designs…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

Pour painting requires a paint with the right consistency for pouring. In our case, we used a mixture of white water soluble, low odor house paint (that’s why the children had to wear paint smocks on this one) and tempera paint but the mess pretty much stayed contained in the box we used to hold our rocks…

Our Earth rocks! by Teach Preschool

Pour painting is also known as Tall Painting. Here is a video that I shared last year of Tall Painting (in case you haven’t ever seen it before)…

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Links to grow on: 

Tall Painting, Tall Town: from Go Beyond the Classroom

Ketchup and mustard squeeze painting in preschool by Teach Preschool

Our “tall paintings” by Teacher Tom

Rainbow pour painted pots by Dilly-Dali Art

Rockin’ drawings

Our children created some rockin’ drawings out of just a few simple materials…

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

Yesterday I shared our colorful rocks with you.  Today we have another simple art activity using rocks and just a few other materials.  The children used sturdy pieces of cardboard, markers, and a hot glue gun to create these interesting pictures…

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

We challenged the children to incorporate these smooth, shiny river rocks into their drawings somehow.  As a class, we all brainstormed and discussed how we could turn our rocks into something different.  Deborah took their ideas and drew a few examples, just to help the children better understand the process…

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

The children began creating their pictures by choosing a few smooth stones to place on their cardboard…

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

Once the children had the idea of how they could create a picture out of their rocks, they began drawing on their rocks and creating their scenes on the cardboard…

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

When the children were finished with their drawings, it was time to make their rocks a permanent part of their picture.  They gently carried their picture over to our gluing station where we guided each child through the process of safely using a hot glue gun to glue their rocks onto their drawings…

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

Because we used markers and hot glue, the children’s drawings were ready to be sent home that day.  I hope their parents enjoyed their rockin’ creations as much as we did…

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

This rockin’ activity was inspired by Zing Zing Tree’s post Using pebbles to make pebble art.

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Links to grow on:

Coffee table rock art by The Chocolate Muffin Tree

Pet rocks by Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Exploring story stones in preschool by Teach Preschool

Creating colorful rocks in preschool

We read the delightful little story You be You by Linda Kranz and enjoyed creating our own colorful rocks…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool

You be You is about a little fish who swims through the sea, taking note of all the different types of fish he sees.  He sees fish that are big, fish that are small, fish that swim up, and fish that swim down.  It is a fun book that explores how everyone is different.  What makes this book unique is the beautiful illustrations.  Kranz created all of the fish in her story out of smooth stones. Each design is different and they are all so interesting…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool

When Deborah finished reading the story, she got out a small bag of stones that were designed similar to the fish in book…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool

The children each picked a stone fish story token out of the bag and then lined them up on the floor according to their size…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool

Then the children played a movement game with their story tokens.  Deborah read the story again while the children acted out the scenes from the book.  They moved and swam like a fish to the right, and then to the left.  They swam like a fish up, and then down…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool
After finishing their game, the children then went off to explore more rocks throughout the classroom.  At one of our centers, there were smooth, flat river rocks (some were purchased from the Dollar Tree and others were collected by the children) and markers for children to create their own rock designs…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool
The children drew whatever they liked on their stones.  Some children just colored on their stones with their favorite colors…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool

While others tried to create fish, like in our story…

Creating colroful rocks by Teach Preschool

When the day was done, each child had a nice collection of rocks to take home.  They each took home their story token fish as well as the colorful rocks that they had created…

Creating colorful rocks by Teach Preschool

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Links to grow on:
Making story stones in Preschool by Teach Preschool
Mood stones by Happy Whimsical Hearts
Treasure rocks by Memetales

How we can explore rocks in preschool

We recently spent a day playing, creating, and learning with rocks.  Come along as we discover all the ways we can explore rocks in preschool…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can gather rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool
We can look under rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can take a closer look at big rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can wash and polish rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can weigh rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool
We can color with rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can add animals to our rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can compare the sizes of our rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can make patterns out of rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool
We can stand on rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

We can have fun with rocks…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

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Links to grow on:
Rock climbing with a three year old by Teach Preschool
Rocks, Rocks, Rocks by The Adventures of Bear
Pebbles by The Imagination Tree

By | March 18th, 2013|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments

Making nature paint to explore the colors and textures of nature

As a continuing part of our focus on Earth Day, our class had a little fun this week whipping up a batch of nature paint…

First, we went outside and collected some baggies of dirt, grass, and yellow dandelions…

Once we had collected our nature items, we went right to work on making some nature paint…

To make dirt paint, we  mixed dirt in with some brown tempera paint. The dirt paint was thick and gooey – we made it just a little too thick at first but easily fixed it by adding just a touch more brown paint…

To make grass paint, we mixed up pieces of grass with some green paint.  The grass paint was not as thick as the dirt paint but it had long blades of grass that had to be really mixed up well in order to get them all mixed with the green paint. The grass paint was stringy…

To make dandelion paint, we plucked off the top of dandelions and mixed them in with our yellow paint. The dandelion paint was lumpy…

And because we happen to have some leftover grass seeds, we also made some green grass seed paint. the grass seed paint was gritty…

Later, we took our nature paints to the outdoor classroom and used them to paint in a variety of ways and on a variety of nature items…

The children used the nature paint to paint on paper….

And to paint on rocks…

And to paint on sticks…

It was an interesting and creative day of exploring items of nature, the painting process, the texture of nature, and the colors of nature…

 

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By | April 21st, 2012|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , , , , |3 Comments

Exploring story stones in preschool

I already shared how to make story stones and I must say, if you haven’t thought about making story stones with or for your class, that you really should. Our students LOVE them…

Ms. Abby introduced the story stones to the entire class during circle time…

Since story telling is new to our class, Ms. Abby told the story for today. Each child took a turn picking out a stone and Ms. Abby would include that stone in the next part of her story…

The pictures on the stones influence the direction of the story. As the children get the idea of how to use the stones for telling stories, we will invite them to tell their own stories…

For now, we set the story stones out on a table for the children to explore on their own…

Here are some more ideas for story telling that I would like to try…

Story Telling Jar by Honey Bee Books

Story Stones by Happy Hooligans

Story Telling Pathway by Preschool Lesson Plans

Story in a Bag by This Little Project

Light Table Story by Strong Start

The Story Stick by the Butterfly Jungle

By | August 29th, 2011|Categories: Activity Boxes|Tags: , , , |16 Comments

Making story stones in preschool

I love the idea of making and using story stones and thought it would be a fun project for my pre-k class to make…

We started by taking a little nature walk and collecting stones. Ideally, you want to find stones that are going to be large enough for decent sized pictures but not so big that it is too heavy for the children to easily carry and explore…

Once the stones are collected, they need a good washing…

Then they need to be dried…

While the stones were drying, we cut out pictures from a variety of magazines…

We didn’t worry about trying to find any particular types of pictures but the size of the pictures mattered. The pictures can’t be too big or they wont fit on the stone…

Once the pictures were all cut out and the rocks were dry, we brushed some Mod-Podge on the tops of the stones…

Then added a picture from our pile..

And brushed more Modge Podge on top of the pictures. You can put the Modge Podge on generously because it will dry clear…

After the Modge Podge dried, we added Mod-Podge to the other side of the stones. And after they all dried, we saved them in a baggie…

And the rest of this story (what to do with the story stones) will be coming up soon…

In the meantime, check out…

Table Top Rock Art” by the Chocolate Muffin Tree

“Rock with Chalk” by Almost Unschoolers

Melted Hot Rocks by Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Rock Art by Mommy Moment

Rock Rumble by Not Just Cute

By | August 28th, 2011|Categories: DIY, Story Telling|Tags: , , , , , |24 Comments

Rock climbing with a three year old

When my little nephew Wy comes over, I learn to view things in and outside of my house with new eyes…

Everyday, I drive past these rocks that are out in my front yard and don’t really give them much thought. My husband put them in the yard as a landscaping feature and I have just kind of gotten used to having them there…

But on this beautiful, sunny and warm day  – I took Wy around to the front yard and there he found the big rocks…

As soon as he saw them, his expression was priceless and off he went on a rock climbing adventure. A little uncertain at first as to how to navigate the big gaps between rocks but it wasn’t long before he discovered he could make the leap and soon he was leaping easily from rock to rock…

And up and down the rocks, all the while never letting go of his bright blue bottle (which I will talk about very soon)…

I have a new appreciation for the rocks out in our front yard. My husband may have put them there to look pretty but through the eyes of a three year old, it is an adventure in rock climbing…

I was hoping to link up with the link-up below but I was a little late:) You can still view all the fun outdoor ideas anyway!

If viewing by email or in a feed – you will need to come to blog to view the linkups!