Summertime play essentials

Today marks the last day of school for the big kids in our town.  And although preschool has been out for about a week now, I think that we can officially declare the start of summer break when those big kids get off the bus at the end of day!  Today I am sharing all of the must-have summertime play essentials to make the most of your break…

Summertime play essentials by Teach Preschool

Water

When the weather is warm, water is a MUST!  Find a list of pools or splash pads in your area so that you can start planning your visits.  Whether you take your children on an exotic vacation to the beach or just let them run through the sprinkler in your own backyard, they will love keeping cool with water this summer. But when you aren’t up for a day at the beach or dragging out sprinklers, setting up a small water table can be a simple and fun alternative.  Here are ten terrific hands-on ways to get the most out of water play this summer…

Ten Terrific Ways to Get the Most out of Water Play by Teach Preschool

Sand

Sand is a sensory material that is inexpensive and requires only the most basic tools.  And, like water play, it doesn’t have to take up much room.  If you don’t have a backyard or a large area for sand box, a table top sandbox will work just as well.  A large shallow plastic storage container works really well to contain the sand and you can simply throw the lid on it when you are ready to put it away.  Even a one-inch sandbox can be an appealing, low maintenance option.  Add dinosaurs, trucks, shovels, and pails, and you have a sandbox set for providing hours of summertime fun…

Adding trucks to the sand table

Dinosaur play in the sand table

Bubbles

Bubbles bubbles bring out the inner child in all of us!  There is nothing more magical than seeing children run and chase after bubbles.  Whether you load up by the gallon at your local discount store or make your own, bubbles are a summertime fun essential that you won’t want to be without!

Bubbles bubbles by Teach Preschool

Sidewalk chalk

Sidewalk chalk is another versatile summertime must-have!  Sidewalk chalk is one of those tools, like crayons, markers, clipboards, and pencils  that encourages the development of fine motor skills at a young age.  The motivation to draw and write is powered by play and sidewalk chalk is so much fun to play with in the summer time.  Keep a big box of bright vivid sidewalk chalk around for drawing on your driveway and walks.  Or whip up your own batch of DIY chalk paint and then make chalk-painting prints.  For over fifty more great ideas, be sure to visit our chalk Pinterest board

DIY Chalk Paint by Teach Preschool

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Hoola hoops

Hoola hoops are a super way to keep children active this summer!  Hoola hoops are so great that you will want to be sure to have one hoola hoop per child or even a few extra around for fun and games.  Hoola hoops can be used for setting up obstacle courses or playing “hoop”scotch.  Or simply let children use their imaginations to come up with new and creative ways to use a hoola hoop…

Hopping Hula Hoop Game | Teach Preschool

Pool noodles

Pool noodles…you see them everywhere in the summertime.  At the dollar store, supermarkets, and even the pharmacies are carrying them.  But what the heck do you do with those long squishy foam tubes besides play with them in a pool?  Well, you could start by attaching one to your garden hose for a little pool noodle water hose play

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play

Or you could try any of these other 10 ways to use your noodle

Noodle Play

Sticks and rocks

Last, but certainly not least, in our list of summer fun time essentials are sticks and rocks!  Mother Nature provides us with the greatest tools for play.  Go for a hike and pick up a few of nature’s greatest toys and watch as your child creates his or her own adventures.  Set out some tape and watch as your child transforms a simple stick into a magic wand or pirate sword…


Add some art to your summer by mixing up a batch of nature paint.  Paint sticks, rocks, cardboard, paper, or even on sidewalks with this fun colorful paint.

Nature paint on sticks

Glue a stick onto a piece of easel paper for a great easel starter. Or add some rocks to a heavy piece of foam board and let your little ones create some rockin’ drawings

Easel Starter: Stick

Rockin' drawings by Teach Preschool

You’ll find even more awesome ways to play and explore with rocks this summer here…

Exploring rocks in preschool by Teach Preschool

Did I miss anything?  What are your favorite summertime fun essentials?

Available on Amazon

 

By | June 8th, 2014|Categories: Outdoor Play|Tags: , |2 Comments

Pool noodle water hose play

If you happen to have an extra pool noodle on hand and a water hose, then you have all you need for a very fun day of water play!

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play

To get started, there are a couple of things you can try. I was hoping to turn my pool noodle into a car wash which I am still perfecting but my grandson wasn’t willing to wait for me to perfect my plan. To prepare my pool noodle, I used a screw driver to poke small holes down one side of the pool noodle so water would be able to stream out the holes…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

However, the water wouldn’t come out of the little holes unless I plugged the end of the pool noodle closed. So I put a bottle cap, just larger than the pool noodle opening, inside the hole to plug it closed…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

In the other end of the pool noodle, I pushed the end of the water hose into the hole.  Turn on the water, and with the bottle cap lid in place and holes in the pool noodle, you get a sprinkler type affect…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

However, my plan changed when my grandson took over. Instead of keeping the bottle cap plug into the end of the pool noodle, my grandson wanted the water to flow all the way through the noodle…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

The pool noodle is soft and flexible which makes moving it all around easy to do…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

My grandson liked tossing the pool noodle water hose up into the air. He would close his eyes and prepare for the cold water to splash him as the hose came back down…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

And he liked bending it in different directions…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

And after he played with the hose for awhile, he was ready for me to show him how to plug the end of the tube with his hand to make water spray out of the tiny holes that I made in the tube…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

My grandson was delighted to see he could make the flow of the water change by plugging up the holes in the noodle. The three holes closest to the water hose were the only three that water would flow out of without plugging the end of the tube so my grandson experimented with plugging those holes to see what would happen too…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

After about an hour or so of pool noodle water hose play, it was time to turn off the water and head inside for lunch (much to my grandson’s dismay)…

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

I am still determined to work on my idea for a carwash because I am now on my own personal mission! But in the mean time, I can easily pop the end of the pool noodle over the end of a water hose any time my grandson is ready to play..

Pool Noodle Water Hose Play by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | June 2nd, 2014|Categories: DIY|Tags: , , |2 Comments

More than just a strawberry

At age two, learning begins with real life experiences. Well actually, for all preschool age children learning begins with real life experiences but for a  two year old, real life experiences are a critical part of bringing authentic meaning into the learning and skill building process..

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

My daughter has the most energy when it comes to giving my grandsons real life experiences. I like to tag along and take pictures and help out where I can. Today, we made our way to the strawberry patch…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

Kai already knew what a strawberry was but now he had the chance to see first hand and for the first time how a strawberry grows and how to pick it off the vine…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And while picking strawberries, we were able to use words like “pick, pull, stem, leaf” and other words related to strawberries and the strawberry patch. As my grandson would pick a strawberry, he would immediately want to “open it” meaning take off the stem so he could eat it…

More that just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And of course, a two year old is going to want to eat more than he actually puts in the box but we did manage to fill the box with enough strawberries to bring home for later…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

After we got home from the strawberry patch, mom got busy fixing dinner while I took Kai over to the classroom to make a paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

A paper strawberry isn’t nearly as interesting as a real strawberry but because we now had a connection to a real experience with strawberries, it was a good opportunity to introduce the concept of making something he now had an an immediate experience with…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

As I shared in my previous post, Kai has also already explored the use of glue just a bit. As soon as he saw the glue bottle go out on the table, he knew that he was going to get to squeeze that bottle and make the glue come out. I invited Kai to help me make a strawberry. As a reminder, I brought a few of our real strawberries over to the classroom with us to look at and talk about (and eat) as we made our paper strawberry…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

I showed Kai how to flip the paper over and pat it really good so the strawberry and the stem would stick to the white paper. I can tell you that each of these skills from dripping glue on the paper; flipping the paper over; patting the paper down; understanding that the glue will make the paper stick together; and painting fingerprints on the strawberry doesn’t have a lot of meaning to Kai yet but using the trip to the strawberry patch gave us the interest needed to “make a strawberry” which then allowed me to introduce these different skills and each of these processes will begin to make sense over time…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

And after we completed our strawberry, Kai knew that he had made it himself and mommy (or I) had a fun keepsake to save from our day at the strawberry patch…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

If I were to tell you the moral of this story, it would be to make sure you connect real life experiences with the ideas you plan for your classroom. It is for this reason, as a teacher, it is a good idea to find out what kinds of things children are doing at home. Did anyone go to the zoo lately? Did anyone go to the strawberry patch? As you can find out what types of experiences your students have spent time on with their families, then you can build on those experiences in the classroom too…

More than just a strawberry by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Read and it and cook it  from Teach Preschool

Fourth of July Strawberries from Kids Activities Blog

Strawberry Week from Brenna Phillips

Camp Mom Summer Activities Pack

If you are still looking for some good ideas to keep kids busy over the summer time, consider adding this ebook to your summer time planning!

Camp Mom Summer Activities Packet

Camp Mom Summer Activities Pack is a collection of over 80 summer time ideas contributed by my fellow mom bloggers (and me). I was supposed to share this with you all before summer ever even started but with the end of school and other things going on around here, I have been terribly behind.  So since there is still plenty of summer left to go – I hope those of you looking for new ideas to keep at your fingertips will find this ebook something you will really enjoy and appreciate.

summer-activities-pack-

The ebook is filled with beautiful photos of the activities along with the instructions of what to do. And, of course, every idea can be adapted or built on to work best in your situation.

To purchase your copy of Camp Mom Summer Activities Pack for $12.99 just click the “Buy Now” button below. After you make the purchase, follow the instructions to download your copy of the ebook.

Buy Now

Here are a sample pages from the ebook…

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What this mom had to say…

am so excited about Camp Mom, this is exactly what I need to help me create the kind of summer experience I want for my kids! I tend to have great expectations for the summer but pulling it all together while managing a house and family can make it difficult to execute. We are also on a tight budget so I am looking forward to giving my kids great summer activities that we can do at home. With four kids even reasonably priced extracurricular classes are not an option this year, thank you for writing this superb ebook! ~ Lorien V. Mom to 4

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Purchase your copy of Camp Mom Summer Activities Pack for $12.99 today!

Buy Now

 

By | June 9th, 2013|Categories: Around the Classroom|Tags: , , |0 Comments

A sunny day drawing cube game in Pre-K

With summer on its way, we have been talking about things you can do on a sunny day during circle time and then we played a game to add a little different spin on drawing a picture of a sunny day…

The children started by making their own sunny day cubes…

Then the children tossed their cubes and drew what ever landed on top of the cube on their paper…

The children made up their own rules as they went along. For example, you were allowed to draw more than one cloud if you want or you can color the house any color you want. I always love listening to the children make up their own rules for play…

As the children went along, they added more elements to their sunny day pictures like apples to a tree or smoke from the chimney.  The children took their time exploring the drawing process with this little game…

For those of you who would like a copy of the drawing cube, you can go to Preschool Spot and download a copy there for free…

By | May 25th, 2012|Categories: Preschool Spot|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

Painting with balls of ice | teens in early childhood education

Over the summer, seventeen year old Ms. Lauren has been working with me to help get ready for the new year in preschool. She has been helping me set up the classroom and get things organized. One of Ms. Lauren’s assignments this summer was to choose an activity she would like to do with Wy before the end of summer. Ms. Lauren wanted to do something along the lines of marble painting. Since it has been so hot outside and since we have seen so many other ideas having to do with ice, Ms. Lauren decided to paint with ice balls instead of marbles…

Wy and I had played with water-filled balloons the night before and then we put them in the freezer overnight so they would be ready for Ms. Lauren the next day. Some of the balloons were also filled with tempera paint. I used up the tempera paint left over from my home made dot dabbers

When Ms. Lauren arrived the next morning, she popped the frozen ice “balls” out of the balloons…

Once she got almost all of the ice balls out of the balloons, she put them back in the freezer until she was ready to use them for her activity later in the morning…

In the end, she had clear ice balls and some yellow, red, and blue tempera paint ice balls.  Well, they were kind of egg-shaped but you get the idea…

For set up, Ms. Lauren set out bottles of tempera paint, the ice balls, and a large box with paper inside.  It was very, very hot outside so she had to move it along because the ice was melting…

Ms. Lauren chose to squirt some paint on the paper to roll the ice balls through. Then she let Wy help her toss the ice balls into the box.  Wy loved tossing the ice balls into the box…

The tempera paint ice balls left red paint all over your hands (because they were melting so quickly in the heat) but no worries – Wy simply wiped his hands off all over his shirt and then his shorts. Problem solved!!

Next, Lauren and Wy took turns picking up each end of the box to make the ice balls roll across the paper. The box was bigger than Wy but he love lifting his end up high…

Before long, Ms. Lauren stepped aside and invited Wy to run back and forth from one end of the box to the other and lift up each end to make the ice balls roll back and forth. Wy liked doing this all by himself or with Lauren as a partner. Either way was quite fun…

The ice balls didn’t really leave much of a print on the paper. They mostly just got the paper super wet but since Ms. Lauren added a little paint to roll the ice balls through, we had a little more color in the end.  It didn’t matter to Wy whether we had color or not, he was loving the lifting and rolling…

Ms. Lauren also invited Wy to try drawing with the ice balls on the paper and he did give it a quick go but this wasn’t as fun as lifting the big box so he didn’t stick with it more than a few minutes…

After Wy was all finished lifting, rolling, and drawing (we switched out the paper a few times), then Ms. Lauren set the papers out to dry and tossed the ice balls out into the grass to let them finish melting….

After everything was all cleaned up I asked Ms. Lauren what she thought of the activity. She replied, “I thought it was really fun!”  That is exactly as it should be!

Classified: Mom

By | August 6th, 2011|Categories: Outdoor Play|Tags: , , |12 Comments

Make pool safety a priority even though the end of summer draws near

Although school is just around the corner, it is likely that with the days still being so hot, many of you will still be taking your preschoolers for a little dip in the swimming pool.

“Two-thirds of childhood drownings occur May through August,

making drowning the biggest summertime risk for kids” (RD) 

Cara Pettersen wants to remind everyone that even though your children may have been around the pool all summer long, it is important, very important, to not get laid back when it comes to pool safety. Read Cara’s tips below for making sure young children are safe while at the pool.

Child Pool Safety

by Cara Pettersen

Summer is still here and swimming pools are still in full effect. Homes with swimming pools need to be extra cautious with young children around. Kids love the water and love to push the limits of their abilities, and therefore need to be closely monitored around pools. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) goes as far to recommend “If possible, do not put a swimming pool in your yard until your children are older than 5 years” (TIPP). This certainly doesn’t suggest that children under 5 should not be allowed to learn to swim or enjoy pools, but people should be strongly aware that having a family pool posses great risks to small children.

For pool owners and parents alike there are pool safety measures to follow and be familiar with before supervising children in or around water. Pool owners with small kids should be CPR and first aid certified, and need to enforce basic safety practices to ensure water safety for all kids in their pool. Parents who allow their children to visit other families with a pool in their yard should be aware of the pool environment and ask questions about pool safety etiquette, or should be present during swimming and water play.

Pool Safety Tips

– The most crucial rule to follow is to never leave children alone in or near a pool. A drowning can be easily avoided by having an adult present at all times during swim times.

– Practice “touch supervision” when watching small children in a swimming pool, lake or the ocean. Touch supervision means that an adult is within arms length at all times.

– Equipping pools with rescue equipment can be a lifesaving factor. A life preserver should be visible and easily accessible for quick retrieval if needed. Keeping a phone near the pool is also a good idea for any emergencies and for convenience of not leaving the pool to answer the phone.

– Protect children with proper, certified life vests. Inflatable flotation devices or swimming aids are not an appropriate substitute for approved life vests and can be unreliable in a time of distress.

– A smart way of not tempting kids to go near a pool is to remove all pool toys from a pool after use. Children then will not be inclined to reach for them.

– Try to keep young children in pools that don’t go very deep, where they could touch the bottom at any given moment.

– Keep kids hydrated with fluids and water to avoid dehydration. It is easy to become dehydrated in the sun, even when playing in water.

– Don’t forget to apply sunscreen repeatedly throughout swim time! UV sunglasses, hats and protective clothing also help to protect young sensitive skin from the sun.

Understandably it can be nearly impossible to have an eye on a child every minute of the day. Homes with swimming pools and small children should undoubtedly have a fence surrounding the pool. According to the AAP, most drowning accidents happen because young children wander out of the house and fall into the family pool. Proper pool fencing helps to avoid these tragic accidents. Safety pool fences should be at least 4 feet high and surround the perimeter of the pool. It is also important to find self-closing and self-latching gates in order to ensure a secure pool gate closure.

Pool covers are a great safety addition to any pool. Safety pool covers completely cover a pool, and keep children and pets out of the water. However, be sure that you install a secure pool cover. Some pool covers, such as solar pool covers, which are fantastic for the specific use of heating pools, cannot be used as a safety pool cover. Pool covers that simply lay on top of the water can be an extreme danger for children and pets, as they can fall in and become entangled.

Always remember, teaching a child to swim does not mean the child is safe in water. Supervision and following safety precautions is the best approach to avoiding swimming pool and water accidents.

Have a fun and safe end to your summer around the pool!

Painting on the grill in preschool

To go along with our pretend barbecue, the boys had fun with a little ketchup and mustard painting on the grill…

First we used a basting brush to spread a little ketchup and mustard (red and yellow paint) on our grill (aluminum pan with holes in it)…

The paint flowed through the holes leaving fun little dots on our red paper…

At first, we had only set out yellow paint in a mustard container for this but the boys wanted to add ketchup too….

They were quite fascinated with the holes in the pan and the dots that were left on their paper…

By | July 15th, 2011|Categories: Painting|Tags: , , , , |8 Comments

Grilling with preschoolers:pretend play

We had a little fun barbecue play today with our very own grill and accessories…

There are several skills explored and concepts learned as we played today…

Wy and I learned how to fold up our own table cloth…

Tristan already knew how to fold his picnic blanket so he demonstrated this for us…

We were reminded that when a grill is hot, we should never touch it with our fingers…

Then we tried grilling up some of our own special recipes…

And we discovered that it is hard to pick up toys when we have those large hot pad mitts on our hands…

Thank you to Ms. Lauren for taking our photos today!

Check out these fun pretend camping ideas…

Pretend Camping Props from Mom with a Lesson Plan

Camping Indoors from Strong Start

Indoor Camping Fun from Getting Messy with Ms. Jessi

By | July 14th, 2011|Categories: Dramatic Play|Tags: , , , |4 Comments