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Preschool Playdate: Ninjas

Play date: November 12, 2015
Theme: Ninjas

The inspiration for all our activities was our storytime book and these amazing little cookie cutters that were gifted to the Sweet Pea kids:

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— Welcome song in English (emphasizes printed name recognition as Sweet Peas find their card in a line-up and place it on our Name Ledge)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime

STORY TIME
We pulled from two of our favorites for today’s theme.  We used the MAPS book by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski to introduce the theme, and take a look at the country of Japan.  It was perfectly suited for the theme: the pictures of the samurai and the ninja were right next to each other, and it was easy to have the children compare and contrast the two different kind of warriors.

For storytime after our songs, we read Nighttime Ninja, by Barbara DaCosta and Ed Young.  It is the story of a ninja creeping into and through a home…with a delightful revelation at the end. Our guests enjoyed it as much as our children do.

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LITERACY CENTER
I traced the cookie cutters and added faces to one side. On the reverse side I added the vowel letters in upper case and lower case letters. Whether the family played the Level 1 or Level 2, vowel sounds can be tied to the letter identification.

Level 1: Match vowel cases

Level 2: Play a memory game with all ten cards – face side up and have the children turn over two cards at a time in search of pairs.

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MATH CENTER
“Count the katanas” was the first activity I came up with for today’s theme. Charger helped me find the right katana shape on the internet, and then he helped me decorate them once they were all cut out.  I had 6 ninjas left over from the letter activity, so he added to the theme by numbering the ninjas on the back so that they could match the number on the katanas.

Level 1: Count the katanas

Level 2: Match the numbers on the katanas to the numbers on the ninjas.

Level 3: Order the numbers

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DISCOVERY TABLE
Our discovery table was more of an activity for this theme.  I set up an obstacle course, and the sweet peas had to do the course as quickly and as *quietly* as possible. It was so fun to see the kiddos try to sneak around the room, and have so much fun at the same time :)

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This theme’s project was inspired by Nighttime Ninja’s illustrator, Ed Young. The story is delightfully brought to life with his 3-D paper art. I wanted to have the art activity reflect that all art is not necessarily drawn or painted.

We provided glue, black ninja cut outs, yellow and white circles, brown “katanas”, and “cloud” shapes (although there are no clouds in the book – what’s a moonlit night without a little cloud cover?). We also provided some kite string for the children to embelish with if they wanted.  The cookie cutters were available for the children that wanted to trace and cut their own ninja shapes from black paper.  I set out the colored construction paper so the kiddos could pick their own background, then waited to see what would be created.

Here are examples from my four sweet peas. You can see that our older children also added some drawing elements into their pictures:

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We finish our Preschool Playdate with a sharing time: each child that wants to share gets to say what (s)he enjoyed the most about the morning.  We close with a good-bye song where children are welcome to give hugs.  It helps to set a formal end to the time together so that parents have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go if they have somewhere to be afterwards.  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave stay and play until lunchtime.