Preschool Playdate: Dragons

Playdate: January 14, 2016
Inspiration: Appreciate A Dragon Day

— 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) Skipped this week since we got a late start…everybody had to get back in the habit of getting out of the house on Thursdays 🙂
— Discussion of theme: Other animals with scales
— Storytime: Puff the Magic Dragon
— Unsquiggle activity: not necessary since they squiggled through storytime!!
Poem/Song before we break for Centers



I read selections from this book to the Sweet Peas. Everyone was so excited to see friends they hadn’t seen since December (the Peas+Pods – lol) that it was hard to get everyone settled.  Instead of reading the whole book, which is an illustrated version of the song (repetition of chorus every other page!), I read the pages that told the story of Puff’s friendship with Jackie Piper, Jack growing up, and Puff making a new friend.  I used the finger puppets to add interest to the storytelling.


I also shared the book pictured below with the moms in attendance as a suggestion for bedtime reading.  “My Father’s Dragon” by Ruth Stiles Gannet is the delightful story of an ingenious little boy, an old cat, and the quest to find a dragon.  The little boy follows the cat’s instructions to rescue a dragon, that then carries the boy off to new adventures. Jungle animals are introduced in each chapter, and the boy applies creative problem solving to get him one step closer to rescuing the dragon, chapter by chapter.  There is a hilarious rescue scene at the end. All of our children have enjoyed this book.


My favorite part of this center was finding a dragon font HERE.  It’s a free download…since we are a preschool group I kept it simple.  I am guessing we will find many more applications for this font going forward!

Activity 1: Unscramble
I had both upper-case and lower-case magnets available for the Sweet Peas.  They had to organize the letters to spell out, “dragon”.  Since the print-out is tucked into a page protector, they could also use a dry-erase marker to trace the upper-case letters on the page.


Activity Two: Trace or Outline
I used puffy sticker letters for a sensory experience. The Sweet Peas could start by tracing the uppercase letters with their finger tips.  I added the beans to the table so that they could work on their fine-motor skills, so helpful to help them hold a pencil or other writing/drawing instruments.



Can you tell I was puffy-sticker inspired today??  The cards were printed with dragons that alternated designs between the odd and even numbers.  I also added green dots to each card so that they children can start seeing the odd/even concept.  Finally, we added the puffy foam sticker numbers to the back of the cards so the kiddos could do more tracing.  I also added the “dragon’s treasure” for the Sweet Peas to use as counters.  Lots of ways to enjoy this Math Center today!

Activity 1: Identify the numbers

Activity 2: Order the number cards

Activity 3: Explore odd and even: point out the cards that show each set and ask the child to tell you what is different about the dots on the odd cards (always one dot left over) and the even cards (all dots are matched).

Activity 4: Trace the foam numbers

Activity 5: Use the “dragon treasure” to count out the amount to match the number on a card



Activity 1: Scale match
This built on the discussion of the theme.  I printed out images of animals with scales.  It let us talk about familiar animals (crocodile, snake, fish, chameleon) and introduce a couple of new ones (pangolin, tuatara).  I printed a matching set of cards with the scales magnified.  The Sweet Peas had to match the animal with it’s scales.


Activity 2:
Sensory Play: These are dragons we have collected through the years, plus Toob knights.  These could be buried and found, sorted, counted, arranged into epic battles…lots of ways to play with these.

What always fascinates me about the sensory table is that Sweet Peas of all ages enjoy digging in and playing with the rice and whatever is buried in it that week.  The toddler guests and my upper elementary helpers are equally entertained whenever we do a sensory activity like this!!


ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Taking inspiration from the Ed Emberley fingerprint books, here are some of the dragons the Sweet Peas and their imaginative Mama Pods created:


I also laid out this Melissa & Doug dragon vs. knight puzzle for the children to enjoy as they waited their turn or they were finished with all the activities:


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.

Join us again next week when we share the activities we use to celebrate the birthday of A.A. Milne, author of the Winnie-the-Pooh stories.