Tag Archives: arts & crafts

ppdjohnnyappleseed

Preschool Playdate: Johnny Appleseed

Playdate: September 29, 2016
Theme: inspired by Johnny Appleseed’s birthday on September 26th

— 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
— Unsquiggle activity: “A” sound box
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

This is actually the second time we have done this theme – what’s not to love about apples?! We brought back some of the activities that the children loved last time and added new ones that better fit the age of the children attending last Thursday. Click HERE to see last year’s event.

STORY TIME
This is actually a narrative biography of Johnny Appleseed’s life that is WAY to long for a preschooler to listen to all in one sitting. We broke it up over five days for our big kids!!  However, the book boasts one-page and two-page illustration spreads, so I searched the internet to come up with the high points of his life, made up two sentences to summarize those points, and showed 7 pictures to go along with the summaries.  It all worked out!

img_2194

Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend; Written and Illustrated by Will Moses

 

LITERACY CENTER
Fun with magnet letters!

Level 1: Match the letters to the corresponding letter in the word “apple”
Level 2: Sort the letters into Uppercase/Lowercase or sort by specific letter
Level 3: Turn over the “apple” word card and have the child spell out the word; then check for accuracy.

img_1973

MATH CENTERS
Number recognition/spatial recall
The apple cards are programmed with numbers and the Spanish words for the numbers. We had two levels of play:
1) jumble one set of cards and put them in order/
2) use two sets and place them apple-side up to play a memory match game.

img_2197

Counting
Modifying the “Cookies on a Plate” game from Lakeshore Learning to fit our theme…

Here is “Apples in the Bowl”. Roll the die, count out that number and place the apples in the bowl. The first player to reach the number ten wins.

This game is great for teaching one-to-one correspondence as well as addition; and for older children you could introduce the idea of “greater than” and “less than”.

There is also a sensory interaction with the apple shape and noticing the differences in color. Another level of play would be to sort by color into the separate bowls.

img_1974

DISCOVERY TABLE
Tasting apples and apple products!

We showed the different colors of the outer skin, as well as the different tastes of each apple (sweet, sour, tart)

We also did a texture and flavor comparisons between fruit, sauce, and juice.

We always enjoy a good tasting center!!

img_1937

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Fun fact about apples: there is a star hidden in the core!!

img_1971

My intention was to use the core to stamp….

img_1977

img_1970

The sweet peas decided to use them as painting implements instead!!

img_1975

 

I love how they adapted to materials at hand to suit themselves and create their own art.

 

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 poem where children are welcome to give hugs; then we sing our closing song and say a final good-bye.  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. The rest of us stay and visit for a few more minutes and watch our Bradley babies enjoy their extended playtime :)

PPDspringflowers

Preschool Playdate: Flowers

Playdate: March 24, 2016
Theme: Spring Flowers

— 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: passed around seeds and plants for children to observe
— Storytime: Book from Enchanted Learning.com
— Unsquiggle activity: growing plants

Unsquiggle: after the children got to see the seed, roots growing, first leaves, and flowers, we invite them to act out the growth cycle.  They ball themselves up into little seeds, start shooting roots, then stem, leaves and flowers. A parent or another child can be the sun shining and the water falling from the sky or a watering can.  Whoever is the water can visit each child individually and water them to grow. (Idea from Mailbox Superbook)

STORY TIME
We used a book we made when Puma was a preschooler. It shows all the stages of growing from seed to plant, and you can print your own copy HERE at Enchanted Learning.com.

We passed around these samples for the children to look at and get to experience the live version of what they were seeing on the page.

Image-1 (33)

 

LITERACY CENTER
This was a fun activity to put together. I was trying to incorporate uppercase and lowercase letters, and then it occurred to me that each letter could also be a color of the rainbow.  I decided to add a little Spanish into the color identification games.

Level 1: Match the colors

Level 2: Match the letters in the same case (Uppercase to uppercase)

Level 3: Match the letters to the opposite case (Uppercase to lowercase)

IMG_5293IMG_5292IMG_5169IMG_5168

 

MATH CENTER
This was a number correspondence game. The children would place the correct number of buttons in the corresponding basket. The game could be played with random placement, or with instructions like, “same color”, “same size”, or, “make a pattern”.

IMG_5164

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
This is a felt activity where children could play with the arrangement of the flower parts and also identify the print words. A parent can ask a younger preschool to turn the letters the correct way. If the child is already sounding out, they could start to read the words.

IMG_5165

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take

This is a print activity.  You could use paint or ink – we opted for paint this time.  I didn’t lay out any “sample” with this activity…simply put out the sponge shapes and plates of color and waited to see what would happen. As you can see, there were lots of ideas on how to make flowers.

IMG_5170IMG_5159IMG_5158IMG_5157

 

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.

Stop in next week to see all the fun we have exploring caterpillars and butterflies today.

 

PPDireland

Preschool Playdate: Ireland

Playdate: March 17, 2016
Theme: Luck o’the Irish

How perfect that this playdate was on St. Patrick’s Day!! It made for a lot of neat activities. We did not focus on the saint aspect so much since we honor that not everyone shares our belief system.  We made it more about The Emerald Isle and all things green!!

— 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)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime: Great Irish Legends
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers) to welcome any latecomers to our playtime and sing one more time to the other children

 

STORY TIME
I found this book on Amazon. We chose the story about the king with the donkey’s ears. It was a great story that taught about tolerance and acceptance – very poignant during this turbulent political season.

IrishLegends

 

LITERACY CENTER
I found this idea on the B-Inspired Mama blog. I adjusted it to focus on uppercase and lowercase vowels since there are too many children and too little time (and too few foam shamrocks from the Dollar Store!) to make them all their own individual game.  We turned the shamrocks upside down in the containers for an element of surprise.  I also set out fishing poles with blue and yellow strings since blue + yellow = green :)

Level 1: Name the letter and match the letter case to the corresponding game card.

Level 2:Name the letter and mix the case and the card so that they have to match uppercase to lowercase.

IMG_5147 IMG_5146

 

MATH CENTER
This was a printable from the B-Inspired Mama blog that I modified in order to add more print elements.  I wrote in the word names for the numbers in both English and Spanish before laminating the puzzle.

Once the sweet peas put the puzzle together, you could also have them count the elements in the picture: how many children, shamrocks, rain drops, etc.

IMG_5148

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
We had two activities for the children to explore…

Sensory Bin
We made green rice via the recipe on the Mama Miss blog. It is so easy to do – it literally takes five minutes to make. The only caveat is that you have to leave enough time for it to dry.  When we remember, we will make it the night before we need to use it. If not, luckily our AZ sun is hot enough to dry it out in a couple of hours, or spread it out and dry it on cookie sheets under a ceiling fan…we have done all these to get rice ready for playdates!!

We added pom-poms, buttons, and foam for different textures for the children to find under the rice. Of course, scoopers and kitchen utensils completed this area.

IMG_5150

 

Green Food Taste Test
This is an idea that I have seen across Pinterest as a way to engage picky eaters…sorry that I don’t have exactly one blog I can credit here.  Our sweet peas and I brainstormed green foods and made a mad dash to the local Sprouts to get some green!

We prepared a tray for each child individually in the kitchen. The parents got a tally sheet so that they could write down the food and circle a happy face or a sad face after the child tasted the particular food.  If my memory serves me, I think that the idea for the tally sheet was from B-Inspired Mama…we simply made our own instead of using her printable.

IMG_5149

Spinach, green pepper, grape, green apple, lime, cucumber, celery, kiwi, pear, broccoli

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
These Wee Little Men are from the Sweet and Lovely Crafts blog – you can find the instructions HERE.  As a preschool teacher, I tend to save toilet paper rolls – it was nice to finally put some of them to use!

IMG_5151

 

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.

Check in next week when I share the activities we enjoyed for our Green Thumb playdate from yesterday.

 

 

PPDaustralia

Preschool Playdate: Australian Animals

Australian Animals
Play date: January 28, 2016

— 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: used our MAPS book by Aleksandra and Daniel Mizielinski, plus some postcards I had picked up when I visited Australia in 1998.
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: Kookaburra Sits In The Old Gum Tree

 

STORY TIME
I could not find the kind of book I wanted for today, so I “wrote” one and presented it to the children on PowerPoint.  Inspired by the MAPS drawing of Australia, I tried to imagine what we would see if traveled around the edge of the country. In order to make the book more vocabulary rich, I also incorporated different words synonymous with walking and swimming.

Here it is on YouTube :

 

LITERACY CENTER
With two “K” animals in the Australian Animal Toob, I naturally gravitated towards the “K” sound for today.  We picked up items from around the house and put them on the tray.  The Sweet Peas had to find the other items that started with the “k” sound, and put them in our “K Sound Box”. I leave it flexible, so that whether they are spelled with a K or sound like a K, they can go in the sound box.  Some of the older Sweet Peas knew the difference between the “c” words and the “k” words, so they were encouraged to play however their Sweet Pea led.

IMG_2596fd

 

MATH CENTER
For this we pulled out some older toys of Puma’s from her toddler years, plus some of the animals from The Australian Animal Toob.  The numbered cards are also from Puma’s preschool days. They were a great tie-in for the Great Barrier Reef!  All three levels of play allow for parents to also work on the concept of even and odd numbers

Level 1: Count the animals

Level 2: Match the amount of animals to the number on the card

Level 3: Place the cards is oder

IMG_2593

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
Some animals, some sand…the Sweet Peas really enjoyed today’s center. I picked some red sand as well as some tan sand to use in the center.  I had showed the children pictures of the red rock in Central Australia, so this was a fun way to incorporate it into the morning.

IMG_2594

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
Inspired by the images on a scarf I bought in Australia, I thought that stipple art would be a good project for the Sweet Peas.  It’s actually framed and hanging in the hallway near our art area, so Puma walked the Sweet Peas over to it to show and inspire them before they worked on the art project.  We also used the four basic colors most often used in Aboriginal art: brown, yellow, white and red.

IMG_2597

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.  This morning, the discovery table and the art project got the most mentions.

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.

Come back next week as we peek into our “Very Hungry Caterpillar” play date that we are doing today!

 

PPDdragons

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

 

STORY TIME

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.

IMG_9036

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.

IMG_9035

LITERACY CENTER
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.

IMG_9041

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.

IMG_9040

 

MATH CENTER
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

IMG_9034

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
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.

IMG_9033

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!!

IMG_9038

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:

IMG_9039

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:

IMG_9037

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.

PPDninjaspsd

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:

IMG_9858

— 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.

IMG_9860

 

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.

IMG_9857

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

IMG_9856

 

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:

IMG_9861

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.

oktober

Preschool Playdate: Oktoberfest

Play date: October 1, 2015

Fun little side-note…as I searched the internet for ideas for this playdate, I discovered that apparently some preschool teacher decided to serve apple juice in child-sized beer steins to celebrate Oktoberfest in her classroom…LOL. That is a direction we definitely did NOT go.

Anyway, my inspiration for our playdate came from a beautiful map book Charger was gifted this summer. The book is called “MAPS” by Aleksandra Mizielinska and Daniel Mizielinski. HERE is an image I found of the page online:

MAPS Germany

I went through and created categories from the images on the map to start brainstorming.  I also explored Enchanted Learning to see what kind of ideas they had, and voila! Our playdate was pulled together overnight.

— 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 part last week since our group was so big and the discussion of the theme was a little longer.

— Discussion of theme: Used the MAPS book to point out different parts of Germany and German heritage/contributions to our modern culture.

Stories: Brothers Grimm, Hansel & Gretel, Snow White, Musicians of Bremen
Composers: Bach, Beethoven (I guess Handel not included since he is considered a British composer?)
Inventions: Printing Press – Johannes Gutenberg, Beach chairs, Aspirin – Felix Hoffman, Cuckoo Clock
Dogs: German Shepherd, Dachsund
Food: Gherkins, Pumpernickel, Roast pork, Dumplings, Breads (including rye, pretzels), Sauerkraut (pickled cabbage), Weisswurst (white sausage)

— Storytime – worked some unsquiggle in by handing out felt figures before story time and having the Sweet Peas listen for their piece to be named. When they heard it, they brought their piece up and put it on the felt background.

— Unsquiggle activity Also skipped – it was time to get the Sweet Peas moving!!

— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: “Oh where, oh where has my little dog gone?” since we had talked about German Shepherds and Dachshunds during the theme discussion.

While the families arrived and during center time, I played classical music written by German composers in the background.

STORY TIME
I had the story of  The Musicians of Bremen in one of our schoolbooks from last year. There are more words than pictures, so I created images and felt pieces to use as I read.  I held up the cards to show the contribution of each animal to the band: “lute”, “drum”, “night music” and “music”.  Before we started storytime, we handed out the felt pieces for the children to bring up and place on the felt background as they heard their piece named in the story.

Image-1 (29)

Look under the “Discovery Table” for image source list.

LITERACY CENTER
This was an edible center – yum! Always fun for preschool playdates :)
I cut out the capital letter of all the preschool age guests and their younger siblings. The Sweet Peas would then find the letter of their first name (or a friend or sibling), and then cover the letter in pretzels. Eating happened all along the way!

Image-1 (30)

Find the original idea HERE on “The Educators’ Spin On It”

MATH CENTER
Counting With The Dogs:  This is a center of my own creation that incorporated German dogs, dice, and patterning.

Level 1: Place correct amount of items onto a numbered plate
Level 1a: Roll 1 die and count out the items to match the face of the die

Level 2: Create a pattern and continue the sequence. When we play this, I create the first two patterns, and then invite the Sweet Pea to make one for me to figure out.

Level 3: Roll 2 dice, count out, and add

Image-1 (31)

Image sources: links to image online
Bone ~ DachshundGerman Shepherd 

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
Part 1 of the Discovery Table disappeared before I got a picture of it.  We cooked some Weisswurst (white sausage) and served it with sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) so that the Sweet Peas (and the mamas!) could enjoy some German food.

Part 2 of the table was having the Sweet Peas play with the felt figures and retell the story if they are advanced communicators. If they are still acquiring verbal skills, you could ask them the order that the animals were introduced in the story, and then “what happened next” to prompt them.

Image sources: links to image online
Donkey ~ Hound ~ Cat ~ Rooster ~ House ~ Robber ~ Witch Hat 

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This idea came from Enchanted Learning, an online teaching resource with *a ton* of ideas and activities.  HERE are the instructions, and here are the samples I made for the Sweet Peas:

Image-1 (28)

I prepared the eyes and cut out the ears and noses ahead of time. The Sweet Peas could place them however they wanted to on the paper bags. Ears up was a German Shepherd, ears down was a Dachshund; and the Sweet Peas pasted them every which way to come up with their own creations!

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 the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

Come back next Thursday to read all about the FIRE SAFETY play date that we had today since it is Fire Prevention Week in the USA this week.

 

PPDpirateday

Preschool Playdate: Pirate Adventure

We held a pirate-themed playdate last week in honor of “Talk like a Pirate Day” that was celebrated on September 19th.

Getting the morning started:
— 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; peers learn each other’s names)
— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

I was so excited for the Sweet Peas to get into the activities that we had planned for the morning that we completely skipped over the story, the unsquiggle *and* the song last week.

We did use some bunting flags I had printed for Charger’s birthday party two years ago to introduce pirate vernacular – it was fun to hear a roomful of toddlers making their best imitation of pirate-speak!

Pirate Playdate Download

STORY TIME
How I became a Pirate is the story of a little boy who is captured by pirates and returned home as a hero.  Our family also enjoys the rhyming prose in Portside Pirates that relates a “day in the life” of a pirate crew.

Even though we skipped the read-aloud by accident in my excitement to start the centers, I did play the audiobook version of Portside Pirates that is set to music during play time.

Image-1 (15)

LITERACY CENTER
Level 1: Pre-writing activity: connecting the dotted lines to practice lines and curves

Level 2: Letter identification with the letter cards

Level 3: Identify the beginning sounds and/or reading three-letter words

GAME: “Memory” with pirate vocabulary picture cards

Image-1 (9)

Sources:
Advanced Tracing; Beginning/Ending letter sounds worksheet
http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2014/06/pirate-theme-early-learning-printables/

Basic Tracing; Word/Letter Match
http://learncreatelove.com/pirate-week-recap/

MATH CENTER
Level 1: Add jewels to the treasure chests or count out parrots flying over the pirates

Level 2: Order the treasure cards first (1-6) and then count out the “jewels”.

Level 3: Order the parrot activity  cards first (1-15) and then count out the parrots.

Image-1 (10)

Sources:
Treasure Chest Clip Art
http://www.clipartlord.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/treasure-chest4.png

Parrot Counting Game
http://www.homeschoolcreations.net/2014/06/pirate-theme-early-learning-printables/

DISCOVERY TABLE
This was a prep-ahead activity.  The night before the playdate, the girls and I made these in the kitchen. There are only four ingredients: baking soda, water, gelatin, and food coloring.

We used ice cube trays that lend themselves nicely to a treasure chest shape.  Fill them half-way up with the mixture, add a treasure to the middle, and then fill to the top.

They popped out easily, and the Sweet Peas really enjoyed the experiment.  There was the initial sight and sound stimulation as the application of vinegar reacted with the baking soda.  There was a smell component with the vinegar, and then a kinesthetic component as the children dug into the goo to retrieve their treasure.

In order to add a little element of observation, we put vinegar in an empty glue container for more of a pouring effect, and also in a spray bottle.  We had two square pans; one child would use the glue bottle in one pan, the other would use the spray bottle in the other one.  Then they would switch so that they could each experience the “fast” and “slowdisolvement of the treasure chests.

Image-1 (11)

Source:
http://fun-a-day.com/pirate-science-fun-exploding-treasure-chests/

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
We did this in the kitchen so that any Sweet Peas who don’t like getting their hands dirty could head straight to the sink to wash up afterwards.

Set up: poured paint into a divided plate with red, tan, and black.
First, I painted the tan section in the middle so that I wouldn’t have to be neat with the center portion.  The red went on next, and the black went on last.  Several of the children commented that it tickled…I learned to warn them about that as we went along :)

Pictured below is the progression of the craft:
Top L: handprint from hand painted with three colors

Top R: finished sample pirate print

Bottom: Puma & Charger’s interpretation of the craft – they didn’t like the separated beard so they each took the pen we used to add detail to make the craft original and attractive to them.

Image-1 (12)

Source:
http://www.makinglearningfun.com/PirateFromHandPrint.htm

FREE PLAY:
I like to leave some time for the Sweet Peas to interact with everything we have set out without structure.  Sometimes they go back to a favorite game or activity; today it was full on pirate battle!! I set out the mats to be the “water’ and pulled in some big boxes to serve as ships.  Everyone quickly abandoned ship and used the “water” as the battlefield for an epic encounter between the green and the blue team!

Image-1 (13)

 

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 the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

As always, we had a fun playdate – we are blessed with an amazing SPB community to spend time with.  Stay tuned: my boys have requested a knight-themed playdate for next month!!

PPDwildflowers

Preschool Playdate: Wildflowers

Playdate: May 15, 2015
Theme was chosen in honor of Wildflower Week

IMG_6192

— 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
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

Most of the activities this week were inspired by print-outs or songs in The Mailbox Superbook.

STORY TIME
In lieu of a book, we used a song and a discovery activity for the children to explore the growing cycle of a flower.

We talked about the vocabulary first, and then introduced the song.  The third time through, each Sweet Pea got to play a part of the song.  One was the sun, one was the gardener watering, and the remaining children got to be flowers growing in the garden.  We took turns so that each child got to play each part.

IMG_6191

 

LITERACY CENTER
This is another printout from The Mailbox Superbook – the main point was to develop some motor skills through tracing.  I added a print element to the activity by printing out word strips for the children to cut and paste on their worksheet after tracing the flower shapes.  Crayons, scissors, glue, plus some vocabulary…WIN :)

IMG_6187

MATH CENTER
Sorting and counting…always a good math center!  The children could sort by color, type of leaf, whether the edge was smooth or rippled…and probably more ways than we tried that morning!

An advanced version of this center could be done by making tally marks to track results, and/or plotting a line graph with the results.

IMG_6188

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
This activity is the only one that came from The Toddler Calendar.  Felt sticks to itself, so the only thing I had to do was go buy it.  Aside from cutting their pattern out, I also added a print element by creating labels for all the parts of the flower.

IMG_6189

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This activity has been bookmarked in The Mailbox Superbook since I first started using it when Puma was 3 years old.  I finally made the time to execute it! Better late than never :)

I used sponges from the dollar store, and cut each color into a different part of the flower.  This was again, a reinforcement of the vocabulary words of the day that centered around the theme: flower, leaf, and stem…no “roots” this time!

 

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.  This morning, the discovery table activity and the arts & crafts activity were the big winners.

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 that have somewhere to be afterwards have a clear reason to insist that it’s time to go – school is over!!  Otherwise, the kiddos and parents that don’t have to leave will stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives at noon.

 

Preschool Playdate: Johnny Appleseed

We hosted a playdate in honor of Johnny Appleseed (née John Chapman) close to one of two “Johnny Appleseed Days” recognized in the calendar year.  One day is observed on his birthday (September 26, 1774), the other on the anniverary of his death (March 18, 1845).

How we start our playdates:
— 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
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

STORY TIME
We have a wonderful book about Johnny Appleseed from our Sonlight readers. Unfortunately, the text is too advanced for our preschools. So I improvised! I pulled together some highlights about Johnny Appleseed that went along with the beautiful two-page illustrations that are in this book. A toddler version of Johnny Appleseed’s life was born!  Puma helped by reading out the text while I turned to the marked pages.

Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend; Written and Illustrated by Will Moses

Johnny Appleseed: The Story of a Legend; Written and Illustrated by Will Moses

LITERACY CENTER
This was another week where I came up with my own idea for our letter center. Since “apple” is a common vocabulary word, I decided to work in the word and the letters that comprise the word, in addition to working in the colors of the apples the children would be tasting at the Discovery Table.  This also had a tactile sensory component – the letters were different shapes, sizes and textures.  I purposely made the two vowels with a red background to set them apart from the consonants.  (Microsoft Word for Mac; Century Gothic Font; Outline option in the Font menu)

Level 1: Sorting and Sound Identification
If the child is still working on letter recognition, they can play at this center by sorting the letters into the correct bowl.  As the letters are sorted, parents can reinforce the sound that the letter makes: “A says aah”; “E says eeh”; etc.

Level 2: Identifying Uppercase and Lowercase
The next step in this center would be to add in the concept of “uppercase” and “lowercase”, and identify them as they are sorted into the bowls.

Level 3: Spelling
For our advanced toddlers and the older siblings: the third option was to find the letters and place them in order to spell the word “apple”.  The older siblings could look at the word for 30 seconds; then turn over the card; find the right letters and place them on the table; and then check their spelling by turning the card right side up for self-correction or confirmation that they spelled the word “apple” correctly.

IMG_4916

 

MATH CENTER
This center reinforced counting concepts in English and in Spanish.  The front of the card was printed with an apple.  On the back side, I wrote out the number and the word in Spanish. I made these with an apple image I found online; fit them onto a “table” in a Word document, and printed them on cardstock. Final step was to cover them with clear contact paper so they would be more durable.

Level 1: Counting
A parent could simply take as many apples as the child could count, maybe add one more; and place the apples out on the table as they counted. Aside from teaching the order of the numbers, it reinforces 1-to-1 correspondence (more about that HERE).

Level 2: Ordering
A parent could use the reverse side, scramble the order, and have the child place them in the correct order.  Younger toddlers might need the parent to call the number out for them; more advanced kiddos could order them independently.

Level 3: Memory Game
Using two sets of cards, parents could lay them out and play a memory game with their child.  You could use as many cards as your child can remember placements.  For a toddler just learning the concept of “Memory”, maybe you would play with six cards, finding the pairs for 1-3.  With an older child, you might use the whole set of 1-6 pairs; or anything in between according the child’s interest and attention span.

IMG_4917

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
This idea was pulled from The Toddler Calendar.  Their activity included tasting raw apples, and apples cooked with cinnamon and sugar.  Since we wanted to keep it simple and avoid any possible allergies, we stuck to raw and dehydrated apples.  We offered red, yellow, and green varieties.  There were not many pieces left on the plates at the end of our playdate; and I think we even refilled the yellow and the green!

IMG_4919

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
I always enjoy using natural objects in art.  For today’s craft, I cut off the end of a carrot and pared opposite ends to form the shape of an apple.  Children could dip it in red paint or green ink to print apples on their paper.

The other neat thing to show the children was how the center of an apple has a star shape.  Some of the apples even had a six-point shape at the core! I learned something new, too!  Lastly, we pulled out the seeds, and the children had the option to glue the seeds to their art projects.

As we showd them the seeds, we talked about how those same seeds could be planted to grow into big trees, that in turn could grow more yummy apples for them to eat.

IMG_4918

Here is the letter on cardstock; children printed and pasted on the letter "A" to reinforce the beginning letter sound.

Here is the letter on cardstock; children printed and pasted on the letter “A” to reinforce the beginning letter sound.

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 the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

I hope you enjoyed our tour through our Johnny Appleseed Day! I think the most fun for me was watching the kiddos explore all the tastes of the different apples, and seeing them enjoy food they had never tried before.

IMG_4920