Tag Archives: discovery

ppdchildrensday

Preschool Playdate: Children’s Day

Playdate: November 17, 2016
Theme: Universal Children’s Day

fullsizerender-9

— 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: Who are the people in our family?
— Storytime: Two books today!
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

STORY TIME
We used two books this session.
“La familia”
The first one we flipped through and “read” toddler-style…basically that means showing them the pictures, summarizing the text, and asking them what they see in the page.

“World Babies”
This one was perfect for toddlers – simple text, lots of great pictures of babies around the world.  We could look at their hats (refer back to Hat Day), see how they were dressed compared to how we dress in the desert, and then we also looked at the ones we saw being worn in carriers.

img_3670

 

LITERACY CENTER
Some of the families took this home because the sticker station attracted most of the todders’ attention! This is a great “All About Me” pamphlet that I picked up to use with our children – we have so many that it was time to share!

However you find this format, it’s such a great way to capture a snapshot of your child’s interests at the time.  Ideally, I would remember to do this every year; at around the same time would be even better :)

img_4062

 

MATH CENTER
I got this idea from Preschool Plan-It.  It was actually quite opening to go through our ads and put this activity together.  The size and age bias is really clear when you look at print advertisements.  We did our best to represent people of all colors and size in our activity, age was much harder.

The tag sheet by itself served as our introductory tool…we asked all the guests what names they had for the people in their family…what did they call their aunt? uncle? grandparents? Everyone had different “titles” for those people based on their heritage.

For the center, we put out the other pieces and the children had to match the picture to the correct category on the tag board.

img_4061

DISCOVERY TABLE
This happened after playdate at the park!! We took out sand toys and bubbles for the children to enjoy at the park.

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This was a bigger hit than I ever could have imagined.  Leave it to the sweet peas to make it amazing!! The kiddos had such a great time creating “faces” out of the plates, stickers, yarn, and googley eyes that I set out on the floor.

Here are their creations…and the “heart” ears…all the credit goes to a very clever three-year-old!

img_4060

 

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.

This concludes our playdate series for 2016.  Thank you for joining us to see our weekly preschool themes!! You can click back through the archives to see other play ideas we have shared since September, and there are more many themes on the blog if you click under “Toddlers”. As I was typing this, I realized that we are in our third year of hosting playdates for our students! Fun times.  I started keeping track in the Spring of 2014, so I hope that you will find some fun ideas on the blog to share with your Sweet Peas.

We have a fun idea in the works for the blog in 2017…I hope you will check back with us to see our new series that we are preparing for you!!

Blessings,
Krystyna

ppdnativeamericans

Preschool Playdate: Native American Day

Play date: November 10, 2016
Theme inspired by the USA recognition of Native American Month

— 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: homes of different tribes http://www.native-languages.org/houses.htm
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

STORY TIME
My favorite thing about these two books is that they point out to the reader that there was no “discovery” of “America”.  There was already a vibrant, rich and long-standing cultural traditions alive and well when Europeans landed on these shores.  One of the books has a great map that shows the regions in the United States and how the cultural traditions developed to suit their climate.

The other book has images that are better suited for adaptation for toddlers. By that I mean that it is easier for me to make up an abbreviated version of the page to suit their attention span!

fullsizerender-7 img_3676 img_3682

LITERACY CENTER
I adapted THIS idea from the Heidi Songs blog .

Since we were not focusing on Thanksgiving this year, I decided to use an image of a buffalo since that animal played such an integral part of Plains Indian culture.  The letters on the plate are the first letters of names of the children who attended playdate this day.  I have found that associating the letter with a person they know really helps them to remember the letter name other times, so I wanted to use letters that were familiar to them from our weekly circle time.

Get your own “Bison Clip Art” to adapt it any way you like for your group.

img_3559

MATH CENTER
As it turns out, we had a blue box from Costco that was just the right size for the sweet peas to sit in and play “going fishing”.  The fish are numbered, so there are lots of ways to play as they “caught” fish:

Level 1: Count how many fish they caught – there were up to 20 that could be snagged with the magnetic fishing poles.
Level 2: Separate the fish into groups – they are numbered 1-5, so potentially five different groups to make
Level 3: Add up the numbers on the back of the fish.  This makes the game challenging for the older children since the total sum could reach 50.

img_3560

DISCOVERY TABLE
Weaving was a skill used across the country to create everything from baskets to blankets.  I thought that the sweet peas would enjoy trying it.  To make it easier for little hands, I used shoelaces.  They have a nice tip for chubby fingers to grab on to, and they are a little slicker than yarn.  The slickness makes it easier to pass the string up and over since it’s not snagging on itself like yarn does.

img_3561

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
One of the art forms that our toddlers could attempt is drawing their own totem pole.  These were illustrated in the book I shared with the group.  HERE is the pattern that we shared on the craft table.  I also printed out THIS inspiration picture.  I asked the sweet peas to think about which animal they liked or related to, and they came up with their own totem pole creations.

This craft can be taken a step further by cutting out the finished drawing and pasting it to an empty paper towel tube so that it can be free-standing.  Since we are out of the habit of using paper towels, I could only share this idea with the parents for them to do at home.

img_3562 img_3563-1

IMAGINATIVE PLAY
Very organically, our children transformed our schoolroom into their own Indian Village.  They created a longhouse out of some pillows we have in our bedroom.  They also used blankets to create other home structures.  They had their fishing area set up complete with boat storage.  Other things they incorporated into their playtime: left-over buffalo plates without letters on them, and “eggs” from our kitchen play area.

Charger set up a hunt for buffalo by setting up buffalo plates around the house.  He had the kiddos throw a bean bag at the plates to knock them over (clever little man also had them count their yield!).  Someone else was tasked with fishing.  And then they grabbed the eggs from the “prairie chicken nests” and brought everything back to our craft table to make a feast.

It also let us talk about sustainability.  The Native American tradition is one of living in harmony with the environment, taking only what was needed and leaving the rest alone.  We could have the conversation about how many buffalo a group of six would need, and how practically every single piece of meat, bone and tissue was put to use.  We took out one of the “First Americans” books again and read that page in detail.

It was really neat to see the sweet peas enjoy the elements of the different activities in their own way.  Watching them assimilate the lessons through play once again validated why this kind of time to be creative and play is so important for children.

img_3564-1 img_3443

 

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.  Playtime was definitely the crowd favorite today, as was the fishing game.

To close out our time together we sing 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.

Thank you for checking out our Native American Playdate.  We have one more to share with you this season.  Today we are doing Children’s Day in honor of the Universal Children’s Day on November 20th….all the details will be up in next week’s post.

One more thing in case you are interested…Here are some Thanksgiving ideas to share with your Sweet Pea at home. Check out this link:
http://www.pre-kpages.com/thanksgiving/

ppdteddybears

Preschool Playdate: Teddy Bears

Play date: October 13, 2016
Theme inspired by Take Your Teddy Bear to Work 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)
— Discussion of theme: This week we did a Teddy Bear “Show and Tell”
— Storytime: Bear on a Bike by Stella Blackstone
— Unsquiggle activity “Teddy Bear” Rhyme
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers “Teddy Bear” Counting
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

STORY TIME
I fell in love with Stella Blackstone’s books the very first time we ever checked them out from the library. As you can see this copy is well-loved…and it was great to share her wonderful rhymes and bright illustrations with our Sweet Pea friends.

image4-2

 

teddybearbw-nursery-rhyme

Image source: “Come and Share Our” on Blogspot

Image found on Totally Tots on Blogspot

Image found on Totally Tots on Blogspot – click on image for their source and a clear printable page.

LITERACY CENTER
Here is our “T” sound box ~ I chose to use all hard “t” sounds and avoid the confusion of the “th” combination.  The sweet peas had a turtle, truck, triceratops, twig, train, train track, tomato, trooper, turmeric, and tuna fish.

image3-2

 

MATH CENTER
I combined two ideas – the cute bear image came from the Nuttin But Preschool blog and a color match set from Lakeshore Learning. I tossed all the items into a basket, put the plates on the table, and had the sweet peas match by color.  For more advanced sweet peas, you could also sort all these into categories: crayons, foods, animals, and balls.

image5-1

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
This idea came from Preschool Plan-It – berry tasting!!  We chose different berries from the grocery store that bears would forage for in the wild.  It allowed for lots of opportunity for discussion: where do the berries grow? How do the bears reach the berries? How does their fur protect them from the berries that grow on spiny branches? Which berries grow on spiny branches?
With more time, we totally could have printed up pictures of all the plants/vines/bushes that these berries grown on and do a little biology lesson as well as a sensory lesson –  my favorite ways to teach!!

image1-6

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This project was inspired by Cutting Tiny Bites.

Shaving cream paint is always a big hit with our crowd!! We make our “paint” by mixing the shaving cream with school glue (half cream, half glue, enough paint or food coloring to make the desired color for the project).  The finished craft has a puffy, smooth texture that the Sweet Peas like to run their fingers over when it’s dry.

I used my Creative Memories Circle Punch for the ears and eyes, and we free-cut the snout and nose.  Because there is school glue in the paint, the sweet peas just had to push the pieces into place – nothing extra required.  In order to do the snout, we dipped the back of the nose into the paint and had the sweet peas place them where they wanted them.  Then they drew the mouth, and lastly they put them on the plate.

image2-2

 

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

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 :)

PPDwater

Preschool Playdate: Water Play

Playdate: May 19, 2016
Inspiration: Heat…it’s getting hot in AZ :)

— 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

Storytime:
Somewhere in the Ocean by Jennifer Ward, illustrated by Kenneth J. Spengler
Delightful counting book written in rhyme. Features ocean mother-baby families, and supposedly there are hidden numbers in all the illustrations. I say supposedly because I don’t see them – the sweet peas can find them though.

IMG_6672 (1)

Literacy Center:
What’s water day without a little mess?
Since it was the last play date, we went all out with our messiest literacy station do date. The sweet peas could draw letters, names or words in the shaving cream with their fingers or the Popsicle sticks…or simply have a fun sensory experience.

IMG_6761

Math Center:
I incorporated water beads in this station since they were such a hit last week. The bottle caps were in one container, and the water beads in another. The beads could be counted to match the number on the bottle cap, or take it one step farther and sort by color and number. If the sweet pea isn’t ready for 1-1 correspondence, sorting to match the bottle cap and counting how many are going into the cup is a good start.

IMG_6762

Discovery Center:
Keeping it simple with brainbow water beads. Water+beads+containers+toys=
hours of entertainment.

IMG_6763 IMG_6759

Arts and Crafts:
Puma and I-Bear made no-cook play dough so that the sweet peas could have a nice take-home from our last playdate of the season. The sweet peas got choose their color(s) and enjoy mixing the color into the plain dough.

IMG_6760

This time we finished with water play just before our goodbye poem and song…it was so much fun to see the kiddos enjoying the water balloons :)

IMG_6767 IMG_6768

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.

PPDearthday

Preschool Playdate: Earth Day

Theme: Earth Day
Inspiration: International Celebration of Earth Day on April 22

— 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: why do we need to take care of our planet
— Storytime: I am the Earth

STORY TIME
This book was gifted to our children – what a perfect share for Earth Day! From the I Am Foundation website:
“I Am The Earth: Positive Affirmations for Loving Our Planet is dedicated to our children and future generations, to enable them to become great stewards of this planet. This book builds an awareness of valuing, appreciating, and taking care of our beautiful world. For every I Am The Earth book you order from The I AM Foundation for donation, we plant a tree via The Arbor Day Foundation. ”

Available at http://www.iamfoundation.org/home.html

Available at http://www.iamfoundation.org/home.html

LITERACY CENTER
I found today’s activities on THIS blog – the mama offered several ideas for Earth Day in her free printable pack.

Level 1: for the younger set I printed out tracing pages – they love writing with the dry erase markers!!

Level 2: I printed out the Letter Sound Matching. I wrote in the words in one set, and left the other as it was with the pictures on the left and the letters on the right.

IMG_5846

MATH CENTER
Today’s activity was also printed from THIS same blog as the literacy activities. Since the matching numbers would have taken up a whole page for just five numbers, I used our left-over cardboard from our Arts+Crafts activity to make the matching numbers.

Level 1: Match the number cards

Level 2: Write in the correct numbers

IMG_5847

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
This was a sensory/math activity. I used leftover green and blue eggs from Easter and split peas to go along with the blue/green earth day theme. This gross motor skills activity was inspired by THIS image.

In addition to the egg match for the numbers, I also pulled out our bumblebee clothespins that we made during our A.A. Milne playdate to have the kiddos talk about the importance of bees to the ecosystem, and have them pick up the flowers with the clothespins to work on fine motor skills.

IMG_5848

The second sensory activity today was planting a bean seed. The kiddos got to pack the dirt, plant their seed, cover it, and then water the seed. We can’t wait to hear how their seeds sprouted this week!!

IMG_5845

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This was a two-part craft!! As the children arrived, we had them paint their blue earth. Once we broke for centers, we mixed the shaving cream+glue+food coloring concoction we learned to make for our Black History Month playdate and this time, we turned the cream green so that the kiddos could make green land on top of the blue water and create their own planet Earth.

IMG_5844

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.

I hope you and your sweet peas had a fun time celebrating Earth Day! Join us next Thursday when we share our Space Exploration playdate!

 

PPDbutterflies

Preschool Playdate: Butterflies

Playdate: March 31, 2016
Theme inspired by Learn About Butterflies 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)
— Discussion of theme
— Storytime
— Unsquiggle activity
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

STORY TIME
Here is a sweet story that follows a caterpillar through the spring and metamorphosis. It’s a pop-up book with a puffy caterpillar that weaves through the center of the pages…and then a pretty pop-up butterfly on the last page.

IMG_5495

by Susan Hood, Claudine Gévry

 

LITERACY CENTER
I found some images of butterfly gardens on the internet, and then printed up THIS butterfly life cycle. I printed up a list of position and direction words as a reference list for the parents.

My favorite way to use this is to take turns with your sweet pea. You ask them to place one of the figures around the picture, and then have them tell you where to put the figure. It helps teach them the concept of how things relate to one another…read more about that HERE.  I find it an important idea for them to be able to learn things such as reading and math…it’s important to understand how letters and numbers relate to each other according to their position to each other.

IMG_5497

 

MATH CENTER
I created this center using playing cards from a Hungry Caterpillar Game.

Level 1: Match the number on the card to the number on the reference picture.

Level 2: Start teaching your sweet pea about the days of the week.

IMG_5496

DISCOVERY TABLE
This incorporated two ideas – the line of symmetry and color blending.  The sweet peas put dabs of red and yellow paint on one side of the paper, then folded it in half to transfer the paint.  Where the colors blended, they got to see that red+yellow=orange. I love 2-for-1 activities :)  This one might count as 3-for-1 since it could also be a craft!!

IMG_5499

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This was the “official” craft activity.  We used water-soluble markers to draw on coffee filters. Then i let the sweet peas drop water on the filter by using water trapped in a straw by air pressure (mini-science lesson built in!).  Once they dried, we attached them to the popsicile stick prepared the night before.  The pipe cleaner is glued on with hot glue; it serves as the body when you twist it at the top, and then turn the ends into the antenna.

IMG_5498

This activity works best with fresh markers that are full of ink. Ours were a little dry and not enough color transferred to the coffee filter – the butterflies were more colorful when I brought out new markers.

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

Next week: check out the activities we enjoyed on April 7th in honor of World Health Day.

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.

 

 

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.