Tag Archives: Preschool Play Date

ppdchildrensday

Preschool Playdate: Children’s Day

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

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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: 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.

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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 :)

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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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.

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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

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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!!

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

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My intention was to use the core to stamp….

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

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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 :)

PPDhungrycaterpillar

Preschool Playdate: Hungry Caterpillar

Theme: The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Play date: February 4, 2016

— Welcome song in Spanish (reinforces names as Sweet Peas sing to their peers)
— Discussion of theme: intro to 5 signs the sweet peas could use during storytime
— Storytime: The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
— Unsquiggle activity: butterfly life cycle

 

STORY TIME
One of our students knows ASL and she and her daughter were kind enough to lead story time.  Before we started, they taught the group 5 signs that we used throughout the story.  We’ll check in to see if they remember what they learned when we start this week’s story time.

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Our “unsquiggle” activity today had the children act out the life cycle of the butterfly.  I used three different instruments to represent different segments:

  • Knocked on a rhythm stick: caterpillar breaking out of it’s egg
  • Scraped the rhythm stick: caterpillar crawling around looking for food and making it’s pupa
  • Silence: caterpillar undergoing metamorphosis to transform and change shapes.
  • Tambourine: Butterfly breaking out of the pupa and flying out in the garden

To add to the activity, we asked the parents to bring a pillowcase and a scarf.  The Sweet Peas climbed into their pillowcases (scarf tucked in at the bottom) and were very still inside their “pupa”.  As they came out, they used their scarves as their wings, and then fluttered around the room.

This unsquiggle activity was a combination of an activity suggested in The Mailbox
Superbook, and one from THIS blog that offered Hungry Caterpillar lesson ideas.

LITERACY CENTER
Sound Box: We used the letter “C” this week.  It’s a tough letter since it doesn’t always have the soft sound.  In the future, we will use the letter “K” next to it reinforce the sound we are looking for.  Most of the things on the tray had the hard “c” sound, the others were placed on there to be the “no” items.

Our “C” items: Can, Card, Cat, Car, Clip,Clothespin, Comb, Cow, Crown

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MATH CENTER
Level 1: Taking inspiration from all the food mentioned in the story, we had the children roll the dice and then “feed” the caterpillar with the number of items that matched the number they rolled.

Level 2: Have the children sort the food into groups. We did fruits, vegetables, breads, desserts, and dairy.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
This week we had an activity that provided an opportunity to work on motor skills.
Gross motor skills: hole punching
Fine motor skills: stringing the leaves they punched on a string.

Once the sweet peas were done with their leaves, they could glue them on the “tree’.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This was a craft idea I picked up at a story time at the mall.  Other ways to celebrate this story are to make thumbprint caterpillars with red and green ink.  We also printed out an activity sheet from The Mailbox Superbook for the Sweet Peas to add to the story.  The page asks them to draw other food the caterpillar tried to eat into the caterpillar’s tummy.

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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.

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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.  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!

 

PPDPumpkinds

Preschool Playdate: Pumpkins

We enjoyed all these activities on October 15, 2015

— 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: Showed the word “pumpkin” written on the word card, and also passed around the basket of pumpkins for the children to explore

— Storytime

— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: “5 Little Pumpkins” fingerplay

STORY TIME
Pumpkin Pumpkin by Jeanne Titherington

Sweet little story of growing a pumpkin from seed to sprout to flower, and then watching it grow into a large pumpkin.

LITERACY CENTER
Letter Guessing Game inspired by a The Mailbox Superbook activity – I spelled out the word “pumpkin” in uppercase and lowercase letters, and then also selected uppercase and lowercase magnets to match.  

Level 1/2: Parents pull out the letters, name them for the children and tell the phonic sound (child repeats), and then either place them in order under the tag, or have the children place them in the right spot.

Level 2: Child reaches into the bag, feels the letter, and then guesses what they think it is.  Then they pull it out to check their guess, and place it in the correct order to spell out, “pumpkin”.

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Literacy Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Literacy Center

MATH CENTER
This idea is from Preschool Plan It – see the original instructions HERE

You can download the printable I made for your own personal use – it’s not pretty or professional, just an easy file you can print on your own to make your own manipulatives: PPD Pumpkins Math Center.  I left the front blank with only the letter on the leaf; the back had the letter leaf and pumpkin seed stencils on the back.

The instructions were to put the pumpkins and some pumpkin seeds on the table and see what the children would do.  Here are some ideas for ways to lead the children:

Level 1: Have the children identify the numbers and put them in order

Level 2: Practice one-to-one correspondence by having the children place pumpkin seeds on the stenciled shapes

Level 3: Start introducing the concept of even and odd numbers. I purposely stenciled the pumpkin seeds in columns so that the children could get a visual understanding of what makes a number “even”, and what makes it “odd”.

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Math Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Math Center

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
I picked up some gourds and mini-pumpkins from Trader Joe’s.  We picked them to represent some of the different colors aside from orange, and also with texture in mind.  The children could look at them and/or feel them to decide if they were “smooth” or “bumpy”. You might make this extra-sensory by blindfolding the children and then having them sort.

The other part of today’s discovery was for the children to taste pumpkin-flavored foods.  I found a gluten-free pancake mix at Trader Joe’s, picked up a box of their pumpkin snack bars, and I also added some sprouted pumpkin seeds that we buy at Costco.  I also offered some of the shelled seeds that were from the bag that we used for math – they were toasted with oil and salt; also from Trader Joe’s.

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Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Discovery Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Discovery Center

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Discovery Center

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This idea is inspired by Preschool Plan It – see the original instructions HERE 

The idea from Preschool Plan It was to do the handprint pumpkin, and the stem with a finger. I didn’t want two different colors of paint to wash off, so I pulled out our green and brown ink pads.  I started by printing a heart shaped leaf using the thumb pad and green ink. Next, I dipped the whole thumb in the brown ink. Lastly, I brushed orange paint on the child’s knuckles of a clenched hand, and then printed those onto the paper.

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Arts & Crafts

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate: Arts & Crafts

Plus, one more activity with play dough…making pumpkins with faces (suggested by Preschool Plan It and executed with THIS play dough recipe)

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate

Sweet Pea Families Pumpkin Playdate

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 goodbye 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 for a little while so we can catch up and talk attachment parenting.

 

PPDfiresafety

Preschool Playdate: Fire Safety

Playdate: Fire Safety
October 8, 2015

I chose this theme in honor of Fire Safety Week last week.  I learned something new while prepping, which is always an added bonus.  Scroll down to the end of the post for my “aha” moment.

— 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: Started out by creating a chart of the things they children already knew about fire. We also talked about the different places we see fire, and what to do when we see matches or lighters: don’t touch, and alert your parents or another adult
— Storytime: Golden Book
— Unsquiggle activity: We did some exercises to be in shape like fire fighters
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: 9-1-1 song

From The Mailbox Songs & Fingerplays book

Help Is On The Way!
“Three Blind Mice

9-1-1, 9-1-1 –
Help’s on the way, help’s on the way
When I need help, I know what to do.
I dial this number for me and for you.
It calls the police and the firehouse too.
It’s 9-1-1.

Jessica Matthews
Footprints, Vernon, NJ

 

The ideas for all of today’s activities came from Preschool Plan It

PPD Fire Safety Circle Time, PPD Fire Safety Literacy, and PPD Fire Safety Math are the printables I created for today’s playdate. You are welcome to download and print for your non-commercial home use. They are not professional by any stretch of the imagination :)

STORY TIME: Golden Book

The Fire Engine Book

 

LITERACY CENTER

Level 1: Phonics of the word “FIRE” along with the introduction of the “Magic E” that makes the “I” say it’s name.

Level 2: Children fill in the coloring page

Level 3: Children trace the letters and numbers to create their own “Fire 911” sign.

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MATH CENTER

Hat and Boot Match

Level 1: Parent orders the numbers and the dots and shows the child the one-to-one correspondence.

Level 2: Parent orders the numbers or the dots, and the child matches the other.

Level 3: Child orders and matches the sets of cards on their own.

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DISCOVERY TABLE

Activity 1: We put out some helmets, a costume jacket, and some other red clothes to let the children dress up as firefighters.

Activity 2: Mixing colors – red and yellow make orange, and all three are the color of flames. Children could simply mix the colors, or they could write letters or numbers in the paint without getting dirty!! This was a wonderful activity for the children that like paint and do not like to get their hands dirty.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take

We precut red squares and rectangles, used the scraps of white card stock, and punched out circles in black and white. We placed everything on the ground with glue and a toy fire truck to let the Sweet Peas decide how they wanted to make their fire truck craft.

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CLOSING ACTIVITY:

Children mentioned one thing they learned about fire safety. I also pulled out our parachute to teach the children that they need to crawl out a burning house to stay below the rising smoke.

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.

Tune in next week to see all the fun at our Pumpkin Playdate!

P.S. My “aha” moment: When I was reading the Preschool Plan It page on fire safety activities, the teacher talked about how it is even more important to acclimate an anxious child to the sound of the fire alarm in your home or school.  The best way to figure out who can handle the noise and who is going to freak out: let them experience the fire alarm when it’s not an emergency.  She said that an anxious child is more likely to be the one to hide in the event of a fire drill, or even worse, during a real fire.  By talking them through it and literally holding their hand during a drill, you start to build their confidence and courage in the event that the fire alarm signals for the “real deal”.  Today’s playdate was also a great reminder for our own family to review and practice our fire safety plan – I hope it will be a good reminder for you, too.

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.

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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!

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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

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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:

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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.

 

PPDfallleaves

Preschool Playdate: Fall Leaves

This theme was inspired by the First Day of Fall on 9/23/15…playdate held on 9/24/15

— 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 – Colorful Leaves
— Unsquiggle activity: Vowel Song
— Storytime: A Leaf Blew In
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: Otter made up a little song about falling leaves to the tune of “London Bridge” – awesome!!

The leaf and the acorn patterns seen in the centers are from The MailBox Superbook.

STORY TIME
We started the morning by reading the highlights out of the book, Colorful Leaves, by Maria Fleming. It introduced basic biology concepts and vocabulary: photosynthesis, cholorphyll, buds, veins, roots.

We used castanets to make the sound of leaves blowing slowly, and then increased speed as the wind blew harder, and then back down to slow again as the wind passed.

After that, we read When the Leaf Blew In, by Steve Metzger.  I invited the children to make the animal sounds as we read through the barnyard adventure.

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LITERACY CENTER
Two activities here~
Pre-writing: offered a pile of construction paper leaves and acorns for the Sweet Peas to write or draw on.
Phonics: Vowel identification and matching, along with sounding out the letters.

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MATH CENTER
Reprising an activity from our Johnny Appleseed Day, I pulled out the apple number cards I had made. 1: they have leaves on them, 2: apples are harvested in the fall :)

Level 1: Count the apples

Level 2: Order the numbers on the back of the cards

Level 3: Play a “memory” match game with two sets of cards, and then order the numbers.

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DISCOVERY TABLE
Activity 1: Acorn hunt!! The leaves were purchased at our local Tuesday Morning store. We filled our tub with the leaves and the acorn cut-outs.  The children had to rake through the leaves to find 10 happy acorns.

Activity 2: Play dough in red, orange, and yellow today! Pounding or rolling the dough in order to use the cookie cutters, or they could press the leaves and acorns into the dough to make impressions.

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ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
One of the topics in the Colorful Leaves book pointed out how leaves come in many different shapes.  These are some of the different shapes that I collected outside our home.  The children got to arrange them as they wanted to and then make a leaf rubbing to take home.

I saved all the leaves and pressed them between two boards and under a pile of cookbooks after the playdate.  The plan is to let them dry out and have the children observe the changes at the next session.

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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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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 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!!