Tag Archives: preschool playdate

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/

ppdkingtut

Preschool Playdate: King Tut Day

Play date: November 3, 3016
Theme: King Tut Day – celebrated on November 4th, the anniversary of the discovery of King Tutankhamun’s tomb in Egypt

FYI:  All links are informational only. I do not make any revenue from any content in this post…simply sharing for you to enjoy and recreate this play date at home for your sweet peas!

Most of the materials for this playdate are from the “Geography Jumper: Egypt” packet created by Wise Little Owls
Get your packet here: https://goo.gl/uPIOI7

The packet costs $6.00 – well worth it for 53 printable pages.  There are lots of activities to print and enjoy with your Sweet Peas!

image7img_3426

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I printed out the full-color Cover Page (pictured above), the “Fact Sheet”, the “Country Poster” and the “Flag Poster” to laminate and display in our classroom.  They were all bright, welcoming our guests to the day’s theme and hanging in the background to set the scene for our play date.

— 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 pictures from a “Step into Reading” book called “Tut’s Mummy: Lost…and Found“, plus used the Ancient Egypt TOOB figures to introduce the day’s topic
— Storytime
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: Alice the Camel
— Centers | Free play
— Closing

STORY TIME
The Geography Jumper included a handy little informational book about Egypt which included a map of the country, where it was located in Africa and the world, a picture of the flag, topography (desert and the Nile River), and some of Egypt’s ancient history (Pyramids of Giza, the Sphinx, mummy, sarcophagus, hieroglyphs). To tie in with education, it also talked about how long the required schooling was for Egyptian children (8 years).

image1-7

POEM/SONG
Alice the Camel
https://youtu.be/9sN_RqxXGMw

 

LITERACY CENTER
There were two activities in this center, both from the Geography Jumper packet.  One was vocabulary cards and the second was an emergent reader book.

Vocabulary Cards
Level 1: review cards for vocabulary retention
Level 2: Sort the cards into “geography” and “history” sets
Level 3: alphabetize the cards

image3-3

Emergent Reader
This book reinforced all the vocabulary introduced in the “All About Egypt” book and the vocabulary cards.  It is in black and white so the student could color it as well as read it.  Every page starts with “Do you see” and then includes the vocabulary word that corresponds to the picture on the page.

image2-4

MATH CENTER
This center was one of my own creation, using clip art from Classroom Clipart, a free on-line resource.  I printed 6 camel images and mounted them onto card-stock paper.  The center also included foam numbers and counting sticks.

Level 1: Count the camels out loud
Level 2: Count the camels and match the correct foam number
Level 3: Place out a foam number and have the child place the correct number of camel cards on the table
Level 4: Add in the counting sticks to Level 1-2-3 activities
Level 5: Introduce the concept of odd and even

img_3430

image5-2

Using the counting sticks to introduce the concept of 5 tally counting

fullsizerender-6

Odd numbers have a middle

img_3416

Even numbers have equal sets

img_3420

Another way to visually demonstrate odd and even numbers: odd numbers have one left over, even numbers are always matched.

DISCOVERY TABLE
We hid the TOOB figures in sand and had the Sweet Peas play archeologist to unearth the treasure.

The pyramids and the sphinx we left out of the sand to give a clue on where to dig.  Again, these figures could be sorted into the items discovered in King Tut’s tomb and other Egyptian figures.

image6-1

IMAGINATIVE PLAY
I had our children bring out their Lego building blocks. They actually had a couple of Egyptian-ish mini-figures, and then we picked out the 2x building blocks for the Sweet Peas to play around with and build their own pyramids and palm trees.  Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures of this activity!! I will see if they can get the parts out again soon and I will add some pictures.

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
This idea was also from the Geography Jumper packet by Wise Little Owls.  The packet included a pattern to trace plus the instructions to create this cute little mummies.

img_3427

 

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.  Making the mummy and digging in the sand were the two popular activities today. We also sang one more round of “Alice the Camel” since every one had so much fun singing the song the first time around!

We close with a good-bye poem and then 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.

Today, each guest took home an enrichment packet of four print outs from the Geography Jumper.  We gave everyone the following worksheets to take home and enjoy later.

  • “Glue the Pictures” – outline of the country of Egypt plus four pictures.  Three of them are from the images used in the “All about Egypt” book.  The activity is for the child to cut and paste the three “Egypt” images into the Egypt outline.
  • “Let’s Travel” – shows a world map with a highlighted Egypt.  The child finds where they live in the world and draws a line from their area on the map to the country of Egypt.
  • “Egyptian Flag” – coloring page in black+white for the child to complete
  • “Puppets” – coloring and cut-out page in black+white
img_3428

Finished puppets glued to oversize popsicle sticks

Thanks for checking out our King Tut play date!! Check back with us next week when we share all our activities and centers for our “Native American” theme that we are going to do today.

 

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.

PPDpooh

Preschool Playdate: A.A. Milne

Play date: January 21, 2016
Theme inspired by A.A. Milne’s birthday (January 18, 1882)

— 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: talked about the characters in the series
— Storytime: Tigger’s breakfast
— Unsquiggle activity: “take the ants out of your pants”
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers

Thank goodness for all our dollar store flash cards! I had purchased these when Puma was a preschooler because she adored Winnie-the-Pooh.  They came in handy today, after a good dusting off!

Today’s craft and discovery table were inspired by the Sugar Aunts blog.  The take-home mask craft was printed from the Surburban Mom blog.

STORY TIME
We got these little books for Puma’s first birthday party so that guests could share a little story time with their Sweet Peas.  I selected a story that recounts Tigger’s search for the perfect breakfast. I emphasized that he tasted everything until he found the food that tasted just right to him.  We also had our stuffed animal friends help us tell the story!

IMG_2364

 

LITERACY CENTER
We had two options here – both games created out of the cards.

Activity 1: Word Match
It could be played as a memory game, or very simply as a “show and find the match” for the younger children. If they were playing the “show-match” version, I encouraged the parents to emphasize the first letter/sound as their child searched for the matching card.
IMG_2361

The second activity was for word correlation.  It was a self checking game – if they matched the words correctly, they would form a picture on the reverse side that incorporated the two words that they had matched.  This is a great game to reinforce the “go-together” concept, and also to do visual recognition once the items were shown on an illustration.
IMG_2361

MATH CENTER
We had two card games for this center as well…

Activity one: Shape or Color Match
This could be played as a “show and find” or a memory game.  We added the same shapes in orange if the Sweet Peas wanted to play memory.  Otherwise, we stuck to the primary colors to reinforce the colors as well as the shapes for the younger Sweet Peas.
IMG_2362

Activity 2:  Number Match
The Sweet Peas matched the number to the card with the corresponding number of pots. To further emphasize 1-to-1 correlation, they could pin the “honey bee” clothespins to the card to match the number of pots.

IMG_2359

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
Another use for the “honey bee” clothespins! There are several ways to play:
Level 1: fine motor skills only – celebrate picking up a flower with the clothespin!
Level 2: Pick up flowers of a certain color
Level 3: Name a number to pick up of a certain color.  This could be done progressively: take out 1 pink, 2 yellow, 3 blue, etc.,
Level 3a: Name a size of flower to take out…you could also request a certain amount here, too.

IMG_2365

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
We made a couple of adjustments to the craft as suggested by Sugar Aunts.  We have lots of younger siblings that come to play date, so wiggly eyes were definitely out, and, there was absolutely no way we were going to plug in a hot glue gun for the wings…so we put out markers for the Sweet Peas to draw faces on their “bees”, and we used tacky glue for the wax paper wings.  They ones we made as samples and for the centers all held up pretty well; here’s wishing that they survived once the Sweet Peas took them home!

IMG_2190

 

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 next week when we share all the fun we had today for our Australia theme!

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.

PPDwinter

Preschool Playdate: Winter

Theme: Winter
Playdate: December 3, 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: I had a bucket full of winter clothes that we pulled out for the children to explore, and we talked about the characteristics of the winter season.
— Storytime: Secrets of Winter
— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: Snowman song

Today’s songs and center ideas were from The Mailbox Superbook

 

STORY TIME
You can see my review for today’s book HERE.  All the kiddos enjoyed this creative look through the forest during wintertime.

0009698_secrets_of_winter_300

If you would like to order your own copy of this fantastic book, you can order one HERE.  Orders placed by December 10, 2015 will arrive for holiday gifting at the end of the month.

LITERACY CENTER
This was a print center today.  It also offered a fun opportunity for the children to explore negative space.  We put out different circle shapes for the children to create a snowy winter scene complete with a snowman. Along with the white chalk for the snow, I also put out wax crayons that show up well on the dark paper.

Level 1: Free expression with the chalk

Level 2: Parents hold the circle and the child traces

Level 3: The child holds the shape and traces the figure onto the paper

IMG_0151

MATH CENTER
This is a favorite from when our children were learning numbers.  This printable is also from The Mailbox Superbook.  We added the numbers for more reinforcement of the written number and 1-to-1 correspondence.

IMG_0152

 

DISCOVERY CENTER
We have accumulated various winter outerwear through the years.  We put all of it out for the children to try on.  The first part of the center was a gross motor skill: shoveling the “snow” (cotton balls) into the bucket while they were dressed in the winter clothing.

After all the children finished the centers, we had an indoor snowball fight.  I had bought the larger snowballs from Hallmark a couple of years ago, and we added all the cotton balls to the center of the floor.  The kids were split into two groups and they had fun tossing the “snow” back and forth.

IMG_0140 IMG_0142

IMG_0144

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
We kept this one simple since our group has so many different ages.  We used the doily, glue, and silver glitter.  The original idea called for gluing different craft items onto a doily, spraying the whole creation with glue, and then covering the whole craft with glitter.

IMG_0150

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.

Today’s favorite activity was definitely the indoor snowball fight!!

 

Book Review: Secrets of Winter

0009698_secrets_of_winter_300

Secrets of Winter
Written by Carron Brown
Illustrated by Bee Johnson
by Kane Miller EDC Publishing

We didn’t have a playdate to post yesterday since we took the week off for Thanksgiving last Thursday.  So today, I’m sharing a sneak-peek into yesterday’s WINTER playdate.

My inspiration for this playdate was the changing of season this month.  I had the perfect book to share, Secrets of Winter by Carron Brown & Georgina Tee. This book was new in our library this school year – I purchased it from my friend Tina, who is a rep for Usborne Books.

The story introduces the idea of exploring through a winter evening.  The pictures alternate between full color and black&white, which seemed to keep the children’s attention. There is the added intrigue of seeing an additional image revealed when you shine a light through the page!

There is no need to trim the story as the storyteller. The story moves along with 2-3 sentences and/or statements per page.  It also shows a large variety of animals and how they manage through the winter weather, so there are fun animal facts being acquired along with the visual enjoyment of the book.

Our guests and my own Sweet Peas thoroughly enjoyed the book! Their ages ranged from 2 years to 11 years old. From the endpaper printed with delightful animal prints, to the hidden surprises revealed with a flashlight on every page, there are endless ways to enjoy this book.

In fact, the children liked it so much, I sat with my legs out in front of me in order to keep the circle wide enough for everyone to see! That is definitely a first, and always a welcome sight to see children enjoying a book so much that they are piling on top of each other to get closer.

You can purchase your own copy of Secrets of Winter, other books in the “Secrets of” series, or anything else Usborne has to offer by following THIS link to Tina’s online store.  Any orders placed before 12/10/2015 will arrive in time for Christmas gifting.

Happy reading!! Stay tuned for next Thursday’s installment of “Preschool Playdate” when I share all the activites we did to celebrate winter (hint: we had a snowball fight in Arizona!!).

 

PPDcookies

Preschool Playdate: Cookies

Playdate:  October 29, 2015
Theme: In honor of National Cookie 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: we pulled out a book from our library, “Things People Do”, that showed all the different working parts of a bakery and ingredients used in baking.

— Storytime: “The Clever Baker”, a story from Scotland from The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book.

— Unsquiggle activity: went along with our story this time! Four groups acted out different parts of the story

— Poem/Song before we break for Centers: Patty Cake, Patty Cake Baker’s Man was planned – so excited to get into centers we skipped this!!

 

STORY TIME
Discussion time: The book on the left is Thing People Do by Anne Civardi and Stphen Cartwright. We opened up to the bakery page and talked about the things the children saw in the pictures.  Night Owl also thought to bring in one of his castle books from Usborne Publishing to show what a bakery looked like in medival times. It was neat to show the kids that the ingredients are pretty much the same, as is the process of baking.  

photo 2 (18)

Story time: We read “The Clever Baker – A Story from Scotland” from The Lion Storyteller Bedtime Book by Bob Hartma and Krisztina Kállai Nagy.  In the back of the book are suggestions for group storytelling, so I applied them to our group. We divided the group into four parts: noisy bakers, dogs, cats, and babies. As their parts were read out in the story, the group made their sound – it was such a fun storytime this week!!

LITERACY CENTER
The cookie letters are from Kidsparkz.com.  I looked up 3-letter words and picked a couple of pairs that started and ended with the same letters and changed vowels.

Note: I am really trying to emphasize those vowel sounds this season for our pre-readers!!  You can check back to see how our last few themes have incorporated the vowel concept.

Level 1: Match the letter pictures and identify sounds: A, C, P, T, U

Level 2: Match the letter pictures to the word cards

Level 3: Match letters to words and then have the child sound out the word.

photo 1 (23)

 

MATH CENTER
This was a perfect opportunity to pull out one of our Lakeshore Learning games that our Sweet Peas have enjoyed for years!

Level 1: Roll and match the cookies to the number on the die

Level 2: Keep score! And add up the cookies on the plate until you get up to or past number 10.

photo 2 (20)

 

DISCOVERY TABLE
We did the first activity before we started storytime. Each of the children received a card as they arrived (activity cards from Kidsparkz.com). As we talked about the ingredients or the equipment used to make bread, the child would come pick the item that matched their card.

We filled three old medicine jars with spices for the children to smell: cinnamon, clover, and nutmeg.  I had thought of letting the children mix them into the playdough as they played…and then got busy with the Sweet Peas doing centers and forgot about pulling them out of the tray and moving them to the play center.

photo 3 (17)

photo 2 (19)

During playtime the children played with the equipment and play dough to “bake” their own cookies. Our “oven” is a banker’s box with the lid adjusted to be an opening door.  It served as our supply holder for the first activity, and then as the “oven” during play time.

photo 1 (21)

Our third “discovery” activity was meant to be a take-home…it kind of worked that way! Each family brought their favorite cookies to share.  The children were meant to take a goody bag home for treats in the car so the sugar high would be away from playdate….little hands snuck into the “cookie jar” though, and there was snacking at playdate as well :)

photo 1 (22)

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
I created a simple “cookie sheet” using shapes in a Word document, then printed them out to use as our art paper for today’s printing activity.  Using watered down tempra paint and lids in different shapes and sizes, the Sweet Peas dipped into the paint and printed cookies on their cookie sheets.  We invited to decorate them at home once the paint dried.  You can see that Otter drew designs around her cookies instead of on them. It always warms my heart to see the Sweet Peas make an art project their own with their unique interpretation of the guidelines.

photo 3 (16)

As I was poking around the internet to find cookie images, I also found THIS website with a fun cookie craft.  If we had more time, I definitely would like to do this.  I think we are going to save it for our year-end celebration when we have more time for play.

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 and your Sweet Peas have lots of fun if you are inspired to have your own COOKIE DAY.  Have a great week!

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.

 

PPDScienceDay

Preschool Playdate: Science Day

Held on April 23, 2015

The inspiration for this day was the fact that World Laboratory Day was observed on April 23, 2015.  I thought it would be fun to have the kids attend their own Science Lab and get a chance to be immersed in exploration and discovery for an hour.  I planned out this day by focusing an experiement on different aspects of science: measuring, magnets, animal kingdom, and weather.

As you will notice, most of our Sweet Peas made or contributed to the sign for their station. Puma was at the Water Cycle, Night Owl was at the magnets (I made this one before the kiddos all piped up that they wanted to make their own!), Charger did the Wind Power, and Otter contributed to the Mass sign.  It was cool to see how her lines were denser in some areas than others….she got the concept in her own toddler way!! Even our nanny got involved and ran an activity since I got carried away with the planning…once I got started, I was on a roll!

— 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
I found THIS slide show online that I printed to share with the children.  Big pictures, simple explanations, and lots of vocabulary!! Perfect for preschool!!

 

LITERACY CENTER
Here we explored the concept of feathers, fur, and scales.  It is an activity out of the Mailbox Superbook. The Sweet Peas identified the animal, and then sorted them into the correct category according to the type of skin covering the animal has.  We added a sensory component by having examples of the different kinds of skin coverings for the children to investigate and discuss.

IMG_5523

 

MATH CENTER
This center explored the mass of different items.  They measured different quantities into the scale basket, noticed whether or not the same amount of different items weighed the same,We also had them make a prediction about how much the half-full bean container and the full container of feathers would weigh, and which was greater.  This led to a conversation about how much air vs. mass were in the different things we weighed.

IMG_5521

 

DISCOVERY TABLE

TABLE 1: Magnets
Sweet Peas got to play with magnetic fishing poles to see what was and wasn’t magnetic.  Once they items were worted into two piles, we talked about the qualities of both sets.

IMG_5522

TABLE 2: The Water Cycle
This simple experiment using water and cotton balls allowed the Sweet Peas to physically experience how water droplets collect together to form clouds until they are too full to hold any more condensation, and then see how precipitation happens when the cloud is beyond capacity.  We introduced the words “evaporation”, “condensation”, and “precipitation”.  It was neat to see everyone at this station have lightbulb moments.IMG_5520

TABLE 3: Wind Power
The Sweet Peas got to experiement with the power of air at this station.  First they blew through the straws onto their palms to feel what they could do with their own lungs.  Then they got to experiment with blowing “wind” across our little “pond” to see how the boats moved.  They could blow along the bottom, the top, turn the sails and blow into the sails…another favorite since water and straws were involved.IMG_5519

 

ARTS & CRAFTS ~ Make & Take
First the Sweet Peas colored a coffee filter with water-soluble markers.  Then we attached the filter accordian style to a prepared-ahead popsicle stick on which Puma had a hot-glued a pipe cleaner.  We twisted it at the top and formed antennae.  Once the “butterfly” was assembled, we used water that we trapped in the straws with our fingers to stain the wings.  The Sweet Peas got to experiement with how much water they could trap, how fast the flow was, and see how the colors blended and make predictions about the new colors that might result from the color blending.  Once the “wings” dried out, they had a take-home butterfly puppet.

IMG_5518

 

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.  There were lots of different favorites on this day…even some of the moms mentioned stations where they learned something new – that was pretty cool!

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 right away will stay and play until the music teacher for our older Sweet Peas arrives.

I hpe you enjoyed our tour through Science Experiement day!! My intention was to show our friends that science doesn’t have to be this daunting thing – every day things around the house can easily turn into an opportunity for discovery, and to awaken curiosity and exploration.