Tag Archives: sensory play

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!

 

SOS: Help! It’s HOT! Going crazy inside!!

Posted by Krystyna Bowman

This was originally posted last July, but as many of you are probably finding yourself at the end of your patience with these high temps & lack of indoor activities we thought it would be helpful to revisit a few ideas!

July August is here, and the heat of Arizona is officially upon us!! Even if you are not living in AZ, you may also be in need of indoor play ideas in your part of the world. Since the temperature is only going up, I want to share some ideas to enjoy the summer with your family and not get overheated.

Blog1 1375

Do you like to be outdoors?  The Phoenix Zoo and the Desert Botanical Gardens offer earlier open times – maybe the one in your area does, too.  We have always enjoyed going early in the day when the mornings are under the 100F mark.  The city parks are opening their splash pads – check out your city’s website and find out locations and hours.

If you have a little room in your budget, you can sign up for classes in your child’s age group.  Here are some ideas: music, gymnastics, swimming lessons, summer camps held at churches or dance schools.

Are there any museums in your area?  You can see if they offer special programming for children, and ask if they offer group discounts.  Maybe you can get some friends together for a discount while having a museum playdate!!  In addition, check your local museums for Family Free Days over the summer months.  We have found that arriving right at opening time, or going a couple of hours before closing helps to avoid the crowds.   Museums let us enjoy some time out of the house and out of the sun while allowing our little explorers all kinds of growth opportunities.

If you are on a tight budget, pick some different places to go out every day.  You can still find plenty of ways to learn and grow – you just have to get a little more creative!  Here is a money-saving idea:  Let your destination pay for air conditioning!  Make it a point to leave the house while your kiddo and you are fresh and rested.  Here are some free places that you can go for a walkabout:

  • Shopping malls – be brave and drive a little farther. Go to one that isn’t in your neighborhood and you get A/C time coming and going as well!  While you are there, explore the children’s stores that have toys out for the kiddos to sample.  Our favorite place is Pottery Barn Kids.  I don’t like having the big playsets in our home, however, it’s great to have the kids go there and enjoy them, and then get to leave them behind!  Many shopping centers open early for mall walkers – it’s a great time to go to the children’s play areas before the stores open and the mall gets more crowded.  The story times/ mall activities listed in this month’s newsletters (activities in the Chandler, AZ area) all start between 10:00 am and 10:30 pm – depending on how your child naps, you might be able to do both, and then head home and get some chores done while your tired baby sleeps.
  • Big super-stores like PetSmart, Walmart and Target.  I like PetSmart and Walmart because they have lots of fish tanks+ with live fish to explore.  Here are the kiddos and Bruss playing with the fishing poles at Walmart – all the fun, none of the clutter :)Blog4 1375
  • Bass Pro Shop – they have a fish pond where the kiddos can learn to fish, plus lots of other things to see and explore.  Kiddos can enjoy some of the displays – Bruss says some of them are climbable!
  • Bookstore – Barnes & Noble has a great kids area with a reading area plus a different selection of books than you might find at the library.  You can look over on the “meetings and groups” list to find the monthly listing for their story times.
  • Grocery Store – instead of making a mad dash through the place with your list, go with the time and the intention of walking up and down all the aisles.  There are lots of foods to explore in the produce section, you can take your time and look in all the display cases, you can touch the doors in the frozen food section, and take in all the colors as you talk about how things are sorted, grouped and why your family makes the food choices that they make.  There are lots of smells to identify, with the added bonus of sensory items to touch in the pet aisle.
  • Office Buildings – does coach, or another family member or friend work in a high rise?  How about going to visit them?  While you are there, ride the elevator and look at some of the artwork along the different floors of the building.  You can get off at the different floors and observe the different views that you see at different heights.  You can check your local listings to see if there is a top deck restaurant that offers a 360 degree view of your city while you are dining.

You can also take advantage of the public libraries.  Pack yourself plenty of water, a couple of portable snacks, and head over to the stacks to hang out for a while before and/or after library activities.

Blog3 1375

Need a day at home?  How about doing some sensory play?  One of our best investments was a sand and water table we bought when our oldest was a toddler.  We lost the lid a long time ago, however the base is still sturdy and usable.  You can do all water, or a mix of sand and water, or all sand.  Get out the stackable cups and measuring spoons you already have around the house and let your kids measure and pour to their hearts content!  You can hide toys in the sand.

We have also set up a water station in the kitchen.  We lay out a few towels first, and then fill different size pots with varying amounts of water.  If you are so inclined, you can set out some rice, beans, or pastas for the kiddos to “cook” with.  Let them spoon, measure and pour and get nice and wet.  As an added bonus, you can get a chore done by breaking out your mop when it’s time to clean up!

Do you have a “safe” place for your kiddos to play in the kitchen?  Maybe you can set up a drawer, a cabinet and a pantry shelf that are “safe” for them.  Ask them to look in the different places for different things – maybe a mini-scavenger hunt for all the items they will use at their water station!

Blog2 1375

How about a fort?  Here is a fort we made using a kit the kiddos got for Christmas.  However, there is nothing wrong with taking a sheet and hanging it over a table, or taking some chairs into the middle of a room and hanging a sheet over those.  It’s great fun to play peek-a-boo, or create a temporary reading nook with a new twist.

HERE is a list of other sensory ideas that you can easily set up at home when your kiddos are tired of playing with their regular toys and walking through the house has become an exercise in futility.  My favorite on this list is freezing toys into a block of ice and then letting the kiddos carve them out with spoons.  That would feel really great when it’s 117F outside!

Send us your pictures of indoor fun!  What is your family’s favorite indoor, beat the heat idea?

Disclaimer:
The material included on this site is for informational purposes only.
It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation.  Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided.