PreK Winter Activities & Learning Centers

SnowballABCSensoryBin

Our PreK winter theme must have been to get my students ready for the eight or more inches of snow we received over the weekend.

I created a new winter theme sensory bin this year inspired by Differentiated Kindergarten‘s idea with ping pong balls.  Since I am dealing with preschoolers I made my bin a letter recognition activity.  I drew snowman faces on the balls that had an alphabet letter written on the back side.  Students caught them with the tool and marked on the alphabet sheets that I had printed half size from my Winter Bundle or Winter Alphabet Centers.  I am providing affiliate links below to Amazon to help you find the supplies for this bin.  The scoopers I have are from Oriental Trading, I believe, but I would love to get the set below soon (and an extra set of ping pong balls.)  I also added cotton balls as suggested to mine.

My students did a great job keeping the balls and cotton in the bin.  When prompted they did a great job filling in their sheets to mark which alphabet letters they found.  We are still working on getting some students to remember to put their name on their sheet in case they don’t finish and will return later in the day or week to complete the activity.

GeoboardsWithLoomBands

I was very pleased with how hard my students worked on creating the pictures on geoboards.  I only made loom bands available this time and showed students to only stretch them between two pegs.  I was lucky to find a clearance sale at Oriental Trading to pick up some more bands, so you might check to see if they still have any on clearance there.  The cards are also part of my Winter Bundle or Winter Geoboards.

PenguinHuntDramaticPlay

Since my dramatic play will be for two weeks, I put up our Penguin Hunt activity.  Some years I have a Polar Expedition with Arctic animals to search for and other years I have penguin to search for in the classroom.  I found the printable penguins to put up throughout the room on a site that has apparently shut down, but there are some similar ones here and here.  I made my own laminated checklist for students to find the penguins with small versions of the larger photos.

To play in the center, students had to put on gloves.  This is a great way for them to learn how to put on gloves.  These were purchased at our local dollar store.  We did need to bring them home over the weekend to wash as they did start to smell a bit at the end of the week after many sets of hands wore them.

We also had play binoculars to search for all the penguins.

During the next week we will add ice fishing to the area.

SnowmanNumberSense

I used my table top easel to set up part of this snowman number sense set from A Dab of Glue Will Do.  I only used numbers five through ten for this center.

WinterCountAndClip

Another number related center was my Winter Count and Clip set.  I chose to use the set with the dice at the bottom this time.  There are also cards with fingers to count and numerals.  I found the mini clothespins at the local Dollar Tree.

WinterPathGame3Photos

My final math center for the week was this simple path game with spinner.  There is also an option for dice with this game as well.  I used water bottle caps along with the printables made to fit on them for game board pieces.  This is also part of my Winter Bundle.

WinterEasel

I utilized magnets and contact type paper this week on my easel.  For the black side I used snowman magnets found at Dollar Tree.  On the white side I put up a pattern block mat for a snowflake from PreKinders.  I put it up and then put some contact type paper sticky side out on top of it.  I provided foam pattern blocks to stick to the mat to create the snowflake.

ThinIceAndSnowflakeMatching

Our science activities this week included playing Thin Ice.  The balls are in a moat with water.  Students use the tongs to grab a ball and gently put it on top of a tissue.  They attempt to get all the balls to the top before the tissue breaks.

We also matched snowflake designs.  I attached one set to a cookie sheet.  This set I can no longer find online; I think it may have been updated since I printed it.  I would really like to print this one of snowflake photos to match next year if I can remember.

WinterWritingCenter

I had two different writing center activities this week.  The first used my alphabet cards from my Winter Alphabet Centers set.  I used salt to be my snow and flat glass beads to place on the letter that the student has drawn.  A couple of the snowflake clothespins were used to hold up the chosen card.

You can see the interesting creation a student left me at the end of centers time one day.  I had to take a picture of it.

The second activity was to help review some of our alphabet letters.  This activity comes from This Reading Mama.  I cut the graph down to be shorter so that students would have more likelihood of finishing before getting tired of writing letters.

WinterQuestionAndWords

Part of every morning and circle time is our Question of the Day time.  You can see an example of one of my winter questions.  This time marshmallows won out for the most responses.

We also worked on building winter words with our letter tiles.  I also sometimes use part of this set for stamping and handwriting practice.  This is also found in my Winter Bundle.

Next I will share favorite books, songs, and poems for our winter theme.

 

 

Bears and Hibernation in PreK

BearMaskCave

Our first week back from winter break was a short three day week, so I centered most of my plans for bears and hibernation around the book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Amazon affiliate link) by Helen Oxenbury and Michael Rosen.

The first craft involved painting the backs of paper plates with brown paint and scrapers.  This project was inspired by this one for Brown Bear. The paint scrapers/brushes are similar to the ones with the green handles in this set below.  After students painted with their choice of scraper/brush, I cut the shape to make the mask.  The next day students attached ears and nose.

Some students used their masks to be the bear in our pretend play area.  I utilized a discontinued Cranium building set to make a large open cave area so that I could clearly see what students were doing while pretending to be a bear.  You could also utilize a pop-up tent.

I found a map set that matches the order of events in the Bear Hunt book.  Part of this was also used on my easel to put the map in order after reading the book together.  I also used signs around the room to use with the map to travel around the room to find the bear.  The map was laminated and put on a clipboard for the two students who were searching for the bear to follow around the room until they reached the cave and the bear.  The bear was the third student playing in the pretend play area.

BlockEasel

Students could also re-create the Bear Hunt in the block area, where I provided the characters as well as some winter trees and some blue and brown felt which could represent the water and the mud in the story.

QuestionMatchingGame

Our question of the day related to hibernation all week, including the one above.  There were actually a few children who voted to hibernate all winter.  The hibernation questions can be found in my Question of the Day Bundle, or in the smaller set of questions here.

I played a matching bears game with a few students during this short week.  This gave my students a chance to see that there was more than just brown and white for types of bears.

CaribooRollCover

Always a favorite with any set of cards is the Cranium Cariboo.  This is also no longer made, so if you see one anywhere be sure to snag it.  My only challenge is to remind my students to use the cards to pick which door to open because they get so excited about finding the balls that they forget.  The winter themed cards were a freebie on TPT.

The Roll and Cover game was matched with the size sorting bears and a foam die.  This game suffered the indignity of being at the same table as the Cariboo game, so was sometimes ignored or played while waiting for a spot to open up for Cariboo.  The bears below come in three sizes.  I am not sure where we got ours as they come in four sizes with the numbers 3, 6, 9, and 12 on their bellies, which I just discovered this year.  I had always assumed they were three different sized until I noticed the numbers.

DoughPunching

Play dough is a great activity for any week.  It is especially good for back to school after a break.  The play dough mats I used came from Child Care Land  (I don’t see the exact one there right now but she has some cute printables for play dough.) and Sparklebox.

We also worked on some letter activities during the week to go along with the letter I, including punching.  Students work on recognizing the letter as well as building hand strength.  I use regular hole punches as well as some crafting ones I found at the dollar store that seemed to be a little easier for some of my students to use.

SensoryBin

I tried to have some bears in my sensory bin but students kept thinking they were just in there by accident from the roll and cover bear game.  The bin is white rice, winter pasta, silly bands shaped like the alphabet, snowflake table scatter, flat clear glass beads, a snowflake container from the dollar store as well as a large scoop I just picked up from Dollar Tree, along with a few other tools to pick up things.  The scoopers below look great and will probably be added to my list soon.  The set I have I believe were from Oriental Trading Company.  I like them but they do occasionally come apart when students try to use them with two hands instead of like scissors.

I was happy to discover one new book for this week on Christmas clearance at Walmart as well as one at our local used book store. Favorite books this week include the following:

Pet Theme in PreK

PetRollAndGraph

For my Pet theme in PreK I wanted to introduce the roll and graph center in small groups.  I did not find a roll and graph that I liked, so I created one of my own.  The next day my director showed up with the pet counters (affiliate link)  and I realized I had made my game to match them.

I purposely made my game only go up to five since many preschoolers do not have the stamina to get a winner in this game if it goes up to ten.

We played it at first with a dry erase marker in small groups and took turns rolling until one of the pets won the game.  After all students had played this way I put it out on the math table with the pet counters to play the game.

You can find this game in my new Pets Math Centers.  This also includes count and clip cards, a path game, and a measurement center.

FishInTheVetCenter

During Pets week we continued to play in our Vet Center for dramatic play.  We even had a pet fish.  I used the original container our real betta fish came in to create a pet fish for our center.  The fish attached with fishing line so that it appears to float inside.

WritingCenterStampDryErase

For writing during Pets week we reviewed letters T and F and added P.  Dry erase activities were available again as well as a new stamping center.

I decided to cut the stamping center pages in half since it is the beginning of the year.  This made the students much more likely to try it out since it did not look like too much to do at once.  I also reduced the stamps to only the ones needed.  Later in the year I will have the entire alphabet out when using these stamps.

You can find the stamping center in my alphabet bundle or in its own set.  The dry erase letter practice can be found on This Reading Mama’s site if you subscribe to her blog.  I cut them into strips and laminated them.

PizzaEaselPin

Since our focus letter for Pets week in PreK is letter P, I had to pull out my pizza felt pieces.  My students made lots of different pizzas, with several pizza faces being created as well.  We did have some peppers get destroyed, so I brought the pieces to circle time and talked about being careful with our felt pieces.

We also had to sing the Silly Pizza song from Signing Time!

I do not do quite as many signs as Rachel does while singing with the kids, but I do work on all the main signs, like apple, crackers, ice cream, cereal, and so forth.

EaselAnimalSort

The other side of the easel had a size sort with common pets.  I am pleased that more students are noticing this side of the easel this year, probably partly due to having more students so that the most favorite spots are taken and they need to do a little more exploring.

PlaydoughHats

Play dough is still a favorite so I put out two mats from Sparklebox.  I W alaminated them with something on each side.  I have found that a magic eraser does wonders for cleaning these mats when play dough residue builds up on them.

We had several birthdays the week before and several children wearing birthday crowns, so I decided to put out a crown that everyone could wear who was interested with this letter P hat center that I purchased from Beth Gordan.  A few students made two hats, one to wear and one to share with a younger sibling.

LetterPCircleTime

My letter cards from the Letter Pp Book are in my circle time area all week, except when we borrow them to draw something on our dry erase boards that starts with our letter or when coloring our letter books in case my students want their pictures to match.  These are also in my alphabet bundle.

My students loved the poem of the week since it was quite the tongue twister.  We practiced lots of P sounds and searched for the letter P in the poem.

SunflowerScience

Science this week was not specifically related to pets because we had some sunflowers that were ready for exploration.  Last spring my class planted sunflowers and I was able to save a couple huge heads for some up close discovery.  We will save some of the seeds to plant this spring.

DaysOfCreationSensoryBin

Since we have been studying Creation in our Bible curriculum, our sensory bin has changed each day for six days to represent the six days of creation between family week and pets week.  My students were happy to discover what was new each day.

In my next post I will share some of our songs, books, and arts and crafts projects from Pets Week in PreK.

Family Theme in PreK

QuestionsAndLetterWork

For our Family theme in my PreK classroom we also focused on the letter F.  Our questions of the day related to family and our letter F.  You can find the family related questions in this Question of the Day set.  The letters in your name questions are a freebie in my shop.  I printed mine on colored paper for more interest.

I did find that my students who were a brother had a hard time not counting themselves when deciding how many brothers they had.  I do have brothers in my classroom so we did some counting to figure it out, but it is a concept we are still learning.

The cards for the letter F are part of my Alphabet Bundle.  I use them during circle time to talk about things that start with a particular letter, to sort between a letter we have already worked on and a new letter, during our small group writing and drawing time, as well as in creating our letter books.

EaselIdeas

One of my goals for the last couple of years on and off was to make sure I have some new ideas for my easel so that there are different kinds of opportunities to work on a vertical surface.  This week I found a great set of family cards from Fantastic Fun and Learning that I could laminate and add magnets to for one side of the board.  This was played with often during the week, which is great since sometimes that side of the board gets forgotten since you cannot see if from most of the room so kids forget to look at it except when they are lined up for leaving the room.

The other side we used with dry erase markers and practicing creating pictures with circles.  You can find the free printable here.

FamilySorters

Since my students discovered the family sorters late in the week, I kept them out this week, but made the houses stand up and found some new sorting mats.  Students discovered new ways to sort the people and pets throughout the week.

(Note: All Amazon links are affiliate links that earn me a few cents if you purchase through the link.)

 

HousesCreationBin

For my family theme in PreK I printed some photos of houses in the area from the real estate website so that students could choose one they might be familiar with and build it.

Our Bible lesson for two weeks is about God creating people and the world, so my sensory bin is a creation bin, with something added each day based upon the days of creation.  We use Cross Connections for Early Learners in our school for our Bible curriculum.

Day One:  white and black beans to represent day and night

Day Two:  cotton rounds or cotton balls for water in the sky and blue foam shapes to represent water below

Day Three:  trees and green hill to represent plant life

Day Four:  star shaped ice cubes for sun, moon, and stars

Day Five:  fish and birds

Day Six:  animals and people

ScienceMagnets

Science this week involved magnets, so there was a lot of fine motor practice.  The gumball magnet counting game is from Lakeshore.  I discovered the Melissa & Doug picture maker on clearance at a craft store one summer.  I am thinking by the price at Amazon that it may be discontinued so I would suggest watching for it at yard sales both online and off.

PatternBlocksandPlayDough

We worked on letter T and F for our pattern blocks as well as doing fish and train patterns.

Play dough is out nearly every week, especially at the beginning of the year.  This week we had face mats out from Sparklebox.  I put out different faces each day during the week.

PoemCalendarPhotoLayout

As part of my circle time, we have a poem or song every week.  To go along with letter F, we had Little Miss Muffet.

As you can see from the calendar it was a big week for birthdays in my classroom as well.  Lots of birthday crowns….

To go along with our family theme we sang a couple songs and learned some of the ASL signs to go with them.  These are In A House and Mom Has a Mom, both from Signing Time!

VetDramaticPlay

We changed our doctor to a veterinarian this week, complete with several pets.  I like to use the labels from Pocket of Preschool and many of the printables as well for this center.

VetDramaticPlay2

My daughter was kind enough to share many of her old stuffed animals for our pretend play.

WritingCenterPhotoLayout

My students are really enjoying the writing center so far this year.  We have our names to practice again this week, along with letter F and T.  In addition, I added family words and paper from Pocket of Preschool.  I had one student who practiced writing nearly every other students’ name during the week, giving them to the students as presents.

I would love to hear about your favorite family theme activities in your classroom.

 

About Me Theme in PreK

AboutMeSensoryCrochet

For our second week of PreK we focused on an About Me theme, with lots of emphasis on our names and the letters in our names.  The sensory bin was full of green rice, pasta in the shape of alphabet letters, and alphabet magnets, along with tools to interact with the letters and rice.  In addition, I used a clip art font that matched the pasta to create an alphabet sheet that letters could be matched with.

I also introduced my crocheted alphabet letters to my students.  I keep these out all year long.  You can find the crochet patterns to create these here.  When I created them I chose to use the same color for the capital and lowercase to help with matching.

AboutMeEasel

Although we have many activities that include several letters of the alphabet, we do have a focus letter of the week.  Our first letter is T, so one side of the easel had words to build with letter magnets that start with T.  You can find these cards from This Reading Mama.  I cut them apart and laminated them for my purposes.  I used the two sets of alphabet magnets below for this activity.  I did not like the shape of the lowercase t in the foam magnets and did not have enough to have six of them anyway.

I use a large binder clip to attach my small bins on the side of the easel that does not have a shelf.

(Note:  all Amazon links are affiliate links, which means I get a few cents if you purchase through my link, which helps me pay the bills.)

AboutMeMathandFineMotor

I introduced the family counters this week, along with houses that I printed on matching colored paper. Students were mostly given a chance to just play with these however they liked. Many sorted by color and some started playing pretend with them. I will add some more ideas with these next week since our theme will be family.

Some of the building bricks ended up on the math and fine motor table with the opportunity to build the letter that starts your name. At least one student made at least four different letters, including the first letter of his name. I will put the letter making cards in the block center after this so students can try this again if interested.

 

AboutMeChicka

One of the books we read this week was Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  We also found the letters in our name with dot markers while some students also used the letter T dot marker page to find the letter T as well as pictures of things that start with T.  The Chicka Chicka page can be found here.  The letter T dot marker page is part of my Alphabet Letter and Sound Search.  For these sheets I only place a handful of letters and sounds on each sheet so that students are not overwhelmed.  For example, the T sheet has T, F, M, and P only.

We created our own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Look Who Is In Our Room book during the week.  We used green feathers for the leaves, so no cutting a million leaves for the teacher and assistant since kids are not that proficient at cutting during the first couple weeks of school.  The trunk was brown construction paper this year, although I have also used sandpaper in the past.  Foam letters were used for student names and I added a photo of the student to help students read the book to themselves once it is placed in the classroom library.

On the last day of the week we ate a special Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree with a graham cracker, green apple slices, and alphabet cookies that I found at Walmart.

AboutMeLiteracyWriting

My assistant and I finished making the name cards for the writing center.  These consist of the student’s photo with name at the top and blank boxes below each letter for name practice.  These cards will be in the writing center all year for practice.  Students right now are mostly focusing upon their own name, but some want to practice their friends’ names as well.

I also found some letter T handwriting practice to laminate as well.

In the crafts and literacy center I introduced using a poke pin.  I use a couple layers of cork board with a carpet square underneath to protect the table.  I use the large poke pins for this and only have this center available to one student at a time.  I also make sure it is near the area where I or my assistant is working for this introductory week so there are no accidents.   I used the letter T sheet from this set.

AboutMeScience

For science this week I pulled out as many shades of knee high panty hose as I could find.  Students could put them on their arms to compare shades to see if any of them were close to the shade of their own skin.

Fingerprints were a huge favorite this week.  Lots of kids covered in purple ink.  The fingerprint page with the magnifying glass is found at Making Learning Fun.

 

 

 

Prepping for PreK Open House

GettingReadyForOpenHouse1

The last week has been all about getting ready for our Sneak Peek, or Open House, in PreK.  There is lots of arranging furniture after the floors are buffed, printing and laminating items with student names, organizing supplies and labelling everything as well as decorating doors and bulletin boards.  Not to mention actually doing lesson planning.

PreppingBulletinBoard1

Since I am sticking with an ocean theme this year I wanted to change up a few things, including my idea for the hallway bulletin board.  I often have student names on fish or have students create some kind of fish craft to put on the bulletin board, but I wanted something different this year.

A church member found that his work was going to throw away this large spool of blue plastic sheeting.  For those of you old enough to remember overhead projectors, the sheeting is about the consistency of those rolls, but blue in color.  The ocean themed bulletin board paper was looking like it had a few too many staple holes, so I was about to tear it down when I came up with the idea to cover it with the blue plastic sheeting.

PreppingBulletinBoard2

I added a few fish to the board and then covered the bottom with a layer of the blue plastic sheeting.  You can see above a bit of the difference between the top fish and bottom fish.

I had to wait until I had some help for the top layer because that spool is heavy.  I will share the next step in the next post, along with our added student crafts which the students will work on during the first week of school.

Questionsforfirstweek

Since I updated my Summer Fun question of the day set this summer, I decided I really needed to use some of them the first week of school.  I chose to use the question about liking tricycles or slides for the Sneak Peak Open House.  Slides was the winner for my classroom.

Question of the Day Bundle

If you don’t want to have to think about which question to ask every day all year, you can use all of my hard work with my Question of the Day Bundle.  I created it because I used to write the question every morning when I first started doing my question of the day and would sometimes be racing to come up with one before the first kid came in the room because it slipped my mind.

Ocean Theme Decor Bundle

As always happens, I have a new student to create name tags for before our first day of school.  I will have to get out my ocean themed name tags files from my decor bundle for some last minute additions.

Alphabet Bundle

On the agenda for the next couple of days before the official first day is making play dough, finishing up lesson plans, and trying to get ahead on printing from my Alphabet Bundle for at least the first month.  I also hope to get a few great photos of my bulletin board once completed because it makes me smile and one of my students was already fascinated with it.

Back To School Sale and a Giveaway

Slide09

The Back to School sale is almost upon us at Teachers Pay Teachers.  I already have some goodies in my shopping cart to help me create some new things for my classroom this year.

The sale starts Wednesday, August 1st and continues Thursday, August 2nd.   You have the opportunity to save up to 25% off.  Just remember to use the code:  BTSFRESH.  I have personally forgotten to put in the sale code in the past and kicked myself for it.

If you purchase bundles on the sale days you will have the opportunity to save even more, since they are already discounted compared to purchasing the items separately.

The bundles in my shop that will be heading to the printer soon to get ready for the school year include these:

Alphabet Bundle

I already have the building cards laminated as well as the magnet pages, but I will be printing dot marker, stamping, and emergent readers all year long from my ABC Bundle.

Calendar Cards Bundle

I have many of these calendar cards already printed and ready to go, but I am sure I will end up printing at least one more set to switch things up this year.

Question of the Day Bundle

I just need to laminate the summer set from my Question of the Day Bundle since I updated it over the summer and want to use some of the questions for the first week of school.

Fall Math and Literacy Centers Bundle

I need to laminate the geoboard cards from my Fall Bundle.  As soon as I know for sure the names of my students I will be printing out the fall books with their names on each page.

Forest Animals Decor Bundle

I also have lots of classroom decor items, including some new bundles.  You can check out Classroom Decor in my shop to see more.

Before you go on your sale spending spree, be sure to leave feedback for any items on TPT that you have purchased in the past.  You receive credits for doing this that can be redeemed when you make your next purchase.  Another way to make your money stretch further.

What would the Back To School Sale be without a giveaway? I am giving away a $10 gift card to Teachers Pay Teachers.  The giveaway will end at midnight Wednesday night so that I can send out your prize in time for you to make the most of it during the sale.
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Summer Camp Centers in Preschool

SummerQtip

Summer camp centers during our cooking camp needed to be mostly self led.  I did get brave and put out my brand new Summer Qtip Painting because I had a feeling that several of the kids at camp would enjoy the challenge since the camp was mostly students who would be entering preschool or PreK in the fall, not moving on to kindergarten.

Other than ending up with quite a few papers that did not have an owner, this center was a great success.  One thing that definitely helped were the color coded cotton swabs that I discovered at my local Dollar Tree.  I did end up needing to clean up one set midway through camp when one camper decided that the science experiment of color mixing was very interesting.

SummerQtip2

I was pleased to see that some of the campers even decided to try tracing the words at the bottoms of the sheets.  During the year in PreK I would probably have my students use a different writing implement to do the tracing part.

SummerSensoryBin

For summer cooking camp I knew sensory bins would be a hit and keep those who were not cooking very occupied.  I also did not want something that was a challenge to clean up.  My coworker had seen suggestions online for making the funnel contraption so I knew we had this to pull out of our closets.  I chose the colorful died beans because they would be easy to see on the dark rug beneath the bin.  The scissor scoopers were already in my stash, but I would love to pick up a set like the ones on Amazon from Learning Resources (aff. link.)

SummerCenters

One sensory bin was not enough for the first week of camp, so I also set up one with a sunflower seed bird seed mix, magnets, and magnetic alphabet letters.  The magnets (aff. link) are from Learning Resources.  The magnetic alphabet set was one I had in my stash, but you can also find one here (aff. link) that I also own.

I realized that we had not pulled out the Cranium Fort set this year, so each day we started a building for the students and let them try to add to it.  The older students spent more time building and the younger ones sat in it.  This set is no longer manufactured, but you can see a link to it here (aff. link) so you know what it is in case you fall upon it at a yard sale or somewhere.

IceCreamShopIn addition to these activities and our cooking we also had out some puzzles, Potato Heads, Lego Duplos and our Ice Cream Shop Pretend Play.  These kept our full house of preschoolers very busy during our cooking camp.

Bugs, Insects, and Spiders in PreK

InsectQuestion

We started our Bugs, Insects, and Spiders week with a question of the day that would go along with our dramatic play area.  I love the photo of the kids in the beekeeping suits in this question.  This question is part of my Spring Question of the Day set.

InsectPatternBlocks

Pattern blocks are inviting when on the easel with sticky paper.  The pattern blocks are made of foam.  I used painters tape to put up clear contact paper over the insect theme pattern blocks that I printed out from PreKinders.  You can find pattern blocks from Teacher Created Resources. (aff. link)  We often use Contact brand liner (aff. link) for these projects, but have also used Duck brand (aff. link) as well.  Since this side of my easel does not have a tray, I use a large clip to hold a container for the foam pattern blocks.

ABCMagnet

The other side of the easel has some alphabet review for my students.  The Alphabet Beginning Sounds Match is from my shop.  I like having a handful of letters for my students to review, instead of the entire alphabet.

ABCMagnets2

I used both capital and lowercase alphabet magnets for this center.  This set of alphabet magnets can be found here. (aff. link)  I am liking this set of alphabet magnets, although the lowercase t does have the curve at the bottom.

InsectLacing

During our Bug, Insect, and Spider week we did a couple sewing projects.  This center got a bunch more use out of it after we created a spider web with a paper plate as one of our craft projects.  I had a difficult time finding a source for these.  I would not suggest buying them at this price, but wanted to share more branding information in case you could find them somewhere else.

Cootie

How can you  have Bug, Insect, and Spider week without Cootie? (aff. link)  My set has one missing leg, but none of the kids seemed to notice this year.  Putting the legs on is probably the biggest challenge for preschoolers since the legs look like they should go on one way, but really go in on more of an angle.

InsectMeasurement

We used some linking cubes to measure some insects this week, thanks to this great freebie.  Most of my students did not bother with filling out the form, but a few tried it.  They did enjoy measuring how big each insect was.  You could use a variety of non-standard measuring tools for these critters; we used linking cubes similar to these. (aff. link)

InsectSensory

My sensory bin was filled with shell, rotini, and bow tie pasta to represent the stages of a butterfly.  I also picked up some bug catchers, small nets, and tweezers from Dollar Tree.  The nets try to slide off the plastic handle, so I will probably glue the plastic handle shut for next year.  I also have some plastic bugs from Melissa & Doug to catch.  They look similar to these (aff. link), which may be the updated version since I have had these for several years.  Some friends captured bugs while others used the bug catchers to sort pasta.

My next post will share some more of my buggy week with a look at our bee keeper dramatic play that I was fortunate to have a bunch of help creating from both a coworker and a great set online that I purchased.

Pond Life in PreK

QuestionoftheDay

We start each day with our Question of the Day, so Pond Life week started with questions about turtles, frogs, and dragonflies from my Animals set.  I like having questions with photos, especially for students who may not have seen any of these creatures in real life.

FeedTheFrog

On our fine motor and math table we played Feed the Frog with black pom pom flies.  I found the trash can at the local Dollar Tree, but they do not currently have them in stock.  I have seen other versions that use a parmesan container as well.  I would like to get some plastic flies (aff. link) to go with this game.  I had students roll the die to see how many flies to feed the frog with the tool.

PathGame

I made a spinner for this path game so there would not be competing dice on the same table.  Students move their frog along the lily pad path to the finish.  These frogs (aff. link) look like the set I have used in several places in my classroom, including this game.  I also used the frogs in my sensory bin with water and pony bead and pipe cleaner tadpoles with green foam lily pads.

turtlelettersound

I used these ABC Turtles from maketaketeach, along with letter tiles for some work on letter sounds.  This is a center that mostly required some assistance from myself or my assistant to at least get them started with the activity since many know their letters, but are still working on letter sounds.

WordBuilding

For the Pond word building students had to be able to match up lowercase and capital letters.  You can find the cards for this at A Teaching Mommy, along with several other printables for this theme.  I try to have my students sometimes match lowercase to lowercase and sometimes capital to lowercase or lowercase to capital letters when we use the letter tiles.

writingcenter

My writing center had a die with letters on it to practice writing on this sheet from PreKinders.  However, a couple girls ended up doing the heart grid above during their time at this center.  I promised to take a photo of it for one of the girls.

ScienceCenter

We are watching our caterpillars grow, so they are on the science table, along with frog life cycle stamps, some Pond Life words and some magnifying lenses.  Pond Life words were found at Sparklebox.  This is a UK website, so be sure to check wording and spelling for printables there.

PondPuzzles

I put out our Pond Life puzzles for my students to work on the large rug.  These are challenging puzzles, with no picture underneath, so are good for this time of the year.  The puzzles are say Excellerations by Discount School Supply on them, but I cannot find them anywhere online to share a link.

Calendar

I could have used my frog themed calendar this month as well, but chose to use the insects set instead since I really like all these cute insects in this set.  We are also growing our caterpillars into butterflies as well as doing an insect theme this month.  If you really have a hard time deciding which calendar numbers to use each month, please check out my bundle.

During story time we used several pond animal themed books.  There are affiliate links to them below so that you can get a closer look at them by clicking on the book covers.

This version of Five Little Ducks is a board book with cut outs.  I usually use this one during farm week and read the next one during ponds week.

The illustrations by Ivan Bates in this version of Five Little Ducks are really cute.  I like how each duckling has something to give its mother when they return.

Jump! is one of those chain stories.  Each animal jumps because of a larger animal.  The version I have also has Spanish in it.

Frog and Toad stories are fun to share at this time of year because students are better at longer stories.  They also enjoy hearing stories that involve characters they know.

It’s Mine! by Leo Lionni is all about some frogs that are selfish and how they learn not to be.  I channel my inner three year old to read the lines of the selfish frogs.

This one has some great photos of frogs without filling the page with too many words for a preschooler to handle.