Nocturnal Animals in PreK

Alphabet Bat Building
Alphabet Bat Building

During our Nocturnal Animals week I pulled out the bat building activity that I created last year.  It was inspired by a bat counting craft on Fantastic Fun and Learning.  I painted the parts of the egg carton black and put colorful eyes  on the bat bodies.  Wings are craft foam with puffy paint (referral links) letters.  I chose to use three different colors for the letters to make it easy for me to give a hint to a student who was having trouble finding a match.  I could tell them that it needed to be the same color.

Owl Number Matching
Owl Number Matching

The owl number matching activity was from KidSparkz on TPT.  I sometimes use this tabletop pocket chart (referral link) for matching games for my students.  It tends to draw some of their attention when just placing the cards on the table would not.

Magnet Letter Matching
Magnet Letter Matching

For my easel this time we had letter matching magnets.  You will notice that some of the letters are capital and some lowercase for some mixed practice.   Looks like this one is not still available online due to being updated.  I do have an Alphabet Magnets set that I use at other times that you can find here.  Mine is based upon working on just a handful of letters at a time.

Nocturnal Animals Sensory Writing
Nocturnal Animals Sensory Writing

My timing was not the greatest for this sensory writing activity since we had done something similar recently with our winter theme, so this one was not quite as popular this time around.  I do try to avoid doing similar activities on back to back weeks for the most part.  I found the word cards here.

Post Office Dramatic Play
Post Office Dramatic Play

About this time of year is usually the right time to open a post office in dramatic play.  My students love making cards and letters for each other and manage to practice lots of fine motor control and alphabet formation in the process.  Most of the printables for the dramatic play area came from this set from Primary Delight.  I had a blue bag that I used puffy paint to write the word “MAIL” on for the postal worker bag.

Mailbox from photo company
Mailbox from photo company

The mailbox came courtesy of our class photo company a few years ago.  It was where unwanted photo packages and payments were to be delivered.  Afterwards I painted it blue and put the label on it.  The kids loved filling and emptying it.

Mailboxes for students
Mailboxes for students

Each student has his or her own mailbox for mail to be delivered.  Some of the mail was junk mail donated from home and other mail was created by the students.  In addition we had some boxes that I put velcro on with the matching velcro on a laminated label.  Students enjoyed attaching the labels and deciding who would get the package.

A few books we used for nocturnal animals included:

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen


Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

We also read several nonfiction books about various nocturnal animals.  Any favorite books about nocturnal animals that you love and would like to share?

Bundles I Use All Year, A Giveaway, and A Sale

Favorite Bundles, Sale, and Giveaway
Favorite Bundles, Sale, and Giveaway

I am realizing as I share some of the activities we do each week in my classroom that I don’t always share some of the items I use on a regular basis.  Since TPT has a sale coming up (more on that below) I know bundles are something I tend to purchase during these sales and figure you might like to see some bundles that you can really save on this week.

 

Question of the Day Bundle
Question of the Day Bundle

My Question of the Day Bundle gets used daily in my classroom.  For example, this week I am using some Valentine and friendship questions.  I place my questions on a pocket chart near entrance to the classroom with student name cards placed nearby for students to choose their own name and respond to the question.  You can see the pocket chart (referral link) I use below.

I also use several of the items in my Alphabet Bundle weekly.  I do not use each part every week, but rotate through them for variety.  I do use the alphabet emergent readers each week that I am reviewing an alphabet letter, rotating through whether we will be cutting and pasting or coloring in our books.

Alphabet Bundle
ABC Bundle

My students really enjoy dot markers, so I use them often in different ways.  Below you can see an example of the alphabet letter search included in the ABC Bundle.

Sample Dot Marker from ABC Bundle
Sample Dot Marker from ABC Bundle

My students also enjoy stamping as part of the writing center this year, so I rotate stamps in with my Stamp and Write pages from my ABC Bundle.  Letter stamps are from Melissa & Doug (referral link).  I wrote the letter name on the side of the stamps as well because they will not stay standing up and give enough space for little hands to grab them.

Writing Center Stamp and Write from ABC Bundle
Writing Center Stamp and Write from ABC Bundle

My students also enjoy building so I rotate my linking cubes and triangles (referral link) into my room every so often and add the alphabet building cards from the ABC Bundle.  If you have ideas for theme pictures sets for the cubes and triangles, please let me know.  This is definitely on my list of ideas to work on making more cards for since my students enjoy them.

Alphabet Building with my ABC Bundle
Alphabet
Building with my ABC Bundle

The other bundle that I use all the time in my classroom is my Calendar Bundle.  Right now I have the Nursery Rhymes cards in my calendar and will probably move on to the Spring set next.  My students love guessing the pattern each month.

Calendar Cards Bundle

So now, on to the special announcements.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale on February 14 and 15.  Using the code XOXO, you can get up to 25% off items in participating shops.  All of the items in my shop will be discounted the additional 25% off.  This means these bundles will be super deals.

Finally, I have a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card to give away.  To enter, follow the instructions below.  Giveaway begins at at 12:00am February 13 and ends at 12:00am February 14.  I will contact you Wednesday morning so that you can get your gift card in time to use it during the sale.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Winter Centers in PreK

Winter Sensory Bin with Aldi pasta, dollar store metallic snow and snowflake tray
Winter Sensory Bin with Aldi pasta, dollar store metallic snow and snowflake tray

In the midst of our winter theme in preschool I came down with the flu as did half of my class, so this winter theme sensory bin actually was used in the classroom for a couple of weeks.  The base is white rice, which my husband was kind enough to run out and get for me since we had lots of dyed rice, but no white.  There is winter themed pasta that I picked up at Aldi, metallic winter themed table scatter and a snowflake tray from Dollar Tree as well as alphabet cards from 1+1+1=1.  I could have used my winter alphabet cards, but I decided to use those in another area of my classroom instead.

Winter Sensory Bin tools and recording sheet
Winter Sensory Bin tools and recording sheet

I did decide to utilize the recording sheet from my Winter Alphabet Centers for my sensory bin.  Students worked together to mark off as they found the alphabet letters in the bin.  Since we are a preschool classroom and not kindergarten, I do not require every student to complete the sheet.  I do suggest it to students who I believe are developmentally ready to do the activity or work with a student to do a few letters to get them started.  The crayons I used are the triangle shaped Crayolas. (referral link)  Using these helps keep them from rolling away when they are dropped in addition to helping with proper grip.

Winter Sensory Writing
Winter Sensory Writing

I decided to use my Winter Alphabet Cards in my writing center this time around.  I picked up white sand and a metal tray at my local Dollar Tree.  I used a couple clothespins to help hold the card in place.  An unsharpened pencil (or fingers) were used to draw the letters.  I tried adding some glitter to the sand, but it just all settled to the bottom, so I would not recommend it.

Snowman Number Match on a tabletop easel
Snowman Number Match on a tabletop pocket chart

This Snowman Number Match is a great freebie from A Dab of Glue Will Do.  For games with a bunch of pieces I find that my students are more interested in them if I display them in different ways.  This time I pulled out my tabletop pocket chart (referral link looks similar to the one I have) and found that they fit very well.  Other times I may add magnets or velcro to use them on my easel or felt board.

Snowman Magnets
Snowman Magnets

One side of my easel for my winter theme was made up of these snowman magnets that I picked up at the Dollar Tree.  They seem to often have magnet sets meant for a refrigerator that my students enjoy using.  Later this was switched out to some story retelling pieces for The Jacket I Wear in the Snow (referral link to book).  I used the felt board pieces with magnets from Making Learning Fun.

Snowflake Match with Snowflake Bentley
Snowflake Match with Snowflake Bentley

Because of the flu I never was able to read portions of Snowflake Bentley (referral link) to my students, but I did have it out for them to look at, along with these snowflakes to match.  I thought I printed these from PreKinders.  It appears that she may have updated her file with different snowflakes if I am correct.  I used sticky tack to attach one set to the table and then students can place the correct match on top.

Snowman Letter Sounds with cotton balls
Snowman Letter Sounds with cotton balls

I also used another PreKinders activity during our winter theme.  This set of Snowman Letter Sounds cards were used with cotton balls to cover the pictures that started with the letter at the top.  I pulled out just a few cards to use, which worked well since we were low on students on most of the days of this them due to illness.

Winter Roll and Graph
Winter Roll and Graph

Roll and graph is a center that is popular with my students this year, especially when there are dot markers (referral link) to mark the graph.  My Winter Roll and Graph is found in my Winter Bundle.  I specifically made it only up to six since preschoolers do not always have the stamina to complete the game if it goes up to ten.

Winter Letter Tiles
Winter Letter Tiles

Another popular activity with my students were these Winter Letter Tile cards, also found in my Winter Bundle.  A couple students who are still working at naming their letters spent quite a bit of time building words.  This helps me see that they are starting to recognize the visual differences between letters.  I chose to print the lowercase cards so that we are just matching lowercase to lowercase, but the set also includes blank cards (with the word under the picture) and cards with capital letters.

Winter Math and Literacy Centers Bundle
Winter Math and Literacy Bundle

For those of you looking forward to Spring, I have created a Spring Bundle that has all of my math and literacy ideas with a spring theme.

Spring Math and Literacy Centers Bundle
Spring Math and Literacy Centers Bundle

Transportation Theme Ideas in PreK

Transportation Sensory Bin
Transportation Sensory Bin

This year we only had a week for transportation as opposed to two weeks last year, so I had to squeeze in my favorites.  Besides the bin full of train tracks from IKEA, my sensory bin was one the favorites of the week.  I put some packing “peanuts” in the bin along with some plastic vehicles for filler.  I used my Transportation Sort cards in the bin.  I laminated the cards and placed several staples in each so that the magnet fishing poles (Amazon affiliate link) could catch them to sort.

Transportation Sorting Mats for with the sensory bin
Transportation Sorting Mats for with the sensory bin

I was fortunate to find a Melissa & Doug Magnetic Picture Maker (Amazon affiliate link) on clearance a few years back at a craft store.  Although my students may not have completed the pictures, they did enjoy using the magnet to move the little circles.  I will pull this out later in the year when they have more stamina and a bit more fine motor control to see how successful they are.

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Picture Maker
Melissa & Doug Magnetic Picture Maker

My students still love anything related to dot markers and dice, so the Transportation Roll and Graph was completed by several students.  Some even kept rolling until all of the vehicles won.  This roll and graph is made to go up to five instead of ten to meet the stamina of my students.

Transportation Roll and Graph, a part of my Transportation Bundle
Transportation Roll and Graph, a part of my Transportation Bundle

Something else my students really enjoyed this week was the Transportation Qtip center that I somehow managed not to get in a photo.

Transportation Q-tip Painting

Since we had several weather issues and some health issues in my home, I did a quick train station pretend play area.  My photo does not include the extra box that ended up being the engineer’s car.  The students have been very busy with the simple area, buying tickets, driving the train, handing out tickets, climbing in and out of the train, and fixing the train.

Train Station Dramatic Play
Train Station Dramatic Play

For my writing center this week we did the Transportation Stamp and Write.  My students are starting to remember how to do this since we have used similar pages in the past.  I use the Melissa & Doug stamp set (Amazon affiliate link).

Stamp and Write
Stamp and Write

For some additional alphabet practice, we used my Lowercase Alphabet Building Set with the last six letters of the alphabet that we have learned.  I am very happy that my director found the Excellerations Linking Cubes and Triangles Set (Amazon Affiliates Link).  I think the triangles make the letters look more like the real thing and give a bit more challenge.

Alphabet  Building
Alphabet
Building

For some other transportation ideas, please check out the art project results from one of my past years.  I have not yet had a chance to photograph this year’s results.

Christmas Fine Motor Activities

Decorating the Christmas Tree
Decorating the Christmas Tree

There are many activities to practice fine motor skills in preschool, especially during the Christmas season.  As you can tell by the branch of the Christmas tree with all the ornaments sharing the same branch, this tree is in my PreK classroom.  Since I purchased a new tree for my home this year, I brought in a four foot tree for my dramatic play area, along with some ornaments that I picked up at the Dollar Tree.

Christmas theme qtip painting
Christmas theme qtip painting

I could put out qtip painting practically every day of the year and I would have students working at this center.  I don’t put qtip painting out every week, but do put it in my rotation since it is always popular.  This set of Christmas Qtip Painting is found in my shop.  It has several options, including this type, one in color, and one with no clip art, just the dots.  The words are in a gray shade so that they can be traced if you have kids at that stage of development in your classroom.

Stamp and Write Christmas theme
Stamp and Write Christmas theme

For some mixed practice with the alphabet, I put out this stamping set.  I am embarrassed to say that I realized there was a title on some of the pages that said a different stamping set, but I fixed it when I printed out mine and noticed it.  I was very pleased that one of my students who has suddenly figured out how to write without a fist grip was interested in doing these sheets two different days during the week.  He did a great job finding the correct letter to stamp and did great with attempting to write the letters as well.  We have free choice centers for most activities, so it was great to see a student who is making some growth in pincher grip skills work on this center more than once during the week.

 

Fall Theme in PreK

Fall Writing Center
Fall Writing Center

I wanted to use some sensory writing in my writing center during my fall theme, but had not found exactly what I wanted in my stash or online.  I ended up using the clip art I had purchased for my calendar sets to make some alphabet cards that I can use in several different ways, depending upon where I want to use them.  I had thought I was going to use a more fall themed salt or sand in my center, but I forgot to check for supplies and ended up using green.  The kids did not care at all about having a fall color sand or salt and someone was at this center all week long.

Fall writing center in action
Fall writing center in action

I got the idea for using the clothes pins from Play to Learn Preschool.  With this center there is always a bit of salt or sand on the table and floor by the end of the day, but a little bit of reminding how to gently shake the tray to clear it makes it be less and less each time you pull it out.

Fall Leaves painting with baking soda paint
Fall Leaves painting with baking soda paint

We did a few crafty projects for our fall theme.  One of them involved baking soda paint and vinegar drops for a science twist.  First, I let the students pick which leaf they would like to paint.  I found some leaf templates online and enlarged them a bit.  Students chose the color of baking soda paint, which was baking soda, water, and liquid watercolor.  Note that the paint needs to be stirred frequently.

Adding vinegar for fizz
Adding vinegar for fizz

Once students finished painting they got to add vinegar for some fizzy leaves.  Once these dried I cut them out and we put them up in our fellowship hall windows to help decorate for our Thanksgiving Feast.

Fall Tree Craft
Fall Tree Craft

Another of our crafty activities involved giving students various sized strips of brown paper to create a tree.  Once the tree was created, students could use the end of toilet paper tubes to dip in fall colored paint to create leaves on the trees.  The leaf idea came from here.  I enjoy this activity because every student’s project definitely looks different than anyone else.

Fall Sensory Bin
Fall Sensory Bin

My sensory bin was filled with fabric and foam leaves.  I also had a leave shaped tray as well as acorn and pumpkin shaped colanders.  In addition I had table scatter in the shape of leaves, acorns, and Indian corn.  Students had fun sorting as well as searching through the leaves for all the hidden treasures.  I could have easily added an alphabet set from my Fall Alphabet Centers to this as well, but wanted to keep it more open ended for this week since I was using them in my writing center already.

Fall Word Wall
Fall Word Wall

I had space on my pocket chart for many of the words in my Fall Themed Word Wall set.  This could also be used in my writing center for word writing, depending upon what I have done in that center the week before.  I try to rotate the types of activities in each center so that kids don’t start ignoring a center because it always has the same basic activity.

Fall Word Building
Fall Word Building

I was happy to see several students have success with my Fall Word Building activity.  I have introduced using the letter tiles (affiliate link) at least one other time with my students, but had much more interest in using them with this set.  They use the letter tiles to spell the fall words.  In the set there are options to simply match letters, match capital to lowercase, or to spell with only the word under the clip art.  Since my students do not have much experience yet, we used the lowercase set to match letter to letter.

 

 

 

Sneaky Snacky Squirrel

I pulled out Sneaky Snacky Squirrel (affiliate link), which is always a hit.  The only thing you need to watch is that some kids want to really jam those acorns into the logs.  I had to take the log from one child who had jammed them nearly all the way through.

Personalized Fall Book
Personalized Fall Book

Finally, another hit this week was our Personalized Fall Books.  I was hoping these would be a hit, especially after the work it took for me to figure out how to make them so they would be easy for everyone else to make their own later.  I used these in small groups.  We took turns sharing what the picture was and reading what our sentence said after I helped the first child figure it out.  They really enjoyed being able to read a book with their own name on each page.  I look forward to using more of these with my students and have plans for more in my shop soon.  (I already have the Winter and Spring ones ready.)

Pumpkin Week in PreK

As promised, I am sharing the marble painted apples and pumpkins that we created during the apple and pumpkins themes.  Students had a great time rolling their marbles back and forth through the paint and only a few got away.

Puzzle printed on milk filter for felt board
Puzzle printed on milk filter for felt board

I am always looking for new activities for my easel and felt board.  I discovered the suggestion to use milk filters for printing for felt boards on Making Learning Fun.  In this case I printed a puzzle for pumpkins week.  The one thing you have to watch is that these can get messed up if they get wet.

Pumpkin Table Scatter and Ice Cube Trays for one to one and fine motor practice
Pumpkin Table Scatter and Ice Cube Trays for one to one and fine motor practice

Table scatter can often be found in craft stores, the dollar store, or the dollar spot.  I had some pumpkin table scatter that I paired here with pumpkin theme ice cube trays from the Dollar Tree.  I put two different kinds of tools to grab the pumpkins with for fine motor practice.

Pumpkin Seed Counting
Pumpkin Seed Counting

For this center students need to choose a number and then count out that many pumpkin seeds.  This set of cards can be found at ChildCareLand.  I placed this center next to the spot where I have my number posters so that students could use it for reference if they were unsure of the number.  I modeled how to use the number posters to help them as well.

Pumpkin Slime
Pumpkin Slime

I made Pumpkin Slime, which seemed to be great for the first few days.  This recipe had Borax in it and I think the last time I made it I used liquid starch instead.  It worked great at first.  I added pony beads to it, which the kids loved picking out.  However, something happened the Thursday evening of this week to change the consistency of the slime.  The first kids to get into the bin could not get the slime to let go of them.  It took a very long time to figure out how to get the slime off of them, so I had to close down the bin for the day.  I am not sure if there was a change in weather that caused the slime to change or what, but I think I may try a liquid starch recipe the next time.

Dot Marker Letter B
Dot Marker Letter B

Our letter focus this week was the letter B.  When I do dot marker activities with my students I like to have a few different options.  Dot markers tend to be a popular center and students are at a variety of levels in their alphabet awareness at this point in the year.  For students ready to start listening for the B sound I use my Alphabet Letter and Sound Search pages.  I also found a few other letter B dot marker activities, including the one pictured above by RoyalBaloo.

Pumpkin Play Dough
Pumpkin Play Dough

I always make play dough for my classroom.  For this time of year I made orange play dough with pumpkin pie spice added to it.  I put it in individual slide lock bags with my students’ names on them.  This way students need to use name recognition to find their own play dough.  They also need to be responsible for their own play dough as well as keeping their germs to themselves.  The play dough mats shown are from Living Well Mom.  I did have several students create pumpkins to go on these mats, which is great since occasionally students just ignore the mats and play (which is fine as well.)

Pumpkin Alphabet Match
Pumpkin Alphabet Match

For this pumpkin alphabet match I only chose the letters we had focused on so far this year.  This way there were not too many to spread out and get confused over at this point in the year.  I found this set at This Reading Mama.  I wish the lowercase letter a was a different font for this set, but since I did not cut apart the capital and lowercase letters for my set it works out okay.

Pumpkin Exploration in the Science Center
Pumpkin Exploration in the Science Center

For science we had several pumpkins on hand to explore in different ways.  At first we checked out the outsides with a few ways of measuring the pumpkins.  One of the days I had a bin full of water so that the students could explore sinking and floating.  Our final day involved exploring the insides of the pumpkin.

These are a few of the activities we completed during Pumpkin week.  What is your favorite pumpkin related activity in your classroom?

 

 

Apple Theme in PreK

Apple Suncatchers Craft
Apple Suncatchers Craft

A week full of apple activities in my PreK classroom involved crafts, sensory fun, fine motor play, and two tasting experiences.  We also had our dramatic play Pumpkin Patch, which carried over from Farm week and continues through Pumpkin week.

Apple Themed Sensory Bin
Apple Themed Sensory Bin

The sensory bin for apple week includes a base of split peas.  I made apples from pipe cleaners so that they were magnetic.  This idea was found at Modern Preschool.  I also added cinnamon sticks for my students to rub together for added scent.  Apples are both from a local craft store as well as Attributes Apples from Learning Resources.  Somewhere along the way I picked up an apple shaped colander and ice cube tray to add to my collection.

Apple Coverall Games
Apple Coverall Games

I ended up switching out the apples in the coverall game for the Attribute Apples, since they seemed to stand up better and not roll around as easily for little hands.  These games come from Recipe for Teaching.

Apple Spinner Game
Apple Spinner Game

We also played this apple spinner graphing game with linking cubes.  Students who played did fairly well.  I think the cubes were easier to keep in place than pom poms while spinning.  I found this game at Playdough to Plato.

Building with cubes
Building with cubes

For this fine motor center students used cubes to build an apple tree, an apple, the letter A, and our letter focus of the week, which was d.  The apple themed pages can be found here.  The letter d page is part of my Lowercase Alphabet Linking Cubes and Triangles Set.  It can also be found in my Alphabet Bundle.

Apple Orchard Magnet Play
Apple Orchard Magnet Play

This set of apple orchard magnets were meant to be used with play dough, but since I am always looking for new ideas for my easel, I decided to use them this way.  You can find them at LifeOverC’s.  I was happy to discover that the large binder clips would allow me to have a couple small containers on this side of my easel to hold magnets or other items.

Letter D word building on easel
Letter D word building on easel

I was excited to use my brand new alphabet magnets this week, so I decided to put up these d words on the other side of my easel for the week.  Of course, one “d” disappeared on the first day of the week.  Still happy with the magnets and may end up getting another set sometime soon.  The only thing that would make them perfect is if the t was straight on the bottom.  The printables come from This Reading Mama. I cut apart the pages and laminated for use on my easel.

Qtip painting
Qtip painting

My students love to use Qtips to paint.  I found these sets on 1+1+1=1.  I put out apple colors for painting.  I also put out the letter D qtip painting since that is our focus letter of the week.

Apple cutting practice
Apple cutting practice

I have a few students who will sit at a cutting center and go through pages and pages of cutting.  Once we are finished cutting I add these to the scrap bin for scrap bin art.  Scrap bin art means getting out the scrap bin, glue, and scissors and letting them just create whatever they want.  Other times I let students take home their cutting in an envelope or set it up for students to glue their pieces down like a puzzle or in a pattern when finished.  This set is from This Reading Mama.

Pumpkin Patch
Pumpkin Patch

My students made these pumpkins during farm week to add to our pumpkin patch.  They are attached with clothespins so that the students can practice some fine motor skills to pick a pumpkin during pretend play.

Hay ride
Hay ride

The front of the hayride is our car from the auto shop, with just a larger hole in the top so kids can climb inside.  The hay ride area has hay that students cut in it.  The walls have our corn stalks that students painted the week before.

More Pumpkin Patch
More Pumpkin Patch

All of the printables you see came from Pocket of Preschool’s Pumpkin Patch.  I like that she has many suggestions for the students creating portions of the pretend play.

Popcorn and Cookies
Popcorn and Cookies

My students love pretending with the real popcorn machine.  This was given to me personally and we do not use it enough for real to justify keeping it.  However, knowing that I use it every year in dramatic play makes me find a place to store it.  The cookies hiding out on the lower shelf were made by me.  I will have to find a close up to share another time.

New cash register and tickets
New cash register and tickets

My youngest wanted to go to IKEA recently, which caused me to upgrade my cash register.  There were several other things I would have liked to buy for my preschool class, but I kept it to just this.  My students happily worked with paper from the scrap bin to make lots of money for the drawer.  I am happy to say that this register does not eat money like my last one did.  The last one would get money stuck inside so that I had to unscrew the bottom to rescue it.

Other things I used during Apple week:

Question of the Day Farm, Apples, Pumpkins, Fall Themes

Question of the Day Farm, Apple, Pumpkins, Fall

Alphabet Letter Emergent Readers Bundle A to M

Alphabet Emergent Readers

We also made apple sauce in the crock pot and did an apple taste test.  My youngest was happy that there was left over apple sauce for her to eat.

Besides the apple suncatchers we also completed some marble art that I will share along with our Pumpkin week items.

Down on the Farm Theme in PreK

One of my farm themed questions of the day
One of my farm themed questions of the day

We start each day in PreK with a question of the day.  Most of them relate to the theme we are working on in class.  My students’ parents really like to wait to see which answer their children will pick before they leave for the morning.  You can find farm themed questions in this set or in my Question of the Day bundle.

Rosie's Walk path game
Rosie’s Walk path game

One of the many farm themed books we read during our farm theme is Rosie’s Walk.  I found this path game at Making Learning Fun and braved using our large laminator to create it.  I used this as a shape review game.  I also printed the felt board pieces from the same sight for my students to use in the library corner during the farm theme.

Matching horses with their clothes pin legs
Matching horses with their clothes pin legs

For another sorting and fine motor activity, I had my students match up horse clothes pin legs to laminated colored bodies.  I used permanent marker to color the legs since paint does not seem to stay.  I used this in assessing my student knowledge of colors as well as pincher grasp.  I found the printable horses here.

Pattern Blocks on the Easel
Pattern Blocks on the Easel

I try to use my easel in different ways, so for the farm theme I used one side with pattern block patterns.  I put contact paper on top of the print outs and gave the students foam pattern block pieces (affiliate link) to stick to the contact paper.  It stays sticky enough to be used for a couple weeks, if interest stays.  I switched out a couple of the pictures for the second week to renew interest for those who had already tried it the first week.  Some of the pattern block pages come from PreKinders and the alligator, which goes with our letter that we were studying, comes from Jessica’s Corner of Cyberspace.

Farm themed sensory bin with bird seed
Farm themed sensory bin with bird seed

For my farm themed sensory bin, I used a filler of bird seed.  I created fence pieces with hot glue and two sized of popsicle sticks.  I also added letters to sort the animals.  We had some lincoln logs to create a barn as well.  As a preschool teacher, I am sure you can imagine what it looks like at the end of each day (or even a few minutes after the kids get to school.) Many of the animals come from a farm themed tube, but others are ones that my youngest daughter outgrew.

Poke Pin Pig and Letter A
Poke Pin Pig and Letter A

One of the fine motor activities that my PreK students enjoy is using the large poke pins.  For our farm theme I found a poke pin pig from This Reading Mama.  I also pulled out a letter A poke pin page from this set of Miss Helen’s Hippos.  I have a few cork board sheets stacked on top of each other to help keep from getting tiny holes in the table.

Farm Animal Word Building
Farm Animal Word Building

Another resource I used from Making Learning Fun were these letter tile cards.  You can find the letter tiles on Amazon (affiliate link).  It did take some work to get them to print out correctly for me because I did not have the size paper suggested.  Not sure which story these corresponded with since I printed them out quite a while ago.

Dramatic Play Prep Cutting Practice
Dramatic Play Prep Cutting Practice

During our first week on the farm I had my students work on creating items that would go into our Pumpkin Patch the following week.  We created pumpkins from paper bags.  Students cut leaves for plants, cut popcorn pieces for the popcorn machine, and cut hay for the hay ride.  I was able to have each student take a turn so I could assess everyone’s cutting skills at this point in the year.  All of these cutting ideas come from Pocket of Preschool’s Pumpkin Patch dramatic play set.

Next I will show you how the Pumpkin Patch turned out…

More Community Helpers in PreK

Color Mixing Fire Fighter Painting
Color Mixing Fire Fighter Painting

We spent two weeks on our Community Helpers theme.  One of our crafts involved mixing paint to make a fire.  I showed my students red and yellow paint, putting some of each on the paper.  I placed a piece of plastic wrap on top of the paint and asked them to mix the two colors to make a fire to put out.  We discussed how we started out with yellow and red and then I asked them what other color they saw when they were finished.  The next day we painted hands blue after gluing on a hose.  Students used their blue hands to make water come out of the hose to put out the fire.  Activity was inspired by this pin.

Putting Out Fire in the Sensory Bin
Putting Out Fire in the Sensory Bin

Thanks to another teacher I received these small red cups.  I placed foam numbered flames with hot glue onto each cup after discovering that sticky tack definitely does not work.  Students sprayed the cups to put out the fires.  As the sensory bin was used it got more difficult to place the cups in stacks due to the fact that the cups slide around in the water.

Community Helper Puzzles
Community Helper Puzzles

These community helper puzzles were a great find at the Green Valley Book Fair.  I love that they are self checking; they will not go together unless they are in the correct puzzle.

Community Helpers Count and Clip Vehicles
Community Helpers Count and Clip Vehicles

I found a great set of community helper vehicles and people to clip together.  Creating this uses quite a few clothes pins, so I suggest grabbing a set at the dollar store.

The pile of people to clip to the vehicles
The pile of people to clip to the vehicles

In addition to community helper activities we also worked on letter C activities.  My students are very interested in everything dot marker, so I put together many different dot marker activities for my students.  The one pictured can be found here.

Letter C dot marker activities
Letter C dot marker activities

Our pretend play has been an Auto Shop.  Printables for this are from Pocket of Preschool.  I discovered a few things this year that were not an issue last year.  I tried a different method of raising up the car this year.  The cubes worked okay, but one student tried to kneel on one of them.  So, we ended up sliding the two crates directly under the car, which actually allowed two spots for the students to lay under the car at a time.

Auto Shop
Auto Shop

I also discovered that my students liked twisting the pipe cleaner wires around the crate instead of into the car.  I did not complain since it was still great fine motor work for them.

Auto Shop Supplies
Auto Shop Supplies

I also discovered that my students liked dumping things into the car and sometimes needed help getting things out to put them away.

Next we will take the car and turn it into a tractor for our pumpkin patch.