Apples in PreK

 

 

AppleOrchardPretendPlay

My favorite new addition to my apples in PreK week this year is the apple orchard.  I had seen several pretend play areas from other classrooms and decided I wanted to add some apple trees this year.

I used cardboard to create the tops of my apple trees, attaching them to the bottom of the bulletin board with a long strip of velcro to keep my students from pulling the tree tops down with the apples.  I chose to have one tree for each color of apple.  The apples are ball pit balls, which I purchased from Walmart because I waited until the last minute to put this together.  You can find some on Amazon through the following affiliate link:

I put a small amount of velcro on each ball and the matching side on the tree top.  I figure when I am ready to take down the tree tops I can put it all in storage for next year.

QuestionWriting

As always, we start our day with our question of the day.  The question above can be found in my Question of the Day Bundle or the Farm, Apples, Pumpkins, Fall set.

Our writing center is very popular this year.  For the week we had some apple pre-writing from Confessions of a Homeschooler as well as name practice and practicing the letters we have focused upon so far this year.

AppleCountingGames

Apple math in PreK involved lots of counting during the week.  We used some roll and cover games from Recipe for Teaching.  We also played Hi Ho Cherry-O and just pretended they were apples.  You can find the updated game that actually has apples as well as cherries and blueberries at this affiliate Amazon link:

 

AppleOrchardMagnets

 

These apple orchard magnets were meant to be used with play dough, but I wanted something for my student to work on a vertical surface so I utilized them this way.  You can find them at Life over C’s.

BuildingTreesQtip

We also used linking cubes to build apple trees and our qtips to paint our letter focus of the week (M) as well as letters that go with the apple theme.  The linking cube apple tree is from 123 Homeschool for Me and the qtip pages are from 1+1+1=1. The paint pallets were purchased long ago, so not sure where, but there are some on Amazon here (affiliate link):

FineMotorCuttingPunching

We work on using our hands with a variety of tools in my PreK class.  This includes scissor practice, like the apple cutting strips, and paper punches to punch our focus letter.

SensorySTEM

I filled my sensory bin with green lentils, decorative apples, an apple shaped colander, an apple shaped ice tray, a couple cinnamon sticks, and some apples made from pipe cleaners that could be caught with magnet wands.

The science table involves a STEM building challenge to build an apple tree that will hold the most apples.  Toward the end of the week some students decided to add to the challenge by making the tallest tree as well.

ArtCraftsApples

Our apple theme arts and crafts projects for PreK involved lots of paint.

For our apple core, students painted top and bottom with the apple color paint that they wanted.  They added seeds to the middle with a marker.

The apple tree involved some cutting practice.  I marked the brown paper with two lines to cut to make the trunk.  This gave me a chance to assess cutting skills during this project.  Then we used bath puffs to paint the green top of the tree.  I had plenty of  yellow and red circles for students to glue on to their apple trees.

I enjoy most the arty crafty projects that all look different from each other, so I am pleased with our apple trees this year.

 

 

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.

 

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.

Even More Bugs, Insects, and Spider Activities for PreK

BuildABug

One very popular center during Bugs, Spiders, and Insects week was the Build a Bug Center.  I gathered a bunch of shapes on a tray, along with glue sticks.  I had construction paper available for students to create a bug.  I also made scissors available in case a student wanted to cut any of the shapes before gluing.  One student created four different bug art pieces at this center during the week.  I quickly filled up my bulletin board.  You can see the first batch below.  The last set (which somehow escaped my camera) looked increasingly like specific insects as we discussed more about them as we went through the week.

BuildABugResults

This bug building center was inspired by What We Can Do With Paper And Glue.

BugObservation

In our science center we continued to observe our caterpillars as they each turned into a chrysalis.  We also did some observation of these insects from a Lakeshore set called Real Bugs Discovery Kit. (aff. link)  Some students also completed the Bug Observation Form that I printed from Sparklebox.  Several kids asked me if those were real bugs.

CaterpillarCraft

We created a several day craft to walk through the steps a caterpillar takes to become a butterfly.  You can see our caterpillars above.  I gave the students each a clothespin and a bin full of pom poms along with liquid glue.  They chose the colors they wanted and glued the pom poms on the clothespins.  I helped put the eyes on this time.

The next day we wrapped yarn around a cardboard tube to create the chrysalis.  We put the caterpillar in the chrysalis and then used markers to color a coffee filter, which we then sprayed with water.  Finally, when dry, we had the caterpillar grab its wings and emerge from its chrysalis.  They are currently hanging all around the room with the butterflies clipped to their chrysalis as if they just emerged.

LadybugRhyming

We played a small group rhyming game with a ladybug theme during our bug week.  I placed half the ladybugs in the grass, which is a drying rack for baby items that I picked up as a special buy at Aldi.  I found a very similar one on Amazon. (aff. link)  My students each received a few ladybugs and then took turns choosing a ladybug from the grass.  They then all looked at their ladybugs to figure out which person had the ladybug that rhymed to make a match.  You can find these ladybug rhyming cards on TPT.

BeehiveDramaticPlay

Our dramatic play for our insect them was BeeKeeping.  I utilized some pieces that one of my coworkers had put together last year along with some printables from this Honey Bees Dramatic Play set.  I always want labels for everything in my dramatic play because it helps with literacy development as well as clean up.   The beehive above is a file box. (aff. link)

InsideBeehive

Inside the beehive there are hanging file folders that are covered with artwork of beehives and some with painted bubble wrap.  The artwork helps the students fill out the checklist that is also part of this set, so students need to look carefully at each part of the hive to check for danger.

BeehiveInspection

I laminate my inspection sheet and have a dry erase marker and eraser available at the center for students to complete.

Beekeeper

To be a beekeeper we needed gloves, a hat with netting, a smoker, and some tools to gather the honey.  Next year I will probably add some kind of white shirt to be the beekeeper’s clothing.

BeeGarden

You cannot have bees without some flowers for them to gather nectar from, so I pulled out this set for students to water.  They also had fun taking them apart and putting them back together in various ways.  This set was found at Toysrus and was called the Mix and Match Flower Garden.  A similar set that does not have the base can be found here. (aff. link)  I actually have it as well as use it during our gardening unit.

BeeBook

For checking out more about bees in our pretend play area, I have this book.  It is called Honeybees, An Amazing Insect Discovery Book.  This book has some great photos for students to look at while in the pretend play area.

 

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.

Kites and Wind in PreK

KiteTails

This year we decided to focus on kites and wind in our spring theme week in preschool.  Besides making paper bag kites to fly outside during one of our windy days and blowing paint through straws, we also did several centers with kites, wind, and springtime weather as our theme.  I found the kites shown above at Confessions of a Homeschooler.  I attached chenille stems (affiliate link) to the kites and added pony beads (aff. link) for this activity.  Chenille stems are a bit easier for students to add beads to than yarn.  This was a popular activity.

UmbrellaGridGame

Also on my math and fine motor table was this umbrella grid game from PreKinders.  I added one of my foam dice and some flat blue glass beads (aff links).  I purchased my beads either at the dollar store or with a coupon at a craft store.  For advanced players I would suggest they make a pattern as they play with the different shades of blue.

PaintWithWater

My students really enjoy painting with water on the dark side of my easel, so this time I found directions for drawing a kite and let them try it out with a paint brush.  Sometimes they create the kite, and other time they paint their own ideas.  I am not sure where this direction sheet came from; if anyone has seen it please let me know so I can give proper credit.

RainyDayEasel

For the other side of my easel I chose to put up a felt board and have students play this roll and put together game.  I printed the pieces on milk filters and cut them out to use on the felt board.  The milk filters I linked you to are smaller than the ones I purchased, but I do not see 15 inch ones available currently on Amazon.  I cut them down to fit in the printer as an 8.5 by 11.  After posting this, I finally discovered where I found this game.

rainbowquestion

Managed to take a photo of my question of the day when the early morning sun was hitting it.  Hopefully next time I will remember to photograph it at the end of the school day.  This question comes from my spring set and is also included in my Question of the Day bundle.

rollandwrite

I combined something I had already printed from PreKinders with my new Spring Alphabet Centers cards for my writing center.   I put six of my alphabet cards in the foam pocket die (aff. link).  Students roll the die and write whichever letter comes up until they have filled all the squares.  Students can also play this in pairs and take turns writing.  I switched out the cards during the week to practice different letters.

qtipcolors

Since my students still like qtip painting, I pulled out these printables from 1+1+1=1.  As you can see, one student worked on her patterning while painting.  The students all seemed to want to finish the rainbow at the bottom of the sheet as well.

calendar

I am using the free Spring calendar numbers from my shop this month.  They are also available in my Calendar Bundle.  Be sure to let me know if there are any calendar number themes not included as I would like to add a couple more sets to the bundle.

windexperiment

For one of our science activities I set up a wind experiment with straws and objects from the classroom to blow.  I used an IKEA bin to limit where the items would get blown.  I used straws cut in half and labelled each straw with a student’s name so that we could avoid sharing straws and germs.  The items I used matched up with this free printable.  Most of my students who tried out this center did not necessarily bother with filling out the sheet; if I had an assistant I would probably have the assistant guide students in completing the sheet.

pizzashop

Since our healthy habits theme was coming up soon, I decided to switch to a Pizza Shop for our dramatic play.  We had not had a food related theme in a while.  Printables for this theme came from Pocket of Preschool.  I also followed several of her suggestions for creating pizza toppings.  The pizzas on the bulletin board were created by students.

pizzacustomertable

The toppings are old spice containers with appropriate colored paper shred inside.  I did have to explain to one student that he could not actually shake it out.

pizzatoppings

Keeping the pizza shop toppings put away nicely when finished does require good labelling and containers.  One also needs to model and help in the first day and remind afterwards to have the shop look like this at the end of the day.  There are plenty of times that there are pizza toppings everywhere, but there are also beautifully created pizzas and students using the menu to mark what toppings they would like.  We even had our pastor come in and order a pizza from our students.  They loved it and the look on their faces was priceless when he pretended to leave the room with his pizza.

A new favorite book I discovered relating to kites and wind was Stuck by Oliver Jeffers.  This has the perfect four year old sense of humor in it.  The kite gets stuck in the tree and the kid keeps throwing things in the tree to knock it down.

We also read Curious George Flies a Kite:

What are your favorite books for preschool related to wind and kites?  I am always on the search for more books.

A Few Nursery Rhyme Activities in PreK

 

A Rather Tall Wall for Humpty Dumpty
A Rather Tall Wall for Humpty Dumpty

We have been having literacy themed studies in our early learning center lately, including a study of nursery rhymes.  Above you can see one of the science based activities that went along with Humpty Dumpty.  My students were given some blocks, a Humpty Dumpty Easter egg with some washers inside to make him magnetic, and a magnet.  They built walls, put Humpty Dumpty on the wall, and then tried to make him walk along the wall with the magnet without falling.

Another Humpty Dumpty Wall
Another Humpty Dumpty Wall

As you can see, different students had different ideas about how to build a wall for Humpty Dumpty.  I also sent home a bag with instructions to fill it with something that would keep Humpty Dumpty safe.  We then recited the Humpty Dumpty rhyme, tossing the bag with the raw egg and whatever they brought to keep him safe off the wall (preschool shelving.)  The kids loved waiting to see whether each egg made it or not.  This year we had some break and some not, which is great.  One year none of them broke so I let the kids put an egg in the bag with nothing so they could see one break.

Baa Baa Black Sheep Sensory Bin
Baa Baa Black Sheep Sensory Bin

When I looked at my past lesson plans I could not immediately remember what I had done for a sensory bin with Nursery Rhymes.  Then I saw the sheep and the cards in my box of Nursery Rhyme stuff and realized what an easy bin this is.  I just poured in our art supply box of pom poms (Amazon referral link)  in, along with some cards and sheep from Making Learning Fun and a few tools for fine motor practice and I was set.  We did not play shear the sheep as suggested.  Instead they filled their sheep with wool based upon how many pom poms the sheep suggested.  Of course, the students also made up their own games all week as well, including lots of different types of sorting.

Library Dramatic Play
Library Dramatic Play

To go along with our literacy theme the dramatic play area was turned into a library.  One of my coworkers created much of this last year, with help from Play to Learn Preschool’s set.  This was a great way to get students to remember our library shelf by moving it into dramatic play and adding opportunities to share stories with one another with big books and felt pieces for retelling.

Story Time Area
Story Time Area

Felt pieces were placed in the blue bin below the easel.  I switched them out based upon books and rhymes we had been doing during circle time.

Check out and return area
Check out and return area

Students were very excited to check out library books and take them home.  Most students were good about bringing books back quickly, but we did have a few who needed some reminding.  This is good practice for when they go to elementary school and need to keep track of school library books.

Puppet Show
Puppet Show

After the first week of Nursery Rhymes I added the puppet show to the library.  Our pastor was kind enough to build this for our school.  I placed puppets in the center that went along with our nursery rhymes and Bible stories so that they could retell them with the puppets.  It also helped give them ideas and reduced the temptation to turn the puppets into boxing gloves.

Nursery Rhyme Calendar Set

We have been using our Nursery Rhyme Calendar during our literacy weeks.  I chose to use the Hey Diddle Diddle version with an ABCD pattern.

Question of the Day Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, Favorite Books

We also used many questions from the Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes, and Favorite Books set, including the one above.

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?

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.