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?

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

Polar Week in PreK

 

Polar Expedition with Ice Fishing
Polar Expedition with Ice
Fishing

Now that I have recovered from the flu, I have a chance to share the last few themes we have been working on in my preschool classroom.  This year we focused on Polar Animals instead of just penguins, so I was able to pull out some of my favorite Arctic Animal activities as well as penguin activities.

For dramatic play we started with a Polar Expedition with a tent and ice fishing.  The fishing poles (referral link) above are what I used.  I laminated fish that I cut using my Cricut and then put a staple or two in each so that they could be caught with the magnetic poles.  Photos of polar animals were placed around the area with a laminated checklist on clipboards.  I found several of the printables for this dramatic play at Sparklebox.  Students used binoculars (referral link) to find the animals.  Our binoculars are fairly similar to the ones at the Amazon link.  We also had dollar store gloves to wear while doing everything.

Polar Expedition Supply Area
Polar Expedition Supply Area

The more labels for where everything goes, the better.  I usually try to have the word and the photo or matching clip art.  If there are not labels things soon get very messy and clean up takes forever.

Dramatic Play Bulletin Board
Dramatic Play Bulletin Board

My dramatic play area has a small bulletin board that I change out to match the area.  I managed to find a cute border for it at Dollar Tree that had polar animals on it.  The foam snowflakes also came from Dollar Tree.  During the next week we switched out what we were searching for and added some more photos to the board.

Arctic Measurement Center
Arctic Measurement Center

I was happy to get to pull out my Arctic Measurement Center this year.  My students love the snap cubes and will build a tower as long or tall as the arctic animal and then count them for me.  I laminated the pages back to back to save on laminating sheets.  I have discovered that the linking cubes are just as wide but make slightly shorter towers because of the way they link together.  I still sometimes use them for variety but keep that in mind if I want to have my students fill out the counting sheet.

Arctic Clip and Match Game
Arctic Clip and Match Game

This Arctic Animal Count and Match Game is one I was happy to pull out again.  My assistant a few years ago worked very hard getting this one together for me.  I like that the clips have the animals to match up with the cards along with the counting.

Penguins on ice
Penguins on ice

The Penguins on Ice (referral link) is from Lakeshore Learning.  My students loved using this set to sort by color and to make patterns.  The ice bars connect in two ways, which was a great discovery for my kids.

Polar Path Game
Polar Path Game

I had my Polar Path Game all ready to play and then we had just enough weather to cancel school.  Students draw a card and then move to the letter the animal starts with to get to the igloo.  The game comes with people that you can print out to play the game, or you can use any other small token to play.

Pop n Drop Penguins
Pop n Drop Penguins

We did have time to use this game, Pop N Drop Penguins (referral link).  Students push down the center to make the die pop.  They move their penguins all the way around the board.  There are extra directions for making penguins fall through the bridges, but we did not use those this time since students mostly played independently.

Spin 20 game
Spin 20 game

I found this free Spin 20 game when I was perusing Pinterest.  You can find it at The Printable Princess.  I had some penguin and polar bear erasers that I think I got at Walmart several years ago that I used for this game.  With preschoolers I find it is best to have pieces that won’t fall over or move easily when the spinner is attached to the same sheet where the pieces go.

Life Size Penguins from the 90s
Life Size Penguins from the 90s

So I used to teach middle school when I first got out of college.  We did a nonfiction unit on Antarctica and the students did a group project to draw a life sized penguin.  They had to research more than one source and had a bunch of facts to go with them.  I saved several of the penguins and have started pulling them out each year for my preschoolers to see how tall they are compared to a penguin.  And this is why teachers save everything.

Below are some things from my shop that I used but did not get photos of in my classroom.

Question of the Day Thanksgiving, Christmas, Winter, Polar Lands
Question of the Day for this theme
Arctic Math and Literacy Bundle
Literacy and Math Centers for an Arctic Theme
Polar Theme Calendar Bundle
Arctic Theme Calendar 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.

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…

Welcome to PreK Week

Our first week of preschool was this past week.  I was able to finish getting my room all set up with my ocean themed items in plenty of time for our Sneak Peek.  I even had a new student enroll after our Sneak Peek and got her name everywhere in the room before school started.

Student names move down each week while jobs stay where they are
Student names move down each week while jobs stay where they are

My classroom jobs are placed over the coat hooks in my classroom.  I have to decide each year which jobs to use, based upon how many students are in the classroom.  I place velcro dots above the coat hooks and move the student names down one space each week to change jobs.  This way line leader is always at the head of the line and caboose at the end.  It also helps save the wall.  I used to move the jobs and ended up taking paint off the wall from moving them down each week.  The Helping Hands sign is part of my Ocean Decor Set, which also includes this set of jobs and more.

Question of the Day
Question of the Day

I purchased a new long green pocket chart for my Question of the Day.  I like that it is long enough that students can make one long column of names to answer the question.  It makes it easier to visually see which answer has more when we count and discuss during circle time.  If you need some questions for your Question of the Day, please check out that section in my shop.

Ocean Animal Sort
Ocean Animal Sort

For fine motor and math, I placed ocean animal sorters with matching color bowls and a couple types of grabbers to work on pincher grasp.  The sea animal counters are from Lakeshore.  The ones I see online do not have penguins, but appear to have sharks instead.  We also did a roll and graph with ocean animals.

Sandy Sensory Bin
Sandy Sensory Bin

My sensory bin had sand with shells, sea glass, and shark teeth to discover.  Students enjoyed using the sifters and scoops all week.  I had to sift through the entire bin of sand to pull out everything I had put in the sand.  I would not be surprised if someone discovers a shark tooth out in the playground sandbox later in the year since that is where I put the sand when I was finished.

Writing Center with colored sand
Writing Center with colored sand

Since it is the beginning of the year I want the writing center to be simple and fun.  My students thought the red, white, and blue sand were sprinkles and enjoyed trying to create the letter on the crab’s stomach.  I will admit there were students who also drew designs in the sand with the crabs.  The crabs are from Learning Resources, but I found an Amazon link here.

Ocean Calendar
Ocean Calendar

I use my ocean themed calendar for the beginning of the school year before moving on to fall themed sets.

Puffer Fish and My Seahorse
Puffer Fish and My Seahorse

Last year I had my octopus above my classroom all year, so I needed to change it up a bit for this year even though I really loved my octopus.  I decided to create a seahorse.  Our main craft for the first week were the puffer fish you see on the bulletin board.  They were inspired by these puffer fish.  With my students we painted the paper plates one day, then added eyes, mouth, fins, and white dots the next day.  I ended up doing the cutting since when I was first planning this I had several less students scheduled to be enrolled in my class.  Once I saw that the class was larger I knew we would not have time to do the cutting this early in the year without taking too much time.

Looking for items in my post?

Ocean Theme Decor Bundle

Fall Calendar Set

Question of the Day Bundle

How was your first week of school?