Apple Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

AppleCraftsWe were able to fill our bulletin board, windows and even send a project home during our Apple theme week in PreK.  My Apple Theme Lesson Plan for PreK included three arts and crafts projects.  One project was switched after an attempt at an idea seen online just was not working well.

AppleMarbles

We started out with marble painting.  I used bits of painter’s tape to attach the outline of an apple to the bin.  Students chose an apple color (or two) and I squeezed some paint near the apple outline.   I then added four or five marbles and students moved the container around to make the marbles move through the paint and all over the apple.  Yes, we did have a few marbles escape.

Another craft we did were sun catchers, inspired by these.  Students chose the color apple they wanted and were allowed to choose from green, yellow, and red tissue paper squares.

Finally, we made some apple cores with paper plates, paint, and black beans.  I had planned to try creating three dimensional apples from parts of egg cartons, but I either did not have enough tape or the example I saw online was made from a very different brand of egg cartons.

Craft supplies you will need for these projects (affiliate links):

AppleFineMotorBesides crafting, students also did some fine motor practice with q-tip painting and cutting practice with apple themes.  The q-tip pages can be found from 1+1+1=1.  I provided apple colors to do this painting.  The cutting practice is found at This Reading Mama.  We saved the cut pieces that students did not want to take home to use during our Scrap Bin Friday when we put out the scrap bin and various supplies for students to create whatever they want.

AppleMagnetsandGameI pulled out the magnetic Apple Orchard set for the easel again this year.  This set is meant to be used with play dough, but I repurposed it for my easel.

Students all played Hi Ho Cherry O, pretending that the cherries were apples.  This was a center that my assistant pulled students in pairs to play on Monday and then it was available for students to play on their own the rest of the week.  This is an older version.  The newer version has apples, cherries, blueberries, or oranges for the trees. You can see that version below.

LiteracyAndNamePracticeNot everything in our room was apple related this week.  Our letter focus was the letter C, so we had various activities during circle time as well as a couple dot marker pages and building words that start with C on one side of the easel.

We also did some name writing practice in the writing center.  Students traced, stamped, and wrote their names.  We do this activity periodically throughout the year to assess growth.

AppleSTEMandSensory

The science table for Apple theme in PreK involved some easy materials to gather.  Students took the materials to create apple trees.  The goal was to put as many apples on the tree as possible.  I found inspiration for this center on this blog.

For the sensory bin for our Apple theme in PreK my director got me several bags of split peas.  I added a couple cinnamon sticks, some apples, magnets, and some apples created from pipe cleaners.  During the week I suggested that the students rub the sticks together and then smell them so they could figure out what they were.

AppleOrchardDramaticPlay

This year’s Apple Orchard was fairly simple to set up since I had created the tree tops last year and had put them in storage.  The tree tops are painted cardboard with velcro spots on them.  The apples are ball pit balls with the other side of the velcro on them.  I recommend the soft side of the velcro on the balls so they don’t stick to other things.  The tree tops stick to a long strip of velcro that I placed on the bottom edge of my bulletin board.

The Apple Orchard cards can be found in my shop.  For students who start thinking of the apples as balls, the cards a great way to re-direct students to the intent of the pretend play as well as get in some color recognition and counting skills.  Students enjoyed filling my apple order when I gave them a card.

During our circle and story times we read several apple and fall related books.  Below you can see some affiliated links to get more information about them.

Click the link below to access my complete lesson plan for this apple week:

Apples Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

About Me Theme Lesson Plan for PreK

ClassBooksFirstPostPhoto

For our About Me week in PreK lesson plans I started out over planning the number of books we would read.  I forgot to think about the amount of time it would take to share our About Me bags and to read our two class books.  My lesson plans at the end of this post are updated to mostly cover only what we actually had time for in class this week.

I found the template pages for the School Shoes book from rubber boots and elf shoes.  We created our school shoes last week for our bulletin board and I took the students’ shoe photos for the lift a flap book as well.  I waited to share it until this week, partly due to the time to get it put together and partly to get a student back to school who had been out for a few days.

We read both the Chicka Chicka Boom Boom class book and the School Shoes book at circle time and then put them in the library for students to read again and again.

CuttingPracticeCenter

To assess the cutting skills of my students at the beginning of the year, my assistant had each student try out this cutting center.  Students chose scissors and the cutting strip they preferred.  Strips were either letter F related or About Me related.   After cutting they could choose to paste the pieces onto a construction paper strip to take home or just put their cutting into the bin provided.  Students also counted how many strips they had cut.

PotatoHeadSpinandBuild

A popular center this week was the Mr. Potato Head spin and build activity.  This is great fine motor practice and when students are remembering to use the spinner they practice taking turns and following directions.  We also talked this week about having each of these body parts ourselves.

EaselActivities

Our Potato Head felt activity on the easel was nearly always busy this week.  Students created some very interesting creatures with the pieces, including what looked like a rabbit with very large ears (made from the two hat choices.)

On the other side of the easel I put out the family magnets.  I think the photo above was the least amount of magnets ever on the board.  Students generally covered the entire board.  Towards the end of the week a few started to sort the pieces, so these may get some more time next week for further exploration.  The family magnets came from this set on TPT; I think the store offered them at one point to try out before purchasing the whole set.

DotMarkerLetterTiles

PreK students tend to love dot markers.  In PreK we start to learn to dot with a purpose instead of just dotting every spot.  The dot marker sheet above required my students to only dot the letter F as well as anything that starts with the F sound.  Since this is the first time we did this type of dot marker activity I put out picture cards that matched the pictures that they should dot.  You can find the Alphabet Letter and Sound Search dot marker set in my TPT shop.

Before I created some letter tile sets of my own, I discovered a set of body part words to use during the About Me theme.  I keep my letter tiles in a container I purchased at a craft store that I think is meant to be used for jewelry findings.  I added little stickers with the letter in each section since sometimes the letters get turned upside down, making it difficult to find what you are looking for.  We use the alphabet song as a tool to help students find the tiles in this container.  I sing the song and have them point to each letter until we stop at the letter they are searching for.  We also do this with our letter stamps container as well.

You will noticed that many of the letter activities shown have the letter F, while activities like the letter tiles involve many letters.  I choose to have a letter that we focus upon each week, but we also have many activities that involve all the letters.  I also spiral back after we get through a handful of letters to review those we have already done.

PokePinandFingerprintScienceThe poke pin activity above utilizes a q-tip painting page since this is the first time we have gotten this type of activity out.  The q-tip page has fewer times to poke to be successful in finishing than some of the pages we will get out later in the year when they have more stamina.  You can find the set of q tip painting at 1+1+1=1.

For our About Me science center we studied our fingerprints.  I somehow managed to miss getting the magnifying glass on the table when I took my photo.  You can find the printable at Making Learning Fun.  The site used to have a printable that said “God Made Me Special”, but they now have this one.  This was another very popular center during the week, with some students making several pages of fingerprints.  It helped to have a sample sheet on the table so students knew to just use fingertips and where to put the fingerprints.

WritingCenterActivities

My PreK students already started creating things for each other in our writing center.  I put out a bunch of writing paper in various colors, along with our family words and body part words.  Just a few students were ready to use the words, but most students who chose this center were able to at least write their own name when finished.  We also ask that students write the name of the person they are giving a paper to as well.

The name cards are also at the writing center for practice with dry erase or to be used to figure out how to spell a friend’s name.  I also put out letters T and F cards in both capital and lowercase.  I will add the letter cards each week so that students can continue to practice the letters we have already worked on during the year.

LetterFSensoryBin

The sensory bin this week was relatively mess free.  I simply picked a bunch of items from our supplies that start with F.  I also had some matching cards with pictures of items that started with F in the bin.  I added the plastic farm, a farmer, a frog, a fox, flowers, feathers, fence pieces, and some alphabet letter Fs.  Putting everything back in the correct bin is probably what will take the most time with this bin.

During circle times we focused upon the Bible theme of God Made Me, using the Cross Connection for Early Learners lesson.  Books  and other items we used this week are shown below with Amazon affiliate links if you are interested in getting them for yourself.


My students also enjoyed several songs during circle time, including “Proud to be Me” by Signing Time!

My About Me lesson plan for PreK, which includes links for everything I did, can be found here:

About Me Theme

A blank lesson plan form that you can use for yourself, along with two more plans, is available in my Teachers Pay Teachers shop.

PreK Winter Activities & Learning Centers

SnowballABCSensoryBin

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

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

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

GeoboardsWithLoomBands

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

PenguinHuntDramaticPlay

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

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

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

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

SnowmanNumberSense

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

WinterCountAndClip

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

WinterPathGame3Photos

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

WinterEasel

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

ThinIceAndSnowflakeMatching

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

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

WinterWritingCenter

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

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

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

WinterQuestionAndWords

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

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

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

 

 

Bears and Hibernation in PreK

BearMaskCave

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

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

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

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

BlockEasel

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

QuestionMatchingGame

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

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

CaribooRollCover

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

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

DoughPunching

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

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

SensoryBin

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

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

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.

I just added the Apple Orchard Activity Cards we use in this dramatic play to my shop.

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 Art, Books and Songs

PetPainting1

During Pets week my PreK students did two different types of painting.  They painted a dog after reading Dog’s Colorful Day and they painted a cat with yarn.

I found the Spot printable on A Special Kind of Class’s blog.  I put out paint with q-tips and let the students fill in the spots as they wanted to after I gave the instructions to make him look like the dog in the book.  Some students carefully used each color, some chose a couple colors, and some stopped towards the end and wanted help to figure out which color they had forgotten.

This was set up as a center activity.  It was popular so I only had to ask a few students if they had a chance to do it yet to get everyone to have a turn.  I do not make my students complete every center, but occasionally I want everyone to complete something so I can get some assessment information.

SpotPainting

For our cat themed art I cut strips of yarn to dip in black, brown or orange paint.  I used clothespins for the students to hold onto so they would not get quite such a mess of paint on their hands while working.  Students put the yarn in the paint and then dragged it around on their cats.  I suggest not cutting out the cats until they are dry; otherwise the cats will curl quite a bit while the paint dries.

CatPainting

My bulletin board background is a dollar store shower curtain with dogs and fire hydrants.  Very light weight and easy to put up by yourself.

Books used during pets week include the following (all Amazon Affiliate links, which means I get a few pennies if you purchase through this link.)  Note that the final book must be out of print as it is rather pricey; I got a copy quite a few years ago for my own kids and still have it:

 

We also had to have at least one great pet song from Signing Time, which is called “The Pets I Love.”  We learned the signs and sang along.

 

Pets I Love from Baby Sign Language on Vimeo.

Any favorites I missed?

Bird Arts and Crafts in PreK

FeatherPainting

For our bird theme week we managed to create three completely different art or craft projects with my PreK students.  I enjoyed how they all turned out so our hallway is filled with bird themed projects.

Our first project involved painting with feathers. (aff. link)  I gave students blue and yellow feathers that they could dip in the same color paint to paint the paper.  I also provided pipe cleaner (aff. link) bird feet to dip in orange paint.  Students could use all or just one of the choices to create their artwork.

I found the idea for the pipe cleaner bird feet on Fun-a-Day.  They used the idea for turkey tracks.

HatchingEggCraft

In more of a craft vein, we created our hatching egg birds.  Someone donated hundreds of already cut out egg shapes made of a thick textured paper.  I drew a jagged line for students to practice their cutting skills first.  They also painted a circle and triangle yellow to be the head and body of the baby bird.  This project was inspired by Young School Art.

The next day I had the students put the craft together.  They cut tissue paper to make the grass.  Some students made a fringe and others cut the tissue paper into strips.  I enjoyed how the students placed the feathers and the top of the egg to make the birds have some personality.

ShapeBirds

Since we had a center to create insects and bugs recently, we took the idea to adapt for birds.  I could tell that my students were thinking much more about how to create their bird after having the practice with bugs recently.

The wings for this project came from a center we had during the week for cutting practice.  Several students enjoy cutting so there were plenty of wings to use for this project.

Coming up next I will share some of the centers we explored during our bird theme week.

Since it is Teacher Appreciation Week, there will be a sale on Teachers Pay Teachers on May 8 and 9, 2018.  My store will be 25% off with the code THANKYOU18.  You can head over to my shop and find some goodies.  Now is a good time to purchase some bundles for the fall or to use as review at the end of the year.  Below are a few bundles I use all year long in my classroom that will be awesome deals during the sale.

Question of the Day Bundle

Alphabet Bundle

Calendar Cards Bundle

 

 

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.

 

Bugs, Insects, and Spiders in PreK

InsectQuestion

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

InsectPatternBlocks

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

ABCMagnet

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

ABCMagnets2

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

InsectLacing

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

Cootie

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

InsectMeasurement

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

InsectSensory

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

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

Favorite Authors Week with Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond Books

bakingsensorybin

For our favorite author week in PreK I chose to use Laura Numeroff and Felicia Bond books.  Since many of them involve baking, we had a baking themed sensory bin.  The base was flour and oatmeal.

closeupbaking

My students loved playing with this bin and used lots of pretend play while working.  The best part was looking over and seeing kids who obviously had touched their faces while playing.  We had several who had to not only wash hands afterwards, but also get a wipe to clean faces.

cookiepuppet1

We do not often make puppets in my class, especially with lots of pre-cut pieces, but since I found this template online and we had our library pretend play up with the puppet show I thought this was the perfect week for a puppet.  You will notice that the puppet above had some whiskers that shifted while drying.

cookiepuppet2

Not sure what the plan was with this puppet’s whiskers, but love the planning for the chocolate chips on the cookie.  Several kids also opened the mouth to draw inside, which was great thinking.

cookiecerealcounting

I was lucky to find cookie cereal at Aldi that was allergen free for my class, so we were even able to have a cookie snack at the end of the week.  We used the cookie cereal with this ten frame match up that you can find free from KidSparkz.  There are a few other activities also available with the set.

spincookie

We also played this spin and cover game with our Aldi cookies.  This one seemed to work okay with the spinner being attached to the game, although I usually prefer them to be separate since my preschoolers sometimes make all the pieces go everywhere when spinning.

IMG_0964

During most years my students really enjoy dice games and dot markers, so combining the two usually means I need to make more copies before the end of the week.  This Mouse Cookie game is from Royal Baloo.

milkandcookie

We also had some letter and sound review with this cookie and milk matching game.  The linking shapes we used were a bit finicky, so my director and I both are thinking of adding a set like these to our wish list to purchase.  If you know of a great brand, please let me know.

storysequencing

After I shared If You Give A Pig A Pancake, I put out this story sequencing activity.  I put velcro on it as well as laminating it instead of having it be a cut and paste activity to make it more age appropriate for my student’s abilities.  They enjoyed following the story in the book and placing the pictures on in the circles.

letterwatercolor

I try to switch up how we work with our letter books each week.   This time around I decided to have them use watercolors at a center throughout the week so that we could cut them up and put them in our letter books on Friday.  My letter books are in my Alphabet Bundle, or you can get the Letter J books separately to try them out.

palmsundaypathgameeasel

Our Bible lesson this week was Jesus riding into Jerusalem.  I decided to put this path game on the easel and use alphabet magnets that match my student’s names as their game pieces.

gears

My science table this week was filled with this Learning Resources gear set.  My students enjoyed exploring this set throughout the week.  Since we had not used it this year I just put it out for exploration, with no specific instruction or requirements.  I did answer questions if students asked.

Some of the stories we read for our author week: