Transportation Theme in PreK

QuestionPatternBlockPin

Although we technically had two weeks of transportation in PreK it was broken up by the weather.

As always I started each day with our Question of the Day.  Around this time of the year I change the student name tags to last names so that they can start recognizing those.  I put first names on the back of the tags so that they can check to make sure they are correct as they grab their tags to answer the question.  For the siblings in my class I put all of the first names on the back of each tag.

This time I put the pattern blocks on the fine motor table, although I do sometimes use contact paper and put them on the easel.  You can find some pattern blocks sheets here and here.

EaselTransportation

Since we are not doing a space theme during the school year this year, I decided to use my rocket drawing activity during transportation week.  I found this at Making Learning Fun.

One of the letters we focused on during our transportation unit was letter K.  We used letter magnets to build words that start with that letter from This Reading Mama.  I use these magnet letters (affiliate link.)

MathFineMotor

My Melissa & Doug Magnetic Picture Maker was really popular this year with a few of my students this year.  I was fortunate enough to discover this on clearance at a craft store a few years ago.  This requires fine motor control and stamina since it has so many pieces to fill in a picture.

My Transportation Bundle includes this roll and graph game that I had my students complete with stickers.  This one is for my students who are still working on stamina so it only goes up to five.  I try to balance the activities in my room to appeal to different levels of the students in my classroom.

StampWrite

For my writing center I also chose a couple different activities from my Transportation Bundle to meet the interests and levels of my students.  I use the alphabet stamping set from Melissa & Doug (affiliate link) and crayons.  Just trying out new stamp pads.  Still looking for the perfect stamp pads, so if you have any you love, please let me know.

TransportationinPreK

The other writing center activity from my bundle involves dry erase markers and writing transportation words for my students who are ready for that.

I also used my transportation sort game in my sensory bin along with magnet fishing poles.  In order to make the cards magnetic I just put a few staples in the edges of each one after laminating.

For the science table I started with magnet wands and magnetic trains.  I showed the students how to use the wands to make the trains follow the taped paths without touching the trains.

BridgeBuildingPin

The other science activity for transportation involved building bridges.  I found some ideas here.  I printed and laminated photo examples and provided the supplies and let the kids experiment.

MoreTransportation

Another letter focus activity comes from my Alphabet Bundle.  Students use dot markers to dot the letter and pictures of words that start with the letter.  I purposely limit the letters and letter sounds on each page with this set of dot marker pages.

In the block area I added my train set from IKEA.  I have had this set since my girls were little, but there are many similar sets out there.  This one looks fun as well.

I was also gifted with some stencils that include transportation themed ones from Lakeshore. (not affiliate link)    These are great because they are really sturdy.  It does take a while for preschoolers to understand that they have to hold the stencil still while working with it, so the sturdy ones work best.  I would like to try out the Melissa & Doug set as well.

Those were my main centers activities during my Transportation theme.  If you would like to check out my Transportation Bundle and Transportation Calendar set, you can click through to them below.

Transportation Bundle

Transportation Calendar Set

 

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

 

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.

 

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.

 

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.

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:

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.

Transportation Art and Science

Transportation Bulletin Board
Transportation Bulletin Board

Although we had a short week, we did have time to complete two transportation arts and crafts projects.

We practiced our paper tearing to create our traffic lights.  I traced three black circles on the black paper and wrote the color words on each.  I gave the students three strips of paper in red, yellow, and green.  I showed them how to tear the paper and had them tear up all the red, yellow, and green.  After that we discussed which color went on top, middle, and bottom and what each color means.  We had already done a traffic light song during circle time earlier in the week so they would be familiar with this.

The best part of this activity was having a student who always has trouble opening her snack be able to open it during snack time after all the paper tearing practice.  Hopefully I can remind her of the paper tearing the next time she has trouble with her snack package.

Wagon Things That Go craft
Wagon Things That Go craft

One of my favorite art projects each year is my Things That Go project.  This takes several days to complete.  This year I gave students the choice of using red, blue, or yellow paint to initially paint the entire sheet of paper.  After painting they then chose a secondary color to paint designs on the paper, like dots, squiggles, and lines.  This year’s students were not as into the designs portion of this project.

Things That Go car project
Things That Go car project

Once the paper was dry I cut all the student sheets into squares, circles, triangles, and rectangles.  Students used the shared shapes to create whatever mode of transportation they wanted to create.  I gave them some photos and a book to look through for ideas.  Trains seemed to be very popular this year, probably due to the train station and train tracks in the pretend play and block area.

Train Things That Go project
Train Things That Go project

For science during this week one of our activities involved magnets.  I placed masking tape tracks on the science table and placed a couple pieces of magnetic train on them.  I used our magnet wands (Amazon affiliate link) and showed the students how they could use the magnet wands to move the trains without touching them.  The kids really enjoyed this and even raced each other a few times.

Magnet Powered Trains
Magnet Powered Trains

While I was in my room setting up for our next theme I found a few Transportation q-tip projects on the drying rack.  You can see how my students complete them in different ways.  This year all the students seem to do a good job holding the q-tips with a pincher grasp, but if you have any problems with students fisting them you can cut them in half as I needed to do last year with a few of my students who really struggled with fine motor skills.  Although I don’t require my students to do so, the words are in light gray so that they can be traced as an additional part of the center activity.

Q-tip Painting
Q-tip Painting

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.