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.

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?