Dental Health Books and Circle Time Activities for PreK

I was gathering my dental health materials for our second week of healthy habits when I realized I might need a few more activities to round out the week.  When I get ready to plan a theme in my preschool classroom I try to divide up my plans into different areas to make sure I am covering everything I need to as I plan.  I try to gather my books and circle time activities together to make sure I have plenty for each day of the week.  Here are some of the dental health books and poems that I plan to use.

Dr. De Soto is a book that I think originally belonged to one of my own children before I started teaching preschoolers.  I enjoy being able to read longer books that have a story that my students really need to follow along with as I read.  I enjoy asking my students whether they think Dr. De Soto should treat the fox, what might happen if he does, and how will he keep from getting eaten in the process.

Many of my students have seen Little Bear episodes on television or on another electronic device, so Little Bear’s Loose Tooth might be familiar to some of my students.  We often talk about whether any of them have known anyone with a loose tooth.  Often there are older siblings to talk about.  We can also take guesses as we read whether each attempt at getting the tooth out will work.

Why Do I Brush My Teeth? is a nonfiction book with color photos and suggested activities on each page.  At least one of these suggested activities we will be doing this week with an egg and vinegar.  I also plan on having a few mirrors to pass around while I share this book, as well as having one with the book in my library area.

I Know Why I Brush My Teeth is a bit longer than the other books.  It is told as a story with a mother explaining to her son about teeth when he discovers a loose tooth.  There are lots of details in this book about tooth brushing, fluoride, foods to eat, visits to the dentist, cavities, and parts of teeth.  Some years I can read the entire book and other years I just read portions, depending upon the type of group of students I have.

I also make sure I share songs during the week that go along with our theme as well.  Here are links to a few that are easy to sing (love those piggy back songs to familiar tunes):

Brush Your Teeth (to Row, Row, Row Your Boat)

Brushing (to Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star)

I’ve Been Brushing (to I’ve Been Working on the Railroad) There are actually a bunch of songs here, just make sure they will work for you with the tune they suggest.  Sometimes I know it is just my lack of musical talent, but sometimes there is a word left out or something that just makes the words not quite work with the tune given.

Insect themed calendar set with three sets of cards for three pattern choices. Also has month headers, days of week, and seasons.
Insect theme calendar set

Since it is a new month I have just switched out my calendar numbers.  I did not go with a dental theme since the rest of our month will deal with spring type themes.  I decided I needed to use these great insects.  I discovered I had to laminate the last week’s worth last night because somehow I had managed to fit all the other numbers into little spaces during the year when I was laminating other stuff, but not 24-30.

questionofthedayteeth

I also plan to use my Question of the Day for healthy habits during circle time.  One student has the job for the week of tallying our responses and then we figure out which answer has the most and which has the least responses.   Healthy habits questions are in this Question of the Day set or you can find them in the bundle.

Do you have any favorites for circle time that involve dental health?

 

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Easter Centers in PreK

EasterMathCenter1

I have a few Easter centers that get used every year because I know my students will enjoy them.  The basket of eggs from Dollar Tree, along with the egg grabber that I picked up somewhere along the way, keep my students busy counting throughout the week.  If you don’t have a Dollar Tree nearby, this set from Amazon looks similar (aff. link).

EasterMathCenter2

We have way too many foam numbers in our craft closet, so I stapled them on small cups for sorting and counting up to 10.  We keep getting alphabet and number foam tubs (aff. link), so I know I have plenty of numbers to create more games.

EasterColorSorting

Another inexpensive and fun center involved more supplies that we usually have plenty of laying around.  Just take a cardboard egg tray and fill it with halves of plastic eggs in various colors.  I added buttons to match with a couple different types of grabbers.  Later in the week I switched out the buttons for pom poms.

SensoryBin

Generally sensory bin photos are the “before” variety that look really adorable.  This is not one of those.  This is the “after” variety, after a day of play.  I filled this with plastic egg pieces that needed to be matched with capital and lowercase letters.  There are also some small baskets, some more glittery eggs, and shredded paper grass.

I highly recommend paper grass (aff. link) over the plastic.  One year I used plastic and the static in the room was ridiculous.  Plastic grass was sticking to the wall and all over the kids playing in it.  I wish I had a photo of it; it was hilarious.

FruitVeggieWords

In addition to Easter we were also starting to discuss healthy habits, so I pulled out the fruit and dairy letter tile cards for my students to build some words.  I decided to use the lowercase cards this time for simple matching.

EasterCardCenter

The best way to get my students busy in the writing center is to have a card writing center.  I found these free card fronts and printed and cut them out.  I also cut and folded some construction paper.  Students glue the message  on the front the card and then write at least the name of the person the card is for and their own name inside.  I have family words and student names available for them.  Many students also drew pictures in the cards.

ResurrectionPuzzle

Due to my jelly beans being too hard to poke toothpicks in, we ended up with this puzzle and some other activities in the science center during the few days we were at school.  For this puzzle I did not cut it all the way up since twenty pieces might be a bit much for some of my students.  I cut some pieces individually and left some with two pieces together.  I had several students call me over to show me that they had completed this puzzle.  You can find this puzzle Christian Preschool Printables.

 

 

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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.

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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:

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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.

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Nocturnal Animals in PreK

Alphabet Bat Building
Alphabet Bat Building

During our Nocturnal Animals week I pulled out the bat building activity that I created last year.  It was inspired by a bat counting craft on Fantastic Fun and Learning.  I painted the parts of the egg carton black and put colorful eyes  on the bat bodies.  Wings are craft foam with puffy paint (referral links) letters.  I chose to use three different colors for the letters to make it easy for me to give a hint to a student who was having trouble finding a match.  I could tell them that it needed to be the same color.

Owl Number Matching
Owl Number Matching

The owl number matching activity was from KidSparkz on TPT.  I sometimes use this tabletop pocket chart (referral link) for matching games for my students.  It tends to draw some of their attention when just placing the cards on the table would not.

Magnet Letter Matching
Magnet Letter Matching

For my easel this time we had letter matching magnets.  You will notice that some of the letters are capital and some lowercase for some mixed practice.   Looks like this one is not still available online due to being updated.  I do have an Alphabet Magnets set that I use at other times that you can find here.  Mine is based upon working on just a handful of letters at a time.

Nocturnal Animals Sensory Writing
Nocturnal Animals Sensory Writing

My timing was not the greatest for this sensory writing activity since we had done something similar recently with our winter theme, so this one was not quite as popular this time around.  I do try to avoid doing similar activities on back to back weeks for the most part.  I found the word cards here.

Post Office Dramatic Play
Post Office Dramatic Play

About this time of year is usually the right time to open a post office in dramatic play.  My students love making cards and letters for each other and manage to practice lots of fine motor control and alphabet formation in the process.  Most of the printables for the dramatic play area came from this set from Primary Delight.  I had a blue bag that I used puffy paint to write the word “MAIL” on for the postal worker bag.

Mailbox from photo company
Mailbox from photo company

The mailbox came courtesy of our class photo company a few years ago.  It was where unwanted photo packages and payments were to be delivered.  Afterwards I painted it blue and put the label on it.  The kids loved filling and emptying it.

Mailboxes for students
Mailboxes for students

Each student has his or her own mailbox for mail to be delivered.  Some of the mail was junk mail donated from home and other mail was created by the students.  In addition we had some boxes that I put velcro on with the matching velcro on a laminated label.  Students enjoyed attaching the labels and deciding who would get the package.

A few books we used for nocturnal animals included:

Owl Moon by Jane Yolen


Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

We also read several nonfiction books about various nocturnal animals.  Any favorite books about nocturnal animals that you love and would like to share?

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Bundles I Use All Year, A Giveaway, and A Sale

Favorite Bundles, Sale, and Giveaway
Favorite Bundles, Sale, and Giveaway

I am realizing as I share some of the activities we do each week in my classroom that I don’t always share some of the items I use on a regular basis.  Since TPT has a sale coming up (more on that below) I know bundles are something I tend to purchase during these sales and figure you might like to see some bundles that you can really save on this week.

 

Question of the Day Bundle
Question of the Day Bundle

My Question of the Day Bundle gets used daily in my classroom.  For example, this week I am using some Valentine and friendship questions.  I place my questions on a pocket chart near entrance to the classroom with student name cards placed nearby for students to choose their own name and respond to the question.  You can see the pocket chart (referral link) I use below.

I also use several of the items in my Alphabet Bundle weekly.  I do not use each part every week, but rotate through them for variety.  I do use the alphabet emergent readers each week that I am reviewing an alphabet letter, rotating through whether we will be cutting and pasting or coloring in our books.

Alphabet Bundle
ABC Bundle

My students really enjoy dot markers, so I use them often in different ways.  Below you can see an example of the alphabet letter search included in the ABC Bundle.

Sample Dot Marker from ABC Bundle
Sample Dot Marker from ABC Bundle

My students also enjoy stamping as part of the writing center this year, so I rotate stamps in with my Stamp and Write pages from my ABC Bundle.  Letter stamps are from Melissa & Doug (referral link).  I wrote the letter name on the side of the stamps as well because they will not stay standing up and give enough space for little hands to grab them.

Writing Center Stamp and Write from ABC Bundle
Writing Center Stamp and Write from ABC Bundle

My students also enjoy building so I rotate my linking cubes and triangles (referral link) into my room every so often and add the alphabet building cards from the ABC Bundle.  If you have ideas for theme pictures sets for the cubes and triangles, please let me know.  This is definitely on my list of ideas to work on making more cards for since my students enjoy them.

Alphabet Building with my ABC Bundle
Alphabet
Building with my ABC Bundle

The other bundle that I use all the time in my classroom is my Calendar Bundle.  Right now I have the Nursery Rhymes cards in my calendar and will probably move on to the Spring set next.  My students love guessing the pattern each month.

Calendar Cards Bundle

So now, on to the special announcements.  Teachers Pay Teachers is having a sale on February 14 and 15.  Using the code XOXO, you can get up to 25% off items in participating shops.  All of the items in my shop will be discounted the additional 25% off.  This means these bundles will be super deals.

Finally, I have a $10 Teachers Pay Teachers gift card to give away.  To enter, follow the instructions below.  Giveaway begins at at 12:00am February 13 and ends at 12:00am February 14.  I will contact you Wednesday morning so that you can get your gift card in time to use it during the sale.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Winter Centers in PreK

Winter Sensory Bin with Aldi pasta, dollar store metallic snow and snowflake tray
Winter Sensory Bin with Aldi pasta, dollar store metallic snow and snowflake tray

In the midst of our winter theme in preschool I came down with the flu as did half of my class, so this winter theme sensory bin actually was used in the classroom for a couple of weeks.  The base is white rice, which my husband was kind enough to run out and get for me since we had lots of dyed rice, but no white.  There is winter themed pasta that I picked up at Aldi, metallic winter themed table scatter and a snowflake tray from Dollar Tree as well as alphabet cards from 1+1+1=1.  I could have used my winter alphabet cards, but I decided to use those in another area of my classroom instead.

Winter Sensory Bin tools and recording sheet
Winter Sensory Bin tools and recording sheet

I did decide to utilize the recording sheet from my Winter Alphabet Centers for my sensory bin.  Students worked together to mark off as they found the alphabet letters in the bin.  Since we are a preschool classroom and not kindergarten, I do not require every student to complete the sheet.  I do suggest it to students who I believe are developmentally ready to do the activity or work with a student to do a few letters to get them started.  The crayons I used are the triangle shaped Crayolas. (referral link)  Using these helps keep them from rolling away when they are dropped in addition to helping with proper grip.

Winter Sensory Writing
Winter Sensory Writing

I decided to use my Winter Alphabet Cards in my writing center this time around.  I picked up white sand and a metal tray at my local Dollar Tree.  I used a couple clothespins to help hold the card in place.  An unsharpened pencil (or fingers) were used to draw the letters.  I tried adding some glitter to the sand, but it just all settled to the bottom, so I would not recommend it.

Snowman Number Match on a tabletop easel
Snowman Number Match on a tabletop pocket chart

This Snowman Number Match is a great freebie from A Dab of Glue Will Do.  For games with a bunch of pieces I find that my students are more interested in them if I display them in different ways.  This time I pulled out my tabletop pocket chart (referral link looks similar to the one I have) and found that they fit very well.  Other times I may add magnets or velcro to use them on my easel or felt board.

Snowman Magnets
Snowman Magnets

One side of my easel for my winter theme was made up of these snowman magnets that I picked up at the Dollar Tree.  They seem to often have magnet sets meant for a refrigerator that my students enjoy using.  Later this was switched out to some story retelling pieces for The Jacket I Wear in the Snow (referral link to book).  I used the felt board pieces with magnets from Making Learning Fun.

Snowflake Match with Snowflake Bentley
Snowflake Match with Snowflake Bentley

Because of the flu I never was able to read portions of Snowflake Bentley (referral link) to my students, but I did have it out for them to look at, along with these snowflakes to match.  I thought I printed these from PreKinders.  It appears that she may have updated her file with different snowflakes if I am correct.  I used sticky tack to attach one set to the table and then students can place the correct match on top.

Snowman Letter Sounds with cotton balls
Snowman Letter Sounds with cotton balls

I also used another PreKinders activity during our winter theme.  This set of Snowman Letter Sounds cards were used with cotton balls to cover the pictures that started with the letter at the top.  I pulled out just a few cards to use, which worked well since we were low on students on most of the days of this them due to illness.

Winter Roll and Graph
Winter Roll and Graph

Roll and graph is a center that is popular with my students this year, especially when there are dot markers (referral link) to mark the graph.  My Winter Roll and Graph is found in my Winter Bundle.  I specifically made it only up to six since preschoolers do not always have the stamina to complete the game if it goes up to ten.

Winter Letter Tiles
Winter Letter Tiles

Another popular activity with my students were these Winter Letter Tile cards, also found in my Winter Bundle.  A couple students who are still working at naming their letters spent quite a bit of time building words.  This helps me see that they are starting to recognize the visual differences between letters.  I chose to print the lowercase cards so that we are just matching lowercase to lowercase, but the set also includes blank cards (with the word under the picture) and cards with capital letters.

Winter Math and Literacy Centers Bundle
Winter Math and Literacy Bundle

For those of you looking forward to Spring, I have created a Spring Bundle that has all of my math and literacy ideas with a spring theme.

Spring Math and Literacy Centers Bundle
Spring Math and Literacy Centers Bundle
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Preschool Penguin Art

Preschool Penguin Sponge Art Project
Preschool Penguin Sponge Art Project

One of the art projects that I love to work on with my students each year is this penguin sponge art project.  Each year they turn out just a little different from the year before.  This year I gave my students square sponges and black and white paint.  I showed them how to press down and lift to make squares.  Some students did that and others used other techniques.

More of our penguin projects
More of our penguin projects

We had already studied a bit about penguins before starting this project and I gave my students a pile of penguin photos to look through before starting.   You can find a printable set here of the different types of penguins.  We did just the sponge painting part of the project on the first day and then added feet, eyes, and beaks the next class.  I was especially impressed with the penguin family one student chose to create since he remembered he had created a family when it came time to choose how many eyes, beaks, and feet he needed to make even though we had some time off in between due to weather.

Penguin art with a polar bear sneaking into the frame
Penguin art with a polar bear sneaking into the frame

This year I gave students the choice of black or orange feet and beaks.  Some went with what matched the penguin photo and some probably chose what the person next to them chose.  To check out past penguin projects, see this post and this one.

You can also spy one of our polar bear crafts.  This was made by painting with marshmallows in white paint.  Some of them look quite a bit more like dogs than polar bears, so kids were quick to correct moms who admired their “dog.”  This craft came from Mrs. Wills Kindergarten.

I used inexpensive sponges from the dollar store for the penguins, but the ones in the Amazon referral link above look like they might be fun to use since they seem to have a great texture to them.  It could also just be because they are so bright and colorful that I am drawn to them.

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Polar Week in PreK

 

Polar Expedition with Ice Fishing
Polar Expedition with Ice
Fishing

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

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

Polar Expedition Supply Area
Polar Expedition Supply Area

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

Dramatic Play Bulletin Board
Dramatic Play Bulletin Board

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

Arctic Measurement Center
Arctic Measurement Center

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

Arctic Clip and Match Game
Arctic Clip and Match Game

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

Penguins on ice
Penguins on ice

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

Polar Path Game
Polar Path Game

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

Pop n Drop Penguins
Pop n Drop Penguins

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

Spin 20 game
Spin 20 game

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

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

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

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

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