Since we usually do our Polar Theme in PreK during January it is unpredictable how many days we will get for the theme due to snow days. I try to make the best of it and cram as much as I can into the time. One of my favorite art projects that goes along with polar animals was in my last post. I am excited to see how this year’s project turns out when we add the finishing touches tomorrow.
Penguins in the Snow Sensory Bin
When the weather permits we have real snow in our sensory bin. When it does not, there are various ways to make snow. In the bin this week is Snow Powder. Just add water and create snow for fun. Make sure your students have clean hands when playing and this should make it through a few days of play. I place a tube of penguins in the snow as well. I have the Safari tube, which may not be available. The Wild Republic pieces look larger, which would be good if you are concerned about small pieces in your classroom.
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Question of the Day for Polar Theme
As always, I have my question of the day that goes along with the theme, like this one about seals. I also have one asking them if they are taller than an emperor penguin. Students get to measure themselves against a life size drawing during circle time to figure out if they guessed right. The life size penguin artwork is from a group project that I had students do in my middle school classroom many years ago. So glad I saved some of the projects at the time.
Fine Motor Practice with Poke Pins
Although I originally created these pages to be used with qtips and paint, they also work well with poke pins. There are just enough spots to make holes to encourage my PreK students to practice tripod grip without quitting and getting frustrated. You can find my Polar Qtip Painting in my shop.
Easel work for Polar Theme in PreK
I found a few freebies for my easel during my Polar theme.
I did some searching, but could not find the source for this draw the penguin activity. There are a few similar ones here and here. When looking for a step by step drawing activity for PreK, fewer steps is better.
The Penguin puzzle is found in 3Dinosaurs Penguin Pack. I like that this penguin clip art is realistic. I cut, laminated, and placed magnets on the back of the puzzle pieces for the easel.
Penguin Math with Colorful Counters
If you do not have similar erasers you can use similar color counters or use the penguins from the Learning Resources set I use with the patterning portion of the Penguin Math Centers. I put out the grid game with a die to roll and add that many penguins to the grid until it is filled. Most of my students matched colors when playing this game. I also put out the ten frame cards, which students simply covered with matching penguins and counted.
I add the penguin patterning cards, which are also part of my Penguin Math Centers, to the Learning Resources Penguins on Ice. This gave some of my students ideas for forming patterns with the penguins. Other students create their own patterns, or just practice filling all the ice with penguins and then counting them.
My calendar reflects the season this month. I do not think the calendar always has to match every theme since then I would be changing it more often than once a month. My Calendar Bundle does include the winter set above, as well as a Arctic themed set. The set above is an ABC pattern. Each calendar theme includes three different patterns for your calendar.
Play dough Replacement
Since we had a week of snow days, there was not a chance to play with snow dough until the Polar Theme in PreK began. This snow dough is made with six parts baking soda and one part white hair conditioner. I use Suave coconut conditioner. This time I gave each student their own bag instead of placing it in a sensory bin. I put out a big messy mat, along with black and orange beads and straw pieces.
We will use our snow dough for a couple weeks before I make some more traditional play dough and send this home.
Polar Theme In PreK Pretend Play
I switched out last week’s Arctic creatures for all penguins this week. Since there were more penguins I hid them not only in the pretend play area, but around the room. Students took the clip boards and searched for each type of penguin.
Sparklebox has some similar display banners. I think they have updated them since I printed this one out so I do not see the exact one pictured in my classroom. I use the Penguin Photos from Teacher’s Pet to hang around the room. I then created a check sheet for my students with small photos.
Library Area for Polar Theme in Prek
Each time I change themes I leave a couple rows of books from the last them on my shelves so that students get at least a couple weeks to check out the books in the library area. The top two rows are for the new theme.
I have many, many books on Antarctica and Polar lands from when I taught middle school, so I add those to the bunch because there are lots of great photographs for the students to look at in these books. We use a few of them to choose a penguin to create when we make our sponge paint penguins, like the ones I shared recently.
Thin Ice Game
This game gets constant play during the week. It does require help from an adult to switch out the tissue when it gets broken.
Students use the tongs to place a damp ball on top of the ice, which is really a tissue. The game came with some type of tissue paper, but those soon run out. Regular tissues work just fine. The goal is to get all of the balls on the tissue without it breaking. Balls do occasionally go rolling across the room and you may find one months later under a cabinet you really thought you had swept under. Once the tissue breaks an adult will need to help replace it with a new one.
I found this mold on clearance at some point and had not figured out what to create with it. I decided to let some mini marshmallows get hard, write the alphabet on them with sharpie and create a fine motor alphabet matching game. This was a hit with one of my students who is really working hard on fine motor skills this month as well as beginning to recognize alphabet letters.
I intended to use this during the week of winter theme that was snowed out, so pulled it out to go along with the polar theme.
Helpful Products for a Polar Theme
Freebies for PreK Teachers
And, as always, check out my Freebies for PreK Teachers for some activities and resources to help you in your classroom.
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