Friday, October 26, 2012

Pet Store

Here's the fun Pet Store we had for dramatic play the week we learned about pets:

There's just something about that cardboard box and cash register that is like a magnet to these kiddos! They just love it.
I think the highlight for me was the literacy and math I was able to pull in. All the animals had a sign for where they belonged, and then the signs for pricing were on the inside and outside of the "store" sign. They had a great time buying animals from each other and they would even check the sign to tell the customer how many dollars it cost. They don't all know all of their numbers yet, so I was able to help them. The best way to enhance number recognition is repetition, so I'm trying to incorporate a lot of numbers and counting into all the things we do to give them as many exposures as I can!
But the real highlight was watching the kids ring up the customers. The cash register's belt really moves and so the kids would put the smaller animals on the conveyor belt (like the frogs, and even the fish taken out of the bowls) and they'd push the button to move the animal along the conveyor belt until it beeped. It was so funny and cute to watch! Luckily, none of them work at a pet store yet.

The kids' highlight of the week was definitely one of our great moms bringing in their pet kitten. They are still walking about it, weeks later! What a cutie!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Just a little review of our fun times learning about animals.

We spent the last 2 weeks learning about wild animals, that live in the wild and aren't taken are of by people. We did a lot of math with sorting activities, such as putting animals into groups of wild, and not wild.

For dramatic play, we had a zoo the first week. The kids really loved working at the ticket booth. They loved writing out and selling tickets, and also selling and buying snacks. I overheard some pretty fun conversations back and forth. They were SO GOOD at sharing and taking turns here all week. I was so impressed there was no fighting over the cash register, but they took turns like champs instead. They got a lot of literacy in with their ticket writing, and also the animal signs. This helped them to clean up and sort the animals back into their cages too. The animals were also cared for well and all had a wide variety of food and snacks in their cages by the end of the day.


The second week, I changed dramatic play to a Veterinarian's Office. I forgot to take pics, but they had a lot of fun here too. Many stuffed animals spent their day getting shots and being wrapped in ace bandages. Poor things were taken care of very well.

The animal hats were a lot of fun in both dramatic play centers, and sometimes went with us outside too, where the kids could run and play like wild animals to their heart's content. It was great.

This is an "animal parade" a few of the kids built and put together one day. They all pitched in as they saw what the first child had done and had a great time. They cleaned up great too, and sorted the animals back to where they went in the zoo, according to their signs.

Another center they enjoyed was the lacing animals. Lacing and sewing cards are an excellent small motor manipulative for this age group. I have seen sturdy lacing cards at Dollar Tree lately and it's such a great quiet activity for a preschooler. I used to take these to my Sunbeams (3 year olds) class in church and they were great to keep them busy and quiet when needed. These ones I made from animal paper plates that you can get at any grocery store. I definitely recommend lacing cards at home!

This week we are learning about pets, and are learning the word "tame." We did some more sorting of animals, this time sorting them by wild and tame, to use our new word. We also made a Venn Diagram listing what animals would be good pets, or bad pets. They were all excited to share all they knew about their pets, or the pets of their grandparents. We even had a kitten visit our classroom and that was the highlight of the day! It's all they could talk about as we got backpacks ready to go home. We also did some great art, and had lots of fun playing in the pet store. I'll be back soon with more pictures from pet week!

Friday, October 12, 2012


On week 2 of our Wild Animals unit, we are learning about animal habitats! This is a great video for your kids to help them review habitats at home. Have you noticed yet that I love Sesame Street? I just think it's a great show to help children learn vocabulary and other great things! I couldn't find the shorter videos, so here's the whole thing.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our deciduous tree walk

Your kids took the pics today as we walked searching for deciduous trees that are going to change colors and lose their leaves. We saw many leaves on the ground, many trees just starting to change color, and even saw an apple tree, which we were so excited about! We had apples on Monday for snack, plus apple sauce and apple juice today. They were excited to see some growing on our neighbor's tree.
Here are their beautiful pictures. The finger one is just one of many!


I love fall! I had a fun week teaching your kids all about it too. I see light bulbs turning on in their little minds and they're really understanding the things we talk about. I hope they're pointing out signs of fall that they're seeing to you too! The trees in our neighborhood are still pretty green, but we could see the bright colors on the mountain on our walk, and found many more trees just starting to change and lose their leaves.

Fall Math

 Apple tree counting. I printed the tree mats from Kelly's Kindergarten and laminated them years ago. They've survived many years already! I got the "apples" from Dollar Tree. They're just a berry bunch that I cut up and they look like apples. I store them in baby food containers. I also added acorns that we found a family walk last week. They loved that they were real acorns! The kids can look at the number on the basket and count how many apples or acorns to put in the tree.
 Fall patterns. I bought these pattern sets in a Scholastic book order a few years back. I love that they come with pattern cards. At this age, just matching the object to the picture on the card is a great beginning math skill. They were definitely doing that today! It helps reinforce colors too. One girl had to get creative because she was making a pattern that needed yellow squirrels, but the other kids had them. She replaced the squirrels with yellow leaves and made a great pattern! I helped them extend their play by helping them extend their patterns. We only did these simple AB patterns today:
 Here are some harder patterns, like ABC, that we will start getting into once they can all extend an AB pattern:
 I was surprised how popular these fall pattern toys were today. They also enjoyed just playing with them on their own, and some made their own patterns too (see the apple pattern at the top).

For snack this week, we had apples since it's fall! On Monday we tasted fresh apple slices. We had red, green, and yellow. When they each finished, they colored an apple to show which was their favorite and then hung it in the tree. When everyone was done, we counted our results on our "graph." 3 liked red, 2 liked yellow, and 1 liked green. I was glad they didn't all copy the first person and they each chose their real favorite!

Fall Art
We changed our tree this week too! Thanks to a parent helper on Monday, we painted our fall leaves. This has been a favorite art project of mine as long as I've been teaching. We painted with corn syrup. The kids got to choose red, yellow, or orange and we added the food coloring to their corn syrup on their leaf and they got to paint. Since there isn't orange food coloring, we learned that red and yellow mixed together make orange. They've been drying since Monday and were ready to hang this morning. The kids kept commenting on how pretty our fall tree looked. I have to agree! A few leaves even fell and they said it was like a real fall tree. I knew they'd been listening this week! I'll have to figure out a way to attach some of the heavier leaves. Here's a close-up of our shiny leaves:

 Today we did another fall art project, starch painting. The kids got to choose a fall picture printed on cardstock to paint. They added tissue paper squares in fall colors. They then paint over it with liquid starch. The starch makes the tissue paper bleed and stick. Some just enjoyed painting with a lot of starch because it was turning colors in our bowls.
 You'll notice I don't do a lot of "crafts" in preschool. Crafts teach a child to copy and follow directions and that's great, but our goal in art is to learn creativity. Even this week is a little tough for me to have ready-printed pictures that they're painting. I don't do that often. I love to see them explore and create whatever comes to mind with the mediums they are given to create with.

Fall Dramatic Play

We went camping in Dramatic Play this week. I honestly couldn't think of a fall-related dramatic play. Fall just makes me think of leaves changing, and the mountains, so that's why we went camping! A few leaves on the ground made it relate to our week.
Roasting marshmallows was the highlight of this area all week. It's just cotton balls glued onto dowels we had in our kitchen for years.
I was pretty proud of my creative grill I made. It's a cooling rack on a paper tray. They seemed less than  impressed.

 I found all the food cooking in the fire. Makes sense. Wish I'd thought of it!