Saturday, November 4, 2017


This week started out amazing with a field trip! Pack's Farm was perfect for our group. We had great warmish weather for October, so that was nice too! First, we got to have a lesson on pumpkins from Mr. Pack, or Old MacDonald as some in our class believed, which he liked :) He read us a book that perfectly explained the life cycle of a pumpkin, then told us all about how he plants his pumpkins. He had pumpkins and gourds of every variety for us to see and he told us about them. Then he carved a pumpkin to show the kids. He was so fast, and showed us how much easier it is to cut out the bottom than the top and deal with a lid! This was life-changing at our house and we carved that way this year and it worked wonderfully! Afterwards, we headed out to play. We did the hay maze a few times, then went off to the play area. They had big slides, a corn box, a pump game with rubber duckies and water, a tire playground, and big tunnels the kids could run in together. They had a great time! After they were done, we ate a quick snack, then each picked a pumpkin. It was a great way to start off our week learning about pumpkins, because it introduced how they're grown, plus they got to visit a real pumpkin patch before coming back to school and playing in one here.

Dramatic Play
Pumpkin Patch

Another kid request. Some were disappointed I didn't have leaves to rake during apple orchard week, so they came out now. There were also blocks and puzzles on the shelves all week that were used each day, in addition to raking leaves.

Pumpkin Slime-I just mixed pumpkin guts with the typical slime recipe, glue and water with borax, and we got ooey gooey pumpkin slime. They all tried it, but some didn't love the texture and watched from a distance. Others were so into it!

Because they didn't all appreciate the yuckiness, I also added some paper and fall foam stickers as an alternative at the art table.

We made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, then painted with orange paint. Minor frustration. I have gallons of paint from Wal-Mart, and others from Lakeshore, and my Lakeshore ones are coming apart! The orange gallon has turned yellow, so I tried shaking and shaking and it's this nasty dull yellowish red, not orange at all. I've barely had it a year, and it's so frustrating! Long story short, I'll never buy the more expensive Lakeshore paint again.

Beads. It had nothing to do with pumpkins, but my original plan was more paint, and we've been doing a lot of that and we needed a change of pace, so I got out beads and string!  

Small Manipulatives

Pumpkin do-a-dot pages and flat marbles and orange pom poms

Pumpkin lacing cards

Pumpkin shape matching

All of these are from tot-schooling.


Lots of pumpkin and Halloween stickers and stencils


We made pumpkin chocolate chip cookies.


Sensory table: kinetic sand with little pumpkins and acorns

Large Group
We learned the song 5 Little Pumpkins this week

Day 1, field trip

Day 2, we compared our pumpkins. We measured them and weighed them. Then we also reviewed our 5 senses by using them to learn about pumpkins.

Day 3, we made a gate for our 5 little pumpkins. It was challenging, because I wanted them all to work together, and that can be hard, but they did it! The only guidance I offered was it had to fit all 5 pumpkins. So when it was tall at first, I came to add the pumpkins, and it could only fit 1. So I asked them how to fit more, and they had to figure out to make it wider, instead of taller. And as 3 separate kids started their own gates, I would add a pumpkin and let them figure out it couldn't fit 5 without working with the other kids. It took awhile, but they eventually got it. They also liked adding random small blocks, and they saw as I placed the pumpkins, that those weren't very stable. I was proud of how they got it all worked out.

Day 4, We read Spookley the Square Pumpkin and then used play dough and they each got to make their own pumpkins. Like above, I gave very little guidance, I want them to figure it out. They got to choose their shape and figure out how to make it come to life.

Small Group

We did pumpkin seed counting.

We did a file folder game from tot-schooling putting pumpkins with letters in ABC order.

We did another worksheet for more cutting practice. They cut the pumpkins out and matched the faces. I really focused with them on holding scissors correctly, and I think we'll be doing a lot more of this to get them kinder ready.

Miss Kim played a matching counting game, and they did a number dot to dot.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

5 Senses

Playing catch-up here! Thanks for your patience with my blogging, or lack thereof last month.

Dramatic Play
We just simply had our housekeeping/kitchen set up. This was the kids' request. I had thought about another restaurant area, but when I asked them, they just wanted to play house. Simple, and a well-loved center!

Large foam number puzzle. I love this one for the texture.

ABC train blocks

Wood train tracks, for 2 days due to popular demand

Day 1, since we missed 1 apple day due to sickness last week, we finished some things today. So for art, we did apple stamping.

Jello collages. I LOVE the smell of this one! This one was popular all day, with a line waiting to fill an empty seat. They loved the smell, and watching the colors turn bright in the glue.

I decided to get rid of this spice rack this summer, then as I dumped out the few spices that weren't empty yet, I realized I should have kept them for a great sensory experience too, but too late! I recycled this for our art, and filled the jars with Jello powder. When we actually did it, I needed the space for the bins to collect extra powder, and it looked more like this.

Play dough with different textures for stamping. They liked showing off cool designs to each other, and they table ended up pretty full with other stuff they brought over to stamp and see its texture. And we used that word "texture" over and over and over.

Made gingerbread men for snack, then painted with dot markers.

Small Manipulatives

Bristle Blocks

File Folder games about faces (my kids have cool church teachers that make these-and then I steal the ones I want for preschool)

Gingerbread Man floor puzzle

Letter magnets on the board. They loved these more than I expected. They liked connecting them to make trains, and spelling their names.

Farm Sounds Bingo was out after we'd used it in small group too.

Scented markers

Scented colored pencils

Texture Line markers

Apple Pie, from last week. They weren't huge fans, but they tried it.

Smoothie. This was a fun way to use all 5 senses, since the blender is so loud!

Gingerbread Men. They made them during art, then got to eat one for snack, and decorate another to take home during small group.

Sensory table: cornmeal, because it's a sensory experience we hadn't done yet! I added in test tubes (the kids call them potion bottles) just for something different, and they had a lot of fun.

Tents and Tunnels. I didn't get a pic without kids, but they had a lot of fun dragging them around and making new set ups and designs. They especially liked them upside down this time. I guess whatever works.

Large Group
We didn't learn a new song this week, but we did read and act out this poem each day.

Day 1, we read Your 5 Senses to introduce them. We went outside with a 5 senses paper on a clipboard, and they drew pictures of what they smelled, heard, saw, touched, and tasted. Most tasted the raspberries or grapes, but a few got more adventurous and tasted grass, which I strongly discouraged! They had a great and productive time exploring, often running up to me to tell me something else they heard or touched. So even though a paper comes home with scribbles, I know they were observing and finding real things.

Day 2, We read about our sense of touch and made texture hands. I had hands cut out already, and a tray full of items. They chose which ones to use and glued one to each finger. Then I had them describe its texture and I wrote down on each finger how it felt.

Day 3, We read Look Here, and talked about sight. Then we played a game about not having sight. We set up some obstacles in the room, then they each took turns walking through it blindfolded. They got to choose a seeing friend to help them, by using touch to hold their hand and guide them, or using sound by telling them where to go.

Day 4, we read The Gingerbread Man and acted it out. This was their favorite activity of the week! We then talked about what senses we used to make and eat our gingerbread men for snack (spoiler alert: all of them), and then again for the book, what senses did we read about? And we filled those out on a chart. They really loved the retelling part! The next week, I kept the book in the reading center, and found quite a few of them "reading" it as they flipped through and read the pictures.

Small Group

We finished the apple centers we hadn't from last week.

We explored taste by tasting salt and sugar, then journaling our favorite things to taste.

We explored texture and touch by making texture rubbings around the room.

We explored sounds by playing Farm Sounds Bingo.

We explored smell by smelling different bottles and sorting which ones smelled good or bad to them. Then they did a worksheet (Ugh, you know I hate those), but with a good purpose. While I'd always rather sort the real smells (like we did) than do a worksheet, they really need the cutting practice! So they cut along the straight lines and I helped them hold their scissors correctly. I didn't worry on the sorting and gluing side, since many were just being silly, and that's just fine in preschool! So if your child came home with garbage on the good smelling side, I know :)

Saturday, October 7, 2017


Dramatic Play
Apple Orchard
This was a super fun center. Many of the kids recognized the trees from our Fall Dramatic Play center from last year, but I did change a few things. This was focused on the apple orchard, and I added the cash register stand too. They loved picking apples and pretending to make apple pie. The second week, I also added the apple ornaments we had used to stack in large group.

As for the "apples," I discovered last year that the sticky velcro didn't stay on the balls great, and would come off and stay on the tree, instead of staying on the ball. So this year I was reworking how to do it, and realized they stuck great to last year's sticky velcro, which was still there.  So instead of having one side of the velcro on the tree, and one on the ball, both pieces were stuck on the tree. The balls would stick to the sticky side and stay on the tree, and get pulled off easily too. Over the first few days, some started to lose their sticky side, so I just added some more.

Duplo Legos
These are always a hit, and were busy for 2 days.
This activity is a good one for patience and taking turns. I usually have to help set up the pins, since they get knocked down easily as they set them up, but they all tried to do it on their own. They did have to be helped taking turns, because they were fighting over the balls and cutting in line. So I lined them up, one would go, then that person had to help me set them up for the next person. There were only 3-4 in line when we started, but as others saw they weren't fighting anymore, more joined the line and they all got a chance to bowl. Later, they used the pins to whack the balls from the apple center around the room. Go figure.

There were also many puzzles available that were played with several times.

Apple spin art
I cut out apples the size of the salad spinners, and they had watered down red, green, and yellow paint. They could use a spoon or medicine syringe to add paint to their apples, then they spun them. I barely had to help, they all got them spinning on their own. They turned out so great! A few let me keep theirs to hang in our tree a few more days.

Apple marble painting
I didn't cut out these apples, since the marbles would roll on the whole page anyway, but there was a printed apple on their paper. Again, we used red, green, and yellow paint, with spoons and marbles in them. They used the spoons to drop the marbles on their paper in the tray, then rolled them around. Some just rolled them a few times to get a few stripes, while others kept going until their whole page was covered. They turned out great too!

Apple condensed milk painting
I cut out larger apples for this one. I had sweetened condensed milk in a 6-muffin tin, and colored them red, green and yellow. Since this paint is so sticky, I covered the table in paper too. And I'm glad I did! There were paint trails everywhere. I love painting with this because it's a different texture and a fun sensory experience, but this is not art to keep long. It is a milk product, so the pictures get spots after a few days. I told the kids to take them home and show them off, then throw them away.

Apple stamping
We had to do this during 5 senses week too, since this was the cancelled day from my sick child. But they had been excited to do it, so we did. I just cut apples (ones from my mom's tree that weren't edible) in half, and we dipped them in paint and stamped our papers.

Small Manipulatives
Fall pattern cards

A is for Apples with flat marbles (from The Measured Mom)

Apple counting mats

ABC blocks

The magnet board had the 3 main characters from Ten Apples Up On Top, and red apple magnets to play with.

The pocket chart was flash cards matching numbers.

Apple dry erase boards

ABC stamps
Apple stickers

We tried so many different apples snacks this week, then graphed if we liked them or not. It was so much fun! The first day, we also graphed which color of apple was our favorite after trying 3 different kinds. Here are the yummy snacks we enjoyed:
Red, green, yellow apples slices
Apple Jacks
Freeze dried apples with cinnamon
Dried apples
Apple sauce
Apple juice
Apple muffins
Apple cider
Apple pie (this was the day we missed with my sick kids, so we waited and had it during 5 senses week)
Here are our graph results:


Sensory Table
It had oats and cinnamon sticks, plus red, yellow, and green pom pom balls to be like apples. I had thought about adding the plastic apples from my fall pattern cards, or the apple ornaments we used to stack, but we were always using them for something else.

Also, the diggers are back! You may not have noticed them missing, but they each had a broken bolt for the last few weeks. My husband replaced them this weekend and the kids are thrilled to have them back and working again!

Large Group
We learned a new song, 10 red apples. I have 10 red apples in our class tree, and I'd take them out as we'd sing and it subtracted apples. We learned lots of fun things we can make with apples.
Here's the lyrics:
10 red apples hanging in a tree.
Best looking apples I ever did see.
Gonna make apple pie for my friends and me,
9 red apples hanging in a tree.

It goes on as they count down and they make apple cider, applesauce, apple jelly, apple muffins, apple strudel, apple juice, baked apple, and apple fritters. Last verse:

1 red apple hanging in a tree.
Best looking apple I ever did see.
Only 1 apple left, oh my oh me.
No more apples, hanging in a tree.

Day 1, we read Ten Apples Up on Top. I put the kids in 2 groups and gave them some apple ornaments and play dough, and they had to work together to see how tall they could stack their apples. The tallest we got was 5. It was a challenge to do it and work together, but with a lot of encouragement, they did it!

Day 2, we made apple boats after we read about apples. We watched our apple halves float, then made sails on bamboo skewers. They made them lopsided and tip over, but they still had fun making them.

Day 3, we wrote in our journals about our favorite way to eat an apple.

Day 4, we were supposed to color and cut out the 4 steps in the life cycle of a tree and glue them to a headband, but that was our cancelled sick day. :(

Small Group
I may have explained this already, but I only have Miss Kim on Thursdays this year. But I've still wanted to do small groups on Tuesdays, so I have 1 group work independently while 1 works with me, and they've done great!
One group worked independently on apple counting mats (from Kelly's Kindergarten), while I worked with the other on writing in their journals. We had run out of time last week to journal our favorite nursery rhyme, so now we're all caught up.

The next Tuesday, one group worked on puzzles, while the next group came to me two at a time, to make their Ten Apples Up on Top names. They were so excited about it! I only took two at a time so I could observe them and give them enough help. Some didn't need any help, while others weren't sure of the order of the letters, so I had them get their name magnet from the hall and follow the letters on that. They did great with that help, and didn't need me to tell them what came next. I just helped name letters they didn't know.

With Miss Kim, one group worked on the apple counting mats with her, so she could double check their counting. The other group worked with me on patterns. We made patterns from my red and green apples, then colored it in on our paper. Since we didn't have that other Thursday for the second group to do it, we'll catch up on it next week.