Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas!

We celebrated Christmas just 1 day this year, instead of a whole 2 weeks! Trying to keep things fresh and new :) Here's a quick run down of what we did:

Dramatic Play Area
Trains! 2 different kinds I have. This was busy all day, building and driving.

Christmas bean bag toss. The bean bags also became Christmas presents, being delivered as toys throughout the day.

Christmas stamps

Small Manipulatives:
Gingerbread men decorating

Christmas ornament counting

Santa magnets

Christmas cards. This was the busiest center all day long. Cards were being made and delivered to each other constantly. It was fun to watch them make sure they made one for all their friends, and no one was left out! Everyone got a card from someone. A few lucky family members may have had cards come home too.

We had a Polar Express Theme to the day, and wore our pajamas to school. So, we read the book before we ate snack, then we drank hot chocolate and had cookies, like the kids on the train.

Small Group:
One group decorated sugar cone Christmas trees. Frosting them was quite the challenge, but a doable one that took a little time. Adding the candy was the fun part!
The other group was making jingle bell necklaces by adding beads in a pattern. They did a wonderful job creating and repeating their patterns! They definitely have that skill down and ready for Kinder.

Large Group:
We had already read together, so we sang a few Christmas songs, then it was already time to go home! We had a fun and busy day!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Fairy Tales

This is always a favorite theme that I love doing. There are just so many good fairy tales and stories to choose from, and so many activities and ideas for each one. Sometimes I think I could focus and do a different fairy tale each week for a few months! But, they'd probably get sick of it by then. These last 2 weeks, we learned a few different fairy tales and focused on reading comprehension as we read books, retold stories, acted them out, retold with puppets, and put story events in order (sequencing).

Dramatic Play

Castle! I was so excited to find this new cardboard castle on a yard sale site a few weeks ago! It was the perfect front, then I used my old box castle walls for the sides. I filled it up with costumes, fit for a King, (and queen, princess, knight, wizard, dragon and fairy).

The second day, after we had read Jack and the Beanstalk, I added the beanstalk. I didn't have it the first day, because I wanted to read the story first so they'd know what it was. It added a great element to their play, and turned the castle into the giant's castle too.

This was a popular center, all 4 days! Most of the kids got dressed up as soon as they walked in the door to school! We had princesses and knights playing and going center to center each day.


The first day, was the castle, filled with the medieval finger puppet characters.

The last 3 days, it had the beanstalk, and a few costumes for the Jack and the Beanstalk story.


Fairy Tale sponge painting shapes

Jack and the Beanstalk-inspired collage items and glue

Glitter Glue

Play dough with princess Cinderella and Sofia Playdoh toys. Plus, ABC stamps and molds, since not everyone loves Princesses. I forgot a picture.

Small Manipulatives

ABC magnets on the magnet board, with ABC order charts. This was pretty popular and was usually busy with kids matching the letters in ABC order.

Princess number matching cards in the pocket charts

Building things (no idea what these are called)

Jack and the Beanstalk wood characters and castle for story re-telling

3 Little Pigs story re-telling

Tortoise and the Hare puppets (forgot a pic)

Opposites puzzle

Writing Center

I forgot pics, but we had out different colored pens and scented crayons this week


SNOW!!! Brrrr...and cold! A reminder that we got outside in the cold, so always pack warm things for them to wear! We had a lot of cold fingers this week. We didn't stay out long, cuz it was cold and the air quality wasn't great, but since it wasn't in the red, we went out for 10 minutes to run and get the wiggles out! So please always send cold weather gear!

Large Group

We learned a fun new song, to the tune of Pop Goes the Weasel. Running in circles is perfect for getting out wiggles!
All around the castle,
the knights chase the dragon,
The dragon thought it was so fun,
Roar goes the dragon!

Day 1, we read Jack and the Beanstalk. Then we listened to a song with the story and learned the chorus and sang along. They split into 2 groups and had to put the 5 story cards in order of how the story happened. Then they retold the story with the wood figures. Then we drew small castles (we talked about using rectangles and triangles and practiced those shapes on the board first) and added clouds to them. Hopefully, if our beans can grow during this cold winter, they'll grow up our beanstalks to the castle!

Day 2, we read Tortoise and the Hare and acted it out with puppets. We did it twice so they all got a turn to be in it. We talked about opposites (fast and slow) from the story, then worked on an opposites puzzle together. We also did opposites in our knights and dragon song (fast/slow, quiet/loud, high/low, etc).

Day 3, we read The 3 Little Pigs. Then I put them in groups of 3 to each "build" a house for the pigs, from Goldfish cracker boxes. They did SO WELL! I mean in getting along. There was no arguing and crying. We often try to do things in groups, and they're so busy hogging stuff, they don't get much done. We had none of that today. They just all poured glue everywhere and made beautiful houses! Then we got back together with our pig toys, and dog puppet (as close to a wolf as I had) and retold the story a few times so they all got turns to have parts.

Day 4, we watched The 3 Billy Goats Gruff, instead of reading it. They loved having a video! Even if it was less than 10 minutes long. Again, like days previous, we acted it out together. Then they colored their story wheels. As they finished, I had them use their story wheels to tell each other the story, and hopefully they came home and told it to you, too!

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Farm Animals

Dramatic Play
Of course, a farm! I gathered all the stuffed animals I had, then went to the DI and lucked out. I found a pig, cow, and a few sheep to add to what I had. Don't worry, they went straight to the washing machine when I got home. Used stuffed animals gross me out :) Plus, I found the rocking horse. I also had a few animal hats to throw into the mix. I added in a few paper plate chickens (thanks pinterest) and eggs, and we have a farm!

There were toy mice and rats hidden in the farm, so I let the kids know and asked what a farmer might do to get rid of them. They knew what the cats were for right away, but i had to point out the owl perched on the window. He was busy at work, gathering rodents, from that point on. Plus our class owl lays golden eggs. It was pretty fun.

The garden is made of pool noodles, that made it easy to plant, harvest, and replant over and over again. I added some plastic food to play with too, and to feed to the animals.


Farm toys and puzzles. This stayed out all 3 days, with the puzzles being rotated in too.



Glue collages. I had different types of beans, plus some rafia. Kind of random, but it's fun to see what they come up with. And they just love to pour glue. What they stick to it is usually secondary anyway :)

Easel painting. Not farm related, but still fun. This stayed busy the whole day, with kids rotating in and out and creating great works of art! Not sure why, but adding the easels makes all the difference in making painting more interesting.

Painted with water colors.
Small Manipulatives

Puzzles and magnet board

Counting 1-10 puzzle

Horse clothespins

Farm book with CD, and Farm Sounds bingo CD

Farm magnets on the magnet board

Baby animal matching in the pocket charts



multi-colored gel pens


Sensory Table: black beans and farm animals


Just "regular" snacks this week, except we made butter one of the days, by passing around a jar of heavy whipping cream to shake. They were pretty amazed that it thickened!

One thing we had was ABC crackers and it amazes me how long it takes them to eat them, because they have to talk about each letter! I love it too. They're not really old enough to care to sit at the rug for direct instruction about letters, but as they found them and asked or told each other what they were, and found out whose name had that letter, they're doing a lot of authentic learning. We found their names on the word wall, along with other words we've learned, to find the letters from their crackers in words they know. I love this spontaneous learning time. And I love ABC shaped food.

Large Group

We learned 2 songs this week. Old McDonald Had a Farm, which they knew, and Down on Grandpa's Farm by Raffi. We learned the word "domestic" and they thought it was so funny to talk about a farmer having elephants of lions on his farm, except they're not domestic!

Day 1, we read about farm animals, then they each got a graph. They had to go ask each classmate what their favorite farm animal was, and mark it on their graph. It was cute watching them walk around and ask, then carefully mark it. Some got silly, and would only ask the same kid over and over, while others would color a whole row when someone answered. A few others had it done just right, then decided to color the whole thing once they were done. It's preschool. All we're doing is introducing graphing, and getting them to talk to each other, so it was just right.

Day 2, we read Barnyard Hullabaloo, then acted out their favorite crazy loud farm animals! Afterwards, we had a puzzle where we matched what product came from what farm animal or plant. We talked about how we couldn't get by without farmers helping to grow all of our food! Then they matched baby animals to their parents in another game. Each child got a card, and they had to walk around and ask each other if they had a match. This was more difficult than I'd imagined because some didn't want to try, but I helped them ask and look at the other cards, and they all found each other.

Day 3, we read Double the Ducks. We used magnets to retell the story and count the items the farmer needed to take care of his ducks, then double it and count again.

Small Group

One group worked on a Leap Frog counting farm puzzle while I worked with another group on a farm graph from Totschooling. Then they switched. We all finished up the puzzle together in the end.

The next day, another group made silly sentences on the board with me with the farm magnets. They loved making the animals drive the tractor! The other group was drawing in their journals about what animal they'd want on their farm.

The last day with Miss Kim, my group worked on beginning sounds of farm animals. Miss Kim's group played a matching game with baby farm animals to their parents.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Healthy Bodies

Dramatic Play

Doctor's Office. The kids had been begging for this center all year, so we finally got it back out!



Small wood blocks

My Job Leap Frog puzzle (you can see on the shelf above)

Magnatiles. Again, another request. When these are out, they don't play anything else. So they were out two days due to popular demand.


Playdough and face mats

Body shape stamps and paint

Making bread for snack. Than glue and magazine face parts to make faces. The things they made cracked me up!

Scrub brush painting. They were pretty unsure of this one, wondering why I let them paint with scrub brushes. I had to reassure them that it was ok.

Small Manipulatives

Vegetable dot pages and flat marbles

5 Little Monkeys books and tape. They were so confused when I had to rewind it. It was pretty funny! And they enjoyed the story.

Doc McStuffins Memory game

Food lacing cards

Bunch 'ems. I recently found them on clearance at Target, and love finding more open-ended building toys. They're like a velcro ball. The kids liked the texture and playing with them, but just built a few simple things, then were easily frustrated it wasn't a big statue or something. They were asking me to build things for them, but I kept encouraging them to figure it out. Hopefully they'll get it after a few more times.

Emotion faces on the magnet board. They could change the eyes and mouths for more expressions.

Fruit and vegetable matching game in the pocket charts.


Stamp markers

People color crayons


Each day we tried new food groups and talked about how they help our bodies (giving vitamins and minerals, giving us energy, helping us grow, etc.)

Day 1, fruits. We had bananas, strawberries, blackberries, and grapes.

Day 2, vegetables. We ate cucumber, tomatoes, bell peppers, and carrots.

Day 3, we had grains and ate the wheat bread we made. Well, the bread I made the day before, then at the end of the day, they took home a slice of bread they made.

Day 4, we ate dairy and protein by having yogurt and trying different nuts.


Sensory Table:  dried macaroni with toy fruit and scoops. Kinda random, but just wanted something new. They had a lot of fun with it.

Large Group

Day 1, we learned how to take care of our teeth. We read Going to the Dentist. I used the big model teeth and toothbrush and we learned to brush all sides of our teeth. Then the kids stood up, shoulder to should, like teeth, and I "brushed" them with the giant toothbrush, front, back, and on top of their heads. It was hard with all the giggling and shaking they were doing! Then I flossed them with a jump rope. After that, they got to use dry erase markers to color germs all over the laminated teeth. Then they brushed it off with toothbrushes. Some of it didn't come off well, so I improvised and squirted on a little hand sanitizer for toothpaste, and it came right off! It ended up a great object lesson.

Day 2, we learned about germs. One of our class moms who is a nurse, which by the way, I could have invited more than half the moms in our class, came and talked to us. She showed us how to wash our hands properly. Then she talked about what it's like to visit the doctors. The kids each got to listen to their hearts with a real stethoscope.

Day 3, we had run out of time last time, so we did more talking about germs. I used fingerpaint at the germs and "coughed" it into my hand, then I high fived kids, and shared pencils with them until we all had fingerpaint on our hands, to show how germs travel. Then we all washed our hands to show how to get rid of the germs, instead of passing them.

Day 4, we wrapped up talking about all the foods we'd been eating. We talked about the different food groups from our lacing cards. I spread them out on the floor, then they each got a food ad. They could cut out as many food items as they wanted, then they put them in the group they belonged to. It was great cutting practice, which they all need! Miss Kim and I were repositioning hands a lot, making sure they keep their thumbs on top, and cut away from themselves.

As we talked about food here and at snack, I never referred to it as healthy vs not healthy, or bad vs good food. It was all just food. I talked to them about the importance of eating a variety of food groups and colors of food, not just the same thing all the time since we need all the unique things each food offers. And we talked about things like sweets being a "sometimes" food, since it doesn't give us the nutrients we need and it may have ingredients not good for us. So we just eat them sometimes. But we need the other food groups each day. I was very impressed by their willingness to try new things at snack, even if they didn't like it. I just ask that they taste it.

Small Group

We read about Bones and found the different bones on my toy skeletons. They cut out a picture of a body with the outside, and the bones on the inside too. It was mostly for the straight line cutting practice.

The other group made foods out of play dough with food molds I have, and fed them to Cookie Monster, so he could have a variety of food besides cookies!

The next week, they wrote in their journals about their favorite foods, and did a counting game with Miss Kim.