Saturday, March 18, 2017


My little boys pull out the dinosaur toys each weekend, then I have to put them all away before preschool, so they were so excited I finally pulled them all out to stay! You'll see them in my set up pics, because I couldn't get them away!
Here's the highlights of dinosaur week:

Dramatic Play
A paleontologist dig site. The first 2 days, was wheat and plastic dinosaur bones. They had hats and vests as well, plus brushes to help in their excavating.

Week 2, I made dirt dinosaur eggs, that they got to break apart to find the small dinosaur toys. (recipe here) They really loved hatching the eggs! The big dinosaurs joined the tub that day from the block area, to be the parents. I only remembered a picture once they were hatched.

On the 4th day, I added the plastic eggs with ABCs on them, so they could put them in eggs and hatch them over and over. Plus, they were matching the capital and small letters on the eggs.
There were also T-rex hats from Dollar Tree. Things got a little wild on the first day, lots of hitting and fighting with them on, so they were put away the next 2 days, and earned back the last day, and they played much better with them. Some cute things they were playing, was they would play until they "died" and just laid there. Then, other kids dressed as paleontologists and armed with brushes, would come and "discover" them. They always came back to life at the point. It was a fun game they invented, and one of the many reasons play time is a priority for me. They kept asking other kids to join them and play paleontologists with them, and when they died, they'd yell for paleontologists to come and discover them buried in the dirt!


We had big and small dinosaur toys out all week here, plus a few games and puzzles on the shelf to pull down.



Dot markers and dinosaur dot pages. They were going through these so fast, I had to copy a bunch more in the first 15 minutes of the day. They really enjoyed it!

Watercolor dinosaur skeletons. I traced dinosaur skeletons with a white crayon, so they couldn't see it. Then they painted over it with watercolors to reveal the dinosaur. They were amazed! Each child did at least one, and some stayed awhile and did several. They were fascinated by painting, then watching the paint just disappear. One child painted over his so many times to watch it disappear, he wore a hole into the paper.

We had playdough with rollers and cookie cutters, but also dinosaurs to add footprints and make fossils.

Painting with dinosaur footprints. I had paint brushes out too, because some kids just like to paint, but they all stomped the dinos on their pages too. Then, most of them painted over the footprints. It's all about the process, not product, right!?

Small Manipulatives

Dinosaur math puzzle, putting pictures in order 1-10

Dinosaur matching puzzle

Dinosaur lacing cards (from paper plates)

ABC matching dinos. We worked together on these, and they were great at matching the capital and small letters. They also made patterns with the dinos, really extending their learning.

D is for Dinosaur with flat marbles with pictures from here

Matching dinosaurs on the magnet board with pictures from here


Dinosaur chalk boards

Dinosaur stencils

I don't usually specifically write about the reading center, because it's always just books related to our theme, but I think this is one of the first times that I read every single book in the center. We spent a lot of our free play time reading. And I read Mine-o-saur, which we had read during friendship week, each day. They love that book, and call each other Mine o saurs when they're not sharing!


Day 1, we were herbivores, and learned that word. We talked about plants a dinosaur would eat, and how their teeth showed a paleontologist if they were an herbivore or carnivore. They were wonderful to try all the yummy plants I offered! We had salad (spinach) with ranch, carrots, baby bell peppers, apples, and grapes. They kept passing it around to get more until they were all gone. They loved eating the leaves! And then licking their extra ranch off their plates :)

Day 2, we were carnivores, with our sharp carnivore teeth, and ate dinosaur shaped chicken nuggets.

The other days were just regular crackers and juice days.


We got some spring and winter weather during this theme, so outside play varied each day! It was discouraging getting back into snow clothes after a warm spell in February. It's making me anxious for spring!

Large Group

We learned the poem 5 Enormous Dinosaurs
5 Enormous Dinosaurs, stomping on the floor. 1 ran away, and then there were 4.
4 enormous dinosaurs, looking at me. 1 ran away, and then there were 3.
3 enormous dinosaurs, chewing on a shoe. 1 ran away, and then there were 2.
2 enormous dinosaurs, lying in the sun. 1 ran away, and then there was 1.
1 enormous dinosaur, having no more fun. He ran away, and then there were none.

We did the poem several times each day. Sometimes we'd look for the rhyming words, and other times focus on the counting. We did what I call "kindergarten math" with them, which makes them feel smart. It's just decomposing the number 5. Pretty much, as we take away 1 dinosaur, I leave it on the board and we show the different groupings of 5. 5 and 0, 4 and 1, 2 and 3, 3 and 2, 1 and 4, and 0 and 5. We did this during Oceans week with 5 little crabs too. These songs are more than just counting backwards!

We also learned the word "paleontologist" and the different things they do. We practiced herbivore and carnivore each day as well, and also learned a lot of dinosaur names during our play and books.

Day 1, we read Digging for Dinosaurs and learned about paleontologists. We used leftover chocolate play dough from valentines, and made fossils. They could use plants, shells, or dinosaur feet for their fossils. They came home once dry.

Day 2, we read Ten Little Dinosaurs, then practiced more counting with these play dough mats. We made dinosaur eggs to match the number on the mat. I got the mats here.

Day 3. we read Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp, then danced. We talked about tempo, and they dance fast and slow, depending on the tempo of the song. They used the dancing ribbons too. Then we read Dinorumpus.

Day 4, we read Dinorella. Then we did a graphing activity. We first chose our favorite dinosaurs, and made a class graph. Then we just took turns with a spinner and graphed the results. They had so much fun and were cheering for a winner as they spun!

Small Group

My group worked on sorting with dinosaur pictures and toys. We sorted by size, color, and other attributes like walks on 2 feet or 4 feet, or flies. I used pictures from here.

Miss Kim's group played a dinosaur matching game.

Week 2, Miss Kim's group worked on numbers with the dinosaur 1-10 puzzles, and also practiced tracing their names.

My group used dinosaurs to measure things throughout the room.

Friday, March 3, 2017


Dramatic Play
Not really friendship related, but fun anyway. I got out the cardboard castle walls and fancy dress ups. Those of you who were here a few years ago may remember my bigger castle tower I had, but it kept falling apart, so we just went for the castle walls. I wasn't sure if it would be enough, but they loved it like this. I liked how portable it was, and when there were lots of kids in it, we made the walls extend over the block center too, so they all fit. And one of the days, they were building towers and things with blocks, so we moved the walls and made the castle smaller for a bit.

The important part is all the fun dress ups. I have costumes for queens, princesses, knights, fairies, a jester, king, and wizard. My dragon costume has disappeared, so that was sad. One of the days, they all wanted to be kings at the same time, so I got out construction paper and we made some more crowns for everyone.

They held many balls, and needed music, so Pandora's Disney Princess station came to the rescue. They are such adorable dancers! I even added the dancing ribbons for the last 2 days and they loved dancing with those too.


Sometimes the castle was spread out into this area, but otherwise, we got down the foam blocks, brick blocks, and Megablocks this week and did a lot of building. I forgot pics :(


Maybe it's because we didn't do anything extra special or unique, but I forgot pics of the art table both weeks! Here's what we did:

Spin Art. We used the salad spinners and coffee filters to make spin art. I especially like the fine motor strengthening that comes with using the eye droppers to get the paint on their paper. Some get frustrated at first, until I show them how to release it, then wait for it to fill up with paint. After they get the hang of it, we really have some soaked pictures! This center was busy all day.

Collages. I had a tray out with dried beans, sequins, feathers googly eyes, and pom poms. Just add glue, and they created to their heart's content.

Paint. Sometimes the kids just want to paint! And paint they did :)

Stamp markers. This was a simple art project, because we used the second half of the time using the art table to make our green eggs and ham for snack.

Small Manipulatives

Cookie sheets with small magnet builders

ABC lacing beads

Wikki Stix

ABC blocks (and yes, if you look at the box, these are straight from 1982 and still in great condition).
They actually really really liked these. I didn't expect that. I worked with them on beginning sounds and finding the block that matched the beginning sound of their figure. They also just liked hiding the figures from each other inside the blocks.


ABC stickers

Stamps and ink pads


The snacks were pretty typical this week, except we had cereal with milk one day. I didn't think it'd be a big deal, but they have asked if we're doing it again every day since.

On Dr. Seuss' birthday, we also made green eggs and ham. I let each child take a turn to crack an egg into the bowl. They did fairly well! I say fairly because some had more shells in the bowl than others :) It's hard to let little ones do this job, but they sure love doing it.They did great at remembering their color mixing, and referring to our color wheel, to know that we needed to add blue to our yellow eggs to make them green. I read Green Eggs and Ham to them as they ate. It was a detour from our friendship theme, but we couldn't skip this great holiday!

Also, I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before. The kids really work together during snack and take turns being responsible to hand out hand sanitizer, napkins, and cups. And they also now pour their own drinks and pass the pitcher around the table. They're doing a great with this big responsibility. We've had some spills, but they're rare and it's how they learn.

We had friendship books out, but I also wanted to share our Dr. Seuss day reading center. They loved having the characters down to play with!

Large Group
So, free play doesn't have as many obvious ties to our theme as others have had. It was more just free play time, so in large group we really focused our learning on friendship skills. We learned the word Cooperation. We also learned Raffi's Sharing Song and sang and acted it out each day.

Day 1, we read Mr. Rogers' book Making Friends. It asks great, realistic questions, so it took longer than usual to read and discuss. We also watched  Sesame Street video clip about cooperation.

Day 2, we read the Mine-o-saur, which is about a dinosaur who wouldn't share. After this, I ended up reading the book every day, several times each day, in the reading center. They really think it's funny. We then sat in a circle and took turns role-playing how to enter play, and how to accept others into our group to play. We used blocks as the example, and showed how the more kids we had, the more we could build together (cooperation!)

Day 3, we read The Crayon Box that Talked. This is one of my very favorite books. I gave each child 1 crayon, and we worked together to draw a picture with all the colors, then talked about how each person is important and needed in our class.

Day 4, we read Wanted: Best Friend. They then wrote and drew in their journals about the things they like to do with their friends.

We also fit in some Daniel Tiger video clips about sharing and taking turns.

Small Group

Week 1, my group did more sharing role playing. We are working on asking if we want to use something, and also WAITING for that person to be done. I think that's the hardest part of sharing, and I'm constantly reminding them that waiting is part of sharing. I get told many times a day, that so-and-so is not sharing, when what they mean is, that person is not giving them the toy they want. I do want the person who has the toy to be aware that someone else wants it so they can give it to them when they're done, but not think they have to give it away right when someone asks for it. That's not really sharing. It was good to talk about and role play, and I keep bringing them back to this as it comes up.

Miss Kim played a counting game with them.

Week 2, our small groups focused on Dr. Seuss games since his birthday was this week. Miss Kim's group had Horton the Elephant counting cards, and attached links to his trunk to match the number.

My group learned rhyming words and played a memory game with counting words. We are also practicing tracing their names in my small group.