Thursday, October 29, 2009

Go Away Big Green Monster Craft

This is one of my favorite books of all time, simply because it really is soooooo much fun to read and the kids all fall in love with it!! At halloween time is when I usually incorporate it, and I love to have the children come up with their own "Big Green Monsters"!!!
Some children like to make it look exactly like the books monster....and others come up with their own. I always love to see the variations.
I simply sat out paper plates, crayons and markers and various construction paper colors. You will always have to be prepared to help some children who still need help cutting out, and others will be very independant with this activity
They can glue on the various monster face parts they decide on where they want and then I like to tape a popsicle stick to it for a "Big Green Monster" puppet.
"Go away Big Green Monster!! And don't come back!.......
Until I say so!

Pumpkin Pie Playdough

Playdough is always a favorite of mine and around holidays and such I always like to give it a twist. For halloween we made one of my favorites.....Pumpkin Pie Playdough.
You make this just the same as usual and add pumpkin pie spice to it. The kids love the smell of it and exploring with it. With this activity I also set out halloween shaped cookie cutters, and I couldn't forget the pie tins (it's a must when the playdough smells like pie!)
Pumpkin Pie Playdough Recipe
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
2 cups water
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp cream of tartar
pumpkin pie spice
orange food coloring
Combine all of the ingredients in a pot, stir over medium-low heat. Don't let the mixture stick to the pot. Keep stirring and cooking until the mixture looks like mashed pototes - instead of soup. Remove pot from the stove and knead when cool enough to handle.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Ghost Goo

This is always a favorite and we usually have to keep it in our classroom for a couple of days because the kids just LOVE to explore with this stuff!!
This is actually called OOBLECK (most teachers know what I'm talking about), but at halloween time I change the name to "Ghost Goo". The kids think it is soooooo cool and talk can be heard throughout the room about ghosts, goblins, ghouls, witches, and much more.
One boy asked me today, "Do ghosts really leave this behind when they visit you?" I told him that if they were real they just might, but there is really now such thing as ghosts.
So the recipe goes like this (so simple)......cornstarch......water......voila!!! Just mix equal parts of each. This substances so interesting, it hardens when you pick it up and turns to slime in your hands. It really is too fun to play with. Just be prepared to have cornstarch drippings from your messy table to the bathroom.....or keep a tub of water close by for quick rinsing. The nice thing about this stuff is that it cleans up so easily (it's just cornstarch after all). So don't freak out if it gets splattered in a few will be kids! Happy Haunting!!

Ghostly Collages

Today we had such fun making our Halloween collage crafts. I chose to have the kids explore with Ghosts and Jack-o-Lanterns.
You can make these by gathering your materials first......for the pumpkin we used black and orange construction paper, glue, googly eyes. For the ghost we use anytype of heavy paper (paper bags work or construction paper), tissues, black construction paper, glue and googly eyes.
I had many kids who wanted to cut everything out themselves and many kids who needed me to help them. We ripped up the orange paper to glue on the black pumpkin cutout, and the kids kind of chose what they wanted their faces to look like.
I had a few different ideas on how to make this ghost......cotton balls......crepe paper.....but then my mind landed on tissues (that's right my house is FULL of tissues right now), we could TOTALLY utilize them (not that we don't have runny noses right now:) The tissues worked out great because it even gave the ghost more of "ghostly" look!! They were my favorite.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The World of Music

So you probably guessed, today we learned about our sense of hearing! What a great and noisy classroom we had today!! It's so fun to explore with sounds!
We decorated our own rhythm sticks so the children could go home and have so much fun showing their families all the great music they can make!!
I just bought big dowels and cut them into the same size of pieces and sanded the ends.
We also made our own shaker bags. I usually use paper plates but to my dismay this morning we were out. Serves me right for not checking the night before (I thought for sure I had some - oopsie!!). So I compromised and made paper bag shakers which turned out great because they have a handle when you roll them up and make a great sound - hmmmm, I might have to make those again!! We were able to go on a listening walk and we heard things like, an airplane, dog barking, bee buzzing, footsteps, tree shaking, and more - I love to teach the children that when we listen we learn more about everything around us!! They get so excited to start listening better (even if it's just for that first minute after I tell them :) For snack we had squeaky cheese - yummy! I'm surprised every year I have a couple of kids that don't like it....but it does have a little different taste to it. Remember to try and keep it at room temp. or a little warmer if you want to really hear it squeak!! Happy noise making!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Preschooler, Preschooler, What Do you See?

For our Sense of Sight Day we like to make a class book. It's a spin off of "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" A great child's classic!! Brown Bear is such a great book to read because the children can help you read from just one reading. It's so repetitive and the pictures are so easy to follow!! What a great sense of accomplishment!
So anyway, I have the children think of something they see at school and draw a picture of it.
These are pages done from a previous year. You can write the words or type them. Then on the page before each drawing I put the words, "Preschooler, Preschooler, what do you see?" and their picture below it.
This becomes a book that is read OFTEN in our classroom. I also take the pages to a copy center and have a copy made for each child. This is great book to keep to remind them of preschool, their friends, and something they might have seen (or not seen) when they were young. So parents of kids in my classroom, you heard me right.....a copy of the book will be coming home to you shortly!!
Happy reading!!

Painted Toast

We LOVE painted toast in preschool!! We read the book "Mouse Paint" and then enjoyed painting with the primary colors on our own pieces of toast!! This was a great way to end our day of our Sense of Sight!! If you haven't ever read "Mouse Paint", it's a must and a classic! The 3 mice get mixed up in paint and it shows in a fun way how the primary colors mix and can make new colors. The children were begging to read again after we were done.
So for painted toast, just toast your bread, get 3 bowls of milk and add your food coloring. Give each child a food paint brush, toast, a plate and let them enjoy painting their toast. Yes this sounds kind of disgusting, but seriously, it's a preschool favorite!!
You HAVE to try it!

Tupperware Madness

For our messy table on our sense of sight day we added LOTS of dried beans and tupperware. This was tricky and took thinking skill to match up the lid to the right piece of tupperware. The children enjoyed pouring, filling, and even started sorting the beans (I was quite excited to see this taking place, I didn't even think of it!)
One child was determined to find the lid to a particular tupperware piece. He had them all matched up (or so he thought). I watched him as he continued to figure out which lid was incorrectly placed. I love watching the wheels turn in their smart little heads. Happily, and with much excitement he finally figured it out!! Boy do I love preschoolers!!

Eye Doctor

What would be more appropriate in the dramatic play area in our sense of sight day Eye Doctor!! The children enjoyed not only checking each others eyes, but also doctoring each other up. I had to set out a few doctor tools along with the eye tools so we could explore a little outside of the box! The kids were bandaged, knee tapped, and shotted up by the end of the day (what kind of preschool do you have your child in again?? :) Some cute things said today...... "What letter am I pointing to?" "M." "No, it's a 'K', I guess you need glasses after all!" (I am still cracking up about this, knowing the child who was the patient is still working on letter recognition! It's so dang cute) "Where do you hurt miss?" "All over." "Miss Chelsea, I think we need lots more bandages!" Happy playing!!

Sun Catchers

If you didn't guess, today we are learning about our sense of SIGHT!! Our suncatchers were so cool to make and watch in front of a window. You can use transparency paper (which would probably be the best to use) or use what you have on hand like me and use plastic paper holders.

I basically set out permanent markers and the plastic paper holders and the kids did beautiful art work on these. I was really amazed at some of their drawings!! Then just hook a string to the already punched holes and hang them up in front of the window for the sun to shine in on them. It's fun to see the sun get caught on the paper and be blocked out where the drawings are.

Some Favorites Outside

I thought I would post a few of the kids favorite things outside lately!
I absolutely LOVE to watch the children play outside and start different games with them. Lately their favorite thing has been the teeter totter airplane (seriously, what kid wouldn't just love it), it's too much fun! Another thing of course are the swings (every year it's a favorite). And just the last couple of days - SIDEWALK CHALK!! I love little kids pictures all over my cement. It brings joy and little warm fuzzies all over my body. How can you look at kids art on a sidewalk and not want to start doing cartwheels and head stands! It really is that exciting!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Sweet Smelling Shaving Cream

OK, so don't you think shaving cream smells so good? I sure do!! So what a great sensory experience to add to our sense of smell day!! Not only do the kids LOVE to feel this stuff, but they get to smell it at the same time. Believe me, our classroom was super aromatic today (AAACHOO!)
We are also discovering more about the letter Aa this week, so I did some teacher guidance with the letter Aa in the shaving cream. The kids thought it was totally cool how you could make letters and pictures appear in the shaving cream. The children who know how to write their name had a grand old time with the letters in their names. It was also great practice to assist the kids who are still catching onto their name writing!

Clean Babies

To go along with our smelling sense.......what better to do then make babies smell good!! This is always a preschool favorite - washing and dressing babies!
I don't think the couple of baby dolls we had out were put down the entire time of choice time today!!
Happy cleaning!!

Sniffable Art

We are learning about our five senses the next couple of weeks......and today we talked about SMELL!!
I wanted to do a bit more with this project, but I could NOT find any scratch and sniff stickers!! So we compromised.......we used smelly markers (you know the kind you can sniff - yummy!), perfume/cologne and then regular markers and crayons.
The kids went to town on creating their pictures and choosing the perfume (the teacher was in charge of spraying:) to go on their masterpieces. It was fun to see what the scents made them think of (lots of fruits and different foods).
We are also discovering more about the letter 'Aa', so I also sat out some A's they could color and practice writing if they wanted. Most of the kids chose to work on the Aa's. It's so fun to try something new as a child.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Classroom Muffins

We made muffins today together and boy were they yummy! Why does it seem whatever is made in preschool seems so much yummier then if it was just made? Even to me it seems that way. These muffins are a very basic recipe and very simple, but every year, the children LOVE them and just can't wait to try and make them at home!! If you are a parent of a child in my class I really encourage you to make these muffins with your child. What a great way to connect the school to home experience together!!
Classroom Muffins
* 1 egg
* 1 cup milk
* 1/4 cup oil
* 2 cups flour
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 3 tsp. baking powder
* 1 tsp. salt
* 1 tsp. cinnamon
Mix wet ingredients together in one bowl, dry things in a large bowl. Make a well in the dry bowl and add wet ingredients. Don't stir too much. Bake at 375 for about 10 minutes for small muffins! YUMMY!

Painting with Variation

Today we had painting with a different variety of paintbrushes. It's so fun to paint and explore with paintbrushes that a different!
This really allows the children to think in ways they might not have before! So lets unleash that creativity - PAINT!!

First Letter of a Name

For this activity I drew capital and lowercase letters of each of the child's first letter of their name. Names are so great to use for young children because it's usually the first letters they recognize and have some type of ownership to. This is a great activity to discuss capital and lowercase letters, which one we use for the first letter of their name, etc. What are the similarities and differences?
The children were able to color, place stickers on, and cut out their letters. This is great small motor practice plus they really get an idea of how their letter is formed and what it looks like.
I love to watch young children cut! Their motor skills are still developing and you can actually see them think as they make their scissors go around!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Puppet Theatre Time

We had the puppet theatre set up today that my older sister sent to me as a gift one year. I love this puppet theatre because it stores easily by being rolled up.
The kids are always HOOT to watch at this area. I always introduce it to them by making up a story of my own (using beginning, middle, and end sequence). Even just demonstrating how a story sets up, begins to give them basic storytelling AND story writing understanding.
While the kids are at choice time, I am always there to assist in a story or be the audience. When we get more familiar with the puppet theatre, I will set it up with some chairs as the audience and popcorn bags. It's always fun to mix things up and give them a different setting!
Many times, for a child to be comfortable at an area, they need teacher guidance. I will not exactly show them how to do something, but I will assist in imagination, or creativity. You will see this a lot in the dramatic play area, or places like the puppet theatre, where they aren't quite sure where to go with the idea. I always have a ball playing and interacting with the kids, watching their imaginations bloom. As soon as they get the hang of it, I step back and let them take it from there.
happy storytelling!!

Playdough Fun

Playdough is another thing that most children are pretty familiar with. I like to start my year out with many things children are familiar with so it's an easy adjustment and they can identify easily with their surroundings. It's nice to have the children come into the classroom saying things like, "Hey, I've done this before." "Here, I'll help you, I do this at home.", etc. I set playdough out often in preschool, but I do change things each time. This time I put out many baking pieces, cookie cutouts, etc. I have also discovered that children absolutley LOVE cutting playdough with scissors. Have you ever tried it? It really is so fun and cool feeling!! Ever since I discovered this, I never set playdough out without scissors. Scissors are a very hard thing to master for young children, and playdough is a perfect way for them to practice without getting frustrated. So, cut...cut..cut!!
I've shared my playdough recipe many times on this site before, but I will share it again, because I LOVE PLAYDOUGH!!!!!!
*2 cups flour
*1 cup salt
*1 tblsp cream of tartar
*2 cups water
*1 tblsp oil
Mix these ingredients all together until it is like soup. You can add food coloring at this time or your choice of koolaid for a fun smell good playdough!!
Cook on Medium heat until it forms into playdough. Remove from pan and knead until it's nice a smooth.
Happy Playdough Playing!!

Colored Rice

Colored rice is always a favorite in the Messy Table. Rice is so small and fun to feel between your fingers. It's just such a great sensory experience that is always a must! The children expecially love to watch the rice poor, fill and twist....oh to be a child again!!
To make....
Put about 2 Tblsp alcohol and your choice of food colorings into gallon ziplock baggies. I do a different batch for each color (obviously). So if you are making 5 different colors, you'll need 5 different bags for each one.
Now put rice into the bag. The more rice you have the lighter color it will be, the less rice you have in the bag, the brighter it will be. I try and make big batches for the messy table, so I make mine on the lighter side.
Now mix and squish the bag until all of the rice pieces are coated. Once you have it mixed to your liking, lay out to dry on a tray or sheet cake pan or whatever else you have that can let the rice dry pretty flat.
Happy rice playing!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Creative Sticker Names

At the beginning of the year I always start with getting to know our own and each others names better. I especially want the children to experiment with their own name, figure out what letters are in it, how they are shaped, what their name looks like, etc. Many preschoolers don't know how to write their names yet, and what a better way to learn out then through art and play!!
I printed off each child's name on the computer, set out stickers of all kinds and crayons. This seems pretty simple, but it was also a great success. I saw so many great things going on from tracing, to copying, to outlining the letters with stickers, and simply coloring in their name. All of these outcomes are ways children get more familiar with their name and eventually learn how to write it!! Happy name writing!!