Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Preschool-made Butter

This week our theme is "Old MacDonald's Farm". We will be learning about all sorts of different farm animals and what farmers do too. We just had a fun field trip on Friday to American West Heritage Center and got to visit all the new baby farm animals there. We held them and learned all about them - we had a blast. So we are following up with a fun week of what we have already learned on a real farm.
Can you guess that today we made our own butter! Today our emphasis was cows.....so milk and things that come from milk are an obvious choice!!
We put this activity in our messy table and the kids SHOOK and SHOOK and SHOOK!! I just put the Heavy Whipping Cream into little containers - baby food jars work nice or little tupperware containers. We had on some fun dancing music to make this a little more enjoyable at choice time.
Soon enough our Cream was becoming thicker and thicker. The kids kept asking, "Miss Chelsea, check mine, check mine! Is it butter yet?" When they are asking 5 seconds apart, the answer from the teacher will be, "Not yet, keep shaking - it will be soon".
As you are shaking, the cream will get very thick and hard to shake for a minute, then all of a sudden, the milk and cream will seperate and you will hear water sloshing around. When the kids heard this, they all thought our butter was ruined. But actually, it has just worked!!
After many tired little hands, and one tired teacher who actually had to do most of the shaking at the end ;) - we had BUTTER!! And some excited little preschoolers!!
So you'll want to pour that liquid out and then your butter will be ready! We spread ours on bread today for our snack, but you can spread it on Saltine crackers or other things. The kids LOVE IT!

Drippy, shiny milk pictures

Since we are learning about cows today (within our "Old MacDonald's Farm" unit).....we had our activities based around "Milk". So at our art table we painted with drippy shiny milk!!
Basically, this is sweetened condensed milk with food coloring. I mixed three different bowls with red, blue, and yellow food coloring.
Once they are done painting, we hung them on the wall to watch them slowly drip! The kids thoroughly enjoyed this......."Wow, mine has dripped all the way to the bottom!" "My blue is dripping", "My yellow is beating my blue". I also tried to begin conversation about the mixing of the primary colors - what new colors are appearing?
Some kids enjoyed mixing them all at once for a beautiful brown color. Then folding their paper in half for some symmetry. Awesome! We had a fun painting day today!

Mama Cow Song

This song goes to the tune of "Mary had a Little Lamb". The kids loved it!
Mary had a Mama Cow, Mama Cow, Mama Cow
Mary had a Mama Cow, it's milk was white as snow.
Everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went.
Everywhere that Mary went, she drank the milk you know.
She took the milk to school one day, school one day, school one day.
She took the milk to school one day, and drank it all day long.
The milk helped Mary laugh and play, laugh and play, laugh and play.
The milk helped Mary laugh and play, because her bones were strong.
We did little actions with the song that we just made up ourselves.
Have fun singing!!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Green Smoothies

So I understand this does look kind of revolting....but you SERIOUSLY have got to try it. Not only is this delicious, it's SOOOO nutritious too!! We had this for our St. Patrick's day snack today and they were a total hit.....after all the kids got over the fact that this snack contains spinach - cool, they were gobbled right up.
Here's the recipe - really you make it to how it tastes good for you, and use whatever fruits you want.
*1 bag of spinach (I used the Baby Spinach)
*one 32 oz vanilla yogurt
or any other type of fruit you desire (I used some frozen mango's, strawberries, peaches, and pineapple that came in a pack together)
Now you just blend these together (I used a food processor, but whatever works really)....I blend the spinach first to help compact it down, then add my other ingredients. I also added a little water to mine to help make it a little more runny. You could use milk or juice or something too if you want.
The best thing about this smoothy, is that it is so dang nutritious!! After you get over the green color of it.....it's wonderful, and seriously tastes great!
Now, go make yourself and your kiddos some of this GREAT GREEN GLOP for St. Patricks Day!!

St. Patrick's Day Lucky Pet Rocks

Oh what cute little rocks.....for our craft today we went on a rock hunt and we each found a special rock to paint and call our "own" :) We of course had to paint them green since they are our St. Patrick's day lucky rocks!! Glued some eyes on and WA-LA! Your very own lucky pet for a lucky day. Some of our rocks had 10 eyes and some had 1. The names ranged from "Lucky", "Greeny", "Sainty", "Ironman", "Shirley" and so on............
Please go let your kids make their very own lucky pet rock, no kid should live without one - seriously!!
Happy St. Patricks Day

St. Patrick's Day Treasure Hunt

I painted these little rocks gold to make them look like golden nuggets so we could go on a treasure hunt today for preschool. We hid some outside and some inside and we went a searching. We talked about luck today and leprachauns and green and pots of gold and Ireland......After we got done with our treasure hunt we counted out our gold nuggets onto sheets of paper with circles drawn on them so we could work on our one-to-one correspondance while counting. At the end, every child got to take equal gold nuggets home. The great thing about this activity is that it could last all day by re-hiding and re-counting...seriously children LOVE this type of game and it's educational also!!
Happy Hiding!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fire Station Field Trip

We were able to visit the fire station for our career week and we had a great time!! We got to look at all the different types of fire trucks. They had a REAL fire pole, we got to see how fast Fireman Matthew put his uniform/gear on, we got to climb through a fire truck, we got to try on his jacket, and we even got our own fire hats to take home. We had a great time!

Thank you Fire Station for having us, thank you Fireman Matthew for the tour, and thanks to all of my parent volunteers who helped drive and just came to help keep me sane - you guys are the best.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Welcome to Career Week

This week we are learning about "Careers" and possible things we could "be" when we grow up. I love having the parents come in and share with us what they do. Not to mention the kids are SO EXCITED that their very own mom or dad is coming to preschool to tell us ALL about their job. It's a very exciting time.
I also like to have a Police Officer as a guest speaker and we'll be taking a field trip to the Fire Station on Friday. Lots of things going on.
For our Dramatic Play and Messy Table area (I combined them today) we turned the room into a Career center where the kids could dress up and act out in various job role plays. From being a Doctor, nurse, or veterinarian, to construction workers, computer engineers, secretaries - we had an array of jobs to fulfill.
The doctor was the most popular today, but kids always love working on and checking others as they have been checked at a doctors office.....it's something they can relate to and they know what to do with it.
Today we had a Highschool teacher as our parent visitor, and we'll have lots more stuff to share throughout the week. Stay tuned!
We are also working on a class book of "What I want to Be When I Grow Up".....kids minds change so often, this might be a pretty thick book. But I like to make copies for the kids and let them keep it so they can look back at it and see the things they were once interested in and their classmates also.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

ABC Painting

Today we had fun painting with the alphabet. Simply put the colors of tempera paint you want on some paper plates, be sure to have trays and smocks handy (easier clean-up), then all you need are some ABC cookie cutters.......the kids dip them in the paint and place them on their paper.
Be prepared for some teacher guidance as you discuss the letters they are stamping, or words they are even writing. This is a great activity to build your childs literacy!!

Eating Alphabet Soup

We had a simple but yummy snack today in preschool. The kids thoroughly enjoyed eating the ABC's!! None of the kids had ever had this soup before which made it even more exciting. We had so much fun finding the letters in our name in the soup and then I would call out a sound or a name of a letter and we would see who had one in their bowls. As soon as we had found what we could the kids got to eat that letter off of their spoon.....it was a fun way to keep the anticipation up for eating.
After snack, most of the kids couldn't wait to go home and tell their moms to make them some "ABC Soup".......too much fun!
happy ABC eating!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Pretzel Letters!

How can you learn about the alphabet and NOT make pretzel letters?? The kids had blast making the first letter of their names and then being able to eat them!!
Check out this yummy pretzel recipe so you can do it at home or in your own preschool!!

2 1/2 cups warm water

2 TBSP yeast

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 tsp salt

about 7 cups flour

2 TBSP baking soda

1 cup boiling water

1/2 cup melted butter

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Dissolve yeast in warm water and let set until activated. Add brown sugar, vanilla and salt. Add flour one cup at a time until mixture isn't moist. You may need a little less flour or a little more. Let rise for 30 minutes.

Let the fun begin!! Form balls of dough about the size of small fists. Roll dough into a thin rope (emphasis on thin) and twist into desired shape. Have flour available to roll and shape in.

While pretzels are being shaped, boil water and baking soda in a saucepan. Make sure baking soda is dissolved and then keep very warm.

After pretzels are shaped, dip them in the baking soda water and then placed the dipped pretzels on a cookie sheet. You can sprinkle with Kosher salt if you want (I don't like the salt) and then bake for about 8 to 10 minutes. When they come out, brush them with melted butter!!

These really are so yummy!

Fishing for Letters

I put these cloth alphabet letters in the messy table and we used some fishing poles I've had for awhile that I think I got at Target......way fun and cute!! So the kids had a blast fishing for the letters, putting them in the bucket and making sure they don't get away by using the fishing net!
I saw so much great interaction on going on. I would jump in every once in awhile and ask, "What letter did you catch? OOh, I think I hear it saying something!" (I would obviously follow up with the sound that letter makes).
Don't let them get away!!
Something that I saw happening in the classroom that I didn't expect......the kids started bringing the letters over to the kitchen area and cooking up the "fish" letters. They would serve them by saying, "Here, have a letter M." I just love it when the kids carry the activity that I put out a step further!!

Stamping Letters

On with our ABC week.....stamping is always so much fun!! So we took out the old letter stampers and let the kids go crazy. This activity is great for letter recognition and even just getting to know what letters look like better!! Some of the more advanced students were sounding out and writing while some of the younger students were simply stamping...both are great ways to learn and both students are getting a great lesson from this activity. I would guide the younger students as they stamped, saying things like, "Oh, you found the 'b', it says b"...
This little boy wrote his name and was currently finishing up stamping, "I luv mi dad".....what great experiences!!
Happy stamping

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom Trees

I'm sure you all know the book "Chicka-Chicka-Boom-Boom" by Bill Martin Jr. I love his books! This is an activity that is done all of the time, but that's just because it's so great! Whatever activity you can link to a book is one of learning and the child will get more out of it.
I just had these extra letter tiles from when I taught the Saxon program in kindergarten. So I let the children glue them on and go to town. You could use any sort of letters, printed out, written, cut out, whatever you have on hand works great. This is a great activity for letter recogntion. I would ask the kids what letters they had on their tree and if it was ready to tip over yet? At the end of the day we read/sang the book together with our own Coconut trees!

ABC Week

In the messy table today I had all of these different magnetic letters to explore with for the kids. Cookie sheets and magnetic chalk boards work great. I saw so many great things going on. I love the stage of reading and writing where the child links together a whole bunch of letters and then asks, "Teacher, what did I write?" This type of thing happened all day. We all get a big kick out of it because the words are so silly. For example......"trhugnf". I always say something like, "What did you write? trhugnf? You silly, what does that mean?" Sometimes they like to think of their own meanings for these silly words.
Some kids are at the stage of sounding out phonetically. When it comes to phonetic spelling I'm a big believer on letting them sound out on their own and figure out what letter it is. I don't care if it is spelled correctly, but just to see them figuring it out and getting the letter sounds is AWESOME!! Eventually, when they are more developmentally ready, they will be ready for all of the crazy rules. But right now, they need the confidence with those basic letter sounds.
One child sounded out, "pulees reer reer". Which translates into "Police - reer, reer" (making the siren noise). Wow - I LOVE to watch learning in action!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Olympic Flags

Now I realize these are cheezy and simple, but the kids absolutley LOVED these little flags. Some kids made the American flag, and others wanted the Olympic rings. We've been talking about the rings and how when Olympics first started there were five countries, and each ring represents a different country. They are linked to represent the countries coming together.
These flags were used in the classroom to cheer on our awesome Bobsled team (we had great cheerleaders). But then I also gave them homework to go home and watch the Olympics and share with us the next day what we watched. My daughter could not watch the Olympics without her flag......she thought for some reason she NEEDED it to cheer. Great spirit - right!
Happy cheering

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bobsledding - Olympic Style

We have been learning about the Olympics this week and boy have we been having fun. In this picture you can see The Preschool Bobsled Team.....pushing off! We transformed our dramatic play area into an Olympic Bobsled Run.
We have talked about all of the different Olympic Events in the winter - Skiing, Snowboarding, Ice skating, Speed Skating, Bobsled, Luge, and the skeleton were the main one we discussed. I had the class act out each event to see maybe a little how it might feel and if we might like it.
Olympics are great!!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

If I were the President of the United States........

Since yesterday was Presidents day, I figured I would take the opportunity to enjoy a day of learning more about this special day. Along with books about the White House, what the President does and more, the children also had a great time thinking of things they might like to do if THEY were President of the United States......
Some other kids wrote things like......."I would write stories all day", "I would plant all the flowers I could".
I love how kids think!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Valentines "Chocolate" Playdough

During our Valentines theme, I always love to make "chocolate" playdough!! Since chocolate is such a big part of the holiday, the children really seem to go with this and love playing with it.
It's easy to make....just follow your regular playdoug recipe and add some cocoa powder to the mix! It turns brown and smells like chocolate all in one. Just remember to remind the little ones, that it's not REALLY chocolate. Along with a variety of baking items, I also set out a few empty boxes of chocolates so that the kids can pretend to give valentines to their friends and make their own chocolates to put in. It's always so fun to see them handing out "chocolates" and to hear the socialization that goes on during this Valentines time!!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love According to Preschoolers.....

LOVE IS.....
  • when I get hugs
  • my mommy and daddy
  • my Wii and my Wii games
  • when my parents play with me
  • helping my sister
  • when I clean my bedroom
  • when my sister stops fighting with me
  • bandaides and medicine for my owies
  • when my parents build my toys with me
  • when I do stuff without being told
  • loving your mom and your family
  • when your friend is your best friend
  • loving everybody even when they are your enemies
  • reading books
  • giving people things they really want
  • hugs and kisses
  • cooking with my mom and dad (especially eggs)
  • drawing
  • being with my friends

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Valentines Slime

We enjoy getting MESSY in preschool! This slime always seems to be a favorite and really brings the kids together playing and exploring. I figure it's a great way to build our friendships stronger and have fun with eachother. We also talk about opposites...to me slime is an opposite word for Valentines day because slime is yucky and gross and love and friends are fun and enjoyable! To make this stuff, just mix as much elmers glue as you are going to want slime and add your food coloring. Poor in some liquid starch until it's not sticky but slimy and stir it all together. FYI - I buy the gallons of elmers glue. You can get it from Lowes or Home Depot or I'm sure order it from a school catalog.

Valentine I love you's

There are plenty of ways to say "I Love You"......this week we are having a blast talking about all the ways we can say I love you and also how to be a friend! Today we made thise fun and simple hearts. The children were talking about who they were going to give them to, when, and even why. I have some students who just LOVE to cut and glue and others who would rather color or draw. So we had a few different variety of hearts today which is the way I like it! I love to watch a child make something his own and go with it.
With this craft we used construction paper, glue, scissors, and squares of tissue paper or crepe paper. It's fun to just pour the glue on everywhere and begin sticking the squares on. You can crumple them or stick them on straight!
Happy Valentinezing!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Meet Rude Rodney

This week we are learning all about Nutrition, Manners, and Exercise. I have a friend that always visits us during our friendship or manners units (usually around Valentines day). His name is Rude Rodney and he has NO IDEA how to use manners. The kids always find him hilarious because, well, he's RUDE! It's a great teachable time when the kids become the teachers and they think it's great that they are "smarter" than him. Also, kids just LOVE puppets!!
Each day I have Rodney come out of a different container - first he comes out of an empty tissue box (or something similar that he'll fit in) and he sneezes and coughes all over the kids (It's fun to have a spray bottle to make it more realistic). We sing this song and the children TEACH him the correct way to sneeze and cough (in your elbow or tissue). I bring him out of a gift box on another day and we talk about saying "please" and "thank you". Another day he keeps interrupting the teacher while I'm reading a story - the kids really crack up and they really start to figure out how important it is to say excuse me and raise our hands in class. He also comes driving in on a big truck and we talk about sharing our toys.
The most important idea of this whole thing is to EXAGGERATE his rudeness and make it your own. It is such a fun thing to teach and enjoy with the kids!!
Happy Manner Making!

But I HATE Broccoli!

Since we are learning about Nutrition and manners and exercise this week, I thought I would post some tips!! Thanks for reading.....

Parents often worry because they think their young children don't eat enough. Some children seem to be naturally finicky. But others simply may be so overwhelmed by the amount of food placed on their plates that they don't know where or how to begin eating. How much food is enough? And how can we get our children to particpate more successfully in mealtimes?
Physicians tell us that a child needs one tablespoon of food per year of age at each meal. that means a 3-year-old needs at least three tablespoons of food at breakfast, at lunch, and at dinner in order to maintain health and growth. These are not the heaping portions that we are tempted to put on our children's plates; they are standard measurment portions.
Allowing children to serve themselves encourages them to eat larger portions of a variety of foods. When children get to control their choices and the amount of food they take, mealtime becomes more enjoyable for them and you. Participation in meal planning and preparation also encourages children to feel that they are a part of the process at mealtime. A family meal can be a time of conversation and relaxation or a time of frustration and anger. By offering children smaller amounts, the opportunity to help prepare meals, and the chance to serve themselves, we can provide a calmer, more satisfying family time for everyone.
Happy eating!!
From "Family-Friendly Communication for Early Childhood Programs"

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Happy Groundhog Day!!

So this is a simple Groundhog craft we made today...and the kids thought it was just so cool!
I had the kids cut out a head and a body, some of the kids wanted me to cut it out, and some kids went all out with arms and legs and everything - so cute!
We taped a popsicle stick onto the bottom like a puppet.
Now get your paper cup or styrofoam cup or any cup you have on hand and cut a slit in the bottom of it so your popsicle stick will come through the bottom.
Here he is - sleeping in his burrow all nice and cozy. Because a groundhog is a hibernater don't ya know!! My preschoolers sure do!

And UP he pops to find his shadow or not find it. Remember, if he sees his shadow that furball gets to go back to sleep in his warm little burrow because we have 6 more weeks of winter. If he doesn't see his shadow, that cute little groundhog gets to stay up because spring is right around the corner. As a preschool class we watched the news broadcast (on the internet) of Punxatawny Phil today. As you probably already know he SAW his shadow which means 6 more weeks of winter. The kids thought it was so cool to really see him on the news.

Some Cool Groundhog Facts...

*A groundhog is also called a woodchuck

*A groundhog sleeps through the winter - he hibernates

*A groundhog is related to a squirrel, chipmunk, and a prairie dog!

Fun Groundhog Song

Oh My Groundhog
Tune of Clementine
In a tree trunk with a chipmunk
Hibernating for a time
There's a groundhog who's the top dog
On this day in wintertime.
Oh my groundhog, oh my groundhog, oh my groundhog, so sublime
Is it frost and cold forever?
Are we stuck in wintertime?
Dawn appears on the horizon
Out of bed he starts to climb
Tis the day to find a way to
Check the length of wintertime.
Offorecasters he's a master
He performs his craft so fine
Shadows mean no early spring so
Best get used to wintertime.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Boat creations

We make a lot of things out of "beautiful junk" or so I call it! Anything that is trash, but can be made into something GREAT is nothing like trash.
So today we made our own little boats out of my old plastic baby food containers. A few of the kids wanted to try the glass ones too, which I'm sure would float also! We went to work gluing on straws and cutting out triangles and of course decorating our "boats" with stickers and markers. I do let my kids use permanent markers often, but we discuss them every time and how important it is to be careful with them. So far, we've had minor accidents on the skin with them but nothing else - kids are so willing to listen when we explain it to them!!
Now, take these boats home and see if they'll float!! FYI: foam sails would work best so they can actually go in water. We happened to use construction paper today.
Happy sailing!