Friday, January 21, 2011

If You Give a Pig a Party....

Laura Numeroff and Felicity Bond have collaborated on some many fun children's books, like If You Give a Mouse a Cookie and If You Give a Moose a Muffin. Well, she's done it again....If You Give a Pig a Party. We are on Letter P in our alphabet progression this week, and I wanted to do something fun. So we had a Pajama Party and had a couple of fun "pig" projects.
I just love how things work out!! Trianna's mom brought snacks today and it worked into the lesson plan so well, that you would have thought we had planned it out together! But we didn't and guess what kind of cupcakes we got--PIGS!! They were so stinkin' cute and we ate them right after we read our darling PIG book.
Our Alphabet books are growing. Lots and lots of great words start with letter P, but it's not always easy to find something that will glue well and not be an inch high when you're done with the page.
So today, we had a little fun with Letter P. We "painted" the glue onto the P with a "paintbrush".
Then everyone had a turn to run their hands through the massive bowl of PEAS. What a sensory treat and a carpet nightmare ;)
But there's just something extra cool about feeling things that we aren't normally allowed to. Since these won't be going into the soup pot--sticky hands were welcome to plow and twirl through the bowl.
After the glue was painted on our letters, we sprinkled them with the peas. We got great results, and when they are dry, they will slide right into our books.
Stay tuned to the great things we are doing for Letter Q next week!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Martin Luther King Jr....Human Rights Day

Monday was the national observance of Human Rights Day. This is a relatively "young" holiday; dedicated to the efforts of those like Martin Luther King, who acted as a catalyst in ensuring that all Americans have equal rights and privileges. I think it is a significant day to pay tribute to, but has deeper meaning than most preschoolers are able to understand. So we talked about the things that they could understand.

People come in all different colors...just like cereal. One color isn't better than the other and they are all important. Martin Luther King had a dream that his children would be judged for the content of their character (if they were nice and honest people), and not by the color of their skin. He was a great man and had dreams that changed the nation we live in. We all have dreams.

And so the kids drew pictures of some of their favorite dreams. At three, four, and five years old--they are simple and very basic. But one does not always see the great Oak in the little acorn. These kids will amaze us one day and it may start with a dream they had, just like Martin Luther King's did.

The Mitten

I love this storybook, The Mitten, illustrated by Jan Brett. It's a Ukrainian folklore story that tells how Nicky's grandma makes him a pair of mittens. He insists that he wants white mittens, but grandma explains that he wouldn't be able to find them in the white snow, if he lost them. He insists and she makes them from white wool. And then he does the predictable...he loses one. Some animals in the woods find it and one by one, they crawl inside of it to get warm. It's a very cute story about acceptance and obedience.

I found some print-outs at that complimented my activity for the kids. I made a mitten from a Manila folder, by hot gluing the sides together to create a pocket for the paper animals to go in. To extend the activity a little longer, I had the kids color their mittens and cut the animals out. We talked about the different animals and explained what they are.

One of the animals that we talked about that caused a lot of interest in the preschoolers, was the Hedgehog. So we made one.

What's a hedgehog, you ask?

Puffy Snow

January...the month of snow and dark skies. Coming back to preschool after Christmas break was very exciting. We got lots of snow this winter so far and that was our theme the first week back...SNOW.
The preschoolers assembled snowmen by gluing circles on top of each other. There was a lot of embellishment with markers before we got to the really cool part...painting with "snow".
Snow Recipe: Equal portions of Elmer's glue and shaving cream, mixed thoroughly together till it looks like really thick Cool Whip. Then it's ready to paint with. I have the kids use Popsicle sticks as their median to move the snow around the paper. It has to dry overnight and it's a wonderful surprise!! It's 3-dimensional. It's like pushing onto sponge that doesn't come off the paper. The kids LOVE the results and they have so much fun feeling their finished artwork.

Christmas Ornaments

Ornaments. We had a day where there was only a handful of kids at preschool. And after we were done with all the planned activities, we found ourselves with some time to spare.

So we colored some nativity ornaments. (I only had 5 ornaments--perfect for only 5 kids :) Not everyone had put up there Christmas trees yet, but we talked about how ornaments hang on the beautiful branches. Christmas is about Love and creating that Love. And what better way to remember the reason for the season than a cute ornament.

Kites in Winter

You don't usually think about kites in the middle of winter, but we are already half way through the alphabet. When we got to letter K, we glued on little kites and drew the strings on. For letter M, we glued on mittens; N was numbers...and so on.

Cool Tools--Tweezers!!

I'm always looking for activities that are fun but also develop skills. I came across something last year that spurred a thought...tweezers. I saw a post that showed older kids working on fine motor skills by using magnifying glasses and tweezers. I thought that might be a little too complicated at this age, but each of those items, individually, would be a lot of fun.

Not too long after that, I was at Learning Is Fun, a home school/teacher supply store, here in Spokane, and came across a bucket of giant tweezers--12 count. What a fabulous little "tool" for eager learners. Preschoolers are constantly growing into new abilities and skills through their playing and activities. What I thought would be a lot of fun without them realizing that they were honing eye-hand coordination, was be to use the tweezers to sort and pick little objects up.
And what better little objects than a bucket of colorful pom poms. I dumped hundreds of poms across the table and gave everyone a pair of tweezers. It was the most productive "clean-up" session I've had in a long time.
Everyone was very excited to put the pom poms back into the containers and didn't leave a single one out!

Christmas Party

We made it to the end of the month too soon!! We missed two days due to the wintry weather conditions and slick roads. But we still had lots of things to make and get ready before our holiday break. Each of the kids painted little wood frames one day and then decorated them the next with markers and stickers. A picture of them was inserted to complete the gift. They decorated red gift bags and wrapped the frame to take home on the last day of class.

I had some wood wreaths that the kids colored with their markers. They glued colored pom poms to it to complete the festive look.

Not everybody stuck with traditional colors, but the thrill of creating and decorating was the same.

Dirty fingers are nothing new in preschool. Usually the markers don't bother them as much as the glues, though.

We had a little gift exchange. Everyone brought a gift that was wrapped. We put them in a pile and I drew their names to go and choose a gift from the pile. Even in the busy-ness of getting everything together--they were delighted with all the little games and toys.

And as in past years--we never forget the reindeer that pull Santa's sleigh--when we are getting ready for Christmas. The kids each assembled a bag of "Magic Reindeer Food" to sprinkle on the lawn before Santa came. Shhh...the ingredients are top secret, but might include: oatmeal, white sugar, and colored sugar crystals. We heard that reindeer love sugar and oats!