Sunday, May 29, 2011

How to use play dough to teach concepts in preschool children

There is a debate about "academics" verses "play" in preschool years. Basically an academic program focuses on teaching children primarily reading skills, and math skills by giving them worksheets, and assignments. The children learn rote memorization and can often regurgitate facts back to the teacher or parent. An example would be to be able to count to 100. You can certainly teach a preschooler to count to 100, but the understanding of the concept of "what is 100?" may not be there. In a "play" preschool, the children are learning all of the time, they are just constructing their own knowledge and learning it through concrete means. A child learning to count will count objects, or stairs as they go up or down. Numbers themselves are an abstract concept, children develop into abstract thinkers by experiences.

Here are some ways play dough is used to teach the needed concepts:

You may just see a child squeezing play dough, and rolling it or cutting out shapes with a cookie cutter. Some of the things I see are:

  1. Fine motor development, the small muscles of the hands need to be worked to develop properly, this aids holding a pencil or cutting with scissors later. Being able to use a rolling pin to flatten the dough works the fine motor muscles and the larger muscles in the arms. Sometimes the dough is harder and takes more pressure, having to learn how much pressure to apply without making it too flat.

  2. Spatial relations: making the dough the right size to fit the cookie cutter, children usually start out making it too small, part of the cookie cutter hangs off the edges. Later they are able to judge the size easily.

  3. Math concepts including addition and subtraction: how to divide the play dough evenly for everyone at the table. How many pieces do we need, real life counting. There are four children, plus one teacher, how many pieces is that. Also math skills such as adding and subtracting, start with two balls of play dough, make one more, how many do we have now. Add another, how many now? Lets take away two, how many now?

  4. Measurement/Size comparison: Children compare sizes of play dough balls, which is bigger, smaller, put them in order from smallest to largest, which is longer, how long is it, use a ruler, or a block to measure it. How many balls can we make, let's count them, then they are learning to count real, concrete objects, and understand what 1 or 20 or 100 means. They can learn one-one correspondence, meaning that they understand that when I point to one object I say "one". They also can begin to understand object permanence, for example, if I put out five objects and we count them, and then I add one more, developmentally, children will have to count the original five objects again, and then count the added one; but as they gain understanding they will start at five and count from there. Another example is that if I take a piece of play dough and break the same piece of play dough into two pieces, younger children will say I now have more play dough. They have to develop the understanding through concrete objects to understand that it is the same amount of play dough.

  5. Social Skills: what to do to divide up one large clump of play dough into enough for everyone at the table, evenly. Then when another child comes, being able to share the dough a little more. Sharing the tools, sometimes sharing ideas about what to do with the play dough, what to create, making a group project. Joining a group is often hard for children. The social skills needed to join play is hard, but play dough is something that is easy to join. It makes that social transition easier. Then often those same children will feel comfortable playing at another activity together later, or will leave play dough and go to something else together. Play dough is great for solitary play, parallel play, or social play. They children can play at their level and feel part of the play.

  6. Alphabet/shape The teachers put out a variety of materials to use with the play dough. When the alphabet letters are put out, the children can use them in variety of ways. They may just use them as a cookie cutter, or may use the letters to make the alphabet or their name. Letters are also made out of rolled play dough. The same types of things are done with shape cutters. Children at this age are concrete learners, they must touch to learn. Things have to be in solid form in front of them for them to understand it, they are not little adults who think in abstract ways. That is a developmental process that takes many years. When children are able to manipulate play dough into letters, it helps them form those letters with a pencil to write their names, it helps them to remember those letters when they see them written (which is abstract).

  7. Listening to directions/conversation with teacher: Sometimes at the play dough table the teacher will give directions, make a small ball, make a rope this long, etc. This gives children the skills needed of listening, following directions, two step directions, and more. The children also have the opportunity to talk in important casual conversation with a teacher at the play dough table. They can discuss their pet, or what they did this weekend, and have a relaxed opportunity to talk. Conversational skills are something which develops, they learn the give and take of conversation, another child may join the group and they learn how to include them in the conversation.

  8. Sensory experience: sometimes the play dough is warm, sometimes it is cold, it may be hard or soft, it may be a different recipe, it may have cinnamon in it or peppermint oil. The color changes and sometimes two colors are there to mix. Play dough is a wonderful, sensory substance which also helps children who are unsure about being in school to feel ok. When a child is upset coming to school, or is having problems separating from mom or dad, play dough is one of the best tools to help them feel ok. When they start squeezing it and manipulating it, they become so involved that school is ok. It is also a quiet activity, and feels safe. It can be a solo activity if needed, or others can be involved too.

I hope from this glimpse at how "playing" with play dough helps children learn the concepts needed for current and later school success, you have a better understanding that "learning and academics" are going on all the time in a good preschool setting. The materials are chosen with specific goals in mind, and the ways children play with them is teaching them. The most important part to understand is that children learn different than adults. They must have concrete objects to manipulate to learn. The more experiences they have, the more the brain develops.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Sensory Friendly Films-AMC theaters

Have you wanted to take your preschooler or elementary school child to a movie, but the sounds are too loud, the darkness is too scary or they can't sit still?

AMC theaters offers what they call "Sensory friendly movies for children" . In partnership with the autism society they have some movie screening this summer where the lights are up some, the sound is lower, and it is OK to get up and move around.

Some of the local theaters involve are at:

Niles (at Golf Mill), Village Crossing (in Skokie) and Lake in the Hills.

All movies are at 10:00 am- but subject to change so check your local theater for confirmation

They are showing:

Kung Foo Panda 2 on June 4

Cars 2 on July 2

Smurfs on August 6.

Trinity Preschool Activities for Friday, May 27, 2011

We had our indoor picnic today. We were able to get the children outside for about 30 minutes to play on the playground before the picnic so we were glad for that. Unfortunately, the ground was way to wet to sit on it for our picnic.

Thank you everyone for a great year.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Thursday, May 26, 2011

Willow Room:

We had our last day picnic today, and we had an indoor picnic since it was a stormy day. We hope you all had a great year in our classroom this year and have a fun summer.

Oak Room:

We read "Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson

The children drew a story using only a purple crayon (like in the story we read.

We played with flubber and we did bead stringing with the beads we made.

We did "Hear the Thunder" rhyme and "Toe Leg, Knee" song for music.

We did a small group math activity, sorting, counting and patterning.

We played in the gym today on this rainy, rainy day.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Wednesday, May 25, 2011

We played in the gym today, and if the rain continues it looks like we will have an indoor picnic Friday.

We watched a video today of some baby birds that hatched out of eggs in a nest on an outdoor light at one of the children's homes. We saw the eggs, then some hatched birds and then the birds all reaching up with their little beaks for food. It was very cool.

Willow Room:

We read "The three little fish and the big bad shark" by Ken Geist

We painted using tempra paint and water colors. We played with "flubber" which is a mixture made with glue and borax.

We did the letter sounds song, and then sang some songs the children chose.

We played with the water table today. We made a chart of words that start witht eh letters X,Y,and Z.

Maple Room:

we read "Muncha, muncha, muncha" by Candace Fleming

We did "plate smashing colors". We put paint on a clear plastic plate and then put waxed paper on the paint and another plate on top. We smushed and smashed the plates together and ended up with a colorful blend of the paint.

We had cars at the easel to roll on the paper to make cool paintings.

We did the May song, Weather-o, Today is Monday, and On the count of five."

We played a game to learn about one-one correspondence called "Ants on a blanket "

Oak Room:

We read "An ants day off" by Bonnie Becker

and "Hedgehog goes to kindergarten" by Lynn Marie

We worked in our journals, the children got to draw any picture they wanted to.

We painted our homemade beads.

We did some rubber band designs on special peg boards, and a nursery rhyme sequencing game. The children had to put the picture sin the correct order of the rhyme.

We sang "Ready, Set, Move, "Scat the Cat", and "When I was a little fish"

We set up a soft foam crochet fame in the hall and took small goups out ot play with it.

We had the estimating jar out with people figures to guess.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Reminder, we have our last day of school picnic this Thursday for the Terrific 2's and 3's class at 11:00 a.m. (kids come to school at 9:15) . Bring a blanket, a picnic lunch for your family and join us. All family members are welcome to come. We will be outside if the weather is nice, and if it is not nice, we will have an indoor picnic.

Willow Room: T/Th class

We read "The fish who could wish" by John Bush

We stuck on sea creature stickers to our finger painting we did the other day to make a sea picture.

We have the magnetic gears at the easel.

We sang "Pass the bean bag - a directions song; and the Alphabet sounds song.

We had water in the room to play with today. We had some fish counting activities out too.

Oak Room- Pre-k room:

We read "The umbrella" by Jan Brett. This is a similar story to the Mitten and The Hat, all the animals take refuge under a big umbrella to get out of the rain, but the animals are tropical.

We made rain pictures- we painted with blue paint and then added a cloud and lightening bolt. We asked the children "What do you like doing in the rain?"

We sang "Sticky, sticky Bubble Gum", Silly Dance Contest" "Where is the airplane hiding?" and "one little flower".

We also read "I love bugs" by Emma Dodd

Monday, May 23, 2011

End of year newsletter- 2011

Last Day of School Picnics: To celebrate the great year we had!

Thursday, May 26: Last day of school for Terrific 2’s and 3’s – end of year family picnic.

Friday, May 27: Last day of school for MWF and 5 day classes- end of year family picnic.


  • Children come at usual time, parents come at 11:00a.m.
  • If you are not going to come, bring a sack lunch for your child and tell the teacher Pick up is still at 11:45
  • Bring : A picnic lunch for your family and a blanket.
  • Please avoid peanut products in lunches)

Camp dates: June 14-June 30 and July 12-July 28 (Tue., Wed., Thurs.) 9:15-11:45

Camp details will be sent home this week to those enrolled in camp.

Program Evaluations for Trinity Preschool:

Please fill out your program evaluation form and drop it in the box in the entrance hall. We want your feedback.

Parent-tot class:

Our popular parent-tot class will be starting up again in September 2011 on Tuesday mornings. This is a class for 2 years olds to attend with an adult. This is a 90 minute class with art, music, movement games, gym time or outdoor fun, choice time and more. Sign up now, space if filling fast.

Lending Library books:

Please return all books borrowed from our school lending library. Thank you.

BLOG: I will be continuing the BLOG over the summer with parenting ideas and fun ideas to do with kids. Check it out.

Trinity Preschool Activities for Monday, May 23, 2011

The rain is stopped, it was warm and windy. We had fun on the playground today.

Willow Room:

We asked the children if they had an X,Y, or Z in their name. We are finishig up the alphabet this week.

We read the story "The fish who cold wish" by John Bush

We had sea creature stampers at the art table today with colorful paint. We had magnetic gears at the easel.

We had water to play with in the room today. It was fun. We had some fish themed games at the table.

We sang :I like my hat, and Jump Jim Joe.

Maple Room:

We read "Head to Toe" by Eric Carle

We painted with brushes, anything they wanted. They created some beautiful paintings today.
The children enjoyed playing with the flubber again today.

We let the children pick out their favorite songs to sing today.

We brought in head phones and let the children listen to Chicka chicka boom boom on a CD.

Oak Room:

We read "Diary of a worm" by Doreen Cronin

We painted with different kinds of potato mashers to make cool designs on paper.

We sang Old MC Donald has a band using instruments, and Hands are for clapping.

We also read "Flag your wings" by P.D. Eastman

The children enjoyed playing with the flubber again today.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Friday, May 20, 2011

Willow room: MWF class

We read "Fidgety Fish" by Ruth Galloway

We did a chart of words we could think of that start with the letter W.

We put sea creature in our finger paint pictures from the other day.

We had magnetic letters and numbers at the easel.

We sang "over the deep blue sea" "Let's dance now" using instruments, and "little fish".

We stayed outside extra time today since it was so nice outside. We enjoyed the good weather.

We are having picnic fun in our dramatic corner. We have flowers in our sensory table for some flower shop fun.

Maple room:

We read "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin. We finished our alphabet and our Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree in our room is all filled with the letters.

We stamped lower case alphabet letters onto or own Chicka Chicka Boom Boom tree.

We used bug stampers on green construction paper at the easel.

We had "flubber" to play with today, it is a mixture of glue and borax- so the consistency of the glue changes.

We gave each one of the children a letter and we chanted the rhyme from Chicka chicka boom boom as they each came up and added their letter to the tree. They had to tell us the letter they had.

It was a fun way to complete our alphabet for the year.

Oak Room:

We read "The very lonely firefly" by Eric Carle

We worked on part two of our group mural, we filled in all the blank spaces with black paint.
It will help decorate our hall for the summer and we use it as a backdrop for our first day of school pictures in the fall.

We had "flubber" to play with today, it is a mixture of glue and borax- so the consistency of the glue changes.

We sang "underneath the broomstick"

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Last Day of School Picnic for 2011 school year

We have a tradition at Trinity Preschool to have a family picnic on the last day of preschool. We find this is a fun send off for everyone.

Thursday, May 26 is the last day of classes for our Terrific 2's and 3's class and they will have their picnic on Thursday.

Friday, May 27 is the last day for our MWF classes and our pre-kindergarten class so their picnic will be on Friday.

The children come to school at the usual time, but families are invited back at 11:00 for the picnic. Weather permitting it will be in the playground (otherwise we do an indoor picnic).

Please bring:

Lunch for your family
A blanket to sit on

If you cannot come to the picnic, send a sack lunch with your child, tell his/her teacher and pick them up at 11:45 from the playground.

Please try to be on time for the picnic, the children get very excited when everyone is arriving and they get easily upset when their family isn't there yet.

We have had a wonderful year at Trinity Preschool. As I looked back at the pictures taken during the year I am amazed at all the activities the teachers have been able to do with the kids.

I hope you have found this to be a good school experience for your family.

Please remember to turn in your school evaluation forms too.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Thursday, May 19, 2011

We played outside today.

Willow Room:

Our story was "A fish out of water" by Helen Palmer

We painted with blue fingerpaint today, next week when they are dry we will add stickers of ocean creatures to make a sea picture.

We had markers at the easel.

We did the songs 5 green and speckled frogs, I like my hat using paper plates.

We our having picnic fun in our dramatic corner.

Oak Room:

We read Miss Spider;s Tea Party by David Kirk

We played a small group game about the 5 senses.

We did a group mural painting and we had tooth brushes at the easel with paint.

We cut our grass today on our little grass houses.
We did Down by the Bay and the Mack chicken dance for music.

We all sat in a circle, we passed a ball of yarn around the circle and when we had it we wrapped it around our foot before we passed it on. It created a big "spider web". We talked about "what would you catch in your web?"

Learning the Alphabet- a few ideas

Children love to sing the "ABC" song, and it is a fun way for them to learn the names of the letters, but play with the song a little or all they are learning is a song. It will not have a connection to them that it has any meaning other then being a song they like to sing. Especially the "LMOP" part, it becomes a blob of letters that are one. Here are a few ideas for the song, and other things to do to help your child learn the alphabet.

  • Sing the song slowly, emphasize each letter.
  • Get some ABC cards (upper and lower case) and point to each one as you say the letter while you sing the song.
  • Hum the song, leaving the letters out
  • Using the flash cards, turn one over and when you get to it, don't sing that one....later turn a few over.
  • You can do these same activities without the song too.
Introduce your child to upper and lower case letters, (capital and small) some look the same, but some don't so it is good to teach them both.

The letters that have the most meaning to children are the ones in their name. Write their name on things they draw or color, using an upper case letter for the first name and lower case letters for the rest. Write it in the upper left hand corner when you can. Point out the letters in their name when you see them in writing elsewhere.

You can also point out the sounds the beginning letter makes.....popcorn starts with the letter "P", that is the "p(a)" sound. As they get more used to this, you can say, "Can you think of another word that starts with the "P (a)" sound? Write down the words they say. If they say one that starts with a different letter, sound out both words to help them learn the difference, but praise them for trying and see if they can think of another word or suggest one yourself. You can even write a list for each letter and tack it up. The words they say do not matter, they are not words they need to learn, just words they have thought of that start with that letter. You will find later they will say "Goodnight papa" and then come running to say, "Papa....that starts with the letter P". The consonants are easier than the vowels, so start there. Later they will learn ending sounds.

At preschool we also talk about the letter's shape, and the children love to practice writing the letters with dry erase boards and dry erase markers. We make all of this part of fun activities, not drill work. We also have the children who are able to write their own name on their art work.

If you are ever concerned that your child has a speech delay due to inability to say some of the letters, pay attention to what they can and cannot say. Some missing letter sounds are very normal in preschoolers and will develop as they mature. But some require speech intervention. If you are concerned contact your local school district and ask when they do screenings for speech evaluations. At times, because you are always hearing your child speak, you get used to how they say words, but if other people ask "What did she say?" all the time, you may want a speech evaluation.

Letters and words surround us all the time, so make some games out of word fun and your child will learn the letters with more ease. Go on a letter hunt in the grocery store, have him point out each time he sees the letter "C" today and next time the letter "M".

Put magnetic letters on the front of the refrigerator and have a letter of the day.

Read fun alphabet books, like "Chicka chicka boom boom", and "Alphabet Rescue" .

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Wednesday, May 18, 2011

We played with the parachute today in the gym.

Willow Room: MWF

We read the story "A fish out of water" by Helen Palmer

We asked the children who has the letter "W" in their name?

We finger painted using blue paint today. We will finish the project on Friday, by adding stickers that look like sea creatures to make an ocean picture.

We had markers at the easel.

We did a counting down rhyme today called 5 green and speckled frogs. Each of the children had their own log, frogs, and pool of water for the frogs to jump into. As each frog jumps into the pond, we count down how many are left.

We had a fish letter matching game out , some fish puzzles, and some number puzzles with sea creatures on them. when you put the puzzle int he correct order, the picture appears.

Maple Room:

We read "The best nest" by PD Eastman

We strung Cheerios onto yarn to make bird feeders.

We painted at the easel with feathers, string and sticks.

We did a letter recognition game, we had all kind of green things in the sensory table to look like tall grass, then we added some plastic bugs so they could go hunting through the tall grass.

All about bird's nests. We looked at a real bird's nest.

We sang The May song, 5 little flowers, 5 spring flowers.

Oak Room:

We read "Planting a rainbow" by Lois Elhert

We talked about rainbows and what makes a rainbow happen?

We made our own rainbows by putting some paint on paper, then pressing the paint down with a plastic paint to mix the colors. We will make rainbows out of them.

We did the Pirate song, chicken dance, Head shoulder knees and toes, 5 little flowers, and pass the carrot.

We also read "A rainbow of my own" by Don Freeman.

Trinity Preschool Activities for Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We played outside today.

Willow Room: T/Th Class

We read "The Best Nest" by P.D. Eastman

We painted with paint brushes taped to popsicle sticks and the paint was in the popsicle holder. It was a fun, new way to present paint.

We had magnetic gears at the easel.

We used musical instruments today. We used them with "The tempo marches on", "The sound effects song", and "Let's dance now".

Oak Room:

We read "The carrot seed" by Ruth Krauss

We used the tops of carrots dipped in paint to paint with today. It gives a swishy, look and provides a different challenge to painting.

We sang Animal Actions, part 1 and 2; Put your finger in the air, There was an old lady who swallowed a fly.

We acted out "the big carrot story" The story is about a farmer who can't pull the carrot out of the ground and keeps bringing on other people and animals to help pull it out of the ground.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Monday, May 16, 2011

We played outside in the playground today.

Willow Room- MWF class

We read "The best nest" by P.D. Eastman

We painted with popsicle maker brushes, we attached paint brushes to each of the sticks in a popsicle holder and put paint int eh compartments. It was a fun way to paint.

We had magnetic shapes at the easel.

We did a sound effects song, we used instruments, and did the song, play the band and walking shoes.

We made a chart of words that start with the letter "V".

We played with a felt board and sea creatures.

Maple Room:

We read "Flora's Surprise!" by Debi Gliori

We did flower prints using the bottom of pop bottles to make the flower design. We had tulip stencils at the easel.

We did the May song, Mary's garden, and grasshopper.

We mixed up the letters int eh alphabet and the children had to put it int he correct order.

We played with soapy water again today.

Oak Room:

We read "The most beautiful kite in the world" by Andrea Spabling

We cut out kite shapes and painted them with marbles dipped in paint and rolled in a box to make them colorful.

We sang 5 kites in a row, 5 umbrellas by the door, let's go fly a kite song while dancing around the room with ribbons.

We also read The kite Festival by Leyla Torres

Trinity Preschool Activities for Thursday, May 12, 2011

Thursday- Willow Room-

We read "Planting a rainbow" by Lois Elhert

WE made beautiful flower pictures using the bottom of an empty pop bottle. when pressed into a sponge filled with paint, it makes a cool flower design.

We sang "Tap your toe and follow me, Tommy Thumb, Everybody has a face.

We played in the gym today, too wet and rainy outside.

We let our beautiful Luna moth go today.

Oak Room:

We read Daisy Head Mayzie by Dr. Suess

We did a picture about planting a garden! We used a puffy paint mixture (flour and salt mixed into paint) added to brown paint to look like dirt. The children used cool scrapers and combs to make it look like rows in the dirt. and we added crumpled up colorful tissue paper to look like the flowers.

We worked on 4 letter word puzzles, and number 7-10 puzzles today.

We did a song, moving everyday using ribbons, and we did stomp, stomp, clap.

We played a small group game- beginning letter sounds.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Have you seen the eagles lately?

I still have the link at the top of our BLOG to the eagles that hatched last month. They have grown quite a bit and seem to be doing well. At the bottom of the ustream page, is information about the nest, the eagles, and how long they stay in the nest. It will be fun to see when they start to learn to fly. This is a unique learning opportunity as we rarely get to see eagles in their nest up close.

Caution: The adult eagles do bring up small animals (usually a rabbit) that they have hunted and killed as food for their babies. They pull it apart and feed the baby eagles. While this is part of nature, you may not want your children to see that part, so review what is being shown before you show your kids.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Friday, May 13, 2011

We have had a couple of warm days and today started out nice and warm, but the temperatures dropped about 10:00 a.m. so it was a little cool on the playground. The children ran around and had fun anyway.

BLOG INFORMATION: They had trouble with the BLOG site on Thursday, so I didn't get to write about Thursday's activities, I am going to skip to Friday.

Willow Room: MWF class:

We read the story "The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister. We talked about the letter "V" and asked if anyone has a "V" in their name? Three children do!

For art today, we made "mini oceans". We added blue hair gel to a baggie, then put in some little plastic fish and glitter. We taped it shut and it was our pretend ocean.

You can also make an ocean in a bottle. Add some water, blue food color and some mineral oil. Tape the top on tight, (Or glue it one) and when you tip the bottle back and forth it will look like waves in an ocean. The oil and water don't mix.

We planted our Radish seeds today. We gave our grassy heads haircuts.

We did a lady bug rhyme and color song for music today.

Maple Room: MWF

e read "The Tiny Seed" by Eric Carle

We planted grass today and the children love doing science experiments, so when they ask questions, or wonder about something, we try to jump on that "teachable moment" to follow up. Today, we put dirt, grass seed and water in a cup and put in on a sunny window sill to grow. One of the children asked what would happen if we put it int he dark, another asked what if we didn't give it any water, and another child asked what if we gave it sugar water. So we made three more cups of grass seed.
1. Dirt, grass seed, water, and put in the dark cabinet.
2. Dirt, grass seed, NO Water, and put it on the window sill
3. Dirt, Grass seed, and sugar water and put it on the window sill.
We will see what happens!

If your child asks a question like "What if..., what will happen....etc. See if you can do an experiment to find out. Good science words. PREDICT, OBSERVE, RECORD RESULTS, TALK ABOUT RESULTS.

We had tulip shape stencils and rollers at the easel.

We had soapy water in the water table with cups, water wheels, sieves, and scoops.

We played a small group game using numbers.

We practiced writing the letter Z and words the children thought of that start with the start with the letter Z, zoo, zebra, zipper, zucchini.

We sang The May song, Sticky Bubble Gum, and Bumble bee

Oak Room:

We read "Clifford's Spring Clean up and Clifford and the Grouchy Neighbors both by Norman Bridwell.

We painted with dish pot scrubber. We love to paint with unusual objects.

We had out a patterning board game, and a some nursery rhyme sequencing cards. They had to put the cards in the correct order.

We did "Ready set, let's dance", (do the swim, the pony, twist) and a circus balloon's
color rhyme- each child will brought one balloon up the board for the clown.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Wednesday, May 11, 2011

We played outside again today in the playground.

Willow Room- MWF class:

We read "Baby Bird's First Nest" by Frank Asch
We asked the children if they ever saw a real bird's nest?

We made our own bird's nest using paper coffee filters, strawberry baskets, yarn, cotton, wood strips, and crinkly paper. We made a "mud" mixture using brown paint, glue and salt.

We did an alphabet rhyme (marching around the alphabet), and two little blackbirds today for music.

We cut the "hair" (grass) on our grass heads. Our luna moth is out, it is so pretty. We will let it go later this week.

Maple Room:

We did the story of the carrot seed, and we added a prop at the end where we pulled out a giant carrot. The kids loved it. Later we acted out the story of the Farmer and the carrot where, the farmer tries to pull the carrot out and he can't, so he gets his wife to pull with him, and they can't and they keep adding farm animals to help. The children had fun pretending and acting out pulling out the carrot.

We used the fun back rollers with primary colors on large paper to paint with today. We had tulip shapes with glitter paint at the easel.

We sang " The May song", we did a lady bug color game, we sang a song about the Insects in the garden. We did some letter Z activities and a beginning letter sounds game using the letters M-R.

We had water in the water table and the kids used foil, and styrofoam cups to make boats.

Oak Room:

We read "The tiny seed" by Eric Carle

We decorated house shapes and we planted grass in an empty 1/2 gallon juice container cut low. It will be the front lawn to our houses.

We had rainbow colors at the easel.

We did a fun action song, called "Sammy" by Hap Palmer and we did some bean bag balancing actions to music.

We did an alphabet sorting board- pictures that started with each letter were put into the corresponding letter pocket. A good followup to our finishing learning the letter sounds to the alphabet.

We had the estimating jar out today too, how many animals are in the jar?

We had a busy, busy day.

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I have signed up to have advertising added to our BLOG. It is a way for us to make some money for the preschool; but if anyone finds the ads intrusive, bothersome, or at anytime offensive, please let me know so I can have them stopped.

They are supposed to put content in the ads that will be relevant to people who view our BLOG.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Tuesday, May 10, 2011 Luna Moth opened

WOW!, We went from cool, to HOT! But we sure enjoyed playing outside and having fun in the warmth today!

Willow Room: T/TH

Just when we thought our Luna Moth would never come out of it's came out today and we got to see it happen. It was so cool, the moth breaks open a little hole in the end of the cocoon and then it pops out the end. Then it picked up the cocoon in it's legs and spun it around. When it comes out, it does not look like it is OK. It is all shriveled up and white looking. But after a few minutes, it dries out, turns a beautiful shade of green and moves to the top of the cage. We were very excited to see this happen.

We planted grass seed in cups last week and we already have tall grass "hair" on our grass heads. We used scissors to cut the grass today.

We did the story of the Giant carrot today using props. The children loved seeing the big big carrot appear.

We did a 5 little kites song too.

We used fun, finger stampers to make a picture today. We also had carrots at the easel to paint with today, we used red and yellow paint to make orange like the carrot.

We did "Herman the Worm", "Bubble Gum", "Counting Beehive" songs and finger plays for music today.

Oak Room: Pre-kindergarten room

We read a new book by Anna Dewdney called "Grumpy Gloria. She is the same author who wrote the Llama llama books the kids like so much.

We also read "Signs of spring" by Justine Korman

We painted flower pictures using the bottoms of empty plastic pop bottles. We fill them with water to give them a little weight and the children dip them in paint and press them down on the paper to make a print. A great way to use a found object or a way to reuse something that would be recycled.

We did the "Bean bag boogie" and "pass the bean bag" for music today.

We did some numbers puzzles about the numbers 7,8,9,10.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Monday, May 9, 2011

We played in the playground today for our large motor time.

Maple Room-

We are talking about rainbows and read a book called "What makes a rainbow?" by Betty Ann Schwartz and for art we made "Smear Rainbows" by placing paint on paper, covering it with wax paper and then children rubbed it to make the colors smear together. A fun, no mess project. We saved both the wax paper and the paper with their painting on it.

We had small squares of colored paper and glue at the easel to make rainbows.

We sang the May song, and the alphabet letter sounds song.

We listened to "curious George flies a kite" on a recorded book. We did some letter "Z" activities.

Willow Room: MWF room:

We read "The giant carrot story" We asked the children if they have a letter "U" in their name?

We did a 5 little kites song and "Here is the beehive" finger play

We used finger stampers at the table for art. At the easel we painted with a carrot, using red and yellow paint (made orange)

We have a flower shop in our sensory table. We have a pretend BBQ in our dramatic corner.

Oak room:

We read "Mortimer's First Garden by Karma Wilson and "Flower Garden" by Kathryn Hewitt

We cut out paper sun flower and added them to a stem. We planted sunflower seeds in a cup and will watch them grow. Then the children can take them home and plant them. Sun flowers get several feet tall when planted in full sun. We added our cut out sunflowers to our planters.

We did "How many ants in a blanket?, lady bug, lady bug, and two little butterflies

We did a what rhymes photo cards game, about which words rhyme.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Thursday and Friday, May 5 and 6, 2011

We had fun celebrating Mother's on Thursday and Friday at school. We had the mom's come to school and the children sang some special Mother's Day songs, plus a few class favorites. Then we had a story with our mom's and a snack of cookies and punch. Thank you to all the moms who took time out of their busy schedules to come and join your children for this special event.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Wednesday, May 4, 2011

We played outside today. It was a little cool, but we loved being outside. We got new sand in the sandboxes and enjoyed playing with the toys in the sandbox. Please remember jackets.

Willow room: Mwf class:

We did a felt board story of the Very Hungry Caterpillar today. We talked about what we saw on the field trip to the fire station. We posted a list in the hall.

We planted grass seed today in cups that had faces drawn on so the grass will look like hair growing. Next week we will give them "hair cuts". We had a final "dress rehearsal " for our Mother's Day tea.

We let our butterflies all fly away today. We enjoyed watching their transformation and it was fun to see them fly away.

We had dab a dot markers at the easel. WE have some artificial flowers in the sensory table for a pretend flower shop.

Maple Room:

We read "Mortimer's First Garden" by Karma Wilson

We made paper sunflowers. It was a cutting and gluing project. We had large paper with various kinds brushes and stampers to create a picture.

We practiced our songs for Mother's Day today.

We used our dry erase boards today to practice writing our letters.

We had some waterplay with sponges today.

Oak Room:

We read "Is your Mama a Llama?"by Deborah Guarino and Llama Llama mad at Mama by Anna Dewdney

We made bug prints with sponges and green paint for grass. Then we used bug stampers to stamp all over the paper for bug prints.

We practiced our songs to sing for our moms on Friday.

We did the estimating jar today, how many color keys are in the jar?

Cardboard Stove for Creative Play

Children love pretend play; and they like to do what mommy or daddy is doing. My grandson always wanted to cook and he loved playing with play dough, so my daughter made this pretend stove using a small box, some red paper, two jar tops, some string and a marker. He would make play dough food creations and cook them on the top or put them in the oven. She poked a hole through the jar top to push the string through so the knobs even turn. This didn't cost anything and gave him weeks of fun.

We make a similar thing at school by using a pizza box covered in foil and pretending it is a pizza oven. We attach a cardboard circle to a paint stir stick for the paddle they use to get the pizza in and out of the oven. You can add more props, by making pretend pizza out of felt, dough cheese, sausage, mushrooms, any toppings you like. I put the play dough recipe we use at school on an earlier post. This is a great way to reuse things that would end up being recycled or in the garbage.

Everyone knows kids love boxes, they make great pretend spaces; with just a little embellishment, they can even add more excitement to their play.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Trinity Preschool Activities for Monday and Tuesday, May 2, and 3, 2011

I am combining the two days since we went on field trip and had limited class at school.

Monday, Both Monday, Wednesday, Friday classes went to the fire station for a fire safety field trip, called The children's Fire Safety Festival. On Tuesday the Pre- K class went.

The children learned about:

"stop, drop, and roll" if their clothes were on fire. Stop what you are doing (don't run anywhere, just stop); drop to the ground, and roll on the ground to put out the fire on your clothes.

Keep low and crawl : If the smoke alarm goes off in your house at night, the children learned to stay low in the good air; touch the door to see if it is hot; if it is not, open it and crawl out. If it is hot, don't go out, go to a window and wait for help.

Friendly firefighter: The firemen showed the children what he looks like all suited up and what he sounds like with his air tank on. He talked about how they are there to help them, and never to hide from them- go to them for help.

9-1-1: They learned about 9-1-1 and what happens when they call, and when it is OK to call.

The children also saw a puppet show that recapped what they learned, got to slide down a fire pole, see a fire engine and ambulance and see inside a real fire station.

Thank you to all the firefighters who talked to the children and worked so hard to make this a fun, learning event.

The children were all also very excited about riding on the big school bus to the fire station!

Monday- Oak Room activities:

We read "Dandelion" by Don Freeman and "Ten in the bed" by John Butler

We used a couple of different kinds roller painters with bumpy lumpy designs to make fun pictures. After they dry, we will cut them into flower sahpes.

We had water colors at the easel.

We learned our new May song.

The children are learning their addresses, we practice each day.

The butterflies in the Oak room- finally came out of their chrysalis on Tuesday! Still no Luna Moth.

Tuesday: Willow Room- Terrific 2's and 3's class

We let our butterflies go today and we did the flannel board of The very hungry caterpillar story. The children loved it!

We planted grass seed today. We drew a face on some cups and the grass will look like hair. WE will give them hair cuts next week.

We have a pretend flower shop in our sensory table, and we have our Doctor office still in the dramatic corner.

We did a "dress rehearsal" for our songs for Mother's Day today!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pretend Camping Trip in the Maple Room Classroom

We had so much fun going on a pretend camping tip today in our classroom!

We all came to school in our "camping clothes" and we brought flashlights, bug catches, hats, binoculars and other things we need for a damping trip. We closed the blinds most of the way (which was hard to have to do, since it was the first sunny day in weeks!), but we needed it dark for our camp out. We all had on glo bracelets and we sat on the rug in our campground area with our pretend fire and our teacher read us a story in the dark. We had a tent set up and we had camp lanterns, cook out supplies and flashlights. We did some fishing too. We made hand puppets on the side of the tent by shining the flashlight at our hands and looking at the shadows.

We did everything in a darkened room- we never turned on the lights today! We even did our art project in the dark. We made campfire pictures, it was a cutting, and gluing project using brown paper for wood, and red and orange for the fire.

When we went outside, it was very bright! We each had out own bug catchers (a small clear plastic carry out container that our teacher printed computer tags that said our name and "Bug Catcher" on it. So we went on a bug hunt; but it was still chilly out so we didn't find bugs. We will have to save our bug catchers for another day.

We had no cook s'mores for snack. Graham crackers, marshmallow fluff, and chocolate syrup.

The children had a great day on our camping trip. The only thing missing was the rain! It always rains when I go camping!

Trinity Preschool Activities for Friday, April 29, 2011

We finally got to play in the playground today. The rain let up and we had fun!

Willow Room: MWF class

We read "What makes a rainbow?" by Betty Ann Schwartz

Our butterflies are out, we looked at and enjoyed our butterflies today!

For art we made an alphabet rainbow!

We sang some fun songs to practice for Mother's Day.

We made a chart of the words that start with the letter "T".

Maple Room:

We had "Camping Day Today!" It was so much fun. See the BLOG listing for Camping in the Maple room for complete details.

We read "Good night, Sleep Tight, Don't let the beg bugs bite" by Diana de Groat. We read it in the dark around out "campfire!"

We made a camping picture with gluing and paper for art and we had flowers with paint at the easel.

Oak Room:

We read "Where's my mom? by Julia Donaldson and Harry the Dirty Dog" by Gene Zion

We made a special card for our mom's for Mother's Day and we did finger painting today.

We had magnetic writing boards out with letters and word cards.
We had the parts of a flower out and the children arranged them in the correct order on a magnet board.

We have flowers and a flower shop in our dramatic corner.

We sang the Pirate song, Bear Hunt and we practiced our songs for Mother's Day.