Acorn Sorting

acorn-sorting-printable

The Early Childhood Academy is please to offer you a free Acorn Sorting File Folder Game.  This allows children to sort acorns by letter and number.

  1. Print and cut out the acorn pictures. Laminate.
  2. Print File Folder Cover and glue to front of file folder.
  3. Print File Folder inserts and glue to inside of file folders.
  4. Let kids sort the pictures.

To download this Acorn Sorting freebie, click on the image below.

acorn sorting


Why Sorting?

Children have a natural desire to make sense of their world, to create order in a world that seems largely out of their control. For that reason, sorting activities often attract children. In fact, many children will start sorting things without even being taught. Many parents have likely walked into a room to see their young child putting their blocks or other toys in piles based on color or some other category.

Sorting is a beginning math skill. It may seem that a big chunk early math is about learning numbers and quantity, but there’s much more to it. By sorting, children understand that things are alike and different as well as that they can belong and be organized into certain groups. Getting practice with sorting at an early age is important for numerical concepts and grouping numbers and sets when they’re older. This type of thinking starts them on the path of applying logical thinking to objects, mathematical concepts and every day life in general. Studies have even been shown that kids who are used to comparing and contrasting do better in mathematics later on.

(Excerpt from The Importance of Sorting Activities)

 

Kids Books About the Olympics

Kids Books About the Olympics

Kids Books About the Olympics:  With either the Winter or Summer Olympics being held every two years, young children will love learning about the sports and celebrations that each Olympics has to offer.  We found a collection of some Olympics-themed books for children.  These books are appropriate for children ages 2+, and they can make a great addition to your classroom library.



Some additional Olympics ideas and resources:


Olympics Fun Facts (from kidskonnect.com)

  • The ancient Olympic Games date back to 776 BC, but many actually believe they were being held long before that time. The Greeks dedicated these games to the God Zeus. The original games were held on the plain of Olympia in Peloponnesos, Greece.
  • Only one event took place at the ancient games. It was a short run that was called the “stade”. The race was run by men who competed in the nude. A wreath of olive branches was placed on the winner’s head. In Greek, this is called a kotinos.
  • Women couldn’t compete in these games, and they were not allowed to watch either.
  • The period of time between the Olympic Games is called an olympiad. It consists of four years.
  • Beginning in 1994, the Summer and Winter Olympic games were staggered, so that there is one set of Olympic games, summer or winter, alternating every two years.
  • As time went on more sports were added and the Olympics continued to grow. Even today, with the Modern Olympics, new sports are being added as well as some sports being eliminated. Some of the sports we no longer see at the Olympics are: golf, basque pelota, croquet, jeu de paume, lacrosse, polo, rackets, roque, rugby, union, cricket, tug-of-war and softball.
  • Originally, the Olympics were only held in the summer. The first winter Olympics were held in 1924, in Chamonix, France.
  • The Olympic flag has five intersecting rings. They are each a different color: red, black, green, blue and yellow. The rings are displayed on a white background. The rings represent the five parts of the world that were joined together in the Olympic movement: the Americas, Australia, Africa, Asia, and Europe. Baron de Coubertin designed the flag of the Olympics in 1913-1914, and it was first used at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, Belgium.
  • A flame was lit for each Olympics, and it burned throughout the games. The flame symbolized the death and rebirth of Greek heroes. This tradition began during the ancient Olympic Games, over 2700 years ago in Greece. There was no torch relay in the ancient Olympics. The first torch relay took place at the 1936 games in Berlin, Germany.
  • The following sports are part of the Summer Olympics: Archery, Athletics, Badminton, Basketball, Boxing, Canoeing, Cycling, Diving, Equestrian, Fencing, Field Hockey, Soccer, Gymnastics, Handball, Judo, Pentathlon, Rowing, Sailing, Shooting, Swimming, Synchronized Swimming, Table Tennis, Taekwondo, Tennis, Triathlon, Volleyball, Water Polo, Weightlifting, Wrestling.
  • The following sports are part of the Winter Olympics: Biathlon, Combined Downhill, Cross Country, Downhill, Freestyle Aerials, Freestyle Moguls, Giant Slalom, Nordic Combined, Slalom, Snowboarding, Ski Jumping, Super-G, Bobsleigh, Luge, Skeleton, Curling, Figure Skating, Ice Dancing, Ice Hockey, Speed Skating, Short Track.

The Incredible “I” Message

I Messages

Communication with children is important, especially when conveying what you want them to do or need them to do.  The incredible “I” message is a very effective way to communicate with children.

Introduced in the 1970’s, “I” messages are basically a way of expressing our thoughts and emotions, using a soft voice and a statement that often begins with, “I feel…” Other examples include: “I’m upset because…” “I get angry because…” “I am excited that…”

When we use “I” messages with young children, we introduce a new viewpoint to the young child.   “I” messages personalize our communication and allow adults to share their feelings with the child in a positive manner.

For an undesirable behavior, “I” messages are a better way to talk to children in a positive way, rather than using negativity.  For example, you see a child throwing sand.  Your first inclination might be to say “Stop throwing that sand!”   Instead, try an “I” message in one of two ways:

  1. Tell the child what you WANT them to do, rather than what you want them NOT to do
  2. Share your feelings with the child about what they are doing and include a reason you feel that way

Some examples include:

Unwanted Behavior: “I” Message option 1: “I” Message option 2:
Not cleaning up for lunch I would like you to put away the toys now. I feel angry that you are still playing with the toys, because other children are hungry and waiting for lunch.
Throwing sand I need for you to keep the sand in the sandbox. It scares me when I see you throwing sand, because it can get into other children’s eyes and hurt them.
Knocking down another child’s block tower I want you to help Billy rebuild the tower. When you knock down Billy’s tower, it makes me sad because he worked really hard to build it.
Keeps getting up from mat at nap time I need you to stay on your mat. I am feeling upset that you are getting up from your mat because it is quiet time and some children are trying to sleep.

(From The Magical I-Message)

This formula isn’t really magical, but something about the “I” message appeals to a child’s better self. An “I” message is a tool for teaching children how to express feelings effectively and accurately; you are role modeling the ability to connect feelings with behavior. It is also a tool for showing trust for a child’s ability to change her own behavior. In addition, the “I” message builds on the child’s need to be accepted by those adults with whom she has a caring relationship.

Children react in different ways to “I” messages. If a child is exposed to strict, authoritarian discipline at home, an “I” message may not be forceful enough to inspire change. On the other hand, if his parents are very permissive, his sense of empathy or responsibility may not be developed enough to motivate a response.

State your “I” message in a positive, neutral voice while making eye contact, and with a sense of expectation. If the child is in danger or destroying something, remove her physically from the situation as you talk. Otherwise, give her time to respond appropriately. If you “I” message doesn’t bring change the first time, restate it more firmly.

Cow Appreciation Day Preschool Activities

July 15 is Cow Appreciation Day.  Here are some fun activities to incorporate into your child care program that involve cows.

Cow-Activities

 

 

 

 

 

  • “Milk” Cows – Fill latex gloves with milk and tie them shu.  Poke small holes in the fingers of the gloves.  Hang the gloves under a small folding table or chair with a bowl underneath.  Have children squeeze and pull the fingers to get the milk out, and they will see how it is to really milk a cow.
Milking Cow

Source: thegingerbreadmom.com

  • Udder Painting – Fill latex gloves with black paint.  Poke a small hole in one of the fingers.  Place white paper on the table, and let children squeeze out the paint from the ‘udder.’
Udder Painting

Source: http://strongstart.blogspot.co.uk

  • Cow Spots Sponge Painting – Have children dip shower loofahs into black paint and dab on white paper.
Cow Spot Sponge

Source: http://ppppizzazz.blogspot.com

  • Favorite Milk Graph – Talk about how milk comes from cows and create a class graph of favorite flavors of milk: plain, chocolate, or strawberry.
Milk Graph

Source: http://creativepreschoolresources.com

  • Make Ice Cream in a Bag – Use milk along with the other ingredients listed here, to make ice cream in a bag.  Since July is National Ice Cream Month, it is also a good tie-in during Cow Appreciation Day!

Ice-Cream


Cow Facts (thanks to www.kidsplayandcreate.com/amazing-cow-facts-for-kids)

  • Cows are also known as cattle.
  • Cows are herbivores meaning they eat grasses, plants, corn. They do not eat meat.
  • There are many types of cows.
  • Cows are smart and intelligent animals.
  • They are also social animals and interact with other cows.
  • Cows say “moo” as a way to communicate.
  • A male is called a bull.
  • A female who has given birth is called a cow.
  • A female who has not given birth is called a heifer.
  • A baby cow is called a calf.
  • There are over 1 billion cows that live in the world!
  • Cows live on every continent except Antarctica.

Cow Books and Resources:

25 Ways to move like an animal

Having children move like animals, especially while transitioning from one activity to the next, is a great way to encourage activity and keep kids on their toes.  Here are 25 ways to move like an animal to challenge children.  Instead of simply having kids get in line to go outside, ask them to gallop like a horse to the line.

  1. Bounce like a puppy.ways to move like an animal
  2. Climb like a koala bear.
  3. Crawl like a turtle.
  4. Fly like a bird.
  5. Gallop like a horse.
  6. Glide like a goose.
  7. Hop like a bunny.
  8. Jump like a kangaroo.
  9. Leap like a frog.
  10. March like an ant.
  11. Pounce like a cat.
  12. Run like a cheetah.
  13. Scamper like a squirrel.
  14. Scurry like a mouse.
  15. Scuttle like a crab.
  16. Slither like a snake.
  17. Stomp like an elephant.
  18. Strut like a rooster.
  19. Swim like a fish.
  20. Swing like an ape.
  21. Swoop like an eagle. 
  22. Trot like a donkey.
  23. Waddle like a penguin.
  24. Walk tall like a giraffe.
  25. Wiggle like a worm.

Benefits of Movement

Encouraging movement in early childhood has so many benefits for children.  In addition to creating healthy habits and fostering a lifelong commitment to physical activity, children whose early childhood education is based in movement enjoy the following benefits in both early childhood and for the rest of their lives:

  • Better social and motor skill development
  • Increased school readiness skills
  • Building developing muscles, bones, and joints faster
  • Reducing fat and lowering blood pressure
  • Reducing depression and anxiety
  • Increased learning capacity
  • Developing healthier social, cognitive, and emotional skills
  • Building strength, self-confidence, concentration, and coordination from an early age

(excerpt from The Importance of Early Childhood Activity)

50 Simple “Good Job” Alternatives

"Good job" alternatives

“Good job” is one of the most overused praise phrases spoken to young children.  Here is a list of simple “Good job” alternatives.

Keep in mind, that these are just general, simple phrases for something different.  The best way to praise a child and encourage self-esteem, is to be specific as to what they did.  Focus on the child’s effort, rather than the outcome.  Examples of focusing on the efforts, include:

  • “You’ve been working very hard on that drawing.”
  • “You really practiced a lot on that song!”

Hopefully, these simple “Good job” alternatives can help you find other ways to praise a child.

  1. Great work!
  2. Excellent!
  3. Fabulous!
  4. Wonderful job.
  5. This is tremendous.
  6. You did a remarkable job.
  7. Magnificent!
  8. How extraordinary.
  9. Amazing!
  10. Fantastic.
  11. Nicely done.
  12. This is terrific!
  13. I love it!
  14. Super work!
  15. You did great!
  16. You worked hard.
  17. I am proud of this.
  18. How incredible!
  19. You did it!
  20. Incredible!
  21. Keep it up!
  22. You have it perfectly.
  23. Marvelous work.
  24. You put in a lot of effort.
  25. Awesome!
  26. Marvelous job.
  27. Right on!
  28. Splendid!
  29. Very impressive.
  30. Stupendous!
  31. That’s the way.
  32. Good for you.
  33. Nice going.
  34. Way to go!
  35. Well done!
  36. You got this!
  37. Really nice.
  38. Bravo!
  39. That’s great!
  40. Hurray!
  41. Beautiful work.
  42. Outstanding!
  43. Exceptional job.
  44. Super-duper!
  45. You hit the bulls eye.
  46. Superb.
  47. Brilliant!
  48. Rock on!
  49. This is top-notch.
  50. Sensational!

Other Resources on ways to praise children, rather than saying “Good Job”:

Snowmen Books for Children

Snowmen Books for Children

Snowmen Books for Children:  Winter time is a wonderful time to involve snowmen in your child care program.   Snowmen themes and activities are great fun for young children.  We found a collection of some of the best snowmen books for children.  These books are appropriate for children ages 1-6, and they can make a great addition to your classroom library.


Some additional snowmen resources include:


Facts About Snowmen (source):

Now that the snowy season is upon many parts of the world, it is likely that thousands of children will make an effort to build snowmen (and snowwomen) as soon as the first frost is on the ground.

Most snowmen consist of three balls of snow stacked up on top of each other—representing the feet, stomach and face of a snowperson. The face of a snowman is usually ornately decorated with coal or stones serving as a mouth and eyes and a carrot for a nose. Some people even go as far as to give a snowman additional accessories such as stick arms, buttons, gloves, a hat and a scarf, etc.

Although many people enjoy building snowmen, there are many little known facts about the history of these wintery creations.

The first documented snowman dates to the year 1380! That ancient snowman appears as a marginal illustration in the “Book of Hours,” a Christian devotional book that was discovered in the Netherlands. Since then snowmen have become iconic in societies that experience snowfalls. Snowmen are the center of numerous illustrations, fables and even songs. For example, “Frosty the Snowman” is a song that was recorded in 1950 and centers on the adventures of a snowman and the children who built him. Until this day, the song is hugely popular especially around Christmas.

Snowmen have also become the center of competitions such as those to see who can create the most unique snowperson (or snow creature). The world’s tallest snowman ever built was in Bethel, Maine, in 2008. She was named “Olympia” and she stood at 122 feet tall! This giant snowwoman had skis for eyelashes, tires for buttons, and arms made out of pine trees!

Child Care Provider Resolutions

Child Care Provider Resolutions

Child Care Provider Resolutions

Happy New Year! We often make personal resolutions, but have you thought about resolutions for yourself as a child care provider?

Try these resolutions this year:

  1. Greet EVERY child and parent with a smile each day.
    smile Child Care Provider Resolutions
  2. Say something positive to every child each day.
  3. Encourage learning through play by asking leading questions when children are playing.
  4. Get on the floor with children during play.
    Child Care Provider Resolutions
  5. Let children use their imagination and creativity throughout the day.
  6. Listen to parents’ concerns and offer appropriate solutions.
    Child Care Provider Resolutions
  7. Get children up and moving several times a day for physical activity.
    Child Care Provider Resolutions
  8. Work cooperatively with coworkers to achieve your program’s best practices.
    Child Care Provider Resolutions
  9. Be prepared for all activities by planning ahead and gathering all materials.
    Child Care Provider Resolutions
  10. Get a good nights’ sleep to make sure you give each child care day your best effort.
    Child Care Provider Resolutions

What other Child Care Provider Resolutions can be added to this list?

Also, here is a link for Kids Year in Review printable that we like – click here!

New Year Songs and Finger Plays

New-Year-Songs

Here are a collection of songs about the New Year that are great for young children.  Start the new year off by talking about resolutions and the calendar.  These songs and finger plays make a fun addition to any New Year preschool theme.

Cheer the Year (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat):

Cheer, cheer, cheer the year;
A new one’s just begun.
Celebrate with all your friends,
Let’s go have some fun!
Clap, clap, clap your hands,
A brand new year is here.
Learning, laughing, singing, clapping,
Through another year.


New Year’s Day (Tune: Jingle Bells):

New Year’s Day, New Year’s Day,
Comes but once a year.
On New Year’s Eve we celebrate,
And ring it in with cheer!
New Year’s Day, New Year’s Day
Comes but once a year.
On New Year’s Eve we celebrate
And ring it in with cheer!


Ring the Bells (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat):

(Give each child bells to ring)

Ring ring ring the bells,
Ring them loud and clear.
Let’s tell everyone around
That the New Year is here!


A Brand New Year (Tune: The Muffin Man):

Now we have a brand new year,
A brand new year, a brand new year.
Now we have a brand new year,
It’s (name of year).


A New Year (Tune: She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain):

There’s a new year on our calendar today.
(name of year)
There’s a new years on our calendar today.
(name of year)
There’s a new year on our calendar,
A year to grow and learn much more.
There’s a new year on our calendar today.


Let’s Celebrate (Tune: Frere Jacques):
Happy New Year, Happy New Year.
Let’s celebrate, let’s celebrate.
Good-bye to the old year;
Hello to the new year.
Hurray, hurray! Hurray, hurray!


Happy New Year (Tune: Are You Sleeping?):

Happy New Year!
Happy New Year!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Good-bye to the old year!
Hello to the new year!
Rah! Rah! Rah!
Rah! Rah! Rah!


More New Year Resources:

Sensory Table Fillers

Sensory-Table-Fillers

Sensory Tables are great fun for children and they get to learn through hands-on experimenting.  Changing the fillers in the sensory table every couple weeks will keep children’s attention and interest, plus it gives them something new to experiment with.  Here is a list of ideas for filling your sensory table:

Popcorn
Popcorn
Split Peas
SplitPeas
Colored Rice
Rice
Water Beads
Waterbeads
Buttons
Buttons
Beans
Beans
Pasta
Pasta
Pom Pom Balls
Pompoms
Aquarium Rocks
Aquariumrocks
Colored Craft Sand
Sand
Beads
Beads
Bird Seed
Birdseed
Packing Peanuts
Packingpeanuts
Marbles
Marbles
Cotton Balls
CottonBalls

A sensory table (or bin) gives children the opportunity to explore the world around them by experimenting, manipulating, observing and exploring.  Sensory tables provide children with fine and gross motor skill development, hand-eye coordination, math skills, science skills, and communication skills. Because sensory play is mostly self-directed, it also helps children develop self-esteem.

Here are 5 reasons why sensory play is beneficial (thank you Homeschoolin’ Mama):

  1. Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which lead to the child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks.
  2. Sensory play supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.
  3. This type of play aids in developing and enhancing memory
  4. Sensory play is great for calming an anxious or frustrated child
  5. This helps children learn sensory attributes (hot, cold, sticky, dry)

More Sensory Table Resources: