Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Preschool Holiday Gross Motor Activities

Here is a list of some preschool holiday gross motor activities to get children moving.  There isn’t as much outside time in the winter months, but gross motor activities are important for young children.  Incorporate these into your holiday parties or holiday themes.

 

  1. Parachute Jingle Bells: Get a bedsheet and place it flat on the ground.  Put several jingle bells on the sheet and have children gather round and lift the sheet.  Have them shake the sheet gently (like a parachute activity) to make it jingle bell.  Do this while singing “Jingle Bells”.
  2. Present Toss: Wrap empty cardboard boxes with wrapping paper and ribbon.  Like a balloon toss, line up two rows of children facing each other.  Take turns tossing the wrapped presents between teammates.  The opposite player much catch the present to remain in the game.
  3. Avoid the Bows: Place Christmas bows throughout the room on the floor.  Play holiday music and have children move around the room without stepping on the bows. 
  4. Candy Cane Hunt: Hide candy canes all around the room.  Give each child a bag.  Play a holiday song while children walk around the room collecting candy canes.  When the song is over, have the children count how many candy canes they found.
  5. Wax Paper Ice Skating: Give the kids to pieces of wax paper.  Put a foot on each one and glide around the room like they are ice skating.

    Photo Credit: From the Hive

  6. Snowball Bounce: Have children create 2 Snowman Paddles (paper plates with a snowman face and craft stick handles glued on).  Get some balloons and toss them in the air.  The children will use their Snowman Paddles to keep the balloons off the ground. (Source: Dixie Delights)
  7. Penguin Waddle Relay: Divide children into 2 teams. Have them race from start to finish while holding a ball between their knees, waddling like penguins!

    Photo Credit: Brilliant Beginnings Preschool

  8. Snowball Toss: Create a Snowman out of a cardboard tri-fold project board.  Cut out holes in the Snowman and have children toss white plastic balls, bean bags, orlarge pom poms into the holes.  (Source: Leafy Treetops)
  9. Reindeer Toss: Get a large box and draw or add a reindeer face to the front.  Put tree branches through the top for antlers.  Use rings from another game or cut centers out of paper plates and have children toss the rings onto the antlers.
  10. Hanukkah Yoga: Dreidel symbols will represent each yoga pose.  Print out a picture of each symbol and tape to the wall.  One child pins the dreidel and the other kids do the pose. (Source and more details: Bee Yoga Fusion)

We also think these are cute: Download these Christmas action cards and get your kids moving! (Oopsy Daisy)

20 Books about Bikes for Preschool

Because of the many benefits of riding a bike, talking about bikes in early childhood can help children become excited about bikes.  We have found 20 books about bikes for preschool children that can be incorporated into your early childhood program.

Many say that riding a bike is a rite of passage for young children.  Children as young as 2 start out on tricycles before moving on to a bike with training wheels and then a two-wheeler.

Biking is a healthy pastime that kids will never outgrow. Here are some of the benefits of cycling:

  • Developing strength, balance, and overall fitness
  • Burning up calories
  • Strengthening the heart, lungs, and lower-body muscles and bones
  • Developing and strengthening the muscles surrounding the knees without impact

Biking boasts other benefits as well. Children of all shapes, sizes, and abilities can ride a bike.

20 Books about Bikes for Preschool:


Stages of Bicycling

(excerpt from All About Bicycle Riding)

Just as babies must learn to crawl before they can walk, your tyke will first pedal a tricycle before graduating to the world of two-wheeling. Here’s what experts at the National Center for Bicycling and Walking say to expect along the way:

Tricycles (ages 2 to 5): Plastic three-wheelers, such as Big Wheels, and traditional trikes are perfect for preschoolers who are testing their newfound motor skills. Tricycles should be ridden only on a playground or within a fenced yard, not in a driveway or street. Toddlers can also get a feel for biking by riding with parents on a bicycle-mounted seat or by being towed behind an adult bicycle in a cushioned bike trailer. The important thing to remember is that toddlers, like all riders, should always wear a size-appropriate helmet when biking.

Training wheels (ages 5 to 6): The training-wheels phase may last a couple of months or a couple of years, depending on the rate at which a child’s coordination and strength develop. Parents can gradually elevate training wheels to help build their child’s confidence. Eventually, when a child shows a mastery of balance on the bike, the training wheels can be removed.

Single-speed bikes (ages 6 to 9): A child’s first two-wheeler should be a one-speed with foot brakes. He won’t be ready for hand brakes and gears until age 9 or 10, when his hands are larger and stronger. Also, kids aren’t ready for street riding until sometime between ages 8 and 10. Until then, they should ride in a driveway or along park paths with an adult.

Multispeed bikes (ages 9 and up): Once your child is ready for a larger bike with gears and hand brakes, he can start riding on quiet streets, where you can teach him safe-riding skills. If your child wants to ride to school, and you feel that he’s ready, help him plot a route that avoids busy streets and crowded intersections.

President’s Day Coin Activities

On President’s Day, there are a lot of activities you can do with young children.  However, coin activities are easy and popular.  Check out some preschool coin activities that can be incorporated around President’s Day or any time of the year that you want to introduce money or coins.  Introduce each coin to the children and discuss how much it is worth, and which president is on the front.


  • Coin Sort – Provide a variety of coins and have children sort the coins by size, color, and shape.  Use our Lincoln/Washington sorting printable to have kids sort pennies and quarters to match the face on the coin the president.

Click image to download

  • Coin Patterns – Allow children to line up coins in different patterns (ie. penny, penny, dime, penny, penny dime, etc.).  A variation is to use the same coin and line them up by heads and tails (ie.  heads, tails, heads, tails, etc.)

Source: www.isitpigday.com

  • Coin Rubbings – Place a piece of white paper over coins, and have children use an unwrapped crayon on its side to create coin rubbings.

Source: thecraftyclassroom.com

  • Coin Cleaning – In a bowl, add 1 teaspoon of salt to 1/4 cup of vinegar, and stir well.  Place old dirty coins into the bowl. Wait for 20 seconds and then take the coins out and rinse them in water and dry them with your paper towels. They should be now be shiny and clean!

Source: abetterlifeformyfamily.blogspot.com

  • Coin Tower – Give children a handful of coins and a die.  Roll the die and stack that number of coins.  Keep rolling the die and stacking the corresponding number of coins.  See how high they can make their coin tower before it falls.

Source: themeasuredmom.com

  • Guess the Coin – Talk about the characteristics of each coin (size, color, rim – smooth or rigid, etc.).  Place a coin in the hands of a child who has his eyes closed or blindfold on.  Let the child guess what coin it is by the feel.


Children and Thank You Notes

children and thank you notes

November is the month to give thanks, but with the gift-giving season coming up, it is important to teach kids giving thanks when they receive a present.

Expressing thanks is something that a child can do from an early age.  If a child can talk, they can express “thank you.”  Teaching children to send a thank you note is teaching them about appreciation.  It is a good idea to explain to children that when they receive a gift, the person that gave them the gift took the time to select the gift just for them.  A child should also be told that the gift-giver spent money on the gift, wrapped it, and delivered it (by mail or in person). Children should be taught that a thank you note expresses appreciation to the person who gave the present, and if it was mailed, a thank you note lets the gift-giver know that the gift arrived.

For very young children who cannot read or write, there are other ways to express thanks in a note.  Toddlers can draw a picture of themselves with the gift or a picture drawn with the gift-giver in mind.  An adult can add a note, such as “Adam created this drawing in appreciation for your gift of his puzzle.  Thank you!”

As children are beginning to write, there are many fill-in-the-blank thank you card templates.  It is a great start to get kids to think about how thank you notes should be written.  Here are a few websites that offer free templates:

Kids who can read and write should be able to write thank you notes on their own.  Encourage these children to include the specific gift and how they will use it.  (Example: “Thank you for the puzzle.  I will have fun putting it together.”  or “Thank you for the money.  I plan to buy a new Barbie Doll.”)


(From Tips For Teaching Kids The Value of Thank You Notes)

Think of the educational value of writing notes.

Some teachers and child care providers have children write notes in conjunction with a writing lesson. Some ideas from teachers include writing a thank you note to parents to express appreciation for their support during the school year or to thank them for bringing snacks or treats to a special class party. One provider has her pre-schoolers write thank you notes each Valentine’s Day to their parents for their love. A first-grade teacher has children write notes of thanks each Thanksgiving.

 

Pizza Shop Prop Box

pizza-shop-prop-box

Prop Boxes are fun!  Playing Pizza Shop is great anytime (especially during National Pizza Month – October).  It is simple to put together a Pizza Shop Prop Box.

Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Menus, Order forms, and felt pizza can all be made very easily.  Click Here for tote label that you can laminate and tape on the tote.  Prop boxes are meant to invoke the imagination of children.  Providing prop boxes with basic items for dramatic play can be very beneficial for children.

Empty Pizza Boxes
Aprons & Hats
Pizza Menus
Cash Register
Phone
Order Books/Pens
Pizza Pans
Toy Pizza Cutter
Felt Pizza Set

Also, add table cloths, plates, forks, napkins, open/closed signs, etc.

table


Shop for pizza toys on Amazon:


Benefits of Dramatic Play:

Intellectual and Physical Benefits
Play is the work of children, and through play children benefit intellectually, physically, socially, and emotionally. The benefits of play for children’s intellectual growth are numerous. As children play out the situations in their lives (or in their pretend lives), they are met with situations they do not understand. As they approach the situations and attempt to make sense of them in the context of their own lives, they practice problem-solving skills and build new knowledge. Children grow physically as they rearrange (gross motor) the large elements (table, chairs, cradle) of the interest area and as they manipulate (fine motor) contents (food boxes, dolls, clothes, and hats) of the interest area.

Social and Emotional Benefits
Perhaps the greatest opportunities for growth through dramatic play are in the areas of social and emotional development. In a situation where children feel safe and protected, they can play out situations that are troubling them. As children are negotiating all the situations inherent in dramatic play in a group setting, they feel a sense of accomplishment and pride. Dramatic play is absolutely open-ended, and through this nature of open-endedness, children cannot fail. They just grow and learn according to where they are in their own development.

(Excerpt from Dramatic Play: A Daily Requirement for Children)

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.

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”:

Must-Have Math Manipulatives

 

Math manipulatives are great for children to use for problem-solving and understanding basic math concepts.  They also encourage imaginative play and exploration.  Here are some popular math manipulatives to consider.

Pattern Blocks
Pattern Blocks Math Manipulatives
Unifix Cubes
Unifix Cubes Math Manipulatives
Counting Bears
Counting Bears Math Manipulatives
One Inch Cubes
One Inch Cubes Math Manipulatives
Attribute Blocks
Attribute Blocks Math Manipulatives
Geoboards
Geoboards Math Manipulatives
Base 10 Blocks
Base 10 Blocks
Double Sided Counters
Double Sided Counters
Links
Links
Dominos
Dominos
Dice
Dice
Big Buttons™
Big Buttons
Geometric Solids
Geometric Solids
Balance Scale
BalanceScale
Lacing Beads
LacingBeads

Importance of Hands-on Manipulatives in Math

(taken from article)

Math manipulatives range from simple counting blocks to geoboards and tangram puzzles. Manipulatives work well to solve problems, as a way to introduce new math skills and during free play to explore math concepts. The use of manipulatives varies based on the teacher’s philosophy of math instruction, but these math materials offer several benefits to students.

Concrete Representations
Manipulatives give the math student a concrete object to represent the concept he is learning. Instead of reading about a math concept or working out a problem on paper, he works with a physical object to better understand what he is learning. Diagrams in math textbooks often fall short because the student can’t physically interact with them. The concrete representation is useful at all levels of math, from a preschooler using blocks to strengthen counting skills to an older student using fraction models to understand equivalent fractions.

Engaged Sense
A worksheet or textbook assignment is limited in the senses it engages. The child only moves slightly to use his pencil. Manipulatives give him more freedom to move and get physically involved in solving the math problems. The manipulatives reach a wider range of learners, such as those who don’t perform well on paper-and-pencil tasks. The manipulatives engage the sense of sight and touch. Discussions about the manipulatives — either with the class or with a partner — builds communication skills. You can also use these math tools to write about the concepts. Students can draw pictures and describe what they did with the manipulatives in a math journal.

Problem Solving
Physical objects in front of the learner give him tools to solve problems that are complex of difficult to understand. Manipulating the objects can lead the child to the answer. For example, if he struggles to reduce a fraction to lowest terms, fraction strips can help him solve the problem. He sees that one-half matches up with three-sixths on the strips. A student learning division uses counters to solve the problem. For 42 divided by 7, he gathers 42 counters and divides them into 7 groups. Instead of staring at the paper trying to figure out the answer, he solves it with the counters. Learners also get confirmation on answers that they don’t get on paper. With a worksheet, he won’t know until the teacher checks the work if he was correct. With manipulatives, he can see right away that he is correct.

Enjoyment
Manipulatives make math more enjoyable for most students. Completing paper-and-pencil assignments is often boring and tedious. Students lose interest quickly or struggle to get through the assignment. Manipulatives feel more like playing than learning, particularly when the students are allowed to experiment and explore with the tools outside of assignments. Even when a worksheet or written assignment is required, the manipulatives can make the problems easier and more interesting to solve.