Gardening Prop Box

gardening prop box

Prop Boxes are groups of dramatic play materials that are based on a theme.  Bring out a Gardening Prop Box in the spring (especially during National Lawn and Garden Month – April).  It is easy to put together a Gardening Prop Box.

Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Put some potting soil in the your sensory table and let kids use the props to grow pretend or real flowers and vegetables.  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.

Gardening Tools
Watering Can Gardening Gloves
Flower Pots
Pretend Flowers
Plastic Vegetables
Flower Seeds
Vegetable Seeds
Plastic Worms

 

 


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 Pre-K Conversation Starters

Conversation Starters encourage children to talk about themselves.  Talking to children is important, especially when you are trying to get to know them.  Young children develop speech and language skills, as well as listening skills when engaged in a conversation.  As a child care provider and educator, use these conversations starters during circle time, meal and snack times, or whenever you feel like getting to know the children in your care.

Here are 20 conversations starters to get children talking…

  1. Do you have any pets? What kind do you have?
  2. What is your favorite toy?
  3. What did you do last night?
  4. What learning center do you like the best? Why?
  5. What is your favorite book?
  6. Do you like the water table or sand table better? Why?
  7. Who brought you to school/daycare today?  What do you like best about them?
  8. Who are the people you live with?
  9. What is your favorite food to have as a snack?
  10. Do you like coloring or painting better?
  11. What is the best thing about today?
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up?
  13. If you could paint our classroom, what color paint would you choose?
  14. How do you feel today?
  15. Describe someone in this room using three words.
  16. What is your favorite thing to do at school/daycare?
  17. What is something that makes you happy?
  18. Would you rather play inside or play outside all day?
  19. If you could have any super power, what would it be?
  20. What does your bedroom look like?

Download a free printable with these conversations starters.  You can cut and laminate them into cards for when you want to use them.  Click Here to get your download.

conversation starters for pre-K

Ice Cream Shop Prop Box

Ice Cream Shop Prop Box

Prop Boxes are groups of dramatic play materials that are based on a theme.  Bring out an Ice Cream Prop Box in the summer (especially during National Ice Cream Month – July).  It is easy to put together an Ice Cream Shop Prop Box.

Just grab a tote/container, and collect the following items.  Large pom pom balls make great scoops of ice cream.  You can also create a menu board with a dry erase board or poster board.  Ice Cream Cones can be made easily (here is a tutorial).  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 Ice Cream Tubs
Ice Cream Scoops Bowls
Spoons
Homemade Paper
Ice Cream Cones

Pom Pom Balls
for Ice Cream

Empty Chocolate
Syrup Bottles

Empty Whipped
Cream Cans

Play Cash Register
& Money

 


Shop Ice Cream Toys:


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.


Candy Corn Math

candy-corn-math

Looking for some ways to incorporate candy corns with preschool math activities?  Try one of these candy corn math ideas with our free printables.

Candy Corn Counting

Cut out our Candy Corn number cards and laminate them.  Have children place the number of candy corns on each card, corresponding with the number on the husk.

candy corn math


Candy Corn Patterning

Cut out our Candy Corn pattern strips and laminate them.  Have children place the next candy corn in the pattern in the box.

candy corn math


Candy Corn Measuring

Print out our Candy Corn measuring sheet and make copies.  Have children find the items listed in the room, and measure each item by lining up candy corns next to the item. They can count the candy corns and write in the number.

candy corn math


Candy Corn Handful Graph

Also try…
Have the children grab a handful of candy corn and count how many each child grabbed. Graph the results. To graph the results you can write each child’s name and number on a small rectangle of card stock, then place them in order from least to greatest along the bottom of a bulletin board. If you have more than one child with the same number, you would stack them. To make it more interesting you can trace the child’s hand, and write their name and number on the hand instead of the rectangle. Label the graph “How much is a handful?”

(Source: The Activity Idea Place)

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


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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)

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.