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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)

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.

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.

 

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!

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: