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Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Magnetic Robots!

I recently went to a conference all about STEM in the early childhood classroom and I came across this fabulous idea which I just had to try...
Magnetic Robots!!!
Magnets are such a fun and opened ended experience for children of all ages. Such an easy way to teach little ones cause and effect and develop fine motor skills as well. For this activity, the children were invited to build their own tin can robots.

With a glue gun I simply added magnets to bottle caps, legos, tangrams, unifix cubes, googly eyes, pom poms, and basically anything that I could find and let the children's creativity run wild.
The children really loved this activity and it brought up some great conversations about symmetry as well. We also discussed how many magnets we could fit onto a single robot and counted the number of eyes, antennae, etc.
So many possibilities and so much fun while learning!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

What Was I Scared Of?

What Was I Scared Of?
by: Dr. Seuss

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss stories.
After reading it we discussed things that scare us. 

We then made puppets of what we are most scared of to act out with our puppet theater to try and conquer our fears or at least be able to talk about them freely and openly.
Some children can be very hesitant to talk about their fears and their own feelings in general so it is important to encourage them to do so in a non judgmental way. By having them use the puppets they can talk with the other children or even act it out on their own to help them feel more comfortable and in control of their own fear.

Yertle The Turtle

Yertle The Turtle
After reading the story we decided to try some stacking of our own. 
We had each child choose something around the room to try and stack. 

Each child had to first predict how many items they thought they would be able to stack without their tower falling over. Then they had to count their items to see if their prediction was accurate or not.

This year we also made some egg carton turtles! We used these for stacking and also to retell the story.
We discussed how many turtles make a dozen. We then made the connection to an egg carton and each child was able to make a set of egg carton turtles.
They were then able to try their hand at stacking them, one of the children said we needed the rock to stack them on so he set up the blocks in the "pond."  When we were done each child was able to bring their set of turtles home to continue the learning fun.
Thank you to strongstart.BlogSpot where I found this wonderful egg carton turtle idea.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Fox in Socks

Fox in Socks
*After reading the story we sorted socks by color, texture, size and pattern. 
*We then practiced folding them together, which really is a great fine motor workout for little hands.
*I hid a few mystery items in some of the socks and the children had to feel the item through the sock and try to guess what was inside based just on feel alone.
*We added all the socks into our sensory table when we were done and added the clothesline for the children to hang up the matches.

*I had the children compare their shoes and socks and encouraged them to remember who was wearing what. I then had the children cover their eyes while I had one come up and stand behind our mystery wall. The other children then had to open their eyes and guess which child it was based on their feet! The children could choose if they wanted to show their shoes or their socks. Such a fun game!
*We designed our own socks for the fox
 using water colors.
The sign reads: We made these socks to put on fox after reading, Fox In Socks. These socks aren't plain and blue, sir. They are new and fun to view, sir!

Green Eggs and Ham

Green Eggs and Ham

We conducted our own green eggs and ham taste test and graphed the results. In past years, I have simply scrambled up the eggs but I saw these green hard boiled eggs on pinterest and just had to try it! It combined the egg yolks with an avocado, salt, pepper and just a little bit of mayo. A healthier but still very yummy option and they just look so cute! I encouraged the children to try them and we discussed the importance of trying new things and not judging foods by their appearance.
I then asked the children to describe what the egg felt or tasted like in one word.
 We then made marble painted eggs and wrote about various places where we would or would not eat them.
We played a green eggs matching game using capital and lower case letters.
 We set up our own Green Eggs and Ham café in our dramatic play area and I even made some felt food to go along.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Wooden Alphabet

Wooden alphabet pieces!
I recruited my fiancé to help me with this project because I do not trust myself with power tools at all! LoL Thank goodness he's such a great sport!
So we went out to our backyard to rescue a branch that had fallen in the last snow storm. He then cut it into 26 wooden discs, one for each letter.
If you don't want to cut your own or don't have access to the tools to do so you can buy them already pre cut here for a great price. Granite Woods
I convinced my fiancé to open up this shop when I originally wanted to purchase the wood and he said, "no way, I can do it!" That sounded fabulous to me!
Once the discs were cut I dusted them off and just sanded them very gently, they didn't need much. 
Then I painted one side with 
chalkboard paint, and ta da!!!
Such a fun way to bring literacy and nature together!
Want to purchase your own set click here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Dinosaur tracks!

Dinosaur tracks!
On average a T-Rex footprint is believed to be around 3.3 feet.
We decided to see how many of the children's feet we could fit into a T-Rex footprint.
First, I asked the children to estimate how many we would be able to fit. Their answers varied greatly but most of the children kept their number under 10. A few went for over 100 and one lone child guessed 45.
I then invited the children to come up one at a time to put their shoes into the T-Rex track.

In the end, we found that we could fit 22 shoes inside the footprint!
When it came time for the children to put their shoes back on we tried something a little different.
I gave each child a turn to come up to the footprint, put on a blindfold and try to use their sense of touch to find their shoes or slippers! haha
It was lots of fun and the children continued the game later during free choice time. They would blindfold one another and try to guess what toys their friends would hand them! It was great!
This also gave way to some great discussions about people who are blind and how they have to use their other senses to explore and make sense of the world around them.
We also made a classroom book with various dinosaur tracks!

We made crayon rubbings and the children had to match them to a toy dinosaur to identify which dinosaur they came from. They then had to add a sentence about where they thought the dinosaur was walking to. 

The crayon rubbing technique can be repeated over and over using a variety of materials not just footprints. The process of looking for detail strengthens essential visual discrimination skills, the same skills children use to learn the differences between letters.