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Monday, April 17, 2017

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Earth Themed Preschool Letter Sensory Bin

Did you know Earth looks blue and green from space? Do your preschoolers know? This Earth themed letter sensory bin is as much fun to run your fingers through as it is to use as a letter-learning tool!

When I saw this math bin with an Earth theme, I knew I wanted to do one with letters! Plus, the Virtual Book Club is focusing on Earth this week, so the timing was perfect!

To make the colored rice, I filled a gallon sized zip-lock baggie just over half way full with rice, added about 20 drops of food coloring and a squirt of hand sanitizer, and mixed up the rice. Then my oldest daughter helped me set the bin up to look like Earth (green continents and blue water).

I grabbed some flat rocks from outside and used a black sharpie to write letters on them. I chose the letters we've been working on lately--it's easier for preschoolers to recognize a handful of letters at a time rather than the entire alphabet! We added these to the "Earth Bin" with a few wooden flower beads. That seemed appropriate. :) I also set out some of our favorite scooping and measuring tools.

When the preschoolers saw the bin, they were pulled in like magnets! They played in soooo many ways! 

The first time I set out a new sensory bin, I just let the kids play and experiment however they want. The most popular rocks were the ones with letters from the kids names on them. 

Next time we play I'll help them use the bin to learn more letters by playing with them. Here are a few easy ideas: 

* Build a rock bridge or path and ask your preschoolers to pass you rocks by the letter (for example, "Please pass me the A rock."

* Bury letter rocks (by name) in rice volcanoes.

* Transport letter rocks (by name) in dump trucks across the "Earth."

This bin is also perfect to pull out for a space theme! Look at satelite pictures of Earth, talk about why it looks blue, green, and white, discuss whether there is more ocean or land on Earth (and how you can tell), and take imaginary rockets through space to the Earth bin!

I put our Earth themed LETTER sensory bin together to go with the Virtual Book Club for Kids Earth Day theme!  The suggested book is The Earth Book by Todd Parr, but you can read any Earth themed book and try out any of the activities that appeal to you!

Amazon Affiliate Link:

Earth Themed Activities from VBC Cohosts:

Take the Eco-Friendly Family Pledge - Sunny Day Family
Earth Themed Letter Sensory Bin - Preschool Powol Packets (you are here!!)

More coming soon!!

Happy Educating,

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Friday, April 14, 2017

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Play Parachute Games {Seed Themed} for Preschoolers

Play parachute games encourage a sense of unity and group belonging while strengthening large muscles, gross motor coordination, and social skills! Some of these activities help counting/math skills too!

Parachutes can be used with any age group, from toddlers to teens! I've learned a lot about preschool parachute games from a friend of mine who hosts a weekly music class, so I was excited to try making up some new games to play with our preschoolers on our Plant Themed Day. 

These games are simple and easy to adapt for different skill levels. They reinforce math, science, and play skills!

Play Parachute Games for Preschoolers - Seed Theme

1- Life Cycle of a Seed Parachute Play:  Start out with the parachute at the kids' waist height and tell them they are like seeds! Let's "plant" the seeds by putting the parachute close the ground and shaking/waving it down low. Slowly raise the parachute as the seeds grow taller and taller and taller...until the parachute is over everyone's heads! Then let go of the parachute as the plants make new seeds that "fly away!" (Of course, the teacher holds on to the parachute.)

2- Rolling Seed Parachute Game: Toss a big bouncy ball or two onto the parachute. The balls are seeds, and the kids can make waves in the parachute to represent wind blowing the seeds around!

3- Seed in the Wind Parachute Game: Each child takes a turn being the seed and sitting in the middle of the parachute while everyone else makes "wind" to blow the seeds around by shaking the parachute up and down. If you have a big group you can have 2-3 kids sit in the middle at the same time.  :)

4- Seed Walk Parachute Play: Everyone holds on to the parachute with one hand and walks in a circle like seeds blowing down a trail. This is great for improving coordination and gross motor balance.

5- Seed Swap Parachute Game: Choose 2-4 different kinds of seeds, depending on how many kids you have. Assign each child a type of seed. Wave the parachute above the kids' heads and call out a seed type. Everyone who was assigned the seed you called out needs to run under the parachute and switch places!

6- Little Seeds Parachute Play: Wave the parachute over the kids' heads while chanting:

Little seeds on the ground do not make a sound!

Chant the next line as your preschoolers (aka seeds) jump up and fly away:

Little seeds in the air fly away without a care!

What's your favorite Play Parachute game? Have you used it in a themed lesson? I'd love to collect more ideas!!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Wednesday, April 12, 2017

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Preschool Butterfly Theme

Welcome to our Butterfly Theme for Preschoolers!

I have butterfly theme activities in the following categories:

Science & Sensory Butterfly Theme Activities
Butterfly Themed Language & Literacy Activities
Math Butterfly Theme Activities
Butterfly Arts & Crafts
Painted Lady Butterflies

You can scroll down to whatever type of butterfly activities you're looking for, or just browse through to brainstorm ideas for your preschoolers!

To get more details about any of the butterfly activities, just click on the link below the picture! 

Butterfly Themed Science & Sensory Activities:

Butterfly Themed Literacy & Language Activities:

Butterfly Themed Math Preschool Activities:


Butterfly Crafts & Art:

Raising Painted Lady Butterflies:

I hope you have an awesome butterfly theme! It's always one of our preschoolers' favorite units!!

Happy Educating,

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Tuesday, April 11, 2017

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Plant Lifecycle & Handbells Preschool Activity

We got a set of handbells this year, so I've been trying to plan a handbell lesson for our preschool kids each Friday. They've been simple, but we've loved them! This one tied into our plant theme.

Handbells + plant parts = awesome preschool learning! 

This plant themed activity incorporates three plant parts, visual and audio discrimination, and handbells!

To get started, choose three bells that are at least two notes apart. I used "low" c, g, and "high" c. Give your preschoolers a picture of a flower, stem, and roots (I just drew "three part" cards with crayons for them -- it took about two minutes to make a set of eight).

Talk about what roots, stems, and flowers are and what they do for plants. If you can bring a big plant to class so they can see all three parts, that is awesome. (Weeds are really great for this...if you can get them with the roots attached!)

 Then assign each part to one of the bells. When you ring a "low c," for example, the preschoolers hold up their "root" cards. A "high c" corresponds to the flowers, and a "g" is the "stem." See if your preschoolers can do it with their eyes closed!

After you ring through each plant part, let some of your kiddos take a turn ringing one bell and letting everyone else hold up the corresponding card!

When you finish, review the "jobs" of each part of the plant again!

Do you use handbells in your lessons? If so, I'd love to know what you do with them! We'll be using ours a lot, so I'll keep you all updated!!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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