Thursday, November 21, 2013

Preschool themes and activities in September 2013

The first week of home preschool, we used the theme All About Me to discuss our bodies and families. Our activities included measuring height using rulers and other objects like megabloks,  making footprints and handprints with paint (Little Guy refused this one!), making a drawing of our family tree, playing find that body part, singing Head Shoulders Knees and Toes, making bean people, painting a wooden initial letter of our name, sorting googly eyes by size, and playing body part bingo.

The family tree was entertaining, initially I wanted to include all their cousins, but that turned into a reeealllly long chart even when they were all squished together so we opted for immediate family and grandparents only instead. Princess LOVED coloring a real tree outline around the bubbled names I drew. This activity went really well with one of the books I checked out of the library called All About Me or something like that which discussed families.

A fuzzy picture of our Family Tree we made. Yes, I included our future baby in the kiddies.
Another fabulous book I checked out this week was Hands are not for Hitting. It made an impression on the kids and the physical violence that siblings dish out to one another regularly definitely took a dive for the next week or two. I had them repeating the phrase even when others were hitting. That was nice. Sadly it was just a phase.

In September, the Preschool themes we used were Weather, By the Sea and In The Woods. For each topic I first looked at what other preschools had done using blogs and pinterest and then also looked at what appropriate books were available at the library (if I made it there).

 We read books we had at home about the moon, the seasons, clouds and the water cycle in addition to whatever books the kids wanted. I didn't really get to the library before this topic so I didn't even get to look for some of the other great books I was considering. I decided this was okay, we still read books every day!

Our weather activities included making clouds in a jar and letting it rain and making tornados in bottles. We also tried out cloud nomenclature cards for identifying some types of clouds.
 This is the second time we made "clouds". The first time we didn't use enough shaving cream and the color went thru immediately. This time, Little Guy's cloud had too much shaving cream and the food coloring never "rained" thru to the water underneath. But Princess' cloud worked well, and you could watch the food coloring come out the bottom of the cloud and drip into the water.
I didn't take any pictures of the tornado bottles apparently, but they were a big hit. The tornado was pretty faint to see for us though.

Princess liked the cloud nomenclature cards alright. We matched the pictures up to their names. It felt too much like a school exercise to me though and I'm not sure that more nomenclature cards will appear in our preschool time.


By The Sea
We read books about many types of sea creatures this week, including jellyfish, starfish, hermit crabs, and sharks. Originally I wanted to go to the beach during this week but I didn't have the energy or time for it. We still had a lot of fun.

This is from the book A Home for Hermit Crab by Eric Carle. We used pattern blocks to recreate his shell and friends.
I bought a bag of play sand at the home improvement store for less than $3 to refill the sand box in our yard and the kids spent hours several days in a row playing in it, especially after I introduced the game of "buried treasure" where you bury some small toys and then search for them.

We also made paperbag jellyfish, colored rice starfish and wave bottles this week. The paperbag jellyfish were easy and fun, as were the starfish.. Princess and Little Guy played with them for weeks too! The wave bottles are not as fun without little things to put in them I think, but they were interesting for the kids to see the water/oil interaction and how it was like waves. I also attempted homemade playdough and it turned out nicely! I colored it blue, yellow and white for water, sand and clouds. We played with shells and toothpicks in it to make anenomes, jelly fish and shell imprints. Here is the awesome recipe for playdough that I found worked really well.
Painting Jellyfish bags
I had hoped to go to the beach at the end of this week but I was too tired and it didn't work in the schedule. We did create some fun treats (jello with gummy fish, teddy bears floating in life savers) and have a good time overall, though I definitely over planned.  Here was my pinterest board of ideas.

In The Woods

For this week we read books about raccoons, vultures, birds, owls, bears and other animals you might find in the woods. We also read One Small Square: Woods and used it as a basis for outdoor hikes in the woods in our back yard. We found tiny spiderwebs, little cactii, heard bird calls and lots of different kinds of leaves. Since our dog was following us and there was LOTS of noise, there wasn't much chance of seeing any other creatures, but it was a lot of fun for the kids anyway. I didn't take lots of pictures this week however. 
Princess was happy to give the grocery store mascot "5". Most of the other kids were terrified.

Free cookies!
We also took a field trip this week to the grocery store with other toddlers and preschoolers from our Music Makers group of friends. Every week we try to go to a free music makers class that is done by moms in the area and is pretty fun. It involves lots of singing of kids songs and rhymes, a parade with instruments, parachutes with balls and story time. It is exhausting to me but so rewarding to the little kids as they sing the songs all the time that I think it is worth it. The field trip was entertaining as Princess warmed up to the guide and started telling her all sorts of interesting things. It was themed around healthy foods and the kids each chose a fruit and vegetable and were given them as well as a gift bag with trinkets and coloring pages. 

Well there is a quick summary of some of the preschool activities we had in September! I learned a lot about my own style for preschool this month and also how much to plan and I think Princess and Little Guy really enjoyed themselves.

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