As a former Pre-Kindergarten teacher and now stay-at-home mommy of 2 boys and a sweet baby girl, many people ask me how they can be implementing educational concepts in the lives of their young children at home before they enter school. Instead of trying to come up with a quick list of ideas off the top of my head to answer these questions, I have decided to put all of my lessons into this blog. I, along with so many other parents, want to be purposeful at home with my children and make the most of the time I have with them.
I hope that this blog can help, encourage, and inspire you to work with your kiddos and
get involved in the learning process! The benefits will be endless,
and the moments you share together will be priceless! As Dr. Seuss once said,
"The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you'll go!"

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Thinking Theme: Transportation

Letter of the Week: Tt

Number of the Week: 4

Bible Verse of the Week: "Jesus answered, 'I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.'" John 14:6 (older children can learn the rest of the verse..."No one comes to the Father except through me.")


Lots of great songs here at Preschool Rainbow.
Lesson 1: What Will Roll the Best?
* To determine which type of object will roll the best down a ramp and recognize why
* To learn about the concepts included in a science experiment such as a hypothesis, procedure, and conclusion
* To make and understand what an incline plane (ramp) is
* To use the fine motor skills involved with writing and coloring

* a wooden board or some kind of material that can be used to create an incline plane (ramp)
* 4 different objects to try to roll down the ramp (make sure only item will actual roll well, we used a car, book, block, and a teddy bear)
* crayons
* pencil
* Worksheet

1. Talk about what a science experiment is and the components of a simple science experiment. (hypothesis - guess of what will happen, experiment procedure - steps to do the experiment, conclusion - what actually happened)

2. Have your child look at the 4 objects you have selected and ask them what they think will roll the best down a ramp. Write their hypothesis down on the paper (guiding their hand or writing themselves)

3. Create an incline place (ramp) with the wooden board. Make sure that it is not too steep (anything will slide down something super steep :) )

4. Allow your child to try and roll each object down the incline plane. Write down the experiment results on the paper.

5. After each object has been tested, ask your child the question again, "What object rolled the best?" Write the conclusion on the paper. Have your child draw pictures of the experiment if they wish.

Lesson 2: Airplane Craft
I found ideas for this craft here at It Mom and here at Paint Cut and Paste. I combined the two and added a little of my own based on the materials and time that I had.

* To learn about airplanes and their characteristics
* To understand the differences between airplanes and other forms of transportation
* To use the fine motor skills involved with cutting, gluing/taping, and drawing

* empty toilet paper or paper towel roll
* construction paper
* glue/tape
* popsicle stick
* stickers if you have them
* markers
* scissors

1. Wrap a piece of construction paper around the toilet paper roll and tape/glue into place and set it aside.

2. Draw or place 4 (number of the week emphasis) stickers onto a popsicle stick.

3. Help your child cut out a square shape of construction paper.

4. Roll the square into a cone shape and tape/glue it on top of the toilet paper roll. Then tape/glue the popsicle stick in the middle.

5. Cut out two triangle shapes from the construction paper, and tape/glue them to the bottom sides of the roll.

6. Let your child have fun flying their airplane! :) Talk about other types of transportation that fly in the air (ex: helicopters, jets, rockets, space shuttles, etc.) Discuss the differences between this type of transportation and transportation that drives on the road or in the water.

Lesson 3: My Suitcase
* To understand what items you should put in a suitcase when you go on a trip
* To recognize why these items are necessary and why other items are not
* To use the fine motor skills involved with cutting, gluing, and writing

* construction paper
* glue
* scissors
* old magazines
* stapler if you have one (or you can use tape or glue, staples just hold the paper together better in this lesson)

1. Talk about the items that you put into a suitcase when you go on a trip. Ask you child what they need to take with them. Use questions like, "Do you need to take a toothbrush on a trip? Can you put your swingset in your suitcase?" Help them understand what is necessary to take, what can fit in a suitcase, and why you need these things?

2. Cut a piece of construction paper into a rectangle shape and staple it to the top of another piece of construction paper as if it were a handle on a suitcase like this:

* I labled the top "My Suitcase"

3. Find pictures in magazines that represent items that belong in a suitcase, and cut them out.

4. Glue the pictures on the "suitcase."

5. Label each picture. You can write it by guiding your child's hand or have them write it on their own.

6. A cute pretend suitcase!

* Extension:
Pack an actual suitcase with the necessary items and pretend to go on a trip!

Lesson 4: Shape Bus
* To understand what a school bus is and what it looks like
* To use different shapes to determine how to create a school bus picture
* To recognize different shapes and say their names
* To use the fine motor skills involved with cutting, gluing, and drawing

* white, yellow, black, light blue, and red construction paper
* scissors
* glue
* markers/crayons
* book about a school bus

1. Read a book about a school bus. Have your child look at the bus and talk about it's characteristics (colors, shapes, etc.)

2. Cut out these shapes from the construction paper:
* 1 large yellow rectangle
* 1 skinny black rectangle
* 4 small black circles
* 1 small yellow trapezoid
* 5 small blue squares
* 2 small red ovals

3. Spread all of the shapes out so your child can see them. Ask them to pick up the yellow rectangle, then glue it in the middle of the paper. Then ask them to find another rectangle and see if they can pick up the skinny black rectangle. Glue this onto the yellow rectangle.

4. Continue this process of asking your child to find specific shapes and then glue the pieces together to make a bus like this:

5. Talk about how all of the shapes fit together and how we can find shapes all around us in our environment. As an extension, you can make another vehicle out of shapes (ex: car, train, rocket, etc.) Have your child try to figure out the best shapes to use for each part of the vehicle.

Lesson 5: Wheel Painting
* To understand what wheels are and how they work based on their shape
* To recognize that wheels can make certain prints with their tracks
* To use the fine motor skills involved with painting and rolling cars/trucks

* white construction paper
* 3-4 different colors of paint
* paper plates or bowls to put paint in
* trucks, cars, etc. that you don't mind getting dirty :)
* something to cover child's clothes
* drop cloth

1. Put a paint smock or coverup over your child's clothes and place a drop cloth down in the area you will be painting.

2. Pour a small amount of each color paint into bowls or plates.

3. Have your child look at the wheels on each vehicle to observe the track marks. Then let them roll the vehicle in the paint to cover the wheels with color.

4. Then have them roll it onto the paper and observe the track marks.

5. They will love this lesson and get very messy! :) It creates fun artwork to display!

Extra Thinking
* Letter Tt crafts from Totally Tots- Tractor Uppercase T, Toothbrush lowercase t
* Field Trip - What a great week to go on a field trip to an airport, train station, bus station, farm to see tractors, etc.
* Cardboard Box Transportation - These are ADORABLE from Party Blowout!!! So many creative ways to use cardboard boxes, especially for a transportation unit! Scroll down to find lots of ideas!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Thinking Theme: Ocean - 2 weeks

Letter of the Week: Oo

Number of the Week: 8

Bible Verse of the Week: "Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good." Psalm 118:1


I found lots of fun ocean songs here at Everything Preschool.
* This is a 2 week unit, so there are 10 lessons listed with lots of extras to choose from! Enjoy!

Lesson 1: Ocean in a Bag
* To understand that the ocean is made up of different components including sand, salt water, and ocean animals
* To taste the difference between salt water and fresh water
* To recognize that certain animals have to live in salt water in order to survive
* To recognize specific ocean animals and say their names

* 3-4 cups of water
* clear measuring cup or glass
* blue food coloring
* gallon size ziploc bag
* 2-3 tablespoons of salt
* 1 cup of sand
* ocean animal toys (you can also use ocean fruit snacks if you don't have toys)

1. Put 3-4 cups of water into a clear measuring cup or glass. Add 2-3 tablespoons of salt to the water and mix together.

2. Have your child taste the water and ask them what it tastes like. Talk about the difference between salt water and fresh water, and explain that the ocean is made of salt water.

3. Then let your child add 2-3 drops of blue food coloring to the water to make it look like the ocean.

4. Set the water aside for a minute. Add about a cup of sand to a gallon size ziploc bag.

5. Then add the blue water to the bag, as well as the ocean animals. Talk about the names of each animal and explain that they have to live in salt water instead of fresh water in order to survive.

6. Ocean in a Bag! Keep your bag for the next 2 weeks and review the components of the ocean throughout your lessons! (Note - I put the bag into a large plastic container to store it just in case of spills!)

Lesson 2: Rainbow Fish
* To be able to comprehend the story of Rainbow Fish by answering questions related to the book
* To understand the importance of sharing and being a good friend
* To use the fine motor skills involved with folding tissue paper and gluing

* The book Rainbow Fish or access to You Tube on the Internet
* blue construction paper
* printout of a fish or you can just draw your own
* different colors of tissue paper
* glitter or foil
* glue

1. Read the book, The Rainbow Fish, or watch the video online at under Rainbow Fish Story Video.

2. Talk about what happened in the story, how the rainbow fish was beautiful but had no friends because he was not willing to share, and how he learned what it meant to be a true friend. Ask your child why it is important to share with others and be a kind, loving friend to everyone.

3. Print out a fish shape pattern and glue it to a piece of blue construction paper. You can also draw the fish directly onto the paper.

4. Cut up multiple colors of tissue paper into small squares.

5. Show your child how to pinch the tissue paper together and glue it onto the fish. These will represent the rainbow fish's scales. Allow the child to do the rest.

6. After most of the fish is covered, choose one place on the fish and put some glue there and sprinkle glitter onto the spot. After about 2 minutes, shake off the extra glitter. You can also use a small piece of tin foil. This will represent the one shiny scale left on the rainbow fish and act as a reminder to your child that we need to share and give to others!

Lesson 3: Pass the Pail
* To recognize that letters have specific sounds
* To match letters to objects that start with the sound of the letter
* To be able to say other words that start with that same sound

* Ocean animal toys or pictures of ocean animals
* letters (can be magnetic letters, letters from an alphabet puzzle, or you can just write them on construction paper and cut them out)
* a bucket or pail

1. Gather different ocean animals or pictures of ocean animals, as well as the letters that they start with. (ex: Crab - C, Dolphin - D, Starfish - S, etc.)

2. Place all of the ocean animals into a bucket or pail representing a pail you would play with at the beach. Spread out the letters on a table so that your child can see each one.

3. Have your child reach into the pail and choose one animal. Then ask them to find the letter that it starts with. It is important to annunciate the sound for them so they get used to it. (ex: fish - /f/, /f/, fish, what letter makes the /f/, /f/ sound?

4. Help your child find all of the matches and place the animals next to the corresponding letters. Ask them to review the letter sounds and say them back to you.

* Have your child say other words that start with the same sounds (ex: Say "C is for crab, what else starts with a /c/, /c/ sound?" - cat, car, etc.)

Lesson 4: Clumsy Crab
* To understand what a crab is and it's characteristics
* To recognize that crabs live in the ocean
* To use the fine motor skills involved with painting, cutting, gluing, and drawing

Part 1:
* book about a crab
* paper plate or paper bowl
* red paint
* sponge
* drop cloth
* something for child to cover their clothes

Part 2:
* 4 pipe cleaners
* red construction paper
* scissors
* marker
* tape or glue
* 2 googly eyes
* hole punch

1. Read a book about a crab to your child. We read The Clumsy Crab by Ruth Galloway. Talk about the characteristics of the crab, as well as what happened in the story.

2. Place a paint smock or coverup over your child's clothes to protect them from paint! :) Also put a drop cloth down on the ground in the area you will be painting in.

3. Put a little bit of red paint into a bowl and have your child dip a sponge into it and paint the outside of a paper plate or paper bowl. Set it aside to dry for about an hour.

4. When you have time to come back to the project, draw 2 claw shapes onto red construction paper and help your child cut them out, and set them aside.

5. Cut the 4 red pipe cleaners in half in order to make 8 smaller pieces. These will be the legs of the crab. This is also a good time to practice counting to 8 (number of the week) with your child. Have them count each pipe cleaner piece.

6. Punch 4 holes on each side of the red plate or bowl. Put a pipe cleaner through each hole and twist them around so they stay in place. Then glue or tape the claws onto the top of the bowl. Add the googly eyes and draw a smily face! :)

7. Now you have a sweet little crab! Have your child act out the story from the crab book you read using their little craft!

Here is another crab you can make from Daily Dose of Sugar Mama!

Lesson 5: Ocean Patterns
* To understand what a pattern is and the differences between types of patterns
* To create patterns using 3 items (AB patterns, ABC patterns, AABB patterns, etc.)

* clip art or drawn ocean animals (3 animals, 4-6 each)
* scissors

1. Print out or draw 3 different types of ocean animals. You need to have 4-6 copies of each animal. Cut each one out and have your child place the animals into 3 groups. This is a great, quick sorting lesson within a pattern lesson.

2. Show your child a simple pattern. (ex: seahorse, jellyfish, seahorse, jellyfish, etc.) Have your child continue to pattern by adding the next pictures. Explain that a pattern repeats the same thing over and over again. Demostrate how to look at each picture to figure out what is supposed to come next.

3. Once they sort of understand the concept, you can add another animal to make an ABCABC pattern. Have the child continue to practice and make new patterns with the animals. This is a difficult concept to grasp just from doing one lesson. We will be doing lots of patterning activities in the future so they can fully comprehend! :)

Lesson 6: Octopus
* I got this idea here at Crafty Crafted, but I changed it just a little.

* To understand what an octopus is and it's characteristics
* To recognize that an octopus lives in the ocean
* To create an octopus, focusing on it's 8 tentacles
* To count to 8 and match the numbers 1-8 with the correct amount of stickers
* To use the fine motor skills involved with cutting, gluing/taping, coloring, and placing stickers

* construction paper
* small stickers
* scissors
* tape or glue
* markers
* yarn
* 2 googly eyes
* hole punch

1. Roll one piece of construction paper into a tube shape and tape/glue it in place.

2. On another piece of construction paper, draw lines for your child to cut out 8 strips for the 8 tentacles. One idea that I used in my classroom is to use a green crayon or marker to draw the lines. Tell your child that green means go, and they can go with their scissors on each line.

3. Write numbers 1-8 on the tentacles. Guide your child's hand or have them write themselves.

4. Then have your child place the corresponding number of stickers on each one.

5. Tape/glue each tentacle to the tube construction paper piece.

6. Add googly eyes and a face to the tube.

7. If you would like, you can punch holes on the top sides of the Octopus and thread a piece of yarn or string through to hang it up.

Lesson 7: Sea Shell Sorting
* To understand what sea shells are and how they are different
* To sort shells into groups according to similarities (ex: same shape, same size, same color)

* bag of sea shells (I found some at Hobby Lobby for $2.50)
* pan with edges to hold the shells
* divided platter or plate to sort or you can just make small groups on the table
* magnifying glass if you have one

1. Place all of the sea shells in a pan and have your child observe each one by looking at them with a magnifying glass and touching them to feel their textures and shapes. Talk about how sea shells are found on the beach in the sand or on the bottom of the ocean. Remember that some shells are "homes" for special ocean creatures like small crabs.

2. Ask your child to put the shells into groups according to the same shape. If you need to, show them an example by creating the first group.

3. Once they are finished sorting by shape, then ask them to sort by size and then by color.

5. Extensions:
* Use playdough to make sea shell prints by pressing the shells into the playdough
* Make sea shell patterns and review lesson #5

Lesson 8: Beach Ball Letter Match
* To understand that each letter has an uppercase image and a lowercase image
* To match upper and lowercase letters together
* To use motor skills involved with catching and throwing

* beach ball
* permanent marker

1. Write uppercase and lowercase letters on the beach ball, making sure the same letters are not close together on the ball. (Do not use the letters Cc, Kk, Mm, Oo, Pp, Ss, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, and Zz. These letters look the same in both upper and lowercase.)

2. Play a game of catch with your child. First, you find a letter (ex: uppercase A) then throw the ball to them and ask them to find the match. (ex: lowercase a)

3. Continue playing until you have made all the matches. Make sure you start with uppercase sometimes and lowercase sometimes so that your child is not always finding just the lowercase letters.

Lesson 9: Goldfish Graphing
* I found this activity here at Oopsey Daisy. The graph is free to download.

* To understand what a graph is and how to create one
* To sort goldfish according to color
* To graph the number of goldfish based on color
* To count each color of goldfish and determine which has the most, least, etc.
* To use the fine motor skills involved with sorting, coloring, and writing

* colored goldfish
* graph from Oopsey Daisy
* crayons or markers

1. Place one goldfish of each color in the first column of the graph to show your child how to start. Explain that they are to put all of the colored fish in the correct line of the graph.

2. Allow the child to place the fish in the coordinating rows. (*Hint - there are only 7 spaces for each color, make sure you only have the child use a certain number for each color, ex: 3 yellow, 5 purple, 7 orange, 4 green)

3. Once the graph is finished, count how many fish were in each line and have your child color in the coordinating number of squares for each color. Talk about which color had the most fish, which color had the smallest number of fish. Guide your child's hand as they write the number next to each line in the graph.

5. Extensions:
* Use an egg carton and write numbers in each hole. Have the child place the correct number of goldfish in each one.

Lesson 10: Ocean Snacks
* To review the characteristics of the ocean
* To create an ocean in a bottle that you can drink :)

* bottle of water
* fruit snacks in the shape of ocean animals (we used Finding Nemo)
* Blue Hawaiian Punch Singles-to-go powder

1. Pour one package of the Hawaiian Punch into a bottle of water.

2. Shake it up until fully mixed.

3. Add Ocean fruit snacks to the bottle. As your child puts each one in, have them say the name of the animal.

4. Drink the ocean in a bottle. The kids will have a lot of fun trying to get to the fruit snacks! This is a great time to review everything your child has learned throughout the last 2 weeks!

Extra Thinking:

* Letter Oo - glue cheeri"O"s on the letter O (remember to do upper and lowercase)

* Visit an aquarium or the beach! We went to the Denver Aquarium this summer and got to see lots of cool creatures! Check it out!

* Tons of Ocean Activities here at The Virtual Vine!
* Shark Letter Game - Love this from I Heart Crafty Things!
* Lobster Craft from Crafty Crafted
* Ocean vs. Land Animals from Pre-K Pages
* Whale Craft from DTLK Kids