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!"

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Thinking Theme: Community Helpers

Letter of the Week: Hh

Number of the Week: 6

Bible Verse of the Week: "My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth." Psalm 121:2


So many fun songs here at Preschool Education!
Lesson 1: Community Helpers Matching Game
* To understand the term community
* To understand what a community helper is and recognize different ones
* To match each community helper with the tools they use

* Community Helpers printout
* scissors

1. Cut out each community helper picture, as well as the items they use. (My cards look a little different because I had these during my teaching years.  The printout I created for you above looks very similar.)

2. Talk about each community helper and what they do. Review the matches first so your child knows what goes together.

3. Have your child match each set together. This game can be played throughout the week!  You can also glue the matching items next to each other on some paper.

Lesson 2: License Plate Game/Speed Limit Game (Police Officer)
* To understand who a police officer is and his/her role in the community
* To recognize what a license plate is
* To discuss the importance of driving rules and going the speed limit
* To recognize letters and numbers and say their names

* letters and numbers (they can be magnetic, cookie cutters, felt, or just written and cut out)
* a pretend vehicle (we used Sawyer's jeep, you can even make one out of a cardboard box!)
* something to hold and display the letters (we used a pan because our letters were magnetic)

1. Talk about who a police officer is and what he/she does in our community.  Discuss the jobs of helping people, making sure drivers go the speed limit on the road, and catching bad guys! :)

2. Explain what a license plate is and talk about how police officers look at license plates when cars are pulled over if they are going too fast.  You can look at the actual license plate on your real car to show your child.  Ask them to say the letters and numbers on the plate.

3. Tell your child you are going to play a game in which one of you will pretend to be a police officer and the other will be a speeding driver.  The police officer will pull the car over and have to check the license plate.

4. Place letters and numbers on the pan (or whatever you use) in any random order and place it on the car.  Have the child drive first and you be the officer.  As you pull the car over, show your child how to check the license plate by saying the letters and numbers aloud.  Then switch roles so your child can do the letter and number recognition.

5. Have fun with this game!  The kids will love it!  We even got out a bubble gun to pretend it was the police officer's radar!

Lesson 3: Mailbox Match (Mail Carrier)
* To understand who a mail carrier is and his/her role in the community
* To recognize that mail carriers place letters in a specific mailbox for each person
* To match envelopes to the correct mailbox according to letters, numbers, and shapes

* envelopes
* 3-4 boxes that can represent mailboxes
* a bag that your child can put the envelopes in like a mail carrier
* letters, numbers, and shapes (these can be magnetic, blocks, or printout
* markers

1. Explain who a mail carrier is and how he/she delivers mail to everyone in the city.  Talk about how they have to look at the envelopes to see which mailbox they need to go in.

2. Set out 3-4 boxes and pretend they are mailboxes.  Start with matching shapes.  Place a shape in front of each mailbox.  Then draw the shapes on the envelopes.  Place the envelopes in the bag, and have your child deliver the mail to the correct box.

3. Do the same for letters and numbers.  Remember with letters to do uppercase and lowercase!

4. Again, have fun with this.  I let Sawyer where my hat to look like a real mailman!

Lesson 4: Fire Safety (Firefighter)
* To understand who a firefighter is and his/her role in the community
* To recognize the danger of fire
* To learn how to use fire safety rules and practice them

1. Talk about what a firefighter does and how they protect us from fires.  Discuss how dangerous fire can be and the importance of fire safety.

2. Watch both of the you tube videos and ask your child questions about them.  Talk about what the children in the videos did to be safe.

3.  Talk about what to do if your clothes catch on fire.  Teach your child how to "stop, drop, and roll."  Demonstrate it for them and then have them do it to practice.

4. Teach your child about getting down low and crawling if there is smoke in the room.

5. Talk about what to do if the door is closed to the room.  Teach them to use their sense of touch to feel if the door is hot.  If it is hot, then do not open it.  It is feels normal, it's ok to open it.

6.  Go around your house to look for smoke detectors.  Discuss the importance of these alarms and what to do if you hear one.  Check to see if they are all working properly.

* Some of these discussions can be scary for kids, but they are very important.  If you have an older child, now is a good time to develop an escape plan and practice it with them.  Help your child to remember to stay calm and use these rules so that they will be safe and not get hurt!

Lesson 5: Community Book
* To review the community helpers you have learned about this week
* To understand that these helpers have specific work places in the community
* To drive by or visit these places around your city and take pictures of them
* To create a picture book to help your child remember who the community helpers are, what they do, and where they work
* To use the fine motor skills involved with cutting, gluing, pasting, and writing

* construction paper
* scissors
* glue
* pencil
* hole punch
* string or ribbon
* printed pictures of places where community helpers work

1.  Drive around your community and take pictures of special places where community helpers work.  We went to the fire station, the doctor's office and hospital, the post office, the grocery store, the police station, and Sawyer's school.

2. When you get back home, load the pictures to your computer and print them. (or you can have them printed somewhere)

3.  Create a community helper book using the pictures.  I printed the pictures with words as you can see below, but you don't have to do it this way.  You can just write out the sentences if you like.  We glued the pictures to construction paper to make the book a little sturdier.  I left a space for Sawyer to write the name of the community helper that works at each place.  Of course I had to guide his hand as he did this, but if your child can write on their own, that's fantastic, too!  Punch holes in the side of the pages and tie them together with a ribbon or string to complete the book!

Extra Thinking
* Letter Hh - place Happy stickers on the letter Hh

* Pretend Play - Your child can pretend to be different kinds of community helpers: teacher - draw on chalk board or read books aloud, doctor - create a doctor's kit with band-aids, gauze, tweezers, etc, plumber - play with safe tools and pretend to fix the sink or bathtub

* Community Helper Puppets found here at First Palette

* Lots of Community Helper Lessons here at Perpetual Preschool

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Thinking Theme: My Birthday

This is a special week to celebrate your child and the blessing that they are!  Have a BLAST!!!

Letter of the Week: Cc

Number of the Week: Child's Age (Sawyer is turning 3!)

Bible Verse of the Week: "Glorify the Lord with me, let us exalt His Name together." Psalm 34:3


_________________________________________ Lesson 1: Birthday Cake Candles File Folder Game
* To understand that a person has a specific number of candles on their birthday cake that corresponds to their age
* To count 1-10 and recognize the written numbers 1-10
* To match the correct number of candles to each birthday cake according to the written number on each

* Birthday Cake Candles Game printout
* file folder
* scissors
* glue/tape
* small ziploc bag

1. Print out the file folder game pieces, cut them out, and glue them onto a file folder like this:

2. Place the candles in a ziploc bag.

3. Have your child point to each number on the cakes and say what it is.

4. Then have your child put the correct number of candles on each cake.

5. Sawyer really enjoyed this game.  He even tried to blow the candles out!

Lesson 2: Ice Cream Cone Matching Game
* To recognize written letters, as well as the sounds of the letters
* To match specific words to the letters that they start with based on the sounds and the written version of the word

* brown construction paper
* other brightly colored construction paper
* scissors and circle punch (if you have one)
* black marker
* small ziploc bag

1.  Cut out 9 triangles from the brown construction paper.  These will represent the ice cream cones.

2. Cut out multiple circles from different colors of construction paper.  I did 36 (enough for each cone to have 4 "scoops")

3. Write the 9 uppercase letters that we have studied so far onto the cones.  The letter are A, B, C, F, H, L, O, S, and T.

4. Write words onto the circles that start with these letters.  Do enough for each letter to have 3-4 corresponding words.  Remember to include words that start with lowercase letters, as well as proper nouns with uppercase letters.  These words need to be relevant to your child...words that have been in the lesson vocabulary, words you use around the house daily, or words from the Bible verses we have been learning.

5. Spread the "cones" out on the floor.  Have your child match the words to the letter they start with.  Say the words for them before they look at the written version so that they are hearing the sounds of the letters.

6.  Here are all of our matches:

7.  Once you are finished, place the triangles and circles in a ziploc bag and save the game to play throughout the week!

Lesson 3: Balloon Patterns and Painting
* To create patterns using different colored balloons, the patterns will vary (ABAB, AABAAB, ABCABC, etc)
* To understand the concept of patterning and recognize what colored balloon comes next in the sequence
* To create a painting using balloons and recognize the artistic effect balloons can make on paper

* bag of multi-colored balloons
* white construction paper
* 3-5 different colors of paint
* paper plates
* drop cloth
* something to cover your child's clothes

1.  Pick 2 colors of balloons and demonstrate how to make an ABAB pattern. (pink, yellow, pink, yellow)  Ask your child what color they think is supposed to come next.

2.  Keep demonstrating until they understand the concept of an ABAB pattern.  Have them create one themselves.

3. Continue making different types of patterns using other colors. ( red, red, blue, red, red, blue, etc.) 

4. Next, pour a little bit of paint onto a paper plate.  Blow up a balloon to a size that your child can easily hold in their hand.  Have them dip the balloon into the paint and then onto the white construction paper.  The balloon makes a cool print on the paper.  Do this with multiple colors.  You can also use the circle end of the balloon (where you blow it up) and make circle prints on the paper.

* Fun artwork to display!  You could even do balloon print patterns if you want to! :)

Lesson 4: Bake Birthday Cake or Cupcakes
* To bake a cake and/or cupcakes using a recipe
* To understand what a recipe is and how to follow the directions in a specific order
* To use measuring skills to determine how much of an ingredient to put into the mixture
* To use the motor skills involved with pouring, stirring, and scooping
* To make your child feel special on their big day! :)

* whatever you need to bake your favorite cake or cupcakes

1.  Bake a birthday cake or cupcakes using your favorite recipe.  Sawyer wanted a chocolate rocket cake and vanilla cupcakes for his party, so that's what we did!  Since we had a lot of people coming to the party and not very much time, we just used box mixes.  We both still had a great time cooking together!

* Of course, he had to enjoy a little bit of batter!  I did, too! :)

* Here are a few pictures of how the cake and cupcakes turned out:

* We used different candies to outline the rocket cake.  The colors matched the party decorations.

* We added sprinkles and cupcake toppers to the cupcakes.

Lesson 5: Pinata
I got this idea here at Enchanted Learning but changed it just a little.

* To learn what a pinata is
* To create a pinata using a paper bag
* To celebrate your child's birthday by "opening" the pinata :)

* paper bag
* markers, crayons, stickers, tissue paper, etc. (anything your child wants to decorate the bag with)
* candy
* string
* tape or stapler
* scissors

1. Let your child decorate a paper bag however they want to.  Sawyer used markers, stickers, and tissue paper.

2. Let your child place some candy inside the bag.  We had leftovers from the party.

3.  Seal the bag with tape or by using a stapler.

4.  Hang the bag outside from a tree using some string.

5.  Let your child go! :) (Just a little tip, you will probably need to start a small hole for them because the paper bag was really strong!)

* Oh Boy!!!

Extra Thinking
* Letter Cc - glue cotton balls on the letter Cc

* Memory Box from Enchanted Learning - make a box full of memories from that year of your child's life.  You can include a special award, report card, pictures from a trip, or anything to help you remember the fun things that happened that year. 

* Birthday Party! - Here are a few more pics of Sawyer's Rocket Party: