Dinosaur Theme for Preschool: Hatching DINO Eggs – Early Math & Science.

Dinosaur Theme Math and Science Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten

Dinosaur Theme Math and Science Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten


Learning about DINOSAURS is fascinating for preschoolers (and adults, too)!  To help celebrate INTERNATIONAL DINOSAUR MONTH (October), the #playfulpreschool blogging team has developed special activities to explore a Dinosaur Theme with your own preschoolers at home or in the classroom!  We hope your kids enjoy exploring, learning, creating, and playing with us!

Fun Dinosaur Books to Introduce the Dinosaur Theme!

Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  For full disclosures, see the ABOUT section near the top of the page.

Dinosaur Books for Preschool

Dinosaur Farm by Fran Preston-Gannon – this is a fun October dinosaur book as the farmer tends to his dinosaurs.  If you haven’t picked up this new release, it’s a great one for the library at home or in the classroom!

Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs by Sandra Boynton - our toddlers and preschoolers still LOVE this book.  Our copy is well worn, but the rhyme is second to none as only Sandra Boynton could do it!

Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Strickland - the classic book for a dinosaur theme!  Paul Strickland is one of our favorite authors/illustrators!

How do Dinosaurs Count to Ten?  by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague  - our 3’s love this book!  PreK kids may tire of it, but our 3 yr. olds ask to read it anytime we learn about dinosaurs (or someone brings a toy dino to share)!

10 Terrible Dinosaurs by Paul Strickland - another classic dinosaur counting book that will keep older PreK kids engaged.

10 Little Dinosaurs – Pattie Schnetzler – our kids love this book (and we use the book as an introduction to many of our dinosaur math activities and the 5 hungry dinosaurs counting rhyme below).

5 Hungry Dinosaurs – a counting rhyme for preschool

5 Hungry Dinosaurs wading through the swamp,

The first one said, “Hey, I like to stomp!”

The second one said, “My stomach is really growling!”

The third one said, “Let’s go do some prowling!”

The fourth one said, “Let’s go get some food!”

The fifth one said, “Hey, I’m in a HUNGRY mood!”

5 Hungry Dinosaurs wading through the swamp,

They all are very hungry, CHOMP, CHOMP, CHOMP!

~Original Author Unknown


Dinosaur Theme Math and Science for Preschool

HATCHING DINO EGGS – a “What’s Missing?” math and colors game for preschool.

Materials needed:  Plastic Easter Eggs (Dinosaur Eggs) and miniature colored dinosaurs. Fill the plastic eggs with a different color of dinosaur.  Invite the children to “hatch” the dinosaur eggs and place the dinosaurs in a row.  Encourage the children to hide their eyes with their hands (NO PEEKING!).  Remove one dinosaur and have the children count how many are now left.  Continue until all the dinosaurs are gone.  Note:  the children might also try to guess which COLOR of dinosaur is missing from the row.

For younger children use 5 or less dinosaur eggs to begin.  Older children can use larger numbers of dinosaurs to play the game.

Extension idea: Fill the eggs with different colors of dinosaurs. Have the children “hatch” all of the eggs then sort the dinosaurs and group by color or classify by TYPE of dinosaur.

Dinosaurs Learning ResourcesMore preschool math and science extension activities for the miniature colored dinosaur set:

  • Set the dinosaurs out in several baskets according to the number of children you have. While pointing to the dinosaurs, have the children work together to sort the baskets of dinosaurs into different colors. Which set has more? Which set has less? How do we know? There are two ways to tell:  as a group, the children can match the numbers in the sets one by one; or count the sets to see which number is greater (more).
  • The children can also sort the colored dinosaurs and classify by what they ate:  Meat or Plants (carnivore or herbivore).
  • The children can sort the dinosaurs by type/dinosaur name.

For other posts in the #playfulpreschool series, visit:







Playful Preschool Bloggers

Additional Dinosaur Activities for Preschool by the ‪#‎PLAYfulPreschool‬ Education Team:

Dinosaur Math Play by The Educators’ Spin On It

Dinosaur Dig for Fossil Puzzles by Mom Inspired Life

Dinosaur Theme for Preschool: Hatching DINO Eggs – Early Math & Science.by The Preschool Toolbox

Dinosaur Activities: Beginning Sound Fossil Matching by Growing Book by Book
Classification and Sorting of Dinosaurs by Rainy Day Mum

Can You Be A Dinosaur? by Learning 2 Walk

Dinosaur Sensory Play by Still Playing School

Dino-Gourd Dinosaur Egg Hunt by Capri + 3

Dinosaur Hatching by Tiny Tots Adventures

Dinosaur Hunting with Paint by Powerful Mothering
Hands-on Play-based Dinosaur Activities by Raising Lifelong Learners

Dinosaur Habitat Sensory Play With Slime by Little Bins for Little Hands

Backyard Dinosaur Dig by The Kennedy Adventures

Posted in Dinosaur Theme Activities, Math, PreK, Science | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 23 Comments

Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh for #PlayfulPreschool!


STARRY NIGHT by VINCENT VAN GOGH Photo Credit:  http://www.wikiart.org/en/vincent-van-gogh/the-starry-night-1889

Photo Credit: http://www.wikiart.org/en/vincent-van-gogh/the-starry-night-1889

NIGHT SKY THEME for PRESCHOOL:  Starry Night by Vincent Van Gogh

Children and adults of all ages are drawn to the wonder of the night sky.  The moon, planets, and stars present a source of hope, inquiry, and majesty in our world.  This week’s #playfulpreschool theme contains activities centered around a NIGHT SKY THEME.   All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children.  We hope your children will enjoy discovering, playing, learning, and creating with us this week!

Purpose:  To introduce the artist, Vincent Van Gogh, to preschoolers and explore his masterpiece, Starry Night.

Vincent Van Gogh was born in 1853 (for preschoolers, a long time ago) and grew up in Holland.  Show the children on a globe or world map (National Geographic has a great online map resource) where Holland is located in relation to where they live.  Vincent studied to be a minister, but found his passion for painting.  Vincent changed the way he painted pictures as he grew.  Eventually he began painting things around him with more colors, thick paint, and bold brush strokes like in Starry Night.  Today, Vincent Van Gogh is considered one of the world’s greatest artists.  Starry Night is Vincent’s most famous painting.

Invite the children to look at a photograph of Starry Night.  Encourage the children to share what they see:  the crescent moon, swirling clouds, a big black “thing” :), the stars, a church, a quiet town, and houses with lights on.  Ask the children what colors they can find in the painting.  Vincent’s use of curved lines for the swirling clouds, the thick colors of paint, and the luminous moon and stars make this painting a fun one to explore with preschoolers.  Invite the children to share what they think the BIG BLACK THING in the painting is.  In the painting it is a cypress bush, but it is a great conversation point with young children.  The answers they give are really quite amazing!  Ask the children if they LIKE the painting.  Remind the children that it is OK not to like an artist’s work, but we must be respectful of the artist (person) when we make comments.

Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  Please see the ABOUT section at the top of this page for full disclosures.

The First Starry NightThe First Starry Night

The First Starry Night by Joan Shaddox Isom is a great book for introducing Vincent Van Gogh to preschoolers!  It is always a little challenging to decide what information is appropriate to share about Vincent with younger children.  This book solves the problem as it focuses ONLY on a loving and caring Vincent; it does not address his mental illness.  The book shares a bond of friendship between a boy and Vincent Van Gogh.  Preschoolers will delight in the beautiful illustrations that make the book come to life.  This book is definitely a must for anyone who wishes to introduce Starry Night and Vincent Van Gogh to young kids.

 Starry Night Mixed Media CollageStarry Night Mixed Media Collage for Preschool

Mixed media collages provide wonderful sensory opportunities for preschoolers to create art.   Our kids created their own version of Starry Night after our discussions about Vincent Van Gogh.

Materials needed:  white paper, paintbrushes, paint cups (we use cupcake liners), smocks or an old T-Shirt to protect clothing, tempera paint (shades of blues and white), and any mixed media items the children can find around the classroom or house to re-create Starry Night.

Mixed Media Assortment:  In order to make the mixed media collages, our kids had to really look at the painting to see what materials we could find in our classroom that would work to create our own version.  We went on a scavenger hunt together and found:  yellow paper, yellow/green/orange crayons, black crumpled paper, mustache stickers, gold paper stars, and swirling pearl stickers – PERFECT mixed media materials! Note:  glue sticks/liquid glue &/or scissors may be necessary for the items your own children locate for their collage.

The Starry Night Mixed Media Collage for Preschool Invite the children to brush or finger paint the white paper with the shades of blue and white tempera paint.  Allow the paint to thoroughly dry before adding mixed media items.

 Starry Night Playful Preschool 004 Have the children collect various mixed media items to create with.

Starry Night Playful Preschool 007The children can look at a copy of the painting to create their own version using all of the collected mixed media materials.  Our kids LOVED their creations!

This is a great video to show preschoolers more of Van Gogh’s paintings:

For other posts in the #playfulpreschool series, visit:






Playful Preschool Bloggers

For MORE Playful Preschool Nighttime Activities:

Nighttime Alphabet Treasure Hunt at Growing Book by Book
Shoe Box Constellations at Rainy Day Mum
Nighttime Sky Sensory Bin at Life Over C’s
Find the Big Dipper at Tiny Tots Adventures
Nocturnal Animals KWL Chart at Still Playing School
Night Time Musical and Dance at Learning 2 Walk
Night Owl Painting and Books at The Educators’ Spin On It

Join us tonight for a live Google + Hangout at 9:00 PM EST. We will discuss Night Activities for Preschoolers. NO worries if the time doesn’t work for you, it will be recorded and available to watch afterwards.

Posted in Artists and Masterpieces, PreK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 21 Comments

The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm by Levar Burton: Review & Signed Copies #Giveaway

READING RAINBOWThe Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm is written by Reading Rainbow’s co-founder and education advocate, LeVar Burton, and co-written by Susan Schaefer Bernardo, with illustrations by Courtenay Fletcher. The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm brings to parents and their children an uplifting, warm and powerful story that helps kids cope with difficult moments in everyday life. The 32-page hardcover book is available today (October 7th) at national book retailers and independent bookstores.

Disclosure: The Preschool Toolbox has received a copy of The Rhino Who Swallowed the Storm from Reading Rainbow to review. All opinions expressed below are solely those of The Preschool Toolbox.  Please also note that this post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  To see full disclosures, view the ABOUT page near the top of this blog.

The Rhino Who Swallowed the Storm The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm is a beautifully written and illustrated “book within a book” of a young mouse named Mica.  Mica is afraid of storms as her own home had been destroyed in a hurricane just a year earlier.  Papa Mouse reads Mica a story of a young rhino that is overwhelmed by a storm which carries away all that he loves.  As Papa Mouse continues reading, the little rhino meets many new friends:  a kind spider, a brave kangaroo, a wise tortoise, and an uplifting whale.  With gentle and kind guidance, little Rhino learns to see the light again in his world with the help of his caring friends.

Even small children experience sadness, grief, and loss.  Children cannot help but to try to process images they see and conversations they overhear.  The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm will help fill a void that is often overlooked in literature for young children.  Healing after tragedy is never easy, but the journey is brighter with the help of loving and caring friends.  This is a great book that you will want in your library at home or in the classroom! Please note:  the recommended ages for the book are 5-7.  Our younger kids LOVED the illustrations, but the text is a little advanced for children under 5.  That being said, I think kids over the age of 7 (and adults) will love the book, too!

A Message from Reading Rainbow:

Thanks to all of YOU and other Reading Rainbow advocates, Reading Rainbow has raised over $5 million dollars from over 105,000 backers- absolutely incredible!  We are working as quickly as possible to bring Reading Rainbow to additional mobile devices in the very near future.

You can also follow Reading Rainbow on:  FB, Twitter, You Tube, and Pinterest.


I’m pleased to join Growing Book by Book in offering our readers 2 very special copies of The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm that are personally SIGNED by LeVar Burton!

Product:  One signed copy of LeVar’s new book, The Rhino Who Swallowed a Storm, will be given to 2 winners.  Approx. retail value:  $17.95/each.

Details:  The giveaway is from 10/07/14 12:00 am (CT) to 10/17/14 12:00 am (CT).  Must be 18 to enter.  No purchase necessary.  Void where prohibited by law.  Winners will be notified by email and have 48 hours to respond before an alternate winner will be chosen.  Reading Rainbow is responsible for the shipment to winners of this giveaway.  Enter via the Rafflecopter form below.  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Emotions, Giveaways, Literacy, PreK | Tagged , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Why Do Fall Leaves Change Colors? #PlayfulPreschool

Fall Leaf Activities for Preschool Fall Colors for #PlayfulPreschool

This week’s #playfulpreschool theme contains activities centered around FALL COLORS (Red, Orange, and Yellow).  All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children.  Please visit the home page of this blog each Wednesday morning to see new theme-based ideas for playful learning!

Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  Please see the ABOUT section at the top of this page for full disclosures.


Almost every teacher or parent of a preschool child is asked the question:  “Why Do Fall Leaves Change Colors?”  Often, parents (and even some teachers) do not quite remember WHY leaves change colors…they JUST DO!  Experimenting with colors and exploring fall leaves with preschoolers is fun play as the vibrant colors of fall leaves appear!

Fall Leaves Change ColorsFall Leaves Change Colors by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld is intended for children ages 5-6, but the book is easily adapted for preschool!  We use this book as a resource in our classroom and we read it every fall!  While some of the vocabulary may seem a bit advanced for preschoolers, you’ll be surprised at how easily they catch on!  With a little experimentation, the book can bring great insights into the brilliant colors of leaves young children find in the fall!

Why Do Leaves Change Colors?

  • Leaves need sunlight, air, water, and chlorophyll to make food (sugar) for the tree.
  • Chlorophyll is the green dominant pigment in leaves during the spring/summer.  The green pigment hides the other colors in the leaf.
  • Leaves get less light each day in the fall and stop making food to prepare for the winter.
  • The chlorophyll (green color) fades and other colors (mainly red/yellow/orange/tan) in the leaves begin to show.
  • The stems of the leaves will weaken (without food) and the leaves fall from the trees.

Fall Leaf Scratch and RevealMaple Leaf “Color, Scratch, and Reveal”

The maple leaf scratch and reveal is a fun activity to help cement the idea that the green pigment (chlorophyll) in leaves masks all the other colors.

Materials needed:  Maple leaf template (linked here – Maple Leaf Template), a coin for rubbing, and orange/yellow/red/green crayons.

Print the template for each of the children to heavy paper.  Set out the orange/yellow/red crayons and invite the children to color the maple leaf.   The children may choose to use a combination of colors or just one color.  After the children have finished coloring, invite the children to use the green crayon to color leaf until you can no longer see the color underneath the green (see photo above).  Using a coin, invite the children to scratch off the green crayon to reveal the leaf color(s) underneath.  Remind the children that as the green color (the chlorophyll) fades, the beautiful fall colors in the leaf are revealed.  NOTE:  supervise children who still mouth objects carefully when using coins or other small objects in activities.

Leaf Sort and Reveal Sugar TraysEXCAVATING FALL LEAVES – a simple leaf and sugar tray

The leaf sugar tray is another way to explore the concept of chlorophyll fading from fall leaves to expose other colors.

Materials needed:  Green Sugar or Green Sand (to make your own, rub green chalk into sugar or sand on a paper plate), a paintbrush, a large tray, and assorted green/yellow/red/orange fall craft leaves or table scatter.

Fall Colors Playful Preschool 001Set all of the fall leaves out on a large tray.  Cover the leaves with green sugar or green sand.  Give the children a paintbrush and have them gently “excavate” to find the various colored leaves under the sugar.  Remind the children that the green sugar/sand is like the chlorophyll (green pigment) in leaves.  In the fall as the days get shorter, the chlorophyll fades (they brush it off) and the other colors in the leaves will appear.

Leaf Reveal and Sort for Preschool


Graphing Fall Leaves in PreschoolMaterials needed:  One graphing printable (linked here – Fall Leaf Graphing in Preschool), crayons, and red/green/orange/yellow craft (or real) leaves.

After excavating leaves from the sugar tray, invite the children to sort their leaves by color and count the number of each.  The children can color one box on the printable for each leaf of the corresponding colors they found in the sugar tray.  It’s a fun extension activity for incorporating graphing skills into fall play!

For other posts in the #playfulpreschool series, visit:





Playful Preschool Bloggers

For More FALL COLOR Themed Preschool Activities from the PLAYful Preschool Education Team: 

Fall Colors Modeled Writing in Preschool by Fun-A-Day

Fall Colors Water Mixing by Still Playing School

Exploring Fall Colors With Gourds by Little Bins For Little Hands

Why Leaves Change Colors by The Preschool Toolbox Blog

Learning With Preschool Songs: The Leaves of the Trees by Growing Book by Book

DIY Fall Color Word Book by The Educators’ Spin On It

Learning Number Words with Fall Colored Leaves by Tiny Tots Adventures

Fall Tree Number Matching by Mom Inspired Life

Colors of Fall Sensory Bin by Life Over C’s

Foot Painting The Fall Colours by Learning to Walk

Exploring Fall Colors in Paint by Powerful Mothering

Autumn Colours Plant Science at Rainy Day Mum

Make Your Own Fall Potpourri at Capri + 3

Join us tonight at 9:00 EST for a live Google Hangout where we share what activities we are doing for the fall color theme in our homes and classrooms.

Posted in Fall Theme Activities, PreK, Trees and Leaves Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Preschool and Childcare Classroom Environmental Blog Hop

Preschool and Childcare Classroom Blog Hop
photo credit: YannGarPhoto (Where are the stats??) via photopin cc
I Love Colors

I have the privilege of blogging today with a wonderful group of homeschoolers, childcare providers, and classroom teachers who are bringing YOU a little environmental inspiration!  Others always ask what curriculum and philosophy we use at home.  My answer is that we use LOTS of inspiration and playful learning activities.   Just as I think it takes a community to raise successful children, it takes a “tribe” of playful learning activities to teach children well.  In our classroom, we present materials with Montessori, Reggio, and Waldorf inspirations as well as theme-based learning activities.  If you teach at home or in the classroom, we hope that you might find something that your own kids will like as you browse through the different classrooms and home environments!

I have taught children at home for the past 30 years.  I own a private group licensed childcare home/preschool that serves children ages infant to age 6.  We operate 49 weeks out of the year and are open from 700 am to 430 pm M-F.  This year, our group of children range in age from 2-5.  We hope you enjoy a partial tour of our own setting and a little glimpse of what our kids do each day!

Preschool and Childcare Environmental Blog Hop

This is a limited view of our home preschool classroom from the doorway.

Fall Sensory Sorting

Nature Sorting – this table changes every week (sometimes every other week). Currently, our kids are sorting nature items by size:  small, medium, and large.  Mirrors are great for learning; our kids love looking as we play!  The kids sort the items by hand or with various transfer tools.

Texture and Size Sorting Nature Table

Learning and set up doesn’t have to be expensive.  The leaf-themed sorting tray was a Goodwill bargain at $2.99.  It’s perfect for sorting small, medium, and large nature objects!

Nature Size Sorting Table

Another sensory size sorting tray:  the kids use tweezers or tongs to transfer (and sort by size) the leafs, pine cones, and miniature pumpkins to the containers.

Practical Life_SciencePractical Life/Cross-over Activities (Pre-Writing/Science):  Our practical life skills table changes weekly.  This week our kids are washing, drying, and shining apples. Our kids will also do apple coring and serving, washcloth folding, and peanut cracking/making peanut butter throughout mid-October (we have no children will allergies this year)!  We often use cross-over activities at the same center/wall due to space limitations.  Currently, we have Apple Life Cycle creations and an Apple Scented Playdough/Wikki Stix Pre-Writing Tray.

Alphabet Shelf

Alphabet Shelf:  We do not introduce letters in alphabetical order.  Each week our kids hunt the classroom, magazines, and outside play areas for items that begin with any of our six focus letters.  We add to our trays daily (where possible) to enhance letter recognition and beginning sounds.  We accompany any letter introductions with various thematic literacy activities.  Since our kids are together from the time they are infants, we have many opportunities to explore literacy, letters, sounds, and beginning words.

Maths Home Preschool

Maths:  Our math center and shelves have a variety of manipulatives to cover a wide-range of objectives.  The baskets and table games change frequently as the children gain skills throughout our year.  We have mixed ages in our classroom and the kids learn alongside each other everyday.

Fine Motor Trays

Learning Trays:  We have 4 shelves that house our activity trays.  Our kids know which tray requires a table or can be done on the floor.  The trays consist of many fine motor activities at the beginning of the year.  Later, our activity trays will contain literacy, writing (pre-writing/stamping), math,  science, and other seasonal thematic activities for explorations and playful learning.

Blog Hop DocumentationDocumentation:  We have several inexpensive cameras in our home classroom.  Our preschoolers take pictures of their learning and projects then post to their own clipboards in various display locations.  It’s a fun way to integrate technology and allow them to own their learning documentation.

More photos of our home environment:

Outdoor Nature Play Center

If you ask our kids, the outdoor play center is one of their favorite activities!  We are “cooking” nature soup this week and beginning a carnation coloring experiment!  As the weather gets colder, we’ll make scarecrows/pumpkin stew and have ice/snow explorations (amongst other creative play ideas that only our kids could imagine)!

Childcare Blog Hop

All of our kids come together in a common area at various times throughout our day to paint, read, sing, dance, practice fingerplays, play games, and explore instruments!

Common Area

Childcare and Classroom Blog Hop

Home Preschool Set-up

Home Preschool Set-up

Home Childcare Set-up

 Some years are better than others for organization.  I’ve planned to paint storage shelves in our preschool classroom for the past month.  They are STILL ugly, but I LOVE the storage space!  I did get all of September’s monthly activities sorted into baskets, but obviously didn’t bother to DUST the shelves as well as I thought I had!:)  I thought about re-taking the photo, but this is real.  Sometimes DUSTING just doesn’t make our to-do list.  That’s OK…we accomplish MANY things during our days!

Childcare Storage ShelvesThanks for sharing a little of our home learning environment with us!  Playing to learn is FUN when you have special friends to share it with!

Childcare and Classroom Environmental Blog Hopt

For great inspiration from other homes/classrooms, check out the wonderful bloggers below:

 Classroom Tour Blog Hop Environments:
Katie at Preschool Inspirations
Jamie at Play to Learn Preschool
Sheryl at Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
Amy at Child Central Station
Mary Catherine at Fun-A-Day
Deborah at Teach Preschool

Posted in Back to School for Preschool and PreK, PreK, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , | 8 Comments

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves PowerPoint & Sequencing Cards #PlayfulPreschool

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some LeavesHarvest Theme for #PlayfulPreschool

This week’s #playfulpreschool theme contains activities centered around a HARVEST THEME!  All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children.  Please visit the home page of this blog each Wednesday morning to see new theme-based ideas for playful learning!

For other posts in the #playfulpreschool series, visit:




Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  Please see the ABOUT section at the top of this page for full disclosures.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves:  Sequencing Cards and PowerPointThere Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves by Lucille Colandro is one of our favorite harvest books.  It is meant to be read with a good dose of humor as the old lady swallows the various items.  Your kids will love reading (and SNEEZING) until the harvest surprise comes at the end of the story!  It’s a FUN book for fall/harvest themes at home or in the classroom!

Preschool Extension Activities for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves Story CardsWHAT COMES NEXT? – Predictions and Reading

Purpose:  To encourage kids to higher level thinking strategies when listening to a book.

Before reading There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves, have the children make verbal predictions about what they think the story is about.  Invite the children to look at the book cover (front and back) then write down all the predictions the children give.  While reading, stop several times and ask the children again what they think is happening in the book.   The answers will differ slightly from the predictions at the beginning.   Did any of the children predict what the end character would be in the story? Prediction is a great strategy for engaging preschoolers in the story as well as encouraging them to think about what the author is doing through the text and how the book will end.

Extension Activity:  Creating a number timeline for events

Materials needed:  one story timeline printable (linked here – There Was An Old Lady Story Timeline, scissors, and glue sticks.

Invite the children to cut out the cards and sequence the cards in the blank boxes according to the story’s timeline of events.  What item was introduced first, second, third, and so on.   After the children are finished with the activity, read the book again and pause to note when each of the objects are introduced.  The kids will have fun following along and will often shout-out the next object that will appear in the story!

Seqencing Activity for There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves

Some preschoolers may not know that the character at the end of the story is a SCARECROW.  A scarecrow gets its name from the duty it performs; a scarecrow is designed to SCARE away crows (or other birds) from a field or a garden to keep the birds from eating the harvest fruits or vegetables.  To extend the book and help the children sequence the events of the story, the children can create stick puppets to hold up as the story is read.


Materials needed:  One printable ( There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves), glue sticks, scissors, and wooden craft sticks.

Print the sequencing cards and have the children cut out each card.  The children can then glue the individual picture cards to craft sticks to create their own stick puppets.  Invite the children to lay the stick puppets in front of them as the story is read.  As each item appears in the story, have the children locate and hold up the corresponding stick puppet.  The children might also use their stick puppets as they watch the PowerPoint below!

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves – PowerPoint for Preschool


Sensory Stick Puppet ScarecrowsMaterials needed:  heavy paper (any color for the shirt/pants), twine or yarn (rope), hay or raffia, leaf stickers or leaf confetti, seasonal straws or wooden craft sticks (pole), poster putty, markers, and miniature craft pumpkins (head).

Prior to the activity – cut out a basic shirt/pants from any color of heavy paper and set aside.

Discuss all of the items on the table with the children.  Invite the children to feel the different textures and try describing how the items FEEL.  Help the children increase vocabulary skills by exploring various descriptive words (for example:  bumpy, shiny, smooth, scratchy, sticky, gooey, and crunchy).

To make the textured scarecrow puppets:  Have the children tear small pieces of poster putty to attach the craft leaves to the paper shirt – adhere the paper shirt/leaves to the seasonal straws with additional poster putty.  Invite the children to draw facial features on the miniature craft pumpkins with the marker.  The pumpkin can then be attached to the straw with poster putty.  The children can add the pants, raffia/twine, and hay to complete the stick puppet.  Read the story again and ask the children to point out the puppet parts as they appear in the story.

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves is a fun book to read for a Harvest Theme in Preschool!  The kids will have fun sequencing the story and playing with the created puppets while making predictions about what character the items will make at the end of the story!

Playful Preschool BloggersPlan your PRESCHOOL Harvest Theme Learning Week with Activities from the Playful Preschool Education Team:
Learning with Gourds: Comparing, Sorting, and Labeling for Fall by Still Playing School

Corny Science: Will it sink or float? by Capri + 3

Plants We Eat {which are roots, stems, leaves, fruit} by Raising Lifelong Learners

Harvesting in the Carrot Patch by Powerful Mothering

Preschool Math: Measuring Pumpkins by Mom Inspired Life

Making Bread by Rainy Day Mum

#PlayfulPreschool Harvest Time Math by Tiny Tots Adventures

Alphabet Activities: Letter Harvest by Growing Book by Book

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves Sequencing Cards & Power Point by The Preschool Toolbox Blog

Go Global: Harvests Around the World by The Educators’ Spin On It

Harvest Time: Jamaican Style Music by Learning 2 Walk

Pumpkin Patch Sensory Bin: Practicing Matching with Preschoolers by Life Over C’s

Little Red Hen Activity – Retelling through Sensory Play by Fun-A-Day

Posted in Fall Theme Activities, Halloween Theme for Kids, Literacy, PreK, Thanksgiving Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , | 35 Comments

Fall Theme for #Preschool: 50+ Pumpkin Playful Learning Activities {+ $2000 Total Cash #Giveaway} #KBN

Fall Theme for Preschool:  PUMPKIN Activities for Playful Learning Round-up!

Fall Pumpkins Theme for PreschoolToday, we are honored to join bloggers from the Kid Blogger Network  to bring YOU the largest collection of FALL THEME ACTIVITIES for Preschool ever in one event!   This round-up includes over 50 PUMPKIN ACTIVITIES for playful learning!  The other activity round-ups will be linked below to provide great resources centered around a fall theme.  In addition to all the round-ups, we are offering a MEGA CASH GIVEAWAY with FOUR $500 CASH PRIZES!   We hope you’ll find a wealth of inspiration to use at home or in the classroom (and take a chance to win some CASH along the way)!

The following post consists of 3 main sections:

  • Pumpkins Playful Learning Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten:  Pumpkin Books, Pumpkin Literacy, Pumpkin Math, Pumpkin Science, Pumpkin Sensory and Play, Pumpkin Large Motor Games, and Pumpkin Treats to make with kids!
  • Links to all participating FALL THEME round-ups from the Kid Blogger Network.
Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  To see full disclosures, visit the ABOUT US section at the top of the page.

Pumpkin Books for PreschoolPUMPKIN BOOKS FOR PRESCHOOL

From Seed to Pumpkin by Wendy Pfeffer

5 Little Pumpkins by Dan Yaccarino

Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell

Pumpkin Soup by Helen Cooper

The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis

Penguin and Pumpkin by Salina Yoon

Pumpkin Literacy Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN LITERACY ACTIVITIES for PRESCHOOL

5 Little Pumpkin Sitting on a Vine – a created storyboard for Preschool

Pumpkin Patch Letter Hunt (Literacy and Gross Motor Game)by Mamas Like Me

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid Of Anything – sequencing cards to accompany the book

10 Little Pumpkins – a created felt storyboard to accompany the poem by Love Play and Learn

Pumpkin and Harvest Word Cards – a Montessori-inspired Clothespin Literacy Tray 

5 Little Pumpkins – an original poem for use with Pumpkin Stick Puppets (Wikki Stix)

Pumpkin Activities for Playful Learning in EVERY subject –Literacy, Writing, and MORE

Pumpkin Math Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN MATH ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

Pumpkin Patch Candy Math Game by Toddler Approved

Pumpkin “MISSING NUMBER” game with Miniature Pumpkins

Playing with Number Combinations #’s 1-10 – Free Printables for Decomposing numbers with Pumpkin Seeds

Pumpkin Numbers Busy Bag by Coffee Cups and Crayons

Pumpkin-Themed TEEN Numbers (Wikki Stix)

Pumpkin Estimation Book for Preschool and Kindergarten – free lesson plan – (Wikki Stix)

Printable Pumpkin and Fall Theme Playdough and Counting Mats

Hands-on Geoboard Explorations with Real Pumpkins by Fun-A-Day

Fall and Pumpkin Inspired Montessori Counting Activities by Preschool Inspirations

Pumpkin Roll and Cover Math Game

Pumpkin Science Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN SCIENCE ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

What Happens to a Rotting Pumpkin? – Science and Discovery from Kids Activities Blog

Paper Plate Pumpkin Life Cycle and Printable Sequencing Cards

Pumpkin Math and Science by Stay at Home Educator

Dissolving Pumpkins – Forming Predictions and Making Observations with Pumpkin Science by Lemon Lime Adventures

Pumpkin Science Investigations by Coffee Cups and Crayons

Pumpkin Science and Cinnamon GOOP! by Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Fall and Halloween Tasting Experiment and Printable Recording Sheets

Pumpkin Unit Study (including the Life Cycle) by Natural Beach Living

Exploring a Pumpkin Life Cycle with Real Pumpkin Parts! by Teach Preschool

Pumpkin Guts and Seeds by Mama Papa Bubba

Fall Sensory Science Tasting Investigations

Pumpkin Sensory and Play Activities for PreschoolPUMPKIN SENSORY and PLAY ACTIVITIES FOR PRESCHOOL

Pumpkin Pie Clean Mud Sensory Play – Recipe by Frogs Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

Pumpkin-Themed Invitation to Sensory Play by My Nearest and Dearest

Egg Carton Pumpkin Fall Sensory Bin by Sugar Aunts

Pumpkin Pie Playdough by Your Modern Family

Pumpkin Sensory Play by Sugar Aunts

Mr. Pumpkin Head Play by B-inspired Mama

Pumpkin Window Crafts for Book Play by 3 Dinosaurs

Pumpkin Themed Play Date – lots of pumpkin play ideas by Coffee Cups and Crayons

Pumpkin and Apple Small World Sensory Play by Little Bins for Little Hands


Handprint and Thumbprint Pumpkin Crafts

Pour Painted Pumpkins by Simple Fun for Kids

Pumpkin Mosaic Craft with Beans and Candy

Marbled Pumpkins by Simple Fun for Kids

Pumpkins on a Vine Paper Plate Craft

Thumbtack Pumpkins by Simple Fun for Kids

Jack-O-Lantern (and Frankenstein) Cereal Box Crafts

Paper Clip Pumpkin Art


Pumpkin Gross Motor Games for PreschoolPUMPKIN and FALL GROSS MOTOR GAMES for PRESCHOOL

Large Motor PUMPKIN Relay

PUMPKIN CHUCKIN’ by B-inspired Mama

AUTUMN YOGA POSES for KIDS by Kids Yoga Stories

Pumpkin Bowling by P is for Preschooler

Fall and Pumpkin Foods to Make with PreschoolersPUMPKIN and FALL TREATS to MAKE with PRESCHOOLERS

Pumpkin Oatmeal Cookies with Buttermilk Glaze

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds by Crystals Tiny Treasures

Spice Cookies with Pumpkin Dip

Cinnamon-Sugar Pumpkin Seeds

Fall (Sweet Potato or Pumpkin) Cake

Fall Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten

The Fall Theme for Preschool contains 3 different themes in one (100+ page) unit:  Trees and Leaves, Pumpkins and Jack-o-lanterns, and Non-scary Halloween.   The suggested activities are designed for children ages 3-6, but extension activities are given where possible for slightly younger or older children.  It contains:  a 49 page instructional manual with songs/fingerplays, literacy activities, math, science, dramatic play, crafts, foods and food crafts, and an extensive book list for hands-on exploration and playful learning.  The theme will download as a zipped file. Once the contents are extracted, there will be a main folder that contains the instructional manual, all 49 pdf files for activities within the theme, and 5  Power Points. The RED links in the main theme are not live, but are there to serve as a guide to tell which file to print for each activity. The GREEN links are for any Power Points.

 Loading InLinkz ...



Details:  Win one of FOUR $500 cash prizes directly in your paypal account! This giveaway is open internationally. You must be 18+ years old to enter. Void where prohibited. No purchase necessary. Winners will be notified via email and have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen. Please see detailed terms and conditions below the giveaway for more info.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in Fall Recipes, Fall Theme Activities, PreK, Preschool Themes, Pumpkin Theme Activities, Reviews and Giveaways, Thanksgiving Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Corn Life Cycle & Sequencing Cards for #Preschool! #PlayfulPreschool


This week’s #playfulpreschool theme contains activities centered around a FARM THEME!  All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children.  Please visit the home page of this blog each Wednesday morning to see new theme-based ideas for playful learning!

For other posts in the #playfulpreschool series, visit:



Corn Life Cycle Paper Plate Craft

Corn Life Cycle Paper Plate Craft & Sequencing CardsCORN LIFE CYCLE SEQUENCING CARDS_LABELS

The first corn farmers in the United States were the American Indians.  Approximately 75% of the food we eat everyday contains corn in one form or another.   Teaching young kids about the growing cycle of a corn stalk is not only interesting, but it will help “plant the seeds” (pun intended) for future studies on life cycles and how plants develop.

Please note:  the paper plate corn life cycle above uses Wikki Stix.  Wikki Stix are the original wax-coated yarn sticks made here in the U.S.A.  While I do write for Omnicor, Inc. (better known as the Wikki Stix Co.), this post is NOT a sponsored post.  I’ve have used Wikki Stix for 25+ years with preschoolers and it is, by FAR, the best sensory material for creating life cycles.  In the extra resources section below, you’ll find links to many other life cycle crafts our own students have created.  Wikki Stix can be stored and used over and over again for future projects and learning activities.  Check out the Wikki Stix website, free lessons plans, or the Wikki Stix blog for creative ways to encourage playful learning!

Explain and discuss with the children the growth of a corn stalk from the corn kernels planted in the ground (seeds) to a corn plant that produces more kernels.

  • The corn kernels (seeds) are planted in the soil.
  • With water and sunlight the seed sprouts
  • The sprouts grows and form the corn stalk with leaves and then tassels/silks
  • The silks (inside the corn husks) grab pollen from the tassels to grow the corn kernels.

Remind the children that a life cycle repeats itself over and over again. Have the children divide the paper plate into four sections using Wikki Stix (as shown in photo above).

Materials needed to make the paper plate corn life cycle craft:   Green/Yellow/Orange Wikki Stix, one paper plate (per craft), scissors, and the printable labels (linked at the top of this section).

  1. The life cycle begins in the upper left corner. Have the children cut small pieces of Wikki Stix with scissors and place real corn kernels (or print the photo of corn kernels below and have the children cut out the corn) CORN KERNELS on top of the Wikki Stix inside that section. No glue is necessary as the corn kernels (or paper corn) will adhere to the Wikki Stix.
  2. In the upper right corner of the paper plate, the children can make a small sprout using the green Wikki Stix.
  3. The lower right corner of the plate should contain a corn stalk with silks/tassels (the silks grab pollen to make the corn). Have the children create a larger green stem and leaves to resemble the corn stalk and cut small pieces of yellow Wikki Stix for the silk/tassels.
  4. To complete the life cycle, the children can make the corn lower left hand corner of the plate.

The children can use markers to label their CORN LIFE CYCLE or they can cut the labels from the printable provided above. The labels will adhere directly to the Wikki Stix without the need for glue.

Corn Life Cycle Sequencing Cards

EXTENSION ACTIVITY:  Print the Corn Life Cycle Sequencing Cards in the file linked above, laminate for durability, and cut them out.  Invite the children to place the cards in the correct life cycle order from the planting of the corn seed to the actual corn.  If desired, the cards can also be used for a matching game:  print several copies of the sequencing cards and cut out.  Have the children place all of the cards face down on the floor.  The game begins by choosing two cards at a time.  If the cards match, then the children keep the cards.  If the two cards do not match, then the cards are turned over and play continues.  The game is over when all matching pairs have been located.


Books about Corn for PreschoolDisclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  To see full disclosures, see the ABOUT section at the top of this blog.

CORN IS MAIZE – The Gift of the Indians by ALIKI

CORN by Gail Gibbons

Corn Up Close by Katie Franks

I Like Corn by Robin Pickering

Three Stalks of Corn by Leo Politi

The Life and Times of Corn by Charles Micucci

Life Cycle Crafts for Preschool





WIKKI STIX PARTS OF A PLANT (free lesson plan)







 Playful Preschool BloggersPlan Your Learning Week with Preschool Activities for the Farm Theme

From the ‪#‎PLAYful‬ Preschool Education Team!

Literacy, Mathematics, Science, Art, Sensory, Songs and MORE!!!!

Farm Animal Letter Sounds by Mom Inspired Life
Learning to Write: Labeling the Farm by Growing Book by Book
Make a Who Am I Farm Animal Book by The Educators’ Spin On It
Corn Life Cycle & Sequencing Cards for Preschool by The Preschool Toolbox Blog
While at the Farm:  Children’s Farm Song by Capri + 3
Farm Animal Counting and Sorting Sensory Bin by Life Over C’s
Farm Themed Count and Add Activity for Preschool by Rainy Day Mum
Corn Painting – An Art Activity for a Preschool Farm Theme by Fun-A-Day!
Preschoolers DIY Farm by Tiny Tots Adventure
Preschool Science: Duck Feather Experiment by Raising Lifelong Learners
Farm Animal Sort by Powerful Mothering
Wash the Farm: Fruits and Vegetable Sensory Play for Preschoolers by The Kennedy Adventures

Preschool Farm Activities and Sensory Play for Math, Science, and Literacy by Little Bins for Little Hands


We would like to extend an invitation to join us tonight 9/17/2014 at 9:00 P.M. EST for a live Google Hangout talking about the activities we are doing with our preschoolers for the farm theme. This hangout will be recorded and able to be viewed at a future date.

Posted in Fruits and Vegetables Theme Activities, PreK, Science, Thanksgiving Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 33 Comments

My Funny Family: Family Tree Stick Crafts for Preschool! #Playfulpreschool

Family Theme Books for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Theme Books for Preschool and Kindergarten

MY FUNNY FAMILY – #PlayfulPreschool Family and Heritage Theme for Preschool

This week’s playful preschool theme is:  FAMILY and HERITAGE.  If you’d like to view last week’s APPLES ACTIVITIES, you can view them here.  All throughout the school year, the Playful Preschool blogging team will be working behind the scenes to offer activities and suggestions just for your students or children.  Please visit the home page of this blog each Wednesday morning to see new theme-based ideas for playful learning!

Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  For full disclosures, see the ABOUT page at the top of this blog.

My Funny Family is a wonderful book to use for a family preschool theme at home or in the classroom.  The book has “lift the flap” surprises as the children read about different members of this family.  It is a fun and interactive book with rhyming clues that keep the children guessing as they try to determine what family member comes next.  It is definitely worth the $.01 (yes, $.01) to have in your library at school or at home!

Family Tree Crafts for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Tree Crafts for Preschool and Kindergarten

 My Family Tree Craft for Preschool

After reading My Funny Family, discuss with the children all the different types of families there are!  Some children live with mom and dad and other children might live with just one parent, an aunt or uncle, or grandparents.  There are many different types of families to celebrate in our world.  Allow time for the children to discuss the members of their own family.  Children LOVE sharing and learning about their own family as well as the families of other children.   It is a great way to connect with preschoolers, create opportunities for language and literacy, and to celebrate differences within families.  After discussions, invite the children to create their own family tree craft to display at home or to make a class book!

Materials needed for the Family Tree Craft:  sticks from outside (or craft sticks), one cardboard tube, poster putty, paint smocks (or old T-Shirts), paint trays (or paper plate), white paper, and any color of tempera paint desired to make your family tree craft.

Prior to painting:  Cut the cardboard tubes (across the tube) to make several ovals.  Pinch the oval shapes at the top and bottom to form a “leaf” (see photo below).  Invite the children to create by placing all supplies out on a table or a large tray.

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

On the white paper, invite the children to use the sticks to create any kind of tree desired.  For convenience, our kids used small pieces of poster putty to adhere the sticks to the paper instead of glue.  The children can then use the cardboard tube leaves to make paint prints on their paper for each member of their family.  Allow the leaf prints to thoroughly dry before labeling the leaves with each family member.

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Family Tree Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Some children may wish to add photos to their family tree craft, too!  It is fun to use each child’s family tree to make a book.  Children love looking through the books to find pictures of themselves and of their family members.  It is a great way to encourage early literacy for young kids!


Stick Family Craft for PreschoolWe are FAMILY – We always STICK Together! – We are FAMILY

Discuss with the children how family makes them feel.  Family and home should be a safe-haven for all of its members.   It is a place where we are loved by the members in our family and where we work together as a team for common and individual goals.   Our kids loved creating the stick family craft; it is a nice reminder for young kids that they will have other adults (or older family members) to depend on when the going gets rough!

  Materials needed:   sticks, googly eyes (adhesive backed), ribbon, hole punch, and the printable label (linked above).

Invite the children to gather sticks from outside.  Have the children put two googly eyes on sticks for each member in their immediate family.  The children can tie the sticks up in a bundle with ribbon or yarn.  Invite the children to cut out the label and hole punch the brown dot on the printable above.  The label can then be strung from the ribbon or yarn for a cute craft to accompany your readings and discussions about FAMILY!

MORE Great Books about FAMILY for Preschool:

Books about FAMILY for Preschool and Kindergarten

Books about FAMILY for Preschool and Kindergarten

The Family Book by Todd Parr

Who’s In My Family by Robie H. Harris

Me and My Family Tree by Joan Sweeney

Who’s in a Family by Robert Skutch

All Families Are Special by Norma Simon

Playful Preschool Bloggers

Plan your Family Theme Preschool Activities with these ideas from the Playful Preschool Education Team!

Family Theme Learning Activities: Reading – Writing – Cooking – Sensory – Art – Math

Bookmaking for a Preschool Family Theme from Fun A Day

Finding My Family on a Map from Powerful Mothering

Preschool Writing Activity: Letters to Family from Mom Inspired Life

Cooking with Kids: Family Recipe Books from Growing Book By Book

Our Family Tree: Sorting Family Members from Still Playing School

Family Themed Sensory Bin from Little Bins for Little Hands

Tips for Using Skype to Connect with Family from The Educators’ Spin On It

Family Portraits from Rainy Day Mum

Family Counting from Tiny Tots Adventures

Jamaican Games for Fine and Gross Motor Skills from Learning 2 Walk

Family Footprints from Capri +3

Posted in Literacy, PreK | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Apple Theme for #Preschool: Scented Playdough Pre-Writing Activity #PlayfulPreschool

Apple Playdough Pre-Writing Activity

 Apples Theme for #PlayfulPreschool

Fall offers many opportunities for playful learning in preschool.  This fall (and throughout the school year) we will be combining forces with some of the best preschool bloggers to provide hands-on and playful activities designed JUST for YOUR kids!  The #PlayfulPreschool blogging team is working diligently on a variety of learning experiences centered around a weekly theme.  This week’s activities are designed around an APPLES THEME.  Be sure to visit this blog each Wednesday throughout the school year for creative and playful learning suggestions that can be used in the childcare classroom, at home, or at school!

Apple Theme Playdough Writing


Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog contain affiliate links.  Please see our ABOUT page for full disclosures.

Using apple-scented playdough for pre-writing is a fun way to combine fine motor development with sensory learning!  The sense of smell is powerful for children (and adults)!  The fall scents of cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon used in the playdough will provide lasting memories for the children.  By inviting preschoolers to use as many of The 5 Senses as possible, parents and educators can offer learning opportunities that will last long after the activity has ended!

OBJECTIVE:   The creation of the apple-scented playdough line paths will encourage the fine motor development necessary for writing through hands-on playful learning.

Materials needed:  Homemade apple playdough (or red commercial playdough and apple pie spice),  large wooden craft sticks, and a permanent marker.  If desired, the children can create the line paths on the APPLE TREE PLAYDOUGH MAT (linked above). Laminate the playdough line path mat for durability or to re-use later.  Note – if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper will work, too. **If using the commercial playdough, invite the children to press the playdough into a large circle.  Sprinkle the circle with 2 tsp. of apple pie spice.  The children can then fold the circle over (in half) and then knead the dough to distribute the spices.  When the children are finished kneading the playdough, demonstrate for the children how to roll the dough with the palm of their hand to make long playdough worms.  Experiment and practice rolling worms with the scented dough.  The playdough worms will be used to form the line paths when the children are ready for a more challenging task. Line Paths for Preschool 001 Prior to the activity:  Make different line paths with a permanent marker on wooden craft sticks.   Note: the line paths in the photo above are suggestions, but any line path can be used. Invite the children to choose one craft stick at a time and try to copy the pattern (re-create the line path) shown on the craft stick to the apple printable using the spiced playdough worms. Apple scented playdough line paths for preschool


APPLES THEMATIC UNIT – literacy, math, science, large motor, dramatic play, songs/fingerplays, foods and food crafts.  This is an entire preschool theme for apples and includes over 80+ pages of playful learning and activity suggestions.




APPLES ALPHABET MATCHING CARDS – free printable alphabet and numbers



Meet the #PlayfulPreschool Blogging Team:

Playful Preschool Bloggers

Plan your learning week with Preschool Apple Theme Activities from the Playful Preschool Education Team:

SOCIAL STUDIES  From Orchard to Table. Watch and Make  at The Educators’ Spin On It SCIENCE  Examining Apple Parts, How Does It Grow, Sink/Float at Little Bins For Little Hands MUSIC & MOVEMENT Apple Hop at Learning 2 Walk MATH Counting Apples with Preschoolers: Real-Life Math at Life Over C’s Apple Math Fun in Preschool – Tasting and Graphing Apples at Fun-A-Day LITERACY Alphabet Activity: Apple Tree Letter Matching at Mom Inspired Life Alphabet Learning: Apple Stamping at Growing Book by Book Apple-Bet Match : Matching Lowercase with Upper Case Letters at Tiny Tots Adventures SENSORY  Applesauce Dough for Sensory Play at Still Playing School COOKING  How to Make Homemade Apple Pie – Cooking with Preschoolers at Powerful Mothering SCIENCE  Apple Oxidation Experiment at Raising Lifelong Learners CRAFT Paper Plate Apple Craft at The Kennedy Adventures

We would also like to extend an invitation to join in and watch our APPLE THEME Google+ On Air Hangout tonight, September 2 at 9:00 EST. Hope to see you there!
Posted in Apples Theme Activities, Fine Motor Skills for Tiny Fingers, Fruits and Vegetables Theme Activities, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Apple Prints Pinwheel Craft for Preschool & Kindergarten

Apple Printed Pinwheels Craft for Preschool & Kindergarten

Apple Printed Pinwheels Craft

(Disclaimer:  this post and others within the blog contain affiliate links.  For full disclosures, visit ABOUT US!)

Every fall our Pre-Kindergarten children practice apple coring in the practical life center.  The children core the apples, place the apple slices on a serving tray, and carry the slices around the room serving other children who would like to taste them.  It is a great activity for practicing life skills, tasting a variety of apples, and using good manners.  The children ask their peers, “Excuse me, would you like an apple slice?”  The peers respond with, “Yes, please” or “No, but thank you for offering.”  Apple coring and serving is always one of our favorite fall centers!

Our kids stumbled upon printing with apple slices (instead of printing with apple halves) quite by accident.  One of the children chose to press their apple slice into an ink pad and make a circular pattern with the apple slice instead of eating it.  It was a great print, but we refined the process by making the prints with paint instead.  What you’ll find below is our preschool rendition of an APPLE PRINTED PINWHEEL!

Apple Printed Pinwheels in Preschool 003

 Materials needed:  Apples to core, an apple corer – for a good apple corer for young kids, see the bottom of this post (or apples can be cut in slices prior to the activity), paper to make the prints on, red/green/yellow paint, paint trays (or paper plates), old T-shirts (or paint smocks), red, green, and yellow pompoms, poster putty, and seasonal paper straws (for the pinwheel stems).

Invite the children to create by assembling all the supplies at a table.  If the children are coring the apples, demonstrate how to safely hold the corer and how to press down to make the apple slices – NOTE:  remind the children to never put their fingers under the corer, but to hold the HANDLES of the corer ONLY.  Young kids are very proficient at coring apples with guidance, supervision, and a good apple corer!  It is a challenging task for 3’s, but most 4 year olds can safely handle an apple corer to make their own slices.

Apple Printed Pinwheels in Preschool 004

To make the apple prints:  Have the children lay the apple slice flat to cover one side of the slice with paint.  For those children who do not like messy painting, a fork can be used to hold the apple slice.  The children should make apple prints in a circular fashion to form the pinwheel shape (see photo below).

apple printing in preschool and kindergarten


Allow the prints to thoroughly dry before adding a paper straw straw for the pinwheel’s stem and a colored pompom for the center (poster putty pieces work better than glue for holding the straws and pompoms in place).

The finished pinwheels are not only fun to make, but they are great fall displays at home or in the classroom!

Note:  We have the Calphalon Apple Corer in our classroom and the grips help keep fingers away from the corer –  Calphalon Easy Grip Apple Slicer.

For more fun crafts and an entire unit designed around an APPLE THEME, please see the APPLES THEMATIC UNIT here on the blog!

Posted in Apples Theme Activities, Fall Theme Activities, Trees and Leaves Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring Weather Theme for Preschool – Stained Glass Umbrellas & Sunshine Math

We’ve had over 49 inches of snow so far this winter!  Our preschoolers (and teachers) are anxiously awaiting spring’s arrival!  Just in the last month, we’ve gone from -23 degrees to a stormy 50 degrees outside today!  Our kids can finally see the grass peeking out from beneath all of the melting snow!   To celebrate the warmer temperatures, we made stained glass umbrellas and played with sunshine math.  We hope your children enjoy crafting and learning with us this spring!

Stained Glass Umbrella CraftStained Glass Umbrella Craft – Stained Glass Umbrella Template

Materials needed:  One umbrella template per child or craft (linked above), blue and yellow tissue paper, scissors, glue sticks, and clear contact paper.

Prior to the craft:  Cut out the umbrella from the template including the hole in the center.  The blue and yellow tissue paper should be cut into squares (see photo above).   Younger children will need assistance with cutting.

When the template and opening is cut, place the umbrella onto a piece of clear contact paper (sticky side up).   Invite the children to use the tissue paper squares to cover the opening in the umbrella.  Once the children are finished, cover the entire umbrella with another sheet of clear contact paper.  Older children can cut the umbrella shape out, but younger children will need assistance.

The stained glass umbrellas make wonderful spring weather crafts to display at home or in the classroom!

SUNSHINE MATH – a roll, count, and cover activity- Sunshine Roll_Count_Cover

Sunshine MathMaterials needed:  One sunshine math printable (linked above) per child, two dice, and bingo dot markers (or small items/manipulatives to cover the numbers).

Invite the children to roll 2 dice, count the number of dots, and cover the corresponding numbered sun with the chosen manipulative (or mark with a bingo dot marker).  When the children have rolled all of the numbers except for the number 1, have the children roll just ONE die until the number 1 is rolled.

For younger children:  Have the children roll only one die to begin the game; it will allow the children to concentrate solely on the numbers 1-6.  As the children gain confidence with counting and number recognition skills, add the second die to work with the numbers 1-12.

Spring Weather ThemeFor more Spring Weather activities for learning and play, see the SPRING WEATHER THEME for Preschool and Kindergarten now available via this blog.

Posted in Math, Spring Weather Unit | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Fishbowl Counting Mats and Fishy Letters – Ocean Theme for Preschool & Kindergarten!

While we are in the midst of the remnants of our latest snowstorm, some of our preschool friends around the world are enjoying summer weather! Regardless of the weather outside, young children can enjoy playing and learning with Ocean-Themed activities!

Fishbowl Math Mats to Create and Count

Fishbowl Math Mats to Create and Count

Fishbowl Counting Mats – Fishbowl Math Mats

Materials needed:  Fishbowl Math Mats – linked above (as many as desired for your group of students), blue tissue paper, scissors, glue sticks, and goldfish crackers.

Print off the Fishbowl Math Mats for any numbers the children are working on or have had introduced.  There are templates for numbers 1-20 (plus one blank one to label with any number desired).

Invite the children to glue blue tissue paper squares to the bottom of the fishbowl to resemble water in the bowl.  If desired, the children can color the fishbowl or use blue watercolors to paint the fishbowl.

Give each child a small container of fish-shaped crackers.   The children should count out the number of crackers that correspond to the fishbowl’s number and place them on the mat.  For younger children, introduce smaller numbers first (such as 1-5). For older children who are ready for more challenging numbers, 11-20 may be more appropriate. Older children can also use the mats to practice basic addition and subtraction skills.

Note:  If you do not have fish-shaped crackers, any ocean-shaped manipulatives or available counters can be used.

Fishy Letter Writing

Fishy Letter Writing

FISHY LETTERS – Fishy Letter Writing

Materials needed: Fishy Letter Writing.pdf – linked above (1 or 2 per child), crayons, alphabet stamps/stamp pads, or markers.

There are various ways to use the Fishy Letters file.  In each case, students can write or copy letters into the blue oxygen bubble next to each fish. Below are different ways students can do this activity:

1. Students can try to write the corresponding lower case letter next to each fish.

2. Students can copy the letter on the fish and write the matching upper case letter

3. Students can use a letter stamp to stamp the corresponding lower case or upper case  letter.

4. Students can trace the appropriate letters.

5. There are two completed worksheets for students to use. The third page of the pdf file is left intentionally blank to use with any letters the children are working on.

The activities above are just two activities offered in our Ocean Theme!  There are 7 PowerPoints, a 42 page manual with suggested literacy, math, science, art, large motor, and all accompanying pdf files to print for the activities. 

For alphabet stamps, stamp pads, and other supplies to use with the Ocean Theme Activities, see RESOURCES and SUPPLIES here on the blog!

Disclosure:  The Preschool Toolbox is a member of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.





Posted in Literacy, Math, Ocean Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Patriotic Activities for Kids to Celebrate the 4th of July!

Children adore special celebrations!  It is a time for family and friends to come together and create special memories.  In the United States, we celebrate Independence Day on the 4th of July each year!  

Our children love learning with Patriotic Theme Activities in anticipation of the 4th of July! Below you will find suggestions to help make your celebrations special, too!

Sensory Firecracker Craft

Download and print the Firecracker Template here.   Have the children cut out the firecrackers (assist younger children or cut out prior to the activity).  Set out a variety of textured items that the children can use to decorate the firecracker.  Some suggestions:  colored sand/rice/pasta, felt, pompoms, cornmeal, oatmeal, feathers, tissue paper, or paper scraps.

In the photo above, our kids used Patriotic colors of Wikki Stix to make the firecrackers.  The child who made the featured firecracker choose to add the “sparks” coming out of the tail!

Extension idea:  Create the firecrackers by making each one with a different texture. Place the firecrackers under a large blanket or towel and have students feel each fire cracker one at a time and try to guess what material(s) are on the firecracker.  Children should only use their sense of touch for this activity and try not to peek under the cover. For younger children, you may want to have samples of each of the materials that were used so the children can point to the material(s) they are feeling.

The firecracker crafts make great displays at home or in the classroom!

PATRIOTIC PRE-WRITING – Patriotic Pre-Writing

Download and print one Patriotic Pre-Writing Mat (linked above) for each child.  Tell the children the goal is to make a path for the star to get to the flag.  Allow the children to experiment making any paths desired.   In the photo above, our children used Wikki Stix to make the various paths.  The children can also use markers/crayons to make the paths, but the Wikki Stix will add a layer of sensory/fine motor depth to the activity.


Materials needed:  Assorted colors of  Wikki Stix and red/white/blue pony beads.

Set out trays of Wikki Stix and the 3 colors of pony beads.  Demonstrate for the children how to make a simple ABC pattern with the pony beads by placing the 3 colors of beads onto the Wikki Stix.  Say the colors out loud as they are placed on the Wikki Stix.   Remind the children that a pattern repeats itself; ask the children if they know what color of bead should be placed on the sample pattern stick next?  Build an ABC pattern row on the sample Wikki Stix together with your children.  Ask the children to say the names of the colors as they are placed on the sample pattern stick.

Extension idea:  have the children make Patriotic bracelets/bands to wear after patterning!

Children will be delighted when they grasp the idea of patterning!  Soon the children will begin pointing out patterns that exist in their world.  If you have a chance to view a fireworks display, ask the children if they can find any patterns in the fireworks they see!

Extra Patriotic Resources:

Check out other Fabulous Patriotic Activities, Crafts, and Play Ideas for Kids:

Wikki Stix “No Candy” Treat Bags for Kids

Patriotic Salt Dough Ornament Craft by Early Childhood News

Patriotic Colored Ice Sensory Play by Fun-a-Day

Patriotic Montessori Ball Transfers with Ping Pong Balls and Golf Balls by Living Montessori Now

DIY Personalized Family Picture Bingo Cards – great fun to play with family and friends by eighteen25


Posted in Math, Patriotic | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Stop the “Summer Slide” with Fun Beach Theme Activities for Preschool!

Beach Theme Counting Practice (Instructions Below)

Children love to visit the BEACH! The activities offered below are wonderful extension lessons to do after a trip to the beach (or the chance to explore a beach theme if a visit to the beach is not possible.) The beach theme suggestions below are designed for children in Preschool or Kindergarten, but are adaptable for children of differing skill levels.

Road Trip FUN with Wikki Stix

Shara at Mommy Perks has some great ROAD TRIP suggestions for families!  Check out her post if you are taking a trip to the beach (or anywhere!) this summer!

FUN items to look for at the BEACH!

Beach Scavenger Hunt – Beach Items

Print the beach items and laminate for each of the children.  At the beach, have the children look to find each of the items.  The scavenger hunt is a fun game to reinforce letters/words at the beach.  How many of the items can your child find?   If it is not possible to go to the beach, let the children look through books/magazines to locate each of the beach items in the file.  There is a great list of beach-themed books located in the EXTRA RESOURCES section at the end of this post.

Extension Games to Play:  for older children, cut the word and picture cards apart.  Have the children work to match the word with the corresponding picture.  For younger children, print two copies of the beach items file above.  Cut the strips apart and place each strip face down on a table or the floor.  Have the children play a memory game by turning two strips over at a time to see if they match.  If the strips do not match, both strips are tuned face down and play continues to the next child.  The game is over when all strips have been matched.

Beach Theme Counting (pictured above)

Materials needed:  Small beach-themed counters/shells, beach-themed plastic cupcake flags, homemade or commercial playdough, and a dry erase marker (to label the cupcake flags).

Label several plastic cupcake flags with any number the children have had introduced.  Have the children roll large balls from playdough and then flatten to a “pancake-shape” on a table or playdough mat.  Have the children place one labeled cupcake flag on each of the playdough shapes.  The children must then press the corresponding number of beach-themed counters into the playdough shape.  The children will love playing with the playdough and beach-themed objects!  It is a great way to PLAY with one-to-one correspondence and retain basic counting skills over the summer.

Beach-themed Patterning

Beach Patterning – Blank Pattern Strips

Materials needed:  Small Beach-themed items/seashells and the blank pattern strips (linked above).

Print the blank pattern strips above for each child.  Set out an assortment of beach-themed items or seashells for the children to use.  For very young children, start an AB pattern on the blank pattern strips and see if they can finish the row. Young children might also copy a complete pattern row that has been done for them. For older children, have them make more complex patterns without using the pattern strips.

Roll and Remove Math for Preschool and Kindergarten

Roll and Remove Math for Preschool and Kindergarten – Sunshine Math

Materials needed:  Sunshine Math file (linked above), permanent or dry erase marker to label the flags, Wikki Stix, and 1-4 dice.

Print the Sunshine Math file for each child and laminate for durability (if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper will work).   Cut out each of the suns in the file and label with a number the children have had introduced.   Place each labeled sun on top of a Wikki Stix to make a numbered flag.   Arrange the flags in a random order on a mat or a table top.  Have the children roll 1-4 dice.  As the children roll the dice, they must count the dots and remove the corresponding numbered sun flag,  The game is over when all sun flags have been removed.

Flip Flop Craft for Kids

Wikki Stix Flip Flop Zipper Pull Craft for Kids

Materials needed:  Two colors of Wikki Stix and scissors (safety scissors will work).

Have the children make a spiral shape from two strands of the same color of Wikki Stix (this shape becomes the bottom of the flip flop).  The children can cut two small pieces of Wikki Stix from the second color to make top portion of the flip flop (^).   Our kids made zipper pulls for their backpacks by attaching a small craft circle to the back of the Wikki Stix flip flops.  It’s a fun summer craft for the kids to make!

Oyster and Pearl Cookie Craft

For MORE Beach Activities including food crafts and Seashell games, visit EXPLORING THE BEACH at Squidoo!   

Extra BEACH Resources to check out!

13 Books about the Beach 

Scented Homemade Playdough with Jello

Recipe for Play Sand

20 Nature Related Beach Activities for the Whole Family

Beach-themed Sensory Table

Sandy Handprint Keepsake Beach Craft

Seashell Crab Craft for Kids

Posted in Beach Theme Activities, Literacy, Math | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Wet Chalk Kite Crafts and Learning Games for Young Kids!

The wet chalk kite crafts are a fun activity to do indoors or outside this spring.  The kites make a great craft to display, but the bow activities will also enhance early math and literacy skills.   

Wet Chalk Kites

Materials needed:  One square piece of paper for each child, chalk (drawing chalk works best for this activity, but sidewalk chalk can be used), any color of Wikki Stix, and small cups (for water).

Have the children use the Wikki Stix to make any design desired on the white paper (see photo above).  The children should choose several colors of chalk to use on each of the sections of the kite.

The children can then dip the chalk into the cups of water (the water will make the colors brilliant).   The children can color each of the sections as desired.  The Wikki Stix will keep each colored section of the kites separated.

When finished coloring each section, the children can remove the Wikki Stix and allow the kites to thoroughly dry.

When the chalk kites have dried, the children can make kite strings by attaching a long strand of Wikki Stix to the bottom of the kite.

Learning Activities to Accompany the Kite Crafts

Bows Template – Kite Bow Template

The Kite Bows file (linked above) can be used in many ways to enhance learning with young children when combined with the wet chalk kite crafts above.

HINT:  Laminate the kites after drying and use a dry erase marker for some of the learning game suggestions below.  The bows can also be laminated for use with the different games, too.

CVC Words – print the bows file and label each bow with  different vowels.  Label one of the kites with two letters (for ex:  C _ t).  The children must then find a bow that could be used to make a word.  In this example, the children would find a bow labeled with the letter “a” to make the word Cat.  **The bows will adhere to the Wikki Stix kite “string” so no glue will be necessary.

Sight Words – label the kites and bows with any sight words the children have had introduced.  Place all the bows face down on a table or the floor and have the children find the bows that match the words on each of the kites.  We have also used the kites for word families (see -ar word family kite pictured below).

Names – have the children write or stamp the bows with the letters that make up their names.

Patterning – label each of the kites with a pattern the children have had introduced:  AB, ABC, AABB, etc.  The children can then use the different colors of bows to create patterns on the Wikki Stix kite strings.

Numbers – label the kites with different numbers the children are working on.  The children must place the number of bows on the kite string that corresponds to the number on the kite.  Addition/Subtraction:  label the kites with a simple addition or subtraction problem.  The bows should be labeled with the sum to the problem.

Letter Recognition:  label the kites with an uppercase letter(s) and the bows with a lowercase letter(s).  The children must find the matching letters and place them on the kite string.

Color Recognition:  print two copies of the bows and place 2 or 3 colored bows on one of the kites.  The children must find the matching colored bows and place them on the kite string.  For older children, label the kites with a color WORD and have the children place the corresponding bow on the kite string.

Additional Crafting – the kite bow file also contains an additional paper bow template.  Our older kids used the template with Wikki Stix to make paper bows.

We hope your kids enjoy the kite craft and the kite bow extension games this spring!  If you have additional suggestions for games, please leave us a comment below to share with others!

For MORE Spring Theme Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten, we have ready- made theme activities to download and print here on the blog!






Posted in Literacy, Spring and Summer Kid crafts, Spring Weather Unit, Summer | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Beach Theme Activities for Preschool!

Do you plan on visiting the beach with your preschoolers this summer?  The beach offers a wide variety of fun and learning experiences for kids!  Even if you don’t live near one, the beach theme activities below will help your children explore, play, and learn!

Sand Pail Counting

Sand Pail Counting

Sand Pail Math Activities – Blank Sand Pails

Materials needed:  One Blank Sand Pails Template (linked above) and assorted shells or other beach-themed counters (suggestions:  miniature umbrellas, rocks, or beach-themed stickers).

Print the sand pail template to heavy paper and laminate if you plan to reuse (when laminated, the numbers can be made with a dry erase marker and changed as often as necessary.)   Write any numbers on the sand pails that have been introduced to your children.  Have the children practice one-to-one correspondence by placing the same number of shells (or other suggested counters) on the sand pails.

Extensions for older children:  Use larger numbers on the sand pails or have the children practice basic addition and subtraction.  For elementary children, the sand pails can be used for multiplication and division facts, too.

Literacy Extension:  Write letters on the sand pails and have the children find real beach-related objects or pictures from magazines that correspond to the letters on the sand pails. For example:  Write the letters F and G on the sand pails.  The children must then look for a picture or an object that begins with the letters F and S (flip flops, fish, fishing pole or starfish, sand dollar, and sun).

Describing Sea Shells – Describing Seashells

Materials needed:  One Describing Sea Shells Game Board pdf file (linked above)
Assorted sea shells, counters or plastic counting chips

Print the game boards for each of the children and laminate for durability. Give each child a game board and 9 counters or shells to use as markers on the squares. An adult begins by physically describing one of the shells on the game board. For example: I am round, white, and have a star in the middle (Sand Dollar). The children then find that shell on the game board and cover that square with one of their counters or shells. Continue the game until all the squares on the game board are covered.

Extension for older children: Have the older children take turns describing the shells for their peers or for the younger children.

“Shark” Cookie Food Craft for Kids – Shark Cookie Food Craft

Materials needed:  Any butter or sugar cookie, craft sticks or plastic knives, scissors, blue tube cookie frosting (or white frosting tinted blue with food coloring, and the Shark fin template linked above.

Print the shark fins to heavy paper and laminate if you plan to reuse them.   Have the children spread the blue frosting on the cookie with a craft stick or plastic knife (supervise younger children if using knifes for safety.)   Have the children cut out one shark fin per cookie and place the triangle on top of the cookie to resemble a shark.  These are simple and FUN treats to make with the children during your beach theme lessons.

For more FREE Resources for your Beach Theme, visit us on Squidoo!


Posted in Beach Theme Activities, Literacy, Math | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Spring and the 5 Senses: Activities for Preschool!

Spring is a magical time for kids!  After the winter, everything begins anew!  Take your kids outside and watch for signs of Spring’s arrival.  Observations over the course of only a week can provide the children with great fun and many learning experiences about Spring and the 5 senses!

Spring Nature Walks – Nature Walk Record Sheet 

Materials needed: 1 nature walk record sheet.pdf per child, 1 clipboard per child, crayons or markers. Take your students outside on a nature walk so they can use their sense of sight to find and record the items listed on the worksheet. As each child finds one of the items, they can circle or cross off the item from their list. When you return back home or to the classroom, discuss the things the children found (compare and contrast the items that each of the children found.) One child may not have seen a tree, but others may have.  See if the children can recall what kind of items they found. For example, one child may have crossed off the vehicle after seeing a blue car. Another child may have seen a red van. This activity can lead to a large follow-up discussion.

Extension: Depending on the season and your location, your students might be able to find different items or objects. Use the blank record sheet to write, draw, or glue pictures from magazines of things you want your students to find.

What can your children HEAR?  Have the children close their eyes and try to determine what they hear when outside on nature walks!  Turn up your speakers and close your eyes…listen carefully, what do you hear in the video clip below?

Rain Sticks

Set out an assortment of beans, rice, and small items in containers. Ask parents for assistance in gathering enough toilet paper rolls or paper towel rolls for each child to make a rain stick. Have the children decorate the tubes with markers, crayons, fabric strips, collage materials, etc. (seal one end of the toilet paper roll with wax paper (doubled-over for strength) and a rubber band prior to setting out for the children.) Have the children fill or spoon beans, rice, and/or small items (beads, shells, etc.) into the tubes until they are approximately two-thirds full. When done filling the tubes, help the children seal the final end of the tube with wax paper (again, doubled-over) and a rubber band.

Extension idea: Have the children bring the rain sticks to circle/carpet time and listen for the different sounds they make. Is one rain stick softer or louder than the others? Do they really sound like rain or something else?

Have the children gather several items in a bag.  Bring the items inside to help the children explore the items with their sense of touch.  What do the items FEEL like?  Help the children brainstorm words that describe what they are feeling.  Are the items rough, smooth, bumpy, scratchy, itchy, soft, hard, scaly, etc.?  Glue the different items on a poster board and write the descriptive words underneath each of the items found.

What do your children SMELL on the nature walks?  Again, have the children close their eyes and use their sense of smell to find things in nature.  Collect a variety of items to have the children smell (some suggestions:  tree bark, grass, flowers, berries).  Go outside after a spring rain and ask the children to describe what they smell.  Brainstorm words that describe different smells – fresh, musty, moldy, woodsy, etc.

Make a Spring Senses Sensory Bin where the children can explore items from your nature walks.  Set out magnifying glasses, tweezers, rocks, twigs, paper or real flowers, dirt, different textured ribbons, and grasses in a large bin or drawer.  Let the children explore different items using their senses of touch, smell, sight, and hearing.  *Watch for children with seasonal or other allergies as tree bark, flowers, and grasses (among other items in nature) can make allergies worsen.

Umbrella Snacks for Spring

Set out apple slices, banana slices, chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows, and cheese sticks for the children.  Post a picture of an umbrella and have the children try to use the snack materials to make an umbrella.  Have the children describe the TASTE of their umbrellas (are they crunchy, sweet, sour, bitter, etc.)  It is a fun activity for snack time and the children will amaze you with their creations!

For More Activities for Spring and Spring Weather, see the Spring Weather Theme here on the blog!


Posted in 5 Senses Theme Activities, Science, Spring Weather Unit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The 5 Senses Activities in Preschool: Exploring Spring Weather!

Children love to learn about the weather!  When exploring Spring weather, children have many opportunities to explore with these 5 senses activities!

Sight – Whats_the_Weather_Like

Observe the weather outside each day!

What is the weather outside TODAY?  Look in the newspaper each day and at the weather map in the paper (the children can also visit http://www.weather.com.)  Show the children how to tell where it will rain, snow, storm, or be sunny.  Save the week’s forecast from the newspaper for your city and compare it with the actual weather each day. Was the weather prediction in the paper correct? Have the children predict what the weather will be like tomorrow? Write down or graph what the children predict? See if they are right!

Smell  – RainbowPrintingPaper

Ask your children if they can SMELL the weather?  Take your children outside for a walk to experience the smells in nature after different types of weather (suggestions for things to smell:  tree bark, leaves, rain collecting in different areas, flowers, rocks, grasses, weeds, etc.)  *Note:  children with seasonal allergies should avoid smelling different weeds/flowers especially during the Spring*  Discuss with your children different ways to describe what they smell.  Have the children copy, stamp, or write a descriptive word (or words) onto the rainbow paper (linked above) after each of your  walks.

Scented Word Suggestions:

Bad Good Fruity
Stinky Sweet Woodsy
Yucky Yummy Perfumed
Earthy Sharp Musty
Spicy Fresh Sour

Hearing – Weather Sounds

Set out different items that could be used to make the sounds that nature makes. Set out a cookie sheet, pots, utensils, &/or storage containers and have the children make thunder with their hands.  Set out a pie tin and a cup with rice.  Have the children pour the rice into the pie plate making rain sound.  Have the children make sounds for each other. You might also have the children close their eyes while sounds are being made. What type of weather does it sound like? Make up some weather sounds of your own. You might also use shoes, paper towel tubes to blow through, beans for hail, etc.


Torn Paper Thunderstorm Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Torn Paper Thunderstorm Craft for Preschool and Kindergarten

Materials needed:  Blue, black, and yellow construction paper and blue tempera paint.

Use blue construction paper and invite the children to finger paint with blue tempera paint for the background of the “storm” (it is fun to add texture to the paint by adding cornmeal before finger painting).  Have the children tear (or cut) a large black “cloud” from black construction paper and lay it over the blue paint (the blue paint will act as glue so none is necessary.)  The children can then cut or tear yellow rectangles from construction paper and lay them length-wise under the black cloud. The thunderstorm now has lightning.  The storm pictures make great crafts to display at home or in the classroom during the spring!

Taste – Raindrop and Cloud Cups

Make a weather-themed snack with your kids.  Have the children layer blueberries (raindrops) and clouds (whipped topping) in individual bowls for a fun and easy snack. Serve with graham crackers and milk for a tasty and nutritional snack!

For more Spring Weather Resources, see the Spring Weather Thematic Unit here on the blog!


Posted in 5 Senses Theme Activities, Literacy, Science, Spring Weather Unit | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment