5 Jellybean Math Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten!

JellyBean Activities CollageWith Easter just around the corner, the Jellybean Math Activities below are fun ways to play and learn in Preschool and Kindergarten!  It’s amazing to see what learning opportunities can be explored with just a few colorful jellybeans!

Jellybeans Sorting and GraphingSorting and Graphing Jellybeans – Jelly_Bean_Graph_Favorites

Materials needed:  One Jellybean Graph (linked above) for each child, small plastic bags or containers, jellybeans, and markers or crayons.

Print a copy of the graph for all of your children.  Have a bag of jellybeans (standard colors/black) prepared for each child so there are different amounts of each color jellybean.  Invite the children to sort their jellybeans according to color.  Once sorted, the children can graph the numbers of each jellybean group.  The children can color one square for each jellybean they have above the corresponding colored jellybean on the graph.

Extension idea: Younger children can put a matching color jellybean on each square then remove one bean at a time and color in the square; it will help the children keep track of and record the appropriate number of jelly beans in each row

Jellybean PatterningJELLYBEAN PATTERNING – Jelly Bean Patterning

Materials needed:   One Jelly Bean Patterning page (linked above) for each child and markers/crayons (or real jellybeans as in the photo above).

Print the file for each of the children. In each row a pattern is started. Invite the children to use markers, crayons, or real jellybeans to finish the pattern in each of the jellybean rows.

Invite the children to determine what pattern is used in each of the rows (for example:  in row one an ABC pattern is used with A=RED, B=GREEN, and C=YELLOW).

If desired, small pompoms or jellybeans can be used as manipulatives to practice the patterns shown in each of the rows on the patterning page after the children finish.  Older children may wish to create more complex patterns than those provided on the patterning page.

Jellybean EstimationJELLYBEAN ESTIMATION – Jelly_Bean_Jar_Estimation

 Materials needed:  Jelly_Bean_Jar_Estimation page (linked above), jellybeans, and pencils, crayons, or markers.

Print the estimation page for each of the children.  Invite the children take a “good guess” at how many jelly beans are in the jars on the worksheet. The children can write or stamp their guess on the line provided.   Note – Younger children may need help with making good guesses.  Working with young children on subitizing skills can greatly enhance estimation skills!  Count the number of jelly beans in the 3 jars together as a group (or individually). The children can write the total number of jelly beans on the line provided.

Extension:  Invite the children to use real jelly beans on the estimation page and then write the addition problem to find the sum of the 3 jars: 5+4+3=12

Jellybean Bingo for Preschool and Kindergarten

JELLYBEAN COLOR RECOGNITION “BINGO”

Materials needed:  One bingo game (file linked above) per child and 9 colors of jellybeans (purple, pink, yellow, red, green, black, orange, brown, and blue – enough for each child to have ONE of each color.

Prior to the game:  Print as many copies of the boards as needed for home or classroom use.  Cut out the individual boards and laminate for durability.

To begin, have an adult call out the colors (one at a time) that correspond to the colors on the game boards.  Invite the children to touch the jellybeans on their game boards as the colors are called out.  Practice several times until the children are familiar with all of the colors on the game board.

Next, call out the colors (one at a time) and have the children place a jellybean of the same color on the square that matches.  The game is over when all the colors on the the game board are covered.   Make a center with the game boards and jellybeans so the children can practice calling out the colors for their peers.  The bingo game can also be played with pompoms if preferred.  Now, time to enjoy the jelly beans!

Favorite Jellybean GraphMY FAVORITE JELLYBEAN GRAPH – Favorite_Jelly_Beans

What color of Jelly Beans do your children like best? Print the Jelly Bean Graph (Favorite_Jelly_Beans.pdf linked above) and ask the children what color of jelly bean they like best.  Record the favorites (each child can color one square or stamp/write the initials of their name in the square) on the graph.  Count the number of “likes” for each color of jellybean to determine which jellybean is the favorite or least favorite.

We hope your children enjoy playing and learning with JELLYBEANS!  For MORE Easter fun and learning, the entire Easter Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten is now available for FREE DOWNLOAD here on the blog!

 

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Easter-Themed Activities for Learning and Play in Preschool!

It’s hard to believe that Easter is just around the corner!  The activities below offer opportunities for preschoolers to create, learn, and play with a seasonal Easter theme!

Painting with PEEPS

Painting with PEEPS!

Our kids are working on tally marks so we decided to add a cross-over art activity to our tally mark rhyme!

Materials needed:  PEEPS of any color with the corresponding color of tempera paint, paper plates or paint trays, white paper, and a brown marker (for tally marks and the bunny’s facial features).

Invite the children to create by assembling all supplies on a table or tray.  Have the children practice making PEEPS prints on their paper.  Our kids found that the marshmallows really soak up paint, so we needed to dip our PEEPS into the paint after each print! :)  Allow the bunny prints to thoroughly dry before adding the facial features with the brown marker.

Read the tally mark rhyme (linked above) to your children several times.  Have the children practice saying the chant.  It’s a fun way to help kids remember how many tally marks to make before the line crosses over.  Have the children make tally marks on their PEEPS printed page to indicate how many bunnies they printed (see photo above).

Patterning with Marshmallows

Patterning with Bunny Marshmallows - Blank Pattern Strips

Materials needed:  One blank pattern strips pdf (linked above – one per child) and bunny marshmallows (pastel colored ones).  Note:  If the bunny marshmallows are not available, the pastel colored miniature marshmallows will work, too.

Print the blank pattern strips above for each child.  Set out the marshmallows for the children to use on their pattern strips (when using FOOD items for learning, we always have to decide on the number we are going to EAT after our activity is over).  For very young children, start an AB pattern (see the 3rd row above – A = PURPLE; B = YELLOW) 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.

For MORE Easter-themed Activities for Learning and Play in Preschool, see the FREE Easter Theme now available here on the blog!

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Intuitive Math: Numbers – Greater Than, Less Than, or Equal To in Preschool {Part Four}

Greater or Less ThanThis post is the fourth in a series on encouraging intuitive math skills in preschool children.  If you would like to see the first post (Number Awareness and Recognition, 1-to-1 Correspondence, and Subitizing), you can view it here.  Activities for 5 and 10 Frames can be printed here, and suggestions for introducing Part Part Whole can be seen here.

There are 6 important number concepts that preschoolers need to have opportunities to explore through play in order to develop good math intuition skills.  This numbers post (Part Four} will concentrate on playing and learning with the concepts of:  More Than, Less Than, and Equal To.

6 Important Number Concepts for Preschool

Number Awareness and Recognition
One-to-One Correspondence
Subitizing
Anchors of 5 and 10
Part+Part=Whole
More Than, Less Than, or Equal To

As Early Childhood Educators, we receive children from different backgrounds and with different skill sets.  This math series seeks to build upon skills by introducing important concepts that young children should be offered opportunities to play with and explore.  Please take a moment to browse the other posts offered in the Intuitive Math series (linked above) for ways to introduce number concepts to preschoolers.

Mr. Munching Mouth Collage

GREATER THAN, LESS THAN, or EQUAL TO

As young children gain confidence in subitizing (the ability to intuitively know HOW MANY objects are in a small group) and become familiar with basic numbers and counting, we can begin to introduce the concepts of:  Greater Than, Less Than, and Equal To.   We use a cross-curriculum concept for introducing our kids to each of the symbols.  For early literacy, our kids still LOVE the Letter People.  We have the all of the original letter people in our classroom; “Mr. Munching Mouth” is a name that is very familiar to our kids.

Invite your kids to make the hand signs (as pictured above) to help them visualize the symbols for Greater Than, Less Than, or Equal To.  Explain to the children that Mr. Munching Mouth always wants to MUNCH on the bigger numbers; his mouth always opens toward the number that is larger.  When the numbers are the SAME, Mr. Munching Mouth closes his mouth to form the EQUAL sign.  Invite the children to practice with their hands to make a “munching mouth” that is Greater Than, Less Than, or Equal To.

NUMBER_LINEMake a basic number line for the children.  Begin with the numbers 1-5 and invite the children to practice MUNCHING on numbers that are BIGGER than number one.  Which way will Mr. Munching Mouth open?  As the children gain confidence, randomly pick a number between 1 and 5 and ask the children to form the appropriate hand sign.  For example:  Is the number 3 GREATER THAN or LESS THAN the number 5.  Remind the children that Mr. Munching Mouth always wants to MUNCH on the LARGER number and opens his mouth in that direction.  If the numbers are the SAME (equal to), Mr. Munching Mouth closes his mouth slightly to make the = symbol.

Great Than_Less Than_PracticeMr. Munching Mouth Center or Tray Activity – Mr. Munching Mouth                                                                                                   Mr. Munching Mouth Numbers

Materials needed:  One Mr. Munching Mouth file (linked above), any counters or manipulatives (suggestions:  Unifix cubes, pompoms, blocks, large “wiggly craft eyes”, shells, stones, marshmallows, or bingo chips), and one copy of Mr. Munching Mouth Numbers (linked above).  NOTE:  please be aware of young children who still put objects in their mouth.  Small manipulatives are a choking hazard and larger items for counting should be used.

Prior to the activity:  Print the Munching Mouths and Numbers Cards from the files above, laminate for durability, and cut out.  Note:  the second page of the numbers file is left intentionally blank for use with any numbers, number words, tally marks, or dots to vary the math activity.

On a tray or a table, make two piles of number cards, any manipulatives desired, and all 3 of the munching mouth cards.

The children should pick two number cards and decide which munching mouth symbol represents the relationship between the two numbers:  Greater Than, Less Than, or Equal To.

As the children gain confidence, add larger numbers for the children to practice with.

The following games are also fun for preschoolers to explore the concepts of Greater Than, Less Than, or Equal to:

COLOR SQUARES_1

1).  Roll and GraphRoll and Color Graphing – invite the children to roll one die at a time.  Have the children count the number of dots on each roll and color in the corresponding number of squares.   Ask the children which row has MORE than the other.  Note:  instead of a roll and color, the children can use manipulatives to place in each square according to the number rolled on the die.  The graph template can be cut out, laminated, and used as a horizontal or vertical graph.

2).  Two color sorting – set out two colors of manipulatives (counters) in one container.  Invite the children to sort the two colors into separate containers.  After counting each color, see if the children can determine which color has MORE than the other.  For younger children, do this activity as a group and count the number of items together.  Use only a small number of each color until the children gain confidence in sorting and counting.  Again, ask the children to use the “munching mouth” hand signs as you determine which color has more than, less than, or is the same.

3).  Stacking Cups – invite the children to play with paper or plastic cups.  Have the children stack two separate cup towers.  As a group (or individually) count the number of cups in each of the stacks.  Which of the cup towers has more than (or less than) the other?

Wikki Stix Minion Math Picture #44).  If your kids like MINIONS, we have a printable GREATER THAN or LESS THAN Math Game that uses Wikki Stix.  It’s another fun way to encourage kids to play with Math!

To be sure you do not miss any future posts in the Intuitive Math Series for Preschool, please take a moment and subscribe to our blog!

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Critical Thinking: Tangram Bunny Crafts for Preschool & Kindergarten

Bunny Tangram Collage

TANGRAMS

A tangram is a traditional Chinese puzzle made up of a square cut into 7 different pieces (one parallelogram, one square, and five triangles).

Tangram Square 001Introducing tangrams in preschool and kindergarten can help young kids develop spatial, geometric, and problem solving skills.  The 7 pieces, when fit together, can make a square (as pictured above), but they can also form many other shapes and designs.   Inviting children to play, experiment, and create with all seven pieces will allow the children opportunities to develop important critical thinking skills!

Bunny Tangrams

TANGRAM TEMPLATE – Bunny Tangram Template

Print the tangram template (linked above) for each of the children and laminate for durability (if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper works well too).  If desired, transfer the template to heavy paper or cardstock before laminating.  Cut out each of the seven shapes.  Save the photo of the square above and print it out for the children.  Invite the children to arrange the seven shapes into a square by looking at the picture.  Note – for younger children, number each of the shapes in the photo/template with the same number.  As the children match the numbers, the shapes will form the square.   It is fun to observe the children as their confidence grows in re-creating the square.

Make several copies of the tangram template and invite the children to create!  It is amazing to see what ideas the children envision and construct.

BUNNY TANGRAMS

Bunny Tangrams_2Save and print the pictures of the various bunny tangrams in this post.   Invite the children to re-create the bunnies using their own tangrams.

Bunny Tangrams_3

Can your children think of other ways to arrange their shapes to make a different animal?  We’d love to see photos of the bunnies or other creations your children make!  Email them to us at:  thepreschooltoolbox@gmail.com.  We’ll publish any we receive before Easter!

For MORE Easter activities for learning and play, see the FREE Easter Theme here on the blog!

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

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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 TemplateKite 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!

 

 

 

 

 

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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!

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!

 

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The 5 Senses Activities in Preschool: Exploring Spring Weather!

Children love to learn about the weather!  When exploring weather, children have many opportunities to use all 5 of their Senses!

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.

Touch – TORN PAPER THUNDERSTORMS

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!

 

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The Senses of Sight and Sound: Upcycling Crafts and Lessons for Conservation Awareness

In order to get our kids thinking about conservation this spring, we will combine some of our sensory lessons with conservation awareness.  The activities/lesson plan suggestions below will offer opportunities for hands-on play with the senses of Sight and Sound.  Through play and experimentation, the children will gain an awareness of conservation and how their own senses provide important information about the world they live in.

Introduction to the Senses of Sight and Sound

In order for children to explore the senses of Sight and Sound, they must be able to locate the two body parts that provide sensory information: the EARS and EYES.
Circle time:  Pass a hand mirror around the circle of children. Invite the children to look for their own eyes and ears in the mirror.   Note: hand held mirrors are durable, but supervision is necessary with young children. The children can also partner with peers and use magnifying glasses for discoveries (the children will think it’s funny to look at each other through magnifying glasses, but they are gaining important information about themselves and others).

Riddle and Chant:  After passing the mirrors around the circle, introduce the following riddles to the children. 1. When I looked in the mirror, I spied two things – one on each side of my nose; they help me see all things! (What are they? – EYES). 2. When I looked in the mirror, I spied two things – one on each side of my face, they help me hear all things! (What are they? – EARS).

 

The Sense of Sight and Conservation
Discuss the word UPCYCLE with the children – when we upcycle, we use materials that would otherwise be thrown away to make something new and useful.  Brainstorm with the children items that are often thrown away as trash, but might have another purpose if upcycled and re-used. Some suggestions might include:  juice cans might become pencil holders, plastic bottles can be upcycled into rain gauges, juice boxes make great play cameras, or bubble wrap can be made into a great painting tool.
In the activity below, the children will create binoculars from upcycled cardboard tubes. Parents are often willing to save cardboard tubes and send them to class for the activity below.

Cardboard Tube Binoculars 001

Upcycled Cardboard Tube Binoculars

Materials needed:  Two cardboard tubes per student (or one paper towel roll cut into thirds), any decorating materials desired (suggestions:  markers, crayons, scrap paper, tissue paper, construction paper, or paint), glue sticks or poster putty (to adhere items), hole punch, tape (to hold the two cardboard tubes together), and a piece of string, Super Wikki Stix, or yarn for the “strap” of the binoculars.

Invite the children to create by assembling all supplies necessary on a table or at a center.  Have the children decorate two cardboard tubes in any manner desired.  The two decorated tubes should be taped together in the center.  Hole punch the outside of each tube and thread a piece of string or yarn through the holes (to resemble the strap of the binoculars) and tie the ends to the holes (younger children will require assistance in tying the string).

If the weather permits, take the children outside on a scavenger hunt with their binoculars to look for discarded items that might be re-purposed.  The children might also play “I-SPY” with their binoculars for other items commonly found on a nature walk.  Kids that are encouraged to participate and play in nature will often develop a sense of responsibility toward the environment.

What can your children find with their upcycled binoculars?

What can your children find with their upcycled binoculars?

Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt – Nature Walk Items

Ask the children to remember some of the items they see with their binoculars while on the walk outside.  Print the Nature Walk Items sheet (linked above) and have the children use crayons or markers to circle the items they found with their binoculars.

*Note – the second page of the recording sheet file is intentionally left blank.  Brainstorm items that the children might find on the nature walk that could be upcycled (ex:  papers, plastics, Styrofoam, sticks, grocery bags, cans, etc.).  Have the children cut pictures of items that can be re-purposed out of old magazines to glue in each of the blank squares.  Take a walk outside with the created binoculars to see how many of the items the children can find.

Children that are taught early to recycle, upcycle, and re-purpose items gain an awareness of the importance of conserving materials and resources.

The Sense of Hearing and Conservation

The Sense of Hearing is powerful for children.  Encouraging the children to gain an awareness of different sounds, including the sound of their own voice, will help
“plants the seeds” for discussions on hearing conservation.

Circle Time Suggestions:

1.  To invite the children to LISTEN, say the following:  “Close your eyes and open your ears, listen carefully to the sounds you can hear!”  Some of the children will want to make sounds instead of listening.  Remind the children that the goal is to listen for sounds coming from the environment, not the sounds they can make.  It takes a little practice, but the children will love playing this game.  After a few seconds of listening, have the children open their eyes and share what sounds they heard.  The listening game can be played indoors or outside (weather permitting).

2.  Many young children are not aware of how their own voices sound.  Use a digital voice recorder or video the children saying a few words one by one.  Play the sounds back for the children and ask if the children can identify WHO is talking just by hearing the voices.  Can the children identify their OWN voice?

3.  Brainstorm with the children places where LOUD voices would be appropriate or where SOFTER voices should be used.   Chart the answers the children give and add to the list as they think of more ideas.

Upcycled Sound Shakers

 Upcycled Cardboard Tube Sound Shakers

Materials needed:  Cardboard tubes, waxed paper (cut into squares to seal the ends of the tubes), rubber bands, and assorted manipulatives (examples:  beans, rice, Unifix cubes, small bells, small seashells, paper clips, or pony beads).  Note:  when making sound shakers with children who still put objects in their mouths, supervise closely.  Small manipulatives can be a choking hazard.

Place waxed paper over one end of several cardboard tubes and adhere with rubber bands.  Have the children fill the tubes with each of the chosen items.  When filled, close the cardboard tube by placing waxed paper and a rubber band over the open end.

Sound Games:

1.  Begin with just two of the cardboard tube sound shakers.  Have the children shake one of the tubes and try to determine what item is placed inside the tube using only their sense of hearing.

2.  One at a time, invite the children to shake the tubes to determine which tube makes the LOUDEST or SOFTEST sound.

3.  Make similar tubes and have the children try to locate the matching pairs of tubes by listening to the sounds of the tubes.

4.  Ask the children to order the tubes from the softest to the loudest sound.

Come together after exploring the sound tubes for discussions:  Which of the sound tubes are more pleasant to hear than the others?  Do the louder sound tubes bother any of the children?  Remind the children that very loud sounds can damage the sense of hearing.  Some sounds, when heard repeatedly, can create stress or anxiety in adults, animals, and children.

By offering opportunities to gain an awareness of conservation through sensory explorations and play, teachers and parents can help “plant the seeds” of environmental care and responsibility in our youngest children.

 

 

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