Make Your Mark eBook: Guiding Preschoolers through PLAY!

We are pleased to bring you, our valued readers, our newest collaborative eBook, Make Your Mark.  The eBook brings you 30+ projects that will help your child develop a love of writing, creative storytelling, self-confidence, and compassion. Through play, art, language, and writing this book will help your child learn through play and make their mark on the world.


MAKE YOUR MARK:  New eBook to Encourage Preschoolers to Leave Their Mark on the World!

Disclosure:  this post and others within this blog contain affiliate and/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

 Make Your Mark will help you take the simple act of sharing stories and stretch it to help your child their confidence, compassion and caring.


What You’ll Get in this eBook:

 :: Activities to get your child started with the important basics: to develop skills to literally make their mark, first with fingers, and later with pens, pencils and paint brushes.

 :: Fun ideas that will help your child develop their fine motor strength and dexterity. We have ideas for finger gyms, easel activities and first mark making activities with sticks, play dough and shaving foam.

 :: Inspiration for writing trays that encourage children to use all their senses to build skills.

 :: Great ideas to delight in imagination and storytelling that feels like – and is! – play time, not school work. Your child will develop their language, vocabulary and fluency through story mats, small worlds, comics, journals, role play, outdoor adventures, and art.

 :: Activities that support your child in understanding more about themselves and others, through interviews, self-portraits, collaborative art, and collaborative projects.

 :: And finally we’ll help your child see that everyone can make their mark on their community and the environment. We show you how to extend the idea of our self out into the world, and consider how we are part of a community. With accessible and achievable projects, we’ll inspire your child to make their mark through environmental citizenship and acts of kindness.

 :: Also included: six sets of printables for you to download, including pattern writing cards, a ‘my favorite things’ photo book, ‘all about me’ interview sheets, pretend play post office accessories, and comic book and gracious giving printables.

From now until December 31st only, the eBook is available for a 25% discount to our readers.  The list price for the eBook is $14.99, but is available now for $11.25 (through 12/31/16).



Buy Make Your Mark worldwide for instant download!

This is an eBook, which means you will be sent a link that allows you to download a PDF containing the ebook and all the resources. You can save it to your computer or iPad* and then either read it on screen or print some/all of the pages, as you prefer.

You can buy the eBook wherever you are in the world. You pay via PayPal, which will take care of any currency conversion for you.

*You can buy the eBook now, on any device, and then download it when you are ready. Depending on the apps you have installed and your operating system, you might be able to download the eBook on your mobile device. However, if you have any doubts or problems, we recommend you use a computer to download the book and then share it to your mobile devices. You will be sent download instructions when your purchase the eBook.



The Make Your Mark eBook is published and sold by Cathy James at Please direct any customer service queries regarding purchases of the eBook to or refer to the NurtureStore FAQ.

The Make Your Mark eBook is protected under copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.


Posted in Fine Motor Skills for Tiny Fingers, Literacy, Painting Activities, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The ULTIMATE Gingerbread Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten!


The ULTIMATE Gingerbread Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten!

The tale of the gingerbread man is adored by kids of all ages.  There are few things as exciting as a cookie that leaps from a baking sheet to have adventures.  If your kids or students like to learn with a FUN Gingerbread Theme, we have a wonderful collection of playful learning activities, from writers around the world, to encourage preschoolers to explore, observe, learn, and grow!  

Gingerbread Theme Literacy Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten


Ideas for Gingerbread Literacy  by Growing Book by Book

Gingerbread Man Loose in the School Activities (Free Gingerbread Alphabet) by The Preschool Toolbox

Gingerbread Man Loose at Christmas Ornament Creation  by Growing Book by Book

Gingerbread Alphabet Matching (Free Printable Game) by Totschooling

Gingerbread Man Rhyme (Free Printable) and Candy House by The Preschool Toolbox

 Gingerbread Math Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten


Gingerbread Cookie Numbers (Free Printables) by J Daniel 4’s Mom

Gingerbread Cookies Counting Trays by Teach Me Mommy

Gingerbread Cookies Matching Memory Game by 123 Homeschool 4 Me

Roll a Gingerbread Girl (printable pdf file) – Part of the Math Section of the Gingerbread Man Thematic Unit by The Preschool Toolbox

Gingerbread Theme Science Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten


The Dissolving Gingerbread Man Science Exploration by The Preschool Toolbox

What Part of the Gingerbread Cookie Did YOU Eat First? (printable pdf files for graphing) – Part of the Science Section of the Gingerbread Man Thematic Unit by The Preschool Toolbox.

What Else Melts? – Printable pdf files for explorations with other items that melt – Part of the Science Section of the Gingerbread Man Thematic Unit by The Preschool Toolbox

Gingerbread Theme Sensory Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten


Gingerbread Cloud Dough Recipe by In the Playroom

Gingerbread Baby Playdough by Kitchen Floor Crafts

10 Gingerbread Art and Sensory Projects from Planet Smarty Pants

Super Fragrant Gingerbread NO-COOK Playdough by Mama Papa Bubba

NO-COOK Gingerbread Playdough (another great recipe) by Dayna Banya

Puffy Paint Gingerbread Men by Still Playing School

Gingerbread Salt Dough Garland by Rainy Day Mum

Gingerbread Man Fine Motor, Writing (Pre-Writing), and Scissors Skills for Preschool and Kindergarten


Gingerbread Fine Motor Activities by Living Montessori Now

Gingerbread Sensory Writing Tray by The Imagination Tree

Gingerbread Man Tracing by The Preschool Toolbox

Gingerbread House Cutting Lines (Free Printable) by The Preschool Toolbox


Gingerbread Theme Art and Craft Ideas for Preschool and Kindergarten


Gingerbread Suncatcher Creations from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Sponge Painted Gingerbread Men (4 Ways) by Artsy Momma

Gingerbread Man Cookie Cutter Printing by The Preschool Toolbox

Free Template for a Gingerbread Man by Mama Smiles

Easy Gingerbread Ornaments by Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Gingerbread People Playdough and Cookie Cutter Gifts by Mama Papa Bubba

Stained Glass Gingerbread Houses by The Educator’s Spin On It

Gingerbread Theme Dramatic and Pretend Play Ideas for Preschool and Kindergarten


Gingerbread Dramatic Play Ideas by Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Gingerbread Dramatic Play Center by Fun-A-Day

Gingerbread Man Pretend Play (Free Printable) by Totschooling

Creating a Cardboard Gingerbread Play House by Life with Moore Babies

Gingerbread Scavenger Hunt (Free Printables) by KCEdventures

Gingerbread Man Shadow Puppet Play (Printables) by Adventure in a Box

Gingerbread Felt Play by Fantastic Fun and Learning

Tips on Throwing a Gingerbread Play Party by Little Sprouts Learning Co.

Gingerbread Party and Play Ideas for Preschool and Kindergarten


Graham Cracker Gingerbread House by Crafty Moms Share

Gingerbread Play Date by Crafty Moms Share

Gingerbread Playdough Kits by Kitchen Floor Crafts

Tips on Throwing a Gingerbread Party by Little Sprouts Learning Co.

Gingerbread Garland by Cutting Tiny Bites

Homemade Ginger Kids Crayons by Claire’s Little Tots

Gingerbread Thank You Cards by Red Ted Art

Tips for Decorating Gingerbread by Mama Smiles – decorating

Gingerbread Theme Lessons and Units for Preschool and Kindergarten


Gingerbread Man Literacy, Christmas in Germany Lapbook by Adventures in MommyDom

Life-Size Gingerbread Kids by Artsy Momma

Gingerbread Man Card Cut-Outs for Playful Learning Games by The Imagination Tree

Gingerbread Montessori – Lessons, Ideas, and Free Printables by Living Montessori Now


This post and others within this blog may contain affiliate and/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

For MORE Ways to PLAY and LEARN with a GINGERBREAD THEME in PRESCHOOL or KINDERGARTEN, please see our own GINGERBREAD THEMATIC UNIT!  Your kids might also enjoy the Christmas Thematic Unit – it is filled with playful seasonal learning your kids will adore!

To enhance your GINGERBREAD THEME, suggested supplies for playful learning:


Posted in Christmas Theme, Gingerbread Theme, PreK, Winter Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

30+ Science Explorations to ENGAGE Preschoolers in ACTIVE Learning!

  • 30 Science Explorations to ENGAGE Young Learners30+ Science Explorations to ENGAGE Preschoolers in ACTIVE Learning!

Preschoolers are ACTIVE learners.   Learning how to become great scientists can be exciting and FUN for our youngest explorers.  Try some of the explorations below at home or in the classroom to PLAY with science for amazing discovery and learning.


Pretend Play in Preschool:  How to BE a Scientist

Pretend play has a strong link to social and emotional intelligence, language, inquiry and problem solving skills, creative expression, sequential thought processes, and general nurturing skills in preschool.  Through pretend play, preschoolers will begin to move beyond their natural egocentric views and toward the understanding of various roles that others have in our world.  We hope your own kids will enjoy becoming SCIENTISTS as we pretend, learn, and, ultimately, apply new knowledge to our everyday world.

Fall Science for Kids


  • Why Do Fall Leaves Change Colors?  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!
  • Bubbly Fires Science Experiment  Who are the people in your neighborhood?  Exploring the jobs that helpers have in the community is FUN learning for curious kids!  Come learn and play with the #TeachECE Early Childhood Team this week as we explore all the various helpers in our own neighborhoods with a COMMUNITY HELPERS THEME.  Our own “bubbly fires” science experiment will encourage kids to use critical thinking skills while playing to learn!
  • Corn Life Cycle and Free Sequencing Activities for Kids  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.  Come create, sequence, and learn more about CORN!
  • Pumpkin Life Cycle and Printable Sequencing Cards/Life Cycle BookletAs Fall approaches, the season offers great opportunities for playing and learning! Creating the Pumpkin Life Cycle crafts below are a wonderful way to incorporate science, literacy (Letter P and Sequencing), and fine motor skills into your fall lesson plans.
  • Spider Life Cycle and Free Sequencing Cards for Kids  All living things have a life cycle that repeats itself – the same pattern goes on and on.  Spiders are not insects as they have eight legs and not six like insects do.  Spiders are a member of the arachnid family and further distinguished from insects as arachnids have no antennae or wings. Come create, play, and learn about SPIDERS!
  • Pumpkin Boats – Sink or Float?  This fall science exploration is always a blast for preschoolers.  Come see how to float a pumpkin boat.
  • Nuts and Seeds Sensory Sound Explorations  The Sense of Hearing is powerful learning for preschoolers!  In order for the children to explore sounds, they must be able to locate the primary body parts that provide sensory sound information: the EARS!
  • Fall and Thanksgiving Science for Kids  Halloween and Thanksgiving Taste Testing Experiments are fun discovery whether at home or in the classroom.  Free printable recording sheets for documenting learning.
  • Fall and The 5 Senses:  Explore sensory science with preschoolers and discover the best of fall.

Winter Science Activities for Preschool

Winter Science Activities for Preschoolers!

  • Life Cycle of an Evergreen (Christmas Tree) – Free printable sequencing cards  Whether you have an artificial or real Christmas tree at home or in the classroom, learning about evergreens is fun science for kids!  The simple Christmas Tree Life Cycle craft will help preschoolers learn how conifers grow from a seed to an adult Christmas tree.
  • Dissolving Teddy Bears Science Experiment  Cute and cuddly bears provide wonderful inspiration for learning and explorations at home or in the classroom.  Purchase a box of teddy bear cookies (or make your own at home) and come discover the wonders of simple preschool science with us!
  • Blubber and Ice  Animals that live in the Arctic region (Arctic Ocean, parts of Canada, Russia, Alaska, and some Nordic Countries) are known as Arctic animals.   Arctic animals have special adaptations that allow them to survive on the frozen tundra in this unique region of the world.  One of the special adaptations is BLUBBER.  Blubber is a thick fatty tissue just under the skin of many arctic animals such as seals, whales, and polar bears.  The fatty tissue not only keeps the animals warm in the extreme cold, but it serves as a fuel source when food is scarce.  To help preschoolers visualize the insulating properties of blubber, try the following simple science experiment!
  • Magnet Games and Discoveries in Preschool  Come learn about magnets with suggestions for hands-on learning and discovery for preschoolers.  It’s FUN play!
  • Christmas and the 5 Senses:  Explore smelly jars, sensory play, and MORE with the science of Christmas.

Spring Science Explorations for Preschool

Spring Science Explorations for Preschoolers!

Summer Science Explorations for Preschoolers

Summer Science Explorations for Preschoolers!

  • Sea Turtle Life Cycle and Sensory Bags for Playful Learning  Exploring an ocean is exciting for preschool children!   Ocean animals, shells, sand, and water are a wonder and bring out the natural curiosity that is at the heart of every young child.  Whether your children have a chance to visit a real ocean or not, learning about the life cycle of a sea turtle is playful discovery for preschoolers!
  • What’s Inside a Baseball?  Hands-on Science and Discovery!  If you live in the United States in the summer, there are few sports that can rival the excitement of baseball for kids!  As we played at a local park last week, our kids found a baseball almost buried in the dirt.  Some of the kids discussed if we should keep the ball or leave it.  In the end, we chose to leave it in case another child should come back looking for it.  On our walk back home, one of our kids asked: “Do you know what’s inside of a baseball?”  We had to find out!
  • The Wonder of the Solar System  Come explore gravity, sorting, and creating with playful learning at its best!  Ideas and suggestions for engaging young kids in the wonders of the solar system.
  • Ice Cream Science  Can your kids discover FLAVOR by TASTE alone?  Tasty and FUN science with a free ice cream printable for your discoveries.


STEM and STEAM Education in Early Childhood!

STEM and STEAM Learning:  Even preschoolers can begin explorations into critical thinking and problem solving.  Try some of these simple STEM education activities to build important skills.

  • STEM Flower Constructions – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities compel preschoolers to use cross-disciplinary tools and critical thinking skills to solve a basic problem.  By integrating STEM activities into normal daily routines, preschoolers can gain new knowledge that they can take with them beyond the classroom or home environment and apply to problems found in their everyday world.  Come explore the FUN of spring STEM with a Flower Construction Challenge in Preschool!
  • STEM:  Evergreen Tree Building Challenge – STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) activities compel preschoolers to use cross-disciplinary tools and critical thinking skills to solve a basic problem.  By integrating STEM activities into normal daily routines, preschoolers can gain new knowledge that they can take with them beyond the classroom or home environment and apply to problems found in their everyday world.  Come explore the FUN of Winter STEM with an Evergreen Tree Building Challenge designed just for preschoolers!
  • STEAM Learning:  Tessellating Shapes in Early Childhood – STEAM activities engage skills from various educational disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Math) to invite young kids to discover new knowledge through inquiry and solution-based learning. By combining playful investigations in Early Childhood with a STEAM Education approach to learning, young kids are challenged to use cross-disciplinary and critical thinking skills to explore how ALL learning is connected to their everyday world! Come explore and PLAY as we add “the ARTS” to STEM for a STEAM approach to learning about tessellating shapes in Early Childhood.


  • For MORE Ways to Play and Learn, The Preschool Toolbox has ready-made thematic units that each include an extensive active science learning category.  Each theme has literacy, math, science, arts/crafts, songs/fingerplays/accompanying Power Points, food/food crafts, and gross motor/pretend play suggestions.  Come play with us this year!

Fall Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten

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The ULTIMATE Playful Learning Resources for #Preschool and #Kindergarten!

Back to School Resource Bundle Sale

The ULTIMATE in Back-to-School Resources for Preschool!

Please Note:  This sale bundle is now closed for purchases.  We’re excited to offer a “trunk load” of back-to-school resources created just for your own students and kids.  Whether you homeschool, provide childcare, work in center-based care, or teach in a public classroom, there are over 52 Titles and 3800 pages of resources in an instant download.  Until 10 September 2016 we can offer the entire resource collection to you, our readers, at a 92% discount.

Plan your entire preschool year or use the products to supplement lessons/curriculum ALL YEAR LONG!  This bundle provides resources and ideas to work on numbers, letters, shapes, colors, art, fine motor, visual perception, and so much more!

The bundle of resources also comes with bonuses that will help with common issues like picky eating, potty training, and MORE!  It’s like having an entire preschool and childcare resource library right at your fingertips!

31 Educational Printable Packs, including:

  • Alphabet: Learn the Alphabet Mega Pack, The Ultimate Preschool Literacy Pack, ABC Workbook, Letter Sounds Mazes, Alphabet Formation Rhymes, A-Z Espanol.
  • Math: Counting Pack, Shape Games, Math Facts clip cards.
  • Montessori & 3-part cards: Farm Animal Families, Dinosaur Unit, Famous Paintings & Artists, Africa A-Z.
  • Packs: All About Leaves pack, Autumn pack, Space pack, Letter Tile Spelling mats, Ladybug Unit, Ocean Animals Unit, Goldfish Crackers pack.
  • Other: My First Calendar, Dinosaur Pom Pom mats, Nursery Rhyme concepts of print pack, Learning Seasons & Months, Back to School Teacher’s pack.
  • and more!

13 Ebooks, including:

  • 50 Alphabet Crafts
  • 99 Fine Motor Ideas
  • Learn with Play: 150+ activities for year-round learning
  • LEARN: Hands-on Learning for your Preschooler
  • Sensory Bins
  • Read, Create & Share
  • Crafty Critters: Crafts to Go
  • The Undeniable Power of Play
  • and more!

10 Bonus Resources, including:

  • Potty Train in a Weekend
  • Yoga for Kids
  • Homeschooling with ADHD
  • Crunch! Put a Stop to Picky Eating
Disclosure:  this post and others within this blog contain affiliate and/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

Back to School Resource BUNDLE for Preschool

Resources Included in this FANTASTIC Bundle:

Detailed information of each Title:

Crunch! Put A Stop To Picky Eating and Help Your Kids Love Veggies

Crunch! Put A Stop To Picky Eating and Help Your Kids Love Veggies
Toddler, Preschool, Kids in general
If you are struggling with a picky eater, fussy toddler or just don’t know what “healthy” is. Crunch! has everything you need to teach your kids to eat and enjoy a healthy diet. It is based on current research (shared in the book) plus personal accounts of true stories. Written by a pediatric doctor and mother of 4 young children.

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Read, Create & Share: A Year of Growing with Young Children
Toddler, Preschool
Read, Create & Share: A Year of Growing with Young Children is a step by step guide how the author spent a year reading, creating and sharing with others. After reading a themed book, there is a creative project to complete. Sometimes you might be cooking a yummy treat. Other times you might be making a piece of art. The last and most important component is the sharing piece. Each month your kids will take their creation that was made in the create step to a local group, charity or person in need. The ebook includes free colored printables.

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

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50 Alphabet Crafts for Little Kids
Toddler, Preschool
50 Alphabet Crafts for Little Kids includes crafts for letter recognition, letter formation and word recognition. It also features a fun and engaging craft for every letter of the alphabet! Easy step-by-step instructions are provided for each simple craft, with helpful color photographs to guide you through every project. Make learning fun with your little one and get crafting with your child today!

The Art Curator for Kids - 82 Questions to Ask About Art - Art Criticism - Art Discussion Questions (1)

82 Questions to Ask About Art
Kids in general
Not sure how to talk about art with kids? Use this list of 82 questions to spark your conversation! From looking questions to telling stories, you will have tons of ideas on how to approach works of art with your students. This PDF include a list of questions as well as printable notecards.

The Art Curator for Kids - Art Around the World in 30 Days-eBook (1)

Art Around the World in 30 Days eBook
Kids in general
Information, lesson ideas, and discussion questions about 30 artworks from around the world!

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Sensory Bins
Toddler, Preschool, Kids in general, Grade 1-3
Sensory bins are a simple and inexpensive learning tool that can benefit all children. Whether you are interested in incorporating sensory bins into your home, classroom, preschool, Day Care, or homeschool, this guide will provide you the necessary knowledge and ideas to get started.

It includes idea lists, storage and money saving tips, information on using sensory bins with Sensory Processing Disorder, and helpful recipes.

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

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Africa A-Z: Montessori Style Activities
Preschool, Grade 1-3
This is a collection of 7 Montessori activities to enhance your unit on Africa. It features photos and descriptions of things found in Africa that start with every letter of the alphabet.. yes, even X and Q! It also includes 3-part cards, a phonetic reading activity, living and non-living sorting, plant and animal sorting, parts of lion 3-part cards and booklet, and photos of the biomes of Africa.

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The Ultimate Reading Challenge
Kids in general, Grade 1-3, Grade 4-6
The Ultimate Reading Challenge will challenge students to read a variety of texts over the school year. Since it is editable, it is adaptable to a wide variety of ages! There are two versions: Level 1 and Level 2. The differences are the number of books and categories suggested. Level 1 suggests 25 books and 5 categories (plus your choice). Level 2 suggests 42 books and 9 categories (plus your choice). Each category is EDITABLE, so YOU get to choose the suggested categories or genres! Suggestions are typed in, but you can delete and edit as you please! You can even get creative with it- instead of genres, type in ANY type of category you would like!

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Letter Tile Spelling Mats (Seasons and Celebrations)
Preschool, Kids in general, Kindergarten
The Letter Tile Spelling Mats {Seasons & Celebrations} Bundle is a year full of letter tile fun for emergent readers. This Letter Tile Spelling Mat bundle is designed to expose young learners to theme vocabulary words, letter matching, beginning sounds, and spelling practice. Includes 80+ pages containing letter tile spelling mats for 14 themes around the year.

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ABC Workbook
Do you have a preschooler learning the alphabet? No need to jump from one blog to the next to get different printables. Get all the printables you need to work with your child right here. You’ll get handwriting pages, dot coloring pages, play dough mats, and ABC flash cards for games. Have fun learning the alphabet together.

All About Leaves Printable Pack

All About Leaves Printable Pack
Learn about fall leaves with our All About Leaves Printable Pack! This unit has 30 pages of activities, including:
– An activity on why leaves change color
– A discussion and quiz about deciduous and evergreen trees
– A Leaf Symmetry activity
– Our Leaf Identification Flashcards
– And Leaf Coloring Pages!
– An answer key is also provided.

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Homeschooling with ADHD
Are you homeschooling a child with ADHD? Are you considering homeschooling for your ADHD kids? Then this ebook is for you!

Written by an ADD mom to three kids with ADHD, this ebook is just what you need to decide if homeschooling is right for your kids and how you can make a success of it.

Homeschooling kids with ADHD can be tough, but it is so rewarding. Let the advice in this book help you love your homeschooling journey!

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

farm animals families montessori 3-part cards printables by I believe in montessori

Farm animal families Montessori 3-part cards
Toddler, Preschool
These 3-part cards will help your child to know more about different farm animals families. He will learn the names of males, females and young. Also the child can sort the cards by categories, such as mother, father, child, family, male, female, young, group.

The material consists of:
– 45 name and picture cards
– 45 picture cards
– 45 name cards
– 8 labels of categories

5 Montessori materials for learning about seaosons and months printables by I Believe in Montessori

5 Materials for learning about Seasons and Months
Toddler, Preschool
This is a set of several materials for learning about seasons and month in Montessori way.
The colors correspond to Montessori color coding of seasons.

Activity 1. Introduction to seasons
Activity 2. Circle of months (with color grades)
Activity 3. Circle of months complicated
Activity 4. Seasons words classification
Activity 5. Months puzzle

There are two versions of the material inside for Southern and Northern Hemisphere.

Artist and his Painting matching cards printables by I Believe in Montessori

Artist and his Painting Montessori-inspired Cards
Toddler, Preschool
These cards will help Children to remember artist and one of his artworks. Cards are made in a bingo-like style where you need to match colorful cards to black and white ones.

I made this material in a form that one card has one painter and one painting on it. This will help the Child to be concentrated on the couple artist+painting more and he will form a more strong connection between them. Another addition is learning names of artists and their works.


Visual Perception, Tangrams, & Handwriting Workbook
Grade 1-3, Kindergarten
This activity workbook has information on all of the visual perceptual areas necessary for written work. Included in the workbook are creative tangram puzzles, tangram drawing activities, and tangram building challenges that will work on all of the skills needed for improving line awareness, letter formation, and neatness in written work.


Basic Shapes for Beginners
Toddler, Preschool
A hands-on approach to pre-writing strokes for preschoolers. Designed for ages 2-5 to be completed in 6 weeks. Includes resource list, items needed organized by week, and printables for designated activities.

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My First Calendar for Home or School
Preschool, Grade 1-3
Learning about the calendar during circle time can be developmentally appropriate for young children with this calendar set this has been designed especially for students aged 2 – 7 and others who benefit from visual cues.

It includes these components:
1. Month Headers (with seasonal/U.S. holiday graphics AND plain)
2. Days of the Week
3. Today/Yesterday/Tomorrow headers
4. Attendance chart
5. School Schedule – 20 visual cards
6. Home Schedule – picture cards for special days, every day events and holidays.
7. Traditional calendar pieces – 14 sets of numbers (1-31)

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

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Yoga For Kids
Toddler, Preschool, Grade 1-3
A fun set of 20 yoga poses that are on cards with a description as well as a full sheet printable of the pose. Real kids are used in these yoga poses. They are perfect to use at home, educational setting, or for a celebration. Poses included in this set are Lotus, Bow, Cobra, Butterfly, Forward Fold, Airplane, Bear Walk, Frog, Bicycle, Child’s, Resting, Turtle, Seated Fold, Happy Baby, Bridge, Chair, Boat, Star, Lion, and Downward Dog.

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Therapy at Home Camp: Beach Week
Kids in general
A beach themed autism therapy at home camp pack that includes 12 speech activities and printables, 12 social skills activities and printables, and 24 sensory activities to do at home or at the beach.

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First Grade Math Facts Clip Cards 1-10: Strawberry Theme
Grade 1-3
50 pages of clip cards with all addition and subtraction facts from 0-10.

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LEARN: Hands On Learning Plans for Your Preschooler
Preschoolers can have lots of fun learning their ABCs, 123s, shapes, colors and so much more! LEARN is packed full of learning activities with a hands on (no worksheet) approach. (Digital PDF eBook)

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

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Nursery Rhyme Concepts of Print Pack
Preschool, Kindergarten, first grade
Children need to understand basic concepts of print before they can learn to read. Since children love nursery rhymes, these classic poems are the perfect text for teaching concepts of print. This file contains 280 pages of printable activities featuring ten different nursery rhymes. The file includes instructions for how to teach concept of word, voice to print matching, and more.

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Montessori-inspired Dinosaur Unit Syllabus
Preschool, Grade 1-3
Montessori-inspired dinosaur themed unit study for children ages 3-6, complete with directions, materials, and printables.

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Rachel’s Day in the Garden
Toddler, Preschool
Act out a day in the garden with Rachel in this yoga book for kids! Join Rachel as she and her adorable puppy look for signs of spring in the garden. Crawl like a caterpillar, buzz like a bee, and flutter like a butterfly. Discover spring, explore movement, and learn the colors of the rainbow! IPNE Book of the Year 2015 and Winner of Children’s Book Category 2015. Age group: Toddlers and Preschoolers, ages 2-5.

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The Quick Guide to Choosing a Homeschool Curriculum
Kids in general
10 tips to help guiding people through the process of choosing a homeschool curriculum.

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Printable Dinosaur Pom Pom Mats
Preschool, Kids in general
This Pom-Pom Color Match Game is a simple way for young children to develop fine motor skills and learn about colors. 6 sheets with 6 dinosaurs. Full color.

A. Printable Alphabet Sound Mazes you clever monkey (1)

Alphabet Sound Mazes
Kids in general, Grade 1-3
Ready to print alphabet sound mazes for every letter of the alphabet. Perfect way for young children to practice initial sounds in words to find their way through the letter mazes.

Goldfish Math Literacy Pack

Goldfish Crackers Math & Literacy Pack
Toddler, Preschool, kindergarten
Early learning printable pack featuring 20 hands-on math and literacy activities specifically designed to be used with Goldfish crackers. There are over 50 pages in this pack with no prep required – just print & play! Great for toddlers, preschoolers and kindergartners who love Goldfish crackers.

Spending 5-10 minutes each day during snack time with these activities will teach and reinforce many early learning concepts, such as counting, number recognition, shapes, colors, patterns, measurement, graphing, simple addition, alphabet recognition, letter sounds, letter cases, sight words and more!

CVC Word Picture Tracing Cards

CVC Word & Picture Tracing Cards
Preschool, Grade 1-3, kindergarten
These CVC Word & Picture Tracing Cards are designed for preschoolers and kindergartners to practice reading a word, tracing it, writing it, then tracing and coloring the corresponding picture. Kids will practice reading, handwriting and fine motor skills at the same time!

The set includes 36 cards featuring 36 short-vowel CVC words & pictures. It comes in 2 versions so you can choose the best one for your child’s skill level. One version has larger letters to trace while the other version has smaller letters and there is blank space for children to write the word on their own. These cards are a great way to encourage and motivate young readers!

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

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Alphabet Formation Rhymes
Preschool, Kindergarten
Teach little ones how to write uppercase alphabet letters with these formation rhymes! This set of printables explains how to write the uppercase letters with a fun little rhyme. These can be used as posters around a room, tracing with a finger, or tracing with a writing utensil.

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Shape games
Toddler, Preschool
10 games for toddlers and preschoolers to explore and learn about shapes!

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A to Z Español: A Spanish Alphabet Super Pack!
Kids in general
Help kids learn the Spanish alphabet from A to Z with this 79-page printable pack! Kids can learn a word for each of the 29 letters in the alphabet and use the included pronunciation guide and flashcards for practice!

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Autumn Printables for Toddlers and Young Preschoolers
Toddler, Preschool
Fun, learning activities for children to broaden their vocabulary, develop fine-motor skills and ability to discriminate according to different characteristics, like colour and size. These are great for the Montessori classroom as individual quiet activities.

Autumn Printables for Toddlers and Young Preschoolers contain:
– photo cards for sorting colours
– autumn vocabulary photo cards (includes American and British versions)
– autumn shapes match – up activity
– cards for practising counting 0 -5 (using pegs)
– size sorting
– puzzels
– dot-a-dot worksheets
– puzzles for colouring in
– handwriting practise activity
– living/non-living cards for sorting
– matroyshka doll strips for cutting

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Family Systems
Kids in general
The kids are screaming, the house is a mess, and you have no idea what you will making for dinner. But I have learned a secret that will completely transform how you get through your days!

The secret is systematizing your routine. When you create a system for each part of your day you can break free from the turmoil that defines your day. You will become calmer and freer because you will know what comes next instead of winging it all of the time.

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Space Printables Pack
Toddler, Preschool, Grade 1-3
Whether your child dreams of being an astronaut, loves looking at the stars, or hopes to visit the moon one day, you’ll find something they’ll enjoy in this Space Printables Pack. This pack features 75 printable space-themed educational activities for kids ages 2-7. The activities in this pack cover a range of skills, including shapes and sizes, colors, patterning, puzzles, fine motor, mazes, math (number identification, counting, addition, subtraction), and literacy (letter identification, alphabetic order, phonemic awareness, word searches). Many of the activities have multiple versions so you can tailor the activity to the developmental level of your children.

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Growing Up Centsible: a no nonsense guide to helping kids become financially responsible adults
Preschool, Grade 1-3
This guide includes parenting ideas and kid activities with one goal in mind: teaching kids about to be financially smart.

Along with over 30 pack filled pages, you receive bonuses including a Teaching Kids about Money activities pack and a promo code for my Montessori materials store.

Filled with simple and tangible ways for you to bring positive money ideals to your family’s life, this guide covers mindset, preparing yourself, ideas for the family, parenting ideas around teaching money sense, and includes loads of resources for your journey.

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Learn the Alphabet Mega Pack
Toddler, Preschool
Learning the alphabet is easier than ever! With this 230 page pack, you can help your preschooler learn their letters while practicing early phonics skills, coloring, fine motor skills, handwriting, and more! Best of all, the activities included in this pack require either minimal prep or none at all!

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool


Beginning, Middle, and End Story Writing PDF Lesson
Grade 1-3
Beginning, Middle, and End: Story Writing, 250 PDF pages including interactive notebook pages and a kindergarten printable. This lesson reviews the beginning, middle, and end of some familiar stories. Sequencing of sentences is also covered. Students practice drawing a story using a graphic organizer for the three parts of beginning, middle, and end of their own story . . . later writing the paper on pages designed for each story component. There are five different story planning pages are included, two versions of the basic three page story, and two “chapter book” printable writing frames.

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Grade 2 Editable Writing Through the Year Illustrated Writing Pages and Rubrics
Grade 1-3
This PDF has a variety of illustrated writing pages with school year themes, writing rubrics, and student work covers. All of these pages are generic and are designed to be used with any books. For instance, if there is a farm story, the farm writing page could be used. If there is a construction story, one of the construction pages could be used.

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Sensory Processing Disorder Brochure for Care Givers
Toddler, Preschool, Kids in general, Grade 1-3
A customizable, printable, brochure to introduce coaches, babysitters, and other adults about your child’s unique sensory needs. Covers what SPD is, the different ways it can effect various senses, and what that means for YOUR child. Never again worry about your child being with someone who doesn’t understand their needs.

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Ocean Animals Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten
Preschool, Kindergarten
The Ocean and Ocean Animals Thematic Unit is a 189 (total) page unit for use in Preschool and Kindergarten. If you plan to use the theme to accompany core studies for one week only, you will have many activities left for a “new” unit the following year. This theme includes playful learning activities for math, science, and literacy as well as numerous songs, poems, art and crafts activities, gross motor ideas, food/food crafts, dramatic play, and book suggestions. A 42 page instructional manual serves as a guide with detailed instructions/photos for games, projects, and activities. There are 10 Power Point presentations and 35 activity files (some with numerous pages for differentiated learning) that are ready to download and print. Suggestions for younger or slightly older children are given where possible.


Back to School – Summer Recap & Social Activities
Grade 1-3
This is a back to school unit that contains 23 printables that will help you get to know your class, and help them getting to know each other. It works well with both students you are familiar and unfamiliar with. All the printables are explained in the teacher’s guide. The tasks are set up / phrased in a manner that enables all children to participate comfortably, regardless of social background. No expensive holidays, traveling abroad etc, is mentioned. Everyone will be able to complete the tasks, having been at home the entire summer, or been on the road.

Literacy Bundle Cover Blog

The Ultimate Preschool Literacy Bundle
This preschool literacy bundle includes a full year of lesson plans for teaching oral language, phonological awareness, and phonics. This bundle includes over 400 activities and included printable images.

Hello Sunshine! Counting Printable Pack

Hello Sunshine! Counting Printable Pack
Toddler, Preschool
The Hello Sunshine! Counting Printable Pack includes 10 different printable activities that focus on counting up to 10:
– Play dough mats.
– Clip cards
– I Spy games
– 2-piece puzzles.
– Line-up puzzles with 5, 6 or 10 pieces.
– Roll and Cover games.
– Grid game.
– Sun counters 1-10.
– Introduction to the number line.
– Write the missing number.


The Undeniable Power of Play
Baby, Toddler, Preschool
Rooted in research, The Undeniable Power of Play is an ebook of 101+ tips, activities, recipes, and insights to teach your child through play at home or in a classroom

kindergarten ladybug unit from preschool powol Packets

Kindergarten Ladybug Unit
Preschool, Grade 1-3, Kindergarten or 4-7 year olds
Awesome ladybug unit for 4-7 year olds! Includes a unit planner, activity instructions, science background, printables, and more! Each day in the week-long suggested plan includes a math, language arts, and science/other learning activity. Hands on and fun!

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool


Merry Memories: Holiday Traditions to Start with Your Family
Kids in general
Holiday recipes, crafts, and activities to start new traditions with your family.


Kaleidoscope: Hands On Explorations in Colour (and Color!) For Kids
Preschool, Grade 1-3
Kaleidoscope includes 25 AWE-INSPIRING projects all about COLOUR! Projects include jello printmaking, Skittle science, spinning tops, more than a little rainbow magic, a rainbow code breaker, artwork inspired by renowned artists Klee, Kandinsky, Warhol and Giacometti, writing and poetry prompts, a photography hunt and instructions to make your own kaleidoscope (of course!)…and that is not even half of the great value ideas included. Each and everyone has been chosen for it’s unique approach to the study of and experimentation with COLOUR!

Designed to be used with kids aged 5 to 55, each project includes a supplies list, step by step instructions, full colour photographs and ideas for extending learning. Plus we’ve made sure that the activities only require materials that you already have in your home or classroom. Perfect for teachers, parents, camp organisers, youth and community group leaders, homeschoolers, after school care educators, this is STEM, art and literacy like you’ve never seen it before – dressed up in all the colours of the rainbow!

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Potty Train in a Weekend
Baby, Toddler, Preschool
Have your child potty trained in three days! It is the only complete guide to potty training that you will need. In this book, you will learn the secret to potty training in three days, how to deal with hurdles such as: ‘They won’t poop on the potty!” or “They were using the potty, but now they are having accidents all of the time!” (regression).

You will not be going back and forth between diapers, pull-ups and underwear anymore. You child will be completely trained in a weekend. Parents all over the world are having success with this system and now you can, too!

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Crafty Critters: Crafts to Go
Kids in general
100 of our easy Crafts for kids, each printable on one page with supply list and step by step instructions.

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool

Fine Motor Ideas Cover Final ebook

99 Fine Motor Ideas for Ages 1 to 5
Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten
The Hands Have It!
Squeezing Play Dough, Fastening Buttons, Snipping with Scissors, and So Much More

99 Fine Motor Activities presents fun, engaging ideas to involve the fine motor muscles in your child’s hands, fingers, and wrists. Ten talented moms come together to share the most successful, creative, and inspiring invitations to play that they set up for their own kids to get those little hands working!

Your child’s hands develop and change so much in the first years of life. From chubby newborn fists that can barely open to infants reaching for your face as they coo to toddlers self feeding and stacking blocks, soon you will have a preschooler learning to cut, write, and turn the pages of a book!

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Learn with Play: 150+ Activities for Year-round Fun & Learning
Toddler, Preschool, Kindergarten
The perfect book to have on hand for inspiring you on holidays, weekends, or anytime the kids just need something to do! A fun mix of hands-on fun with learning, celebrating, and appreciating family time.

Don’t forget that this incredible offer only lasts until September 10, 2016.  We know you will LOVE it and your kids will gain valuable skills all year through!

Preschool and Kindergarten Back to School Resources for Preschool




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Back-to-School with Personal GPS: Goals, Prayer, and Sustenance

GPS for Back to School

Back-to-School with Personal GPS:  Goals, Prayer, and Sustenance

As we begin to prepare for a new school year, I love to use GPS as a guide. GPS is an intimate personal navigation system that I use daily, weekly, and monthly.

G=GOALS – what are my goals for myself and my kids – daily/weekly/monthly.

P=PRAY/PEOPLE – Am I spiritually connected daily to help me teach the little people who need me present and to connect with other educators to help/learn/grow.

S=SUSTENANCE/SUPPLIES – do I have what I need to meet those goals TODAY? Am I taking care of myself? Do I have a daily/weekly/monthly lesson plan that is flexible as I see what my kids need and are interested in? Do I have support to help me help others in my classroom (if not, how can I make that better)? Have I gathered the resources I need in the classroom to help me achieve goals?

As all of YOU, our valued colleagues and readers, begin to prepare for the new school year, I hope you put yourself first. Plan for yourself as you plan for your own little ones.

How can YOU be your BEST this year?!

What will you add to my own list?

GPS Personal Navigation for Back to School


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How Do I Introduce the ABC’s and 123’s to Preschoolers?

ABCs and 123s Playful Learning eBook for Kids

ABC’s and 123’s Book for Playful Learning

As an educator for 33 years, I’ve often fielded questions from parents and colleagues about appropriate ways to introduce literacy and math concepts to preschoolers.  I’m honored to co-author the ABC’s and 123’s Book to guide parents and teachers toward developmentally appropriate practices for playful learning with their own kids at home or in the classroom.

Disclosure:  This post and others within this blog may contain affiliate and/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

ABCs and 123s Book for Preschoolers - playful learning at its BEST!YOU and YOUR KIDS will LOVE the EASY to Set-Up Activities:

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All the activities in the book are FUN! Every activity has been tried, tested, and approved by our own children. The activities are based on play –  your children will be exploring and learning through their senses.  Preschoolers will love the engaging invitations while  building important skills through play.

The activities have been carefully chosen to offer a wide range of math and literacy skills, working across the curriculum to incorporate play, imagination, science, sensory, and art.  When kids are challenged to use critical thinking and to problem solve while PLAYING, they gain skills to last a lifetime.

What you’ll get in this book:

:: 40+ hands-on play ideas that will help your child build their letter and math skills :: multisensory activities for children aged 2 to 8 :: resources for parents and teachers, at home or in the classroom, with ideas for indoor and outdoor learning :: material lists, step-by-step instructions and full color photographs of every activity

:: suggestions for variations and extensions so you can adapt the activities to suit your child

:: a wide range of learning activities, across literacy and math, including:

  • learning to recognize and write letters and numbers
  • understanding both upper and lower case letters
  • drawing shapes and making marks
  • working on alphabetic order
  • working on spelling names, sight words, cvc words, and other vocabulary
  • developing language skills
  • understanding one-to-one correspondence
  • learning to count, to add, and subtract
  • base-ten understanding and double digit addition

ABCs and 123s eBook for Preschoolers

Buy it Worldwide for Instant Download
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This is an ebook, which means you will be sent a link that allows you to download a PDF containing the ebook and all the resources. You can save it to your computer or iPad* and then either read it on screen or print some/all of the pages, as you prefer. You can buy the ebook wherever you are in the world. You pay via PayPal, which will take care of any currency conversion for you.

Please note:  You can buy the ebook now, on any device, and then download it when you are ready. Depending on the apps you have installed and your operating system, you might be able to download the ebook on your mobile device. However, if you have any doubts or problems, I recommend you use a computer to download the book and then share it to your mobile devices. You will be sent download instructions when you purchase the ebook.

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The ABCs and 123s ebook is published and sold by Cathy James at Please direct any customer service queries regarding purchases of the ebook to or refer to the NurtureStore FAQ

The ABCs and 123s ebook is protected under copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.



Posted in Back to School for Preschool and PreK, Literacy, Math, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Ultimate Guide to Scissor Skills in Preschool!

I am often asked by teachers and parents how to teach scissor skills to preschoolers.  Young kids need plenty of practice with fine motor activities to develop the small muscles required for cutting.  We introduce scissors to our 3’s, but do not formally work on cutting skills until the 4th year.  By the time most kids are four (reminder that not every child will develop at the same pace), they are ready to begin cutting and have the fine motor control necessary to have success!

The Ultimate Guide to Scissor Skills in Preschool

The Ultimate Guide to Scissor Skills in Preschool

Cutting with scissors takes patience and practice.  Make a tray activity for each of the children as the kids will develop skills at various paces and trays can be differentiated for each child.  Label the tray with the child’s name so they can practice during downtime or center activity times, if desired.  It is also helpful to include an envelope in the tray where the kids can save precious cuttings.

Prior to cutting:  Invite the children to hold the scissors in their dominant hand with the thumb up (place a small piece of tape around the thumb hole as a reminder).  Have the children practice opening and closing the scissors WITHOUT paper to help them gain confidence.  Observe the children to note which child needs additional help and practice before moving on to actual cutting.  The child should be able to open and close the scissor with ease before adding paper (or other materials to cut).

Materials needed:

  • Trays (to contain individual cutting practice sheets, scissors, and envelopes)
  • Envelopes (to hold cuttings)
  • Paper (vary the weight as skills progress – copy paper, heavy paper, light weight cardboard (such as cereal boxes), tissue paper, etc.)
  • Permanent Marker (to create lines for cutting)
  • Scissors (Fiskars brand is, by far, the best brand for preschoolers – there is nothing more frustrating than to have good cutting form and poor quality scissors that fail to cut).

Cutting the fringe of the paper in preschool

Step One:  Cut “fringe” on the bottom of a standard weight piece of paper.  Preschoolers should practice opening the scissors and making just ONE cut before moving across the paper.  Practice until fringe can be cut all the way across the paper by moving the scissors and opening and closing to make the cut.

Cutting straight lines in preschool

Step Two:  As the kids are able to make the fringe cuts, progress to cutting straight lines.  In order to cut multiple times, the kids must open the scissors fully and move them forward before cutting.  It isn’t as simple as it looks!  In the beginning, most preschoolers will tear the paper as they forget to OPEN the scissors before trying to move up the paper line to cut.  We practice saying or singing, “OPEN, CUT, OPEN, CUT” so it becomes routine.  Start with shorter lines in the beginning and then progress to cutting longer lines as the kids gain confidence and skills.  Parents and teachers can also tape “lines” as a guide.  The tape will help serve as an edge when cutting (we use colored tape as it adds a little flair to cutting practice).

Cutting Zig-Zags in Preschool

Step Three:  Cutting Zig-Zag lines is no easy task as they must turn the paper and keep thumbs up while doing it to cut well.  Remind kids to watch the tape to make sure they have their hand in proper position.  Practice over and over and the kids will catch on!

Cutting Circles in Preschool

Step Four:  Progress to circular shapes when the kids have mastered the scissor skills above.  Again remind the kids to keep thumbs up for good scissor form while turning the paper to cut circular shapes.

As the kids mature and fine motor skills develop, the kids will have great success!  Squares and rectangles with corners can be introduced as the kids further develop scissor skills.  Be sure to note all the cuttings in the envelopes as they are precious pieces of paper that make a milestone in each preschooler’s development!

For more Tips, Practice Sheets, Seasonal Ideas, and Suggestions for Encouraging Scissor Skills, please check out all the wonderful activities below!

Guide to Scissor Skills in Preschool

Cutting Grass by Simple Fun for Kids – see how adding texture can enhance cutting skills!

Cutting Shapes from Coloring Books by Mama Smiles – an inexpensive way to cut more difficult shapes.

Cutting Activities That Won’t Put Your Kids To Sleep by Carrots Are Orange – turn cutting work into FUN!

Baby Penguin Cutting Practice Free Printable by Simple Fun for Kids

Cutting Strings of Beads by Living Montessori Now – read the post for great ideas for tray/center cutting.

Spring-themed Cutting Strips by Carrots are Orange – at $1.49 these strips are a bargain for spring scissor work.

Snowflake and Sunburst Cutting – further practice with FUN cutting techniques from Picklebums.

Developing Fine Motor and Scissor Skills  by Pre-K Pages – great tips and insights for developing the skill sets necessary for scissor skills!

Sticky Cutting Tray Invitation to Play by Picklebums – a FUN way to play and enhance skills!

Scissor Activities for Cutting Practice from Little Bins for Little Hands – check out various ways to play and practice.

Rainbow Scissors Skills Practice from Little Bins for Little Hands – a FUN way to practice and incorporate color matching!

Quick TIP Suggestion for Aiding Cutting Skills by The Inspired Treehouse – check it out!

Cutting Straws – a busy box or center activity by Little Bins for Little Hands – this is a great “on the go” activity too for outside!

Practice Cutting Strips by Tiny Tots Adventure – save time with cutting strips for practice.

Paper Cutting “NO-PREP” Activities from Schooling a Monkey – some FUN ideas for paper cutting.

Cutting Junk Mail by Schooltime Snippets – great suggestions and hints for developing scissor skills.


Posted in Fine Motor Skills for Tiny Fingers, PreK | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Walkin’ In the Jungle Gross Motor and Sequencing for Preschool!

Welcome to the Wednesday #TeachECE series!  Each week throughout the year, we partner with other early childhood professionals to offer tips, activities, and suggested play ideas for your own kids at home or in the classroom.   Winter weather can be challenging for staff and students.  We try to get our kids outside twice a day, but when the weather doesn’t cooperate, indoor large motor games are a must to get little bodies MOVING!  Come “Walk in the Jungle” with us and explore music and movement, listening skills, and a sequencing activity designed just for your own preschoolers!

Walking in the Jungle Large Motor and Sequencing Activity for Preschool

Walkin’ In the Jungle Large Motor Music and Movement Game for Preschool!

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

If your own preschoolers have not been introduced to “Walking in the Jungle” on the Animals CD by Super Simple Songs, you’ll want to try it!  Our own kids ask for it almost daily and it’s a great song to get kids moving their bodies and listening!  The song includes large motor movements:  walking, stomping, jumping, and skipping (for preschoolers, skipping often looks like gallops or sliding as they learn to skip).  In each verse, the children must LISTEN to the sound an animal makes and guess which animal the sound belongs to before it is revealed.  Our kids now SHOUT the names of the animals as they now know which animal comes next in the song.  Whether it is a frog, monkey, toucan, or a tiger, the kids delight in knowing what sound each of the animals makes!  The song introduces walking forward while counting, stopping, and then stepping backwards, too.  Play the song through once for your children and ask them to just LISTEN to the words, sounds, and what movements are included.  Play the song again and ask the kids to try each of the movements within the song.

Walking in the Jungle Music and Movement for Preschool

Sequencing Cards to Accompany Walking in the Jungle by Super Simple Songs

Sequencing Cards to Accompany Walkin' In the Jungle by Super Simple Songs

Materials needed:

Print one set of the sequencing cards for each of the children.  Laminate the cards for durability or if laminating supplies are not available, clear contact paper works well, too.  Have the kids tape each of the sequencing cards to a craft stick or a straw.  Play the song, Walking In the Jungle, and invite the kids to LISTEN and hold up the animal card that corresponds to the SOUND that animal makes as it is introduced in the song.  Keep the cards and invite the children to sequence the cards without the music by the MOVEMENT that corresponds to each animal:  WALKING=FROG; STOMPING=MONKEY; JUMPING=TOUCAN; and SKIPPING=TIGER.  You might also wish to print two copies of the cards for a simple animal matching game.

Your kids might also enjoy:  ZOO and FARM ANIMAL ACTIVITIES for PRESCHOOL!

Farm Animal Bingo

Be sure to check out other LARGE MOTOR Activities from the Early Childhood Educational Team below!

Great Day for Up Reading Game from Growing Book by Book

Beginning Sound Movement Game from Mom Inspired Life

Beginning Letter Sounds Tunnel Gross Motor Game from Capri +3

Move Like an Insect Gross Motor Activity from Life Over C’s

Bug Shapes (Bugs Fun Kids Math Games) from Learning 2 Walk

UNO Movement Game for Kids from Still Playing School



Posted in PreK, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Mondrian-Inspired STEAM Playdough Challenge for Kids!

STEAM Education integrates the arts into STEM by recognizing that individual creative expression and quest for knowledge is an integral part the disciplines of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math!  STEAM Education compels kids to use cross-disciplinary  skills to gain new knowledge that they can apply to their everyday world.   Come explore how integrated learning can be EXCITING and FUN for kids through a STEAM Mondrian-Inspired Playdough Challenge for Kids!

Mondrian-Inspired STEAM Playdough Challenge for Kids

Mondrian-Inspired STEAM Playdough Challenge for Kids!

Background Information for Parents and Teachers:

Piet Mondrian, “Composition C (no.iii) with Red, Yellow and Blue” (1935), oil on canvas (Private Collection)

Piet Mondrian, “Composition C (no.iii) with Red, Yellow and Blue” (1935), oil on canvas (Private Collection)

Piet Mondrian (1872-1944) was a Dutch painter considered by many to be the founder of abstract art.  In his artwork, “Composition C (no.iii) with Red, Yellow and Blue” (1935), Piet Mondrian used red, blue, and yellow colored squares and rectangles with black lines and white spaces to create art he considered harmonious and pure.  The artist moved from France to New York during WWII and became very productive near the end of his life.  The colorful grid-like block patterns in his later paintings were reflections of the fast pace of the city and the “boogie-woogie” jazz music he adored.  For more examples of Mondrian Art, see here.

Introductory Discussion with Kids:

Open discussion by showing the kids a picture of Piet Mondrian’s Composition C (no.iii) with Red, Yellow and Blue (photo above) and asking the following questions:

  • Why do you think Piet Mondrian left white spaces in his artwork?
  • What shapes did Mondrian use in the Composition C (no.iii) with Red, Yellow, and Blue?
  • Do you like the painting?  Why or why not?  Remind students they do not have to like an artist’s work, but they must always show respect for the artist in their responses.

STEAM Mondrian Playdough Challenge for Kids

Mondrian-Inspired Playdough Challenge

Objective:  Kids will use cross-disciplinary STEAM skills to plan, design, and engineer Mondrian-inspired color blocks with playdough.

STEAM Skills Presented:

Science:  Students will explore Mondrian Art through individual (and/or collaborative) use of skills in the scientific method:  observing, communicating, comparing, organizing, and relating.

Technology:  Kids will use digital photography, video clips, and iMovie to document learning.

Engineering:  Students will construct hands-on Mondrian-inspired color block art that exhibits early attempts at engineering.

Arts:  Kids will design and construct Mondrian-inspired art that reflects the student’s creative expression.

Math:  Students will explore geometric shapes, measurement, lines, primary colors, and patterns in creating Mondrian-inspired art.

Mondrian STEAM Playdough Challenge Supplies

Materials needed:

Set out the simple supplies on a tray or table as an invitation for the kids to create.  Show the kids a photo of the Mondrian color block painting again for inspiration, but allow the kids to formulate their own plan for design and construction.

  • Playdough (Red, Yellow, Blue, and White)
  • Square and Rectangle Shapes or Cookie Cutters
  • Plastic knives (if not using cookie cutters)

Challenge Inquiry:  Kids are asked to plan colors and design a 4-6 color Mondrian-inspired block pattern using just playdough and the squares/rectangles.  The time limit for the challenge is 15 minutes.  The kids will ask HOW to make the color block patterns.  Try to respond with open ended questions to allow for critical thinking and creative expression.

Mondrian-Inspired STEAM Playdough Color Block Challenge for Kids

It is truly amazing to watch kids use inquiry, exploration, critical thinking, and predictions to formulate creative solutions to simple problems!  Our kids all chose different color block patterns and numbers of squares/rectangles to complete the challenge.  We used the same supplies, but each color block construction was as unique as the child that created it! 

Mondrian STEAM Playdough Challenge from The Preschool Toolbox on Vimeo.

Digital Technology and Documentation of Learning

Invite the kids to take photos and video clips of their playdough color block constructions or color block patterns they might find in their own communities. To create the trailer shown, our kids took digital photos and loaded them into an iMovie Trailer template. The kids had great FUN, but they also gained awesome technology skills along the way!

Color block patterns occur often in art, textiles (see:  the Mondrian-inspired dress by Yves Saint Laurent), and in their own communities.  When kids are exposed to the concept of color block art through simple STEAM learning, they gain the knowledge to begin formulating ideas about how their everyday world is connected to a larger universe.

For MORE STEAM Explorations for Kids, please see:

STEAM Education in Early Childhood_Exploring Tessellating Shapes

Be sure to visit the OTHER great STEM activities that are part of the

#28DaysofSTEM series from Left Brain Craft Brain!

STEM series




Posted in Artists and Masterpieces, PreK, Technology for Preschool and Kindergarten | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Tips for Helping Preschoolers with Self-Regulation Skills!

Welcome to the Wednesday #TeachECE series.  Each Wednesday throughout the year, we partner with other Early Childhood professionals to offer you tips, suggestions, and activities designed just for ECE.  This week’s articles are centered around a BODY theme for use at home or in early childhood classrooms.  Earlier this month, I had a chance to poll parents, childcare providers, and ECE Educators in our closed FB group (The Preschool Toolbox) about the most important skill they believe preschoolers should have or acquire; hands down, the answer was body self-regulation.   While each child is different, there is one similarity among all children:  improved learning and behavior requires strong body awareness and self-regulation skills.  Today, we’ll explore how intentional and integrated practices can help your own preschoolers manage emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Tips for Helping Preschoolers with Self Regulations Skills


Disclosure:  please note that this post and others within this blog contain affiliate and/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

As with other developing skills, self-regulation begins early and at home.  When parents model self-regulation skills and invite kids to practice and internalize appropriate responses to their environment, kids will garner skills that are important for learning and eventually in the workplace and larger community.  While many parents and teachers know that self-regulation is important, guiding young kids to regulate responses to sensory stimuli can be challenging.  The tips below will provide a basic format for gently guiding young children to internalize important self-regulation skills:

  • Make sure that every child is aware of expectations for behavior at home and at school.  Preschoolers need consistent expectations, a routine they can count on, and sufficient sleep to employ emerging skills.  I’m going to say the last one again, SUFFICIENT SLEEP – LACK of sleep is the number one negative behavior trigger for many preschoolers.  Self-regulation skills are easier for young children when they know exactly what to expect from their environment. Discuss and role play the expectations:  Do we hit other children or adults when we are angry?  What do we do when we are angry instead of hitting?  For non-verbal children, biting can be one negative response to environmental stimuli.  What can we do instead of bite?
Hand Sign Suggestions from

Hand Sign Suggestions from

Showing children appropriate responses to varying situations and observing/monitoring successes and challenges at home and in the classroom can give parents and teachers a heads-up to triggers and what areas need work with various children.  Teaching non-verbal children basic hand signs is often an effective way to help them communicate positively (for basic signs, check out  Keep routines for preschoolers as consistent from day-to-day as possible.  Activities and events will change, but the daily routine should remain the same (including naps and bedtimes).  A visual timetable is valuable to help preschoolers understand daily routines whether at home or in the early childhood classroom.

Managing Big Emotions in Preschool

  • When a child’s behavior is less than desirable and big emotions erupt, preschoolers are not in a place to learn new skills.  Learning different skill sets and responses have to be taught when kids are calm and practiced daily by integrating into everyday activities.  Role playing throughout the course of daily interactions helps kids remember appropriate responses to the environment.  Many teachers (and parents) want kids to learn in the moment of big emotion, but it rarely happens.

Self Regulation Skills in Preschool

  • Find a safe spot where the child can calm down first.  Set up an area at home or in the classroom, where the child can manage emotions.  Make a mental plan for big emotions that occur in public places.  At times, the safe place at home or in the classroom has to be apart from the other children (especially if kids are apt to throw toys or harm another child/adult).   This area can be equipped with soft music the kids can listen to, soft toys/dolls to play with and to improve communication, sensory bags or calm down jars, acrylic hand mirrors to provide a visual of body language, word and picture cards to help kids express themselves, and deep breathing picture cards that will remind kids how to calm their body – we have our kids place their hands on their tummies, breathe in through their nose to see if they can feel their hand move on their tummy, and then breathe out slowly through their mouths.  We also practice deep breathing daily so it can be an automated response that kids can draw upon as necessary.  Make sure the other children know that the safe area is not a play area, but only for children who need to use the private space in order to calm down and be alone.  Note:  for children that cannot calm without an adult present, stay close, but ask that they employ skills you have been working on and model again if necessary (deep breathing, meditation, looking at emotions/feelings cards, looking in the mirror for visual body clues, listening to calming music, playing with a sensory squish bag, etc.). The goal is to scaffold developing skills and withdraw direct adult intervention to encourage self regulation as skills grow and kids mature.
  • Follow-up – once a child has stopped the undesirable behavior, discuss and role play ways that the child could make better decisions in managing emotions, thoughts, and actions.

Tips for Encouraging Self Regulation Skills in Preschool

  • If you have a child that is struggling daily, engaging them multiple times a day in discussions about “trigger scenarios and transitions” is extremely helpful.  Role playing the scenario with a peer beforehand will help kids have tools when the need arises.  What transitions or trigger scenarios can you identify at home or in the classroom for your own kids?

With a LOT of practice, patience, and perseverance, parents and teachers can guide our preschoolers to acquire the self regulation skills necessary for a successful beginning to the primary years and beyond!

For more ideas and suggestions, you might also like:

Making Friends in PreschoolBe sure to check out the other articles and activities from the Early Childhood Education Team below:

How Does Your Temperature Change After Exercise? Fun Science Experiment for Kids from Capri +3

Let’s Look Inside a Bone by Tiny Tots Adventures

Moving My Body Gross Motor Game from Life Over C’s

Thumbprint Addition from Rainy Day Mum

Where is the Heart? Body Identification Game from Still Playing School



Posted in 5 Senses Theme Activities, Back to School for Preschool and PreK, Parenting and Values | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Establishing REAL RELATIONSHIPS with NUMBERS in Preschool! #TeachECE

MATH! That one word has probably caused more anxiety for students (and some adults) than any other discipline.  For many parents and educators, negative experiences with numbers and math in the past may present a “personal road block” when guiding young kids to learn about numbers!  The goal with preschoolers is to help them establish REAL RELATIONSHIPS with numbers to create a solid base that can be built upon as they grow.   As teachers and parents, we must observe, communicate, and help our children to explore and visualize number concepts while providing opportunities for frequent practice  in order to promote early math intuition.  Come join the #TeachECE Early Childhood Team this week as we explore FUN ways to integrate early numeracy into daily playful learning!

Establishing Real Relationships with Numbers in Preschool


Parents are a child’s first teacher!  Early number awareness begins even in infancy.  Counting little toes, fingers, and other body parts are often a part of early rhymes, games, and counting songs that parents use to immerse young children in number awareness!  As children grow, toddlers will begin early number recognition and often learn to verbally count up to 5 (or even 10)!  Although number recognition and learning to count up are important memorization skills, by the time kids are in preschool, parents and teachers can help our kids establish real relationships with NUMBERS!  Many parents (and even some teachers) want to rush through explorations with smaller numbers and move as quickly as possible to larger ones.  Preschoolers need PLENTY OF PRACTICE with the numbers 1-5 in order to build a strong foundation for early math intuition!

Pumpkin Playdough Mat Numbers 1_5PUMPKIN PLAYDOUGH COUNTING MATS for One-to-One Correspondence!

One-to-One Correspondence is the knowledge that a certain number relates to a specific quantity of objects.  The goal is to help preschoolers gain confidence not only with number recognition, but to help them move beyond just recognition and toward the question:  How many items make up any specific number?

Pumpkin Playdough Counting Mats for the Numbers 1-5.

Materials needed: 

Pumpkin Pie Spice to Engage the Sense of Smell when Learning!

  • Commercial or Homemade Playdough – our kids used homemade orange playdough, but kneaded pumpkin pie spice into the dough to create an extra sensory layer.  The Sense of SMELL is a powerful learning tool for young kids.  We use every opportunity possible to engage the senses when playing to learn!
  • Pumpkin Playdough Mat Numbers 1-5

Directions:  Print the pumpkin playdough mats (linked above) and laminate for durability.  Review the numbers on the printable and invite kids to roll one playdough ball to place on each pumpkin in the larger box (note – demonstrate for the kids how to place a small portion of playdough in the palm of one hand and roll it around with opposite hand to create a ball).  Have the kids initially count out loud as they place each playdough ball on the pumpkins.  When the children are finished, go back and say each number and count the number of playdough pumpkins in each row together!  As the children practice, they will gain awareness of just HOW MANY items correspond to each of the numbers 1-5.

Pumpkin Playdough Mat for One-to-One Correspondence in PreschoolExtension Activity – Use page 2 of the pumpkin playdough mats and invite students to place the corresponding number of items within the circles.  As the kids practice placing items together within the circles, they will also be gaining awareness of small groups of items.

Early One-to-One Correspondence in Preschool!SUBITIZING in PRESCHOOL!

Subitizing is the ability to instantly recognize small quantities of objects. The ability to just INTUITIVELY KNOW how many items are in a group requires practice! Daily discussions and interactions can greatly enhance subitizing skills.

To help preschoolers with subitizing, initially focus on groups of 5 items or less.  Math does not need to be limited to tangible concrete manipulatives for children to understand, but using manipulatives in the beginning adds the extra tactile layer many children need.

Subitizing in PreschoolLook around the house, classroom, neighborhood, or community for items that are together in small groups.  Ask the children HOW MANY are in the group?  Count the items to see if the answer was correct! When children are able to visually scan a small group of items and intuitively KNOW there are X number of items, they will have developed good subitizing skills.

Daily practice with Number Recognition, One-to-One Correspondence, and Subitizing, will encourage preschoolers to develop real number relationships.  The number 5 is an important math anchor; the more practice young children have with the numbers 1-5, the stronger the foundation for exploring increasingly larger numbers!

For MORE ways to play with the numbers 1-5 and encourage INTUITIVE MATH SKILLS- please visit: 

Please take a moment to view the other great suggestions from the Early Childhood Education Team for playful learning with the NUMBERS 1-5!

Gross Motor Number Line by Still Playing School

How many gems am I holding?  Pre-K and Kinder Guessing Game From 0 to 5 by Capri + 3

How Many? 0 to 5 Number Pattern Recognition by  Rainy Day Mum

Free Counting to 5 Game: Construction Theme by Life Over C’s

0-5 Number Games with Dry Erase Apple Cards by Tiny Tots Adventures

I Spy Activity by Munchkins and Moms

Learning Numbers on Alphabet Road by Mom Inspired Life

Counting Cars Numbers 0-5 Book by Learning 2 Walk

 Segmenting Words: Clap Counting by Growing Book by Book



Posted in Math, PreK, Project Pumpkin, Pumpkin Theme Activities, Thanksgiving Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Fall Theme for #Preschool: 50+ Pumpkin Playful Learning Activities

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

Fall Pumpkins Theme for Preschool

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!
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.




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

Valentine’s Day Crafts and Activities for Preschoolers!

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day with your children or students?  The “day of love and friendship” can be FUN with a little planning and a few special activities!  

Valentines Day for Preschool FB

Tree of Love Handprint Craft for Kids

Materials needed:  Red Construction Paper (one per child), Pink Mounting Paper (one per child), assorted Valentine’s colors of washable tempera paint, heart shaped cookie cutters, paint smocks (or an old T-shirt) to protect clothing, scissors, glue sticks, and paint trays or paper plates.

Assist your child with drawing around his hand and forearm and cutting out it out (the handprint/forearm will become the tree in the craft.)  Have the children glue the handprint to the pink mounting paper.  Place different Valentine’s colors of washable tempera paint on paint trays.  Have the children use cookie cutters and make prints around their “tree.”

The children will make prints in various fashions….each tree will be as unique as the child making it.  The trees make wonderful classroom displays or presents for parents/grandparents at Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s Day Literacy Tray

Materials needed:  Rectangular strips of colored paper, squares of pink and red paper (we used paint strips just because we had some available, but ANY colored paper will work), permanent marker, clothespins, and a tray.

Label a rectangular strip of colored paper with any word or phrases the children know.  In the photo above, we labeled our strip with the letters for :  BE MINE!  Duplicate those letters onto the squares of colored paper.  The tray should include:  the rectangular strip (labeled with the word or phrase), clothespins labeled with each letter in that word (or phrase), and the labeled squares of colored paper.

Have the children find the matching letters/clothespin and work to clip the corresponding letters together with the clothespin.

 It is great fine motor work for tiny fingers while practicing letter recognition, too!

Valentine’s Day Fine Motor Tray

Materials needed:  Assorted sizes of pom-poms in Valentine’s Day colors, a Valentine’s Day Ice Cube Tray or Chocolate Mold (we found many at our local dollar store), and a tray.

Set the assorted sizes of pom-poms and the chocolate mold on a tray.  Ask the children to fit as many pom-poms into each of the individual molds as necessary to completely fill the mold.   After each of the molds are filled, have the children verbally count how many pom-poms they used to fill each individual compartment.  This activity seems so simple, but for little fingers, it is a fun math/fine motor skills lesson.

Writing/Stamping Lowercase Letters – Valentine’s Day Literacy Free Printable

Print the file above (linked in blue) for each of your students.

The file above can be used in many different ways.  Here are a few suggestions:

Have your children use alphabet stamps and stamp pad to stamp the lowercase letter that corresponds with each letter enclosed within the hearts.  Younger children can use ONLY uppercase alphabet stamps.  **Note:  for very young children, work on only a FEW letters at a time.  Place a few alphabet stamps into a basket and have the children find the alphabet stamp that corresponds to one of the few hearts chosen to introduce.

The children can also use old magazines and cut out pictures that BEGIN with each letter enclosed within the hearts on the file.

Older children can WRITE a word that begins with each of the letters enclosed within the hearts.

Valentine's Day Theme for Preschool

For MORE ideas, activities, and crafts for Valentine’s Day, download our Valentine’s Day Thematic Unit here on the blog!

SUPPLIES for the Valentine’s Day Activities Above:


Posted in Literacy, Valentine's Day Theme Activities | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

The Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman: Sequencing in Preschool!

the-big-pumpkin-free-sequencing-activities-for-preschoolThe Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman:  Sequencing in Preschool!

The Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman is one of our kids’ favorite fall books!  The characters are funny and not-too-spooky for preschoolers to enjoy the antics of their attempts to take a pumpkin off a vine.  Your own kids will delight in the theatrics of the characters as they pull, tug, and pull a little bit harder to make the pumpkin finally snap from the vine.  Come read, sequence the events, and play along with our own kids this fall!


Disclosures:  This post and others within this blog may contain affiliate and/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

After reading the story of The Big Pumpkin by Erica Silverman, invite kids to re-tell and sequence the events in the story to enhance literacy.

Materials needed:


  • Print one set of the sequencing cards/puppet toppers (linked above) for each child/student.
  • Laminate the cards or cover with clear contact paper for durability.
  • Have the kids cut out each of the 9 cards on pages 1 and 2 (assist younger children).
  • Kids can tear off pieces of poster putty or use tape to adhere the cards to 9 crafts sticks or seasonal straws.

Activity Suggestions:

  • Re-read the book and invite the kids to hold up the items/characters as they appear in the story.
  • Make a tray activity with the book and all of the puppets.  As the kids look through the book, invite them to sequence the puppets in the order they appear in the story.
  • Invite kids to put on a puppet show for their peers using the created stick puppets.


  • Page 3 of the sequencing cards file (linked above) contains 9 squares.  Invite the kids to use poster putty to place the character/item cards in the appropriate numbered boxes as you ask the following questions?

1.       What does the witch plant in the beginning of the story?  (pumpkin seed)

2.      What does the seed grow into? (a big pumpkin)

3.      Who tries to take the pumpkin off the vine first? (witch)

4.      Who tries second? (ghost)

5.      Who tries third? (mummy)

6.      Who tries fourth? (vampire)

7.       Who tries fifth? (bat – with an IDEA for all of them to pull together)

8.      Where does the pumpkin land after it snaps off the vine? (doorstep of the witch’s house)

9.      What does the witch make with the big pumpkin? (pumpkin pie)

Reading, creating, re-telling, playing, and sequencing are great ways to enhance literacy at home or in the classroom this fall.  For more ways to create and play this fall, please visit:

Sequencing The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything in Preschool

There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Leaves – Sequencing and Power Point

5 Little Scarecrows Poem and Power Point for Preschool

Fall Theme for Preschool and Kindergarten

Please see the Fall Thematic Unit for more literacy, math, science, arts/crafts, dramatic, and gross motor play for an entire season of playful learning!






Posted in Fall Theme Activities, Halloween Theme for Kids, Literacy | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

New UP! eBook: Taking Playful Learning to New Heights!

cover-image-3d-650Take Playful Learning UP! with Our Newest Collaborative eBook!

We are pleased to offer our readers the newest collaborative eBook:  Up! From blocks to rockets.

Disclosure:  this post and others within this blog may contain affiliate and/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

Up! will take your child’s love of blocks, building, and creating far and wide across the curriculum. With 30+ projects across math, literacy, science, art, and play, Up! shows YOU how to support passion-led, project-based, and hands-on learning.  UP! will help your child make connections, go deeper in their understanding, and encourage their questions and creativity. It includes inspiring ideas for block play, mobiles, rockets, airplanes, parachutes, build challenges and more. And it comes with 100 printables.

All the activities in the book are FUN! Every activity has been tried, tested and approved by our children. The activities have been carefully chosen to offer a wide range of explorations, working across the curriculum to incorporate play, imagination, math, literacy, science, sensory and art.

The sky’s the limit when you’re learning with Up!


What you’ll get in this eBook:

:: 30+ hands-on projects that invite your child to explore all things Up!

:: guidance on how to support your child’s interests, and how to help them expand their exploration and learning across the curriculum. This book is all about hands-on, project-based, passion-led learning. :: multisensory activities for children aged 4 to 10 :: resources for parents and teachers, at home or in the classroom, with ideas for indoor and outdoor learning :: material lists, step-by-step instructions, and full colour photographs of every activity.

:: suggestions for variations and extensions so you can adapt the activities to suit your child :: a wide range of learning activities including:

  • Ideas to set up and develop block play
  • Activities that use blocks for math lessons, with number games, measuring activities, and shape-building challenges
  • Construction play invitations with sensory elements and imaginary play, to develop language, spelling, and storytelling, and to promote co-operation and collaboration
  • Art projects on the theme of Up! including Caulder-inspired kinetic mobiles and upright weaving
  • Prompts that encourage creative thinking and innovation: exploring the possibilities of rocks, ice, marshmallows, customizing blocks with new designs, and using huge cardboard boxes that can build structures bigger than you are
  • Science projects that invite your child to think about all the other things that go Up! including homemade rockets, airplanes, parachutes, pulleys and constellations


:: 100 printable pages including shape challenge cards, build challenge cards, and a set of world architecture prints.
Buy Now


Buy it Worldwide for Instant Download!


This is an eBook, which means you will be sent a link that allows you to download a PDF containing the eBook and all the resources. You can save it to your computer or iPad* and then either read it on screen or print some/all of the pages, as you prefer. You can buy the eBook wherever you are in the world.

You pay via PayPal, which will take care of any currency conversion for you. The eBook costs US$ 14.99. *You can buy the eBook now, on any device, and then download it when you are ready.

Depending on the apps you have installed and your operating system, you might be able to download the eBook on your mobile device. However if you have any doubts or problems, I recommend you use a computer to download the book and then share it to your mobile devices. You will be sent download instructions when your purchase the eBook.

NOTE:  LAUNCH SPECIAL!  UP! is currently available at a special launch price for the first two weeks only, until Friday 30th September: $11.25.

New Up! eBook for Playful Learning!

The Up! eBook is published and sold by Cathy James at Please direct any customer service queries regarding purchases of the ebook to or refer to the NurtureStore FAQ. The Up! ebook is protected under copyright © 2016. All rights reserved.



Posted in Back to School for Preschool and PreK, Craft Kits for Kids, Outdoor Play Activities, PreK, Preschool and Kindergarten Skills | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tips for Better Quality Sleep Routines for Kids! @Seven_hugs

Better Sleep Routines for Kids

Tips and Guidelines for Better Quality Sleep Routines for Families with Kids!

Families across the nation are now transitioning kids into back-to-school bedtimes and good sleep routines. Quality sleep makes a huge difference in how kids learn and function daily. Lack of adequate sleep is linked to an increase in injuries, obesity, diabetes, depression, self-harm, and even increased suicidal tendencies among teens. With a few tips and tricks, parents can help kids establish good sleep habits for a healthy and productive start to the new school year!

How Many Hours of Sleep Should Kids Get Each Night

The American Academy of Pediatrics is now promoting guidelines from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine for the recommended amount of sleep kids should get each night.  Print the Sleep Guidelines for Kids as a reminder for your own family.

  • Infant 4-12 months – 12-16 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 1-2 years – 11-14 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 3-5 years – 10-13 hours of sleep every 24 hours (including naps).
  • Children 6-12 years – 9-12 hours of sleep every 24 hours.
  • Teen 13-17 years – 8-10 hours of sleep every 24 hours.

When kids get the recommended amount of sleep, their bodies can perform important functions that can only be done during sleep. Kids who are well-rested also tend to have better behavior, improved learning and memory, better self-regulation skills, and are physically and emotionally better equipped to handle daily life.

Sleep Tips for Families with Kids

Parents tend to think that kids can make up for the lack of sleep at another time. It doesn’t usually work that way. Kids’ bodies tend to get overstimulated by increased amounts of adrenaline and cortisol (hormones that stimulate the body). Those hormones often keep kids awake, cause nighttime waking, or even cause early waking in the morning. Lack of sleep cannot be made up the next day by sleeping later or napping longer as it throws off the natural rhythms of the body. Consistent bedtimes (and wake times) are the only way to keep the body’s internal clock regulated for healthy sleep.

Back-to-School Sleep Enhancing Tips for Families with Kids:

Disclosure:  this post and others within this blog may contain affiliate/sponsor/or distributor links.  Please see the ABOUT page for full disclosures.

  • Turn off ALL screens 30 minutes prior to bedtime. Light stimulates wakefulness and will make it more difficult to fall asleep. Establish a family charging station that is OUTSIDE of the kids’ bedrooms.
  • Establish a regular bedtime routine 30-45 minutes before bedtime: bathe, put on pajamas, brush teeth/hair, read and relax at the end of the day before bed.

Hug One Sleep Monitor for Better Quality Sleep

  • Use of a sleep tracking monitor, like hugOne, will provide input on kids’ sleep patterns so families can adjust bedtimes or routines as necessary.
  • Use of the hugOne smart alarm will help kids wake up on a consistent schedule to keep the body’s internal clock functioning well.
  • Keep temperatures and humidity levels at home consistent for good sleep. When kids’ bedrooms are too hot or humid, it is more difficult to relax and rest well. The hugOne sleep monitor will also auto adjust temperatures and humidity in the home for optimal sleep comfort.


The hugOne sleep monitor offers important sleep information and the assistance parents need to help every family member get adequate sleep. With a little family discussion and preparation, parents and kids can establish back-to-school sleep routines for a great start to the new school year!

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