Story Book Advent: North Pole Santa SPY Scope Craft for Kids!

Santa Scope for Story Book Advent


We are honored to join Rainy Day Mum’s Story Book Advent collection for some of the best in kids’ activities to accompany special holiday books!  We hope you’ll find new inspiration for books to read and fun activities to do with your kids this December!

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

Can You See What I See?:  Night Before ChristmasCan You See What I See?:  Night Before Christmas by Walter Wick is a picture puzzle search and solve book that will keep kids entertained and THINKING this December!  In true “I-SPY” spirit, this book captures the attention of young readers and compels them to interact.  The pictures are beautiful and kids (of ALL ages) will love searching for items hidden within.  Some of the items are located easily and some are a bit more challenging!  Our kids LOVED this book so much, we bought more of the Walter Wick titles.  It’s a wonderful book to encourage reluctant readers and a great gift for Christmas!


Walter Wick has some great hidden items within his book, but the greatest FIND of the season would be SANTA himself!  Come create an easy SANTA TELESCOPE disguised as the North Pole to spy on the jolly ‘ole fellow this Christmas Eve!

Materials needed:  one cardboard tube, one clear plastic ornament (per child), red/white wrapping paper or construction paper, tape, red ribbon (one foot per craft), cotton balls, and a hole punch.

Give each child an empty cardboard tube and invite them to wrap the tube in white/red construction paper or wrapping paper.   Take the hanger off of the clear plastic ornament and have the children stuff the ornament with cotton balls.  Before replacing the ornament’s hanger, lay the red ribbon across the ornament and insert the hanger (the hanger will keep the ribbon in place.   Have the children hole punch each side of the cardboard tube near the top.   Turn the cotton filled ornament upside down and thread each end of the red ribbon through the holes (from inside to outside) of the cardboard tube.  Tie the ribbon loosely in a knot or a bow in back of the cardboard tube.

Santa Scope Craft for Preschool and KindergartenTo spy for Santa, simply slide the ornament off the top a little and peer through the open end of the scope!  We hope your kids get a glimpse of Santa this year!

For more Christmas Activities centered around books, see:

The Polar Express – Extension Activities for the Book

The Snowman Storybook by Raymond Briggs

The Mitten by Jan Brett – Activities to Accompany the Book

This post is just part of a collection of great books with activities for Advent from Rainy Day Mum!

Story Book Advent on Rainy Day Mum

Posted in Christmas Theme, PreK, Storytelling with Young Children | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Nuts and Seeds Theme: Listening Games with Sensory Sound Shakers for #PlayfulPreschool


Nuts and Seeds Sound Shakers

Each Wednesday throughout the school year, we will continue offering learning activities along with the brilliant #playfulpreschool blogging team.  This week’s activities are centered around a Nuts and Seeds Theme for Preschool.  If you have missed the previous theme-based activities, they are linked for your convenience below.  Also, please take a moment and visit links to additional Nuts and Seeds Theme resources from the Playful Preschool Team for learning inspiration at home or in the classroom!

Discriminating Sounds with Nuts and Seeds in Preschool

The Sense of Hearing (Sound)

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!

Introductory (Circle Time) Games:

  • Mirror Play – Invite the children to look for their own ears in a mirror.  Note: hand held mirrors are durable, but supervision is necessary with young children if using real glass. The children can also partner with an adult or siblings/peers and use magnifying glasses for discoveries of other body parts that provide sensory information. Children will think it’s silly to look at each other, but they are gaining important information!

Sensory Mirror Discoveries

  • Listening Chant – Invite the children to LISTEN by saying:  “Close your eyes (NO PEEKING!) and open your ears, listen carefully to the sounds you can hear!”  Some of the children will want to make sounds instead of listening.  Remind the children that the goal is to listen for sounds coming from the environment, not the sounds they can make.  It takes a little practice, but the children will love playing this game.  After a few seconds of listening, have the children open their eyes and share what sounds they heard.  The listening game can be played indoors or outside (weather permitting).
  •  Loud/Soft Sounds – Brainstorm with the children places where LOUD voices would be appropriate or where SOFTER voices should be used.   Chart the answers the children give and add to the list as the children become familiar with loud and soft sounds.

Nuts and Seeds Cracking and SortingNuts and Seeds Sensory Sound Shakers

Materials needed:  assorted seeds or nuts, any container (we used glass salt/pepper shakers, but cardboard tubes sealed with waxed paper and a rubber bank will work great, too).

Note:  when making sound shakers with children who still put objects in their mouths, supervise closely.  Seeds and nuts are a choking hazard.  Please also note any children who have allergies, especially peanut/nut allergies.

Prior to the sound activities we incorporated cross-over lessons by inviting the kids to shell or crack some of the varieties of nuts as part of our practical life center.  Set the nuts and seeds out on a table or a tray and demonstrate for the children how to crack the shell of the nut open with a nut cracker. Most preschoolers will need to use both hands with a nut cracker or their hands/fingers to crack or open the shell.   Nut cracking is a wonderful fine motor challenge for preschoolers!  Note – leave some of the nuts/seeds in the shell to create a range of sounds for for the children to hear.

To make the Sound Shakers:  for additional fine motor practice, set out various transfer tools that the children can use to move the seeds/nuts from a tray into the various sound containers (ex:  spoon/melon scoop/tweezers/chop sticks/small tongs).  Each container should only be filled half-way with nuts or seeds.

Nuts and Seeds Sensory Sound Shakers 011

Sensory Sound Shakers with Nuts and Seeds

Sound Games to Try With Preschoolers

  1. Begin with just two of the sound shakers.  Hold a hand towel over the sound shakers (one at a time) with one hand and shake the container with the other hand.  See if the children can determine what KIND of seed/nut is placed inside the shaker using only their sense of hearing.
  2. One at a time, invite the children to shake the containers to determine which container makes the LOUDEST or SOFTEST sound.  With younger children, limit the number of shakers until they gain confidence discriminating between the sounds.
  3. Make matching sound shakers and have the children locate the matching seed/nut containers by listening to the sound the container makes.  Note:  this activity works best using the cardboard tubes to hold the seeds/nuts as the children cannot SEE what is inside the container.  The children then can only rely on listening skills to match the shakers.
  4. Invite the children to order the sound shakers from the softest to loudest (or loudest to softest) sounds (see below).
Nuts and Seed Sound Shakers and Listening Games for Preschool

Ordering the Sound Shakers from LOUDEST to SOFTEST

Come together after exploring the sound shakers for discussions about the sound discoveries.  Some examples of questions to explore with the children:   What seeds/nuts created the louder sounds?  Did the shells on the nuts/seeds make a difference in the sound?  Did the louder sounds bother any of the children? Sometimes loud sounds (sirens, thunder, workplace machinery), when heard repeatedly, can cause stress and anxiety for children, teachers, and parents.   Softer sounds are usually more pleasant to hear for longer periods of time.

Playing with different sounds is not only fun for preschoolers, but it provides great opportunities for important sensory learning!  For more playful learning with all 5 Senses, see the 5 Senses Thematic Unit here on the blog!

We gave our FB group a “sneak peak” of this activity and while they didn’t quite guess how the containers were used, many offered great extension activities for the nuts/seeds.  Come join us and learn from other professionals in ECE on Facebook.

Plan Your Nut and Seeds Learning Week With Activities from the #PlayfulPreschool Team

Colorful Pumpkin Seed Names by Fun-A-Day
Nuts to You!: Squirrel Feeder by Mom Inspired Life
Number Word Punch: Counting Nuts by Tiny Tots Adventures
Turkey Patterns with Pistashio Shells by Still Playing School
Seed and Letter Sensory Bin by Growing Book by Book
Growing Seeds by Learning 2 Walk
Exploring Chia Seeds by Powerful Mothering
Nutty Science–A Lesson in Buoyancy by Capri + 3
3 Fun Activities with Seeds for Preschoolers by Life Over C’s
Easy Sight Word Acorn Game by The Educators’ Spin On It

All Playful Preschool Themes





Posted in 5 Senses Theme Activities, Fall Theme Activities, PreK, Trees and Leaves Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

Candy Cane Learning Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten!


There are few treats that symbolize Christmas in the way that candy canes do!  If you have not read “The Legend of the Candy Cane” you can print it here.  We’ve gathered a collection of candy cane suggestions for activities across all learning areas in Preschool and Kindergarten.  We hope you enjoy creating, exploring, and playing with us this Christmas!

Candy Cane Fine Motor Craft

Candy Cane Fine Motor Craft - encourage fine motor skills by creating this adorable candy cane craft from School Time Snippets!

Candy Cane Peppermint Playdough

Candy Cane Peppermint Scented Playdough – this is a great playdough for sensory play at Christmas from Love, Play, and Learn!

Candy Canes Marbled Scented Craft

Peppermint Scented Marbled Candy Cane Craft - a wonderful sensory experience for young kids (they make great displays at home or in the classroom, too) – from Simple Fun for Kids!

Candy Cane Circle Time Game

Candy Cane Circle Time Game (plus additional activities for playful learning) – “Who Stole the Candy from the Candy Cane Jar” by Teach Preschool!

Candy Cane Sensory Math for Preschool

Candy Cane Math - encourage kids to count by 5’s with our own sensory candy cane counting game!

Candy Cane Patterning

Candy Cane Patterning – a great way to reinforce basic patterning concepts from School Time Snippets!

Candy Cane Science for Preschool

Dissolving Candy Canes Science Activity - a wonderful experiment to try with young kids!  Note:  if your kids love science, see all the preschool science experiments from Science Sparks!

Candy Cane Christmas Ornaments

Candy Cane Christmas Ornaments - I love the use of letter beads to encourage literacy in this craft from Artsy Momma!

Candy Cane Beginning Words

Candy Cane Beginning Words and Letters - invite your children to play with candy cane beginning sounds and sight words – free to print here on the blog.

Legend of the Candy Cane Cookies

Legend of the Candy Cane Cookies that Kids Can Help Make – a melt-in-your-mouth cookie that is perfect for Christmas!

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


Candy Cane Books for Preschool


The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

Candy Cane Christmas by Helen and David Haidle

Santa And How The Candy Cane Came To Be

J is for Jesus by Crystal Bowman

The Candy Cane Story (a Christian Version) by Amy Floyd Gillette 

For more Christmas Activities for Preschool and Kindergarten, see the Christmas Thematic Unit here on the blog!

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Textured Sensory Turkey Pre-Writing Activity for #PlayfulPreschool

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, this week the #playfulpreschool team has developed activities centered around a FEATHERS THEME for PRESCHOOL!  Whether you teach in the classroom or have children at home, your kids will enjoy the many activity suggestions offered below!  The textured turkeys are a great way to encourage fine motor skills while adding the extra sensory layers.  We hope your kids enjoy learning and playing with us this week!

Textured Turkey Feathers Pre-Writing ActivityTEXTURED SENSORY TURKEYS FOR PRESCHOOL

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

Objective:  to encourage the foundation of fine motor skills, directionality, transferring, spatial relationships, and to raise awareness of the differences between writing and drawing through the use of line paths.

Materials needed:

  • collage (and sensory) materials commonly found at home (examples:  spaghetti or other pasta, clay, playdough, cotton balls, aluminum foil, paint, rickrack, glitter, ribbon, yarn, Wikki Stix, beans, sand, spices, sticks, leaves, orange or lemon rinds, or rice)
  • printable Turkey Template – linked here:  Sensory Turkey Template
  • liquid glue and a paintbrush (depending on the choice of sensory materials, poster putty may work best to adhere the items to the turkey/turkey’s feathers)
  • blank die (can also use index cards labeled with various line paths for the children to choose from) and a permanent marker for labeling the die
  • markers and/or crayons

Prior to the activity:  label the blank die (or index cards) with various line paths for the children to choose from; print the Sensory Turkey Template (linked above) for each of the children; and set out all of the collage supplies as an invitation for the children to create and play!

Textured Sensory Turkey Feather Learning Craft for PreschoolInvite the children to roll the die (or draw a labeled index card) and copy the patterns onto the turkey/turkey feathers with a marker or crayon.  Very young children may need assistance in transferring the patterns in the beginning, but as they gain confidence and practice in transferring the line paths, it will become second nature.  Have the children continue rolling until they are finished transferring the line paths to the various turkey parts.

Turkey Pre-Writing Activity for Preschool

The line paths on this turkey were transferred by one of our 4 yr. olds

After the children have completed the line paths, invite them to select sensory materials to reinforce the various lines.  As the children select various sensory materials, discuss descriptive words that could accompany each item:  shiny, bumpy, crunchy, smooth, prickly, squishy, sticky, rough, sweet, sour, etc.  Allow time for the turkeys to dry thoroughly before inviting each child to share their creations.

The textured turkeys are not only a playful way to encourage important early skills, but they also make great displays at home or in the classroom for Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving and Turkey Books Your Kids Will Enjoy!

Thanksgiving Books for Preschool5 Silly Turkeys by Salina Yoon 

Albuquerque Turkey by B. G. Ford

Pete the Cat – The First Thanksgiving by Kimberly and James Dean

10 Fat Turkeys by Tony Johnston

T is for Turkey by Tanya Lee Stone

The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing

Also see our own Thanksgiving or 5 Senses Thematic Units for additional activities for preschool and kindergarten!

Indian Feathers for Literacy and MathFor more literacy and math activities with FEATHERS, see here!  

Additional FEATHERS THEME ACTIVITIES from the Playful Preschool Team:

Name Activities: Feather Letter Turkey by Growing Book by Book
Turkey Learning Games by The Educators’ Spin On It
Turkey Geoboard by Still Playing School
Counting Feathers Sticky Wall by Mom Inspired Life
Quick & Easy Color Feather Sort by Powerful Mothering
Toilet Roll Turkey by Tiny Tots Adventures
Writing with Feathers by Rainy Day Mum





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