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!
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Can 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!
NORTH POLE SANTA SCOPE CRAFT for KIDS!
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.
To 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:
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!
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!
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 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.
Sensory Sound Shakers with Nuts and Seeds
Sound Games to Try With Preschoolers
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.
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.
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.
Invite the children to order the sound shakers from the softest to loudest (or loudest to softest) sounds (see below).
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
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!
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 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.
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)
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!
Invite 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.
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!