Today was exciting and full of surprises! It began with our Annual Halloween Costume Parade around the upper mall of the school building. There were some pretty amazing and creative costumes on parade. Our owls had fun dressing up as the Cat in the Hat, firemen, super heroes and even an octopus!
Once we made it back to our room and changed out of our costumes we got down to the business of the day.
During our class party we had the pleasure of welcoming one of our parents and several of his special friends. The owls were excellent listeners and learned a lot about some very interesting creatures. Many of the boys were quite brave and held or touched the animals. We are very grateful for this up close and personal experience.
Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches
Meet "Henry", he is one big fellow!
Mexican Milk Snake
He may look like a snake but this is actually an Australian Legless Lizard!
It was a day full of surprises! Thanks to all the parents who came and helped out today! You all made it very special for the Awesome Owls!
Today the Awesome Owls were engaged in hands on fall activities. The children spent time working with scissors and pealing stickers. We really gave those fine motor muscles a workout! Several of the children are beginning to understand how to hold the scissors and paper at the same time and are beginning to find success at this important skill.
This activity drew quite a crowd!
Overheard while the class was working....
At story time we read Leaf Man, by Lois Ehlert. The children enjoyed the vibrant pictures and all the different things that were created by the leaves throughout the story. Then we went outside and each found a special leaf to bring in and paint. Painting on a leaf vs. painting on paper is an entirely different experience (or so the kids told me). They loved it!
What happens when you give a hammer, a few golf tees, and a pumpkin to a class of 3 year old's? Let the fun begin! This simple activity kept my little owls busy for much of the morning. Each child had a chance to visit the sensory tub and pound away.
We were also able to go on a wonderful nature walk today looking and listening to the world around us.
Today we had the pleasure of having the San Antonio Fire Fighters from Truck 47 come out and visit us at the preschool. They had a wonderful presentation and we learned a lot!
We watched one of the fire fighters get dressed in all his gear and learned that there is just a man under all those protective layers. Nothing to be afraid of. All of those special clothes help keep fire fighters safe when they are trying to put fires out.
Then we had a chance to explore the truck and the tools fire fighters use.
Perhaps one of our little owls may join the fire department in the future.
Thank You Engine 47!
Sung to the tune of Farmer in the Dell
A_________ starts with A,
A_________ starts with A,
A_________ is my friend,
A_________ starts with A.
Repeat with other students names.
Right now we are working on learning to recognize our names in print. To help with this we are singing this simple song everyday during circle time. Perhaps it is one you would like to sing at home as well. The kiddos love seeing their pictures up on the flannel board and being the focus of the song when their initial comes up.
This of course is only one way we are working on our initials and names. We have used magnets to cover our initials in past weeks and today we used markers to try and trace our initials and special bingo chips to cover our initial letters and then "magically" cleaned them up with a magnetic wand. Such fun!
A few parents have asked for some Christmas or Birthday gift ideas. I thought I would share a few of my favorites for this age.
These Observation Tubes are a big hit in the classroom and this set of 8 is a great deal. Find them at:
The Ladybug Playground is great for little nature explorers. We collect ladybugs and roly-poly bugs and watch them walk up and down the ramps. These are get for viewing natures creatures. Available at Amazon and Bass Pro Shops.
These big, easy-to-hold blocks connect easily and firmly with durable snap buttons. Kids can make buildings, people, even cars with this colorful set. 35 wooden pieces; the largest piece is 4" long. Find them at:
A great gift for the child that is interested in learning to ride a "big kid" bike. My kids learned to ride a two wheeler in record time using a balance bike. The rider has more control because the balance bike allows one to isolate the skill of core balance needed to successfully ride. Once that balance is achieved you can move onto a bike with pedals and master it quickly. There is a wide variety available on Amazon.
Environmentally friendly building blocks—crafted from real bamboo! Designed to help preserve Earth’s resources, each block is made of rapidly renewable bamboo that’s both durable & lightweight—making them perfect for block play. And the pieces come in a variety of imagination-inspiring shapes, including natural-looking columns, roofs, bridges and more. Longest piece is 8". Available at Lakeshore Learning.
This is probably one of the best gifts I have ever bought my kids. They are now 5 and 8 and still play with it all the time. It has seriously provided them with countless hours of fun. These are available on Amazon and at Walmart or Target.
Any musical instrument set is always fun for this age. The children love exploring the instruments I have in the classroom and use them all the time. This set is from Melissa and Doug available on Amazon.
Puzzles are great for little hands and can help review all kinds of concepts from letters to number to colors and every interest in between.
Great collection of music. We use several of his songs in class. Available at http://www.jimgill.com/
Fisher-Price Travel Doodler Pro is great for activities on the go. No pieces to lose! Comes in a variety of colors. Available on Amazon or at Target or Walmart.
Pegboards And Hold-Tight Stacking Pegs are great for building, patterning, counting. Available here: http://www.constructiveplaythings.com/pegboards-and-hold-tight-stacking-pegs
Animal Hammer & Nail Set: Hammer the matching 2 piece wooden animals on the 11 5/8" x 8 3/8" corkboard using metal nails. Add a few additional trees for a jungle surrounding. Includes 24 wooden pieces, corkboard, and 30 nails. Ages 3 yrs. +. Found here: http://www.constructiveplaythings.com/new-items/manipulatives/animal-hammer-nail-set
Wikki Stix® Activity Pack: Manipulate and press the Wikki Stix® to fit the alphabet letter outlines on 27 cards (7" Sq.) using 36 six inch Wikki Stix® in 9 bright colors. Ages 3 yrs. + Available at Lakeshore Learning.
PlanToys Noah's Ark: The set contains 12 pairs of animals, Noah and his wife. The roof can be removed for easy access and the gangway can be opened for access to the roomy cargo- hold that has three portholes to allow children to see the animals inside. Available at Amazon.
Crayon Rocks: Crayon Rocks Sixteen Colors packed in a red velvet bag. 16 Summer Colors: red, pink, blue, sky, green, grass, dark yellow, light yellow, orange, peach, purple, light purple, brown, tan, black, gray. Simply the best coloring tool for children! Designed to strengthen the tripod grip muscles, preparing fingers and hands for handwriting. The shape allows small fingers to color in large, wide strokes creating pictures rich in color. Used by occupational therapists to develop fine motor skills. Available on Amazon
And of course BOOKS! BOOKS! BOOKS! Books are great for all ages!
Today during our outdoor time today we were fascinated by the simple yet awe inspiring combination of baking soda and vinegar.
Many of the children spent the entire 25 minutes creating a fizzing reaction that was so much fun!
Watching and listening to the bubbles fizz was exciting. Play/experimenting continued until every last bit of baking soda and vinegar were used up!
Some of the conversation heard today...
"I love it!"
"Look at my bubbles!"
"I want to try it!"
"It's fun to get messy!"
"Look at all the fizzes!"
"Let's make a MESS!"
"That's not for playing. That's for experimenting!"
Then we got even more hands on!
It was irresistible!
This might be a fun little something to do if the weather is not the best this weekend. All you need is baking soda and vinegar. Add some food coloring to make it even more exciting! Try adding vinegar a little at a time to the baking soda. Or mix things up and add baking soda to the vinegar. We tried it today and the entire cup of baking soda "exploded" and overflowed with bubbles! So exciting! The children wanted to see it done over and over again.
Inside, we also had fun painting, working on puzzles and counting "raindrops".
Blocks are one of the most traditional toys out there. They have stood the test of time with good reason. Block play is a wonderful way children of all ages can exercise their imaginations, explore math concepts, create stories, hypothesize about cause and effect and engage in language and vocabulary development.
While building today we spent a lot of time talking about what we were doing introducing vocabulary words such as humongous, balance, topple, collapse and wobbly. The children are using sophisticated language and stringing words together into elaborate sentences to describe their buildings. Prompting with open ended questions as they build also encourages a deeper thought process.
Some of the conversations heard today...
"Ms. Kristen, Look what we build!"
"I'm trying to build a high tower."
"Can I build a tower with you?" "Sure."
"I may mess it up."
"Build it with me, come on!"
"You have this one, ok."
"This road is bigger than me!!!"
During block play children can explore basic math concepts such as shape and size, nonstandard measurement and weight, basic patterning, color and even simple counting. An example of this presented itself today as one boy was building a road and then decided to measure the length against a friend. Genius!
In addition to Block Play we were very busy with color sorting pompoms, making bead sculptures, painting with acorns, exploring the sensory table and magnets for the first time! Enjoy the peek into our day.
Outdoor play is so important for growing bodies! We go outdoors for playtime every day unless it is raining. Playing outdoors is important for the proper development of several aspects of a child's life.
Running, skipping, jumping, climbing, swinging and peddling all help improve and develop gross motor skills. This in turn improves our balance and coordination.
Playing outdoors strengthens cognitive abilities. Children often invent their own games with a specific set of rules or roles to follow. This involves organization, problem solving skills and leadership qualities for successful play.
Being outside promotes cooperative play. Taking turns on the swings or building a sand castle together require patience, communication and cooperation. Learning how to resolve inevitable playground conflict is also an important skill learned.
Children grow to appreciate the sights, sounds, textures and smells of the world around them. They learn to explore their curiosity about plants and animals by observing them in their natural habitat. The outdoors is a child's classroom!
Preschoolers are naturally curious. They want to touch everything! One of the things I love most about October is that the topics discussed this month lend themselves so well to science. We are going to be focusing on Apples, Pumpkins and Leaves.
Today we had an array of leaves from the garden outside to explore on mirrored surfaces and with magnifying glasses. The children compared the different types of leaves and noticed they were shaped differently. Some were really small while others were as big as our heads! We examined them up close and noticed that the fern leaf seemed to be made up of many smaller leaves. We smelled them, felt them and even ripped a few apart to see what was inside. So many great questions were being investigated.
Science can be found in many areas of the classroom. Today during art we worked with liquid water colors and pipetts. I love using them and the children are getting pretty good at controlling them too. We explored the principles of absorption today as we decorated facial cotton rounds with the liquid watercolors. I was surprised to see how much science manifested itself during the activity.
We began by just squeezing the watercolors onto the cotton rounds.
This quickly turned into how much can we squeeze on a circle before it starts to leak.
Some children needed to experiment with dumping the whole cup of paint on the round! What would happen? I said, "Do it and lets see!"
Then we discovered you could suck the liquid back up from the rounds that were saturated! What a cool discovery!
Another question posed was, "What will happen if I try it with two squeezers?" There is only one way to find out...Try it!
Discussion heard during this experience...
"I did it?"
"Squeeze it, squeeze."
"I don't have to sit to do this!"
"Do you see? Do you see?"
"Look it comes out!"
A few friends were able to stay for extended day and participated in another fun experiment. We made raisins "dance" with tonic water. Ask them how it worked.
You can try it at home if your child didn't get the chance to experience it in school today. Simply fill a glass with tonic or any clear soda and drop in some raisins. Watch as the bubbles attach to the raisins and float to the top. When the bubbles pop the raisins sink. This repeats over and over. It kept our little scientists interested for 15 minutes straight!
Here you will find little snippets of our days together. When my children were in preschool and would come home I would always ask, "So, what did you do today?". All they ever said was, "Played." That didn't tell me much. I hope this blog will be a place to share what we have done and help you ask more directed questions of your child. You will see first hand just what we do after you kiss your little one goodbye in the morning. It will also be a great place to visit and see just how much your child has grown and learned throughout the year.