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Thursday, December 30, 2010

Alphabet Magnet Ideas for toddlers and preschool children

My mother in law got Rosa a gift certificate for Toys R Us this year.  We decided to buy these wonderful alphabet pieces since Rosa was taking such an interest in letters.   They are such a fun toy and very versatile.

Here are some fun ideas that you can use with this or other toys like it.

Use the pieces on the refrigerator, a magnetic white board or a cookie sheet.  You can also create a magnetic wall in your child's room with chalk board paint.  I also have seen one child care that bought a huge cookie sheet and screwed it into the wall at eye level to use for magnets.

The pieces can also be used on surfaces that are non-magnetic, they just won't stick.

Increasing letter recognition:
  • have your child point to a letter and you will name it
  • find an upper case letter and have your child locate the same letter in the lower case (they will be the same color) and vise versa
  • you can point to a letter and have your child tell you what letter it is
  • spell a word and have your child identify the letters in the word
  • spell your child's name and have your child name the letters
  • spell a word with upper case letters then have your child spell the word with lower case letters
  • place the lower or upper case letters in order a through z
  • sing the alphabet song while you point to each letter
  • ask your child to find a specific letter
Colors and Math
  • have your child sort the letters based on their color
  • ask your child what color each letter is
  • sort the letters into two group, vowels and consonants
  • place a few letters out and count them
  • spell your child's name and count the number of letters in their name
  • spell a word, then count the letters
  • count out five letters, then have your child take some of the letters while you hide your eyes, then "guess" how many letters your child took.  Have your child show you the letters they took and count them.  Switch roles.  You can also model different ways that you can figure out how many are missing.  
  • place some of the letters in a glass jar and have your child guess how many there are in the jar, then count them
  • have your child guess how many letters they can grab with one hand, then have them grab a handful of letters, count how many they can hold in one hand.  Repeat this activity with both hands.
  • provide your child with a balance and the letters so they can explore 
Tracing the letter ideas
  • trace the letters onto a piece of paper, then have your child identify the letters on the paper
  • trace a word and have your child identify the letters
  • trace their name and have your child identify the letters
  • count the number of letters you have traced onto the paper
  • have your child color the letters you have traced
  • trace the letters onto a piece of paper in a pattern, then ask your child what letter will come next
  • trace the letters, then have your child match the letters to the traced letters like a puzzle
  • trace the letters onto index cards, one letter per card, then tape the cards to the floor in a circle.  You can play musical chairs with the cards.  It is best to have more cards than children.  Ask the children what letter they are on.
  • trace the letters onto index cards, one letter per card, then tape the cards on the floor close enough that the children can hop from one letter to the next.  Ask the children to hop from one letter to the next and name the letters as they hop.


Wednesday, December 29, 2010

New Year's- Ringing in the New Year

New Year: preschool lesson plans
Art: Paper Party Hats:
You will need colored construction paper, a stapler or tape, a hole punch and yarn at the minimum. You may choose to have the children decorate the paper with markers, paint, crayons, string, glitter, the year, or however they wish. After the paper has dried, form a cone shape to fit the child's head. Then staple or tape the shape securely. The cone shape is formed by rolling up the paper so the longer sides of the paper forms the top and bottom of the cone. After you have secured the shape with tape or staples, cut the bottom of the cone so it is even all the way around. Punch two holes in the hat near the bottom to attach a string that will secure the hat on the child's head. Tie on the string.

Bells:
You will need yarn, a pencil, craft bells, styrofoam cups and decorating materials. Have the children decorate their cup. Cut a piece of yarn, no longer than the height of the cup. Tie the yarn to the bell. Then poke a small hole on the bottom of the cup. Thread the yarn through the hole so the bell is inside the cup. Tie the yarn in a knot (or a couple of knots) so it will not come loose. Now you have a bell.

Bell Rings:
You will need to make these for the children. Older children can do the threading. Simply thread craft bells onto a small piece of elastic, long enough to fit around your children's ankle or wrist. Then sew the two ends together. These can be used for group time dancing, songs and games below.

New Year Art
Write the number of the new year on a piece of paper and have the children decorate it with paint, markers, crayons, string, lace, glitter, or whatever.

Chinese Good Luck Letters:
Invite the children to write good luck letters to each other using square red paper. Fold in the four corners to the center of the paper to make it an "envelope" for itself. Have the child write their friends name on the outside.

Chinese New Year dragons:
Have the children make dragons out of lunch size paper bags and decorations like googly eyes, and paper scraps. Have a New Year's Parade and walk through the school and have the children place the dragons on their hands and wave them up and down.

Red Ribbons for to scare Nian
The tradition of Nian is explained in Dramatic Play. Supply each child with red ribbon and a dowel or unsharpened pencil. Have the children tape the ribbon to the dowel. This is used to scare Nian.

Chinese Laterns:
Have each child fold a piece of paper (red is best) in half so that the two longest sides are together. Then have the children cut one strip of paper off. Then have the children cut slits in the paper starting at the fold and going almost to the edges. Have the children make four or five slits. Then roll up the paper connecting the two shorter sides with tape or glue. Then the children may glue the first piece they cut off to the top of the lantern for the handle.

Noisemakers 1Cut a piece of construction paper that will fit around a Pringles container. Have the child decorate the paper however they choose. You can glue other paper onto it, decorate it with crayons, markers, etc. Tape or glue the construction paper over a Pringles container. Fill the container with beans, rice or corn kernals. Place the lid on the container and have the children shake their noisemakers.

Noisemakers 2
Take two sturdy paper plates. (The stronger the better)Place some beans on one of the plates and place the other plate on top of the first so that both eating surface areas are facing each other. Use masking tape to seal the plates together. Have your child decorate with markers, glitter, construction paper, or ribbons. When dry, shake. Shake to music, shake it each time you take a step. Shake, Shake Shake!!!

Math and Science:

Bell balancing: 3+
Supply the children with bells and a balance. Show the children how to make the balance even. Count the bells on each side.

Bell ringing: 3+
Supply the children with many different bells. What different sounds do they make. How are the sounds different.

Bell ringing 2: 3+
Supply the children with pairs of bells. Mix them up. See if they can find their matches by the sound.

Bell Sort: 3+
Provide the children with many different kinds of bells to sort by size or color.

Bell Estimation Jar:
Fill a jar with bells.  Have the children take turns estimating how many bells are in the jar.  To help with their estimation, have them pull out 10 bells and look at them, they may hold them in their hands or spread them out, whatever helps with their estimation.  Then return the 10 bells to the jar.  After everyone has estimated count the bells in the jar together. 

What is a year:
Discuss with the children what a year is. Have one child stand in one place. They will be the sun. You can even give them a yellow plate with the word sun on it. Ask another child to be the earth. They can have a blue or green plate. Make the floor with masking tape where the child will start and stop. Have the earth child walk around the sun while spinning. Have them stop on the masking tape. Tell the children it takes 365 days for the earth to go all the way around the sun. Let other children have a chance to be the sun and earth. You can explain a day by having the sun child hold a flashlight. Turn out the lights, and have the earth child turn around in the same spot.

Group Time and Songs:

Bell Ring Song:
Supply each child with a bell ring. (Instructions on how to make bell rings in art section.) Sing this song and follow the directions: Sung to Frere Jacques
Ring your bells,
Ring your bells,
Shake them left and right,
Shake them hard and light,
Ring them loud,
Ring them soft.

Ring your bells,
Ring your bells,
Shake them up and down,
Shake them all around,
Ring them loud,
Ring them soft.

Happy Birthday:
Happy Birthday new year,
Happy Birthday new year,
Happy Birthday (say year),
Happy Birthday new year.

New Years Resolutions: 4+
Discuss with your children about the tradition of making resolutions on New Years. Ask each child what New Year's Resolution they would like to make. Write them down on a big piece of paper to post in the class. Or for older children have them write them down themselves.

Vasilopita
Greek New Year's cake. A coin is baked in the cake and the person who finds the coin in their slice is has good luck for the year.
Ingredients:
1 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 3/4 cups + 1 tablespoon white sugar
5 eggs
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Directions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
In a large bowl, blend together the butter and sugar. Separate 3 of the eggs; add the yolks and the 2 remaining whole eggs to the butter mixture. Stir in the vanilla and water.
In another bowl, sift together the baking powder and flour. Add these dry ingredients to the creamed mixture.
Whip the egg whites until they are foamy. Add 1 tablespoon sugar. Continue to whip the whites until they are stiff, but not dry.
Pour the batter into a greased 10 x 4 inch tube pan. Wrap a large coin in foil, and place the coin in the batter. Press the coin down; it should be completely hidden. Sprinkle the nuts and seeds on top of the batter.
Bake the cake for about 70 minutes, or until done. Cool on a wire rack.

Happy New YearTeach the children to say Happy New Year in other languages.
Danish - Godt Nytår
French - Bonne année
German - Gutes Neues Jahr
Hebrew - Shanah tovah
Russian - S Novym Godom
Spanish - Feliz Año Nuevo

Games:

Bells on Shoes:
Younger children will enjoy this activity. You can thread craft bell onto the shoelaces of your children. Then have your children walk around, dance, or stomp.

Bell Ring Game:
Instructions on how to make bell rings in art section. Played like Doggie Doggie Where's your Bone? With a twist. Older children will have a hard time keeping the bells quiet, and it will give younger children the advantage of hearing the bells. This is how the game is played. The teacher picks one child to sit in the middle and be the Doggie. Then the other children sit in a circle around the Doggie. The teacher picks one child to hold the bells (bone) behind their back, and all the children sit with their hands behind their back. Say the Chant:
Doggie, Doggie,
Where's your bone?
Somebody took it from it's home,
Upstairs, downstairs, by the telephone,
Wake up doggie, Find your bone.
The Doggie picks up to three people that he/she believes has the bells. One at a time, as picked, the children show their hands. If they pick the right child they "win". Regardless the child with the "bone" become the next Doggie, and the old Doggie pick who will get the bells next.

Another Bell Game:
Bell relay race. Have a relay race where the first player had a bell ring on each wrist and ankle (four total). They run to the next person, and they have to take off all the bells and put them on the next person. (variation: only one person of the two may touch the bells).

Dramatic Play:

Countdown to the New Year:
Supply the children with party hats and noise makers. Pretend to countdown to the new year. Did you know a lot of noise is made to scare the old year away and welcome the new year?

Chinese Nian Fun:
Read this story:
Long ago, in Han times, there was a monster whose name was "Nian". This monster came once each year to a little village and scared everyone! One day, just by luck, the villagers discovered that "Nian" had a couple fears of his own. He was afraid of the color red and even more afraid of scary loud noises! The villagers prepared. When "Nian" appeared, everyone in the village ran for the red banners and noise makers they had made. They waved their banners and rattled their noise makers, which scared "Nian" so much that "Nian" ran away and was never heard from again! Which explains why people in China believe the color red signifies joy and luck, and why noise makers are rattled on Chinese New Year. At midnight, firecrackers, paper dragons, noise makers, the waving of red ribbons and banners all help to drive away any lingering evil spirits from the old year. (In case "Nian" is still lurking about somewhere!) Let one child be Nian, and the others be the villagers. Ask the children to find something red to scare Nian. Read the story again and let the children act it out.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Stars - Preschool Lesson Plans

Stars are a great symbol of Christmas, after all it was a star that led the Wise Men to baby Jesus. Many people place a star on top of their Christmas tree.  So here's a whole lesson that is devoted to stars.

Stars - Art

Cookie Cutter Painting
Put a small amount of tempera paint in a large shallow container. (A pie tin works well) Show your child how to dip the star shaped cookie cutter in the paint and press onto a piece of paper to create a print. You can make holiday pictures or greeting cards by using holiday cookie cutters and colored paper.

Christmas Stars
Cut out many different star shapes. Have the child glue the stars onto a piece of dark blue paper to represent the night sky.

Sticker Stars
Have the children place star stickers on a piece of black paper.

Night Art
Have children draw a picture on black paper with chalk or white crayons.

Stamping Stars
Provide the children with star stamps. Have the child press the stamp on a non-toxic ink pad and press onto a piece of paper. (Silver or white ink will look very neeto on black or dark blue paper)

Star Sponges
Provide the children with star shaped sponges. Have the child dip the sponge in non-toxic paint and press onto a piece of paper. (Silver or white paint will look very neeto on black or dark blue paper)

Decorate a Star
You can either have the children decorate a pre-cut star or they can decorate paper and cut out the star shape. Have your child decorate the star using:
Glitter, Crayons, Pens, Colored Pencils, Markers, Paint, Lace, String, Yarn, Ribbon, Paper Doilys, Tissue Paper, Torn Paper, star Shaped Paper, The Holes from a hole punch, Stickers, Sand, Twine, Old Puzzle Pieces, Buttons, Colored Glue, Colored Tape, Chalk, Wet Chalk, Wrapping Paper, Stamps, Aluminum Foil, Heart Shaped Confetti, Glue on Candy Confections, star Shaped Sponge Painting, Pasta or rice colored with food coloring.

Glue Stars
Place glue on a piece of paper in a star shape. Have the children place glitter, colored rice or koolaid on the glue.

Eggshell Stars
Use food coloring to color crushed eggshells. Use a few different colors. (You can use eggshells from eggs you have used. There is no need to hard boil these egg shells.) Let your child glue the eggshells to a star shaped piece a paper, after the dye has dried.

Star Headbands
Measure your child's head, and cut a piece of construction paper long enough to create a headband. Glue the paper together so the headband fits snugly on your child's head but is loose enough to take off easily. have the child decorate one to three star shapes, then glue or staple the stars to the headband.

Sun Catcher Stars
Supply each child with a star-shaped piece of contact paper and many tissue paper squares of different colors. Have the children place the squares on the contact paper. Then trim the star and hang it in a window.

Tie Died Stars
Supply each child with a white construction paper star and many pieces of tissue paper that will bleed when wet. Have the child place the tissue paper on the star, then have them paint the paper with water, just enough to get it wet with no standing water. Then allow to dry. When dry remove the paper.

Star Spray Paint Art:
Obtain a few clean spray bottles. Add water and a little bit of liquid or powdered tempera. Then, place a large piece of star-shaped paper on an easel, and have the children spray the colored water onto the star-shaped paper.

Star Punch Collage
Use a star punch to make many different colored stars for the children to glue to different colors of construction paper. We punched wall paper and construction paper.

Star-Shaped Balloon Prints
In a pie tin, place three to five teaspoon sized portions of different colored pastel tempera paint evenly spaced about the area. Inflate a small balloon to a size which will easily fit in the palm of your child's hand. Show your child how to "dip" the balloon in the paint and press firmly onto a piece of paper. Let your child mix the colors, or use one color at a time. This is messy, but the results are wonderful. Cut out the paper into a star shape.

Contact Paper Art
You will need a picture of a star. Place the image on the table and place a piece of contact paper, sticky side up over the image. Supply the children with scraps of construction paper to tissue paper. Children use the scraps to create the image on the contact paper.

Cotton Stars
Place glue on a piece of paper in a star shape. Have the children place cotton balls on the glue.

Wooden Stars
Have the children decorate a wooden star shape with felt or paint.  Attach a piece of ribbon or yarn with hot glue to create an ornament.

Star Rubbings
Cut star shapes from paper doilys or sandpaper. Tape these stars to the table. Have the children place a piece of thin white paper over the stars and rub a crayon over the star.

Shaving Cream Art
Add a drop of food coloring to a baseball sized pile of shaving cream. Mix this with a paint brush. Have the children be very careful, and use smocks because the food coloring will stain their clothing and hands. Have the children paint the shaving cream on a white star shaped piece of paper.

Star Shaped Potato Prints
Cut a large potato in half. You will need a star shaped cookie cutter that will fit on the potato half. Press the cookie cutter into the flat side of the potato. Then, using a knife, cut the potato around the outside of the cookie cutter, leaving a star shaped potato stamp. Supply the children with the potato stamps, different colored paints, and paper. Have the children dip the potatoes in the paint and press them firmly onto the paper. If the potatoes are not cut evenly the shapes will not appear clearly.

Star Necklaces
Supply the children with star shaped beads and yarn. You child also have the children cut out star shapes from construction paper. Then, have them use a hole punch to make a hole, so they can thread them onto a piece of yarn.

Star Shaped Marble Art
First you need a large plastic container with a lid. (I used a shallow peanut butter container.) Next cut out paper that will fit in the lid of the container in the shape of a star. Place a few drops of paint into the container with a few marbles (be sure to observe carefully as marbles are a choking hazzard) then place a very small amount of paint on the lid and pre-cut paper on the paint. (I use the paint to make the paper stick to the lid.) Place the lid on the container, flip and have the children shake. When finished, remove paper and allow to dry, and place a clean piece of paper in the lid for the next child.

Star Shaped Bubble Art
Supply the children with a bowl with bubble mix in it and a straw with a hole near the top to prevent children from sucking the soap up. Have the children blow into the straw while it is in the bowl creating bubbles. Then, have the child place a drop of food coloring on the top of the bubbles and quickly press a piece of star shaped paper on the top of the bubbles to create bubble prints.

Torn Paper Art
Draw a star shape on a piece of paper. Provide the children with paper to tear and glue onto the star shape.

Christmas Star Math/Science/Games

Lacing Cards
Cut colored posterboard into a star shape and punch holes around the edges. Then let your child lace yarn or a shoestring into the cards.

Stamping Patterns
Use star shaped rubber stamps to create a simple pattern on the top half of a piece of paper. Ask your child to help you recreate the patterm on the bottom half of the paper. Tip: Start with one stamp, and have your child pick which stamp you used. Start slowly and work your way up to more complicated patterns.

Star Match
Cut out many different stars from different colors. Have the children find the matching star.

Star Match Up
There are many ways to set this up depending on the skill level or the particular skill you wish to work on. Try these different set ups:

  1. Cut out star shapes from different colors of paper. Give each child one star. Ask the children to find one person with the same color star.
  2. Cut out star shapes from different colors of paper. Cut the stars in half using a puzzle type cut, like zig zag or interlocking pieces. Give each child one half of a star, and ask them to find the person with the other half. Or Give the children two pieces and have the children make a circle, with one child that has one match on one side and the other match on the other side. You may end up with 2 or more circles depending on how the star pieces are distributed.
  3. Cut out star shapes from one color of paper. Cut the stars in half using a puzzle type cut, like zig zag or interlocking pieces. Give each child one half of a star, and ask them to find the person with the other half. Or Give the children two pieces and have the children make a circle, with one child that has one match on one side and the other match on the other side. You may end up with 2 or more circles depending on how the star pieces are distributed.
  4. Cut the star shapes from one color of paper. Label one set of stars with numbers, i.e. if you have 20 children, label the stars with the numbers one to ten. The other half, draw one dot on one, two on another, and so on until ten. Give each child one star and have them find the child with their match.
  5. Cut the star shapes from one color of paper. Place matching stickers on two stars. Give each child one star and have them find the child with their match.
  6. Cut the star shapes from one color of paper. Cut the stars in half using a puzzle type cut, like zig zag or interlocking pieces. Place matching stickers on each half of a star. Give each child one star half and have them find the child with their match.
  7. Place matching star stickers on separate index cards. Give each child a card and ask them to find the child with their match.
  8. Try all the above, but in a file folder format. Glue one part of the star to the file folder and laminate it's match.

Bean Bag Toss
Obtain a large piece of cardboard. A large, unfolded box works well. Cut One or two star shapes out of the cardboard. Paint the cardboard. When dry let the children throw bean bags through the star shaped holes.

Star Hop
Cut out large star shapes from colored paper. Laminate them and cut them out. Place them on the floor and ask the children to hop from one star to another. These may also be used at seat markers for group time.

Star Hide and Seek
Have all the children hide their eyes while you "hide" a star in the room. (It should be placed in plain view) Tell the children to find the star, but not touch it. Once they spot it they should sit back down in their spot. The first one to sit down again will get to hide the star.

Star Hide and Seek
Play the game the same as above, except hide the star. Then tell the children individually whether they are "hot" or "cold" to the relation of the star. Allow the other children to have a change to hide the star, and tell children whether they are "hot or cold". It may be a good idea to discuss the meaning of hot and cold before you play this game.

Star Fishing Game
Tie 3 feet of string to a wooden spoon. Attach a magnet to the end of the string. Cut and laminate many different colored, and sized stars from construction paper (not too big though). Attach a paper clip to each star. Spread the star shapes on the floor and let your child try to catch the stars. Have them try to catch the red star.. or the biggest star. For a twist, label the stars with letters or numbers. Ask the children to catch a specific star, or ask them which star they caught.

Star Card Match
Remove the star card from a deck of old playing cards. Cut the cards in half so one number or letter is on each half. Ask the children to pick one card, then find it's other half.

Star Shaped Games
The following games require you to cut out many different star shapes from construction paper. You may choose to laminate these stars so they last longer.

Star Sizing
Cut out many different sized stars. Ask the children to line up the stars from largest to smallest.

Star Numbers
Cut out ten star shapes. Number them one to ten. Ask the children to line up the stars from one to ten.

Star Colors
Ask the children to sort the stars by color.

Star Sort
Ask the children to sort the stars by size.

Connect Four
You can place star stickers on the piece of a "Connect Four" game. Play the game according to the traditional rules.

Songs and Group Time

Flashlight Fun
Have the children bring in flashlights. Turn off the lights and let them shine their flashlights.

Reach for the Stars
Have the children pretend to catch stars. Ask them how many stars they caught.

Star Hop
Cut out large star shapes from colored paper. Laminate them and cut them out. Place them on the floor and ask the children to hop from one star to another. These may also be used at seat markers for group time.

Star Bowling
Obtain 10 half gallon milk cartons, or 2 liter bottles. Fill the bottles about 1/8 full with water and seal the lid. Then, decorate the bottles with stars. Set the bottles up like they were bowling pins and have the children roll a ball to try to knock them over. If they don't knock over easily, remove some of the water.

Twinkle Twinkle
Twinkle Twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are
Up above the clouds
Like a diamond in the sky
Twinkle Twinkle little star
How I wonder what you are.

Star Light
Star Light Star Bright
Wish I may, Wish I might
The first star I see tonight
I wish ......

Star Light Bulletin Board
Write the poem above on a piece of paper.
Ask the children to finish the poem with their own wish.
Record their answer on a strip of paper or on a star shaped piece of paper. Flip the strip over and write their names on the other side.
Place the poem and the responses on the bulletin board.

When You Wish Upon A Star
Listen to this Disney tune.

Star Clean Up
Assign members to each team, making it pretty fair to the amount of mess in each area. Make star shaped necklaces with the names of the areas to be cleaned on them and pictures. Have the children sit down on our carpet and tell them what to clean and give them a necklace. Like Dramatic Play, blocks, small toys, art, puzzles.. etc. Then they would race against each other and whatever team was done and all sitting on the carpet first would win.

Stars Song - by chicky
Sung to Mary Had a Little Lamb
Stars are shining in the sky
in the sky, in the sky
Stars are shining in the sky
Way way up so high.

Telescope
Pretend that a paper towel tube is a telescope. Use the telescope to check out the stars.

Snack Ideas
Jello in the shape of Stars
Cookies shaped like stars
rice crispy treats cut out in the shape of stars
star shaped cereal

Saturday, December 18, 2010

No David!!!!!

I picked this book up from a garage sale for $1. It is Rosa's favorite book. Each page shows a wonderfully detailed picture of David being naughty and his mom is yelling at him. Of coarse when you read it your children will have a blast if you add a lot of character in the voice.  Rosa asks to read the book many times each day.  I hope you and your children enjoy it as much as we do.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas - Christmas Tree Ideas

Celebrating Christmas with a tree has been a holiday tradition for many years. It is amazing how much it has changed even over the past few years that I remember. Strings of lights with only one color, ornaments made of plastic, artificial trees that are white, silver and other colors are just some of the changes I have seen through my life.

It only makes sense to include Christmas Trees as a part of your Christmas Preschool lesson plans.  Here are some fun ideas for you to try out with your students.

Preschool Christmas Tree Art


Cookie Cutter Tree Prints
Put a small amount of tempera paint in a large shallow container. (A pie tin works well) Show your child how to dip a Christmas Tree cookie cutter in the paint and press onto a piece of paper to create a print. You can make holiday pictures or greeting cards by using holiday cookie cutters and colored paper.

Play Dough Trees
Have the children roll out play dough with a rolling pin then cut out Christmas Tree shapes from the play dough with cookie cutters.  The play dough should be put away after use.

Christmas Tree Cookies
Make your favorite sugar cookie recipe.  Use Christmas Tree shaped cookie cutters to cut out the cookies.  Bake as directed.  After the cookies have cooled, allow the children to decorate with green frosting, sprinkles and other cookie toppings.

Clay Trees
Have the children roll out the clay and cut out Christmas Tree shapes.  Cure as directed, then allow the children to paint the shapes with acrylic paints (be careful, these stain).  If you want to make these ornaments, use a toothpick to make a hole near the top.  After cured, add a ribbon to hang the ornament.

Fingerprint Tree
Print up a Christmas Tree coloring page or cut out your own shape from green paper.  Place a small amount of paint on a paper plate or in a shallow container or use a non-toxic ink pad.  Show the children how to dip one finger at a time in the paint or press onto the ink pad, then press onto the tree shape.
Christmas Tree Coloring Page

Bingo Daubers Tree
Print up a Christmas Tree coloring page or cut out your own shape from green paper.  Have the children use bingo dabbers to decorate the tree.
Christmas Tree Coloring Page


Paper Hole Punch Tree
Print up a Christmas Tree coloring page or cut out your own shape from green paper.  Have the children glue the holes from a paper hole punch onto the tree.


Egg Carton Christmas Tree
Cut egg cartons so you have one row of six, five, four, three, two, and then two single egg holders.  Glue the rows  to a piece of paper from bottom to top in this order, 1, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 so that it looks like a Christmas Tree.  Have the children paint the egg cartons green.  After the paint dries have the children decorate the tree with scraps of paper, fabric, holes from hole punch, stickers etc.


Sponge Painted Tree
Print up a Christmas Tree coloring page or cut out your own shape from green paper.  Have the children use bingo dabbers circle shaped sponges to decorate the tree.

A Variety of other Ideas
Print up a Christmas Tree coloring page or cut out your own shape from green paper. 

dip a pencil eraser in paint or press onto an ink pad then onto the tree
use circle shaped stamps
apply stickers
apply glitter
apply buttons
decorate with button prints (attach button to film canister with hot glue, then dip in paint and press on paper)
use fabric scraps
use scraps of paper
tear pieces of paper to glue onto the shape
color with crayons, markers, colored pencils, paint

Hole Punched Tree
Print up a Christmas Tree coloring page or cut out your own shape from green paper.  Have the children punch several holes about the tree.  Glue colored pieces of cellophane to the back of the tree shape.  After the glue has dried, the children can decorate the front of the tree as desired.  Hang trees in the window so sunlight can shine through the holes making them look like Christmas Tree lights.

Torn Paper Christmas Tree
Have the children cut or tear several pieces of green paper.  The pieces should be thin and a variety of lengths.  Have the children sort the strips from longest to shortest.  Then, glue the strips starting with the longest at the bottom of a piece of paper to the shortest at the top of the paper.  After the glue has dried, children can decorate with glitter, buttons, crayons, markers or other items.

Christmas Tree Mobile
Cut a piece of green paper into a large Christmas Tree triangle.  Have the children cut the triangle into wide strips (about one inch).  Have the children decorate their tree pieces with glitter, markers, crayons, scraps of paper, stamps, stickers or with whatever you wish.  After the pieces have dried, tape each strip to a piece of yarn, about one inch apart.  

Christmas Tree Branch
Have the children use a pine branch with needles in place of a paint brush.  The children can use red and green paints. 

Christmas Tree Math, Games and Science

Tree Sorting
Cut out many different sizes, colors and types of Christmas Tree shapes. Having access to a Cricut machine will make this task much easier.  You could also use an Ellison machine or craft punches.  Have the children sort these shapes however they wish (by size, color or type).  

Tree Sizing
Cut out at least four trees of different sizes.  Have the children place the trees in order from smallest to largest.

Tree Counting
Cut out many different Christmas Tree shapes and have the children count them.  

Sand and Water Table
Place a variety of pine tree branches and needles in the sand and water table.  Provide a balance, a magnifying glass and other items that would help the children observe and explore.

Tree Shape Hop
Cut out Christmas Tree shapes from green paper.  Attach these shapes to the floor with contact paper, evenly spaced so the children can hop from one shape to the next.

Tree Shape Game
Cut out Christmas Tree shapes from different colors of paper.  Attach these shapes to the floor with contact paper, evenly spaced about one step apart from each other in a circle.  Play Christmas music and have the children walk around the outside of the circle.  When the music stops, each child should stand on a tree shape.  It is best to have more shapes than children.  

Tree Shape Game
Cut out Christmas Tree shapes from different colors of paper.  Attach these shapes to the floor with contact paper, evenly spaced about one step apart from each other in a circle.  Pick one color and announce it to the children.  Play Christmas music and have the children walk around the outside of the circle.  When the music stops, each child should stand on a tree shape that is the same as the color you called before the music started.   More than one child can stand on each shape.  

Christmas Tree Memory
Obtain Christmas Tree stickers.  You will need two of each shape.  Measure the largest sticker, then cut card stock in square shapes that are slightly larger than the largest sticker.  Place each sticker on its own card stock square.  You can now use these cards to play memory.

Christmas Tree Sort

Obtain Christmas Tree stickers.  You will need at least two of each shape.  Measure the largest sticker, then cut card stock in square shapes that are slightly larger than the largest sticker.  Place each sticker on its own card stock square.  Have the children sort the cards.  

Needle Counting
Show the children a branch from a pine tree.  Ask them to estimate how many needles are on the branch.  Record the answers.  Count the needles together.



Saturday, December 11, 2010

Christmas - Tis the Season

What does Christmas mean to you?  Well, to me it is simply about family and the spirit of giving.  I am pretty sure that my son has got the Christmas spirit, he recently asked if we can go and help out at a local soup kitchen.  I am certainly a proud mom.

Beyond family here are some other things I associate with Christmas:
the birth of Jesus Christ
Christmas Eve Mass
Nativity Scene
gift giving
generosity

Decorating with:

  • Christmas Trees
  • Christmas Ornaments
  • candy canes
  • stars
  • stockings
  • lights
Santa
Christmas Dinner

Winer Solstice
snow and cold weather
Christmas Cards
Carols
Rudolf and Reindeer
Elves
Red and Green

Let me know what Christmas means to you!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

So I did it....Homemade Christmas Gifts

I spent some time this weekend working on the homemade Christmas Gifts that I wanted to get done.  I made the handprint ornaments, Santa ornaments and Christmas mason jars.


Christmas Mason Jars

The mason jar project was the most interactive for Rosa.  First I got my supplies together.  You will need one clean mason jar.  I used Miracle Whip jars since they don't have any embossing, which would make things difficult.  Also, colored tissue paper, Mod Podge glue, a paint brush and any embellishments that you might want to add.  

I let Rosa make a decoupage jar.  First I cut red, white and green tissue paper into a variety of different sized squares.  I placed a couple of fingers inside the jar to hold it, then applied the Mod Podge glue to the outside of the jar with a paint brush, then Rosa applied the tissue paper.  It is okay if the squares overlap.  After she finished, I went over the jar and filled in the gaps and around the edges of the top and bottom of jar.  I created a smooth edge by applying the tissue paper, then applying a layer of glue over the paper, up to the edge, the paper will tear easily at the edge.

After all of the paper is applied, go over the whole jar again with another layer of glue.   Let that dry and apply another layer of glue.

You can place Christmas lights, a real tea light candle or a battery operated tea light in the jar for display.

Variations:
I was inspired by a combination of two blogs to create this Santa Jar.  I saw these awesome Halloween Jars on Not So Idle Hands Blog.  Then on Crafts by Amanda's blog she posted some creative Glittery Santa Belly Jars.

I applied strips of red tissue paper, with a black ribbon and a piece of gold pipe cleaner.  I had to use a glue gun to attach the pipe cleaner.

I used white tissue paper for the last jar.  I applied silver glitter and snowflake stickers.

Handprint Ornaments

These ornaments are just so super cute.  I have seen them most commonly done on blue ornaments, but since I am making them for Rosa's grandmothers, both of which have a red and white Christmas theme, I used red.

I painted Rosa's hand with white craft paint, then had her grab the bottom of the ornament.  I then wiped her hand clean with a baby wipe and set the ornament off to the side to dry.  After the paint dried, I used a black paint pen to add the eyes, mouth and buttons, then allowed that to dry.  Finally I applied orange paint for the carrot nose and green paint for the scarves with a very small paint brush.  I wrote "Rosa 2010 on the opposite  side of the ornament with the paint pen.  After the paint had dried I applied a layer of Mod Podge glue to seal the colors.

Santa Belly Ornaments

Inspired by Crafts by Amanda.  I used the same red ornaments to make these super cute Christmas decorations.  I simply added a black ribbon around the middle of the ornament with a hot glue gun.  After the glue dried, I added the buckle.  The buckle is made from a piece of gold pipe cleaner.

Be careful because the glue can make a mess if it is applied on any part of the ornament not covered by the black ribbon.

Hope you all enjoy and have a most wonderful Christmas!!!!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Holiday Projects I want to try: The to do list

I posted a link about using tissue paper and mason jars to create Halloween Jack-o-Lanterns. I loved them. I have been thinking I want to try something similar to that but with a Christmas theme. Maybe a tree with star stickers, Santa, a candy cane, or just some red and green paper. So I looked online to see if anyone else had done something like this. Of coarse I came across a ton of cool crafts. Here are some of my favorites:

Glittery Santa Belly Jar Crafts by Amanda

These Santa jars are just too cute and I love glitter, so I think this is going to be a fun project.  I'm still thinking I want to put lights inside, so I might modify this to use the tissue paper and then add a thick ribbon for the belt with a gold buckle from the craft store.

It is a very advanced project for little ones.  That is why I am thinking of using the tissue paper instead.  It would be much easier.  Still it is super cute!!!!



Easy Santa's Belly Ornament Crafts by Amanda


And these ornaments are just as cute.  They look very easy to make, but again, not for the little ones:(  










Jumbo Craft Stick Snowman Craft by kidsactivities.net


Isn't this so adorable.  And I'm thinking it shouldn't be too difficult for preschool children.  It would make a great wall hanging, door hanging or ornament for the tree.  And I just bought googly eyes from the dollar store too!



Button Wreath by Factory Direct Crafts

I'm loving these.  I'm thinking that my toddler can do something very similar with pipe cleaners and buttons.  Maybe?  But where does one get a ton of buttons and not pay a lot for them?  They are pretty costly at Joanns.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Christmas preschool lesson plans - Activity Idea Place

Christmas themed preschool lesson plans. Arts and crafts, games, math, science, group time activities, songs and snack ideas.

Books From Amazon.com
<*>The Sweet Smell of Chrismas
<*>Corgiville Christmas
<*>The Polar Express
<*>Toot & Puddle
<*>Snowmen at Christmas
<*>If You Take a Mouse to the Movies
<*>Olivia's Christmas
<*>Froggy's Best Christmas
<*>Legend of the Candy Cane


Art Activities



Hand Print Wreath
Trace each child's hands several times onto a piece of green paper. Have the children cut out these hand shapes. Supply each child with a paper plate and show them how to cut out the center of the plate. Have the children glue their green hands shapes onto the plate to make a wreath. You could also have them use a paper hole punch on red paper and glue the holes on for holly.

Cookie Cutter Painting
Put a small amount of tempera paint in a large shallow container. (A pie tin works well) Show your child how to dip the cookie cutter in the paint and press onto a piece of paper to create a print. You can make holiday pictures or greeting cards by using holiday cookie cutters and colored paper.

Candy Canes
Draw or trace a candy cane shape onto a white piece of paper. Then have the children cut or tear red strips or paper to place on the candy cane. Have the children glue the red pieces of paper onto their candy cane as the stripes. After the glue has dried, the child (or an adult) can cut out the candy cane shape.

Fingerprint Tree
Either have the children cut out their own tree or make one for them. Then let them use a non-toxic stamp pad to put fingerprints (Christmas Ornaments and lights) on the tree.

Cookie Cutter Matching
Put a small amount of tempera paint in a large shallow container. (A pie tin works well) Dip the cookie cutter in the paint and press onto a piece of paper to create a print. Place a few different Christmas cookie cutter shapes onto one piece of paper. After the paint has dried, you can use this as a matching activity. The child should match the actual cookie cutter to the print on the paper.

Santa's Reindeer
Trace each child's hands and one foot onto a piece of brown paper. Then have the child cut out these hands and their foot. The foot will be the reindeer's head, the heel being the nose, and the hands will be the antlers. Have the child glue the antlers onto the head, along with a red circle for the nose and blue circles for the eyes.

Santa's Reindeer 2
Paint the child's foot brown, but not the toes. Press the foot firmly onto a piece of white paper. Clean the child's foot with soap and water. Paint the child's hands brown, then have them press their hands firmly onto the paper near the top of where there foot was. Clean the child's hands with soap and water. Dry completely. Paint two of the child's fingers blue and one thumb red. Have the child press their fingers and thumb firmly onto a separate piece of white paper. The two blue fingers will be the eyes, and the red thumb will be the nose. After the paint dries, have the child cut out their finger and thumb prints and glue them onto their reindeer.

Christmas Stars
Cut out many different star shapes. Have the child glue the stars onto a piece of dark blue paper to represent the night sky.

Popcorn Garland
Make popcorn. Let it cool. Supply the children with a piece of yarn and a child safe needle (plastic and big) Have the children thread the popcorn onto the yarn to make garland.

Fingerprint Tree
Either have the children cut out their own tree or make one for them. Then let them use a non-toxic stamp pad to put fingerprints (Christmas Ornaments and lights) on the tree.

Christmas Ornaments
Decorate canning lids with string, ribbon, sequins, lace, and odds and ends. Glue a pipe cleaner to the back and hang on your tree.

Christmas Ornaments II
Have the children decorate really Christmas ornaments with string, ribbons, lace, sequins and odds and end. Allow to dry and send home for a great gift.

Bingo Dabber Art
For younger children, draw a Christmas Tree, and have the children decorate the tree with bingo dabbers.

Creative Cards
Fold a piece of construction paper in half. Provide children with a variety of materials, wrapping paper, paper, glitter, ribbons, bows, and let them make a holiday card for someone special.

Pine Cones
Collect pines cones or ask your parents to bring in some. Tie a ribbon around the top of the pine cone. Have the children apply glitter glue to them. Use them on a tree for decoration.

Christmas Place mats
Supply each child with a piece of paper. Allow the children to draw a Christmas object, such as a tree or Santa. You may provide stencils for this, or have the children draw on their own. Laminate the place mat for longer use.

Christmas Place mats II
Supply each child with 1/2 a piece of red paper. Have them tear the paper. Supply the children with green paper, and ask the children to glue their red torn pieces of paper onto their green piece of paper. Laminate the place mat for longer use.

Christmas Place mats III
Trace a Christmas shape onto a piece of paper. Have the child cut out the shape. Then glue the shape onto another piece of paper. Then have the children outline the shape with glue and add gold glitter. Laminate the place mat for longer use.

Christmas Color Finger Paints
Supply the children with red and green non toxic finger paint and white paper and have them make a picture.

Santa's Reindeer
Trace each child's hands onto a piece of brown paper. Then have the child cut out these hands. Supply each child with a paper plate and ask the children to draw a reindeer face on the paper and use their hands for antlers.

Hand Wreath
Trace each child's hands several times onto a piece of green paper. Have the children cut out these hand shapes. Supply each child with a paper plate and show them how to cut out the center of the plate. Have the children glue their green hands shapes onto the plate to make a wreath. You could also have them use a paper hole punch on red paper and glue the holes on for holly.

Cookie Cutter Painting
Put a small amount of tempera paint in a large shallow container. (A pie tin works well) Show your child how to dip the cookie cutter in the paint and press onto a piece of paper to create a print. You can make holiday pictures or greeting cards by using holiday cookie cutters, and colored paper.

Pine Branch Painting
Supply the children with a pine branch, with pine needles on it, instead of a paint brush. You could use red and green for a holiday picture, or whatever colors they wish.

Paper Plate Santa
Have your child draw a face on a paper plate, and glue on red triangle for Santa's Hat. Use a cotton balls on his hat and for his beard. Or cut out holes for eyes, and mouth, and punch two holes to make a mask.

Stockings
Help your child make a homemade stocking for the fireplace. Take a clean, hole free sock (red, green, white) and let your child decorate it with ribbons, bows, lace and whatever else you can think of.

Stocking II
Most advanced:
They may draw their own stocking shape onto a piece of paper and cut it out on their own. Then have them decorate it with markers, crayons, paint, sequins, glitter, ribbons, bows, lace... whatever you can come up with.
Moderate:
You draw the stocking shape onto a piece of paper and the children cut it out on their own. Then have them decorate it.
Simple:
You draw the stocking shape onto a piece of paper and the cut it out for them. Then have them decorate it.
Very Simple:
You draw the stocking shape onto a piece of paper and the cut it out for them. Then have them decorate it with Christmas stickers.

Stencil Art
Provide the children with stencils to trace. They may use markers, glitter, paint, crayons.. etc to decorate the shapes.

Sticker Art
For a very simple art project, supply the children with a piece of paper and stickers. For younger children this provides an excellent fine motor activity.

Candy Canes
This activity can be set up for all ages.
Most advanced:
They may draw their own candy can shape onto a white piece of paper and cut it out on their own. Then have them paint on the red stripes, or they may use red crayons or markers.
Little advanced:
You draw the candy can shape onto a white piece of paper and the children cut it out on their own. Then have them paint on the red stripes, or they may use red crayons or markers.
Moderate:
You draw the candy can shape onto a white piece of paper and the children cut it out on their own. Draw lines where the stripes should be. Then have them paint on the red stripes, or they may use red crayons or markers.
Simple:
You draw the candy can shape onto a white piece of paper and the cut it out for them. Draw lines where the stripes should be. Then have them paint on the red stripes, or they may use red crayons or markers.
Very Simple:
You draw the candy can shape onto a white piece of finger paint paper and the cut it out for them. Place masking tape where the stripes will be. Then have them paint on the red stripes, or they may use red crayons or markers. When the project is dry remove the tape. This way young toddlers can paint the whole thing without "making a mistake".

Another Candy Cane
They may draw their own candy can shape onto a white piece of paper and cut it out on their own. Then have the children cut red stripes to place on their paper. You can make this easier for young children by tracing, cutting, or using torn paper for the stripes.

Santa Hats
Cut out hat shapes for the children from red paper. For older children trace the shape and let them cut it out. Supply the children with cotton balls to glue around the bottom and one for the top.

What I want for Christmas Collage
Supply the children with plenty of toy magazines and ads. Invite the children to cut out what they would like for Christmas and have them glue the pictures onto a piece of paper for a collage.

Wrap it up
Let your child wrap a small box in tissue paper or gift wrap. Let them pretend to give it to someone.

Paint on Wet Paper
You can also use this as a science experiment. Explain diffusion, the spreading of the paint on the paper, through the water. Wet the paper and have the children paint on the paper with red and green paints.

All I want for Christmas- Bulletin Board Idea
Fold a piece of paper in half, to create a card. Have the card fold up. On the inside have the children cut out and paste things they would like for Christmas. Then have the children use wrapping paper for the outside. Use Christmas labels to identify each child's artwork.

Games, Math and Science

Christmas Star Sort
Supply the children with different size stars. Have the children sort the stars according to size.

Christmas Star Seriation
Supply the children with many stars with numbers on them. Have the children line up the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc.

Picture Matching
Find holiday stickers. Place 2 identical stickers on the left and right sides of an index card. Cut the index in half, cut in a jig-jag form. Use a highlighter to highlight the edges. Do this with many different stickers. Have the child match the stickers, and line up the two halves of the index card.

Lacing Cards
Cut colored poster board into a Christmas shape (tree, wreath, star) and punch holes around the edges. Them let your child lace yarn or a shoestring into the cards.

Stamping Patterns
Use Christmas Theme rubber stamps to create a simple pattern on the top half of a piece of paper. Ask your child to help you recreate the pattern on the bottom half of the paper. Tip: Start with one stamp, and have your child pick which stamp you used. Start slowly and work your way up to more complicated patterns.

Bean bag toss
Have your child toss bean bags into a box with wrapping paper on it. You can use masking tape to mark where the child should stand.

What scent is this?
Gather four or different objects with different scents, like Christmas Cookies, a Candy Cane, yams etc. Blindfold the child, then place the object close the the child's nose, and ask the child to smell it and try to identify what it is.

Count the Stripes
Make many different candy cane shapes with different different numbers of stripes. Have the children count the stripes on the candy canes. If you made candy cane art (above) then have each child count the stripes on their candy cane. You could ask the children who had the most, the least and make a chart of how many lines were on the candy canes. Which number of stripes did most people make?

Candy Cane Balance
Supply each child with a candy cane. Ask them to balance it on their head. then have the children walk from point A to point B. (Preset marks..) Whoever makes it across without dropping their cane wins.

Candy Cane Weighing
Supply the children with a balance and candy canes to experiment with.

Christmas Shape Match Up
There are many ways to set this up depending on the skill level or the particular skill you wish to work on. Try these different set ups: (Use your own Christmas Shapes... wreath, tree, star, bell, ornament... etc)
---Cut out Christmas Shapes from different colors of paper. Give each child one Christmas Shape. Ask the children to find one person with the same color Christmas Shape.
---Cut out Christmas Shapes from different colors of paper. Cut the Christmas Shapes in half using a puzzle type cut, like zig zag or interlocking pieces. Give each child one half of a Christmas Shape, and ask them to find the person with the other half.
Or Give the children two pieces and have the children make a circle, with one child that has one match on one side and the other match on the other side. You may end up with 2 or more circles depending on how the Christmas Shape pieces are distributed.
---Cut out Christmas Shapes from one color of paper. Cut the Christmas Shapes in half using a puzzle type cut, like zig zag or interlocking pieces. Give each child one half of a Christmas Shape, and ask them to find the person with the other half.
Or Give the children two pieces and have the children make a circle, with one child that has one match on one side and the other match on the other side. You may end up with 2 or more circles depending on how the Christmas Shape pieces are distributed.
---Cut the Christmas Shapes from one color of paper. Label one set of Christmas Shapes with numbers, i.e. if you have 20 children, label the Christmas Shapes with the numbers one to ten. The other half, draw one dot on one, two on another, and so on until ten. Give each child one Christmas Shape and have them find the child with their match.
---Cut the Christmas Shapes from one color of paper. Place matching stickers on two Christmas Shapes. Give each child one Christmas Shape and have them find the child with their match.
---Cut the Christmas Shapes from one color of paper. Cut the Christmas Shapes in half using a puzzle type cut, like zig zag or interlocking pieces. Place matching stickers on each half of a Christmas Shape. Give each child one Christmas Shape half and have them find the child with their match.
---Place matching Christmas stickers on separate index cards. Give each child a card and ask them to find the child with their match.
---Try all the above, but in a file folder format. Glue one part of the Christmas Shape to the file folder and laminate it's match.

Christmas Tree Hop
Cut out large Christmas Tree shapes from colored paper. Laminate them and cut them out. Place them on the floor and ask the children to hop from one tree to another. These may also be used at seat markers for group time.

Where is your Gift?
Played like "Doggie Doggie where's your bone?"
Have one child sit in the middle of the circle, and hide their eyes. Give another child a Small Gift to hide behind their back. Have all the other children put their hands behind their back. Chant the following song:
Santa, Santa
Where's your gift
You better wake up
and find it swift.
The child in the middle gets three guesses. Then the child who had the gift goes into the middle.

What time is it Santa?
This is a fun game to play outside. You can change the name to suit any theme.
The children all line up against a wall or fence.
And one child, (Santa) or the teacher faces away from the children, a good distance away from the children.
The children yell, what time is it "Santa",
Santa answers 1 o'clock, and the children all take one step toward Santa.
The children yell again, what time is it "Santa",
Santa answers (fill in the blank) o'clock, and the children all take same number of step toward Santa.
This continues until all the children are very close to Santa, then Santa will answer it's midnight, and chases the children back to the fence or wall that they started at. The first person Santa touches will be the new Santa.

Gift Hide and Seek
Have all the children hide their eyes while you "hide" a gift in the room. (It should be placed in plain view) Tell the children to find the gift, but not touch it. Once they spot it they should sit back down in their spot. The first one to sit down again will get to hide the gift.

Gift Hide and Seek
Play the game the same as above, except hide the gift. Then tell the chidlren individually whether they are "hot" or "cold" to the relation of the gift. Allow the other children to have a change to hide the gift, and tell children whether they are "hot or cold". It may be a good idea to discuss the meaning of hot and cold before you play this game.

Christmas Shape Fishing Game
Tie 3 feet of string to a wooden spoon. Attach a magnet to the end of the string. Cut and laminate many different colored, and Christmas Shapes from construction paper (not too big though). Attach a paper clip to each Christmas Shape. Spread the Christmas Shapes on the floor and let your child try to catch the Christmas Shape. Have them try to catch the star or the biggest tree. For a twist, label the Christmas Shapes with letters or numbers.

Christmas Shaped Games
The following games require you to cut out many different Christmas Shapes from construction paper. You may choose to laminate these Christmas Shapes so they last longer.

Tree Sizing
Cut out many different sized trees. Ask the children to line up the trees from largest to smallest.

Ornament Sizing:
Cut out many different sized Ornaments. Ask the children to line up the Ornaments from largest to smallest.

Star Sizing:
Cut out many different sized stars. Ask the children to line up the stars from largest to smallest.

Tree, Ornament or Star Numbers
Cut out ten shapes. Number them one to ten. Ask the children to line up the shapes from one to ten.

Ornament Colors
Ask the children to sort the ornaments by color.

Tree, Ornament or Star Sort:
Supply the children with plenty of trees, ornaments and stars of many sizes and colors. Ask the children to sort the shapes by size, color or type.

Play "Who stole the Cookie?"
Class: Who stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Teacher: (Ann) stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Ann: Who me?
Class: Yes you!
Ann: Couldn't be!
Class: Then who?
Ann: (Tommy) stole the cookie from the cookie jar?
Tommy: Who me?
Class: Yes you!
Tommy: Couldn't be!
Class: Then who?

Christmas Cookbook
This activity is more than worth it's time in laughs. I have done it two years in a row and everyone laughs. Take the children aside one by one and ask them, "What is your favorite Christmas food?" Then ask them "How do you make that?" Write down word for word their responses. You may find it helpful to video tape the responses so you can get it all down. Then compile all of the responses in your classroom recipe book. You may make copies for the parents to take home or make one copy so that the parents may enjoy it. If you do the video, you may want to just show the video at a Christmas party for the parents.

He'll be coming down the Chimney
Sung to "She'll be coming around the mountain"
He'll be coming down the chimney when he comes,
He'll be coming down the chimney when he comes,
He'll be coming down the chimney,
He'll be coming down the chimney,
He'll be coming down the chimney when he comes.

He'll be bringing lots of presents when he comes,
He'll be bringing lots of presents when he comes,
He'll be bringing lots of presents,
He'll be bringing lots of presents,
He'll be bringing lots of presents when he comes.

He'll be driving nine reindeer when he comes,
He'll be driving nine reindeer when he comes,
He'll be driving nine reindeer,
He'll be driving nine reindeer,
He'll be driving nine reindeer when he comes.

I Know a Man Named Santa
written by chicky
Sung to "The More We Get Together"
I know a man named Santa
Named Santa, Named Santa
He has nine reindeer

He travels round the world
Round the world, round the world
He travels round the world
To delivers his gifts.

He comes down the chimney
The chimney, the chimney
He comes down the chimney
To deliver the gifts.

Santa Song
written by chicky
Sung to "Frere Jacques"
When I'm sleeping
When I'm sleeping
He will come
He will come
He will eat the cookies
He will eat the cookies
And drink the milk
And drink the milk

Friday, November 19, 2010

Christmas Gifts Kids Can Make

With Thanksgiving less than a week away, I figured I would tackle the topic:  What should I have the preschool  children make this year to give to their parents?

Snowman Ornaments
Submitted by GreatestResource Child Care
Paint the child's hand white (use acrylic paint), then have them press their hand onto a blue Christmas ornament with their palm on the bottom of the ornament.  Allow the paint to dry.  Add details with acrylic paint, either with a paint brush or paint pens.

Salt Dough Ornaments
Ingredients
2 cups flour
1 cup salt
1 cup water
Food coloring (optional for colored ornaments)

Mix salt and flour.  Add half the water to the dry ingredients.  Mix, then slowly add the remaining water.  Kneed until the dough is smooth.  (about 10 minutes)  For flat dough ornaments roll out the dough on baking paper.  Use cookie cutters, or a butter knife to create your shape, then dust with flour and add details with a toothpick or butter knife.

You can also make different shapes like wreaths or Christmas Balls with your hands, these do take longer to bake.

Before you bake use a straw to make a hole so you can hang your ornament.

Bake at 325 degrees.  Baking time varies based on the thickness of the ornament (about 90 minutes or until dry)

To preserve your ornaments coat with a layer of acrylic varnish after the ornaments are completely dry and cool.

Picture Frame
You will need six popsicle sticks, tacky glue, buttons, two small magnets, construction paper and a picture of the child. Then you make a frame with four popsicle sticks. Lay two stick parallel to one another (stick 1 and 2) then complete the from with sticks 3 and 4. Then to make the picture stay in you will need to add stick 5 and 6 on the top and bottom of the frame. So you have sticks 3 and 4 (the sides) with a stick on the top in front, top in back, bottom in front and bottom in back. Follow? Connect these sticks with glue. When dry have the children decorate these sticks with paint. Cut a piece of paper to fit the back of the frame. Glue that on. Cut the picture to fit in the frame, and insert the picture. Then glue the magnets at the top and bottom of the back of the frame. Viola.. an awesome gift.
Variations:
Glue red and green buttons onto the frame
Glue Christmas paper pieces onto the sticks
apply Christmas stickers to the frame
Apply glitter to the frame with glue
Glue Christmas foam shapes to the frame (see left)
Use Christmas shape punch to create shapes to glue to the frame.
glue red and green puzzle pieces to the frame
glue red and green beads to the frame
glue on red  and green pom poms
decorate with bling


Popsicle Stick Snowflake
Have each child paint four pop-sickle sticks white.  (Use a quality acrylic paint) An adult should use hot glue four pop-sickle sticks together to form the shape of a snowflake.   Then the child can decorate the pop-sickle sticks with white buttons, glitter, pom-poms or other materials.

Decorate an Ornament
Obtain clear ornaments and have the children paint with quality acrylic paints.
The children can also glue bling, stickers and other items to the ornaments.  You can also get the kind that you can put things inside the ball.  The children can put tinsel and other items inside the ornament.

Decorate a Pot
Have the children decorate a terra cotta pot with acrylic paints.  They can add glitter. You can also have the children pick out some seeds to place in the pot.

Check out this handprint calendar from Little Giraffes.


Cookies in a jar

Materials Needed
Quart Size Canning Jars with Lids
Scrap Fabric
Ribbon
Glue
Paper

Make sure you clean the canning jars and lids and allow to dry before you begin this activity.

Have the children add the following ingredients into their jar in the order they are listed.  You can use a funnel to make this easier.  Have the children pack down each layer.  Fill the jar to the top with semi-sweet chocolate chips.

2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 cup brown sugar
3/4 cup white sugar
* chocolate chips

Create a gift tag with the following information:
Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup softened butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix the butter, egg and vanilla until thoroughly blended.  Add the dry ingredients from the jar to the mix.  Stir until completely blended.  Drop teaspoon sized balls of batter onto a cookie sheet about 2 inches apart.  Bake 8 - 10 minutes or until lightly browned.

I suggest that you print the directions on card stock and have the children decorate the side without the directions.

Love Box
Have the children decorate a white box however they like.  They can use paint, crayons, markers, glitter, poms, wrapping paper or other items.  Tie a ribbon around the box and attach the following poem:

This is a very special gift
That you can never see.
The reason it's so special is,
It's just for you from me.
Whenever you are happy,
or even feeling blue.
You only have to hold
this gift and know
I think of you.

You never can unwrap it
Please leave the ribbon tied.
Just hold the box close
to your heart,
It's filled with love inside.

Stepping Stone
Have the children create a stepping stone for a loved one.  They can use their hand print and decorate it with jewels, glitter and other items.

Candle Holders
Purchase glass candle holders.  Have the children decorate the holders with festive acrylic paints and glitter.  Allow to dry completely.  Add a candle for the perfect gift.

Bookmarks
Cut shapes for the bookmark from card stock.  Have the children decorate the bookmarks with paint, markers, crayons, wrapping paper or other items.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Put Me in the Zoo" and Fruit Loops

"Put Me in the Zoo" and Fruit Loops

 

 I sat with my daughter this morning eating Fruit Loops and as she took each one I told her what color she had.  She can say some of the colors, like blue, green and purple.  She toddled off and grabbed one of her favorite books, "Put Me in the Zoo".  I like the book because it also helps teach about colors.  She likes the part "Out you go, out out with you!"  She points her finger and says "out, out".  It is really cute.  Sometimes when we read, she will point to objects and I will tell her what they are.  But I'm stumped... what is that thing?  A bear? 


So we are sitting there eating Fruit Loops and reading.  My darling daughter takes a blue Fruit Loop and placed it on the bear who now had blue spots.  Whoa!!! Very cool.  I then went through the small bowl of cereal to find more blue Fruit Loops and placed them on the page.  We repeated the process with the green and orange page.  It was a fun activity.  She thought is was so great, she went to get "Mr. Brown can Moo" and put some Fruit Loops in that book too.  Oh well, it was cute and we are working on colors.

It's been a while since I did a book themed lesson plan.  But I had so many ideas rolling around in my head, I just have to get them written down.

So start by reading the book.  I have the board book, so that is the version I'm writing the lesson for.  I'm pretty sure that it will translate to the regular version as well.

Try these pages:
Zoo Animals
Blue
Colors
Green
Orange
Red
Purple

Preschool Art Ideas

Note: buttons are used in some of these activities.  Buttons are a choking hazard and should not be used with children under the age of three, or children who tend to put things in their mouths.

Ideas to make spots children can:
  • use bingo dabbers
  • dip a pencil eraser in paint or ink pad and press onto a piece of paper
  • dip fingers into paint or an ink pad and press onto paper
  • glue Fruit Loops onto paper
  • use circle shaped item dipped into paint or ink pad and pressed onto paper
  • use the holes from a hole punch
  • use circles from a circle punch
  • buttons or button prints
  • cut a potato in half and use it to make prints
Make spots on:
  • yellow paper
  • yellow paper cut out like the bear
  • white paper
  • use only one color (red, blue, green, orange or violet) on yellow paper


Spotted Necklace
Supply the children with fruit loops and yarn to make a wonderful necklace they can eat.


How Much is a Handful Art
Have the children trace their hand onto a piece of paper.  Have the children grab a handful of Fruit Loops and  count them.  Then glue the Fruit Loops onto their hand shape.

How Much is a Handful Art/Graph
Have the children trace their hand onto a piece of paper.  Have the children grab a handful of Fruit Loops and  count them.  Then glue the Fruit Loops in rows according to color.  Count each color and write the number below the row.  Write the total number of Fruit Loops in the hand shape.


Science, Games and Math

Spot (Fruit Loop) Sort
The children can use a muffin tin to sort Fruit Loops by color.  

Spot (Fruit Loop) Estimation
Have the children estimate how many Fruit Loops they can grab with one hand.  Then have them grab a handful of Fruit Loops and count them.


Spot (Button) Sort
Have the children sort buttons by size or color.

Spot Game
Supply the children with five baskets and buttons. Place a piece of paper with a number on it in each basket and instruct the children to place that many buttons (spots) in the basket. If the basket says "5" place five buttons in the basket.

Spot Numbers
Write the numbers one through six on small post it notes and place in the bottom of a big muffin tin.  Have the children put one spot (button or Fruit Loop) in the one hole, two in the two and so on.

Spot (Button) Balance
Supply the children with plastic buttons and a balance to play with.

Spots (Buttons) in the Sand and Water Table
Supply the children with hundreds of buttons in the sand and water table.

What is in the Egg?
Place different number of buttons inside plastic eggs. Have the children shake the eggs and try to guess how many are inside. Open up the eggs and count.



Spot (Button) Toss
Supply the children with plastic buttons and an basket. Place a piece of masking tape on the floor for a throw line. The distance from the basket to the line should vary with abilities. Have the children throw the buttons into the basket.

Spot (Button) Jar
For older children. Fill a small jar with buttons. Ask each child to guess how many buttons are in the jar. For younger children, limit the number of buttons to less than ten. Record each child's guess. Count the buttons.

Spot (Button) Jar for School Agers
Provide three identical jars with pre-counted buttons of 20, 30, and 40. Label these jars 20, 30 and 40. Place 20 to 40 buttons in a fourth identical jar. Allow the children to examine all four jars before they guess. Record the children's approximations. Count the buttons.


Musical Spots
Cut out large spot shapes from colored paper. Laminate them and cut them out. Place them on the floor. Play music and have the children walk around the room. When the music stops, each child needs to find an spot to stand on. You may play this a variety of different ways
More spots than children, take away no spots or children. This is great for the younger ones.
One spot per child to begin, take away one spot each time, but children may share spots, until all children are on one spot at the end.

Spot Hop
Cut out large spot shapes from colored paper. Laminate them and cut them out. Place them on the floor.  Have the children hop form one spot to the next.

Pass the Spot
Played like hot potato... have the children sit in a circle and pass plastic spot around the circle when music is playing, when the music stops the child holding the spot sits in the middle or the "spot pot" until the music stops again and the next child replaces the first. You may also chant "Spot, Spot, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10" and the child who has the spot on 10 is in the "spot pot."


Spot-Shaped Snacks
For a snack, use any of the following for a spot shape:
Sliced Bananas
Sliced Oranges
Sliced Cucumbers
Sliced Egg
Sliced hot dogs or sausage
Round Crackers

Preschool Songs and Poems


Ten Little Spots
sung to Ten little Indians
by Amber Louchart
One little, two little, three little spots,
Four little, five little, six little spots,
Seven little, eight little, nine little spots,
Ten little spots on the bear.

Put me in the Zoo Poem
by Amber Louchart
This animal is the craziest thing,
His spots are red, then their green,
If you want to see something new,
wait and you will see they are blue,
Violet and orange, what a treat,
This animal is really neat.