Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Friday, May 2, 2014

Farm centers and other fun

Last week I asked the children what activities they most enjoy doing at school.  Field trips, cooking, reading and sensory play were all favorite activities - as was nap time!  I guess by the time we've done all those other things, we're all pretty worn out, and ready to rest and recharge.

I was surprised that the kiddos didn't seem to have strong feelings about what to learn about next.  Sure, dinosaurs, vehicles, and dancing came up as themes, but the children were just as enthusiastic about everything else I suggested too.  Lucky for me, one of my families has a small farm, and we're planning to visit soon to see the animals - and there's a fantastic and fun theme for us.

I put out lots of farm puzzles for my friends to work on, as well as some farm themed listening centers, and of course, a bunch of fun farm songs on youtube.com for our singing and dancing time in the morning.  We worked on the farm part of abcmouse.com with the ipads, which the children are all very eager to use.  We've made our avatars, learned how to push the x button to close pop up windows, found the home button and the back button.  I'm so glad I added a second ipad for our class to use!

I created a sensory bin with farm animal sorting and counting.  The children love digging in the beans, it feels so good to run our fingers through them.  I hid plastic animals in the bin, and made a sheet for the children to match animals to as they found them.

We worked on making farm words with letter tiles and magnetic letters too.  Each of the pages I put out at this center had a farm themed picture and matching word, and space for letter tiles to make the words.  Looking through all the letter tiles was a challenge for some friends, so midweek I changed this center to just three words, with only the letters we needed available.  Much better!

One of my wonderful neighbors cleaned out her craft supplies recently, and donated some scissors that make fancy cuts and even 2 hole punches.  Oh my!  We LOVED them - thank you Ms. Dixie!  We cut paper scraps over and over again this week - working on strengthening hand muscles, cutting skills, and hand eye coordination having fun.  The resulting confetti treasure went home in recycled envelopes, and the children are already asking to do this again.

Outside this week we had a Fisher Price Barnyard Boogie dance mat.  There are four different games on it, from hearing animals sounds to remembering a sequence of animals.  It's a loud game - I wouldn't enjoy it inside - but it was perfect for outside!

So was having a table full of bubbles!  My bubble solution is just one part regular Palmolive dish soap diluted with about seven parts water - and makes fantastic bubbles.

We had a cool science discovery moment in the bubbles when a pair of kiddos discovered that they could hold bubbles in their hands - if their hands were wet.  A lot of bubble blowing, chasing, and catching followed!

We're also playing hopscotch in the backyard this week.  Okay, we don't all play it the same way.  Some of my friends can switch between hopping and jumping as they go, some friends can skip over a number... we eliminated the rock throwing part of the game for safety.  But hey, we're counting, practicing reading numerals, and moving our bodies while we have fun! 

We had to enjoy the lovely balmy weather with a picnic lunch one day.  When I looked for paper plates, I discovered I didn't have any plain ones left - but I did have left over Christmas plates, enough for the kids.  Teachers had to have Halloween plates, and when I looked for a bowl to put our apple slices in, I found a Valentine heart bowl.... so I decided this was a mixed up holidays picnic, and brought out a bunny (Easter) and a squirrel (fall/Thanksgiving) to round it out.  If I had realized ahead of time, we would have added some hats and costumes, and been even crazier!

This week we also enjoyed farm themed toys with our play dough...
 ... played a Scrambled Eggs game (and ate real scrambled eggs for lunch)...
 ... used farm themed paint stamps...
 ...read a farm rhyme and riddle on the pocket chart...
 ...played with farm animal  toys and manipulatives...
 ...and measured farm animals with non-standard units.  I found this activity ready made here.

 It's only fitting that we ended the week with a surprise visit from some Canada Geese swimming in the creek with the ducks.  Duck, duck, goose!
We'll continue our farm fun for two more weeks - I can't wait to show you all the fun learning activities we have in store!

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