Monday, February 27, 2012

M&M Rainbow Game (Freebie)

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Here's a fun M&M game with a St. Patrick's Day theme! 



This game is very similar to the Christmas M&M game I created back in December.  This game helps preschoolers practice sorting colors, counting and taking turns.  To play all you need are 20 M&M's per player and a copy of the printable materials below!

 To grab a copy click the image below or click HERE


Directions

1. Shuffle cards and place them in a pile face down.

2. Each player takes a game board and places 20 M&M’s (various colors...no brown)  on the rainbow on their game board.

3. Players take turns choosing a  card and removing the correct number/color of M&M's from the rainbow and placing them in the St. Patty’s Day pot.  

4. The first player to fill their St. Patty’s Day pot with all their M&M’s wins!

Variations 
Start with all the M &M's in the pot and play the game in reverse.  The first player to sort all their M&M's onto the correct colors of the rainbow wins! 

  
Skills Practiced

Reading color words
Counting numbers 1-20
Comparing quantities 
Sorting by color
Addition/Subtraction



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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Presidents' Day Snack

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After learning about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln in our coin storing tray, I thought it would be fun to extend our learning about the presidents by making a mini version of Abraham Lincoln's log cabin.  We simplified the log cabin I found Martha Stewart's website, making it the prefect project for a preschooler! 
 
Materials
peanut butter, graham crackers, pretzels sticks, small candy, tin foil, board book
Step 1
Wrap the board book in tin foil.  I used tin foil and a board book for our base, but a piece of wood or cardboard would also make a good base. 
 Step 2
Spread peanut butter on the outer sides of the pretzels and build the walls of the cabin by stacking the pretzels on top of each other.  For an alternative to peanut butter, frosting could be used to "glue" the pretzels together.
Step 3
Add a roof and door by "gluing" the graham crackers onto the pretzels.  We also added a piece of candy for a door handle.     

This was a quick project that required very few materials (all of which I already had!).  Plus this mini-log cabin made a tasty snack!








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Monday, February 20, 2012

Happy Presidents' Day!

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Happy Presidents' Day!  This holiday is pretty exciting where we live because students are off from school for the entire week!  While my preschooler is home from school, we'll have plenty of time for playdates,  relaxing at home and of course I'll sneak in a little learning time too!  This week's preschool activity trays are a bit of a hodgepodge....a Presidents' Day activity, a snowman poem, a Valentine's Day book,  letter writing practice and polar region animal cards.  As you can tell we're playing catch-up on a few activities we ran out of time for earlier this winter!  Here's what our preschool activity trays look like:  
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          
Presidents' Day Coin Sort
I kept this tray simple and only included sorting pennies and quarters since this is my preschooler's first money activity and first time learning about the presidents.  You can download a copy of this printable HERE. 

Poetry Tray
I have wanted to set-up a poetry tray for some time now and finally got around to it!  Last week we had quite a bit of snow around here and we were finally able to build a snowman!  So I picked a cute snowman poem from CanTeach and set-up this poetry tray.  You can download a copy of this poem HERE

I Love Pets! Emergent Reader
My preschooler is so anxious to read!  The only problem is she only knows a handful of sight words making reading even the simplest Ready to Read books a bit too challenging.  So I created this super simple reader all about pets.  It's repetitious and only includes a few sight words!  You can download a copy of this reader HERE.
Letter Writing Practice
This week we'll group letters into families by the way they look and by the way they are formed (tall letters, round letters etc.) and practice writing a couple letters from one family group.  In the picture I show the lined side of the dry erase board, but I think we'll most likely use the the backside of the board without lines so my preschooler doesn't get frustrated trying to stay in the lines.  
Polar Animal Match-up Cards
Last month my preschooler used these 3 part "Montessori" cards to match-up animal pictures and learn the names of each polar animal.  This time I plan to review the names of the animals and play a memory match-up game with her.






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Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Preschool Valentine Cards



This week one of my preschooler's favorite activity trays was a Valentine card making tray.  This tray was filled with a variety of craft supplies including colored pencils, scissors, glue stick, doilies, stickers, construction paper, scrapbook paper and a heart tracer.  When I presented the tray to my preschooler she was eager to begin making homemade Valentines for family members! 
  

Valentine card making was a great way for my preschooler to be creative while practicing fine motor skills.  There was quite a bit of tracing, cutting and gluing...all important tasks for preschoolers to practice! 


In addition to the craft supplies on this tray, I also printed out several small photos of family members (and pets!) and labeled each photo with the person's name.  These photos gave my preschooler ideas on who to make cards for and allowed her to write the person's name independently without worrying about spelling.  It turned out to be a great reading and writing activity!    

        
We worked on her first couple Valentine cards together, then several days in a row she chose to make Valentines independently for her "choice time".  She also loved placing the finished Valentines in the mini-mailbox all ready for delivery!     

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Monday, February 13, 2012

Preschool Valentine Trays

While my tot naps I work one-on-one with my preschooler on one "learning" activity a day.  Last week (for the first time!) I planned all my preschooler's activities ahead of time!  All the activities I picked are Valentine themed.  Once my preschooler has a good understanding of each activity (after we've worked together at least once),  they become "choice time" activities she can choose to work on by herself.      
 
Activity: Candy Heart Patterns
Source: Pre-Kinders
Purpose:  Finishing AB, ABC, and AABB patterns using manipulatives


Activity: Candy Heart Sorting
Source: Pre-Kinders
Purpose: Sorting by color, counting numbers, writing numbers, reading color sight words


Activity: Symmetrical Heart Painting
Source: The Chocolate Muffin Tree
Purpose: Tracing, cutting, painting, making a symmetrical design, creativity


Activity: Heart Bead Decorations
Source: Pinterest (photo uploaded by user)
Purpose: Fine motor, patterning, creativity


Activity: Valentine Card Making
Source: The Work Plan 
Purpose: Fine motor, tracing, cutting, reading names, writing names, creativity


Activity: Colors of Love Game
Source: Criss-Cross Applesauce
Purpose: Reading color words, matching colors


Activity: Hershey Kiss Addition
Purpose: Adding two numbers using manipulatives (sums to 10), fine motor

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Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Colors of Love Sight Word Game (Freebie!)

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Here's a fun Valentine game for young learners!


This sight word game helps young learners practice reading color words.  To play this game all you need are  8 game pieces per player (we used clear glass pebbles) and a copy of the printable materials below!

 To grab a copy click the image below or click HERE


Directions
1. Shuffle cards and place them in a pile face down.

2. Each player takes a game board and 8 game pieces. 

3. Players take turns choosing a card, reading the word out loud and covering up the corresponding colored heart on their board.  

4. The first player to cover all their hearts wins! 

Variations 
Start with all the game pieces on the board and play the game in reverse.  The first player to clear their board first wins! 

  
Meeting the Needs of All Learners 
I included two different sets of cards with this game.  The first set of cards has color words with colored hearts...great for little ones learning to match colors.  The second set of cards has just color words...great for learners practicing sight word reading.  The first time my preschooler played this game we used a combination of cards since she was able to read some color words (red, yellow, blue, green, white), but some of the words were a little tricky or new to her (orange, black, brown, purple, gray, pink).  Each time we played she was able to use fewer and fewer colored heart cards, until she was able to read all of words independently!  

Skills Practiced

Identifying colors
Reading color words
Counting numbers 1-8


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Monday, February 6, 2012

DIY Montessori Moveable Alphabet

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Check out our DIY Montessori Moveable Alphabet!


Once my preschooler worked her way through the sandpaper letters and could identify most letter sounds, I knew she was ready to start writing words.  The Moveable Alphabet is the perfect tool to help her write words without having to worry about forming letters with pencil and paper.  I had the fleeting thought of buying a Montessori Moveable Alphabet, but I figured for our purposes here at home I could forgo the expense and make a DIY set instead.

Materials
Utility Case (JoAnn Fabrics - jewelry section)
Large Dried Lima Beans (Dollar Store)
Permanent Markers
Print-Out of Lowercase Alphabet  

Step 1
One night on Pinterest, I came across "alpha-beans".  "Alpha-beans" are simply dried lima beans with the alphabet written on them (one letter per bean).  Sara from Creative Jewish Mom created a letter match-up game using "alpha beans".  I knew "alpha-beans" would be the perfect manipulative for our DIY Moveable Alphabet!

I set the lima beans up in the same direction and wrote a lowercase letter on each one.  I love how the beans fit together perfectly and by facing them all in the same direction I hope to eliminate confusion on whether a letter is a p/d/b or u/n.  I made 5 of each letter, but I'll probably make more as my preschooler learns to write longer words and messages.  I wrote the consonants in black and the vowels in red, (traditional Montessori Moveable Alphabets have red constants and blue vowels).  Sara from Creative Jewish Mom, recommended spraying the beans with a coat of acrylic varnish because they have a tendency to chip, but I skipped this figuring I could always go back and do it later.  


Step 2
I printed out a set of lowercase letters from the computer, laminated them and taped them to the bottom of the box.  This helps my preschooler know where to put the letters back.


Step 3
I filled up the utility case with the alpha-beans!


This DIY Moveable Alphabet was quick to prepare and cost less than 5 bucks!

Before using the letters to write words, my preschooler and I played "I Spy" (using sounds) so she could become familiar with finding the letters quickly.  Then she started writing!
 

In an upcoming post I'll share how my preschooler uses the Moveable Alphabet to write lists, notes and short messages!  




If you're looking for more ideas on how to make a DIY Moveable Alphabet, check out this recent post by Living Montessori Now!
 
Montessori Monday: Inexpensive and DIY Movable Alphabets

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Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Penguin Fishing Game (Freebie!)

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I am so excited to share my latest board game!

 
To play this fun game all you need are a few handfuls of Pepperidge Farm Goldfish Crackers (red, orange, yellow and green) and a copy of the printable materials below!

 To grab a copy click the image below or click HERE!


Graphics by Scrapping Doodles

Directions
1. Shuffle cards and place them in a pile upside down.
2. Each player takes a game board and places 20 Goldfish crackers (various colors) in the water on their board.
3. Players take turns choosing a card and removing the correct number/color of fish from the water and placing them in the correct fishing bucket. 
4. The first player to catch all their fish wins! 

Variations 
Start with all your fish in the buckets and play the game in reverse.  The first player to throw all their fish back into the water wins!

 
Meeting the Needs of All Learners 
I included two different boards in this game.  One board has just color words on the buckets (great for kids learning to read) and another board includes colors and color words on the buckets (for preschoolers practicing color identification).

Skills Practiced
Counting numbers 1-20
Identifying colors
Sorting by color
Reading color words
Addition/subtraction readiness
Comparing quantities 


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