Sunday, March 1, 2015

How are You Feeling?: Baby-themed Feely Box

The children really “felt” what it was like to be a baby by examining items such as pacifiers, teething rings, sippy cups and bottles used by our littlest cuties on a daily basis. 

The children reached inside the box with their eyes tightly closed and guessed what the baby item was by their sense of touch (science: identifying items through sense of touch) during morning circle

Other subjects we explored included social studies: understanding items used in the daily lives of babies and language arts: identifying and recognizing baby objects by name. 

Most of the items were purchased from The Dollar Tree, except for the piece of cardboard which was gotten from an old cardboard box. 

Items Needed 
  • Plastic Bin Available from Dollar Tree 
  • Hole Punch 
  • Plastic zip ties or strong string to attach cardboard top 
  • Baby items such as socks, pacifiers, spoons, dishes etc. 
  • Scissors to cut a large enough hole in cardboard for children to reach in box. 
  • Clear shipping tape to make the box top sturdier.
How to Make 
  1. Buy baby items and place within the plastic bin.
  2. Cut a box top from a cardboard box to fit your bin. 
  3. Cut a hole large enough for children’s hands to reach into with fingers. 
  4. Use a hole punch to punch holes in side of plastic bin and cardboard lid. Make sure that they line up properly.
  5. Attach zip ties or sting to hold top of box onto feely box bin. 
  6. Use clear shipping tape to stabilize and strengthen feely box top. 
See Below for the finished project!









Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Dynamo Diapers!: Absorbency Experiment Using Diapers During Our Babies Unit


Usually we all want to ditch those dirty, smelly diapers, but not today. My students observed several absorbent and non-absorbent items today in order to learn about absorbency.

They soaked up the knowledge quickly and by the end of the lesson were able to recognize items which sucked in the water (absorbent) and repelled the water (non-absorbent or waterproof).

I started the lesson by showing the children a diaper and asking them what diapers are used for. Several excitedly said it "holds pee and poop!" which is definitely the correct answer. I then explained to them that when a child is not potty trained they use the diaper as underwear and changed when wet. The diaper is made out of a special material which "absorbs" or sucks in the urine to keep it away from the baby's skin until it is time for it to be changed. I then had the children feel a clean wet diaper which had been dipped into a bowl of lukewarm water in order to explain the theory.

Beforehand, I laid out several items which were absorbent: washcloth, sponge and paper and a few items which were non-absorbent (did not suck up the water): a smock, counter bear, plastic baby spoon and my skin as an example.

We then tested and felt each one of the items. We learned that the sponge, paper and washcloth "sucked up" or absorbed the water and the smock, counter bear, plastic baby spoon and my skin did not absorb the water (stayed on the surface of the item instead of being sucked into it or absorbed).

The children were fascinated by this simple scientific process which prompted scientific questioning and cognition, cause and effect, and an introduction to new new scientific vocabulary.

Extension: Ask students if they think birds feathers are absorbent or non-absorbent. Answer: Birds feathers are waterproof (aka water stays on the surface and are therefore non-absorbent). The reason for this phenomenon is due to the fact that birds feathers are a form of insulation which wicks away the cold dampness of pond water from the fowl's skin. You could also graph the results of this experiment on a chart (math: charting results through use of a graph).

What you will need for this Experiment

  • Bowl of lukewarm water
  • 2 Trays or large paper plates (one for absorbent items and one for non/absorbent items) 
  • Absorbent items such as a washcloth, sponge and paper
  • Non-Absorbent items such as a smock, counter bear, plastic baby spoon, sandwich bag etc. 

Continue the experiment using ideas from above. (I re-created this experiment at home so some of the items are different than those explained previously in the post).











Sunday, February 22, 2015

Lots of Gelt!: Hanukkah Sensory Bin and Activities


The Festival of Lights has long passed, but the remembrance of the fun my pre-k students had is still aglow. 

During Hanukkah, I presented the children with a sensory bin filled with blue and silver paint dyed pasta, golden gelt, shimmering blue and silver dreidels, plastic bead necklaces, and plenty of white and blue crepe paper that allowed the students to become aquatinted with the beauty and essence of this important Jewish holiday. 

The objectives that were met included social studies: understanding the importance of symbols such as the dreidel, colors (blue, white and silver) and gelt associated with the observance of the holiday and in Judaism and language arts: Making associations and becoming aquainted to the language of Jewish symbols such as dreidel, gelt etc. 

Other activities included using a stencil to create Menorah shapes and shadows using yellow paint and black paper, showcasing traditional Jewish clothing in the Children of the World Dolls colored with oil pastels shown inside the sensory bin, creating Jewish symbol puzzles, and playing a traditional dreidel game. 

A faux dreidel was created using a small white box and paper cutouts cut from the Winter Celebrations cartridge by Cricut. 

A favorite of the books I read during this celebration was Happy Hanukkah, Corduroy by Don Freeman.

Now that's a lot of gelt! 

Sunday, February 8, 2015

What Do You Want?: Teaching Economics in Pre-K with Wants and Needs Graphic Organizers

Why bring up the subject of economics to pre-k students when its a tough subject for even college scholars to comprehend? I’ll tell you why! Children need to understand that we all have basic needs: water, food, shelter and a never-ending list of wants: pretty clothes, the latest electronic gizmos, and the newest toys on the market. Teachers too of course! 

In this simple activity based on the wants and needs of babies, students will be able to identify basic wants and needs after a short description of the definitions of the words

The following worksheet was found at Teacherspayteachers.com. This is a fantastic website which is free to join. There are many free worksheets, patterns and lessons that can send a teacher into planning euphoria. 

The creator of the worksheet is Christine Fotia and is titled Wants and Needs Graphic Organizers. Without her ingenuity, this lesson would have taken eons to create! Thanks, Christine. 

Subject: Social Studies (Economics): Understanding the wants and needs of babies through an organizational chart. 

How to Make: Join for free at Teacherspayteachers.com in order to get this fabulous worksheet. Cut the worksheets to the size of an 8 1/2 by 11 sheet of construction paper leaving a small border around the worksheet. Glue the wants and needs worksheets onto two separate sheets of construction paper. Place pages vertically in a large laminating sheet or use contact paper for greater durability. Find clip art of basic needs and wants of babies as shown in the photos below. These can be laminated or placed in contact paper for greater durability also. 

To Play: The teacher describes the differences between wants and needs. A want is something that we would like to have and a need is something that we cannot live without. See if your students can name a few wants/needs before continuing the lesson. Place the wants and needs graphic organizer worksheets in the middle of your circle. Show one of the clip art photos to your students and ask them if it is a want or need. After they have answered the question correctly, place the clip art on the correct worksheet (want or needs). Continue until both graphic organizer worksheets have been completed. 



Bottle Feeding Compound Word Puzzles!

Hey Baby! Our Baby unit is nothing to cry about (pun totally intended)! Below you will find a language activity that will bottle-feed phonological awareness knowledge to young students about the importance of the usage of compound words! 

Subjects: Language Arts: Identifying and matching compound word pairings. 
Math: Creating baby bottle puzzles through use of matching animal shapes and parts of a whole. 

How to Make: Create a bottle shape using an electronic die cut machine such as the Cricut or a coloring page. Using a word processing program, write easy compound words such as rainbow leaving space in between the two words for easier dissection of the words using scissors. Cut out the words in strips using scissors. Dissect the two sections of the word by cutting in between the two words. Glue the two words onto the bottles leaving space in between the words. Cut the bottles in half using scissors. Glue small die cut shapes to both halves of the bottles to make it easier for your students who have not yet begun to read. 

How to Play: During circle time, explain to the students that compound words are two small words that are put together in order to make a new word. Give examples of compound words such as sun + flower. Continue the lesson by putting half of a compound word bottle in the middle of the circle. Then place two of the ending compound words next to it. Ask the students which compound words go together such as fire (fighter) or (case). Help the students who find this activity challenging by asking them to match the animals found on the bottles. Continue the game until each student has had a turn or the students’ attention spans have waned. 


Extension: Have older students create a compound word word list.










Sunday, October 19, 2014

My Little Pumpkin You’re Gourd-geous!: Investigating Pumpkins and Gourds at the Science Center

Here's for your close-up gourd-geous!: Pumpkin and Gourd Science Center Ideas 
What's Inside Pumpkin Craft/Diagram 
Take a Peek Inside!
Parts of A Pumpkin Chart 

Plump and Juicy Non-Fiction Picks: Pick a Perfect Pumpkin: Learning about Pumpkin Harvests by Robin Koontz 
Pumpkin Circle: The Story of a Garden by George Levenson
Put a Lid on It: Create a Viewing Station With a Plastic Take-out Container.

What child wouldn’t be amazed over the alien-like and colorful appearance of gourds and miniature varieties of perfectly perky and plump pumpkins? You’ll find out if you let your little horticulturist discover autumn’s most whimsical produce at your science center.

Make sure to tell the children that some gourds can be eaten, such as squash, and others are just purely for looking cute as buttons in an autumn display when announcing the center to the class. The mini pumpkin varieties can not be eaten.

Here are some fun facts I found as I searched the Internet. Most of the information was gotten from the specialty foods  magazine website, The Nibble. Check out the site at http://www.thenibble.com/.


  • Many years ago people used gourds as instruments and dish-ware.
  • People in South America drink a special drink from their gourds called Yerba Mate.
  • Residents of the Caribbean and other parts of the world still use gourds for instruments such as drums.

Other uses for gourds include decorative arts such as painting and carving.

Make sure to place plastic tweezers, a scale and magnifying glasses on the table to entice the children to examine the gourds/pumpkins texture, shape, size and weight.

Simple ways to give children a better understanding of gourds and pumpkins are by:


  • Making a Parts of a Pumpkin Chart using blue construction paper, a green pipe cleaner that has been twisted around a pencil to create the pumpkin’s tendrils, a leaf shape and flower which can be hand-drawn or traced from a coloring page, and a simple stem shape. Make sure to label all the parts with a black marker after you have glued them onto the page.
  • Buy bagged varieties of gourds from your grocery store. If you would like to be able to use the gourds and pumpkins year after year consider buying some faux ones. These can be found at craft stores. 
  • Create a What’s Inside a Pumpkin Craft  by using the instructions found at the allkidsnetwork.com site: http://www.allkidsnetwork.com/crafts/fall/inside-pumpkin-craft.asp. I used a pumpkin template I had found from one of my Mailbox Magazine Yearbooks. I cut out 2 pumpkin shapes. Dyed yellow yarn orange using craft paint and let the yarn dry. As I was waiting for the yarn to dry, I cut out and glued small white card-stock seed shapes onto one half of the pumpkin. After the dyed yarn was dry, I randomly glued the yarn around the seeds to mimic the stringy material found inside pumpkins. I then laminated this half from the destructiveness of chubby little fingers. Finally, I punched holes with a hole punch and used decorative brads to hold the two pumpkin halves together. Using pinking shears, I created the label What’s Inside? on the outside of the pumpkin.
  • I created the pumpkin sequencing activity using a Mailbox Magazine Yearbook worksheet. I cut out and colored the sequencing cards and then placed them in sequential order (1, 2, 3, ).
  • For a viewing station, I used an old take out container.

So go ahead and get gourd-geous with these gourd and pumpkin center ideas!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Do You Love Vintage Tablecloths? Check Out My Vintage Tablecloth Heaven Blog Dedicated to My Mom's Tablecloth Collection

Visions of vintage linens await you at my other blog, Vintage Tablecloth Heaven, where you will find the loveliest collection of tablecloths! All of the tablecloths belong to my mom and have been used and loved by our family for several years.

My mom finds joy in collecting these fabulous fabric treasures and the thoughts of family memories created during the many meals and occasions they were used.

Enjoy!

Jennifer