Monday, April 20, 2015

8 things on our circle time shelf

1. texture basket: we're beginning our unit on "the senses". this week is touch.
2. pantone color cards: the kiddos love these and we practice our sign language colors.
3. rainbow paint chips: 1 for each color of the rainbow. the kiddos take turns arranging in rainbow order. sometimes i place them out silently using only sign language.
4. rain stick discovery bottle: for our five senses...sound/hearing, also weather talk.
5. music and stories: our boombox is currently broken but the kiddos often loaded their own choices.
6. rice shakers: use during music time and discovery time.
7. feelings flash cards: we review emotions and empathy, plus the kiddos love looking at them. on top of the shelf is a basket of kimochis that the kiddos can match to.
8. cloud pillows: for squishing, hiding, and/or arranging in rainbow order. also for reviewing weather concepts.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

make a butterfly matching game

For this super easy matching game you will need to plan ahead to source out your wood discs. I've purchased discs from Amazon, Michael's, and etsy in the past. Stickers were found at a local craft store but you can find them here (I should probably sign up for an affiliate dealio). 
Decide on how many pairs you want to make (I did 12 as I only had 24 discs) and get to sticking. Make sure you have 2 of each image.
That's it! I have found that stickers stick best to wood base as is. They stick a little less when the disc has been painted. You can also go over the disc with a coat of mod podge but so far these have stuck and the children know they are not to get wet.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

we call it the fine motor easel

Sometimes it is the sticky easel and others...the fine motor. For our week of We're Going on a Bear Hunt, I put out a basket (one of those wicker paper plate holder dealios found at the thrift for pennies) of leaves scavenged from my garden and a handful of clothespins. The next day, the kiddos brought in more leaves. I never spied anyone clipping the leaves to the pins but every time I glanced over, another leaf was added to the mix. I love when that happens.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

9 butterfly centers for home or classroom

Happy Spring! We're about to read The Very Hungry Caterpillar in our classroom so I was reviewing what we did last year as I worked on next week's lesson plan. I was super happy with what we did last year so thought I would give all y'all a reminder in case you need a little inspiration! Happy planing!

*beaded caterpillars: you can set this up photos of caterpillars, beads, and pipecleaners or you can challenge your kiddos to create a caterpillar pattern!

*butterfly memory/matching game: i just finished making a pretty butterfly matching game but last year we used this one which came from a helpful blogger. you can make your own game or find one online like this or this.

*dot marker butterflies: this set-up can be enjoyed any number of ways depending on where your kiddo is developmentally. dot markers are a plus but you can use paint and sponges, crayons, or watercolors.

*butterfly magnet play: i made this last year and have no in progress photos for a diy post. i purchased butterfly stickers from Michael's, i think they came from the Martha Stewart line, and added magnet tape to the back. I then painted up some green paper a la Eric Carle and adhered it to a metal pizza pan for a happy little bit of magnet play.

*stacked wooden caterpillars: i blogged about this one last year and the children had a lot of fun making their own caterpillars. they were quite proud.

*magnetic chalkboard butterfly: another favorite from last year. maybe this year we will utilize the felt backs or maybe I'll find some neon chalk!

*The Very Hungry Caterpillar button snake: I did not make this but there are a few diys out there like this or you can find one on etsy like this.

*bubble wrap butterflies: this project works best on a wall or easel and can be used many times over before discarding. wipe down the painty goodness with a sponge or damp cloth and the next kiddo is good to go!

*chalkboard butterfly: i did not make this at all but lucked out when i found it last year at Michael's. i'm not sure if they have them this year or not. check out your local craft store or amazon (this one might work).

Thursday, April 2, 2015

scenes from our rainbow week

painting watercolor rainbows
fun with sequencing
spin art rainbows
rainbow colors at the art table
rainbow mess
rainbow painting at the easel
more fun with our stacking beads
more watercolor rainbows
playing with the rainbow stacker
investigating and making a colorwheel
comparing rainbows
more happy rainbow mess

Monday, March 30, 2015

baking rainbow {cup}cakes with kids

One of our favorite activities from rainbow week was baking rainbow cakes! The children love cooking and/or preparing food in our classroom so I try to arrange something a couple times a month. Baking rainbow cakes came about after a lively reading of Bunny Cakes. The children decided we should bake a cake, knowing the following week would be our rainbow week, I asked if they would like to bake rainbow cakes. The cheer was affirmative and so I planned.
For this activity we used a box mix. The children all sat together at our main activity table while we discussed the ingredients used in cake-making. Some of the children remembered that Ruby used milk and eggs to bake Grandma's cake and so I showed them the eggs I had brought and talked about the niftiness that is a cake mix. We sat at our tables and reviewed ingredients before I began mixing. The children took turns passing the bowl of dry cake mix around for a whiff. They were quite excited.

After I had mixed the batter up, we portioned out the batter into some white classroom bowls purchased from the discount store. I prefer to use real dishes as opposed to disposable when we can. The children took turns picking out one of the colors from the rainbow, with the last two colors being happily claimed by the last two children (we had six that day so it worked out perfectly!) They quickly got to mixing. I forgot our wooden spoons so plastic it was, drats!
When we bake in our classroom we use our Baby Cakes cupcake maker. I found it at Bed, Bath, and Beyond for $5 after a big sale and some coupon magic! The maker does not heat up until you plug it in and there are eight mini cupcake wells inside. We have used it for cupcakes, muffins, and pie. I love it! The children waited patiently for their turn to drip, drip, drip a rainbow of batter into their cup. I made a quick diagram of whose cupcake was whose on a piece of scratch paper.
After 10 minutes the cupcakes were done! The cupcake maker does get hot so make sure there is an adult near it at all times or that it is tucked away from anxious little hands. The first batch of cupakes were gently scooped out with a silicone spatula and placed on a place in the order they baked and set aside to cool. The remaining batter (there was a lot of batter, I wonder if I could hack the recipe on the box with one scoop of cake mix) was scooped in by the teachers and enjoyed after class.
The children were presented with their very own mini cupcake on a plate with a dollop of whipped cream and a smattering of sprinkles. Had we had more time, we would have made the whipped cream in class but we were pushing it.

The verdict? Delicious!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

rainbow week

rainbow discovery bottles
fine motor rainbow activity
magnetic pompoms on the rainbow tray
pastel rainbow beans
class made xylophone
rainbow sticky easel
sorting mat and shape buttons
making a rainbow bookcase