We have lots of party days. We love to play, sing, dance, dig, swing, take walks, read, and play some more. I try to remain intentional about the skills we are learning in the course of our play by providing skill building activities disguised as play. During all of our pumpkin days we had planned an actual Pumpkin Party, but we wanted to allow the children to continue the "party play" for days after the initial introduction.
I have to say I personally LOVED each activity, but one of my favorites was provided by Mother Goose Time, Counting Seeds. In this activity, they sent some counting cards with the numbers printed on one side of the 8x10 thick cardstock pieces and the appropriate amount of seed spaces on the other side. They also provided the seeds, the plastic blue tweezers, the instructions and the learning aspects of this activity.
Side note!! This is something I love about Mother Goose Time (shameless plug, not really...I'm not telling YOU to buy it...I just love it for MY preschoolers) Mother Goose Time provides this..... It is a skills checklist of what my children will be learning each day so I can make certain that it is age appropriate and state aligned. Major bonus!
This is a great example of how to fit math into the everyday play routine for your preschoolers or toddlers. When I look at this picture, there are several aspects of skills and learning that are taking place at once.
First, they are having to work together and take turns. This builds social/emotional skills of self-awareness and impulse control.
Second, they are using tweezers to pick up the seeds. This is building fine motor skills, hand/eye coordination, and balance as they shift their little arms from right to left very carefully.
Third, they are placing one seed into one seed space. this is one to one ordering. You will notice when a child is making a developmental leap when they grow from just looking at a pile of cars and counting to 10 as fast as they can, proclaiming, "Ten!" even though there are only 8 cars to actually pointing at each car and counting each object with the next sequential number, "1, 2, 3, 4!" "There are four cars!" Activities that give them a designated space in the shape of the object they are coutning with gives them a concrete sense of how and what to count. The reinforcement of having the number on the back allows them to put the actual shape of the number to the counted objects.
It really is a complex learning sequence that we take for granted, however, by providing the right tools, we can help encourage a "math brain" for our little ones and give them the confidence they need to accomplish these skills "all by myself!"
"Look Ms. Donna! I did it all by myself!!!"
There is a great sense of pride and accomplishment when a child can complete a task without assistance. Giving our children these opportunities through play allows the children to build the blocks of learning naturally and keeps them engaged. It allows us as teachers to step back and allow the play to do what it is supposed to....teach the brain in a relaxed state that promotes long-term foundational skills to be built upon, self-confidence, and a love of learning.
I wish you well and I hope you get to play today! - L
Oh, those sweet little faces so excited about the festivities they are about to engage in! They melt my heart!!! Nothing scary about this Pumpkin Party, except maybe a tantrum or two!! But, hey, it IS toddler'ville so let's get this party started!!!
Pumpkin Bowling was a huge HIT!
We painted our toilet paper to look like ghosts and Jack-O-Lanterns. We then stacked, re-stacked, patterned right side up and upside down and placed them in towers and rows. Balancing was the name of the game as we balanced our pyramids and towers as well discovering how to roll the pumpkin on its side and aim it correctly to hit its target!!
The pumpkins weebled and wobbled and knocked them all down to the delight of our bowling babes. Stacking toilet paper rolls seems easy, but it's really quite challenging even for our parent players.
Our fine motor skill and math builder activity "Seed Hunt" was provided by our curriculum provider, Mother Goose Time. This took patience, and impulse control as the children instinctively wanted to grab the seeds and soil with their fingers. After instructed that they couldn't "win" the game unless they used the tweezers, they silently sifted, and pinched the dirt until they unearthed the prized seeds inside. They then used the counting cards to properly place the appropriate number of seeds on each card.
I can always tell when an activity is a major skill builder by the noise level. Most of the time when the children are engaging several senses, they are calm and quiet. The activity is soothing and causes the child completely focus.
They will poke, hammer, saw, and twist and turn until these pumpkins are in pieces. I LOVE the pumpkin pounding project just as much as the children. It gives them an opportunity to utilize their tools toward a rewarded goal of seeing the inside of the pumpkin. I had to capture a before shot, because once the party got started this area was covered in kid! Our supplies and signs were provided by Mother Goose Time in our Pumpkin Party planning kit. What a fun way to plan the activities for our party!!!
Make a Mummy!
This is one of my party favorites because it takes teamwork! The players must find a friend, then work together with patience and problem-solving skills to carefully wrap one another up with a roll of toilet paper to make a mummy! The paper tears as they take turns wrapping, draping and dumping paper on top of their "mummy" friend. When one child decides they are done, it's easy to remove the wrap and start again!!
Friends, Food, Families, and Fun!
When we have a party everyone is invited! It is our hope that the mommies and daddies will be able to party with us and join in the fun. This is actually the most important reason why we have celebrations. To involve the whole family. When children see their families engaging with caregivers, teachers, childcare environments and schools in a positive and encouraging manner, it bolsters confidence in the child in their own safety and bonds with that environment.
Studies have shown that children whose families are involved in the school environment are more successful in their academic careers.
"Significant research over at least 25 years has demonstrated that "family involvement is critical to the educational success of children" (Kniepkamp, 2005, p. 16). To elaborate on that finding is an additional conclusion from the research: "When schools acknowledge the relevance of children's homes and cultures and promote family involvement, they can develop a supportive environment for learning through meaningful activities that engage and empower families" (Ramey & Ramey, 1999; Rhodes, Enz, & LaCount, 2006). "
"The report, a synthesis of research on parent involvement over the past decade, also found that, regardless of family income or background, students with involved parents are more likely to:
This is why we party, have celebrations, meetings, Open Houses and reach out to families to let them know they are important and welcome. It literally makes them smarter, more connected, and enthusiastic about their education. I can't think of a better reason.....
I wish you well and I hope you get to play today. - L
I LOVE fall! The change of the season here in the Midwest is full of color and wonder through the eyes of a little one. Experiencing seasons with a preschool child is like seeing it all for the first time. I love watching their eyes glimmer with awe while holding a fallen leaf that is changing from green to red and then to gold.
It is the perfect time to teach colors, textures, and shapes. It is the perfect time to teach about seasons, months, and holidays with so many of the heavy hitters right around the bend. It is the perfect time to again experience the beauty of the hillsides, farms, and valleys that we ran around barefoot in just a month prior.
Fall in the Ozarks is miraculous....so, of course, we will learn about every aspect in Pre-K!
Twigs, seeds, leaves, and little ones!
'I love fun! Looks at those busy hands and happy kiddos! SWOON!!!
Our "Into The Orchard," theme from Mother Goose Time has been packed full of science, math, literacy, sensory, music, movement, and social/emotional skills builders
We are learning a new seasons song, "All The Leaves Are Falling Down!" (sang to London Bridges) All the leaves are falling down, falling down, falling down! Orange, red leaves all around, it is Autumn!
It's simple and easy to learn. We also cut out orange and red leaves and practiced these colors while singing our little tune, practicing our yoga tree pose and "falling" our leaves again and again!
We then JUST picked up the orange leaves, and then the red leaves to make certain even our bittiest babes were getting hands on experience with our color study.
During Creative Arts we again used the color red while painting with our fingers and brushes, our little red apples. Counting the seeds we placed in the middle allowed us to sneak a bit of concrete counting practice into our Creative Arts time. (We count everything!) We observed that when we mixed our blue and yellow paint, we made shades of green (see how I was able to sneak a bit of science in there!)! We then used our newly created color to make the leaves for our apple and OUT CAME THE GLUE!
Glue is a toddler obsession!
We give them a bottle and let them SQUEEZE! It puddles, squirts, and drips, but it is a vital part of the learning process.
"As children draw, paint, and make collages, they are learning about the world (color, shape and size of objects). When they use paints, glue, and markers, children are planning, experimenting, and problem solving. As children mix paint, they learn to understand cause and effect. Art gives children chances to make decisions, and to learn from the experience of making choices about their art work."
All hands ON!
We studied Johnny Appleseed with apple seeds, pots, plants, creative arts, and a sweet new book, "Johnny Appleseed!"
This cute little book not only served as an opener for our creative arts project that allowed us to give Johnny a face, put a pot hat on his head, give him clothing placement, but it also had math and GEOGRAPHY! This book listed three states!!!
During the reading of this book we also noticed that it introduced skip counting by 5's!
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!!!
I am in LOVE!!! Seriously, each of the apple trees had five apples. As we came closer to the ending, it had six trees with five apples each.....do the math! We were able to count to 30 together, then skip count by 5's and reach 30, all in a book about Johnny Appleseed!!!
This led to an oranges and cherries patterning activity and even I left feeling a bit smarter! HA!!!
We are observing seeds, roots, trees, fruits, completing patterns, making art, painting, growing our awareness of people, history, places, and events; coloring, recognizing letters, numbers, while learning new chants and songs!!
It's all in a day of play!
I wish you well and I hope you get to play today. - L
Life is made of moments...
"There isn't anything more full of hope, joy and peace than a child's smile... It captures the mundane and makes it extraordinary." - LaDonna Woolsey
I am a Mother Goose Time Blogger. I decided to become one after trying their products because I they are comprehensive and serve my mixed age group well. I do receive products to review from Mother Goose Time and do so with my own honest and thorough opinions. For more information, please contact me at Ladonna@woolseyacademy.com