Saturday, March 15, 2014

Rainbow Paint Sticks

So I saw an idea similar to this on Pinterest and just had to make my own twist on it.  To make the stick, I hot glued wooden clothespins to a long shim. I glued them approximately every 2". I added some blue duct tape to give an easy to hold/clean handle.  I also wrote the color words along each clothespins. 

Here is the final product:

I was pretty excited to try them in my classroom. They were quite messy to load, but the kids had so much fun with them and everyone loved the way their very unique picture turned out. Overall, the kids didn't get too messy. I highly recommend trying it soon!

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Minute to Win It Valentine's Games

These are all variations of standard Minute to Win it games.  For the catapult, I made four of THESE (click for the link) and they held up pretty well for just being popsicle sticks and hot glue.  You can download cute instructions HERE.

Conversation Heart Candy Games

Straw Hearts
 1 straw per student
 conversation hearts
 paper plates
Using a clean straw, player sucks a conversation heart onto the end and transfers it from one plate to another.
How many can you move in a minute?
Heart Relay
 4 plastic cups
 conversation hearts
 2 spoons
Place two full cups of conversation hearts on the floor, and place two empty cups a few feet away. Divide the class into 2 teams. Each team is given one minute to move the hearts from the full cup to the empty cup using a spoon.
Stack Attack
 conversation hearts
 paper plates
How many hearts can you stack on top of each other in one minute? If they fall–start again until time is up.
Sticky Hearts
 1 popsicle stick per student
(regular or jumbo)
 conversation hearts
Players carry a conversation heart on the end of a popsicle stick in their mouth. (OR carry stick in hand). Can the entire class travel from one side of the room to the other without dropping hearts?
Separation Anxiety
 conversation hearts
 colored paper hearts
With one hand held behind his/her back, players separate a plate of conversation hearts by color. (i.e. place pink hearts on pink paper, yellow hearts on yellow paper) Can you separate them all within one minute?
Heart Catapult
 conversation hearts
 catapult
 paper heart
Students take turns launching a conversation heart at a paper heart target (place on the floor). Can you get your heart to land right on the target?
Pick-Up Hearts
 conversation hearts
 chopsticks, 1 set per player
 paper plates, 2 per team
Give each team two paper plates – one full of hearts, the other empty. Using chopsticks, players move as many candies as they can from one plate to the other in one minute.
Raining Hearts
 conversation hearts
 Valentine box tied to scarf
Choose four players to begin. Tie Valentine boxes around waist. Place equal amount of conversation hearts inside each box. Give the players’ one minute to shake, jump, wiggle the hearts out onto the floor without using hands.

Wheelbarrow of Hearts

Graphic from

Sunday, April 14, 2013


Theme:  Transportation
Letter of the Week: X

Land Transportation

Create a Traffic Signal (Art, Fine Motor)
Copy enough circles for each child.  I run mine on colored paper so they don't have to take the time to color them, but you could easily just print them on white and have the kids color them.  Here are the size I use. Once they have cut them out, I have them glue them in the right order.  I use the following poem, which I found years ago (mwaybe in a Mailbox Magazine?): Red on top, Green Below, Red says Stop, Green says Go, Yellow says Wait, even if you're late.  For my PreK students, I am going to have them right the three color words and fill in the blank.  Here is a PDF you can print and use for the same thing.

Transportation Pattern Blocks (Math)
I was looking for ways to incorporate a little bit of Math into my unit, and I found these great pattern blocks.  Thanks Kelly for the great download!  I am using only the transportation ones at this time, but will use the others soon :)

Play Red Light, Green Light (Gross Motor, Listening Skills)
Just the traditional game that helps children learn listening skills while still having fun.  Make sure you are a good policeman and send back any kiddos who don't listen.

Add Little Tikes Car Tracks to Blocks (Social Skills, Math)
These are just an old school path that have been around since my brother, who is now 23, was little.  It helps with their math skills because they have to figure out how to build a complete track, which can be quite challenging for some of them.

My favorite type of transportation is a _______________? Why?(Language Development)
I added the why section of the question because it challenges them to think of why they like what they like.  I am excited to see what answers they come up with.  Here is the link the page I created.

Air Transportation

Sing the Little Airplane Song (Music)
This is a simple little song for the kiddos to sing along to.  It goes to the tune of Frere Jacques.
Little airplane, little airplane,
In the sky, in the sky,
I can see you soaring,
I can see you soaring,
Up so high,
Up so high.

Hot air Balloon Trace (Fine Motor, Art)
This really helps control fine motor and then can be colored in patterning skills.  I have them trace with a black marker and then color with crayons.  I created this by tracing around a coloring book page.  It was years ago, so I can't credit the original artists.  Here is my copy.

Make your own Helicopter and Paper Airplane (Science, Art)
This was given to me from a co-worker years ago and the kiddos love making it every year.  You cut along the solid lines and fold along the dotted lines. It is best to put one jumbo paper clip across the bottom, if you don't have access to standard ones work similar.  Below, you will see a demo.

Water Transportation
Letter X Day

Sink or Float? (Science)
This is just your standard lesson.  We will discuss how these things may or not make good boats.

Juice Box Boats (Science, Art)
I found this idea on Pinterest (you can see it here) and think the kiddos will have a great time with it.  I hope that I remember to take some pictures of ours in action so that I can post them here to show off our version.  I think the kiddos will have a great time with them.

X Marks the Spot (Social Skills, Letter Identification, Problem Solving)
I am making up a treasure hunt to take my kiddos around the school and at each new spot they will find the Letter X.  To throw them off, I will have other letters posted with notes that let them know that is not the letter X.  I have not written it yet, but will try to post it here when I am done.

Share Letter Items (Letter Identification and Sound Recognition)
Have students share things around their home that they found that begin with the letter X.   Pretend to be boxing and make the 'ks' sound.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Eric Carle Books with an Insect Emphasis

Theme:  Eric Carle Books with an Insect Emphasis
Letter of the Week: Q

Book: The Grouchy Ladybug
Use a Judy Clock when telling the story for the first time (Language and Math Development)
Using this larger clock will help keep students engaged with your story, understand the movement of time, and will help connect with the paper clock made later in the day.

Rock Ladybugs (Fine Motor, Art)
Using acrylic paints, allow children to create their own lady bugs.  First have them paint it all red.  Then using a smaller paint brush have them paint a line on for the dividers for wings and head.  Then allow them to paint on black dots and white eyes.  Use a tooth pick to make a small black dot in the middle of the white eye.  Once dry, coat with a sealer spray so that they can last outside longer.  The kids were so proud of these creations.  The parents had a great things to say about them too.  See the pics of a ladybug rocks below.

Paper plate clock for retelling the story (Language and Math Development)
I did this during my large group time.  I started with the 12, had them move their pencil straight down to the 6.  Then I went around and touched and told them where to put 3.  Then I told them to draw a line across and draw a 9. We then figured out what numbers were missing in between each grouping.  I wish that I had thought to take pictures of the kids work.  Some of them really got this, and some really didn't.  I suggest knowing your class well before deciding if this activity is something you want to try, especially in a large group.

Add plastic insects to Science area (Science)
Make sure that you put out a variety of bugs that are accurate as far as six legs, two antennae, etc.  If you put other bugs in there, challenge the kids to sort them based on the attributes that all insects have.

What makes you feel grouchy?(Language Development, Self-Actualization)
We all have feel grouchy every now and again.  We have to make sure that we handle it better than the grouchy ladybug who tries to fight everyone. To be able to handle them better, it is good for us to know what makes us feel that way.  In this exercise, children will be asked to think of what makes them grouchy and then to draw a picture of it.

Book: The Very Lonely Firefly
Sing the Lightening Bug Song (Music)
I found this song at and thought that it would be a very fun song to sing with the kiddos.

  Lightning Bug (Tune: You are my Sunshine)
        I'm like a lite brite
        I have a night light.
        I fly in circles, up in the sky.
        Some call me "lightning".
        When my light's blinking.
        But to my friends, I'm just firefly.

Water Bottle Firefly (Fine Motor, Art)
This activity requires quite a bit of prep work, but is so fun for the kids.  Collect enough water bottles for your class. Purchase at least one glow stick for each child.  The dollar store or Michael's is a great place to find them on the cheap.  Give them paper so that they can cut four wing shapes out of them.  If the students are younger, you may want to draw a shape for them to cut out.  Then hot glue them to the top of the bottle.  Have the children glue wiggly eyes to the lid.  Once the assembly is done, have them crack a glue stick until it glows.  Talk about how this a chemical reaction, just like what happens inside a firefly.
Again, I missed pictures and I am so upset.  I might just create one on my own to show you.  They were darling!  The kids loved running around and flying their fireflies.

Find Your Firefly Match (Math, Social Skills)
Print out pictures of fireflies on brightly colored yellow, orange, and lime green paper.  Point out that fireflies use different colors to communicate and along with different number of blinks.  They have to find their firefly match by finding the person who has the same color and number that they do.  Here is a link to the firefly that I used.  I just printed the digit on one side and the number of corresponding dots on the side.  I didn't have to go higher than 6 because I only have twelve students.  I also thought you could extend this activity and make it be a letter match, matching Capital to Lowercase.

Letter Q Day
Book: The Very Quiet Cricket
Sing Head, Thorax, Abdomen (Music, Science)
This is song to tune of Head, Shoulder, Knees and Toes.  Touch along your body while you sing along

Head, Thorax, Abdomen, Abdomen 
Head, Thorax, Abdomen, Abdomen
Antennea, Six Legs, and an Exoskeleton
Head, Thorax, Abdomen, Abdomen

Sort Bugs Brought from home (Science, Math)
I put out a request to the parent of my students to send in one real bug (dead or alive) for us to sort.  This provides more opportunities to talk about what characteristics all insects must have (six legs, wings, antennae .  If you need help knowing what the call things like pill bugs, worms, and any other odd things you might get brought in, I real like the info presented at

Build An Insect (Science, Math, Art, Social Skills)
This is similar to the Cootie of our childhood.  Have enough parts cut so that the children can glue them all together at the end.  If you children are old enough, pair them and have them race to see who can build their insect first.  Here is the guide I use:

1 = head
2 = thorax
3 = abdomen
4 = antennae
5 = wings
6 = legs

I put together this guide for the kids to use.  For you to be able to use it for a pattern, cut it out and assemble.  I just told the kids to stick the six legs wherever they wanted.  They had  a great time with this game.  I made enough so they could take them home and share them with their families.  At the bottom, you will see a picture of what mine look assembled.  

Share Letter Items (Letter Identification and Sound Recognition)
Have students share things around their home that they found that begin with the letter Q.  Also practice putting a crown on your head and say the "qu" sound.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Eric Carle Week with Zoo Emphasis

Theme:  Eric Carle Books with a Zoo Emphasis
Letter of the Week: Z

Book: 1,2,3 to the Zoo

Story Retelling through sequencing cards (Math and Language Development)
I found a link to these at  Click HERE to get the originals.   I did not like the way the wheels were below them and so I added a color paper to cover them up and added black wheels below it.  Since I am teaching older children, I also used a label to cover up the picture beside the number and wrote the word on there.  This way they have to do actual object to number matching.  It will also be an way to work on beginning sounds with the students.  You can see a sample photo below.

More Jungle Animals in the blocks (Spatial Development, Social Skills) 
To allow my students opportunities to build a zoo, I added a good amount of jungle animals into their block area.

I would take ___ ______ to the zoo (Writing Skills, Early Literacy) 
I created this zoo train car so that each student could chose what they would like to bring to the zoo.  In the first blank they need to write their name, the second blank the number of animals they drew, in the last blank they will fill in the animal name.  I will write it on a piece of paper for them and allow them to copy it as best as they could.  I will also turn this into a bulletin board inside our classroom.

Book: From Head to Toe   
Animal Action Song (Musical Development, Listening Skills, Gross Motor)       We will dance to Greg and Steve's song Animal Action.  You can listen to a sample HERE

I Can, Can You? Class Book (Language Development, Self-Actualization)      Each child will have to think of something that they think they can do that no one else can.  I will then take a picture of them doing that action.  I will have them print their name so that I can write what they  said they were doing below it.   We will then put them into a photo album to make a class book.    

Animal/Animal Name Match (Pre-Reading Skills)
Have a picture from each animal in the book.  Below it have a box where they can find and place the word below it.  It can be self correcting if you have an outline below each box that fits the name exactly.  I found my animals with my Word program.  I used Primer Font to write the names.  You can download them HERE and HERE.  Below is an example of what my finished project looks like.

Letter Z Day
Book: Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?

Zookeeper, who said that? (Listening Skills, Gross Motor)      
Choose one student to be the zookeeper.  Have them turn around so they can't see their classmates.  Next whisper in another students ear the animal that you want them to imitate.  They may also need you to whisper the sound that it makes.  Once the student has made the sound, ask the zookeeper to turn around and see if they can identify who made the sound and what animal they were.  The student who made the animal sound because the next zookeeper.  Repeat until every student has a had a chance to become zookeeper.

Zoo Animals with Crepe Paper and Paint (Art) 
Students will be able to free paint any animal like they like.  They can also use crepe paper they like.   They can glue down crepe paper first and then paint over it or they can crinkle up crepe paper and use it do dab off their paint to get an Eric Carle like effect.  If I remember, I will try to take a picture of a sample and upload it for you to see.

Share Letter Items (Letter Identification and Sound Recognition)
Students bring something from home that begins with the letter Z.

A Little Bit About Me

My name is Kara Thomas and I have been teaching preschool since August 2002.I have primarily taught the 3-4 age range, but have recently began teaching a class of 4-5 year olds.  I have a passion for making my children love school and showing their parents all the things that their children can do.  I think that the classrooms should be fun and messy, while introducing children a wide range of activities.  On this site, I will post various ideas that I am using in my room or ideas that I think others might find helpful.