Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Happy Fourth of July!

Let's make FIREWORKS!

What to Do:
  1. Give children black or blue construction paper.
  2. Encourage them to put glue in their own original design on the paper. It takes some practice to learn to squeeze the glue bottle with just the right amount of pressure. For a variation, you can put some glue in a bowl/cup and with a paint brush, children can paint the glue onto the paper.
  3. Allow children to sprinkle various colors glitter onto the glue and shake off the excess.  (Hint: I always sprinkled the excess into a "new" jar that I reserved just for multi-colored glitter.). Dollar Store salt/pepper shakers are a great way to make enough glitter shakers for the entire class!
What Children Learn:
  • Motor Control
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Eye-Hand Coordination
  • Creativity and Enjoyment
  • Color Identification
Corduroy's Fourth of July (Corduroy (Board Book))The Fourth of July StoryFourth of July Mice!

Apple Pie Fourth of JulyF Is For Flag (Reading Railroad Books)The Story of "the Star-Spangled Banner"

Friday, June 25, 2010

Commotion in the Ocean: Books about Ocean Life

One of my favorite themes to do with Prekindergarten children is "Under the Sea." Below you will find some great books and a few classroom activities to try! During a unit like this, children may bring up what they've seen or heard about the Gulf Oil Spill. If so, here are some links to help you discuss this tragedy with them.

Ocean Life From A to Z Book and DVDSomewhere in the OceanCrab (Welcome Books)


  • Cut sea creatures in different lengths or heights and have children put them in order from shortest to tallest
  • Make an Ocean Counting book using ocean facts such as: Dolphins have 1 baby at a time; an octopus has 8 tentacles, there are 5 oceans in the world, etc...
MUSIC (Source: A to Z Kids Stuff)
Fish Story

One, two three, four, five (hold up fingers while counting)
Once I caught a fish alive,
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten (hold up additional fingers)
Then I let it go again.
Why did I let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
The little finger on the right (hold up pinky on the right hand)

Five Oceans (Tune: Three Blind Mice)
Five oceans, four oceans,
On the earth, on the earth.
Five oceans cover the earth, you see,
Can you name them all with me?
Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Arctic, and Southern make five.
Five oceans.

  • Make an Ocean in a Bottle
  • Learn about the differences between mammals and fish. Cut out pictures of various animals and encourage children to sort them according to two categories (fish or mammal).

  • Read the book Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned To Swim Again. The children will learn about a dolphin who lost her tail in a crab trap. The story of rehabilitation and triumph is amazing. Visit Winter's Website or visit Scholastic for more information. 
  • Use a large map and mark the five oceans on it. Also mark the oceans where certain sea animals live.
  • Contact your local Aquarium and see if they have an outreach program. Invite someone in to talk about ocean life, sea animals, and how children can help the environment

Winter's Tail: How One Little Dolphin Learned To Swim Again  The Underwater Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta's Alphabet Books)  A House for Hermit Crab (The World of Eric Carle)
Seashore (DK Eyewitness Books)  Mister Seahorse  The Ocean Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta's Alphabet Books)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Talking to Your Preschooler about the Gulf Oil Tragedy

As I sat down to write a blog about my favorite ocean books and activities for preschoolers, I thought of the awful situation with the BP Oil Spill. Seeing oil-covered wildlife seems to be standard news each night and our children may be exposed to these images. I found some great links that give us ideas on how to address this issue with young children. 

How to Talk with Kids About the Gulf Oil Spill A Guide for Parents and Teachers ~ National Wildlife Federation

How Families Can Help Children Cope with Fear and Anxiety ~ National Mental Health Information Center

The Big Oil Spill: Ranger Rick Answers Your Questions ~National Wildlife Federation

Empowering Your Kids: Ways to Help With The BP Oil Spill ~More4Kids

Photo From: Wikimedia Commons via Marine Photobank

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

BOOK OF THE DAY: Girls A to Z by Eve Bunting

Girls a to Z

Girls a to Z by Eve Bunting is a rhythmic book with a great message for girls...and boys! "Dana is a dentist,/Eve's an engineer,/Fiona puts out fires,/Gwen's a gondolier..." And so the rhythmic text goes. For each letter of the alphabet a young girl is pursuing her dream career. The message of the story isn't forced; it's just a fun story with wonderful illustrations. It's important for teachers and parents to expose boys to books with this type of message. Right around the age of four and five is when children will begin articulating the notion that "girls can do this" and "boys can do that." Contradicting stereotypes head on is a step in the right direction!

More "Girl Power" Books


Other books by Eve Bunting:


Also Check Out:
Watch Eve Bunting's video interview on Reading Rockets
Read Eve Bunting's biography on Scholastic

Friday, June 18, 2010

BOOK OF THE DAY: P is for Putt: A Golf Alphabet

P is for Putt: A Golf Alphabet (Alphabet Books)

I purchased this book for the illustrations alone! They are so vibrant and realistic that some of them could be hanging on a wall. Again, like Z is for Zookeeper, there is short rhyming text for each letter of the alphabet, but then there are side bars with additional information. One of the things I love about this book is that there are girls playing golf too. The illustrations not only consider (and combat) gender stereotypes, but there is also a young African-American girl featured in the story.

Golf Activities:

  • If you can't visit a golf course, make your own miniature golf course! Also keep in mind that many Dollar Stores have golf sets for young children.

  • Paint with golf balls: Save a few box tops (the sturdy ones that your copy machine paper comes in works well). Inside each box top, tape a sheet of paper and add a few drops of paint (as a bonus fine motor activity, give the children large eye droppers and allow them to add a few drops of paint. If you want to throw in a counting activity, tell them to count their drops of paint!). Toss in a few golf balls (2-3) and allow the children to gently tilt the box top back and forth and from side to side.As the balls roll around in the paint, a wonderful abstract design will appear on the paper.

  • Check out other golf books:
CURIOUS GEORGE PLAYS MINI GOLF - BookThe ABC's of GolfMy First Golf Book (My First Book Series)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

BOOK OF THE DAY: Z is for Zoo Keeper

Z Is for Zookeeper: A Zoo Alphabet (Alphabet Books)

D could be for duck or donkey, but it's more interesting to learn about how disinfectant is used in the zoo! Q could be for the typical old "quail" but in this story, Q is for quarantine: "Q is for Quarantine. When animals are new, here they are kept before entering the zoo."  This rhyming text gives young and older readers a great experience. Younger children may enjoy the illustrations, letters, and simple text, while older readers will enjoy the detailed facts on the side of each page.

Zoo Activities for Preschoolers and Kindergartners:

  • Sing, We're Going to the Zoo. Here is a video and the lyrics!
  • Act out animal movements like those in the Animal Action in the Greg and Steve Kids in Motion CD.
  • For Arts and Crafts ideas, visit Everything Preschool
  • Provide props to turn your Block Area or Dramatic Play Area into a zoo: stuffed animals, cages, boxes, first aid supplies like bandages, surgical masks, and a toy doctor kit, rubber gloves, buckets, zoo maps, note pads/pencils, animal pictures/books, etc.
  • Make a graph where children can graph their favorite zoo animal.
  • Make a class animal alphabet book, letting children choose which letter (or letters) they want to illustrate. You can scan the pictures and make an online book for children (and parents to see!)
  • Make a Zoo Song Book.
  • Search online for zoo web cams for your children to see. The National Zoo has several animal cams!
  • At the end of the unit of course, take a trip to your local zoo! Before hand, check the zoo's website to see if they have educational activities to do before or during your visit.  
  • If you can't take a trip to the zoo, see if your local zoo has an outreach program that will come to you! Children can see animals up close and talk to the zoo keeper!
More ABC Books

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