Sunday, 29 June 2014

Brown Bear Hand Puppets

I have a lovely Mum in my class that is great at sewing and is always happy to do sewing projects with the class. I had some calico left over from our Hungry Caterpillar cushions, so I asked her if she would sew them into little rectangles, with one end left open.

The children had fun drawing the little bears faces on one side with a permanent marker.

They then dipped them into some cooled cocoa. You could use tea or coffee but chocolate smells delicious and makes a lovely dark brown dye.

Once dry, we made the little bears ears by pinching the corners with brown elastic bands.

The puppets were now ready to be named and ready for some stories, songs, games, and lots of love.

You could make three sizes and retell the story of Golilocks and The Three Bears.

Pirates and Mermaids

Peg Pirates
These Pirates are quick and easy to make and are very inexpensive. They are fun to play with in all areas from the block area, outside, in the book area or as we have done, on the wonder table. I added a small pirate ship, some treasure and a treasure chest.

Peg Mermaids
These are always a favourite in my classroom. The main problem is that most of the girls only want the pink mermaids!! These are super quick to make and could be used for colour activities, counting or story telling.

Simple Reusable Pirate Map
I drew a simple map on some calico with a black marker and then painted some land marks with gold paint. I painted some pebbles with the same markings so the children had to match the patterned pebbles with the parts of the map.
I left the map pretty much a blank canvas so the children can add any of the natural materials we have on offer at the wonder table.

Individual Pirate Hats- Alphabet Pirates
Instead of having the normal skull and cross bones on the pirate hats, I decided to cut out the first letter of each child's name in white. They had to try and find their letter and glued it on their hat. They were all talking about the letters and could identify each other's hats.
We hung a Pirate flag from the fort and we were alphabet pirates!!

Don't mind that the S is reversed- these are 3 year olds and we encourage all efforts!!
See you next week.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

5 Minute Playdough Number Activity

I recently had my daughters party at home which had an ice-cream bar for dessert. Instead of using all of my good white tablecloths I bought $2 white plastic table clothes to cover the tables. I couldn't bear to throw them out and had lots of ideas of how to recycle them at school. Here is a fun 5 minute activity that the children loved.

I taped the table cloth to the table so it didn't move around. As I teach 3 year olds, I am focusing on the numbers 1-10 at the moment. This activity covers the numbers 1-6 as there are 6 seats at the table. I quickly drew 6 circles to represent faces at each chair. I wrote the numbers 1-6 next to each circle.

1. One Mouth

2.Two Eyes

3. Three Hair Clips

4. Four Freckles

5. Five Teeth

6. Six Eye Lashes

The children were encouraged to sit at a face they liked. They then identified the number at their setting and described what they could see and what was missing on their face. They used basic playdough utensils to create faces.

The children moved around and made different faces and it kept them busy for a long time. This was a very simple number activity that can be personalised, added to and used again and again.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar Inspired Activities

The Very Hungry Caterpillar is such a wonderful book!! Whenever I read it to a class, no matter what age, nearly half the children either have it at home, have read it, or can remember hearing it at some stage. 

All children enjoy listening to it, joining in with the repetitive text and recalling the life cycle of a butterfly. As a teacher it is jam packed with learning experiences. It has maths, science and so much language that I knew it would provide me with so many opportunities to extend these concepts and it can fit into so many themes.

I wish I could write something half as clever!!!

For the last couple of weeks we have been reinforcing our colours, mixing colours and working on numbers. The Very Hungry Caterpillar was our platform for many wonderful activities. 

Colour Mixing Leaf Prints
The children mixed yellow and blue fabric paint to make green paint. Once they had made green, they painted a large banana leaf all over. I helped them turn it over onto some calico and rub it all over to make a magnificent large leaf print.

Counting Caterpillar Segments
The children printed one red circle and four green (that had also been made from blue and yellow fabric paint) circles to make the caterpillar. They used their fingers to paint two green eyes all with fabric paint on a separate piece of calico. 

Making Caterpillar Cushions
When the painting was dry we were ready to turn our artwork into cushions. One of the lovely mums from the class brought in her sewing machine and one by one the children watched their artwork come together to make a pillow case -(this was a huge lesson in itself!) they then filled their own pillow and she sewed it closed.
I think they are the cutest pillows ever!!!

Colour Mixing Playdough Caterpillars
The children had blue and green playdough, a variety of leaves, pipe cleaners, bubble wrap, pop sticks and a variety of utensils to make some green caterpillars- or anything else they wanted to create!

We practised rolling balls that were different sizes, counting them, joining them together and adding antennae. I could hear some fantastic language and the children enjoyed re-telling the story. Some caterpillars were dark green and some light green. A wonderful learning experience.

Have a wonderful week. 

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Natural Materials And Play

I am trying to use natural or recycled materials as much as I can, both in the classroom and in the outdoor area. I try to put construction materials, drawing materials, actually just about anything in baskets or wooden boxes wherever possible. I have collected a huge range of pebbles, sticks, various nuts, leaves, wood chips and shells for the children to explore, play with and use however they like.
Here are a few ways I have used some of my collections of natural materials recently.

Counting Nuts

I wrote the numbers on paper bags and put out some nuts that were off a branch that had blown down. Children were free to use these materials however they wanted. I noticed the children pretended they were shopping and took the nuts into the home corner as food.

Wooden Spoons For Outdoor Play

We have lots of plastic buckets and spades for the children to use but I also have been putting out pots, pans, cake tins, colanders and a great kettle I just picked up at a garage sale. I have bought lots of spoons but this time I numbered them. We have been talking about numbers and this encourages the children to identify and talk about the numbers,and which number they are using.

Number Pebbles

I wrote the numbers on pebbles and put them in the block area with some wooden cars and ramps.

Rocks In The Sandpit

Rocks can be anything when children use their imagination.

Gumnut Numbers

I painted numbers on Gumnuts and the children used them to count or match the number with the number circle.

I have written other posts about bringing nature inside and using natural or recycled materials and am very keen to explore this further so I would love to hear your ideas about how you have been using natural materials.
Please leave me a message or link.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Counting With Pasta

If you are anything like me and you hate to throw away pasta if you have cooked too much, but is no longer safe to eat, I have some perfect activities for you to do with your toddler.

1. Counting Pieces of Pasta
Put out some tongs, leftover penne pasta, edicole dye with eye droppers for pasta sauce and glitter to be used as Parmesan cheese!! Write the numbers you won't your child to learn on disposable plates, get them to count out that number of pasta and have a pretend dinner party.

2. Cutting Pasta
Use cooked pasta for your child to practise their cutting skills. Put out a bowl or tray of leftover spaghetti and some scissors. Your child will love cutting the pasta into small pieces. You can add a bit of paint and get your child to mix it up for a wonderful sensory experience.

3. Pasta prints
Add some paint to leftover pasta and get your child to mix it up and make pasta prints.

So next time you cook too much pasta, don't throw it away!