Highlights from preschool

I'm thinking that preschool happenings will be a regular weekly feature.

Three main reasons for that.

1 ~ These posts are a place for me to shamelessly brag on my darling kiddos  ~ who of course make taking random items and turning them into a learning center (I consider myself the "Mama MacGyver" of the 2000's") worth the effort.

2 ~ The most important thing I learned in my ten years of public education teaching experience is that sharing ideas is critical to finding new ones.  Hopefully any other readers doing some school readiness activities will share their ideas and we can spur one another on!

3 ~ Knowing that I'm going to share ideas will keep me coming up with new ideas instead of just doing the same, "play dough, Handwriting Without Tears, and pony beads on pipe cleaner" kind of centers.

So if it's gonna be a regular feature, it's gotta have a fun name.  I can't keep calling it "More from M Preschool."  Cause that's boring!  Help a sister out here, please?

Okay, on to the fun stuff.  All three kids still remember Matthew 5:16 "Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your father in heaven." and now they all know Exodus 20:15, "Thou shall not steal."  This one has sparked some great conversation and has led into discussing some of the other commandments.

Some of the biggest hits in center time over the past two weeks. 

Shape sorting/fine motor skills.  Cheater chopsticks were used to sort foam shape beads onto a worksheet with the appropriate shape outlines. (I just used google images to find shape outlines that matched my foam shapes and copied them into a word document).

Letter recognition/name recognition/fine motor skills.  Kiddos used their name sheets from the other day to help them find the letters to make their name.  Then they strung their first and last names onto a shoe lace.

Coloring green.  Again used their HWT workbooks.  Not their favorite activity, but coloring skills continue to improve.  And we discussed how there are various shades of green.  Ky had already finished and was flipping through the L and T word flashcards while she waited.  (In case you were wondering, I had two princess and one "Larry Boy" at preschool that day.  I have GOT to find a pattern for a super hero cape for him!)

Letter building.  Princess Darcy is really proud of how neatly she made "yeh-ter T!"

Pattern blocks.  Back in the "buying lots of fun stuff from Scholastic days" I purchased this neat magnetic pattern block/tangram set.  The first day with them we simply explored the new manipulatives.  Ky figured out on her own that you could make the hexagons using smaller blocks.

Green hunt.  Just cause my little guy is so cute...

Wedgits.  Sorta "spendy."  But they are my favorite educational toy I've ever purchased.  You should make them work in your budget if you have some budding civil engineers! 

Egg carton game.  Fine motor skills/number recognition/color recognition.  We go through at least one dozen eggs a week.  Had to find a way to use them educationally...  Simply wrote the numbers 1 and 2 in the bottom of each spot and provided pom poms and pickle tongs.  Two of the kiddos said it was their favorite center that day.

Hand strength/letter recognition.  Mashing play dough really does help get those little hands ready for the long days of holding pencils that will be coming in the school days ahead.  This center appears at least once a week.  I just need to get out and buy some new play dough or take the time to make my own.  Most of ours is currently slightly dried out or is really mixed up.

Puzzles.  Loved this entire series from the dollar spot at Target.  We have lots of puzzle time around this house ~ it also is a good calming activity between bath and bed times!

And, one MAJOR advantage of having preschool at home?  You don't even have to get dressed.  Which helps when you paint.  No stained clothes to wash...

Free painting.  Give 'em brushes of various types and let 'em go with the color of the week.

Counting/number recognition.  Picked up these flashcards from the dollar spot.  I like that they have the number dots at the top.  They traced the number with their finger, counted the dots, picked out the correct number of pony beads, and counted them out on the card.  (Note the green paint on Caleb's chest ~ so glad that wasn't on a shirt!)

Oh, and I almost forgot the personality test. 

Top to bottom they were:  Caleb, Kylie, Darcy.  Caleb's I could have picked in a minute, but even Ian guessed backwards on the girls.  I would have too if I didn't have pictures of them working on their own to prove whose was whose.


Nancy said...

Awesome! Thanks for posting preschool stuff. Unfortunately, we haven't done much depending on the day because I've been feeling so yucky. I don't think Noah is ready for alot of this stuff yet but will by next year! Love the princess outfits & bib cape! My friend got her son a cute cape on Etsy.

Gwen said...

Hi, just wanted to introduce myself. I've been following your blog for a little while and love it! We have 4 bio boys and adopted our little Sarah from Jiangxi province almost 2 years ago.
Your preschool posts are awesome! I teach K (just a morning session) at a public school and am so impressed with your creativity and great ideas! I wish all the kids who come into K had such a great preschool background!
You are doing a fabulous job! :)

Laurie said...

Love it, love it, love it! So many great ideas!! Now I just need to get off my chair and DO some of them! :) Names for the posts....
1. Head of the Class
2. Learning with the Littles
3. School is in Session!
4. Tuesday's or Thursday's Teachings
5. For the Love of Learning
6. Creativity in the Classroom
7. Making the Grade
8. Bright Ideas with Kristi

Okay, my goal was to give you 10 ideas, but my mind is now coming with some really weird ones, so I'll stop. Ha! :) Don't worry, you won't offend me if you don't choose any of my ideas- I was just having fun! :)

Chris and Julie said...

Love to hear what all you do each week. We're not quite ready for pre-K stuff but it's sparking some ideas for me to use with my 2 year old. Thanks!
Oh, and a cape.....I made this one,
If you don't want to sew use felt since it won't fray and just cut it out. My son loves his.

Emily said...

Super hero cape pattern:

that site inspired this lady who made a boy version:

Lisa said...

I LOVE THESE POSTS!!!!! I have planned on doing preschool at home this year since we received our referral. Now....well...we are in the middle of a very not so fun relocation back to my husbands home town...long story. All that to say, thank you for sharing your great ideas. Even though we are not officially doing this yet, we are having a lot of fun with your ideas! When we get settled (please Lord let it be soon) I will jump back into bloggy land and show you what we are up to. In the mean time, thank you, thank you , thank you!

Traci said...

I wish they would stay this age forever. I love watching them discover things and conquer things. Maylin amazed me today by putting her own hair into a pony tail. My mouth about hit the floor! I don't know where she learned that!

a Tonggu Momma said...

Learning with the Littles is my fave. (And we LOVE Wedgits at our house. The Tongginator still plays with them.)

Mama said...

How fun! What neat ideas. You can see that each of them just loves the centers. Proud of the time that you are taking to get all of these items together and making it fun for the kids to learn.

Lindy said...

I guessed correctly! (Do I win a prize?) I attribute it to how well you blog about your children.

I'm fascinated by how methodical Darcy is. Maybe she will be an accountant (like me) or an engineer.

Gramma said...

Hello! Not necessarily a "school" activity but I used to have my three dump and mix up several puzzles and then "do" them. Adds a challenge to simple puzzles that the kids knew so well. Even the very simple wooden puzzles can be fun again when having to sort though lots of pieces to do them. The kids thought it was great game.

Nicole said...

I took my inspiration from Darcy's letter 'T'

How bout "Tenderly Teaching Tiny Tots Tuesdays"

Maybe too many "t's"??

Melissa said...

FUN FUN FUN - thinking about how I can turn some of these into projects with sign language for Matthew to understand. He's learning about matching now, so this may be possible! Fun stuff - good job Mommy !!!

Our Journey to China said...

Love this post! I taught preschool and substituted for many years - thank you for the motivation to get into 'preschool' mode and not just high school right now. :0)
And I love "Learning with the Littles" and "For the Love of Learning" - I love and try to use CM as much as possible with home schooling. :-)