3D Easter Collages

Art is always a hit with the kids in my class this year, but especially 3D collages. They seem to inspire a higher level of creativity, allowing the children to build on, up, and around. In addition, 3D collages look amazing when displayed on bulletin boards, and they help to meet the art materials requirement on the Environmental Childhood Environmental Scale Revised (ECERS-R).

I was ready to present another type of this art form, and Zoey was ready for something Easter. We were deep in the aisles of Hobby Lobby when Zoey spied these little guys.

Chicks, eggs, and buttons..oh, my! That’s all it took – we knew we had to have our preschoolers make 3D Easter collages. To introduce this activity, we will be reading There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Chick!

MATERIALS USED:

-Egg cartons
-Tacky glue
-Crinkle paper grass
-Plastic eggs
-Small glitter eggs
-Colored buttons
-Chicks
-Ribbon
-Yarn
-Colored macaroni
-Felt pieces
-Construction paper squares
-Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks
-Pom poms


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Graphing With Jellybeans

Not only is graphing with jellybeans a yummy way to spend some time, it’s also educational; there are so many learning concepts packed into this small activity. Obviously, the main is graphing. But graphing is just the umbrella that covers several mighty and oh-so important math principles. In this particular instance, the children must rely on their color knowlegde to sort and classify the jellybeans. After placing the candy on their graphs, they will use their counting skills (one-to-one correspondence) to count and match the number of beans, in a row, to its corresponding number below.

Hello, number recognition!

Graphing also incorporates the concept of more/less/same. Ask your preschooler/s questions like, “Do you have more red jellybeans or more purple jellybeans – or are they the same?” Children often struggle with the definition of the word ‘less’, so it’s best to emphasize that, “Less means not as many.”

Just a note to add: Many of my fellow teachers ask me about my policy with eating the candy. My own rule is that after the activity is completed, the child may choose ONE special jellybean to enjoy. The rest are bagged up and labeled (by my assistant) and placed in the parent box to take home.

Download the Jellybean Graphing printable here.

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St. Patrick’s Day Visual Discrimination Activity

Here is a St. Patrick’s Day activity (free printable) that will allow preschoolers to practice their visual discrimination skills. Opposed to comparing a small group of 3D objects, children must rely on their visual discrimination skills to identify differences and similarities of images. It is important for them to hone these skills in order to strengthen their alphabetic knowledge; they will need to spot the differences between letters. For examples, “b” and “d”, and “m” and “n”.

For younger children, it may be best to work with one line of pictures at a time. Try covering the others with a piece of paper.

Once the child has determined which image is different from the rest, have him/or cover it with a marker. Gold coins work very well and are always popular! For further visual discrimination fun, check out the I Spy book series on Amazon.

Download the free St. Patrick’s Day visual discrimination activity here.


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Colored Shaving Cream Paint

Colored shaving cream is inexpensive, and can be used in a variety of ways. It also provides a nice change from using traditional paint.

It can be easily made by adding a few drops of washable water color to shaving cream. Stir slowly until blended.

MATERIALS USED:

– Shaving cream
– Washable water colors
– Containers in desired size
– Paper plates
– Paint brushes
– Cotton balls
– Glue

A couple of weeks ago, my class used it to paint rainbows on paper plates. We added a couple of pieces of cotton to simulate clouds, and the children had beautiful rainbows to take home. This was such a big hit.

More colored shaving cream activities to come!


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Shamrock Collages

Collages are a great way for children to creatively express themselves, and a simple way for mothers and teachers to incorporate learning. With these shamrock collages, descriptive words were used to point out various aspects of the materials. We talked about their colors, shapes, textures, compositions, and patterns.

There is an everlasting supply of collage materials. However, it is all about quality and organization. Whether if it’s in an activity or in an art center, a thrown together mishmash of miscellany is unlikely to a inspire a preschooler’s creativity. Be sure to use a method – for example, paper stacked neatly on a shelf, a container for glue bottles and sticks, a bin for recycled materials, and another for buttons and pom poms, and so on. Presenting these things in an orderly fashion will aid children in recognizing artistic possibilities. Here I’ve used a plastic compartment serving tray to display these green goodies.

MATERIALS USED:

– Construction paper
– Glue
– Scissors
– Our free printable shamrock template
– Fabric scraps
– Feathers
– Pom poms
– Tissue paper
– Sequins
– Sequin shamrocks
– Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks


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Patterning With Pattern Caps

Over the last 5 years, I have opened more squeeze pouch drinks for little ones than I care to remember. One afternoon, after lunch, I looked over at a colorful pile of caps sitting next to my classroom sink. There were 6 just from that day alone! I washed that pile and threw it into a jar. Before I knew it the jar was overflowing, so I raced to put them to use. Behold one of my favorite learning components:

These cute, little, bright things are no longer just pouch tops. They are now Number Bingo markers, graphing devices, one-to-one correspondence utensils, sorting and counting tools..the list goes on and on. I decided to place a container in my math center and label it “pattern caps”.

The pattern caps are one of the most sought after items in the classroom. I don’t know exactly why they are so popular, but I am wondering if it is because the children know where they came from; the tops are familiar to them.

The caps are easy to grasp and place, and they are large and bold enough to aid the child in distinguishing what is a pattern and what is not a pattern. Here they are being used with one of our Pattern Practice worksheets.

Needless to say, these squeezie caps have turned into an educational math manipulative. So next time you are asked to open a pouch, think twice before tossing the top.

Download our free AB Pattern Practice worksheet here.

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Rainbow Toast

An engaging story and a colorful, tasty snack. Could there be a better way to introduce a new, slightly warmer month? We don’t think so; bring on the rainbows!

Start by reading a book about rainbows. There are so many wonderful ones to choose from. Two of our favorites are A Rainbow of My Own by Dan Freeman and What Makes a Rainbow? by Betty Ann Shartz. A Rainbow of My Own is a heartfelt story about a little boy who imagines having a rainbow of his own and all the things that he would do with it. What Makes a Rainbow? is a brightly illustrated board book that teaches children about colors. It is perfect for younger children (toddlers) and will undoubtedly capture their attention as a rainbow of ribbons magically appear when the pages are opened.

Now it’s time for rainbow toast! This activity is so simple and the kids love it.

MATERIALS USED:

– Bread
– Assorted food colors
– Milk
– Paint brushes
– Small, clear containers

Place 4 drops of food coloring into each container. Add enough milk to obtain the amount needed. We filled our cups half way. During this step, be sure to discuss color mixing with your child/children. Demonstrate and talk about how yellow and green make blue, and how red and blue make purple.

Let’s make our rainbows. Using a brush, gently paint the colors across the slice of bread. Monitor the amount of liquid used to avoid soggy, torn bread. When finished, toast to your liking. Spread with a little butter or margarine, and enjoy!


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St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

The sensory bin center, in my classroom, is always one of the most popular. Children are drawn to the bright and interesting materials that the bin holds.

This particular bin is geared towards rainbows and St. Patrick’s Day. The base is rainbow colored rice (click here for tutorial), and I have added a variety of St. Patrick’s Day eye-catching materials. Feel free to use whatever you have around the house. A large plastic receptacle, such as a dish washing tub, makes a great sensory bin for home use.

MATERIALS USED:

– Any suitable container
– A batch of rainbow colored rice
– Pom poms
– Sparkly shamrocks
– Feathers
– Pipe cleaners/fuzzy sticks
– Sequin shamrocks
– Shovels
– Tweezers
– Cups

This activity is enjoyable for preschoolers. It will also provide them with a sensory experience, and encourage them to use their fine motor skills. Talk with the children about how the various items feel as they handle them, and encourage them to use not only shovels to pick up materials, but tools such as tweezers, as well.


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