COUNTRY FUN

an early education learning space ~ where play equals learning

January 14, 2015
by countryfun
1 Comment

Making Our Own Body Part Game

I’m always on the look out for sites that will support the development of learning materials I can use with the children in my program. I do not purchase a curriculum, but prefer to construct my own around the interests and needed skill set of the children currently in care. My two go to sites are: 1) Pinterest – great resource for free and low cost materials and ideas, and 2) TeachersPayTeachers  where I continue to find free and low cost materials I can use as is.

Google Drive is my on-line depository for most of my curriculum materials – copy, store and print as need. Not only easy to use, but quicker and less physical storage space needed. Also great for sharing with parents and other early childhood educators.

Every now and then I have to do a wider on-line search to find the resources I need to complete an ideas for a lesson. Yesterday, I wanted an active body part game, but didn’t want to hand draw body parts and have no available flash cards. I found a site that let me pull pictures and print out a sheet/picture. I then copied the sheet, cut up the images and made 3″x3″ flipcards. I labeled each image (of course with help). Having the preschooler help with the labeling allowed her to see the connection between letters, words, writing, and language. Laminate the cards and we were ready to play.

DSC06077

The first way we played was to chose an image on the sheet and then flip a card. You had to try to connect the 2 body parts picked. On the ones that we could not directly connect the children started to find other ways like touching a friend or placing hands on the 2 parts. Lots of  up and down moving, wiggling and laughing.

DSC06078 DSC06079

The next game try was to just flip 2 cards and try to connect the body parts. School-age involved now so even more movement. Lots of laughs when the younger remembered and solved one set by placing hands on the 2 body parts and standing there staring at the older ones twisting themselves around without success, until they saw her:)

DSC06080

The new site I just chanced upon in a search for images of body parts to make a game is: LessonPix. I’m exploring with a free trial, before I spend $36 for annual membership. The site was developed by a special ed teacher and her husband with IT background.

  • Create custom materials such as Bingo, picture cards, coloring sheets, etc.
  • Clip art library with 1000′s of pictures
  • Use your own clip art or photos for custom materials
  • Download our clip art for your personal use in Word Documents, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Ideas on how to use LessonPix at home, in the classroom
  • Request pictures not available in picture library.

 

December 24, 2014
by countryfun
0 comments

Creative Opportunities

With the school-age present over break I like to be sure I offer them the opportunity to be creative. This has taken different forms this week.

DSC05928

One was large group printing on recycled brown packing paper. I provided the 3 primary colors,and foam chunks that had yarn wrapped around them. I also have recycled cardboard piece to provide a firmer printing or stamping experience. (In the past I have found without the cardboard you just get a blop of paint. Not what the experience calls for. You may also need to open the yarn up as printing seems to force it together.)

don't forget to open the yarn up as using

don’t forget to open the yarn up as using

The children provided the color choice – only 2 colors to blend, and the up and down stamping to cover the paper. This time the choice was yellow and blue, so we ended up with green.

blue and yellow = green

blue and yellow = green

When asked what they wanted to make from this printed paper they said “Christmas trees.”

a large group printing experience complete

a large group printing experience complete

I had each child draw a triangle on the backside of the paper. Followed by a square where they wanted the tree trunk. Once cut out we were ready to decorate.

Drawing out our trees

Drawing out our trees

time to decorate these trees

time to decorate these trees

Decorating options like markers, construction paper and dot painters were all easy pulls from our classroom art supplies.

DSC05947

Group process finished into individual projects = lots of learning and smiles.DSC05948 DSC05949 DSC05951 DSC05952

The second creative opportunity I’m sharing, was all child directed. The children started writing stories. Seeing all the effort I asked if they wanted to make their stories into books. They took me up on that and settled on this simple book from the options offered.

DSC05954

charolettechloeryleigh

December 19, 2014
by countryfun
0 comments

December: Always an Interesting Time of Year

Through all my years working with children, I have always found December to be an interesting month. It used to be we did Christmas stuff the whole month. With changes in society and respecting the traditions of each family, I believe I best support the children in my care now by keeping things simple and as un-holiday as possible. Keeping them grounded means healthier and happier children (and families). Here are an example of the activities we have been doing here and will continue through next week.

Special challenges this year have been:

  • 1) all the rainy/gray days and finding ways to get more movement into our space that already has a lot naturally in it.
  • 2) no real interest in any crafty projects so, I decided to focus on numbers which December just seems a really good fit for.

Let’s start with our version of a countdown (advent) calendar. Making use of some donated tubes, colorful pompom and dots. Lining up on the windows keeps them visible, adds color and we can talk about them often, not just when counting out for the day.

DSC05896

DSC05897

Did you notice anything else about our count down tubes?

We have a pattern going with the dots. So we have 1 to 1 correspondence, number order, number symbol, a bit of addition and pattern – lots of math concepts being supported in this simple activity. I also like that it works with a traditional activity many of the children have in their families, but does not exclude anyone.

The idea of “over time” will also be explored with our use of the picture book: Sadie and the Snowman by Allen Morgan. In the story Sadie builds a snowman with the first snow and rebuilds it over the winter months. We are doing the same. We built a snowman with our first good snow and have been watching it and the changes that the weather has brought. Lots of rain has meant melting. (Every day the children check and we’ll be posting images on our Facebook page as updates on the changes.)DSC05901We’ll save a bit before it’s completely gone to use in another snowman this season. The science concepts we are learning around changes to matter and seasons will be added to our work on the concept of time. Also thinking we’ll be experts at retelling Sadie and the Snowman by the end of winter:) (flannel board in the future)

So all the rain that’s melting our snowman is also keeping us inside. Now we are lucky to have a very active inside space, but not getting outside means even more need for focused/organized active play. Here a look at a few activities we’ve done these past weeks.


A little snowball blowing with the added benefit of working mouth/facial muscles.

Blow that Snowball from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

A little more painter’s tape and now we have a balancing activity……..or maybe just a space to run within, as this group is definitely not afraid of alligators:)

Balancing turns into Run from Country Fun Child Care on Vimeo.

The other big change at this time of year is how it’s darker earlier. That means it’s easier to make a part of our space darker which works wonderful for light box play. Light box play is a great place for mixed ages to cooperate in their play – learning from each other, it’s low cost and exploration materials are only as limited as the children’s and yours imaginations.

IMG_1245

As anyone who follows here knows, I love homemade materials and adapt many of the resources shared online by other teachers. Klever Kiddos made these winter number puzzles available for free download on TpT.  All I had to do was download, print off, laminate, cut up and we were ready to add to the activity drawers. Placing a colored dot on the pieces for each puzzle was a simple adaption. Now I can store them all together and the children have to sort them out before making their puzzles.number puzzle

Photos are great but video is even better.

This FREE number activity from My Fabulous Class went through more adaption for use with my preschoolers. I kept the original stockings together, traced to make a blank stocking, ran that off on green paper, added the written number words and finger/hand images representing each number. This activity took a little longer to pull together, but having the children help with the images meant more opportunity to work with numbers. Also learned a bit about photo editing.DSC05820 Many ways to use…. here was reverse order than matching………..

DSC05830 DSC05831

In use:

December 15, 2014
by countryfun
0 comments

Santa has 1, 2, 3, 4, 5……. (a counting Flip Book)

There are so many talented teachers that generously share teaching materials today, it definitely makes it easier to meet the needs of the children here. Today I had prepped a free seasonal flip booklet copyright ABC Learn I had previously downloaded that fell right in with the focus on numbers for Dec.

This booklet worked for: counting 1-1 relationship / number order / number symbol / following directions / beginning reading

booklet

Each booklet is about 1 number and has 4 smaller flip pages attached. I attached the 5 booklets together into one booklet as that was more appropriate to my children.

Now how did the children build their booklet?

We started with a pile of the “Santa has….” strips for 1 through 5. I had the children find their strips and place in order from 1 to 5. Once done and checked I stapled together.

making-1-5-flip-booklet

Then the children found the 4 small number cards for #1. They ordered and I stapled in place. This continued for #2, #3, #4 and lastly #5. That one was easy as only the 5 cards were left.

Each time I had the children count each small card to double check and reinforce that 1-1 counting.

They could arrange the small cards in any order they wanted.

I stapled each section as they completed them to keep it more organized. The children picked up real quickly what to do and once we had completed the first 2 sections together they were off at their own pace.

We finished by writing our name or beginning letter as appropriate.

Can I just say these booklets have been read and reread all morning.

As this was originally free I have this booklet copied in my google drive for sharing. I wish I could link to the original site and would appreciate the link if any teacher following here knows it.

 

 

 

November 17, 2014
by countryfun
0 comments

Playing with the ABC’s

I love when a young learner finds their interest in the letters of the alphabet beyond just singing the song. That interest is shown in wanting to copy words found around the classroom, pointing out special letters in books reading, naming letters that star words we are talking about, adding additional words that start with the same letter, and playing the same ABC game over and over.

To support that interest and the emerging learner of even younger learners I have been trying to introduce new letter activities on a steady basis.

Two that have been enjoyed recently and repeatedly follow.

The first is a simple stamping with letter cookie cutters. The second is stenciling with cut-out letter stencils. Both activities started with a discussion of colors and color blending. Then letters from their names were used. Last was free choice of letters.

IMG_1208   IMG_1214  IMG_1209   IMG_1210  IMG_1213

The next activity could be said to have “popped” into my head. I was smiling as I rescued a nice circular piece of wood when cleaning out the garage. It was left-over from an engineering project of my college age son. It was too good to throw out and I knew I’d find a way to use it. Then came the “pop”. I had previously seen an activity come through on Pinterest from the Billings School Kindertips folder (now pinned to my ABC activity/games board) that showed ABC cards spread around a circular table top. The children sorted out ABC letters from the classroom to correspond with the letter cards. Now I’ve always done ABC paper plate wheels where you match up clothes pins, so this idea was really just taking it to the larger game play model, but without seeing that pin I might not have gone there.

The construction of the game was also a fun activity as I had help reminding me which letter needed to be written in the next space. The upper and lower case formation was also checked-on :). “R” could not wait to play, so out came a donated bag of mixed/matched magnetic letters. Lots of naming letters, coming up with words that start with each letter, labeling colors and up and down movement. The movement is what makes these larger games great to use with young children. It doesn’t get much better than learning while you’re moving.

 DSC05790  DSC05789DSC05791 We ended up with a wonderful rainbow sunburst of upper and lower case letters. To put away we counted the number of letters for each of the alphabet letters as we put them into the storage container. It was surprising how many had the same number of letters.

Both as a teacher and recycler, I couldn’t waste the reserve side of the wooden circle. That has our numbers through 15, plus twenty. Great for magnetic numbers, but even better for tower building.

DSC05786 DSC05787

When older sibling arrives after school it becomes a team effort  and when completed “R” needs to “picture it”. IMG_1881

October 20, 2014
by countryfun
0 comments

One Chicka Chicka Boom Boom Game

“R” has a strong knowledge of all her letters, so that just means I need to keep coming up with creative ways to review with her. Being the only preschooler I have at this time means we often have an audience as we do a project and that’s ok as it supports their learning.

Today I used a favorite book – Chicka Chicka Boom Boom – to pull together a game that will have many ways to use.

All you need is an oatmeal container, brown and green construction paper, scissors, marker, glue and letters. I have a large collection of magnetic letters that we pulled from for this project.

This project changed from my plan, but the original purpose remained – reviewing letters.

I figured “R” would pull a letter, name it and I’d write it on the tree base. Nope! “R” wanted to do it herself and since we are currently beginning working on letter formation had to come up with another option, so frustration would not take over. She asked for stickers. Good idea as I have learned to always have a supply of letter stickers on hand.

Then “R” decided had to be in order (alphabetical order) just like the book.

I had pictured random letters all over the container. “R” pictured them in order placed along the top edge. What matters is the lesson purpose and giving value to her voice in her learning. Doing her way brought other skills into the original lesson.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
Another photo slideshow by Smilebox

The project turned out great and we’ve played multiple times, as it hasn’t made it’s way home yet.

October 9, 2014
by countryfun
0 comments

Uppercase Lowercase ABC’s

The booklet we made today was a free printable from Kroger’s Kindergarten which I originally found on Pinterest. It’s pinned in my General Fall theme board.

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
Create your own slideshow - Powered by Smilebox
A slideshow by Smilebox

The booklet was a super hit, which found us reading it in many different ways. We ended with “R” reading the letters and me coming up with words that worked for the letters like: “noisy nuts, angry alligator”.

Subscribe

Follow this blog

Get every new post delivered right to your inbox.