Monday, December 28, 2009

Snow Activities

Here are some fun ideas for teaching about snow.

- Encourage scissor skills by having the children cut out paper snowflakes. You can also use this to discuss symmetry with older students.

- If you live in a climate with snow, you can build large motor skills and encourage creativity, by building a snow man. You can also use this activity to work on shapes (circles for the body and eyes, a rectangle hat, triangle nose, etc) If you do not have snow, or prefer not to build a "real" snowman, you can cut the shapes out for them to assemble on a piece of construction paper. If you use blue or black paper, you can make snowflakes in the back ground with a white crayon.

- This is a great time to talk about proper snow clothing and to practice putting it on. You could have the children "race" each other to put on a coat, boots, scarf, mittens/gloves, hat and/or ear muffs.

- For snack, stack marshmallows to form snowmen. Use pretzel sticks to hold them together and for the arms. Use raisins, cut in half, for eyes, nose and mouth.

- Reinforce counting skills by counting the number of sides on a snowflake.

- Discuss how each snowflake is different. This relates well to how people are all different, yet similar.

- This is also a great intro to the color white. Make a list or collage of items that are white.

- For those in snowy climates, add some food coloring to water in various spray bottles. You can turn this into a lesson about the different colors or discuss how colors can mix to create new colors. Take the water bottles outside and let the children "paint" pictures in the snow.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

New Year's Activities

Here are some ideas for New Year's. We have a New Year's Party on New Year's Eve, complete with a countdown at noon.

- In Spain, they celebrate the New Year by eating 12 grapes, one each time the clock chimes. In Puerto Rico, they also eat 12 grapes, but they start eating theirs 12 seconds before midnight with the belief that any one who finishes theirs before midnight will have good luck the rest of the year. With pre-schoolers, you could give them 12 grape pieces and explain that in some parts of the world people eat 12 grapes on New Years. You can have them count them to reinforce counting and you are introducing them to the idea of customs and traditions.

- You could also serve Hoppin' John, a food commonly eaten in the south on New Year's Day. It is believed to bring a prosperous new year with lots of luck.

- Discuss what a resolution is. Have each child tell you one thing they would like to learn in the next year. Some suggestions might be: how to spell their first name, how to tie their shoes, finish learning how to use the big potty, etc.

- There is a collection of New Year's themed short stories for children on Apples for the Teacher. You could one a day in the week leading up to and/or after New Years.

- Improve scissor skills by allowing the kids to make confetti out of colorful paper.

- To celebrate the 12 o'clock hour, tape bubble wrap on the floor and let the little ones jump on it. Alternately, you could give them any type of noisemakers.

- Let the children decorate a piece of construction paper. Roll it into a cone to fit the child's head as a pointed hat. Use crepe paper to make streamers come out of the top of the hat.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas crafts

Here are some directions for fun Christmas crafts to make. Adults will need to help, but allow the preschooler to do any of the steps they are able to. I am sorry that I do not have pictures of these, but will add some later.

Tissue Paper Wreath

1) Take a paper plate and cut out the center.
2) Using a glue stick, put glue on a small section of the plate.
3) Crumple up small squares of green tissue paper and stick them to the plate. Alternatively, you can wrap the square onto the eraser of a pencil and then stick them on (it creates a cup like look to the square). Do this on the entire plate. You can add a few red squares of tissue paper as well to look like berries.
4) Tie a piece of yarn through the circle to hang.

Potpourri Christmas Ornaments

1) Trace a Christmas cookie cutter onto pieces of felt.
2) Take two matching pieces and cut the center out of one of them.
3) Use fabric glue to glue a piece of lace on the backside of the hole you just cut out.
4) Use fabric glue to glue around the sides and bottom of the ornament and stick the two pieces together.
5) Through the open top, place about 2 Tablespoons (adjust according to the size of your ornaments) of potpourri into the center of the ornament.
6) Glue the ends of a piece of thin ribbon inside the two pieces of felt, at the top, creating a loop on the outside of the ornament.
7) Glue the top closed and let dry.

Beaded Candy Cane Ornaments
1) Take a piece of red or white pipe cleaner and thread 1 triangular bead onto it.
2) Bend the very end of the pipe cleaner up to keep the bead from coming off.
3) Continue threading on more beads. This is a great way to teach patterns and can be adjusted according to the childs age. You can just alternate red and white beads, use 3 white beads and then 1 bead, or add a third color to the pattern.
4) Bend the top of the pipe cleaner over the last bead to keep it from coming off easily.
5) Bend the top of the beaded pipe cleaner to create a hook (the candy cane shape). These can be hung just like normal candy canes or you can tie a thin ribbon around the pipe cleaner, between two beads, to create a loop to hang it.

You can find a couple of more ideas on my Homeschool Unit Studies blog as well.