Archive for Preschool Age 3

Lately We’ve Been Reading…

I realize I haven’t posted since January…epic fail on my part! However, I have the time and inclination today to update you all on some of our favorite picture books from the past months. This is just a few of them – we have read dozens and dozens from the library. It really is the main part of my preschool program – read, read, read!

 

Mouse & Lion by Rand Burkert is my new favorite retelling of the classic Aesop fable. The illustrations are what really make me love this book!

Do You Know Which Ones Will Grow? by Susan A. Shea is a fun nonfiction title. The rhyming text compares nonliving and living things to determine which ones will grow. A fun way to teach a little science!

 

We greatly enjoyed the onomatopoeia in this story! Here’s an example of the text:

Crush the stone. Crush the stone.
Chip and grind and munch.
Make new concrete from the old.
Whirr! Churr! Crunch!

If you have a child interested in machines this will be a great choice. Plus, it’s just really fun to read. Whirr! Churr! Crunch! Dad had a great time reading this one aloud.

This Caldecott winning title will probably be familiar to many of you, but we finally read it. It’s a wordless book about Daisy the dog and her favorite ball. She does everything with her ball – plays with it, sleeps with it, goes on walks with it. One day her ball gets ruined at the dog park, and Daisy is very sad. Of course this book has a good ending  – go check it out from your library and see what happens! This was one we read over and over.

 

Steve Jenkins’ nonfiction titles are usually a hit in our house, and this one was no exception. This is an interactive book, where the child is supposed to match pictures of animals. My 3 year old found this book really funny for some reason – and quoted from it for several days after we returned it to the library!

 

This book by James Rumford has really unique illustrations. It’s done in the calabash engraving style from West Africa – Chad, I believe. This book tells the story of Calabash Cat and his journey to find the end of the world. He keeps meeting animals who tell him they know where the world ends  – usually where the desert turns into grasslands, and the grasslands turn into the jungle, etc. It’s an interesting story for a child, but I personally found the underlying principle of the story very nice – sometimes even seemingly insurmountable boundaries can simply be walked across.

 

Do I even need to introduce this book? No, David! by David Shannon is a pretty famous book about a naughty little boy that does many naughty things; but at the end of the day, his mother still loves him. This book is useful for preschoolers to help them identify feelings they may be feeling, and etc…but I would not have included this book normally. I really dislike the illustrations. However, Curly liked it, so it goes here on the list.

 

Mo Willems strikes with awesomeness again! I feel like this book is even more enjoyable for the parents or for an older child very familiar with the classic story of Goldilocks than for a really young child. This book parodies the original story at every turn, leading to lots of laughs on my part!

 

I love Olivia, the ridiculously girly and imaginative pig. Curly loves her too – this is one of those that couldn’t get read enough! Ian Falconer has written several Olivia books now, but this one and the original are our favorites.

Happy reading!

Spontaneous Learning

Curly is definitely more into art than me. I remember quickly becoming bored with art as a preschooler. Not Curly! If she had a mantra, I think it might be something like "Art is Life!".

Curly is definitely more into art than me. I remember quickly becoming bored with art as a preschooler. Not Curly! If she had a mantra, I think it might be something like “Art is Life!”.

We haven’t been doing our themed preschool weeks lately, and I was trying to think of a reason why. Honestly, I think it’s because I got bored. We have still been doing art projects and reading books and doing science experiments, so it’s not that I’ve given up on preschool; I think I simply prefer to be more spontaneous. This being my first time teaching preschool, I am still finding my stride as to what works for me and our family. Perhaps in time I will figure out a way to keep my enthusiasm  for themes going strong. In the meantime, we will continue to do what we find interesting at the time!

 

This color mixing science experiment quickly turned into an art project of squirting the colored water onto paper towels.

This color mixing science experiment quickly turned into an art project of squirting the colored water onto paper towels.

 

I have really been focusing on nursery rhymes lately. There are lots of reasons to teach your kids nursery rhymes; one is so that they can be culturally literate. Another is that there is much evidence to show that children that are used to hearing the rhythm of language and know what rhyming words sound like do better once they have to learn to read. Cool stuff. So, there’s lots of rhyming and singing going on most of the day at my house. “Pease porridge hot” is STUCK in my head for the foreseeable future. So we can be in this together, here are the lyrics:

Pease porridge hot, pease porridge cold,
Pease porridge in the pot, nine days old;
Some like it hot, some like it cold,
Some like it in the pot, nine days old.

I am very proud of Curly’s progress in math. She can pick out straight lines, curved lines, and angles. She knows all her shapes and colors.  She can finish simple patterns that I make with pattern blocks. She can recognize the numbers 1-10. A couple of these she couldn’t do just a few months ago, so the sudden jump in comprehension is very noticeable to me.

I could go on and on bragging about my kid, but I’m not sure most of you would find that very interesting. 😛 We have been up to a lot lately, besides preschool. We went on a family road trip to Utah and Nevada. Here is a picture of us in Canyonlands National Park, Utah.

 

It was extremely foggy while we were there. At first we were really disappointed we couldn’t see the full panorama of the canyons and cliffs, but everything being shrouded in mist was stunning in it’s own right. Plus, the fog created super cool frost on all the plant life! You can’t tell in this picture but it was lightly snowing, too. It was quite pretty against the red rock.

I am going to try to be more regular about updating my blog now that we are back from the trip and there’s the long winter ahead of us. Curly keeps asking to go outside to play in the snow and I keep telling her the windchill is dangerously cold (at times -25 or colder). We take advantage of the warmer days and go out, but otherwise we are stuck at home a lot when it’s this cold. So, I should be able to keep with a blog, right? We will see how I do.

Books About Leaves

I have been absent for several weeks now from this blog. We have simply been very busy around here, and something had to give! We have been taking a break from themed art projects, but we have still been reading, reading, reading!

The leaves have been dropping like crazy here up north, and I am loving it. Autumn is my favorite season. It’s a shame it doesn’t last longer.
Here are some books I picked up at the library about leaves! Click on the covers to learn more about each book; the link will bring you to Amazon.

 

Our favorites were The Little Yellow Leaf and Leaf Man. Honestly, I loved them all! I had a hard time finding any autumn books at the library, actually; I think many parents had my same idea! Here are some more I looked for but couldn’t find:

Fall Leaves by Liesbet Slegers
Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert
Autumn is Here! by Heidi Pross Gray
It’s Fall! by Linda Glaser
We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt by Steve Metzger
Awesome Autumn by Bruce Goldstone
Autumn Leaves by Ken Robbins
Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson
Happy reading!

Preschool ‘Trees’ Theme

Last week we started our Forest theme, which I have broken up into a few different sub-themes. Last week we learned about trees!

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Here is our book list. There are many, many books about trees – I tried to stick to ones about temperate forests.

You will notice the Lorax by Dr. Seuss is on the list – we also watched the video (the original cartoon, not the new animated one), which has turned into a favorite here.

I found a printable from www.kidsunder7.com for Curly to practice tracing the letter T. She only made it for a couple letters before tiring of it, but I didn’t push it. She has plenty of time to learn to write the letter T! Here is the worksheet.

I appreciated the fact that this printable had a spot for both uppercase and lowercase, even though Curly didn't use them. I will remember them for future use!

I appreciated the fact that this printable had a spot for both uppercase and lowercase, even though Curly didn’t use them. I will remember them for future use!

 

Lately we’ve been focusing on the spelling of Curly’s name. I write her name for her on her projects and always have her spell it as I’m writing it. She gets confused by the end (her name is 6 letters long) but she’s getting better. She never let’s me forget that her name goes at the top of her workbook sheets, so we are getting lots of practice.

For science we headed into our back yard to do some bark rubbings. We have mostly the same species of tree in our yard, the box elder, but we have many trees at different ages, so we were able to get a few different rubbings.

For math, I found a printable from www.lifewithtoddlers.com for Curly to practice tracing/writing the number 1. She enjoyed this one.

We did a couple of different projects for art. Since The Lorax was a such a favorite, we did a truffula tree craft with popsicle sticks, cotton balls, and paint.

The brown figures on the bottom are barbaloots.

The brown figures on the bottom are barbaloots. We used black marker on the popsicle sticks to make them look like they do in the movie.

 

We also did a forest project. I traced Curly’s forearm and hand several times on a large piece of paper, then she painted them. Once they were dry, she used a round foam brush to stamp on some leaves.

We hope you had a great week!

 

Camping Theme, Part 2

Part 2 of our camping theme centered around hiking and fishing. I have to say this was one of our most enjoyable weeks of preschool!

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Here is our book list.  The book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is an old favorite of ours, so it was a perfect candidate for us to center activities around. First, we made binoculars to take along on our bear hunt. I used two used toilet paper rolls and had Curly decorate them.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

Then we glued them together. It may have been easier to staple them together, but I couldn’t find the stapler. In any case, white school glue worked just fine. Then I used a hole punch to punch holes large enough for yarn to fit through, and we had a pair of binoculars.

Next we made a ‘bear hunt snack’. I showed Curly how to make trail mix. We used cashews, raisins, and chocolate chips. We were now ready for our bear hunt!

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck.

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck. Sorry about the poor picture quality…someday I will get a real camera instead of always using my phone.

We headed out into the yard and pretty much just ran around pretending to go through tall grass, wade through a river, get through mucky mud, etc, all while quoting the book. We finally made it to the ‘bear cave’ , which was simply her fort made of sticks we made a couple weeks ago. We then ran like mad back through our make-believe obstacle course of mud and rivers, to finally make it back to our house and jump under blankets on the couch. By this time she was giggling like mad, and I have to admit I quite enjoyed myself. Now Curly asks to go on a bear hunt almost every day.

We did a fish craft that I’ve seen suggested many times. You have your child paint bubble wrap and stamp paper to create the effect of fish scales. It worked pretty well!

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced a fish shape onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced fish shapes onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

I did most of the cutting out of the fish, although she did do a little herself. Then she glued the fish onto some blue construction paper.

Fish!

Fish!

For a fish snack I made blue jello (for the first time EVER; we never have jello) with gummy worms in it. Lo and behold, my child thinks jello is disgusting. I had to feed it all the husband, who gleefully devoured it. At least it didn’t go to waste!

We did another fish snack that was much more of a hit. All you do is have your child dip pretzel sticks in peanut butter, and then use the sticky pretzel stick to pick up fish crackers. Fishing with crackers! I really wanted to take her on a real fishing trip, but we didn’t have any time to even plan it. We settled on eating fish snacks and reading books about fishing instead.

I grew up in a place where we went fishing almost every day near our house, all summer long, so I have really nostalgic feelings about fishing. I hope she can experience some of the same childhood that I did!

For a math activity I used a bunch of plastic cups we had on hand and wrote numbers on them. Then I had her count out marbles into each cup. I will be saving the cups for many other math activities.

This time of year the prairie is just bright with wildflowers, so I took Curly out to cut some with me to put on the kitchen table. We found mostly daisies and wild sunflowers.

We had a great week!