Monday, February 29, 2016

Feelings and Emotions

This is one of my favorite preschool themes. I ended up with it one year, and loved it so much, that I always assign it to myself now. I've taught this theme three different years now, I think. 

I found this idea at Perpetual Preschool- Feelings Art. Basically, take photos of each child giving their best happy, angry, silly, sad, scared, etc photos. I take photos on the first day of preschool and then have them printed before our second day. Then I made book pages for each photo, and a line on it that says, "I feel scared when ________________" and as we glue in the photos, I ask them when they feel scared, happy, sad, etc. The answers are adorable, (or heartbreaking, when your child says they feel sad because of something you did), Such a fun keepsake.  I LOVE our emotions books, and the kids have too. 

Mr. T. had the day off school when we did this, so I took updated emotions pics of him too. 

Mr. A was grumpy about something, so many of his photos look similar, but still cute!

We played a Share A Smile Game (found at (Children's Manual-I have feelings)
Share a Smile   Have the children stand in a circle. Ask them to make their lips straight and not smile. Then start a smile around the circle by smiling and saying the following words: “I will give a smile to (child’s name).” The child you named should now smile and repeat the phrase, inserting the name of the next child. Continue until all the children in the circle are smiling. Remind the children that when we smile at other people, they will often smile back. It is hard to be sad, angry, or frightened when we are smiling

We also painted our feelings (also found at Perpetual Preschool). 

Painting Feelings    Give the kids paint, paper and a paintbrush. Have a tape recorder with different types of music (classical, rap, rock, instrumental etc) Tell them that when the music is on they paint on the paper to the speed and the mood they feel. The kids and I had fun, painting slow and relaxed to classical and going very fast for the fast songs. (We talked about feelings after: sad, happy, surprised etc.) It is very interesting to see the differences between the two. I posted both types of paintings on bulletin boards so the parents could see what a difference music makes!

I liked this cute song that I found at Hummingbird Ed

Feelings   I Have Feelings  "Frere Jacques" 
I have feelings; I have feelings. 
Look at me, and you'll see. 
Sometimes I feel [mad]; 
Really, really [mad]. 
Look at me, and you'll see.

and of course we sang, "If You're Happy and You Know It". :)

The kids loved this little game that I also found at Perpetual Preschool. I drew simple line drawings on metal concentrate orange juice lids. Well, actually, I had Miss B. do it. Then I spread them out on the floor so the children could see all of them, and then I read or told them scenarios, and asked them to find how they would feel in a situation. Some situations that they gave were:  Situations: you lost your mittens, a goat is eating your shoes,  you can fly,  you see a beautiful butterfly, you have to do chores before playing with friends,  you found a bird feather,  you have a new puppy,  you fell & skinned your knee, you lost your favorite toy,  you can't find your shoes, etc. They just wanted to keep playing and playing. 

I found some children's shows that cover different emotions. I have not prewatched all of these, they are just to give you some ideas, and keep your children learning on this theme. 

Blue's Clues:
Season 2 Episode 14: Blue's Sad Day
Season 3 Episode 16: What's So Funny
Season 2 Episode 20: Shy
Season 4 Episode 28: I'm so Happy
Season 5 Episode 20: Body Language

Space and Planets

We only had one preschool day of learning about space and planets, because the second day we took a field trip to the planetarium. Our planetarium has lots of free exhibits, so you only pay if you are watching one of the movies or shows. Sadly, I didn't get a lot of photos of either day.

To introduce the theme we sang Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and talked about stars and if we could count them, how far away they are, etc. 

We made a cute craft that I found at Preschool Education-Space Theme
Space Mobile: Need: Yarn, foil, paper, glitter, paper tube. Directions: We threaded a piece of yarn through the tube and tied it at the top to hang the mobile.  We punched holes in the tube and hung three pieces of yarn from it. (this part was prepared ahead of time). On the yarn the children hung a crescent moon, a star (wrapped in foil) and a sun ( two circles with pieces of yarn sandwiched in between for the rays) that the children had decorate with glitter on both sides. 

We also made our cute paper towel tube rockets. I helped them cover a paper towel tube with aluminum foil and had some precut circles to make the top cone and we added red tissue paper flames. I let them add their foam stickers and such as well. They LOVED these. My boys played with them for a few weeks until they fell apart. 
You can see all the moving rockets here. Those rockets flew all over the place! 

I had wanted to make this little recipe for Moon Rocks, but I ran out of time. 
Moon Balls Ingredients: 2 C. Peanut butter, 1 1/3 C. Honey, 2 C. Raisins 2 C. Dry milk, 3 1/2 C. Graham cracker crumbs (keep 1/2 c. separate). Mix dry milk, raisins, and 3 c. graham cracker crumbs. Add honey and peanut butter, mix will (hands do best). Roll into small balls. Place remaining 1/2 c. of graham cracker crumbs in a large baggie Place several balls at a time into the baggie and shake, then place on a Cookie sheet. Chill then eat.

I just bought powdered sugar donut holes instead. :)

We made it more exciting by taking a train down town to the planetarium. Since my boys LOVE trains, this was very exciting!

Walking on Mars!

My boys loved this little field trip, and ask all the time when we can go back. 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Senses: Taste

I introduced our Taste theme at snack time. I blindfolded the kids and had them taste things to see if they could tell me what it was. I wanted them to be happy to participate and willing to try things, so I did not throw in anything gross or surprising, and with having some picky kids in our class, that was tricky. :)
I had them try two different drinks and two different foods.

I found the following idea out of an LDS (Mormon) 3 year old Sunday School Manual. The lessons are very simple and teach about simple concepts like senses, animals, etc. I love this manual as a great resource. This is my faith, but it could easily be used by an Christian faith, as they are all based on God giving us the gift of different things we have like families, animals, our bodies, etc. And if you are not Christian, you can easily leave those parts out. 

Here is a link to the lesson: LDS Sunbeams: Sense of Taste
and also a link to the manual's table of contents, Primary 1: I Am a Child of God, so that you can see all the great lessons they have.

Anyhow, I tried to present a food from each taste group, sweet, salty, sour, and bitter. I did give the kids the option to taste it, and some did not want to. Then I presented things that look similar but don't taste the same like sugar and salt. Then we talked about how things look vs how they taste. I showed them how some cleaners can look like juice. So we talked about food safety, and not trying things that you find without talking to a parent, etc first. 

For art we painted with edible paints. I had been struggling with an art idea for taste that would work, and one of my friend's suggested edible paint. I thought it was a great idea! So I made a large batch of instant vanilla pudding and added coloring to it. I flavored a few colors with flavors I had on hand, lemon and raspberry. And then I made a batch of chocolate too. I gave each child their own plate with all the colors and flavors. And then gave them cardstock as it is a little thicker to paint on. It wasn't the best paint medium, but they had a lot of finger licking fun. :) 

I had plans to do this cute art project, but I think we ran out of time. I found it at Preschool Education
5 spices, paper, glue. Directions: You need 5 spices. Anything that has a strong texture and smell. Draw on a sheet of paper the outline of a spice holder. Have children smell the spices taste them and sprinkle them on to glue on the paper to make a spice rack.   

Our last art project I found at Everything Preschool
Art: My favorite food collage. Supply each child with a paper plate. Allow the children to look through old magazines and cut out pictures of their favorite foods to glue on their plates. You can even laminate the plates and use them as place mats at lunch time! Have the children show their pictures and tell what their favorite foods are. 

This didn't work as well as I had hoped.  I think it would work better with kids that are 4-5 or older. The bored quickly and had a hard time finding foods they liked. But it was still a cute art project.                                     

Toddler Letter A

We did some simple letter fun for my little twins, A&W. 

My older kids joined in too, as they had the day off from school.

I precut tree trunks and a big cloud like green part for the leaves. 

Then I gave the kids red paint and various letter A stamps and apple shapes.

 If you don't have letter stamps, you can glue foam letters onto a milk cap. I would recommend stacking a few on top of each other to give it a little more depth. 

Thursday, February 18, 2016


We started with some weather art. I gave the kids some cardstock die punched clouds (I still have an ancient Sizzix machine). Then I let them add a sunshine to it.

They got to pretend to be wind. I have them each a straw and cotton ball to blow across the floor. They loved this!

We made a rain stick.

Start with a sheet of aluminum foil about 3 times the length of your cardboard tube. Crinkle it into a skinny piece and spiral it. You want the aluminum foil spiral to be the same length as your cardboard tube. Carefully insert spiral length into your tube. Place filler inside, we chose between rice, dried lentils, and popcorn. The rice was quieter. We liked the popcorn and lentil sounds the best. Cut a construction paper circle slightly larger than the top of your cardboard tube. Cut small slits around the edges of the circle. This helps you glue it around the top with less bumps and mess. Glue lid on, and let kids decorate however they choose. Enjoy the rain!

We also made these cute suns, but alas, I have no photos.
 (also found at Preschool Education-Weather).
Sun Rainbow Sun Catcher   Need: 2 CD's (you can get them free almost everywhere these days), yellow and orange triangles, glue, string or yarn. Directions: Have the children glue yellow and orange triangles on the colored printed side (not the shiny side) of one of the CD's in the pattern of yellow/ orange/ yellow/ orange/ yellow/ orange. The triangle should hang off the edge of the CD. Then glue the other CD, shiny side up onto the other CD. Put a sting or yarn through the middle and hang up in the room.  Hopefully you have a room with windows and sun.  As the sun shines on the CD's it reflects a rainbow.  Or have the children take them home to hang in a sunny place. This very simple activity was done with 3 yr. olds to help teach patterning and about rainbows and sunlight. They loved the end result. 

We also attempted to make rainbow density bottles. We did this as a science experiment for Miss B. that same year. Thankfully her's turned out much better. We had dawn dish soap, colored water, colored rubbing alcohol, vegetable oil, colored vinegar, and such. The kids helped me layer them in. Sadly they did not separate by density as well as I hoped. They still looked good. But I let the kids shake them up, and they did not separate again, and they looked like a brown muddy mess. But I'm sharing my failures with you too, because we all have them, and the kids usually don't mind.

We made some rain cloud art too. I found this idea and other great ones at Preschool Education). I gave the kids some free handed white clouds I made and let them paint them grey. Then we glued Christmas tinsel onto them to be the rain coming down. This photo does not do them justice. They were very cute little window decorations.

Some fun weather songs and poems we did were: 

Rain, Rain Go Away

Rain, rain go away

Come again another day.
Little "name" wants to play 
Rain, rain go away.


Beautiful Rainbow Came

One day the sun was shining bright (hold up right hand like blocking sunlight)

But some clouds came along and it became black as night (Hold up left hand for the clouds) 
Then the rain began to sprinkle onto the ground (wiggle fingers for the rain coming down) 
And soon it was raining all over the town. 
But when the clouds had passed on by (move both hands to one side) 
A big beautiful rainbow stretched across the sky (make a rainbow arc with your hands) 

And my other failure of weather week.... I attempted to make Rainbow Jell-o like I did for St. Patrick's Day, but apparently I did not leave enough time between layers, and ended up with more of a stained glass jell-o look. We added some marshmallow and whipped cream clouds. It looked like such a mess, but the kids really didn't mind. :)

Some Blue's Clues episodes I  found that teach about weather are:
Season 2 episode 12: What does Blue want to do on a rainy day?
and Season 3 episode 27: Storms

St. Patrick's Day Fun

I'm playing catch up on St. Patrick's Day Posts.....

Some fun things we have done over a few years...

We made borax crystal shamrocks.
I'm not sure if this is where I originally found the idea, but they have great instructions and photos at Housing a Forest.
We started by twisting white and green pipe cleaners into shamrock shapes. My daughter wanted them to be more swirly. 
 (instructions from Housing a Forest)
"You will need 3 cups of boiling water per mason jar, 1/2 cup of Borax for each jar.  The more saturated your solution is, the larger your crystals will be.  Stir until all the borax is dissolved and the solution is clear, add food coloring if you desire."
We added food coloring, but it barely made a difference, so in the future I would just use the colored pipe cleaners. Regardless they turned out beautifully and hung in a window long past St. Patrick's Day. 

Make sure that your pipe cleaner creations don't touch the sides of the jars.

Our largest creation wouldn't fit in a jar without touching the sides, so we used a trifle bowl. 
 Here they are after sitting for a few days. You can see the crystals forming on the pipe cleaner and also the sides of the jar. 

This is what was left behind after dumping the water. A LOT of crystals. The kids loved this little experiment.

And here are our lovely crystals.

One year we decided to make a St. Patrick's Day treat, but I didn't have a lot on hand. We decided on popcorn balls. I melted the marshmallows (recipe found at and added some green food coloring. When forming the balls, butter your hands (the kids loved this!) 

I think I buttered the pan also so they wouldn't stick after forming.

Then we simply wrapped in plastic wrap and tied with green ribbon and delivered to a few friends. They were so proud of their creation, and they tasted great too!

A few years ago I made rainbow jello in the trifle bowl.

It was hard to see the color variation between some colors, but with a light behind it, it looked awesome! This does take a lot of time. You have to wait for each layer to set up before doing the next. so start at least a few days ahead. And then add whipped cream clouds at the top. 

To be silly I made a leprechaun beard. My little twins ran around wearing these for a few days. I cut it out of quilt batting and cut a small slit for a mouth, and two small slits for to hang it on their ears. Because it is quilt batting it has a lot of stretch and you can easily make it fit most any face. But because its quilt batting it has a lot of stretch and will get stretched out too much to be useable. But good cheap fun!
And lastly we made this super easy shamrock craft. Just cut clear contract paper into a shamrock shape (I printed one and traced it). You will want to cut two at the same time, and give the child varying shades of tissue paper squares to put on the sticky side. Then place the second one on top of it to seal it in.