Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Bugs: Caterpillars II

Well, not quite sure how the "One Last Bug Activity" post got reposted for yesterday...but I must have clicked something.  :-)  Oh well, live and learn.  Yesterday's post was actually Bugs: Caterpillars.

I wanted to get in some syllable explorations again. http://www.kidssoup.com/ have word wall strips with a simple word and picture all within a theme.  They have a caterpillar/butterfly theme which I was going to use this morning but ended up using our bug vocabulary cards I made last year.  We'll do the word wall strips another time.  :-)  Just not enough time in a morning/week to get everything I'd like to do accomplished!  So, sorted by number of chunks.  This time we used our bug rhythm instruments instead of just clapping, definitely gets the excitement going for the activities that are repeated often.
The instruments were from Target's dollar section.  They have some really neat things but really aren't made for a lot of use like they get in our program.  We have higher quality rhythm instruments, made to last, but these themed ones definitely are enjoyed while they are here! The plastic tactile numbers are used in so many activities.  I love them!

Check out their faces!  Concentration on the left and ICK! on the right.  :-P
We created a texture caterpillar.  Children traced a cup to create circles and then spread glue inside and chose what materials to place on each circle.  Then they added details as they wished.  Tracing around cups make a great fine motor activity and requires them to have a bit of coordination.  :-)  I ended up helping the 3 year old.  The 4 year old wanted help with the first tracing but felt like she could do it on her own, and she did, and the 5 year old asked for no help at all. 

For math, I've seen this activity on various websites.  I was going to create my own mats but decided to use the ones available. They had rows with a number on the left and the children created a caterpillar with that many circles. So http://www.lessonsense.com/ and http://www.kidssoup.com/ are the two sites from which I got the printables from.  Children stated what the numeral was and used corks and stamp pads to create a caterpillar that had a corresponding number of body parts.  I did provide various size corks in order for the children to review size and have a bit of choice in the matter.  :-)  Site note:  My students haven't gotten to where they are by "just exploring", though that is a big portion of our program.  There has been instruction and there has been "have to's".  Some people might feel differently about having "have to's" in preschool.  I've been in programs who have had the attitude that they'll learn what they need just by exploring with the materials.  I've also been in programs who have a very nice "happy medium" going on.  That's what I strive for.  One thing I do to counteract the "have to's" is to provide extra materials so they can explore to their heart's content afterwards.  This type of activity especially.  The three year old is definitely more in the exploration stage so I had extra paper available and after I worked with him on his caterpillars, he printed with the corks on another paper to his heart's content.  He even verbally labeled it "Camel Prints"!  That was exciting...he's just starting to label his work on his own.  Anyway...I did remove the yellow and orange stamp pads.  Why?  Well, I know some who have the funding to replace stamp pads and etc as often as necessary, but I don't...so I'm a stickler about mixing the colors on a stamp pad.  My oldest student and my own boys know to wipe off their printing tools or stamps before switching to a new color (another function for the store brand "art" wipes.)  But at 3 and even some 4s, I can't really expect that.  So I remove the light colors so it's less noticeable when they "mix".  :-P
We also played Scatterpillar Scramble today.  We use it as a one person activity during our kitchen time.  They enjoy playing together also, but with the younger students, it works best to cut that competition piece right out.  It also encourages them to sort by color.   I encourage them to try to do it while it's wiggling but it's okay to stop it and work with it still also.  When we first got it, I even had a hard time getting them all on when it was wiggling! By the time they are 4.5+ they are getting pretty good, depending on past fine motor skill exposure.  Of course this game lets off a very contagious laugh at the beginning.  Makes for a very light hearted morning, that's for sure!

Daily scissors:  Children cut a leaf from construction paper and created a ...well, the suggestion was a caterpillar.  :-)  Side note:  I decided against "doing" The Very Hungry Caterpillar this year since I've done it every year for the past 6.  Taking a break...but it's an EXCELLENT book!  Great for sequencing, counting sets, days of the week, healthy/unhealthy foods, caterpillar to butterfly cycles and so on.  But it wouldn't be a caterpillar/butterfly week without at least reading Eric Carle's The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Anyway, we brought that book back out to check out the leaves and how the caterpillar ate "right through".  Then then they tried to punched the leaf with a hole punch to make it look like their caterpillar was eating right through it.  It wasn't easy for them.  One child ended up using scissors because the hole puncher wasn't working just the way he wanted.  If you know of a brand of hole punches that actually work with preschoolers, I'd love to hear about them!  They had a choice of fingerprints, buttons, foamies, or pom poms to create their caterpillars.  One child had a really LONG caterpillar which went a few times around his leaf.  :-)  Another turned his buttons into a cocoon.  Love that they know that "it's their work" and I respect that.  Please encourage them to be creative and think on their own.  If you put them in public school, unfortunately...especially around here...they aren't going to get much experience/tolerance for that freedom.

Well, better stop for now and gather materials for tomorrow...we will be moving more into the focus of butterflies.  :-)  Oh yes, wanted to mention yesterday that we got on the conversation of bugs that are symmetrical. Butterflies are perfect insects to introduce/reinforce this concept.  Remember, never too early to introduce a topic! 

1 comment:

  1. These pictures so much more blurry then usual, for some reason. Hmmm. Wonder why. When I get a few moments I'll check into it. Sorry!