Monday, May 16, 2011

Bugs: Caterpillars

So this week we'll be focusing on caterpillars and butterflies.  Have some activities we didn't get to last week so will slip them in when we can. 

We started out working with our C number caterpillar, to reinforce the letter C (magic c line that is used in letter formation) as well as reinforce number recognition and order.  Then I made it clear that this was an activity they can use on their own.  (Laminated and used velcro dots.)
I made this when Aaron was about 2.5 years (he's 8 now) it's held up well. 

We also used the butterfly cycle from  Actually, what was really neat was one child remembered another cycle (water cycle) and so we were singing our water cycle song too!  :-)  We also reinforce the shape oval today since the cycle was in an oval shape and so was our caterpillar pieces.
So the caterpillars are what we did during scissors today. They only cut the 4 oval body parts out as the antenna and legs would be a bit frustrating for all of them.  The printable is at
They call them split-pin minibeast characters and there is more then just the caterpillar.
Last week we did the 5 senses study about honey.  You can do this with most anything and it's a great way to review the five senses, take dictation, reinforce chart making and etc.

Pattern caterpillars
Though the patterns on the Kindergarten report card are ABAB, ABB, ABC and etc...anything that came home from school pretty much was encouraging an ABAB pattern. And that is what the old report cards were focusing on, ABAB.  Caleb did bring 1 or 2 items home that I could tell he had freedom to make his own because it wasn't ABAB.  :-)  He was past ABAB patterns at 3 years old...and that is what I find.  3 year olds, with experience, can grasp what an ABAB pattern is.  First you start out with physical patterning (clap, slap, clap, slap) then you move on to copying a pattern, then extending, then creating their own.  So my 3 year old today did that ABAB pattern (middle).  The 4 year old did an AABB pattern on her own (bottom) and the 5 year old did an ABCC pattern after I told her she could NOT do an ABAB pattern.  :-P  I love to hear my preschoolers tell me what kind of pattern it is!  Yes, they use ABAB or ABB terms.  :-P
I purchased a bunch of these chip and dip containers on clearance after halloween one year.  They are perfect for sorting activities but also for helping to instill an appreciation for organization.  I slipped in a little literacy by writing the color words, in corresponding colors, on tabs and sticking them on the plate where each of the colors were.   Knowing color words is not something they typically learn in preschool but they do fall under 'sight words' in Kindergarten so introduce it now!  It also helps reinforce that every word is made up with individual letters.  I often slip in chunking (syllable clapping) and beginning sounds with color words.

Well, I changed my plans for today because my computer/work room was a disaster and could I find my lids for squish caterpillars, no way.  So, since we hadn't done free painting with brushes lately, I decided this was a good day to do that and wow!  Check out those butterflies and caterpillars! This is what happens when we do a theme...I really don't have to suggest anything.  The top is from the 5 year old, left bottom is a 4 year old and right bottom is the 3 year old who was exploring with color mixing (right on for his age).  I did have a fork available and I mentioned that forks make neat grass prints if they were interested...but left it at that since this was THEIR work.  Children should have many opportunities for "free painting".  :-)

We also pulled out the pattern blocks today to use with caterpillar and butterfly mats.  I have a set of pattern cards that I have purchased but PreKinders have free pattern block printables.  I print double sided, b/w on one side and colored on the other.  The colored side is much easier for the littler ones.  Remember to introduce/reinforce those nontraditional shapes, trapazoid, hexagon and diamond. 

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