Monday, April 30, 2012

State Symbols

Last week, I began to create a visual regarding birds, with the idea of incorporating states so that it could be used with my school-agers who are really into states right now.  However, I really could not find the photos to use for the preschool document I wanted and it was turning into a time taking frustration.  So I set it aside and completed the activity using other State Symbols.  I chose the state shape, state bird, state flower, and state flag as they are the most commonly taught.  We may go on and learn about the state trees and the many other symbols.  Our family is hoping to take a road trip from MI to CA after school's out so this will be a great interest to them, even more so than it is right now.  A lot of learning can take place using the topic of "the 50 States".  
I included a blank "mat" in case we decide to match various symbols to the state.  My plan is to laminate and cut apart.  If I use the blank mat I may add velcro.  If you download and use this printable, I'd appreciate it if you came back and commented about how you used it with your child(ren)/students.

A favorite game that the kiddos really enjoy is The Scrambled States of America.

This game was created to go along with the book The Scrambled States of America.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Butterfly Dictation

We did quite a bit of review/finish up/non-themed activities today.  Here are a couple butterfly activities we did today. 

Butterfly Dictation
This is a very easy dictation activity.  Sometimes the simpler the better!  I find there are so many benefits to dictation.   Besides the benefits of verbalizing their thoughts/stories, I'm reinforcing the basics of writing!  (However, it looks like I should have gotten the ruler out for my lines.  You should see my printing on a chalk or white board!)  They learn a lot from observing us write and since it's "their story" they pay more attention to what we are doing.  Very meaningful!
Earlier today I provided scrap paper for them to cut into small pieces and place inside of a fold over baggie.  (Zip shut baggies do not work well for this activity.)  When they had filled them as far as they wanted, we wrapped a pipe cleaner around the bag to make the butterfly.  Then they chose a color of construction paper and we hot glued it to the paper.  Finally, we sat down and thought about where the butterfly would be going and then I wrote the story down.
So Many Butterflies, So Many Ways
I came across this printable a bit ago.  I wouldn't typically consider it for early preschool, but it's very nice for those older ones that need a challenge!  K.'s 5, with a firm early learning foundation and was quite independent with this activity.  Great for reviewing number words and tally marks!  The little blue spots are just pieces of sticky tac to make the very small pieces not go flying and cause the activity to be frustrating.  :-) 

Hope you had a lovely week!  We are onto birds next week.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

ABCDE I found a butterfly on me!

Monday, I shared the little butterfly alphabet chant that the kiddos have always enjoyed.  This year is not an exception, they've really enjoyed it and picked up the words quickly.  I had planned to do a Kids Soup Life Cycle of a Butterfly Booklet but decided that instead I'd quickly create our own booklet using this chant.  A great way to reinforce alphabet order and alphabet formation.

Feel free to download a copy to here to use with your child(ren).  Hope they enjoy it as much as the children here!

Glitter Butterfly
K. chose her colors, chose what type of butterfly she wanted to trace (I just showed her various coloring sheet butterflies and she chose one), and then after tracing the outside and covering with glitter, she free hand "drew", with the glue, the design inside of her butterfly.  I slip in tracing a pattern here and there because they do quite a few paper crafts in Kindergarten with tracing/cutting out.  It's a good fine motor skill to learn to how the paper firmly and trace around.  With anything like this though, I always offer a time for free exploration of the material without patterns.  Did turn out pretty though! 

Butterfly Pasta Letters

 I've shared this activity before.  I believed I did it with numbers.  Today we focused on the vowels, a, e, i, o, u and their short vowel sounds. The dollar store napkin holders are great for holding cards such as these.  They chose one from the yellow and when they were done they put it in the orange.

Bubble Wrap Butterflies
Finished adding details.  Love Mr. T.'s there on the left.  If you remember from Tuesday's post, he didn't handle the bubble wrap and painting well so he did not have a bubble wrap print.  So with the scrap paper, scissors, colored pencils, and glue stick he worked diligently to make his own. :-)

Bead Butterflies
inspired by Indietutes
We used markers to color the clothespin and then they filled their chosen pipe cleaners with beads.  None of them really filled their pipe cleaner so I trimmed them before hot gluing into the clothespin.  We tried using our magnet strip but it wasn't strong enough.  They'd make cute magnets but plan on using heavy/stronger magnets.
I love watching little ones put beads on pipe cleaners!  So serious then usually a big grin when they succeed!
I'm in the process of making a list of time filler kits, some with crafty themes, to create this summer for the fall, as we plan to have school-agers in the home vs. preschooler/toddlers.  (Well, we'll have 1 preschooler...Mr. T.)  This bead butterfly will go on that list.  From my professional and personal experience with school-agers, they will LOVE this and they'd be able to do it independently!

Blot Butterflies
These are a two session project.  The first day we...
Drizzle glue...
(Not a requirement but they enjoy this process.)
Squeeze paint...
(We used primary colors.  If you skip step one you may wish to add paint to glue bottles.  It does work better to adhere the two pieces of wax paper together.)
Add another piece of wax paper and *smoosh* the paint and glue. 
(Neat feeling!  Cool and squishy...they always enjoy it!)
Now we'll wait until completely dry and then cut into a butterfly sheet.  I'll post a picture when we complete the project.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Beautiful Butterflies

A few of our beautiful butterflies from today!  It was a lovely can it not be with doing activity after activity with butterflies as the focus?!  We even got to chase them all around the yard today!
Foot Print Butterflies
An oldie but a good one! They made awesome prints this year!  I often do this 1:1 during free play, first thing in the morning.  It's a great way to start our morning...giggle, giggle, giggle!
Butterfly Dictation
A very simple activity that encourages children to really think about a topic.  Writing the words for the child allows for me to reinforce left to right progression, beginning sounds (or for older children-middle or ending sounds/blends), and spaghetti spaces vs. meatball spaces.  We also take the time to talk about tall, small, and monkey tail letters and notice how many letters in each word.  They chose tissue paper to accordion fold into their butterfly and pipe cleaner for the body.  Obviously T. was into yellow today.   They also used butterfly stamps to embellish their poem.   :-)
Butterfly Symmetry/Visual Discrimination
Love that these are similar so they really need to pay attention to detail.  This activity fit into my time constraint but I would like to create one using real life pictures such as what we can find at Mama Jenn's site.
Butterfly Counting
We actually did this as a group.  T. chose a number card, H. put that many butterflies on the mat (with us all counting), and K. found the word card.   Our morning was pretty full this morning so this was a way to make this particular activity go a bit quicker and touch on a skill that each child is working on.  T: number recognition; H: counting w/ meaning; K: recognizing number words.

I was a bit concerned that there would be too much wait time for T.  I shouldn't have been concerned...entertained himself quite well!  LOL
This activity was printed from Kids Soup.  A lovely resource for preschool teachers!  The one website I actually pay a membership fee.  We glued pom poms, as was suggested, to the butterflies.  Made it much easier to move the butterflies around.
Butterfly Bubble Wrap Prints
We LOVE bubble wrap, especially for sensory activities.  It use to be that I would get plenty of bubble wrap in my packages from various places and was able to recycle/reuse.  However, they've changed to air bags.  :-(  So now I have to purchase a roll at the store.  But, it's worth it!  Before we started this activity we folded a piece of construction paper in half and they drew and cut out a basic butterfly shape to use as a print paper. 
We may add details after they dry, if the children wish.

On the left, if you look really closely, you can see bubbles.  I always squirt a good amount of dish soap with the paint (even if it's labeled washable paint/fingerpaint).  This is twofold: One, it helps the paint wash out a bit better but the main reason is because we can add just a wee bit of water and get some sudsy bubbles!  On the right, well, obviously this activity wasn't working for Mr. T.  He wanted to paint but he had just got done with blot painting and he threw a conniption every time he got paint on his hands from off the qtips.  So I knew he would not handle the finger paint so I exchanged it for lotion vs. paint.  Well, he didn't care for that either...but the other kids enjoyed the lotion.  :-P 
And, of course!  We must have some clean bubble wrap to explore with after the fact.  :-)  They were jumping on their pieces also and having so much fun that, even with the headache that decided to visit on today of all days, I had to smile along with them.  
Here's this week's rebus recipe.  :-)  Rebus recipes are definitely a favorite. 
My boys and I tried doing Celery Butterflies with pretzel wings but, well, it was very frustrating to say the least and I decided that if we were getting frustrated it wasn't worth doing it with the preschoolers.  So, next best...a practical skill of making and cutting a sandwich.  We made it and ate it lunch.  Cutting the sandwich was the most difficult part, as you can imagine, but it's the skill that they'd benefit most from practicing.  :-)
Butterfly Marble Transfer
Love, love, love marble transfers for toddlers and preschoolers.  And my school-agers...they still like it also.  Remember that marbles are choking supervise.  :-)  1/4 teaspoon is about a perfect size for our marbles.  I simply cut the butterfly out of a bath mat.

Butterfly Blot Collage
Inspired by Ellie and Abbie
(Their process was a LOT different so check it out!)

Patterns were from
Children were provided small precut butterflies to paint a design on and press.  Yes, we did something like this not too long ago, but decided we'd do it again since they always love this cause and effect activity.  Can't really see it in the picture but we only glued the center of the butterfly so the wings are up off the paper.

And a favorite picture for today...
She was even telling him, "Look, see this (period).  This is how you know it's the end of the sentence."  T. does very well for his age in many areas of development and it really is because he's been around these older kiddos.  Heaven help his kindergarten teacher!  Oh, wait, that just might be me!  :-P 

Monday, April 23, 2012

Flutter Flutter Butterfly!

This week we will be doing a lot of butterfly themed activities, along with our other non-themed activities.  Especially exciting since we are starting to see some butterflies around! 

A favorite song/chant...
Lovely pics...can you sense some sarcasm there.  :-P  Sorry. 
These were actually the best ones out of the bunch I snapped quickly to give you an idea of how I did it.
I do not know where I got the clip art from so will pass on sharing this document.  It's relatively easy to make though!  I used stickers on the one side of the cards and the chant on the other side.  We chant the alphabet part and then flip the card over.

Alphabet Butterfly Rap
I found a butterfly on me!
She started out in a very small way.
An egg smaller than my toe!
Next a caterpillar she would be.
In a chrysalis is where she'd lie.
That's how my butterfly came to be!
Author Unknown 
If you know who the author of this chant is please make a comment so I can give credit where it is due.  Thanks!

With the older child we spent a lot of time with this thought of butterflies being symmetrical.  She really caught on this year!  Often I do introduce the idea of symmetry with butterflies but I don't often see children exploring with that concept during their play and activities.  But I did today!
We started off by checking out some butterflies in books,
and on some window clings (great toddler fine motor!).
Then we moved to our butterflies made out of foam shapes (which we had sorted earlier in the the conversation between the two kiddos about the shapes as they were sorting!)

Foamie Butterflies
Simply tape a basic butterfly pattern to the wall (this one was Mailbox Preschool, April/May 2002), and then tape contact paper over top, sticky side out.  This is a lovely activity for both toddlers and preschoolers and I expect my school-age boys will be at it this afternoon.

After K. was ready to move on we moved to a dry erase board where I demonstrated filling the whole board with a simple butterfly shape.  This "filling the page" is a bit more of a struggle for toddlers/preschoolers, thus I demonstrate on a larger surface when I'd like to see the larger drawings.  She caught on and so we erased mine and she drew her's and we took turn adding shapes and lines on both sides of the butterfly (somewhat symmetrical!).  Then she moved on to a large piece of white construction paper and did the same thing.

Water Color Resist Butterfly
She really took the time to add a lot of color to her work today.  I'm pretty sure this is because of our daily journals that we've been doing since we came back from Spring Break.  (Typical of her would be all one color unless I encouraged otherwise.)  For her journals, she brainstorms, draws, colors (at least 5), labels (at least 3).  This visual can be found on the Journals: Draw and Label post, feel free to use it with your own kiddos. We'll do the same this week and then I think we'll move onto adding a sentence.  She LOVES the labeling!
Oil pastels are awesome to use with toddlers.  So much more rewarding than crayons!  Small enough that they don't break easy, small enough to encourage proper hand grip, easy to mark and bold colors! 

Seriated Heart Butterfly
A lovely paper craft to work on tracing a pattern, scissor skills and reinforce that thought of symmetry.  Today, we also worked with the concept of a hamburger and a hot dog fold.  I'll have to admit that I couldn't figure out what they were talking about in my son's kindergarten class.  They used those terms often...hamburger and hot dog folds.  (Granted, I was only hearing the words not seeing the demonstration.) LOL   One day I was folding a piece of paper and it clicked!  Been using those terms since then.  So a hamburger fold is bottom to top fold of a piece of portrait orientated paper and a hot dog fold is bottom to top of a piece of landscape orientated paper.   Picture a hamburger bun vs. a hot dog bun.

Hearts pattern to fit on a 9x12 piece of construction paper can be download here.  Print and cut out of cardstock or trace and cut from a file folder or cereal box cardboard to make tracers for the children.

Anyway, she chose 4 colors for her wings.  Folded each paper hamburger style, chose a heart to trace (supporting with left hand, tracing with right), and then cut out starting at the fold so that she ended up with two exact heart cut outs.  Then she glue them with points touching, largest to smallest.  Later added a body and attenae and got a relatively symmetrical butterfly.

Coffee Filter Butterflies
An oldie but a good one!
I normally always provide eye droppers with coffee filter work but today I chose to provide paint brushes.  Well, after the first coffee filter K. asked for the eye droppers.  :-)  The children used them both interchangeably.  We are actually going to do this again tomorrow but with washable markers and only water with paintbrush. Color mixing and fine motor.

A few pics from today.  It's going to be a busy week!  Hope it stays as beautiful as it was today!  We went outside and was out there almost an hour.  K. said to me as we came in..."But we only stayed out for 10 minutes."  :-D  Yes, that beautiful.  And part of it could have been that Donnie got the teeter totter and the roller coaster out over the weekend.  They played with those for quite awhile before getting to their normal routine activities.  They are so funny... they do the exact same things in the exact order almost everyday outside.  Always throws them for a loop when I slip something "new" in there.   Have a lovely week!