Tuesday, May 29, 2012

5 Green and Speckled Frogs!

Of course we started our frog theme out by singing 5 Green and Speckled Frogs.   It's very much a favorite and easy to learn. 
I chose to use number frogs from SparkleBox.  This was perfect for the toddler in the group, though they all enjoyed it.  Construction paper logs, laminated frogs, and blue foam pond.  (After these last few days of doing this song T. can name 3 out of 5 of the numbers and can point to all of them when asked where a specific number is.  He also has come quite a ways in ordering the 5 all on his own each time!) 
We also looked at pictures of frogs and found out that not all frogs are green and speckled!  :-)  We learned that some frogs, like the red eyed tree frog in the picture on the right has bright colors and bright colors usually means "Watch out!  I'm poisonous!"   A site to get you started on kid friendly photos and facts is Kid Zone.
We pulled out our Animal Habitats game again, the picture was when we did the farm/zoo animal venn diagram back in February.  And figured that even though there wasn't a frog on every mat, there could be.  Frogs are found all over the world, except in the Artic, Antarctica and Greenland.  And they can be found near any (actually, near every) fresh body of water.  They prefer ponds and marshes because the water doesn't move as quickly.  :-)
Children created their own frog habitat picture and frog to go with it.  We chose to just use the frog pattern that was on the same page as our life cycle (The Mailbox) to save paper.   Oil pastels and tempera water cakes were our choice of media for this project.
The following verse of a song from Songs That Teach, we sang today.
Habitat Song
A habitat is a place to live.
A habitat is a place that gives.
A habitat is a special home
to plants and animals-their very own.

Frog Life Cycle
This from a Mailbox Publication (TEC #845).  Children cut out the life cycle circle and trace that circle onto green paper and cut that out as well.  Tracing and cutting are definitely something they will do quite a bit of in most Kindergarten classrooms so I want them to experience holding a pattern and tracing it.  The flower was just made with oil pastels. Did you know that a female frog lays up to 4000 eggs at a time?  Wow!  This is also where I slipped in the fact that Frogs are amphibians.  Amphibian means "2 lives".  The frog begins as eggs/tadpoles/froglets in the water but when they are full grown they live on land.
Counting Frogs Clothespins
Making Learning Fun
Many of their counting strips have items that are randomly placed on the strip vs. ordered left to right and top to bottom.  :-)  This makes it a nice challenge for older children but quite difficult for younger children so I provide a dry erase marker to use on the laminated strips so they can mark off the flies as they count them.  Then they know what they have counted and what they haven't.

Water Play with Frogs and Lily Pads

 These frogs are from Dollar Tree. I simply created circles from green foam and snipped a triangle out of the side.

Frog Jumping
The Dollar Tree has a nice teacher's section.  Often I can find theme related bulletin board strips.  Unfortunately I don't really have bulletin board space here at home, like I did in center-based programs, but we use them for other activities.  :-)  Here the child put their frog on a number and we rolled the dice and jumped forward and backwards.  This was to reinforce the +, -, = signs. 
Blurry picture but I wanted to have on record T.'s 1:1 correspondence here during free play time.

Consider the free Frog Frolics pack from Homeschool Share!  Lots of goodies there that we are incorporating into our days.  Rhyming with Frog, Prey/Predator, Frog Maze are three we've done so far and there are quite a few more that we plan to do over the next couple of days.
Frog Maze
This time I chose to have them place mancala beads on the flowers instead of using dry erase marker.  Just tweaking it a bit to keep interest and incorporating that pinching/two finger pick up motion.  The kids always enjoy working with mancala beads.  :-)

Camouflaged Frogs
Yep, can't even see the frogs in there.  :-D A side note, I think the favorite sensory material over the last 6 years has been a dried bean mixture.  There is just something about this mixture that they don't get tired of!

Frog Egg Sensory
Deborah from Teach Preschool recently posted about water beads and they are a favorite here also.  So in that post, she mentioned using them with shaving cream.  Oh!  We hadn't done that yet so I decided to do that today and it worked out perfectly.  One child said, "Look, frog eggs!"  So our conversation went off from there.  Neat!  Wasn't even planned.   From awhile back we had rainbow water beads, however, sitting over time caused them to turn that brownish purplish color...worked out nicely for our "frog eggs".  :-P

Frog Color Words
We started out with K. reading a very old Weekly Reader about Frogs and their colors.  Perfect sight word practice for her and since it's been an odd couple of weeks and our frog activities are being spread out, it was a good review of the frog life cycle.
Then K. worked on the clothespin color word match from Making Learning Fun and H. and T. worked together with me using the other frog color match.  For whatever reason, I can't find this match in any of the logical places it would be on my computers, nor can I find it in a several of the searches I did on the internet.  So, I'll keep looking as it's a very nice activity for toddlers and young preschoolers to introduce the color words.  If you know the link to this color/frog-lily pad matching activities...please leave a comment!  For some reason I was thinking it was from a homeschooling mom. Thanks!

Froggy Painting
Every once in awhile I like to do a step by step painting/drawing project.  It brings their attention to the shapes in making a picture and helps with their idea that they "can't draw".  Below is a close up of one of them to show our "flies".  :-)  Black beans and white crayon wings.  They enjoyed this simple project. 

Tally Marks
This was very well liked.  I had one child place the foam lily pads around the living room and another child went around and put a frog on each lily pad.  Then each child was given a handful of craft sticks.  They flipped the lily pad over to see the number, stated it and then created that number with tally marks.  We use the Tally Mark Poem that goes like this...
1, 2, 3, 4
Number 5 shuts the door.
6, 7, 8, 9
Number 10 makes the line.

And to end the morning on a positive note...
A yummy lunch was set out for me...including frog soup!  :-)

Friday, May 18, 2012

Just a bit more on bugs...

Time for blogging isn't all that easy to come by this week.  :-)  So maybe I'll share just a few of the many activities we did that were teacher and child favorites.
This kiddos seemed to enjoy finding those Planet Earth bugs in multiple places over the last couple of weeks.  Incredible foam with H. and fresh homemade play dough with K. in this picture. 

This is definitely a teacher and child favorite "game".  I set it up for individual use and they can control whether they want the caterpillar's arms to move while they are working or after they are done.  Great for fine motor!

And another very simple but well liked activity.  Template that I used can be found at Teachers.Net Gazette.  I did cut the black body out prior but they folded a half piece of 9x12 red construction paper and traced a wing and cut to create two wings.  I provided trimmed index cards for them to write the word LADYBUG or ladybug and whatever else they wanted to draw or write. 

We also did sight word fly swatting...the pictures didn't turn out well due to lighting and action but I did want to share the site to get these free flies.  :-)  Make Take & Teach.  She has a larger set on TPT, but Dolch lists 1-3 are free!  We so appreciate teachers willing to share!  We got good use out of them and we're keeping them out for next week since K. enjoyed them so well. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Fly Swatter Painting and More Buggy Fun!

Fly Swatter Painting
We were lucky to have such lovely weather today so we spent a good portion of our morning outside with painting, lunch, and extended outdoor play.  I dripped "flies" on the paper and they had a bunch of fun swatting the flies.  :-)  Yes, it's messy, that's why we did it outside.  They didn't get as messy as I expected though!  Makes for neat painted papers.  I'm sure we'll be able to use the paper in some sort of project.  :-)

Buggy Sensory Pool
"Easter" grass in our pool.  Bugs, magnify glasses, bug containers, tweezers and whatever else the kids ended up putting in there.  :-)  I wouldn't say this is a favorite sensory material.  They tend to use it for dramatic play vs. any of the typical sensory explorations they usually do.  That's a-okay!

Stomp Boards
I ordered these last year and they are finally in.  Yeah! Early Childhood Connections had some connections.  :-P  They found someone willing to make these stomp boards for us for only $3.50.   You can purchase a stomp board for $25.99 at Discount School Supply.  So, yes!  I took advantage of this and purchased multiple for here and for gifts.  We started out with a couple bug bean bags and they went on to explore with other soft items such as stuffed animals, sponge balls, etc.  They got a lot of use this morning!

Sponge Bugs Basketball
This little basketball hoop is the same brand of the bean bag toss that I pulled the bug bean bags from for the stomp boards.  Soft play, perfect for toddlers and preschoolers indoor use.  Not the most durable but works okay.  :-) 

Leaf Math Mat (Grid Games)
 We also call this Cover Up. The goal is to roll the dice and cover that many spaces until you've covered the whole page. PreKinders has many theme related Grid Games available.   Interesting observation I made, oldest child went from left to right and top to bottom, for the most part.  Younger preschool child just put the bugs anywhere on his board.  The youngest went from left to right but started at the bottom.  :-)  Now my husband would say...well, would probably just think..."So, what."  :-P  This reinforces where I pegged them each in their development.  T. is really taking off, he starts counting on his own but then gets off and then wants us to count with him.  Awesome!  And so proud of himself too.  He's taking his own step up.  One nice thing about having teaching my own kids during preschool is they can definitely go at their own speed all year around.   
We won't get to this as planned but PreKinders also has free Bug Jar Math Printables! Check them out, especially if you have younger preschoolers.   She has a set for sorting by type, color and counting.

Who Am I?
 I didn't do it exactly like she suggested.  I do not have the Target bugs and my Planet Earth bugs do not fit the clues so I just laminated her pictures to put on the mats. :-) Might add velcro though. Would help keep the pieces a bit more secure for the younger kiddos.  It was a perfect way for K. to practice her reading and for H. to work on listening, recall, and comprehension.  I also found that a couple just weren't clear enough...one reason being that the color she had on the clues didn't match the color of the bug in the picture.  But that's fine, I just removed those.  I can make a new clue card easily enough.  FYI, if you print these...they aren't exactly aligned so consider that if you are using your paper cutter.  :-) 

This was a song I had in my files.  As usual, the picture uploaded crystal clear and than immediately changes to this blurry image.  Can anyone help me out with this?  Obviously it's changing the quality.  So the song goes like this...

Tune:  If You Are Happy and You Know It
Oh, I wish I were an eensy weensy spider.
Yes, I wish I were an eensy weensy spider.
I'd go creepy creepy crawly down the hall and up your wall-y.
Oh, I wish I were an eensy weensy spider.

 The bugs it incorporated are spider, bee, caterpillar, ant, mosquito, and fly.  I do not know who the original author of the song is.  The kids really really liked it.  I created a little booklet so the parents would have the words also, and it allowed me to slip in cutting on a narrow straight line and tracing letters.  You can download a copy for your own personal use here, if you wish.
Today's Menu:
PB Tortilla Wedges/Yogurt
Raw Carrots
Dried Apricots
Juicy Watermelon
1% White Milk

Ah, the fountain is back in business.  :-)  They are always enthralled with the fountain the first days it's running.  If only Ms. Amber would let them put things inside of it and play with the water there.  :-P

Monday, May 14, 2012


In this post you will find that I really don't feel it's necessary to "reinvent the wheel" so to speak.  :-)  There are a lot of free resources available on the internet or from your local library system.  Use them!  I am thinking that I'm going to try to include links to the resources I find myself using most over the next few days/weeks.  We'll see how it goes!

There are many, many prewriting pages available for preschool age children.  However, as mentioned before, there are a few tracing lines that I would like the children to trace/create but can not find those particular lines.  So... I quickly create my own. These are simple...and definitely not professional...but you are welcome to use them if you wish.  They serve our purpose well.  Download here.

Insect Dominoes
Have had these around for years!  With preschoolers we allow any match...so whether the same number of insect or match the insect itself.  We play a game of the dominoes together and then often I put it on the shelf so that they can match them with their friends or on their own.

Color Bugs Booklet
She has black and white and a colored copied of this booklet, along with some other nice booklets!  We've been slipping in color words here and there throughout the weeks so today K. read the book with me, pointing out and underlining the color word.  Great practice!

Buzzing to the Beat
The Mailbox: Bugs theme book
Simply printed out their bug cutouts onto thick paper or cardstock to correspond with the color of crayons I was using and taped them to the top of a crayon.  I was hearing "buzz buzz!" and other buggy sounds at the free drawing paper posted up on the wall today.  Just adding a bit of interest to crayon explorations.  :-)

Busy Bees Fly to the Hives
The Mailbox: Bugs theme book also had bee and hive patterns and so I added pictures to the wings of the bee to reinforce specific beginning sounds. I've posted about this last May. Wish I could share this document. Though relatively easy to create...it can be time consuming, depending on how much of a perfectionist you are. :-P But it is a Mailbox document so better not. 
The Mailbox: Bugs theme book

Shaving Cream and Cornstarch Sensory Play
inspired by Time for Play
This was something I stumbled on in Pinterest this past week.  It's one sensory play we hadn't tried.  :-)  Definitely interesting.  Not a favorite by any means but  I think the biggest issue was I allowed them to mix the materials together and they didn't give it enough time to get to the dough like quality.   Very globby. So I do think we'll do it again but this time I'll mix it prior to the children playing with it.  I imagine it'll have the consistency of the cloud dough we created.

Ladybug Garden
Simple and easy!  Great for fine motor.  Ripping paper is always a challenge.  We ripped shades of green paper into strips, added red and/or orange do a dot spots for the ladybugs and then added detail with marker.  Tip:  if the child is having a difficult time ripping the paper, consider snipping the paper at the top with scissors so they have somewhere to start.
T. had done the ladybug garden last week when K. was sick so I just put the dobbers and markers out with paper for him.  He spent quite a bit of time here at the table with them.  Loved hearing his talk as he was working.  One thing that I noticed is that his "pencil" grasp has changed.  He didn't "fist" any of the writing tools that were available this morning.  Yeah!

Spider Shape Match
This was perfect for T.!  He's not quite three but knows his basic colors and most of his shapes.  He still calls a rectangle a triangle and of course, a hexagon is a "stop sign".  Not quite sure why they used hexagon vs. a octagon in this set but that's fine.  :-)  Beggars can't be choosers!  This is just one of the many many printables available through Kids Soup.  As mentioned before, this is the one site I pay membership to.  Awesome resource for toddlers/preschoolers!  Definitely recommend it.

Little Bee Sight Word Emergent Reader Booklet
I let her use the paper cutter instead of scissors today...much to her excitement.)
Little Bee
A little bee
in a little tree
made a little honey
just for me!
Little booklets are awesome for preschool children.  They gain confidence as they become more fluent "readers".  When we send home a booklet we encourage you to have them available and read with your child frequently.  Emergent readers have pictures that correspond with the very simple sentences to help give the child clues about the main word so do encourage the child to look at the picture when they get to the word they don't know.  Many of the emergent readers use High-Frequency Words, which the benefit of learning these belong in a complete post on its own.  This booklet was copied from
High-Frequency Word Booklets
The Mailbox grades K-1
One component that I like about this book is that it's progressive in the sense that they start at very simple one word per page stories to 5-6 words per page.  Hmmm, The Mailbox doesn't carry this book anymore.  :-(  But you can purchase it at Amazon as of today. 

Been an interesting end of last week and beginning of this week for attendance due to illness so we didn't get everything completed for last week.  We are extending our bug themed activities another week as it's a short week this week.  Hard to believe we have so few days left!  Hope you all have a lovely week.