Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Work Trays

This whole school year we've been using the tray approach to help me stay a bit more organized with T., who is my only preschooler this year.  And, really, when he's in Kindergarten, I still will probably use the tray approach if we continue to choose schooling at home.  (That blog can be found here.) 

I don't always get a chance to snap pictures of T. working and very seldom do I have time to take a picture of the tray.  I should get in a habit of it...but it is BUSY around here.  So here are a few snapshots of things we've done recently.

Fish Craft
A take on the tried and true paper plate fish.  :-)

Painting the Alphabet
This particular morning all the school-age kids were finishing up some sort of art project...and all required paint.  :-D  So I grabbed this paper and gave him a set of water colors.  He actually attempted to trace the letters this time instead of just painting over the whole paper.  Growth!  He was concentrating just like that for all 26 letters.  :-)

File Folder Games!  
He loves them!  I love them!
So simple, usually takes less than 5 minutes to complete one but easily reinforces Language Arts concepts.  We've been checking them out from our local library.  However, I do plan to work on some over summer break for next school year.  :-)  A great, QUICK, concept reinforcement for Kindergarten and 1st grade, also!

Shamrock Number Matching
 Even though some of these are done on the floor...they all started out on a tray.  :-)  We had to move to the living room to give ourselves more space.  First he took one set of shamrocks and put them in order from left to right and top to bottom.  We worked with number to 23.  He could do up to 14 on his own.  Then he took the other set and clipped the matching numbers together with a clothespin.  Great fine motor.  Reinforced the numbers multiple times.  :-)

Animal ABC: Scissors
As mentioned in the last post, we are working through the alphabet making simple animal letter crafts.  We've gotten our ideas by googling them.  :-)  I simply print out the block letter and he cuts them out.  Then we add features.  Here are some ones he has been working on recently...
I actually got this pattern from Get 'er Done, Mama.  However, though I liked the extra faces, etc, I found that they were a bit small for T.  So we went back to a simple block letter from Print Shop and making our own simple features . But, she has several patterns if you are interested in them for yourself.  And, really, as a preschool teacher, I don't like to use a giraffe with the letter G.  I'd rather use an animal that starts with the hard g sound, like goat.  But T. being T....we did a giraffe.  :-D
 H is for horse.  I is for iguana.
I've found that T., against my nature completely, loves "worksheets". :-D So I found some iguana ones at 1+1+1=1: Animal ABC's.  He loved tracing his shapes and numbers, etc.  And he gets a kick out of it when I let him go put it in the school-ager's basket.  :-D
He's getting a bit more confident with cutting but it also had led him to be more sloppy.  :-/ Not all that unusual...just needs reminders now to slow down and try to stay on the line.  :-)
J is for jaguar. 
Bean Sorting: Math/Fine Motor
He's losing interest in these types of sorting activities...and that's okay.  He's been doing them for a long time.  :-)  They make for a great math and fine motor activity though!

Eraser Bowling
Saw in passing on Pinterest.
He loved this!  Of course I couldn't get a picture fast enough.  He'd flick that marble and have all the eraser down.  :-)  Another great fine motor activity---flicking the marble (we used a big one) and setting up the erasers to do it again!
Zebra Painting
T. had it in his head he wanted to make a zebra for school so this is what we come up with.
 We tried the yarn fold and paint technique where you fold the paper in half and slide the yarn through but it didn't work well for him.  So we ended up just sliding the yarn across the paper, but that didn't work well for him either because the probability of getting the paint on his hands was high.  Ha!  Anyway, then he cut out a zebra shape.  Simple.  Made him happy.


 Penguin Paper Plate Craft
Another animal he "just had to make" was a penguin.  So we came up with this activity.  :-)  Perfect for working with circles.  He didn't really like the process of the circle making but he liked his end outcome.  Guess there is a lesson in that! 

Button Math
Okay, there was more to this activity but there is something he enjoys about putting buttons on flash cards and adding the matching tactile number.  Activities like this tend to appeal to the natural tendency for toddlers and preschoolers to be organized.  :-)  Yes, I did notice he went from right to left this time.   :-)  After he did the number 1-9, we continued on to introduce even and odd numbers.  We had done that last week and I'll continue to slip it in every once in awhile.  This morning I heard my 10 year old talking to him about whether a number was even or odd and seeing if the marbles he had in his hand all had buddies.  :-))  We read our odd/even poem (mentioned multiple times in this blog) about when the number is even there is always a buddy.  And we checked to see if we could move make the buttons on that number card each have a buddy.  If not, we put that card, button and number away.  That left the even numbers which we counted out with typical 2, 4, 6, 8...who do we appreciate.  :-)  Just an intro...expands his thinking a bit.  :-)
Memory Games
Memory games make great work tray activities!  I picked up this transportation one up at the dollar store the other day.  He took apart all the pieces first and then we laid them down together, reinforcing the left to right/top to bottom motion.  
Since Daddy just played "Memory" with him (because he couldn't hold all the Old Maid cards with only 2 players), this was exciting for him.  He enjoyed it and spent quite a bit of time with this activity.

What's Missing?
Another activity that my very academic preschool loved. 
These are foam shapes that I picked up awhile ago at the Target $1 section.  Any manipulatives could be used.  I created 4 different patterns (AB, ABB, ABC, and AAB) and took one out of each pattern.  He had to find the missing piece.  :-)  I created another tray for him today that actually had two blocks on top of each other, in a pattern.  We didn't get to it today though...too busy doing other stuff!  Ah well, we'll get to it tomorrow.  :-)

Water Transfer 
St. Patty's Day clearance section :-)  Little mugs and an eyedropper.

Not a tray activity...but a field trip.  :-)
Grossology Exhibit at the Midland Center for the Arts
Best part, of course, was the slide through the nose!
 Actually, that probably isn't the truth...
This was probably his favorite spot.  They had quite a few instrument displays at the museum...outside of the exhibit.
Another "not a tray" activity, but it could be relatively easily.
Pizza Fractions
Really, he was just playing with his brother.  :-)  The picture made me smile though and it does explain why preschoolers of homeschooling families often have no problem with academics.  Why?  They are being exposed to so many concepts by just being around their school-age siblings and those brain connections are already being started!

Spring is here!  Today was beautiful, the snow is quickly leaving!  Let's hope it stays that way!  I'm ready to be done with snow pants and gloves and so are the kids!  :-)

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