Play Dough with Popsicle Stick Flowers

easy popsicle stick flowers I made these flowers for a fun addition to our play dough area at preschool. My four-year-old saw them sitting out before we went to school and had to play. Still in her PJs ( but that’s normal around here right?) she tested this activity out before I took it into my class. The way she played interested me because she turned each color for flower into a family and matched them all up, giving some names and even creating stories about them. I love seeing how sensory play boosts language and literacy!

play dough activity for kids

Gather your materials. My friends at craftprojectideas.com sent me these mini popsicle sticks and foam flower stickers you can use theirs like I did or make your own with adhesive foam sheets. You will also need some play dough.

 

You need two matching stickers for each flower. Peel the backing off one.easy diy toys for play dough

Press the stick into it.flowers for play dough

Peel the backing off the matching sticker and sandwich the two together.

Told you it was easy.

play dough play for kids

PLAY

matching up flowers

I love her little stories. flower playdough activityThe yellow family was off to the Nutcracker with an auntie  grandma, and a good buddy. By encouraging these stories, you are encouraging storytelling which is an important building block for strong literacy later on.

Play dough activity for spring

Books About Flowers

Click over to our books about flowers book list. Click here or the image.

books about flowers for kids

 

Early Literacy Activities with Slime

literacy activities with slime After my daughter and I explored letter recognition and upper and lowercase letter matching yesterday with slime we started looking around the playroom for more items to use with the slime. Immediately we saw the cookie cutters that we usually use with playdough. We started making letter impressions and I knew right away that this would be perfect for my preschool class that aren’t quite ready for the tiny little alphabet beads that we used yesterday. They are still learning their letters and these big cookie cutters are perfect for their newly three-year-old hands.

Gather your materials. You will need some slime ( check out this post for our recipe), and some alphabet cookie cutters.sensory alphabet activity

Explore and have fun squishing the slime through the cookie cutters and making impressions.

slime and cookie cutters with gak

As we were playing we discovered that we could also use these cookie cutters to make words. What a fun way to work on spelling words! If you have lowercase cookie cutters that would be even better ( we only have uppercase ones). What a great way to use slime for older siblings and younger siblings at the same time. Here are five basic early literacy ideas you could do using just slime and alphabet cookie cutters :

Place all the cookie cutters on the table and give your child a ball of slime to flatten.

gak with cookie cutters

1.Call out a letter sound and have your child grab the letter that makes that sound and squish it into their slime.

2. Call out a word and have your child spell it.

3. Call out a word and have your child spell a rhyming word in the slime.

4. Call out a word and have your child squish the letter that makes the initial letter sound into the slime.

5. Just let them play with the letters and slime. Trust me they are learning.

sensory activity that promotes literacy

 

How do you use sensory materials for literacy learning? Leave a comment and tell me how or pop over to No Time For Flash Cards Facebook Page and tell me!

Alphabet Slime – Match Upper & Lowercase Letters

alphabet slime with glue and starch I am part of Elmer’s Crafty Teachers Crew and they asked me to create a fun learning activity with some of their products and share them with you. I knew exactly what I wanted to do…. make some alphabet slime!  Sensory materials like slime are fun all by themselves but adding a few items can turn a completely sensory experience into a sensorial literacy one. My daughter has known her letters for quite some time but still confuses lowercase b and d from time to time. This activity is a great way to work on upper and lowercase letter identification as well as fine motor development as your child or students dig through the slime for the small beads. My preferred way to use this activity is to set it all up and let the child explore, let them match up the letters or just PLAY. They will benefit from both options.

alphabet slime with elmer's glue

Gather your materials. You will need some Elmer’s clear school glue, Elmer’s glitter glue, glitter, liquid starch, alphabet beads, two ice cube trays, a marker, some bowls, and a spatula.

upper and lowercase matching activity from no time for flash cards

Before you mix up the slime write the lowercase letters in the ice cube tray with a permanent marker.

glue slime with elmer's glue

Here is the recipe I used – our slime was not very sticky and pretty thick. I kneaded it a lot! I like it strong and thick so little bits don’t go flying.

1 bottle of Elmer’s Clear School Glue
1/2 bottle of Elmer’s Glitter Glue
1 squeeze ( about a tablespoon) of Elmer’s School Glue
Glitter – We used the glitter from Elmer’s Craft Bond Glitter & Glue. One full tube for each color.
1/4 cup of liquid starch

sensory alphabet activity

I mixed the first four ingredients then added the starch and kneaded by hand. It got messy at times but,  it was quick to make.

alphabet slime

I made four colors, but my little assistant wanted to mix them together. The photos would have been SO much prettier if we didn’t but let’s all keep a good perspective on these activities. They aren’t for us or even Pinterest they are for our little ones SO MIX THE COLORS even if they end up brown or in our case a gun metal gray.

alphabet slime

Add the alphabet beads and mix.

alphabet slime

Set out the trays and the slime for your little letter finder.letter matching game with slime

Dig in!

alphabet slime

She spent about half the time digging for letters and putting them in the correct sections and the other half just playing and exploring the slime. alphabet slime letter activity

We sat together both digging in and picking out letters. sensory alphabet activity As well as giggling at the not so proper noises that the slime made as she pushed into it.

After a while we went looking for letters that we hadn’t found yet, she noticed which letters had the most beads in their sections and which were empty.

alphabet activity

Then she played some more!

alphabet activity

Using some novelty to reinforce or even introduce basic concepts makes them mush more fun. Using sensory materials like slime can offer children that need to squish and grab and squeeze an outlet to do that while still reaching more specific goals.

sensory play alphabet activity

Tomorrow I will share another simple idea we created with this slime after we got all the alphabet beads out – I will be taking it to my preschool class to explore with my students. Don’t miss it!

Alphabet Slime sensory activity for kids

As stated above this post is part of a sponsored program with Elmer’s Glue.

Sunday Sharing – Leave your early childhood education link!

rp_kids-crafts-preschool-blog-455x34711-455x34711111.pngGood Morning! It’s Sunday and I am in the last few weeks of marathon training – there is nothing I’d love more than coming home from my long run today and checking out the great early childhood education posts you leave here on Link & Learn! I am passionate about early childhood education and my long runs are usually when I brainstorm new ideas for my preschool classroom and to share with you here. Where do you get your ideas?

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Fill In The Blank Life Cycles – Preschool Science

teaching life cycles Children are natural sorters. They like order and understand steps very early on if we present them in a fun hands on way. Nothing beats seeing a lifecycle in action. I encourage all of you to get a Butterfly Garden ( affiliate link), or find a frog pond where you can visit multiple times to see the changing stages first hand. If you can NOT do either of those this hands on activity is a great alternative and what I love about these life cycle manipulatives is that kids will play with them over and over again. As I type this our frog and tadpoles you see in this post have just been relocated to our swampy sensory table .Of course if you don’t have access to these models or the budget to spend on them you can always hand draw the stages, cut out, color and laminate them. I am often asked if I read then do the activities or the other way around. In this case if you are introducing the life cycles for the first time read the books first and do these fill in the blank life cycles after.

fill in the blank life cycles 1

To create these super simple fill in the blank life cycles you will need some life cycle manipulatives like these ones I got at Michael’s ( or draw your own) , some good quality paper, markers, and a tray or two.

frog life cycle

Trace around each step in the life cycle. If your child is a reader add the stage with a word but if not skip it. I added it at first and my daughter was so intent on sounding it out that when she couldn’t ( chrysalis ) it frustrated her. The shape of the item will be an effective prompt. If you are drawing your own make sure the shapes are distinct after you cut them out. life cycle fill in the blank sheetsMy helper took this picture of me tracing I think it’s the first picture of me prepping an activity in 7 years.butterfly life cycle activity

Add arrows to show the direction of the transformation. I had help with this step.fill in the blank life cycle of frog

Label the life cycle in the middle so your child can identify which mat they need. My daughter can recognize these words so I didn’t include a picture but for a classroom with all different levels I would include a picture of a frog, butterfly, or turtle in the middle and laminate.

Pop the manipulatives on a second tray or in a shallow dish.turtle life cycle activity

Start matching them up. butterfly life cycleIf you are doing this in a free choice setting for a class I’d suggest doing it at circle time first and then either later that day or the next time you meet having it out for individuals to use with their prior knowledge. Don’t forget that you can place as many or as few of the pieces on the sheet to start with to help your child be successful

butterfly life cycles

As she placed the pieces of the life cycles we talked about each of them.

Books About Life Cycles

all book lists contain affiliate links.

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a butterfly it also is useful for lesson about the days of the week and healthy eating. Children love relating to the caterpillar who eats too many treats and ends up with a belly ache before eating one more healthy leaf and spinning a chrysalis.

fish

Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni is a cute book that not only talks about friendship but it also explains the transformation of a tadpole into a frog in an entertaining way . I have used this book in classrooms while doing animal life cycles and kids always love how the fish in the book imagines humans as fish with legs! The story of friendship between the little tadpole and minnow can’t be ignored either, it’s a great message about change and the way friendships if true can withstand change.from tadpole to frog

From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer is another gem from the “Let’s- Read-And-Find-Out” series. It goes into great detail without offering too much for young readers. When I was reading it to my 2 year old, I skipped some pages, it’s a little long for him still but 3-5 year olds are perfect age for this non fiction book. The illustrations are interesting and kept my wiggly man into the book when the text went above his head.

 

Need a song to help teach about the butterfly life cycle? Try this one!