Heart Rocks – Valentine’s Day Craft

valentine's day craft Going outside and painting rocks is something we do often but when it’s rainy outside we bring them in and kick it up a notch. These heart rocks are inspired by our Rock Easter Eggs. I love using stickers and contact paper for resist painting because young children want to make shapes that they are just not able to yet. This lets them make a heart and it’s a little magical too.  Here is how we made this fun Valentine’s day craft.

Gather your materials. You will need some clean rocks, acrylic paint, brushes, a dish for the paint, contact paper, and a heart punch or scissors. valentine's day craft

Start by punching out the contact paper with the heart paper punch. If you don’t have a punch you can use scissors. heart rocks contact paper

Place the contact paper on the rocks. rock hearts with contact paper

Pour the paint into the dish and you may want a dish with edges to keep rolly polly rocks in one place. heart rocks craft for valentine's day

Time to start painting. valentine's day painting rocks

I love how when you give a child a small object to paint them immediately become so much more careful. rocks for valentine's day craft

There weren’t many steps so I grabbed a rock and painted as well!

Let dry very very well before peeling the hearts off. heart rocks for valentine's day for kids

Scatter the rocks around for a little more love in your house.

 

Sight Words Scavenger Hunt

sight word game When kids start putting together the developmental building blocks for literacy it’s exciting. My 4 year old has been sounding out words for a long time and has always enjoyed rhyming and playing with the sounds letters make. We haven’t been pushing any of this just paying attention to what she was doing during reading and writing ( self directed writing) times. A few weeks ago at church she looked at the projector screen and read all the words. I asked her if she read them and she said ” No, I just knew them.” She didn’t know she was reading because to her reading is sounding words out. That was when I knew it was time to work some targeted reading especially sight word, activities into playtime.

This is such a simple sight word game that you can throw it together after a long day at the office, as a quick activity between dinner and bed, or like we used it a short activity for days when your child is already going to school. I want to challenge her but not overwhelm her. If reading activities are new to your house I suggest erring on the side of short and easy. The reason I say this is because we don’t want to send the message that reading is this impossible mountain to climb. Reading is fun, so let’s keep it that way. You can turn up the challenge once you can gauge their ability a little better.

Gather your materials. You will need some paper, a clip board, a marker and some sticky notes.

easy sight word scavenger hunt for kids

Write out the sight words you want to work on. I used words from the pre-primer list . You can see all the Dolch sight word lists here. If you aren’t sure where your child hits you can always read through a list with him together before the activity.simple sight word activity for kindergarten

Write the same words on sticky notes.sight word game for kids easy

Pop those sticky notes all over your house.sight word game for kindergarten

When your child is home from school tell them you have something RAD for them to play. Look at how she ran from the car inside… that’s a first.run like the wind

Go over the list. Don’t read it for them. Let them read through it. She was off hunting before I could really do anything. She knew what to do and didn’t want to waste any time.sight word scavenger hunt for kids

When they find the word they must call it out and stick it on. sight word game for kids at homeKeep going until all the words are covered with their match!
sight word scavenger hunt around the house
I was surprised that she knew them all. The only word she sounded out was can. A reminder about sounding out words. When your child is sounding it out if their first attempt is wrong don’t just yell out the correct word. You can tell them things like ” You are close, keep trying.” ” Let’s take it letter by letter.” ” Sometimes that letter makes more than one sound.” etc… let them work it out. This will build their confidence!fun sight words game

I loved hearing ” Mama that is we. We is so so easy! It’s just me with a w!”

The best part is that when there were only 10 minutes before I had to leave to pick her up from preschool I through this together and the game was a fun way for us to re-connect after hours apart.simple sight words game for kids

Valentine’s Day Crafts & More! { Add Your Link }

rp_kids-crafts-preschool-blog-455x347.pngI hope you are as excited about February as I am. I LOVE this short but sweet month. This month my class will be celebrating all sorts of things we love like shapes, friendship, emotions, and of course letters and numbers. Basically we are covering a lot of bases and even though I have a ton of ideas of my own and my own archive to look through I love finding new wonderful crafts and February themed activities from other people. It’s when you collaborate that good ideas become great.

What Valentine’s Day crafts ( or anything really) do you have to share today?

valentine's day activities for preschool

I have this great list of Valenitne’s Day Activities from me and some rad kid bloggers! You must scroll through for amazing Valentine’s Day craft and activity inspiration.

OK your turn!



What Do Teachers Do During Free Choice?

free choice in preschool
Facebook… sometimes Pinterest if the students are playing well.

I am kidding.

Yesterday I published a post listing some of my favorite free choice activities and it naturally lead me to wanting to share what exactly I { and other preschool teachers } do while our students are exploring. The most honest answer is it’s changes daily. I see free choice as the time for me to :

  • Connect with my students. If my students do not feel connected to me, to the class, or the school environment they won’t feel comfortable to explore. I try hard to connect to them by playing with them. Following their lead and addressing questions as they come up. Some days that might mean talking in depth about Elsa and Anna, about something going on at home, or their imaginary friends. All of this matters. No matter how silly it might be, follow along and get connected. Everything is easier with a connected class.
  • Work on specific learning goals. I work with students on developing literacy and math concepts , language… whatever skill it is that I have noticed they are in the midst of developing. Having a great co-teacher makes this much easier. Talk about what you have both noticed the children developing ” Did you see Suzie can count to 25?! ” When you share that info you can act on it. Now you can work on counting to 30 with Suzie while you play with pom poms in the sensory table… This is not high pressure learning. It takes time to get to know your students because this shouldn’t be quizzing, just scaffolding.
  • Work on supporting friendships and modeling social skills. The same way that you take note of your students learning you can also take time to observe their social development and work on specific goals for each child instead of only addressing social skills focused on the whole class.
  • Play because through play I can do the other three much better than through direct instruction.

So yes I do get to play when I go to work, no wonder I love it!

Here are some more specific examples of what you can do during free choice of you are a teacher or parent in the classroom:

Sitting with children playing play dough you might mention how the play dough feels on your hands, you might tell them that you are making pizza dough and ask them if they like pizza, you could make lots of small balls and squish each one while counting. You don’t need to tell the child what to do just model all different ways to use the material and offer opportunities to connect by learning more about each other.You don’t need to tell the child what to do just model all different ways to use the material and offer opportunities to connect by learning more about each other.

At the sensory table you can fill up cups wondering out loud if you can fit two full cups of the filler into the bigger jar. You can say that you want all the yellow pom poms on this side and the red ones on the other and then wonder out loud how many there are. You can dig in with your hands and talk about the texture of whatever is in the table. More than anything you can mirror what the students are doing and just listen.

At the kitchen area you can sit down at the play table and ask a child what they are cooking you or ask them what they feel like having for dinner.

If you notice the book nook being neglected sit down and start reading silently. I am not sure I have ever done this and not had a child land in my lap and ask me to start the book again.

These are just some examples that have popped into my head. The reality is that you don’t have to say anything 99% of the time. Start playing next to your students and the learning opportunities will flow. As a new teacher, I always wanted to quiz and tell ” What color is that play dough you are using Johnny?” ” Yes it’s red.” or ” No, it’s red!” this isn’t an effective way to engage young kids. Let them explore and as you get to know them you will be able to work in some targeted learning goals naturally. Forcing it turns an engaging classroom into a quiz show and that’s not very inviting. My overall goal as a preschool teacher is to make school a safe and happy place to be. My classroom is one of my students’ first experiences with school and I want to make a lasting impression that learning is fun.

Now I ask all of you teachers and homeschooling parents – What do YOU do during free choice?