Seed Sorting Activity Tray

seed sorting in preschool My class is learning about gardens right now and this week we are focusing on seeds and how they grow into plants. This seed sorting activity tray will be used during free choice and I will be withins arms reach since these seeds can easily be placed places we don’t want them to be like in mouths, nostrils…ears…  I would never introduce an activity that I didn’t think my students could do successfully but children are unpredictable so being close by is always a great idea.

Gather your materials. You will need a divided tray, some seed packets, tweezers, scissors, and tape. You may also want some ziplocs and a sharpie for storing extra seeds.seed tray activity for kids

I chose seeds that would likelybe familiar to my group of 3 year olds. With older children throw in a few less recognizable ones for a challenge. seed matching game for kids

Start by cutting the package carefully on the bottom.  Pop a few seeds in the center section of your tray and put the rest in a labeled bag for later use.seed tray for kids science

Tape the empty seed envelope to the tray. I have regular tape shown in the picture above but I ended up using packing tape. seed matching activity for preschool

For really little guys you will probably want to place one seed of each plant in the proper section as a guide if you can’t introduce the activity yourself. If you can I would ask them if each seed looks like any of the vegetables pictured or of they have ever seen seeds like these before. seed tray for preschoolThen see if they can match them to the pictures. In a free choice scenario where you may be attending to many children in a short amount of time you have a few choices. My favorite is to observe during free choice and then bringing the tray back out later at circle time to talk about the seeds adding to the students previous experience with the seeds during free choice. Then the tray will be brought out for free choice again in the coming days.

tweezing seedsI added tweezers to this activity for some novelty but little fingers are perfectly acceptable too!

seed matching

My daughter tested out my activity before I packed it away into my school bag.

Have you explored seeds with your child or classroom? What is your favorite seed activity? Tell me all about it here in comments or on my Facebook Page. 

LEGO Game – Roll, Build, and Create!

DIY LEGO game for kids LEGO is huge at our house. Even if some of their marketing to girls efforts miss the mark ( did you read this?), the toy is still amazing for boys and girls. LEGO is creative as well as great for spatial and fine motor skills. This LEGO game is super simple and my kids play it often building on to their creations or making new ones. What I love about this game that wasn’t really part of the design was that it’s a great way to kickstart LEGO creations. When kids feel like building but don’t know what to build this game acts as kindling and helps start the fire for bigger ideas. Of course players are also working on subitizing skills ( recognizing amounts without counting – on dominoes, dice, tally marks etc…)  and number recognition. If that is your goal you could use multiple dice for older children and have the add or subtract and match up the sum or difference to the numbered sections. It’s so versatile!

Gather your materials. You will need some LEGO or DUPLO , a divided tray or individual bowls, a die, and a permanent marker.

lego game for kids

Write the numbers 1-6 on the divided tray. Don’t worry you can use a dry erase marker to remove the permanent marker when you are done playing. boost creativity with lego

Fill the sections of your tray with different types of LEGO bricks. You can have your children help you sort them as well. Sorting is an important skill so any time you have to practice is worthwhile. I included a lot of mini figures because in my experience kids tend to create more stories with the figures and my daughter loves to make stories with her LEGO.

lego game for children

Once they are all sorted it’s time to play. Use the center section to roll the die and whatever number they roll is the type of brick they get to build with. lego game for preschool

She was into it immediately.lego games for kids Soon she had an audience and hearing her explain the game to her dad was awesome. lego game for families Understanding multiple steps is important and when she taught her dad she had all the steps down pat! LEGO roll and build math game

One of the great things about this activity is that there is no strict ending point. Kids can stop when they feel their creation is complete or pop it to the side and come back another day. Ours is STILL in our sunroom two weeks after getting it out. I find both my kids playing with it most days.

 

Valentine’s Day Lego Challenge For Girls and Boys

lego challenge for girls Lego Challenges have become a great way for me to get a few minutes to check email while completely thrilling my daughter. She loves these simple challenges and for good reason, she is really good at it, and it gives her such confidence to complete the creations without any help. I love how deeply she concentrates and that I can do this with her pretty much anywhere in our house. She liked being close to me and I can set this up in the kitchen if I am prepping dinner like in this post, in the family room if I am reading or on my office floor if I am on a conference call. These are not only easy to set up they are fun, I love creating the shapes and don’t worry you don’t have to make specific items you can do super simple ones like these in our first Lego Challenge post. Here is how we made our Valentine’s Day Lego challenge for girls and boys.

Gather your materials. You will need some Lego bricks ( just make sure you have two of each that you need) , and some sort of tray to contain the bricks. I used a cookie sheet from the dollar store.

Sit down and create some shapes or you could do a pink heart, arrow, rose and red heart like I did for a Valentine’s Day theme. When I make these challenges I always make two exact items then take one apart to make sure I have all the right pieces.lego activities for girls

Pop all the guides and the pieces on a tray and invite your master builder to come and get challenged!

She dove right into the challenge! lego challenge for preschool heart

Challenges like these aren’t just great for fine motor skills and building confidence they are also working the same pathways as puzzles. valentine's day lego challenge buildKids tap into their spacial skills, Lego is a great way to build these skills that are used for daily tasks for our children like packing a lunch box and more far off endeavors like computer engineering and other STEM jobs they may one day have. It’s no surprise that we call my daughter our ” Little Engineer”. lego challenge roses

I loved to see how she lined her roses up to see if they were matching.

fini lego challenge pour sainte valentines

After she was done with the challenge she starting taking it apart to do it all again!

Easy Gem Letters – Alphabet Activities

alphabet activity Playing and creating with letters has been a fun way for my children and students over the years to get comfortable with letters, learn their shapes, and spark discussion about letters as we craft. As children color, paint, glue, and handle letters  while doing alphabet activities like this one they are learning. You can do this letter with upper or lowercase letters. I chose uppercase for my daughter because she is very comfortable and familiar with recognizing both and my goal for her is to get comfy with the shapes of the letters for writing. The handwriting program she uses at preschool and will be using in kindergarten next year focuses on uppercase first so we are focusing more on uppercase at this stage, though by no means ignoring the lowercase letters.  Adding jewels, buttons, stickers… is a novel way of personalizing this activity. My daughter adores these gems which made this activity a shoe in from the start. You don’t have to make a name sign but as we make the letters she wanted to make something and I suggested a name sign for a bedroom. She loved that idea.

Gather your materials. You will need some acrylic gems, sticky back foam, permanent double stick tape, scissors, and multiple sheets of card stock if you want to make a sign. alphabet actvity

Start by writing the outlines to the letters on the back of the foam. Don’t forget to make them backwards so when you cut them out they are correct. jeweld alphabet

Cut out. alphabet activity

Add the double stick tape. jeweled letters gemsI find this is way better on foam than glue. Once it’s down if you give it time to sit it will stay on forever. We did this craft before Christmas ( all those Christmas crafts pushed this one to drafts) and not a single gem has fallen off. This is VERY tricky. She did the straight letters and the curves ones I took care of. alphabet activity

Add the gems. This is where the literacy activity can easily morph into counting, patterns, shape recognition, even estimation. How many gems do you think will fit on this letter? Take cues for your kids to decide how much to push just make sure it doesn’t feel like pushing. gem lettersI had put them into pretty little containers to make it easier for her to grab them, but there was no point as she just dumped them on the table to get a better view.  This took a lot of patience and if your child is struggling let the tape settle and really adhere to the foam first before adding the gems. alphabet activity

Let them sit for a while. We used them to spell all sorts of things before settling on her name.

alphabet activity

Arrange them in whatever display you want . I layered a few sheets of card stock with more double stick tape to make the base of the sign.  You could do the same or get a cheap canvas and add them to that. callie gem letters

Peel the back of the foam off and stick onto the card stock. gem letters alphabet

Find the perfect place for it and hang it up. Like I said we made this before Christmas and since we hung it up she traces it every night before we turn the light off. It’s a sweet reminder of how proud she is of making it as well as just a good literacy activity. alphabet activity

 

Our Favorite Fine Motor Activities of 2014

fine motor activities

I try to work in activities with some element of fine motor work every day. It’s not hard when you have a child who loves to draw and color but when you don’t you might need to get a little more crafty. Fine motor work is important for many daily activities like writing, tying shoes, and eventually typing too. In the short term it’s also important for getting dressed and other tasks that help kids feel independent. What I am trying to say is that these skills are important so working on developing and fine tuning them is worth your time.

Here are the posts that we think are the very best fine motor activities of 2014.

cutting station

This is one of our most popular posts of 2014 and for good reason, it’s easy to do, fun , and functional. My daughter’s been using our Cutting Station for months and it’s found a permanent spot in our playroom.

fine motor activities

Simple is important because if an activity is simple parents will do it with their kids and teachers can throw it into a lesson plan no problem. That is why I LOVE this simple idea from Sugar Aunts.  Check out their Feather Beading here.

fine motor activities

Our Halloween Lego Challenge was a huge hit. You may not be making vampires and pumpkins for a while but this post can still inspire you to make your own Lego Challenge with any theme.

fine motor activity

Are you seeing a theme with these posts? I love simple activities and this one from Hands On As We Grow is no exception. This easy Fine Motor Activity will keep your kids busy while working on their skills.

lego fine motor

Use your kid’s Duplo for these super fun Lego Fine Motor Activities from Fun At Home With Kids.

fine motor activities

This Sticker Station is another fine motor activity I shared this year that was such a hit with my preschooler that we still use it months later.

fine motor activities

Why not use up those caps you can’t recycle for a little fun fine motor activity? This Plastic Cap Water Play from Fantastic Fun and Learning is a great little idea that kids will love.

fine motor activities

These little Dotted Snowflakes don’t look like much but the highlighters on the foam almost glowed. My daughter was in heaven and carefully dotting them was great practice for writing. She had to carefully hold the highlighters with a proper grip.

fine motor activities

This Zipper Board  from Laughing Kids Learn caught my eye on Pinterest and I added it to my Fine Motor board immediately. Now I am adding it to my favorite posts of 2014!

threading for toddlers

Imagination Tree wrote this lovely tutorial for Toddler Threading & Beading.
fine motor activities
For kids a little older than toddlers they can use twigs and beads to make these rad Fairy Wands! They will be having so much fun they won’t know they are working on some serious fine motor skills.