Shell Sorting

When I buy something specifically for an activity and spend more than I want to for only one experience, I try to brainstorm other things to use the item for. That is where this idea came from . I bought these shells for the Beach Sensory Tub we made last week, but wanted to use them for something else as well. Sorting is more than just a time filler in preschools , it’s a math lesson about matching, shapes and counting. Using tongs adds in fine motor and hand eye coordination too. I knew my son would like this but he sorted every single one , dumped them back in and did it again! I got my money’s worth out of these shells!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some sea shells, a divided platter ( ours is a chip and dip plate from the dollar store) , and some tongs or kiddie chopsticks ! Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  2. Start by placing one of each shell in the divided sections of your platter as a guide for your child.Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  3. Invite them to the table and have them use the tongs to pick up and sort the shells. If this is too frustrating, ditch the tongs and just use their hands.Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  4. Keep going! Preschool Shell Sorting Activity
  5. Talk about the shells as you play, we googled sea shells after we finished to look at even more variety of shells .
  6. Celebrate their efforts- if they sorted 4 shells or all !Preschool Shell Sorting Activity

Beach Books

 

One White Wishing Stone by Doris K. Gayzagian is a beautiful book. Visually it reminds me of an impressionist painting, the soft beach colors used by illustrator Kristina Swarner are calming and pretty. This is more than just a counting book, there is a story of a little girl at the beach,what she finds and how she plans to use them when she takes them home. It’s so beautifully done that it almost makes me forget how much I hate finding sand in my car after a trip to the beach.
Beach Party! by Harriet Ziefert and Simms Taback reminds me of “Head to Toe” by Eric Carle , and that comparison is a compliment. This large board book is a fun and cute way to introduce toddlers to movement as well as animals you find or want to avoid at the beach. The reader is asked how they want to walk today then they see how each animal moves. This would be a fun read for a circle time where kids could get up and move!
The Seashore Book
by Charlotte Zolotow is a touching story of a little boy excited to go to the sea for the first time from his mountain home. The mother describes it so well that you will be aching for a trip too! I must admit though that my son and I barely paid attention to the words, we were both so moved by Wendell Minor’s paintings. We couldn’t help but ooh and awe every time we turned the page. My son’s favorite page was the one with the crab, of course!

Fishing Alphabet Game

I think I have made one of these fishing games for every class I have ever taught, my son loves it and it was a huge part of him learning his letters, all while playing!

Cereal Bracelet Craft

Contributing Writer Kim shares this tasty , easy and really fantastically educational activity with us ! I love her perspective of having two children at different levels, enjoy!

Do you remember candy bracelets?  This activity puts an educational and healthier twist to that bracelet from your past.  All you will need are chenille stems, loop cereal (such as Fruit Cheerios or Fruit Loops), and an egg carton or muffin tin.

This activity is perfect if you have children at different levels of development because it can be implemented in so many different ways.  I have a toddler and a preschooler.  Activities that they can both do at the same time score big points with me.  I gave my daughter an egg carton and asked her to put the cereal in each compartment.  This works great for developing motor skills.

My son was given a muffin tin and asked to sort the cereal by colors.  While both of the children put the cereal in their containers, I folded the tips of the chenille stems inward to make sure the wire did not poke the children.

After my son was finished sorting, I gave him a chenille straw.  I asked which colors he would like to use to make a bracelet.  Out of six colors, he only wanted to use two.  So I asked him to thread the cereal onto the stem in a pattern of green, green, orange, orange. Depending on your child, you can do patterns of ABAB, AABB (like we did), ABCABC, or any other pattern.

While my son was threading his cereal, I tried to show my daughter how to thread the cereal onto the stem.  As soon as we got one piece of cereal on she would chomp on it and giggle.  It was extremely cute and provided her with a ton of fine motor skill practice, but didn’t help me get a picture to share with you.  My daughter is only 19 months old and is not ready for patterns, but simply threading the cereal onto the stem is a great activity.  She also just used the chenille stem as a hockey stick to shoot the cereal onto the floor.  We will just call that a hand-eye coordination building exercise.  Mommy didn’t appreciate it very much and put an end to it quickly.

When my son was finished threading the cereal we talked about the pattern and how it made the string look a certain way because of the pattern.  I put on a purple and a red at the very end and asked him if those two matched the rest.  We talked about how those two didn’t fit in with the pattern, so he decided they needed to be taken off.

To make it a neat bracelet we simply wrapped the chenille stem around his wrist and twisted the ends together.  Now you have a great snack to finish up your fun learning activity.  The best thing about this snack is that it is portable and can be taken along for the fun.

My son’s preschool class does this activity on a regular basis.  As you can imagine it is a big hit with the girls, but met with the same enthusiasm from the boys.  I want to thank my son’s preschool teachers for providing me with a fun learning activity that is so easy to do at home.  I know they aren’t the ones that originated it, but they shared it with me and I thought I would share it with you.

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Kim is a contributing writer for No Time For Flash Cards, a mom to a toddler, a preschooler, and a foster parent, too. She juggles her day by trying out fun activities and crafts with the kids. After all, she is just a big kid herself. See what she has been up to over at Mom Tried It.

Marshmallow Easter Egg

Going to the grocery store while pregnant can be dangerous, I left the store yesterday not with 1 but 2 bags of mini marshmallows.  Buyers regret stepped in but then I thought I could make a fun Easter craft with them too. So glad I got both bags because my son loved this and I think the Easter egg is adorable. Whenever I do crafts with tempting treats like marshmallows I give my son a number he needs to add to it before he can pop one in his mouth! So we limit gorging and practice counting.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some white and colored mini marshmallows, construction paper, glue and a marker. Marshmallow Easter Egg
  2. Start by drawing an Easter egg on your paper. Marshmallow Easter Egg
  3. Add glue along the line. Marshmallow Easter Egg
  4. Add your white marshmallows along the edge. We did 15 then ate one, 21 then ate one , and 17 and ate one. Yes I did help too. My son said ” Mommy I will share my activity with you and tell daddy we shared.”  Marshmallow Easter Egg
  5. Next ask your child how many stripes they want. I caution you perhaps give them a range, my son said 8 and wouldn’t budge. I ended up doing 3 rows because 8 is a lot for a 3 year old to do. Marshmallow Easter Egg
  6. Add your colored marshmallows. We decided to add a sorting element by saying the lines can be any color, but it must be all one color. So my son was forced to sort the colors when adding them. Worked great! With younger toddlers I’d just let them go for it. Older children can add a patterning lesson in too. Marshmallow Easter Egg
  7. Keep going! Marshmallow Easter Egg
  8. Let dry.

I want to know YOUR favorite Easter books!

Leave a short review of your favorite Easter book in the comments and I will feature it ( and a link to you) in a reader’s favorites section of an upcoming  post.

Sort and Shape Heart!

Marshmallow Valentine's Treat

My son will do anything for marshmallows and he loves sorting. Since this craft itself is super simple I made things more challenging by creating a pre-activity of sorting the colors with bamboo tongs.  Yes many were eaten, we did this on a no nap day and the sillies were at an all time high but we still had fun.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a divided tray, mini marshmallows, some paper or foam , glue and tongs.Valentine Marshmallow Treat
  2. Start by sorting a few of the marshmallows in a tray. I put a few in each section to provide a guide.
  3. Hand your child the tongs and let them sort.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  4. And eat.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  5. When they are all sorted ( and yes I asked if I could help and sorted a few as well) add glue to the foam/paper in a heart shape.Valentine's Day Marshmallow Treat
  6. Start adding the pink marshmallows.Valentine's Marshmallow Treat
  7. Count as you go! We did 13, 5 and 9 before gobbling up a few yellow and green ones.Valentine's Day Marshmallow Treat
  8. Let dry. Build Your Own Snowman 002

Color Sorting Goes Green

Table Top Recycling Center

Color Sorting Activity

Garbage and recycling and their respective trucks are big hits at our house, as is Duplo. So I mixed the two together for a fun color sorting activity that went on and on ! The simplest things are usually the best. Activities like this mix imaginative play, color recognition, and counting and will appeal to a wide range of ages. You can change up the theme to fit your child’s particular interests too!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some craft paper ( or use the underside of wrapping paper) , markers, painters tape , and some multi colored blocks or toys to sort.Recycling Center Activity
  2. Tape your paper to a table, add a title! As kids get interested in spelling make sure you spell out loud when adding things like titles to crafts and activities.Recycling Center Activity
  3. Draw a conveyor belt – every sorting center needs one!Recycling Center Activity
  4. Draw bins for the recyclables ( each color). I asked my son what colors we needed, he looked in the bin of Duplo and as he called them out I drew the bins.Recycling Center Activity
  5. Start sorting!Recycling Center Activity
  6. Play, we grabbed a recycling truck for added oomph! Count how many blocks are in each bin , find out which bin has the most, which has the least … there is a lot of learning hidden in this game.Recycling Center
  7. We even came back after lunch  for some more fun!Recycling Center Activity

Books

I Am A Garbage Truck by Ace Landers is okay, the story is a little disjointed, when my husband read it to him for the first time he looked over at me in my son’s bed and said ” Am I reading this the right way? It seems like I should have started from the last page?” my son didn’t care, he loves the illustrations and the way the book is in the shape of a garbage truck. I like that it covers both garbage and recycling, and toddlers will love it!

day in the life of a garbage collector

A Day in the Life of a Garbage Collector by Nate Leboutiller is presently my son’s favorite book.  Unlike the next book that focuses on the process of garbage collection and recycling this book focuses on the workers that make it all happen.  From what time they have to get up, the safety measures they take, clothes they wear and how they drive the trucks it covers it all. Perfect for kids like mine that are curbside waving at the garbage collector every week!

Trash and Recycling

Trash And Recycling by Stephanie Turnball is a great book ! I learned more about garbage and the recycling process reading this to my son over lunch than I ever knew! He loved it and despite being a pretty sophisticated book for a 3 year old immediately asked to read it again as soon as I closed it. It explains the whole process from curbside pick up, land fills, incineration and recycling. The idea for today’s activity came from the sorting of  recyclable garbage from this book!