Letter Of The Week ! Ss !

The letter S is pretty distinctive and often one of the first letters many children I have taught can identify, this is a fun easy craft using the letter S.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, some paint, scissors, some black and white paper or foam, glue, and a red pipe cleaner.
  2. Draw a thick S on a piece of construction paper.
  3. Mix some paint colors together, you don’t need to do this step but I have been noticing since doing this my son has been naming colors more accurately. I ask him ” Which color should we use?” while holding 2 or 3 for him to choose from. It could be a coincidence but it takes an extra 30 seconds so I think it’s well worth the time!
  4. Paint your S, you aren’t going to cut it out until it’s all dry and this makes it less frustrating for little ones who are less able to stay within the S.
  5. While your child is painting cut out 2 black circles of paper or foam sheets, and then small white diamonds and glue together. Of course you can use googley eyes if you want to skip this step.
  6. Let the snake dry.
  7. Glue the eyes on.
  8. Add a tongue, I am using a pipe cleaner but red paper glued on would work great too.
  9. Glue the S onto another full piece of paper for strength, without it the S will be ripped in no time.
Books!

” Hide and Snake” by Keith Baker is a fantastic book for a wide range of ages. The story follows a snake that hides in multi colored places. It is not too easy to find the snake , but easy enough that this won’t frustrate your child. With older children this book can open a dialog about camouflage and how snakes use it for protection and hunting. Younger children love books likes these because they can stay “busy” while you read the fun rhyming text.


” The Greedy Python” by Eric Carle is a fun fable about a snake that is so greedy and keeps eating and eating that eventually he eats everything, even himself! Kids love this silly story!


Additional Activities

Magnetic writing boards

I love this toy, so does my son. You can use it in so many ways and for those of you afraid of unleashing your children with crayons and markers this makes no mess. My son loves to have my husband or me write a letter of the alphabet then he scribbles over it until there is no more space on the screen.

An activity I enjoyed doing with a student who loved this was to play restaurant, she was the waitress and would take my order. I would order letters, shapes, and numbers and she would write them down on the board. Older children enjoy playing hang man on this toy too!

Splish Splash ! Let’s learn about water!

Exploring Water


Note to Parents: Relax, put down a towel and don’t you dare do this in the bath tub, kids love water and they need to have fun and explore how it feels, works and looks outside of the routine of a bath.

  1. Gather your materials. I like to use a container in relation to your child’s age. So the smaller the baby the smaller the tupperware ! You should never have anything large enough that a child could get into and cause themselves harm. You don’t need a huge container for a good time. You will also want some fun things to put in the water- oh and you may want to make sure anything you don’t want in the water is out of reach!
  2. Have fun pouring and if you have an older child, grab some measuring cups and measure out the water, pour it fast, or slow, try to make a teeny tiny trickle. Follow your child’s lead, if pouring is boring move on!!
  3. Get your testers ready- find things in your house for this experiment! Young toddlers will have fun splashing but I have done this experiment with kids as young as 2 successfully. Be animated, follow their cues and throw those toys in the water! As you pop them in ask your child if they think it will stay bouncy floating on top or if they will fall all the way to the bottom and sink.
  4. If your child likes to learn with words and charts make a simple chart like this one. You can test out each object and put them in the right colum. If your child just thinks it’s fun to put the wet toys on paper that’s cool too. Don’t push , we want them to explore.
  5. If you have an older child try making predictions before the experiment. I have always been amazed that the Melissa and Doug blocks don’t sink, they get me every time! I had to go searching for this car just so I had something to sink! Remember it’s great to admit that you thought one thing and were shocked to be proven wrong, discover things with your child !
Song


Note to Parents - I have met very few preschoolers ( and I know lots) that don’t love to sing, so why not!! Also when you sing with your child don’t worry about how you sound, they don’t care, in my opinion the sillier the better!

Here is one of my favorite songs with the water theme in it! This was always a big hit with my students. Click on the video to see how silly adults with no make up and messy hair are singing kids songs- and for the actions!

Five Green and Speckled Frogs
Five green and speckled frogs
sat on a speckled log
eating the most delicious bugs
yum yum !

One jumped into the pool
where it was nice and cool
now there are 4 green speckled frogs
ribit ribit!

Keep going until no more left!


Books


Here are some great picture books that support this theme, so if your child had fun with the water and or song you could introduce these books at a quiet , or not so quiet time too!

“Splash!” by Flora McDonell

“Water is Wet” by Penny Pollack

Note to Parentslet your young child take the lead, they are always learning , always absorbing and not everything HAS to be a teachable moment. Suggest and offer activities but be prepared to end things early or move on to something else, that is ok, normal and healthy! Learning doesn’t happen in a forced environment , but rather one rich in opportunities and experiences!

Toilet Paper Roll Rocket

  1. Gather your materials. You will need an empty toilet or paper towel roll, some paint, a paint brush, some red or orange tissue paper, a piece of construction paper some glue, scissors and a little aluminum foil .
  2. Paint the roll the color of your choosing, while your child is painting cut out some flames using the tissue paper.
  3. While the roll is drying have your child color the piece of construction paper if they want, it will be made into the nose of the ship so let them know you will be cutting it. Sometimes young children will get really upset if you don’t give them ample warning that you are altering their masterpiece.
  4. Meanwhile cut some long strips of aluminum foil.
  5. The roll should be dry enough to glue the aluminum foil strips on, while your child does this, go head and cut a circle out of the construction paper and cut half way into the circle to make a cone.
  6. Glue the cone on the end of the rocket. It’s easiest to put glue in the cone and then place the roll inside it. Hold it there a minute or two.
  7. Glue the flames on the bottom inside.
  8. Blast off!

Song!



Blast Off!

Climb aboard the spaceship
we’re going to the moon,
hurry and get ready
we’re going to blast off soon,
put on your helmet
and buckle up real tight,
cause here comes the countdown
so count with all your might!
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1,
Blast off!!

Books!

” Babar Visits Another Planet” by Laurent De Brunhoff is a sentimental favorite of mine, I think I had my school library’s copy out from Kindergarten to 2nd grade! It is on the longer side so I would not suggest it for young preschoolers who have a hard time with long books. Also I read it in the original French so I never noticed the present tense , reading it if English is your first language you may find some passages a little off…but don’t worry the kids won’t notice!

” How to Catch a Star” by Oliver Jeffers was an awesome library find. The illustrations are fantastically simple, and support the equally simple yet effective storyline about a boy who wanted a star of his own. I love this book, and your kids will too!” Roaring Rockets” by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker is a fun rhyming book about rockets. Even toddlers will enjoy the cartoon like pictures and zippy text. Also the last page is devoted to explaining the parts of a rocket and other facts!

 

Raising Readers – Reading Resources

Early literacy isn’t a unit of study during Kindergarten, early literacy starts when your child is born and you use language to say hello to that tiny little face looking back at you. Sometimes parenting can feel overwhelming so I have brought what I think are some of the very best resources available on the topic of early literacy . It’s never too late to enrich your child and not nearly as hard as it sounds!

This is a fantastic resource, there is all sorts of information about development not just literacy related information. There is a lot on this site so do not try to read it all in one nap time or while watching tv before bed ( I know that’s the only time I have to read! ) , bookmark this one for sure! I love this checklist about everyday learning for babies and toddlers.



Reading is Fundamental

This is a HUGE site with a plethora of information so go slow. There are activities, articles , author Q&A and so much more. I love some of their activities too- they have many that include sensory experiences, and all types of learning! This is exciting to me as an educator because often times learning to read has been stuck in a work sheets and flash card abyss, it’s nice to see we have broken out of that mold for good!

Get Read To Read

This is a good page, but not as easy to find things or read tidbits at a time. They have a fantastic checklist for parents about providing a home environment that will help foster a reader though. Most of this page seems more geared towards the PreK- School age crowd but it is still very useful for parents of toddlers. They have a great resources page too.

Raising Readers

This is a state of Maine initiative but I have posted it because it’s very to the point and reader friendly, which really means it’s short enough that you may be able to read it while your child is awake an ]playing quietly for 4 minutes! There are basic checklists and good lists of what parents can expect their children to be doing at various stages from birth to 5.

Scholastic Parents – Reading Help

Scholastic’s tag line is about making life better by reading everyday. Well they make it easier for parents to find out how to help their kids with the information on this page. There is way more info on Scholastic about reading than this section and I urge you to read through and use their search but I particularly like this section because you can browse by age starting at 0 .

Your Local Library

Please do not forget to go to your local library, I can not stress how fantastic a resource a children’s librarian is!

I hope these sites can be useful for you if not today in the near future, remember kindergarten teachers are magicians, kids start learning how to read the day they are born. We don’t have to push them , we just need to be there to support them!


It’s A Wrap!

Handmade
Wrapping Paper

If you have small children you probably end up going to a lot of birthday parties, this activity uses your child’s natural excitement for the party and reigns it in for a few moments anyway!

  1. Gather your materials. I am using old Christmas wrapping paper ( I swear this one roll has been around since the 90′s) , I find that using real wrapping paper makes it easier to actually wrap the gift, but any paper will work. Also I am using sponges for a more uniform look, but finger painting or another style is fine too! Of course you’ll need paint too, like usual I am mixing my own colors!
  2. Use a large piece of paper, larger than you think you will need and tape it face down to the table, or my favorite place a porch/ patio , the hose makes clean up easy!
  3. If you are sponge painting cut the sponge into small shapes.
  4. Pour some paint colors onto a dish and mix, this is one of my son’s favorite parts of art time!
  5. Start painting!
  6. Add more colors and keep going!Move your child around the paper for a more even pattern.
  7. Remember how I said use a large piece of paper? This is why, beware of toddlers who think ripping is fun! Luckily I saved enough of the paper for the gift!
  8. Let dry at least 24 hours, and wrap it in a place that is easy to clean as well, sometimes thick paint will flake off after wrapping. I suggest giving your box a good shake after wrapping.
Books!

” Babar’s Birthday Surprise” by Laurent de Brunhof is a story about friends trying to keep a special present a surprise from Babar, and all the trouble it takes to do so. I like Babar books, especially the vocabulary found in the older Babar books, words like stupefied , splendid and catastrophe ! This is a longer book, I would probably not try this with younger preschoolers and toddlers but this is a great book for 4-5 year olds !

” Moira’s Birthday” by Robert Munsch is a silly book, most of his books are, but silly is great! Moira is excited about having her birthday and doesn’t know how to say no to all the kids at school when they beg to come to her party. She ends up with the whole school at her house and her parents don’t know what to do! Luckily Moira does. This book at first look may seem like Moira is a spoiled brat who gets her way but really she is problem solving and when she gives away a present to each child who helps clean up, you can see she just wanted a good party, and isn’t a gift grabbing brat at all! Kids LOVE this book, I have never read it to a class that didn’t laugh hysterically.

“On the Night You Were Born” by Nancy Tillman is a beautiful book , maybe I am analyzing it too much but it’s really indulgent. Yes I think it’s message is right, everyone is special but what is wrong with just saying your mommy, daddy and family were excited that you were born, do we really need to tell kids that polar bears danced upon hearing the news? The pictures really are amazing I am just not a fan of the text.