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

fill in the blank life cycles for kidsChildren 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. Too bad my order was off ( this friends is what happens when you blog on too little sleep… please note the correct order is egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly…. ) 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.life cycles for preschool

If 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 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

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 a the 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 the 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 the perfect age for this nonfiction 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! 

Earth Day Crafts and Activities For 3 year olds

Earth Day Crafts For THree Year Olds from No Time For Flash Cards Earth Day might mean a lot to you ( or not ) but it doesn’t mean anything to a three year old until we teach them about it. I explain Earth Day as a special day where we take a few extra minutes or more to think about all the Earth provides and all we can do to protect its beautiful gifts. Older kids can get into the three Rs more deeply but with three year olds we stick to these basic bits of info :

It’s our job to help keep the Earth clean by picking up litter, reusing garbage for other things, and recycling what we can so we don’t have to use up more trees or other things from nature.

From there I let their questions lead my teaching but those very very basic bits of info are my launchpad. This has worked well over the years because the children who are interested and are able to see past their own immediate experience will ask questions and those who aren’t won’t. If we throw too much info at them they will just get overwhelmed.

Here are some awesome ways to celebrate Earth Day with three year olds.

Earth Day Activities For Three Year Olds

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Make Earth Day Muffins

Garden Sensory Tub
Garden Sensory Tub

earth day activity outside
Nature Detectives

recycling game
Recycling or Trash Sorting Game

painting with recycled objects
Paint with Things Out Of The Recycling Bin.

nature color hunt
Nature Color Hunt

earth day dgdhdj
Coffee Grounds Sensory Tub

Earth Day Crafts For Three Year Olds 

earth day craft

Recycled Confetti Earth 

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Earth Day Letter E Craftrp_earth-day-suncatcher-455x640.png
Earth Day Sun Catcher
Newspaper Earth

easy earth day craft for kids
Puffy Paint Earth

DIY Recycled Paper Project
Make Recycled Paper At Home

sun melted recycled crayons 1
Recycled Crayons Using Solar Energy

trash collage rainbow craft for kids
Trash Rainbow

earth day tambourine
Earth Day Tambourine

Recycling Center Activity
Table Top Recycling Center

playdoh earth
Playdough Earths

Heart Shaped Bird Feeder
All Natural Bird Feeder

Earth Day Craft

Coffee Filter Earth Garland 

Earth Day Books
earth day books

pop over to this post ( click here or on the image) to read full reviews of these books all about Earth Day many of which are perfect for three year olds.

How are you going to celebrate Earth Day with your children or students? Tell me all about your plans for Earth Day on No Time For Flash Cards Facebook page! 

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. 

Letter Of The Week – Letter V Crafts and Activities

letter of the week v crafts and activities Are you doing a letter of the week with your child? Does your class follow a letter of the week program? If you are here are some ideas for your letter of week letter v week. Before I get to the crafts can I share a few of my thoughts about letter of the week? I think letter of the week is a fun way to use a little novelty to focus on one letter, but that’s it. Please only focus a small amount of attention on the single letter and continue to focus on all letters as a whole. Letters work together and children learn about letters and how they work when they use them in meaningful ways. Play is meaningful, art is meaningful, and a fun craft can be a mix of both but focusing too much busy work is not. Choose one or two fun ideas from this post then check out the whole alphabet activities after the letter v crafts and activities.

Letter V Crafts

letter v

Vase VVegetable V 

 

Crafts and Activities for V

letter v activities for letter of the week

Vegetable PrintingEasy Recycled VaseVegetable Alphabet Gardening  – VolcanoVegetables Above & Below Ground Craft

Whole Alphabet Activities

sensory alphabet activity

Disappearing Letters   – Alphabet Playdough  – Alphabet Slime