Spring Circle Time Lessons with books to match { FREE Printables included! }

circle time lessons for preschool

I LOVE circle time. I get very excited about circle time when I have thought of a great lesson to pair with a lovely book. For my class of 3 year olds we start the year off with very very short circle times. We read short books and have an even shorter matching activity. As the year progresses I read longer books and have longer lessons knowing any day may be the day where all plans must go out the window to meet the needs of the students in my care. Always be flexible – even if you were super excited to share this lesson it’s more important to meet their needs than stick to the plan.

Whenever possible include movement ( even if it’s just getting up and putting a magnet on the board) and don’t shy away from reading the same book multiple times over a short period of time.

**To print the printables please click the image until it’s full size then SAVE the image to your computer then print. They will be the correct size if you follow those steps.**

This post of spring circle time lessons includes affiliate links

butterfly colors

Book :Butterfly Butterfly: A Book of Colors by Petr Horaeck

Activity : Sorting Bugs With and Without Wings

Activity Set Up :

wings and no wings

  • Print the first page out by clicking on the image and selecting print.
  • Cut the bugs out and laminating. Add magnets or velcro if you want to do this activity on a magnet or felt board.

Lesson:

  • Read the book.
  • Talk about all the different bugs in the garden and how some have wings and others do not. Encourage students to share any other observations.
  • Tell your students that you have a bag full of bugs and they need to help you sort them into two groups. Bugs that fly and bugs that do not ask the how you could tell that from a picture?
  • Hand the bugs out to each child. Invite them one and a time to place the bugs on the board or into baskets.
  • After all the children have had their turn count each group.

little gardener

Book: The Little Gardener  by Jan Geradi

Activity : Acting Out How A Seed Grows.

Lesson:

  • Read the book.
  • Ask your students what they think it must feel like to be a flower.
  • Tell then that they get to imagine what it must be like to be a flower and ask then to stand up. Make sure you have space for any student who may need to move a little bigger than their spot at circle.
  • Lead every action. Do not worry if a child is not 100% into it. Just by watching and listening they will be introduced to a plant lifecycle.
  • Start by crouching into a tiny ball saying ” We start as tiny seeds that someone planted in the dirt in their garden.”
  • Say that with sun and water you are beginning to grow. Start wiggling saying ” We are starting to grow roots.”
  • Reach up one arm saying you are starting to sprout.
  • More sun and water makes you grow even taller. Reach your hands to the side saying ” We are growing leaves!”
  • ” Oh no it’s very windy!” sway in the wind.
  • “The sun is back out and our flowers are ready to bloom.”

earthdaybigearth

Book: Big Earth, Little Me by Thom Wiley

Activity : Sorting Planet Earth by Size

How To Set Up The Activity : earth sort by size

 

 

 

 

  • Print out the sheet of different sized earths by clicking on the image, saving to your computer, and printing.
  • Laminate and add magnets or velcro if you want to do this activity on a magnet or felt board.

Lesson:

  • Read the book.
  • Talk very briefly about how large the earth is and how small we are.
  • Put one earth ( of various sizes) on the board or into a bowl if you are sorting into a bowl. Show your students that you have all different sizes and you need their help to sort them by size.
  • Invite each child to come choose an earth and sort it into the correct bin or space on your board.
  • After every child has had a turn ask them which group has the most. Count each as a group to see if they are correct.

the earth book

Book: The EARTH Book by Todd Parr

Activity : Can I Recycle This? Learning what you can and can’t pop into the recycling bin.

How To Set Up The Activity :

  • Gather different items that you can and can not recycle in your community. If you have food waste in your area include that with a third container. Have more than you think you will need ( more than one per student).
  • Have two containers one with a recycle sign and the other with a garbage can. If your community uses different colors for your garbage and recycling use the same color containers for this activity. We want this to be a practical lesson as well as a problem solving one. You will also want a bag to hold the items before the children sort them.

Lesson:

  • Read the book.
  • Tell your students that you need help. You have a whole bunch of garbage in your bag but aren’t sure what you can and can’t put into the recycling bin.
  • As a group start sorting. Ask the children if each item can be recycled or put in the garbage. If your children are into it keep going until you have no more items. If not choose a few of the most common items like water bottles, aluminum cans and newspaper and sort them into recycling and some common non recyclables like bottle tops and sandwich bags.

 

bugs bugs bugs

Book: Bugs! Bugs! Bugs! by Bob Barner

How To Set Up The Activity :

  • Gather some plastic bugs in 3-4 different colors or use the printable from above print out and laminate each bug.
  • Pop them in a butterfly net like this or a bug house. A little novelty goes FAR!
  • Gather bowls in the same color as the bugs. We have these bowls at school and I use them daily!

Lesson :

  • Read the book.
  • Tell the students that you have caught a bunch of different color bugs but you need to put them into these bowls.
  • Invite the children to come reach into the net or bug house and sort the bug into the correct bowl.
  •  In groups where sitting for longer periods are OK you can go by each child and ask them to take two different colored bugs to place in the bowls.
  • If your group can stay seated long enough to count each group of bugs together then please do.

 

i love bugs

Book : I Love Bugs! by Phileomon Sturges

Activity : Matching Butterfly Wings – matching patterns and colors.

How To Set Up The Activity:

butterfly match

  • Print out the Butterfly Match sheet by clicking on the image and saving it to your computer then printing.
  • Laminate, cut the butterflies out, then cut down the middle.Add magnets or velcro if you want to do this activity on a magnet or felt board.

Lesson:

  • Read the book.
  • Ask each child what their favorite bug is.
  • Tell them you like many bugs but butterflies are one of your favorites. ( If this isn’t true say something that is but seriously who doesn’t LOVE butterflies??)
  • Have one half of each butterfly on a board or lay them out in the circle. If you choose to lay them out you may want a tray or a solid color piece of fabric so the patterns and colors pop out for the students.
  • If this is a new concept for your class do 3-5 butterflies together as a group. Hold the wing up to a few butterflies that aren’t a match and ask the group if it’s a match. Don’t aim to trick anyone but let them feel like they are teaching you from time to time.
  • If you are teaching master matchers hand one wing to each student and have them find the correct match. As they do label colors and sizes from time to time saying things like ” Wow Bobby you found the match for that bright pink butterfly!” or ” Suzie your butterfly is really large!”

eating the alphabet

Book: Eating the Alphabet: Fruits & Vegetables from A to Z by Lois Ehlert

Activity : Making Fruit Salad

How To Set Up The Activity:

  • I like doing this activity at a table but it’s not a must.
  • Any fruit can be used . I like to use apple, pear, strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, kiwi, grapes, pineapple, and mandarin oranges. You will also need small bowls for each and one large salad bowl.
  • You will want some whole fruit to examine like a pineapple, apple, mandarine orange, and kiwi.
  • Have one serving of each fruit already chopped( during free choice have the children help you do some chopping).

Lesson:

  • Read the book.
  • Ask each child which fruit or vegetable is their favorite.
  • Pass around the whole fruit you have and talk about how the fruit feels and smells.
  • Remind the children about the chopping they did earlier. Explain that they will now make a salad with the fruit.
  • Invite each child to come pour one bowl of chopped fruit into the bowl.
  • Serve and enjoy.

planting-a-rainbow

Book:Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert

Activity : Color Matching Flowers and Stems

How To Set The Activity Up:

planting a rainbow

  • Print out this printable by clicking the image, saving to your computer, then printing.
  • Laminate the flowers and stems then cut out.Add magnets or velcro if you want to do this activity on a magnet or felt board.
  • Have the stems on the board before you read the book.

Lesson:

  • Read the book.
  • Ask the children what their favorite color is. Ask if they would like to help you plan a rainbow flower garden too!
  • Show the class the stems on the board and explain that you have the flowers in your basket. You need their help matching them.
  • Invite each child up to the board to choose a color and add it to the stem.
  • Once the garden is complete count to see how many flowers in total are in it.

 

Do you have a favorite spring lesson or activity for your class? Besides circle times like these my class will be cutting flowers, beading with bug beads, making bug prints in play dough and SO much more. April is going to be a blast!

 

Happy Easter – Let’s Share Links!

rp_kids-crafts-preschool-blog-455x34711-455x3471111.pngIt’s Easter Sunday and I know many of you are busy refereeing egg hunts, dishing up brunch, and celebrating. I hope if you have a moment of downtime you can take a minute and share your links here so my readers can discover even MORE awesome ideas.

I have to jump in the shower and pop on my Easter dress for church, say a little prayer it fits after all the chocolate that made it into my mouth instead of the plastic eggs I was filling yesterday. Oops.

Happy Easter!


Easter Egg Play Dough Tray Activity

easter play dough Finding that fine line between setting something up that is exciting and interesting for your child ( or students ) and letting go of how they decide to use it can be hard. You envision this awesome idea but when you let go of it and they dive in they don’t always use it the way you intended. Maybe they spend a fraction of the amount of time you expect them to on it, maybe they turn it into a completely new idea, or maybe they ignore it completely. Don’t sweat it. Let them create their own experience and let go of your expectations. Observe and see what they are learning from how they have decided to play with the materials you have put on the tray. I imagined wonderfully patterned Easter eggs like ones she’d been drawing for days before I created this Easter egg play dough for her. Instead what she learned was that if you dip and roll the play dough in the collage materials , they stick. I think her lesson was a lot more exciting.

Gather your materials. I put out a egg mold, some play dough, gems, buttons, and beads.easter play dough

Start by making your eggs. I showed her how to make one then rolled it back into a ball so she could make it herself.  easter sensory

After that she added a few things. Not very enthusiastically.  easter egg sesory

She made a few more.easter egg fine motor

Then her face lit up as she dumped the decorations out and rolled her purple egg in it. easter egg discoveryNow it’s fun! She then took out the pieces she didn’t want, leaving only a few pink ones.

easter egg free choice activity

The white egg was next. When she didn’t do it at all I asked her why ” I am leaving it for you.” So I made it the way I wanted to now that it was my turn and she praised me after noticing my patterns . She still got the lesson about patterns I was angling for and one about me trusting her choices. When we follow their leads not only do they have more fun but they learn we trust their choices and value their ideas. There will be times when we chose to push ahead with our plan for the activity but when you don’t have to be inflexible I encourage you to throw the plan and sit back and watch.

Easter Sensory Activities that you can touch, taste, see, smell, and hear!

easter sensory activities As a preschool teacher I get asked a lot about how I teach. One thing I usually say is that in my class my students explore with all their senses. This isn’t because of careful planning it’s just a fact. Young children use all their senses to make sense of what they are experiencing. Because that is how they learn we also have to teach that way. Here are 18 Easter sensory activities that are wonderful experiences for all their senses.

easter sensory activities

Marshmallow Easter Bunny – fantastic for touch and taste!
Texture Easter Eggs – explore how the materials feel so different!
Polka Dot Slime – feel it and be amazed at what you are seeing from Fun At Home With Kids
Sandpaper and Felt Carrot Puzzles – Feel the different textures and see the different shapes.

easter sensory
Shaving Cream Marbled Easter Eggs – use almost all your senses for this activity from Hands On As We Grow
Frozen Yogurt Easter Eggs Make them and taste them.
Easter Egg Sticky Wall – Fun sensory activity from Toddler Approved
Easter Egg Collages – explore silky and smooth textures with this ribbon craft.

sensory ideas for easter
Easter Sound Match – explore sounds with this fun game from A Mom With A Lesson Plan
Shaving Cream Easter Bunny – Get your hands messy with this great craft from How Wee Learn.
Easter Sensory Tub – Dig through spring with this multi-sensory activity.
Paint & Eat Easter Egg Waffles – not only for taste these are visually stimulating too!

easter touch and feel
Soft Cotton Ball Bunny – Make it and feel it!
Fancy Egg Shakers – these shakers from Mama Smiles are visually stimulating and perfect for learning about sound.
Marshmallow Easter Egg – children love the feeling, smell, and not surprisingly taste of these colorful marshmallows.

easter ideas for kids
Candy Play Dough – I can’t imagine kids NOT wanting to taste this from Kids Activity Blog.
Bunny Color Match – Bright visuals help make this activity a hit!
Easter Writing and Printing with Carrots – explore how carrots, taste, smell, and feel with this activity from Nurture Store.