Preschool Inspirations

The world is their playground!


2 Comments

Color Mixing with Preschoolers

Color Mixing Preschool Inspirations

Color mixing is always one of my favorite units! Learning colors is a huge aspect of preschool curriculum, and there are so many great books and resources on them. You can talk about colors just about anywhere you are!

The idea of mixing two colors to form a new color is somewhat of a complex concept for preschoolers. While it may be easier to understand that red and white make pink, it’s just not as easy to remember that blue and red make purple. Whenever I do color mixing with young children, I try to make the process of learning one that is memorable. If we engage their senses in the process, then it becomes an even greater tool.

Here are some of our favorite and effective color mixing activities.

We found this fantastic foamy color mixing idea from Fun at Home With Kids. I started off with just pink and blue to make purple, then we made a second batch with yellow and blue to make green. This has been one of our most exciting sensory projects ever, and afterward many of the kids loved talking about the different colors they created. A few minutes into the project I added spoons, ladles, measuring cups, etc. for the ones who wanted to participate but didn’t want to get foamy.

To make the soapy, foamy mixture, I combined 6 Tbs of dish soap (Palmolive is used here) with 3/4 cup of water. We put them in the Kitchen Aid on the highest speed for about 90 seconds and added a bunch of drops of liquid watercolor. The fun lasts for about 45 minutes before it deflates. Initially I was only going to have three kiddos at this project at a time, but they were all so eager that I gave in and let all six do it at once.

Preschool Inspirations

Preschool InspirationsPreschool Inspirations

The next activity that was hugely successful in helping my class learn about color mixing is an idea that I saw at Teach Preschool. We finger painted color wheels, and I would say each child chose to participate in this for at least 25 minutes! I printed off a color wheel for each child, and I put red, yellow, and blue on their painting plate. There was enough space in between each color to form a new color to be mixed. They painted the red, left a blank space, then painted yellow. Then they mixed the red and yellow on their plate to make orange and added it to the color wheel. We continued this until we had red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple on the color wheel. I felt that this specific activity really sank into their minds and gave them a great understanding of color mixing — one that words could never do justice with.

Preschool InspirationsPreschool Inspirations

Preschool InspirationsPreschool InspirationsPreschool Inspirations

Lastly, we used a salad spinner to mix colors. My inspiration this time came from Scrumdilly-do! I set out three cups of liquid watercolor for each child to choose from. They used the droppers to put the desired color and number of drops onto their paper. Then it was time to spin! It was such a hit that even my younger preschoolers wanted to do this over and over and over. Since I have an in home preschool, it is super convenient to allow each of my students to make 2-3 different projects since my class size is much smaller than in a center preschool setting. Plus, then I can keep one to hang on the walls, and they can take some home which makes us both happy!

Preschool InspirationsPreschool InspirationsDSC_0305Preschool InspirationsPreschool Inspirations

I would love to hear about some of your proven color mixing activities!


2 Comments

Fun Ways to Encourage Children to Write

Writing in Preschool

The most frequent question I am asked when people find out I am a preschool teacher is how to help children write their letters. I must admit that I LOVE this specific question because I am naturally a teacher who puts a lot of emphasis into writing and literacy. I also feel that writing should be adopted by children with admiration. I can remember feeling stressed about this in kindergarten, so I have made it my mission to find exciting and fun ways to teach children how to write. While I have lots of activities that encourage writing, here are my favorites.

1.) Writing in play dough

Play dough is such a fantastic medium. It gives children the chance to be a creator and artist, and it is super fun to write in. Just hand your little one a pencil while playing with play dough and help lead the way. Write things such as their name, their favorite animal, or how old they are.

DSC_0898

2.) Writing in Journals

What I use for journals are notebooks — they can have a fun cover or just be something simple. I write the child’s name on the front to help with name recognition, and I offer this opportunity every day after lunch. They have a basket of colored pencils to choose from, and the writing frenzy begins. To me it does not matter if they are writing or drawing, as long as they are using the skills to progress in forming shapes/letters and strengthening the muscles that will help in writing.

Preschool journal

3.) Writing in Cream

One of my favorite ways to teach is through some sort of sensory method. When a child is able to have an “experience,” learning stretches to greater depths. To offer this activity, put some whipped cream/shaving cream on a table top, have the child spread it smooth, and have them write letters in this foamy goodness. If using shaving cream, close supervision is necessary to make sure your child does not intake the shaving cream in any way.

DSC_1709

4.) A writing notebook

This has been my class’ favorite method of writing for years! I made a writing notebook by putting laminated writing sheets into an empty 3 ring binder. We have tracing sheets with each child’s name, letter and number sheets from teacherspayteachers.com (the free ones), as well as other writing sheets that correlate with what we are studying. Two of my favorite websites with printables are homeschoolcreations.com and at 123Homeschool4me.com. We just use dry erase markers on the laminated sheets, and wipe them off or spray them off with water when finished.

Writing Notebook

5.) Writing Apps

I am a believer in exposing preschoolers to technology. At this point my daughter (4) is able to use the apps on my tablet as well as I am. It’s amazing how quickly they pick these skills up. I found a wonderful app called ABC tracing. This particular app is perfect for preschoolers. There is an easy and hard setting so that once your child is more proficient in tracing, they can jump up to the next level. It shows how to properly trace the letter, and it is full of positive reinforcement. Plus you can make your own words, so you can put your child’s name in for her to practice. It was definitely a few dollars well spent to purchase this, and there is even a free version if you want to try it out first.

DSC_1705

6.) Writing in Colored Sand

This activity is one that I get requests for on a regular basis! I just put colored sand in the bottom of a wide and shallow container, then I put alphabet cards next to it. Each child chooses which cards she wants to trace, then she writes the letter in the sand. Plus shaking it smooth again is so much fun.

Writing in sand

When starting out I always recommend helping children write letters that are meaningful to them. Use the letters in their name or the name of someone that is very close to them. My daughter’s name is 8 letters long, so it was definitely not her first written word. Instead it was “Mimi,” a nice easy word of someone who is very important to her. What other fun ways have you found to be successful in helping children write?


Leave a comment

Creative Spaces — Reflecting Curriculum

One of my biggest resources for brewing creativity is through my colleagues. If I am needing an extra dose of inspiration, I love to browse through the work of other amazing teachers. The world of blogging has opened this up immensely, but unfortunately, not every amazing teacher has the time/desire to build a blog and post their great creativity. This has sparked a desire in me to find some really great and high quality spaces to share with the teaching world.

The pictures I am featuring today are from a child care center called Early Connections Learning Centers. Early Connections is a non profit child care and preschool program in Colorado Springs with six locations, which offers child care to parents on a sliding scale. Their programs are NAEYC accredited, and they undoubtedly employ some of the greatest early childhood talent in all of Colorado.

So are you ready to take a peek? These particular pictures reflect the curriculum that this program uses called the Storybook Journey. Early Connections’ curriculum is definitely exemplary. Teachers are given planning time, outside of the classroom, to help develop and enhance their lesson plans, and they have a very experienced Curriculum and Assessment Director to help guide and train them. Each classroom chooses a relevant book to create lesson plans from. I love how creatively these programs have displayed and reestablished the themes that are being taught!


4 Comments

DIY Sea Stars

      DIY Sea Stars

I love how beautiful and unique sea stars are! However, there are none close to me (besides the ones I brought back from beaches). I decided to do an experiment with my preschool class to see if we could make our own sea stars. My main goals for this was to create a realistic structure that can withhold the abuse of preschooler. I am thrilled to share that they fit the build! These have been dropped several times on the floor and still survived. Here’s how we did it.

Materials:

Sea star ice cube tray  from IKEA

Pastina pasta (they are tiny stars)

Plaster of Paris

Optional items — colored sand or liquid watercolor

Instructions:

First we decorated the inside of the sea star tray. I let the class decide between colored sand, pastina, or both. Once the decorations were pressed into the bottom of the sea star mold, we were ready to make our plaster. We mixed the plaster of paris (2 parts powder to 1 part water) and added liquid watercolor to some. It took quite a bit to even slightly change the color. We quickly poured it into our mold and waited about an hour…and voila! I am so thrilled with how well these turned out and how unique each one is. The pastina fell out of one, but I think it only made it look even more realistic. If IKEA was not an hour away, I would probably be stalking their ice cube tray selection to make more!

This project has been featured at:

Discover & Explore Weekly Themed Linky