How to Use Scholastic’s My Big World in the Preschool Classroom

Inside: How to use Scholastic’s My Big World in the Preschool Classroom

We love to explore the world around us. I’ve mentioned many times how young children are more interested when what they are learning is connected to real life experiences. We read books and share our experiences during circle time. We have hands-on exploration and play during centers time that connect to these themes.

However, it can be a challenge to find literature and activities that are appropriate for our younger children.

Recently Scholastic contacted us to see if we’d be interested in reviewing their My Big World with Clifford. I’ve been using Scholastic for over 17 years, starting the first year I began teaching preschoolers. So of course I accepted!

Scholastic My Big World

Scholastic’s My Big World in the Preschool Classroom

A subscription to My Big World with Clifford includes 16 issues each school year, delivered in sets of 2 during the school year. Every issue is filled with simple text, big clear pictures, and easy to understand facts that young children can understand. There is also a big issue for the teacher that we used on our bulletin board.

We first read our magazines together at circle time, and then the children got to take their copies home. This gave them a chance to look at the magazine again, perhaps with their family.

Scholastic My Big World

Using My Big World with Clifford in the Classroom

The April edition of My Big World was all about taking care of plants.

You can grow plants. How would you take care of them?

I soaked some cotton balls in water and asked the children to come up, one at a time, to drop them into a jar.

Scholastic My Big World

We then placed some dried beans inside the jar, between the glass and the wet cotton balls.

We sealed the jar and examined what they looked like.

Scholastic My Big World

Scholastic My Big World

The next day we passed the jar around and noted how the beans had changed, comparing the beans to our model.

We could see that some of the beans had sprouted.

Scholastic My Big World

We did this for each day, noting how the beans were changing and growing. We would refer to the big Scholastic magazine that we had tacked on our bulletin board.

Scholastic My Big World

At the same time, we planted sunflowers. We looked at the photos in our classroom magazine to learn how to take care of our plants as they grew. There was even a sing-along in the magazine to go with the activity.

scholastic my big world

More about My Big World:

My Big World is suitable for preschool and pre-kindergarten children. You will get 18 issues that include an editorial calendar, online resources, skills & standards, and a section for Head Start educators.

You can read more about it here: Scholastic “Our Big World”

Scholastic on Twitter

Scholastic on Facebook

Scholastic on Pinterest

 

Disclosure: Scholastic sent me a few sets of “Our Big World with Clifford” magazines to use in my preschool classroom. However, I’ve been ordering from Scholastic for over 17 years and love their reading club and resources!

 

Scholastic My Big World

 

 

More ideas for young learners:

     learning with lego - 100+ activities for kids     Learning activities using music for toddlers and preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

Learning is much more fun when it’s part of play! When it’s hands-on and invites kids to use their creativity and imaginations. When they can touch the materials, move them around. That’s exactly what this fun alphabet recognition sensory bin delivers.

These types of activities are perfect for preschoolers who are starting to recognize letters in the alphabet. They might only be able to recognize a few of the letters, and that is okay! They are being exposed. They might be learning the letters in their names, or even spelling some familiar sight words.

This alphabet recognition sensory bin is appealing to all preschool literacy levels. This is ideal for the classroom! And it provides different textures for a fun sensorial experience.

And…it’s super easy to put together! Let me show you how.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

The first thing you want to think about is what to put in the bin. It doesn’t need to be exactly like ours.

Some ideas:

  • Letters of some sort
  • Construction vehicles
  • Sand
  • Rocks
  • Construction pieces

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

We chose to use Kinetic Sand because of the way it feels and molds and moves. (Seriously, if you’ve never touched this stuff, you must. Grown-ups have just as much fun with it. It’s amazing!)

We added Lincoln Logs for a bit of construction fun.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

We had some letter stones but you could easily use foam letters or even magnetic letters.

 

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

For some preschoolers, the fun will be using the construction vehicles.

For others, it will be using the letters, perhaps spelling their names.

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

Handfuls of sand can be mounded and moved. Structures can be built with whatever construction pieces you add to the bin.

Exposure to the alphabet in a playful way!

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

 

Bonus! Grab your Learn the Alphabet Mega Pack!

Learn the Alphabet preschool printable pack

With this 230 page pack, you can help your preschooler learn their letters while practicing early phonic skills, coloring, fine motor skills, handwriting, and more! For $15.00 you can download your digital mega pack now!

 

Fun Alphabet Recognition Sensory Bin

 

More ways to learn through play:

Shapes in the Sensory Bin

Color Sorting at the Water Table

Letters in the Block Area

 


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

Trains and train tracks are a staple in many toddler and preschool classrooms, mine included. They are not only fun to play with, but they are also very helpful when we are dealing with separation anxiety or need something to calm our environment. Recently our block area was transformed into train play with Old Tracks, New Tricks, a new book written by Jessica Petersen. We gathered all the wooden tracks we owned (we’ve had many considerate parents throughout the years who have donated what they no longer use) and our huge tub of Duplos (again, donated by many parents over the years). I watched as our preschoolers worked together to construct pillars and ramps, buildings and walls, all inspired by the book.

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

 Full disclosure: I was provided a copy of Old Tracks, New Tricks for review. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

I introduced the book Old Tracks, New Tricks during our morning meeting. As I read it to our preschoolers, I gave them plenty of time to absorb what they saw on each page. When we saw how bossy the trains were to the 3 new tracks, we paused to talk about feelings. How did it make the new tracks feel when they were treated that way? But then the new tracks decided not to let those trains bother them. Instead, they got creative. The other tracks got involved, and eventually the trains wanted to be part of the fun. We watched what happened when the trains and the tracks had to work together and how they were rewarded with lots of fun. We compared it to how we work together on classroom activities.

Old Tracks, New Tricks Activity

I love getting the preschoolers involved in decisions. We knew we wanted to add trains to our block area after reading Old Tracks, New Tricks, but what would we put with them? We once again looked at the photos in the book and decided that we definitely needed Duplos. LOTS of Duplos.

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

We decided to pull our gigantic plastic tub of assorted Duplo pieces out of the storage closet and add it to our block area. We filled another basket with trains. We were eager to get to work!

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

The preschoolers began stacking the Duplos, figuring out which tracks would need support. A lot of collaboration happened while the bricks were moved around, especially once the tracks were involved.

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

“How can we raise the tracks?”

This was the first question that led to some pillars.

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

Some of the tracks were completely substituted with Duplos.

“The trains can still travel across them.”

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

Structures were also made alongside the tracks, as walls and buildings.

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

I love activities such as this because they encourage children to think of alternative ways to use materials. It’s also a great way to revive old toys, putting them to new use.

Train Play with Old Tracks, New Tricks

More About the Book:

Old Tracks, New Tricks is written by Jessica Petersen, who blogs at Play Trains, and published by The Innovation Press.  The rhyming text is fun to read as children predict the last words in each line. Jessica includes ideas to spiff up your wooden train tracks, such as with foil and even glow-in-the-dark materials for nighttime fun! The photos are bright and fun, showing  off lots of different ways to customize your tracks. While writing the book, Jessica kept in mind all the stages of the train lover, from toddlers to preschoolers and older.

Want to see more? The Innovation Press has provided a free preview of the first ten pages!

More ideas for kids:

Block Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers      16 Large Motor Activities for Kids that Are Perfect for Indoors - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     music and movement for preschoolers


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Fun Rainbow Color Sorting Sensory Bin

After a grey winter, we cannot wait for our classroom to burst with color. So is it coincidence that one of our last winter themes involves the rainbow? I think not. During this theme I wanted a sensory bin that not only had every color in the rainbow, but also different textures and tools to strengthen the hands and fingers. It didn’t take me long to find the perfect items to a fun rainbow color sorting sensory bin.

Ready for some colorful fun?

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Rainbow Color Sorting Sensory Bin

What we used:

  • Color sorting cups
  • Rainbow pom poms
  • Rainbow buttons
  • Rainbow feathers
  • Tongs or tweezers

 

Book to go with this activity:

Planting a Rainbow

 


It all started with these color sorting cups that I found on Amazon. I just knew they’d be perfect for not only this activity, but many future activities as well. (Fellow teachers, I’m sure you understand how we must find toys that have multiple uses, right?)

I love how they nest (each cup is numbered on the bottom).
Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

I love how they stack.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

The children, of course, love how they can be knocked over.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

I placed everything into the sensory bin, along with some tweezers and tongs, as I am always looking for ways to strengthen those hands and fingers!

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

I needed to make sure everything was color coordinating, since this would be a sorting activity.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

The first thing the children did was start sorting them by color. They told me the yellow pom poms were popcorn.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

They would gently shake the bowl to make the pom poms jump up and down.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

And then all the colors of pom poms got involved, some ending outside the sensory bin. No worries, our children are working on picking up what falls on the floor.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

We also have a small broom and dustpan available for taking care of spills.

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

How to adapt this sensory activity for toddlers:

Set the buttons and small pom poms aside. Toddlers love the feeling of the jumbo pom poms! Replace the tweezers with small scoops. (We use these for lots of activities, by the way!) They will be more interested in scooping and pouring the pom poms than actually sorting them by color, but that’s okay. It’s all about exposure!

Fun Rainbow Sensory Bin

More ideas to try:

Rainbow Crayons - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds    Letter Beads Discovery Bottles     Preschool Color Game Using Legos

 

Have you seen what’s in our store?

 

The Unofficial Guide to Learning with LEGO®

The Unofficial Guide to Learning with Lego® brings you over 100 awesome Lego®-based ideas that are perfect for educating in the classroom and at home. The book starts with the basics like learning colors and counting, all the way up to engineering and other STEM topics. (You might recall how we used our Duplo bricks in a STEM construction activity last year.)

Find out more about The Unofficial Guild to Learning with LEGO®, or for only $14.95 you can buy it now.

Preschool LEGO activities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




Best Books for Kids to Sing With

Our toddlers and preschoolers love to sing! We sing various times during our day. Some are planned, such as during circle time, and some just happen randomly, such as when we are in the middle of a transition to a new activity.  You don’t need to have a beautiful voice, either. I used to be very self-conscious about my voice, knowing it was nothing close to my sister Lauri’s professional sound. But when I am singing with my little friends, I forget that. I just relax and enjoy the moment. I even sing up on stage with the children in front of an audience! Another favorite time to sing is while reading books. We love our collection of best books for kids to sing with! Singing instead of reading the words is a great way to build language skills and learn new words, too. So check out some of our favorites below and try a few with your toddlers and preschoolers!

Best Books for Kids to Sing With

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Best Books for Kids to Sing With

 

Inch by Inch: The Garden Song – David Mallett

 

The Wheels on the Bus – Illustrated by Jerry Smith

 

Down by the Bay – Raffi

 

Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes – Illustrated by Annie Kubler

 

Five Little Ducks – Illustrated by Annie Kubler

 

You Are My Sunshine – Jimmie Davis

 

Shake My Sillies Out – Raffi

 

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Helen Oxenbury

 

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed – Eileen Christelow

 

I Got Two Dogs – John Lithgow

 

The Farmer in the Dell – Ann Owen

 

Pete the Cat Collection – Eric Litwin

 

Down By the Station – Jennifer Riggs Vetter

 

Roll Over – Merle Peek

 

Row, Row, Row Your Boat – Jane Cabrera

 

Old MacDonald Had a Farm – Jane Cabrera

 

Itsy Bitsy Spider – Iza Trapani

 

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star – Caroline Jayne Church

 

Do Your Ears Hang Low? – Caroline Jayne Church

 

Over in the Meadow – Oliver A. Wadsworth

 

Cat Goes Fiddle-I-Fee – Paul Galdone

 

Looking for more book, music, and movement ideas?

 

Rhyming Picture Books for Preschoolers   favorite songs for 2 year olds    action songs for preschoolers

Playful learning with favorite preschool fingerplays from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds    music and movement for preschoolers     parachute play for toddlers

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

We love tying our activities to favorite children’s books! When my co-teacher showed me her newest book called Love Monster, she said she was putting together a fun craft that would be done afterwards. Oh my goodness. I cannot wait to show you the Love Monster counting craft she put together for preschoolers!

They had to use their counting skills to put each piece on their monster and also work on their scissor skills to trim the body and create ears.

Check this out!

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

Supplies:

Before introducing this activity, cut these from different colors of construction paper (you will need one full set for each child):

  • 1 mouth
  • 3 teeth
  • 6 toes
  • 6 toenails
  • 1 heart
  • 1 body

You will also need 2 jumbo googly eyes per monster.

We first read Love Monster during circle time. We watched how sad he was until he met someone just like him.

 

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

And then we were invited to make our own monsters.

We first had them cut triangles from the top corners of their monsters. These are the ears. Glue them to the top of the monster’s head.

Then start gluing the pieces on! We used to have them brush the glue onto paper, but recently we’ve been using squeeze bottles. The hands and fingers need to work hard to squeeze the glue out of the bottle, and there is more concentration needed on where the glue is going.

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

See those jumbo googly eyes? I bought them online for a previous project and had NO idea how big they were. When I opened the package I was a bit startled! They would completely overwhelm the project I had intended them for.

So when my co-teacher was putting this love monster activity together, I just knew they’d be perfect. I mean, really, look at them! They give the monsters so much personality!

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

We wrote out a list of how many of each piece needed to be added so we could point it out to the preschoolers while they worked.

The most challenging were the toes and toenails. But wow, what a great one-to-one correspondence activity! They had to glue 1 toenail to each toe.

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

When all the pieces are on the monster’s body, let dry thoroughly.

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

Aren’t they adorable? And each one has it’s own personality.

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

We had our preschoolers name their monsters and we displayed them on our bulletin board.

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

Lots of skills being worked but most of all, they were fun to make!

Love Monster Counting Craft for Preschoolers

 

Related posts:

favorite books for the preschool library      Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe     Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




20 Eric Carle Craft Projects for Kids

 

We are in love with the author Eric Carle, so I thought it would be fun to put together 20 Eric Carle craft projects for kids that go with his books.

Literacy is a very important part of our toddler and preschool curriculum. We read several books each day and often will invite the children to create a craft that connects to one of them. Our 3 year olds also enjoy circle time activities that go with the books, and we will also extend related activities to other areas of our classroom, such as the light table and writing table. We even add literacy to our block corner. Our goal is to set a firm foundation for the love of books that will stay with our students their entire lives.

 

Eric Carle Crafts

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

20 Eric Carle Craft Projects for Kids:

 

More resources:

 

More activities that go with books:

kids cooking      Water Activity for Kids      rainbow+fruit+8.jpg

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Winter Bear Dramatic Play Activity

We love to use our dramatic play area for acting out ideas connected to our current theme. After reading one of our favorite books, Bear Snores On, we put together a winter bear dramatic play activity.

We added a great big stuffed bear along with smaller stuffed animals. Since we read the book prior to turning our dramatic play area into a bear’s den, the children were ready to role play what happened in the book.

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Winter Bear Dramatic Play Activity

So much learning can take place through play. The dramatic play area is especially popular because the children can use their imaginations as they act out various scenes. When they can tie it in with something they recently experienced in real life, or a book we just read, it becomes that much more meaningful.

I cannot take the credit for this year’s bear’s den. My creative co-teacher decorated a big box, complete with fiberfill on the top to mimic snow. She displayed photos of real bears and we had bear picture books nearby.

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

We asked the children to bring in a favorite stuffed animal. As they arrived, they placed their animals in a basket near the den.

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

And that’s when they noticed a great big bear sleeping in the cave, just like in the book. To say they were excited is an understatement!

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

After our morning meeting, we invited the children to visit the den. They pulled the bear out and brought their own animals into the den. They pretended to be sleeping, waking up, leaving the den, and returning.

Many times.

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

As we got ready to go to gym, we placed the big bear and his friends back in the den for a nap.

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

When we returned from gym, bear had awakened and was out of the den, reading a book! We never did figure out how that bear got into the chair…. hmm….

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

We then made bears at the art table.

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

And made a bear den bulletin board.

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

So much learning going on through play!

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

Winter Dramatic Play with Bear's Den

More ideas to try:

Easy Winter Art with Paper Mittens      Watercolor-Snowflakes - Winter art for kids - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     20 winter crafts for preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Winter Activities for Preschool Circle Time

When planning winter activities for preschool circle time, we make sure to include kids songs, stories, and learning ideas. Circle time is a great way to help build language and social skills while also learning new concepts. Each day our preschoolers hear at least one story, sing songs and/or recite finger plays, have the opportunity to hold and flip though books, and have short discussions. Some days we also have one sharing person and we will also play a large group game or involve all the children in some sort of activity.

winter circle time ideas

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

 

Are you planning your preschool winter curriculum? You will want to make sure to pin this as a resource!

 

 

Winter Activities for Preschool Circle Time

kids winter activities

Winter activities for circle time:

 

 

preschool winter books

Winter books to read at circle time:

 

More winter ideas:

Preschool Bear Theme   winter themed sensory table   winter learning activities

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




17 Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

One of the questions I hear often from other early childhood teachers is how can we teach preschoolers how to read. Really, it’s about exposing them to a print-rich environment and plenty of playful literacy activities. We do this all year long, changing some of them so they reflect the current season or theme. With winter approaching us, I thought I’d put together a collection of 17 fun winter literacy activities for preschoolers. These can be done in the preschool classroom or at home.

Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

17 Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

Please note that some of these activities are a bit more advanced for preschoolers who are ready to sound out letters or start recognizing simple words. Wait to use these until you feel they are appropriate.

 

This snowball name activity also strengthens fine motor skills. (Fun-a-Day)

After reading The Mitten, invite your preschoolers to do some visual sequencing of the story. (Play to Learn Preschool)

Recognize letters while doing the penguin plunge activity. (Mom Inspired Life)

Download these free arctic animal word cards for a winter pocket chart. (Pre-Kinders)

Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

Winter is a fun time for an arctic animal sensory writing tray. (Fun-a-Day)

Download these free winter writing labels to use at your writing table. (Preschool Inspirations)

Go on a letter hunt in the snow. (Coffee Cups and Crayons)

Strengthen letter recognition with this fun hot chocolate game. (Toddler Approved)

Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

Match the letters in the alphabet with this snowman letter matching activity. (Totschooling)

Throw pretend snowballs at letters while learning letter sounds. (Mom Inspired Life)

Work on letter recognition with these free arctic animal cards. (Preschool Powol Packets)

Build your name with free snowman letter printables. (A Dab of Glue Will Do)

Write your name using ice pens. (Preschool Powol Packets)

Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

Put together a gingerbread name activity with homemade scented playdough. (Books and Giggles)

When your preschooler has mastered letter sounds, here’s a fun snowman sight words game to try. (Sparkling Buds)

Make shadow puppets for the Gingerbread Man. (Adventure in a Box)

Practice writing letters using these fun winter tracing pages. (Learning 2 Walk)

Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

You can find more activities on my literacy pin board.

Bonus! Get this preschool alphabet packet today! This 245 page packet includes printables for all 26 letters of the alphabet.

For only $6.00 you can buy it now.

 preschool alphabet packet

 

Fun Winter Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

More winter activities:

15 Fun Winter Ice Activities for Preschoolers     20 winter crafts for preschoolers      Keep kids busy during winter break with these fun activities! - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

We  love using bells year round, but especially before Christmas, when we actually devote a week to it. We have bells at the science center, bells in the sensory bin, even bells in the block corner with Magnatiles! So when I saw the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell, I knew it would be a great way to add some literacy to this theme. I thought of a way to make easy Christmas jingle bell sticks that we could use while reading the book.

Fun, right?

I’m not sure what the preschoolers loved more: making the jingle bell sticks or ringing them while reading the story. What a great addition this was to our jingle bells theme!

 

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

What we used:

First, paint the sticks. We gave our preschoolers a choice of red and/or green.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

Let them dry.

Then, attach the jingle bells.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

I asked each preschooler to choose 4 jingle bells.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

Then it was time to thread the bells onto the chenille stems. This can be a bit of a challenge, so I was there if some help was needed.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

After the bells were threaded on the chenille stem, it was time to secure them to the stick.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

We taped one end of the chenille stem to the stick and then wrapped it around several times.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

You can secure the end of the chenille stem with more tape, or wrap it around itself a few times.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

How we used these jingle bell sticks:

As we read the book There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Bell, we rang our bells every time I read the words “swallowed a bell”. This is a great way work on comprehension skills and figuring out what comes next.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

The jingle bell sticks can then be taken home to enjoy with family while singing Christmas carols.

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

Easy Christmas Jingle Bell Sticks

More Christmas ideas for young children:

 

Easy Christmas Ideas for Little Kids     Christmas Painting Activities      Christmas Sensory Play Activities

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Did you know that Pete the Cat author, Eric Litwin, has a brand new book? Yep! If your preschoolers love Pete, then they are going to fall in love with a dog named Groovy Joe. Ours sure did! So I put together a simple preschool math activity with Groovy Joe, ice cream, and dinosaurs.

What, wait? A dog named Groovy Joe, ice cream AND dinosaurs? In one book? Oh yes! Just wait until you see!

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Full disclosure: I was provided a copy of Groovy Joe Ice Cream & Dinosaurs. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

About the book:

Groovy Joe Ice Cream & Dinosaurs has lots of rhyming and repetition, just like the Pete the Cat series. This book also focuses on sharing, something we talk a lot about in our preschool classroom.

What did Joe say?

“It’s Awesome to share!”

In the book, a dog named Groovy Joe spots an ice cream truck. After he sings his ice cream song, a dinosaur stomps into the room. And then another. And another! Each time, Groovy Joe shares his ice cream until it’s all gone. And then, he turns the ice cream tub upside down so it becomes a drum. Everyone starts to dance!

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

After getting our copy of Groovy Joe Dinosaurs & Ice Cream, I set up a simple math activity during our circle time.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

I placed an ice cream container filled with some styrofoam balls and an ice cream scoop.

As we read the book and watched each dinosaur take a scoop of ice cream from Groovy Joe, I had our preschoolers remove a scoop of “ice cream” from our container.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Each time we counted how many scoops were now out of the container, and figured out how many were left.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

When the container was empty, we did what Groovy Joe did.

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

We turned our ice cream container upside down and used it like a drum!

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

We ended this activity reminding ourselves how good it feels to share, just as Groovy Joe did with his ice cream.

And then … we listened to the book and had fun singing with Joe! (We’ve since listened to this several times, it’s loved THAT much.)

Preschool Math Activity with Groovy Joe

Books by Eric Litwin:


More about Eric Litwin:

Eric Litwin is the song singing, guitar strumming, #1 New York Times Best Selling author who brings early literacy and music together. He’s a former teacher who was concerned how the love of reading seemed to fade between kindergarten and third grade. He began bringing more music and interactivity into his instruction. As an author, Eric connects literacy to music and movement and uses call-and-response and repetition. He uses the Multi-Learning Approach in all of his books.

I have had the pleasure of talking with Mr. Eric on the phone and his passion and enthusiasm for children’s literacy is amazing! I’m waiting for him to visit my area so I can watch him perform in person.

Eric Litwin

Image from EricLitwin.com

Related posts:

preschool alphabet sensory play      Learning the Alphabet - Activities for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 




I Want to Be a Drummer Activity

Have you ever noticed how excited preschoolers get when they can make their own creations? Even with all the fancy toys out there, give a young child some basic materials and watch what they can do with them. During group time, I put together an I Want to Be a Drummer activity, based on the new book by Mark Powers, I Want to Be a Drummer.

I Want to Be a Drummer preschool activity

Full disclosure: I was provided a copy of I Want to Be a Drummer for review. This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

I Want to Be a Drummer Activity

During our morning meeting, I read I Want to Be a Drummer to our preschoolers.

We learned that young Daniel wants to be a drummer, but he doesn’t have any drums. However, that doesn’t keep him from making his own! We watched as Daniel searched his house for items he could use to build his own drum set.

Afterwards, we talked about how we don’t have a drum set in our classroom. How could we make our own?

I Want to Be a Drummer preschool activity

We gathered some materials from our classroom and spread them out in the middle of our circle time area.

I Want to Be a Drummer preschool activity

I called the children in groups of 4 to see how they could make a drum from the materials we collected.

I Want to Be a Drummer preschool activity

One of my favorite parts of activities such as this is how the children collaborate. While they are working together to come up with a solution, they are building their communication skills.

I Want to Be a Drummer preschool activity

I love how each group moved the materials around to find what worked best for them.

I Want to Be a Drummer preschool activity

So now it’s your turn! How would your children make their own drums?

 

I Want to Be a Drummer preschool activity

I Want to Be a Drummer is available on Amazon:

 

More music and movement ideas:

music and movement for preschoolers      rhythm stick activities     Kids Learning Activities Using Music

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Favorite Books for the Preschool Classroom

Recently one of my readers messaged me asking about favorite books for the preschool classroom.

I’m desiring to make my classroom book collection more meaningful. I would wonder if you could ask your followers for the top 3 books they wouldn’t want to be without in their classroom.

And so, I posted this question on my Facebook page and got lots of wonderful responses. I’m sharing them today, along with some articles supporting the importance of reading aloud to children.

favorite books for the preschool classroom

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Favorite Books for the Preschool Classroom

 

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

A hungry caterpillar eats his way through a large quantity of various foods until he’s finally full. He forms a cocoon around himself and goes to sleep. When we emerges from the cocoon, he is a beautiful butterfly.

Best Books for Preschool Classroom

 

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons

Pete the Cat is wearing this favorite shirt that has four groovy buttons. When one button falls off, Pete doesn’t cry. He just keeps on singing his song. We count down as Pete eventually loses all four buttons.

Books for the Preschool Classroom

 

Owl Babies

Three baby owls wake up one night to find their mother gone. Where is she? What is she doing? When will she be back? The owls are frightened and worried until mother owl returns.

favorite books for the preschool classroom

 

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Four children and their father go on a bear hunt and they’re not scared!

Favorite books for the preschool classroom

 

Dear Zoo

This is a classic that is still as popular as ever with young children!

favorite books for the preschool classroom

 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Children love the boldly colored collages in this story, calling out each animal that Brown Bear sees.

favorite books for preschoolers

 

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

Will there be enough room when all the letters of the alphabet race up the coconut tree?

favorite preschool books

 

Giraffes Can’t Dance

Gerald the giraffe wants to dance, but his legs are too skinny and his neck is too long. However, with some advice from a wise cricket, Gerald learns to dance to his own sweet tune.

favorite preschool books

 

Little Blue Truck

Young children love Blue, a little pick-up truck. When Blue gets stuck in the muck, his animal friends help get him back on the road.

favorite books for preschoolers

 

Not a Box

A box may seem like just a box … until it because something like a rocket ship or anything your imagination allows.

preschool favorite books

 

More Favorite Books for the Preschool Classroom


Articles about reading aloud to children:

 

favorite books for the preschool library

 

More literacy ideas:

Best Books for Kids to Sing With      Rhyming Picture Books for Preschoolers     Favorite Fingerplays for Preschoolers

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




10 Rubber Ducks Sensory Play

Rubber ducks in a bubble bath? In the sensory bin? Oh yes, that’s exactly what our toddlers and preschoolers enjoyed with our 10 rubber ducks sensory play.

Sounds perfect for spring, right?

But this water activity also connected to one of our favorite books, 10 Rubber Ducks by Eric Carle. While listening to the story, we see how rubber ducks are made in a factory and loaded onto a freighter. Stormy weather causes 10 of the rubber ducks to fall overboard. The ducks separate and we follow one duck’s journey to find his mother. And so, when we put together our water activity, we made sure we had 10 rubber ducks, pretending they were separating in the sea. “Ducks overboard!”

We aren’t the only ones who’ve had fun with this book. Scroll down to see what others have done!

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

 

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

10 Rubber Ducks Sensory Play

 

What you will need for this activity:

Introducing this water activity:

During our morning meeting, we read 10 Little Rubber Ducks. We counted the ducks, we talked about how it would feel to be in the water, lost. Truly, this book connects to many concepts!

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

We then invited the children to enjoy playing with the ducks in our sensory table.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

As with our lavender salt activity, there are so many soothing ideas for the sensory table. Warm water is always popular with our toddlers and preschoolers. They are drawn to its soft touch, to the gentle sounds of water pouring.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

 

And if you know me from my other posts, I just love to add materials that get those hands ready for writing! Wringing water from sponges is an excellent way to do just that. You can see in the photos how hard the hands are working.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

Because we had just read the book, I could hear some of the children reciting the book, moving the water like the ocean.

 

Water Activity for Kids

Water Activity for Kids

 

 

And then, the ducks were safely collected, pulled from the water, and dried.

 

Water Activity for Kids

 

10 Little Ducks Eric Carle

 

 

 

Ways you can expand this activity:

At the art table we had duck-shaped yellow paper, orange-tinted glue, and feathers. One year we placed the ducks in the block area and the children built a boat from blocks.

 

More ideas for “10 Little Rubber Ducks”:


More fun ideas for preschoolers:

Easy Kids Art with Freezer Bags      water table activities for preschoolers      Letter Beads Discovery Bottles

 

10 Little Ducks Eric Carle

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Little Blue and Little Yellow Paint Mixing

Your toddler is starting to identify objects by color, but you aren’t sure where to go from there. They are still busy little people and want to be engaged by actually doing something. I thought about this as I put together our Little Blue and Little Yellow paint mixing activity. How could I invite them to mix 2 colors in a way that would be fun and engaging?

I recalled our circle painting activity. They loved dipping the tubes into paint, stamping them onto the paper, over and over again. Would this work with my Little Blue and Little Yellow idea? I mean, all you need is a paper tube and some paint. Easy! But how would the colors blend to make a third color?

Little Blue and Little Yellow Toddler Art Activity - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Little Blue and Little Yellow Paint Mixing

During the month of March, we add quite a bit of color activities to our day. Our featured color is green, so I wanted to come up with an easy color mixing activity to go with one of my favorite books, Little Blue and Little Yellow.

What we needed for this activity:

  • Yellow tempera paint
  • Blue tempera paint
  • Paper tubes
  • Paper
  • A copy of the book Little Blue and Little Yellow



After reading the book:

Have your materials ready to go. I poured a dollop of blue and a dollop of yellow paint into the same tray. I cut the tubes rather short to discourage those small hands to become a fist around them. Instead, I wanted the hand to open at the top of the tube.

 

Little Blue and Little Yellow Activity

Start stamping!

Here I go again with my rant about how much I love processed (open-ended) art. The less direction you need to give, the more open-ended it becomes. In fact, I didn’t have to show them anything. They were curious about the tubes in the paint and wanted to see what happened when they stamped them on the big sheets of white paper. Again. And again. And again!

 

Little Blue and Little Yellow Activity

Busy toddlers love these types of activities because there is lots of motion, and even some noise as the tube hits the paper.

Little Blue and Little Yellow Activity

Little Blue and Little Yellow Activity

Let the color mixing begin!

The more they stamped the tubes in the paint and then onto the paper, the more the 2 colors mixed. I asked them what colors they saw. They pointed and told me blue, yellow … and green!

Little Blue and Little Yellow Activity

This ended up being a favorite and before our centers time was over, all of the children had experimented with this color mixing activity.

All that fun with a paper tube and some paint.

 

Little Blue and Little Yellow Activity

Toddler Color Mixing

Keep them busy with these color activities, too!

color+wheel+header.png      Rainbow Activities for Toddlers      preschool color activities

 

 

Little Blue and Little Yellow Toddler Art Activity - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds