How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

Inside: How to make an itsy bitsy spider puppet with toddlers – and then use it as a prop during circle time!

You invite your toddlers to join you at circle time. You have the song Itsy Bitsy Spider cued on the CD player. You’ve planned this moment. You’ve written in your planner.

Most of your toddlers join you at first. A few are busy in other areas of the classroom. You can deal with that.

You turn on the CD player and the song starts playing.

One child leaves the circle time.

Two other children push each other because they are in each other’s space. And then it feels like no one even cares about the song.

Props, my friends. You need props. Especially if they are made by the children.

But I didn’t always know this. Nope, not for many years. But let me tell you, the props we made created a circle time where I had all of their attention. And they stayed focused. And absolutely loved being able to take their props home.

 

How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

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How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

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Before we started this puppet making activity, we had already been singing some favorite spider songs. We also read Itsy Bitsy Spider. It was then that I remembered how props would make this activity come to life.

What we used to make our Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppets:

  • Paper plates (flimsy ones are just fine)
  • Black and white spider printable (scroll down to find the link to download)
  • Black and/or brown crayons
  • Large craft sticks
  • Glue stick
  • Stapler
  • Scotch tape
  • Googly eyes (optional)

How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

Setting up this spider puppet activity:

Because I was doing this activity with my 2 year olds, I put together the puppets ahead of time. I stapled the paper plate to the craft stick, placed a bit of scotch tape on top of the bottom sides of the staples, as they can be poky. I cut out the spider and glued it to the front of the paper plate.

Altering this activity for older preschoolers:

Have them cut the spiders out and glue them onto the plate.

How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

Making the spider puppets:

Hand your children crayons and invite them to color the spider.

When finished coloring, use a glue stick to place the googly eyes on top of the eyes on the spider printable.

Note: I should have skipped the googly eyes with our 2 year olds, as they became obsessed with peeling them off. Most of our spider puppets ended up not having googly eyes by the time we used them during circle time.

How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

Once the puppets were assembled, I called the children to the circle time area. We used them while singing to these 2 songs:

We also used them while reading the book Itsy Bitsy Spider.

Related: Favorite Preschool Fingerplays

How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

And that’s how to make an itsy bitsy spider puppet with toddlers.

Something fun to create and use!

Grab your spider printable here:

How to Make an Itsy Bitsy Spider Puppet with Toddlers

More ideas for toddlers:

Awesome Muddy Pig Sensory Art with Printable

Strengthen Fine Motor Skills Making Window Art

10 Songs You Will Want to Add to Your Toddler Playlist

 

Why I love props for circle time, and other tips:

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

Inside: 20 learning activities for toddlers that are hands-on and easy to set up!

You are a teacher who is putting together a curriculum for your toddler classroom. Or you are a parent that wants to add some learning to your toddler’s day.

But how?

It’s really much easier than you probably think. You don’t need flashcards. You don’t need fancy materials.

I’ve put together a collection of learning activities that your toddlers will love! And they are learning at the same time!

Activities that are age-appropriate and engage as many senses as possible. These learning activities involve concepts such as shapes, colors, numbers and letters in a fun, playful way. They can be done at home or in a classroom environment, with one child or a group of children.

Easy hands-on fun.

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

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20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

20 Learning Activities for Toddlers

 

More fun for toddlers:

Toddler Play Activities

Play: Playful Activity Plans for Your Busy Toddler

These are 35 hand-chosen activities that you can actually do with your toddler. You’ll be guided on how to find that extra 15 minutes (that you don’t have) to make time for the most important part of your life: your family.

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The Best Books for Busy Toddlers

Inside: Toddlers love to move – all day long! This is why we keep a collection of the best books for busy toddlers. They are an essential in our classroom, but would also be just as important in the home.

“I cannot get my toddler to sit long enough to listen to a book.”

“If I even try to read during circle time, I lose my toddlers.”

Yep, I’ve received many messages from parents and teachers who are simply frustrated that their toddlers can not sit through a book. They are interested. They will probably carry the books around and even open a page or 2. But to actually sit and listen? Not so much. Busy toddlers want to be engaged. So why not read books that will encourage them to do so?

The key is having interactive books on hand.

Books that prompt them to make different animal noises. Books that have them moving in different positions. Books that make them point to the pages and giggle.

I make sure to have a basket of these books available, especially during back to school, when emotions might be a little fragile. This collection of interactive books for busy toddlers is my favorite, so take note!

 The Best Books for Busy Toddlers

 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. 

 

The Best Books for Busy Toddlers

This collection of books are easy to read and just plain FUN. Don’t be surprised if your toddlers want to hear them more than once!

 

 

 


From Head to Toe

This energetic book gets toddlers dancing while also recognizing animals such as giraffes, donkeys, and seals. From Head to Toe is one of our favorite books to read while introducing our toddlers to story time.

Where is the Baby’s Belly Button?

Toddlers will delight in this peek-a-boo book as they show where various body parts are, the belly button always being a favorite! Where is the Baby’s Belly Button? also has flaps that the children can lift, getting them more involved with the story.

Pat the Bunny

This book has been a favorite with toddlers for generations, and it’s understandable! Pat the Bunny invites little fingers to touch the different textures on each page, a fun sensory activity.

Counting Kisses

Such a sweet book that involves simple counting while the family is trying to put the baby to sleep. Counting Kisses also helps toddlers learn where different body parts are as the baby gets kissed on her toes, her feet, and her belly button.


Where’s Spot?

Toddlers can’t help but fall in love with Spot the Dog! Where’s Spot? invites children to lift the flaps to help Sally the Dog find her puppy, Spot.

Dear Zoo

Toddlers become engaged in Dear Zoo as they get to lift flaps and peek at animals that are being transported to a child’s house. Finally, the child is sent an animal that is just right.

Five Little Ducks

Hands down, this Five Little Ducks sing-along book is perfect for our toddlers. They can’t help but join in with the hand motions! This particular edition has little holes for their fingers.

Baby Happy Baby Sad

We love Baby Happy Baby Sad for simple awareness of emotions. Why was baby sad? Why was baby happy?

 


Peek a Who

Toddlers love peek-a-boo, and that’s why Peek a Who is such a hit! What’s hiding on the next page?

Open the Barn Door

Toddlers adore books with farm animals, especially when they can lift a flap and see what’s behind it! Open the Barn Door also encourages toddlers to call out the sounds that the animals make.

Little Horse

Once again, the peek-a-boo holes make this book so much fun with toddlers! Little Horse also has an attached plush finger puppet that attract even the busiest toddlers.

Can You Make a Scary Face?

Can You Make a Scary Face is actually quite silly! Your toddlers will be moving up and down and making some silly faces!

 


Gallop!

Gallop! is part of a series that includes Waddle! and Swing!, and is loved because of how it shows motion. As each page is turned, the pictures literally move. Toddlers want to flip the page over and over again, watching the motion.


Press Here

If you want laughing toddlers, Press Here is the book for you! Press the yellow dot on the cover and then follow the directions as each page is turned. Toddlers love shaking and tilting the book, watching what happens next. Two other fun books in this series: Mix it Up! and Let’s Play!.

A Kiss for You

What can a hand do? Blow a kiss, say hello, hold you tight. Toddlers love to mimic the motions in A Kiss for You!

 

The Best Books for Busy Toddlers

 

As your toddlers transition into preschoolers, try some of these books:

11 Favorite Rhyming Books that Young Children Love       favorite books for the preschool library      best books for kids to sing with

Watch this on You Tube about our favorite books at the beginning of the school year:

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Playful Toddler Alphabet Activities

You have started hearing your toddler sing the ABC song. Now you’re wondering about other toddler alphabet activities. How can you add them to your day?

Through play and exploration!

With art and play dough!

In the sandbox, in the pretend play area, in the sensory bin!

In other words, toddler alphabet activities should involve play, exploration, and FUN. And that is what this collection is all about.

Toddler Alphabet Ideas

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Playful Toddler Alphabet Activities

Note: Some of these alphabet activities might need to be simplified a bit. Start with exploration, and then add on as your toddler transitions to a preschooler and shows more interest in letters. As your child gets older, check out our preschool literacy activities at the end of this post.

 

The collection:

Fill a bin with foam letters for ABC letter play.

Explore your name’s letters in a discovery bottle.

Sort letters using a DIY letter box.

Press foam letters into play dough.

teaching alphabet to toddlers

Drive cars on letter roads. (Free printables from Gift of Curiosity.)

Play with trucks and alphabet rocks. (Mom Inspired Life)

Serve alphabet pancakes for breakfast. (Education.com)

Make a playful alphabet garden. (Free printables from Totschooling.)

teaching alphabet to toddlers

Push cars through alphabet tunnels. (Toddler Approved)

Plant an alphabet flower garden. (Buggy and Buddy)

Set up your pretend kitchen with some ABC cookie baking. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

Paint over wax letters. (Learn with Play at Home)

teaching alphabet to toddlers

Display a tactile alphabet poster. (My Mundane and Miraculous Life)

Remove letters from ice. (Little Bins for Little Hands)

Scoop letters out of water. (Busy Toddler)

Use DIY letter stamps on paper. (Make, Take and Teach)

teaching alphabet to toddlers

 

When your child is a preschooler, try these literacy ideas:

preschool literacy activities for summer      literacy games for preschoolers      Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds
Bonus! Grab your copy of The Preschool Alphabet Packet today. There are printables for all 26 letters of the alphabet!

Preschool Alphabet Packet

 

ABC Play Ideas for Toddlers

 

Make sure to check my literacy pin board for lots more ideas!

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Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


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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

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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

 

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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




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

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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




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




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

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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.

See it on my You Tube channel:

 

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

 

 




Dr. Seuss Activities for Toddlers

When I think of Dr. Seuss activities for toddlers, I think of hands-on, colorful, fun ideas. There are a lot of Dr. Seuss activities out there for preschoolers and older children, but not as much for our younger children. Dr. Seuss’ birthday is March 2, and we celebrate in both our 2s and 3s classes with a Dr. Seuss Week. We keep it much simpler for our younger children, so that is why I was thrilled to find the ideas I am featuring in this post. All of them allow lots of hands-on exploration!

 

Celebrate Dr. Seuss with these fun ideas for toddlers! Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

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Dr. Seuss activities for toddlers:

 

 

Dr. Seuss Activities for Toddlers

What are your children’s favorite Dr. Seuss books? 

 

More ideas for your children:

toddler sensory table   toddler painting with golf balls   action songs for preschoolers
Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Favorite Preschool Fingerplays

Reciting our favorite preschool fingerplays is an important part of our curriculum. We not only perform them during circle time, but we use them during transitions throughout the day.

Preschool fingerplays encourage children to participate verbally, follow directions, learn number concepts, and follow directions. I keep a notebook of all our favorite fingerplays and songs that I can pull out at any given time. (This is especially helpful when we need to calm the children down.) I also have props to many of the fingerplays that I keep in a basket nearby.

While we love so many different fingerplays, I thought I’d share 5 of our favorites. I’m including various activities that you can do with each one as well. I hope you and your children enjoy these as much as we do!

 

Favorite Fingerplays for Preschoolers

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Favorite Preschool Fingerplays

Five Little Speckled Frogs

Way Up High In the Apple Tree

Five Little Ducks

Itsy Bitsy Spider

Five Little Monkeys

The Wheels on the Bus

 

What are your children’s favorite fingerplays? Pop on over to my Facebook page and let us know!

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Favorite Fingerplays for Preschoolers

More ideas for young children:

Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds        simple toddler science activities     Block Play for Toddlers and Preschoolers

 

 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




11 Favorite Rhyming Books that Young Children Love

We love books are read a variety during our day. Our toddlers and preschoolers especially love rhyming books and request them often. I thought I’d share 11 favorite rhyming books that young children love. They are fun, they have nice illustrations, and they are meaningful.

Rhyming books are fun for grown-ups to read aloud to young children, too. The change in their voices as they repeat similar sounds helps children focus on the sounds in words. They have a powerful effect on children’s cognitive skills and help build language skills. The repetition in rhyming books helps children remember.

Whenever we read a rhyming book in our preschool, the children light up, wanting to finish the sentences themselves. We could read these books over and over again and they’d love them even more each time.

Rhyming Picture Books for Preschoolers

 

 

 

11 Favorite Rhyming Books that Young Children Love

 

 

 

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.

 

This is one of our favorites year after year. As I slowly turn the page, the children can’t wait to call out the next animal before they even see it. It features a Brown Bear, Red Bird, Yellow Duck, Blue Horse, Green Frog, Purple Cat, White Dog, Black Sheep, a Goldfish, a Teacher or a Mother, and Students or Children.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault

 

Our preschoolers love recognizing the letters as they are going up the coconut tree! There are so many fun extensions to this book. You can see one activity that we did here.

Chimps Don’t Wear Glasses by Laura Numeroff

We laugh and laugh as we read about zebras who can’t cook and llamas who don’t shop. The illustrations are funny, too!

Duck in the Truck by Jez Alborough

 

When duck’s truck gets stuck in the muck, his friends try to get him out. I have complete attention from my preschoolers as we wait and see if duck’s friends can get him out of the muck!

Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino

 

As Lloyd is trying to find his mama, his friends describe their mama in rhyme. This is a sweet story that we often read towards the beginning of the year, when we are learning to separate from our mommies.
favorite rhyming books for children

Llama Llama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney

 

Our children love all the Llama Llama books, but because we are always working on sharing, this is a favorite.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

 

We love to watch Gerald as he starts off as a very bad dance but then turns out to be a  great dancer. A fun book that also helps build self-esteem.

Mrs. McNosh Hangs Up Her Wash by Sarah Weeks

 

This is truly a book that gives us the giggles! Mrs. Mc Nosh not only hangs up her laundry, but also the newspaper, her dog, and other objects. It’s guaranteed to bring giggles every time it is read!

My Truck is Stuck! by Kevin Lewis

 

This book is especially loved by our truck-loving children. Lots of hauling, beeping and repairing!

 

Sheep in a Jeep by Nancy Shaw

 

The sheep are in a jeep on a hill that’s steep! What a silly adventure that we love to laugh through.

favorite rhyming books for children

Where is the Green Sheep by Mem Fox

 

As we turn each page, we meet the red sheep and blue sheep, wind sheep and wave sheep, scared sheep and brave sheep. But where is the green sheep?

 

What are your favorite picture books? Pop on by my Facebook page and let us know!

11 Favorite Rhyming Books that Young Children Love

Looking for more picture book recommendations?

 

I was given a copy of Recommended Picture Books for Children to review for free.  The author, D.M. Pearson, created this book  for busy parents who love to read to their child but do not have time to continually locate exceptional books.  Some parents do not know where to find great books, do not have time to continuously search for what to read next, or become overwhelmed when arriving at their public library children’s area. The books I mentioned above are part of this collection.

 

More literacy activities:

literacy games for preschoolers       Preschool Name Recognition - Ideas for Preschool Early Literacy - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Toddler Alphabet Ideas

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




Creating a Literacy-Rich Preschool Environment

Creating a literacy-rich preschool environment is important, and it can happen in a variety of fun ways. While a reading and writing center are important, you do not need to limit literacy activities in those areas. Take a look around your classroom. How can you add letters with blocks? What about play dough? How can you engage the children in small and large groups? What about adding fun activities related to favorite picture books?

Once you see how fun it is to expand letters throughout your classroom, in every center, throughout the day, you will be amazed at how excited the children will be to interact with them!

 

preschool literacy
 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

Creating a Literacy-Rich Preschool Environment

 

 

7 ways to add literacy in preschool classrooms:

 

  1. Learning Letters in the Block Area

  2. Exploring Letters in the Sensory Table

  3. Literacy Activities During Circle Time

  4. Connecting Literacy Activities with Picture Books

  5. Adding Journals to the Writing Area

  6. Enjoying Letters with Play Dough

  7. Literacy in the Dramatic Play Area

literacy in preschool

 

You can see more pictures of our classroom here:

Related posts:

preschool science activities      Preschool Learning Centers      preschool morning meeting


 

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds




ABC Learning Through Play

There are so many fun ways to create ABC learning ideas through play! In fact, if I were to look around my classroom, I could easily put together a literacy play activity in every area. I’ve shown you 7 ways to add literacy to a classroom. Now I’d like to focus on adding literacy to the block area.
Our block area is in the back corner of our classroom, away from our quieter areas such as the book corner. It’s popular with our more active children who might not care to go sit in the book corner to look at a book, or spend time at the writing table with markers. By adding literacy to the block area, these children can still get exposure to their ABCs while playing with blocks and cars.
ABC Learning through Play
 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

ABC Learning through Play

 

Literacy materials that work well in the block area:

Alphabet blocks

Alphabet Floor Puzzle

Stack and Learn Blocks

Alphabet Lacing Beads

Alphabet Nesting and Stacking Blocks

Magnetic Letters

Alphabet Foam Rubber Mat

Alphabet Truck

Alphabet Fishing

Alphabet Peg Board

 

Using ABC books in the block corner:

ABC Learning Through Play
Displaying books in various areas of the classroom or home encourages children to stop and open them, or ask a grown-up to read to them. We like to display books that are relevant to the interests of that day. On this day, the theme for our block center was “alphabet construction”.

Using other ABC materials in the block area:

 

ABC Learning Through Play2
We provided alphabet blocks along with trucks. The children had fun loading the vehicles with the letters and dropping them off in piles, then stacking the blocks.
 ABC Learning Through Play3
 ABC Learning Through Play4

 

While constructing, the preschoolers found letters in their names, and in their family members’ names.
 
 ABC Learning Through Play10
We took a large magnet board and propped it against the wall. Magnetic letters were placed in baskets near the blocks for placing in trucks or on this board.
ABC Learning Through Play5
I quietly observed this 2 year old calling out the letters as he placed them on the board.
ABC Learning Through Play7
And a 3 year old spelled out her name. And then found letters in her brother’s name.
 
ABC Learning Through Play 9
Finally, letters found their way to the top of skyscrapers.

These are just a few examples of how we enrich our block area with letters. How have you added literacy to other areas of your classroom? Please share in the comments section!

 

ABC books for young children:

                               

 

 

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ABC Learning Through Play
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More ideas for young children:

Learning-Activities-for-Preschoolers      science experiments for preschoolers      literacy games for preschoolers

 

 

 




Learning about Squares

While learning about squares with our preschoolers, we decided to read the book The Perfect Square, by Michael Hall. I love connecting activities to picture books, such as when we sorted shapes by color after reading The Shape of Things. It brings the book to life and our preschoolers are more connected to it. We make sure to display this book in the classroom where they can revisit it as often as desired.

Learning About Squares

 

 This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

 

We focus on one shape each month, and October is the square. My co-teacher had an idea to stamp squares, sort of like we did when we stamped with square blocks. In the book The Perfect Square, the square loses it’s shape when different things happen to it. We wanted to do something that would change the shape of the square. That’s when we stumbled on painting with Kleenex boxes over at Teach Preschool.

Learning About Squares

What you will need for this activity:

Empty square tissue boxes

Tempera paint

Paper

Tins for the paint

If you want to connect it to the book, as we did, you will want to get a copy of The Perfect Square, by Michael Hall. (Click on the book below for an affiliate link.)

 

 

Learning About Squares

 

Setting up this activity:

Place paint into some sort of shallow container. Because we wanted this to also be a paint mixing activity, we added several colors in the same container. Place the tissue box in the container of paint and have paper ready.

Start stamping paint onto the paper!

 

Learning About Squares

 

What started as a perfect square did not stay a perfect square.

 

Learning About Squares

 

The more paint that was used, the more the box slid around the paper. Squares turned into wiggly lines, circles, zig zags.

 

Learning About Squares
We ended the activity not seeing any perfect squares, but beautifully blended colors of paint.
Learning About Squares

 

Learning About Squares

 

More shape ideas for young children:

Shapes Art for Toddlers    toddler shape activities    Learning Colors and Shapes Activity

 

Books about shapes: