15 Learning Games for Preschoolers

Games for preschoolers provide so many learning opportunities. We make sure to play these types of games in our classroom regularly. Sometimes we will play them as a large group at circle time, sometimes in groups of 4 during small groups, and they are also used as an activity during centers time. I am always looking for more ideas, so recently I got out my planner, opened up Pinterest, and went hunting for learning games. There were many available, but these are 15 that I loved the most. Oh, and a couple are my own, just because I love to share my ideas, too!

15 Learning Games for Preschoolers


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15 Learning Games for Preschoolers


  1. Recognize numbers and colors: counting game with play dough.

  2. Count the flowers: spring math game. (Fun a Day)

  3. Practice sharing: rainbow fish game. (Science Sparks)

  4. Distinguish sounds: the sound box game. (Let’s Play Music)

  5. Count the flowers: spring flower game.

  6. Work on coordination: hook a duck game. (Play and Learn Every Day)

  7. Count the spots: ladybug counting game. (Modern Preschool)

  8. Build color skills: clothespin color game. (School Time Snippets)

  9. Count objects: number card game.

  10. Work on counting and color skills: Pete the Cat math game. (Buggy and Buddy)

  11. Space theme: moon math game. (Stir the Wonder)

  12. Learn colors: color match game. (Mama Bee Simple)

  13. Move while learning numbers:  Olaf bowling game (A Little Pinch of Perfect)

  14. Learn letters: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom alphabet bean bag game (Meri Cherry)

  15. Move while learning numbers: Hop on Pop game (Cutting Tiny Bites)


 learning games for preschoolers


More ideas for young children:

chalk ideas for kids      preschool writing    Learning the Alphabet - Activities for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


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

Dealing with Big Emotions in the Preschool Classroom

You get your classroom set up, everything is organized, you are ready for that first day of school. The children arrive and you smile as you watch them get to know each other. And then you hear a high-pitched scream. It completely startles you. There are big sobs. You are trying to figure out what happened, but the child just screams louder. You are dealing with big emotions in the preschool classroom and need the tools to calm this child.

I know because I’ve been there.

Dealing with Big Emotions in the Classroom

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Dealing with Big Emotions in the Preschool Classroom

Dealing with big emotions in the classroom has been part of my teaching life for years. I’ve had students go from happy to angry in what seemed like a second. I’ve had children who’ve cried a lot, always seeming to fall apart over different situations. I’ve had children with big worries that I wished I could soothe. I’ve had children who would shout at the top of their lungs when they didn’t get the toy they wanted. I’ve watched children have big meltdowns but had no idea what prompted them.

I’ve gone home exhausted, sometimes in tears. And I’ve received so many messages from parents and teachers who’ve asked for help, feeling the same way. They wished they knew why their children acted the way they did. They were desperate for answers.

Finally, there is a solution.

I’m so excited to be partnering with Dayna from Lemon Lime Adventures. She is helping me and so many other parents and educators get to the root of these behaviors.

Dayna is a national board certified educator who is now a stay-at-home mom of 3, one that deals with big emotions. She truly understand what we are going through. She’s lived it and has the tools to help! She wrote the popular post Top 10 Tips Every Parent of an Anxious Child Should Know. And now she has put together The Worries Workshop.


What is the Worries Workshop?

The Worries Workshop is a video e-course designed to show you how to easily understand your student’s behavior and implement calming strategies that work.

Starting with the very first lesson, the course provides the tools and strategies necessary to dig deeper to find the source of the worry. You will remain calm and help your student cope with his surroundings.

You will get 16 lessons that take less than 2 minutes.

You have lifetime access, so there’s no need to rush. You are busy. Dayna understands.

You will have a choice of 3 different plans.

There’s even a payment plan!

Oh, and teachers, Dayna will give you a certificate of hours!

Class starts March 13th and space is limited, so don’t miss out! Claim your spot now!


Dealing with Big Emotions in the Classroom


Related posts:

Separation Anxiety Tips for Toddlers and Preschoolers      Building Communication Skills with Preschoolers     Teaching Kindness in the Classroom



Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Valentines Learning Activities for Preschoolers

Holidays can get pretty crafty, but I am always searching for preschool learning activities, Valentines Day included. Those of you who’ve been following me know that I love process art, such as our spin art valentines and when we painted hearts using marbles. And I love to add theme-related activities to other areas of our classroom.  I also love activities that help develop skills and concepts. I put together a collection of Valentines Learning Activities for Preschoolers that are playful and fun. If you have more ideas to share, please let me know in the comments section, or on my Facebook page!



Valentines Learning Activities

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Valentines Learning Activities for Preschoolers

  1. Learn the letters in your name with this heart-shaped name puzzle. (How Wee Learn)

  2. Download a free printable for a fun heart color recognition activity. (Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds)

  3. Add some science to your valentine activities as you explore with conversation hearts. (Coffee Cups and Crayons)

  4. Play a heart matching game with upper and lowercase letters. (Hands On As We Grow)

  5. Learn what happens when you mix oil and water together with some food coloring and heart-shaped paper. (Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds)

  6. Strengthen number skills with this collection of Montessori-inspired valentines math trays. (Living Montessori Now)

  7. Estimate and measure candy hearts. (Free printable from Buggy and Buddy)

  8. Build shape recognition skills while playing valentines mailbox math. (Pre-Kinders)

  9. Learn about the letter H with this H is for Heart alphabet craft. (I Can Teach My Child)

  10. Make your own valentines memory game to practice letter recognition. (No Time for Flashcards)

  11. Frozen vinegar hearts make a fun valentines science activity. (Inspiration Laboratories)

  12. Pair up the pictures that rhyme with this heart rhyming word activity. (School Time Snippets)

  13. Learn about giving and receiving with this felt valentine post office play set. (Imagine Our Life)

  14. Enjoy this fun collection of Valentine learning activities from Pre-Kinders.

  15. Practice putting the letters of your name in order with this idea using Post-It notes. (Here Come the Girls)

  16. Sort conversation hearts by color using a free printable. (Teaching Tiny Tots)


 You might also like these ideas:

toddler winter art    winter circle time activities   winter theme sensory bin   Valentines Ideas for Kids


valentines learning activities


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

Teaching kindness in the classroom is one of our most important jobs as teachers.

From the moment our toddlers start their school year, we are working on teaching them how to care for others. We start working on empathy. Young children are very egocentric, so it takes great work to help them recognize the needs of others.

But we work on it. Every single day. From the first day they arrive as toddlers until the last day of pre-kindergarten, when they are ready to move on to the big world of kindergarten. We are setting the stage for their future years.

It is THAT important.

Kind Classroom



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Teaching kindness in the classroom

This isn’t the first time I’ve written about kindness. I was part of a kindness blog hop a few years back, where we all shared ways we have taught our young children how to be kind. I also shared how we focused on kindness during the Christmas season. But I honestly don’t think I can write enough on this topic. It is that near and dear to my heart.

I take these types of pictures often during our school year:


This photo shows how one child reached out to another. It felt so natural.

Recently one of my blogging friends, Anna from The Imagination Tree, created The Kindness Elves. They were part of our Christmas theme, as I mentioned earlier. When I learned that there was a teacher packet to go along with The Kindness Elves, as well as a new book, The Story of the Kindness Elves, I decided to add it to our curriculum.

Kind Classroom is an eBook packed full of helpful resources and printable materials for teachers using the Kindness Elves in their classrooms.

The Kindness Elves are the perfect addition to the classroom setting as they make wonderful mascots and are encouragers of kind and caring behaviour towards others.”


The Story of the Kindness Elves

In the clouds not too far above your home, live the teeny tiny Kindness Elves who spend their days making special kindness potions. One day they discover they need the help of some very special children on a very important kindness mission!”

I divided this beautiful book so it could be read during  3 days. I really wanted our young children to absorb how special these kindness elves were, and how they encouraged others to be kind. I was amazed at all the thoughtful comments my preschoolers gave!


Our Kindness Shelf

In the Kind Classroom ebook it’s suggested to create a kindness shelf. I placed our kindness elves and their home on the shelf, along with their book (The Story of the Kindness Elves).  I also added other kindness books and our kindness mailbox.


Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

During our centers time, I placed our kindness mailbox on a table, along with the kindness elves and heart-shaped paper, stickers, and pens.

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

Our preschoolers could not wait to write notes to each other and to their family members!

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

It warmed my heart to see that mailbox fill!

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

By the end of the week our preschoolers were very skilled at creating love notes.

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

They wrote so many notes to Sparkle and Pop that their mailbox got jammed.

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

We had to come up with another place to store our notes for the kindness elves. We found the perfect heart-shaped box.

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

I introduced our kindness stone during our circle time. I explained that when this stone is in our hands, we think good thoughts about someone else.

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

We say something kind about another friend in our classroom, and then we pass the kindness stone to the next child.

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

And when I saw 2 friends holding hands as we went our our letter hunt around the building, my heart was full.

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

This brought tears to my eyes, as I mentioned on my Instagram picture. This confirms why I love my job. I adore their tender hearts.


Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

And now there are NEW elves!

teaching kids to be kind

Introducing 8 new Kindness Elves Characters to the family, 4 in lovely pink clothes and another 4 in beautiful green. Aren’t they so sweet?


teaching kids to be kind

Even better, they are 15% off for the first week of pre-orders! Simply enter the code RAINBOWS at check out and the price will be reduced automatically. Crazy fun! (Offer ends June 25th.)

teaching kids to be kind


Simply head over to The Kindness Elves and place your pre-order over on the site of your favorite new colors and they will be sent out to you ASAP. Get all the details on the website!



Teaching Kindness in the Classroom


Want to create a kind classroom?

Teaching Kindness in the Classroom

Related posts:

friendship activities for preschoolers      Fun play date activities for preschoolers      Building Communication Skills with Preschoolers


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds





Hibernation Activities for Preschoolers

After we explore snow and ice, we start finding hibernation activities for preschoolers. We learn what animals do during the winter, that bears sleep a lot in caves. We also tie this in with our day and night theme, having a pajama day. I’ve put together this collection of hibernation activities, crafts, snacks, songs and books that you can use in your preschool classroom or homeschool.


Make sure you are following our winter Pinterest board!

Ideas for the Hibernation Theme

Ideas for the Hibernation Theme


This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.


Hibernation Activities for Preschoolers


  1. Make stuffed bears and tuck them into bed for the winter.
  2. Turn your dramatic play area into a bear’s den.
  3. After making a hibernation sensory bag, manipulate the animals to find places they can hibernate. (School Time Snippets)
  4. Print off the free pattern to make a paper bag skunk. (I Heart Crafty Things)
  5. After reading “Every Autumn Comes the Bear“, make a cave from a paper plate. (Almost Unschoolers)
  6. Create a large cave for kids to crawl into and pretend to hibernate. (Raising Cajuns)
  7. Strengthen math skills while playing this bear more or less game. (Pre-K Pages)
  8. Invite the children to make yummy snacks that go with the hibernation theme. (Preschool Plan-It)
  9. Trillium Montessori shares many hibernating activities for kids. (I love their unit studies shelf!)
  10. After making bear caves, you can turn them into a letter recognition game. (Fantastic Fun and Learning)
  11. Learn about how bats hibernate and then download this printable for a fun craft. (Learn~Create~Love)
  12. Welcome to Mommyhood in Holland shares ideas for a hibernation activity shelf.
  13. Explore hibernation with this hedgehog hibernation basket. (The Imagination Tree)
  14. Download one of these bear printables for a fine motor activity. (Totally Tots)
  15. Sing one of these hibernation songs. (Fun 4 Kids)

Books for your hibernation theme:

More ideas for young children:


Learning Themes for Preschoolers   winter circle time ideas    winter learning activities


Check out our science pin board for more fun!

Hibernation Theme Ideas

From our store:

This Winter Science Activities packet is filled with 10 hands-on learning activities that are sure to capture the interest of your little learner. Teach little learners about states of matter, density, chemistry and more with really fun experiments. All the activities come with detailed instructions, material lists, and some experiments include printables. For only $3.00 you can buy it now.

Winter Science Activities Book Button


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

90+ Fun Preschool Pumpkin Theme Ideas

I get so giddy when October arrives! There are so many fun fall activities to choose from, indoors and out. One of my favorite themes this month involves pumpkins. As soon as I see them in the grocery stores, I am ready! So I put together this huge collection of 90+ fun preschool pumpkin theme ideas as a resource.

Finding this collection was amazing, to be honest. I mean, I knew there were some good ideas out there for the preschool pumpkin theme, but over 90? And not just art. We are talking fine motor, literacy, play dough, math, science, sensory, dramatic play, cooking, small world, and large motor!

In case that’s not enough for you, check out our huge fall pinboard, too!

preschool pumpkin theme activities



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90+ Fun Preschool Pumpkin Theme Ideas


Pumpkin Art

Pumpkin Painting

Spin Art Pumpkins (Rainy Day Mum)

Fingerprint Jack-O-Lantern (3 Dinosaurs)

Color Mixing Paper Plate Pumpkins (Messy Little Monster)

Plastic Bottle Halloween Lanterns (Messy Little Monster)

Pumpkin Window Decorations (Kinder Kraze)

Halloween Confetti Eggs (Munchkins and Moms)

Pumpkin Suncatchers (Preschool Inspirations)

Decorating a Paper Pumpkin (Play and Learn Everyday)

Mix and Match Pumpkin Faces (Handmade Kids Art)

Pumpkin Plate Shaker (Kitchen Floor Crafts)

Stained Glass Pumpkin Suncatcher (Crafts on Sea)

Paper Mache Pumpkins (Mini Monets and Mommies)

Pumpkin Craft and Treat Holder (Buggy and Buddy)

Melted Crayon Pumpkins (Nothing If Not Intentional)

Textured Pumpkin Patch (Edventures with Kids)

Marbled Pumpkins (Simple Fun for Kids)

Fluorescent Pumpkin (Simple Fun for Kids)

Scented Pumpkin Puffy Paint (The Chaos and the Clutter)

Scrap Ribbon Pumpkin Suncatchers (Fireflies and Mud Pies)

Silly Pumpkin Faces (P is for Preschooler)


Pumpkin Fine Motor

Hammering Pumpkins

Ring Around the Pumpkin (Sunny Day Family)

Chalkboard Pumpkins  (Sunny Day Family)

Mr. Pumpkin Head Pumpkin Decorating (B-Inspired Mama)

Pumpkin Felt Faces (The Nerd’s Wife)

Scrub the Pumpkin (Mama’s Happy Hive)

Cutting Practice Pumpkin (I Heart Crafty Things)

Pumpkin Pick-Up (Stir the Wonder)

Mini Pumpkins and Felt (Buggy and Buddy)

Stickers on a Pumpkin (Simple.Home.Blessings)

Pumpkin Seed Sorting (Mama Papa Bubba)

3 Fine Motor Pumpkin Activities (School Time Snippets)


Pumpkin Literacy

Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater Pack (3 Dinosaurs)

P is for Pumpkin Polka Dot Activity (B-Inspired Mama)

Pumpkin Alphabet Activity on the Window (Mom Inspired Life)

“It’s Pumpkin Day, Mouse” Activity (Where Imagination Grows)

Mini Pumpkin Name Game (Fantastic Fun and Learning)


Pumpkin Play Dough

2-Ingredient Pumpkin Play Dough (Pre-K Pages)

Pumpkin Play Dough Sensory Tray (The Eyes of a Boy)

Five Little Pumpkins Play Dough Retelling Activity (Growing Book by Book)

Textured Play Dough (Mama’s Happy Hive)

Invitation to Play with Pumpkin Play Dough (I Heart Crafty Things)

Play Dough Pumpkin Patch Train (Play Trains)

Pumpkin Pie Play Dough (Kitchen Floor Crafts)

Pumpkin Cornstarch Dough (Our Little House in the Country)

Amazing Pumpkin Spice Play Dough (Mama Papa Bubba)

Pumpkin Pie Scented Play Dough (Mama OT)

Fall Inspired Pumpkin Play Dough (Your Modern Family)


Pumpkin Math

Counting Pumpkins in Sand (3 Dinosaurs)

Pumpkin Seed Measuring (Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes)

Measuring with Pumpkins (Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes)

Pumpkin Grid Math Game (Stir the Wonder)

Mini Pumpkin Math (PreKinders)

Pumpkin Seed Counting Game (Mama Papa Bubba)

Pumpkin Seed Puzzles (I Can Teach My Child)

5 Little Pumpkins Sticker Activity (Rainy Day Mum)

Pumpkin Counting Activity on the Light Table (Where Imagination Grows)

Pumpkin Counting Cards – Free Printable (Fantastic Fun and Learning)

5 Little Pumpkins Sticker Activity (Rainy Day Mum)

Pumpkin Counting Activity on the Light Table (Where Imagination Grows)

Pumpkin Counting Cards – Free Printable (Fantastic Fun and Learning)



Pumpkin Science

Pumpkin Sink or Float Boats (The Preschool Toolbox)

Bubble Science with Pumpkins (Preschool Powol Packets)

Pumpkin Guts Exploration (Stir the Wonder)

Pumpkin Cano (Little Bins)

Pumpkin Sensory Science (Little Bins for Little Hands)

Pumpkin Spice Fizzy Science (FSPDT)


Pumpkin Sensory

Pumpkin Sensory Play

Pumpkin Texture Sensory Play (3 Dinosaurs)

Pumpkin Washing Station (Natural Beach Living)

Pumpkin Washing Sensory Bin (Where Imagination Grows)

Pumpkin Patch Small World Sensory Play (Buggy and Buddy)

Little House in the Pumpkin Sensory Play (Adventure in a Box)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Scented Rice (Mama OT)

Pumpkin and Acorn “Soup” (And Next Comes L)


Pumpkin Dramatic Play

Pumpkin Stand

Pumpkin Patch (Pre-Kinders)



Pumpkin Cooking Activities

Pumpkin Bread (Crafty Moms Share)

Pumpkin Cinnamon Chip Cookies (Simple.Home.Blessings)

Healthy Whole Wheat Pumpkin Spice Muffins (Mama Papa Bubba)

Pumpkin Pancakes (Mama Smiles)

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies (Mama Smiles)

Cinnamon Pumpkin Brownies (Mama Smiles)


Pumpkin Small World

Pumpkin Mountain Railroad Building (Play Trains)

Pumpkin Car Tunnel (Adventures of Adam)


Pumpkin Large Motor

Pumpkin Chunkin’ Game (B-Inspired Mama)


preschool pumpkin theme activities


Bonus! Grab this fall literacy collection for your preschoolers! Over 66 pages of learning activities to go with your fall theme. Buy it now for only $4!

Fall Literacy Activities for Preschoolers

More fall ideas for preschoolers:

Preschool Science Ideas for Fall - 5 hands-on activities from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      Preschool Apple Theme Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     20 Free Fall Printables for Preschoolers


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Fun Preschool Apple Theme Activities

I’m quite certain I’ve mentioned before how much I love fall. It seems to awaken all 5 senses and allows so much nature exploration! And so, since I love it so much, I put together this big collection of fun preschool apple theme activities.

And I just might keep adding on to it.

Because I keep finding more!

Grab a cup of coffee or tea and get your fingers ready for some serious pinning. In this apple theme collection you will find activities for art,  dramatic play, sensory bins, play dough, math, science, literacy, fine motor, cooking, large motor, and music  and movement.


Preschool Apple Theme Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.

Fun Preschool Apple Theme Activities

Preschool Apple Theme Art Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


Apple Art

Preschool Apple Theme Ideas for Dramatic Play - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Dramatic and Small World Play


Preschool Apple Theme Ideas for Sensory Bin - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Apple Sensory Bins


Preschool Apple Theme Ideas for play dough - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Apple Play Dough


Preschool Apple Theme Ideas for math - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Apple Math

Preschool Apple Theme Ideas for Science- Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Apple Science


Preschool Apple Theme Literacy Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Apple Literacy

Preschool Apple Theme Fine Motor Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Apple Fine Motor

Preschool Apple Theme Cooking Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

 Apple Cooking Activities

Apple Large Motor Games


Apple Music and Movement

Preschool Apple Theme Ideas - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


Bonus! Grab your Apples, Apples Everywhere Pack!

Preschool Kindergarten Apple Theme Printables

Perfect for both preschoolers and kindergartners, this pack includes:

  • Connect the Dot and Do-A-Dot pages
  • Play Dough Mats
  • Apple Graphing
  • Lacing Cards
  • Counting & Number Word Recognition Puzzles
  • Apple Seed Counting (2 ways)
  • Tic-Tac-Toe Boards
  • A Fingerprint Apple Counting Book
  • Upper and Lowercase Letter Sorting
  • Cutting Practice
  • Apple Patterns
  • Apple Tracing
  • Craft & Snack Ideas
  • and more!

For only $6.00 you can download this 90 page PDF digital packet now!

More fall activities:

Preschool Science Ideas for Fall - 5 hands-on activities from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds      fall sensory bin with pom poms      Pine Cone Fine Motor Activity for Toddlers


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Organizing Preschool Classroom Supplies

I am not an organizer. I want to be. I really do. But that is not my gift. Thank goodness other members of our teaching team are gifted at organizing preschool classroom supplies. In fact, in my 18 years of teaching,  this is the first time we are starting a school year completely organized.

It’s not as though we didn’t try in the past. Each August the teachers would meet, decide what needed to be pitched, and tried to put it all back nice and organized. But it never was quite right.

This year we finally got it! And wow, what a difference this is going to make this new school year.

Organizing Classroom Supplies

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Organizing Preschool Classroom Supplies

Our preschool resides in the basement of a church. We have a storage closet that all of our classrooms share. Even though we are lucky to have a decent sized storage room, it still felt cramped. In fact, often we had to pile materials on the floor because we didn’t have enough shelf space.

We also struggled every single year with organizing classroom supplies so that teachers could quickly find what they needed.

So, during our last few weeks of summer break we opened our storage room door….


classroom organization

And pulled everything out.

I will be honest. This made me very anxious. We only had 2 days to get this done.


classroom organization

But with everyone’s help, we got the shelves emptied.

classroom organization

And it all went into our classrooms, where we organized them.

Literacy, math, science, fine motor ….

classroom organization

We first put together our theme tubs. We have 4 different levels in our preschool. The 2 and 3 year olds are upstairs and we call them the juniors team. The 4 and 5 year olds are downstairs and we call them the pre-kindergarten team.

For most themes we put together 2 bins for each one – a bin for juniors and a bin for pre-kindergarten.  We labeled the outside of the clear containers and filled them.

classroom organization

classroom organization

And then they were placed back on the storage shelves, with September’s bins first and May’s bins last.

classroom organization

classroom organization

We also created bins for our cognitive activities such as shapes, colors, math, fine motor, language and literacy.


classroom organization

classroom organization

Our art supplies are in the next bay, with all of our paint and then assorted craft materials. The see-through containers make it so much easier to find what you are looking for!

classroom organization

Paper also has its own spot.

classroom organization

And then, each classroom has its own storage cabinet inside their room. This is ours. Our new assistant took on the challenge and completely organized it for us. I’ve never seen it so clean!

The baskets above the cabinet are where we keep extra clothing in case of accidents, spills, or just having a lot of fun with art materials!

classroom organization

So there you have it.

Our first day of school was today and it was a dream to be able to find what we were looking for in a matter of seconds!

Organizing Classroom Supplies


Looking for classroom supply labels that are ready to be downloaded and used today?

classroom supply labels

Organize your classroom supplies quickly and easily with these done-for-you printable labels!

More information: Printable Classroom Supply Labels

More ideas for teachers:

Preschool Learning Centers      Classroom DYI Ideas for Teachers      Preschool Classroom Schedule


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

How to Set Up Your Preschool Science Center

Science is an important part of a preschooler’s day, especially when it involves hands-on exploration. Teachers, are you wondering how to set up your preschool science center? Does it intimidate you a bit?

It doesn’t need to be intimidating! With just a few simple tips, you can have a science area that is inviting for your young learners.

Today I am going to show you almost all of the science centers we set up on ONE  year in our preschool classroom. Some of these stayed out all week, some for a couple of weeks. All of them were tied into our preschool theme of that week. We connected other classroom activities with what was in our science center.

preschool science activities



This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.


How to Set Up Your Preschool Science Center


You will notice that many of these science centers include picture books and perhaps one or two visuals placed in plexi-glass sign holders. At some of the centers there were also tools such as magnifying glasses and tweezers. We also tried to have some sort of objects that could be touched. I’ve added some affiliate links if you are interested in learning where these products can be purchased, but you might already own them. I am hoping these photos help you understand how to set up a science center that will be visually pleasing to your preschoolers, inviting them to come and explore.


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

At the start of the year we explore with magnets. This is a simple and fun activity that is especially loved by visual learners. The preschoolers discovered that the magnets stuck to some objects, but not to others. Later in the year we explored magnets at the light table, in the sensory table, and even in the block area.

More to read:

8 Irresistible Activities to Do with Magnets

Preschool books about magnets:


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

Learning about families is another great preschool activity at the beginning of the school year. As we are getting to know each other, we also love talking about the members in our family. The children bring in a family photo which we frame and display on the wall all year.


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

As we explore owls, we also learn about nocturnal animals. Why do they sleep during the day?


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

During October, one of our science displays is all about bats. Most of our preschoolers remember seeing the bats at our local zoo, so this is meaningful to them. I put together a simple discovery bottle placing some small foam bats (from a sticker pad) into water along with some glitter (just because our preschoolers love to watch it swirl).  We love National Geographic Kids books, as you can see in the photo. The rubber bat was a nice prop, too!



Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

In October we go on a field trip to the pumpkin patch, so we make sure to study pumpkins at the science table. Along with small pumpkins, we also provided a pumpkin matching activity. (If you are interested in these types of printables, you can find them at Montessori for Everyone.)

Make sure to check out our Pumpkin Theme post for lots of pumpkin activities!


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

While at the pumpkin patch, we get to walk through the the corn that is being harvested. We set up this science center to show a real piece of corn that is still in its husk, a can of corn, dried corn kernels (that I also placed letter tiles inside to spell “corn”), and some visuals.


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

Where we live, there is an abundance of pine cones. This includes all around our preschool building. We learn where they come from while we take a nature walk. What trees did they fall from?


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

Preschoolers have a fascination with dinosaurs, and we’ve happened to acquire quite a collection. The children love how large and powerful dinosaurs are!

Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

In the winter a dental team visits our preschool, talking about how to keep our teeth healthy. The week that they visit, we invite our preschoolers to practice brushing teeth with a model.

The Colors of the Rainbow

Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

During the month of March we explore the rainbow. You might recall our giant color wheel, where the children bring in items from home that are the colors of the rainbow.


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

April means gardening! We invite our preschoolers to play with our seed model while we plant sunflowers. By doing this, they actually get to watch their seed sprout. They learn about taking care of another living thing, giving it sunlight and water.


Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas

After learning about seeds, we then explore daffodils. We explore them under our magnifying stands and learn to treat them gently.


Ocean Life

science shells

In May we explore the ocean. We have real shells, a couple of discovery bottles, and books. You can read more about this in our Preschool Ocean Theme post.


Want to see more science activities? Check out our pin board!



preschool science activities


More preschool activities to explore:

friendship activities for preschoolers      Shape Activities for Preschoolers     Learning the Alphabet - Activities for Preschoolers - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds


Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Preschool Morning Meeting Ideas

Have you ever made a change to your preschool schedule and wondered “WHY did we not think of this years ago”? Okay, I’m laughing now because, truthfully, I’ve wondered this about a lot of changes we’ve made. But adding a morning meeting was one of THE best changes. It only took me 16 years of teaching to figure it out! So I thought I’d share some preschool morning meeting ideas with you all, just in case you might like to add a change to YOUR schedule.

And if you do decide to try this, will you please let me know how it goes? I’d love to hear!

Preschool Morning Meeting

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.


Preschool Morning Meeting Ideas

If you’ve been following my blog for awhile, you will recall how we like to break our circle times up, so that instead of just having one, we have quite a few. (If you are not familiar with this, you can read about it in my circle time post.)

I like to think of our morning meeting as another circle time. (I really should be calling it group time, as our circle is now more like an oval.)

Two summers ago I took an online class from Fairy Dust Teaching and was intrigued by a photo of a classroom that used small wooden stools for the children to sit on during group time. I shared it with my staff and they were in love with the idea. We presented the idea to our committee and they loved them, too. The parents pay for part of the stool and fundraising covers the rest. Each child has her own stool that stays with her the entire time she is at our preschool. When she graduates, she takes the stool home as a keepsake of her preschool years.

Before we open the doors to greet our preschoolers, we set out the stools on our group time carpet and place their name sticks on top. We place a basket of books in the middle.

Preschool Morning Meeting

When the preschoolers arrive, they take their name stick and place it in their envelope which is on the wall.  This is a visual to let us know who is here.

They then get a book from the basket to look at while waiting for their classmates to arrive.

Let me compare this to how it used to be. The preschoolers would arrive and we’d immediately start centers time. There would be a mix of energy and there was not near as much focus as there is now. I didn’t realize this until we implemented our morning meeting.

What now happens is that even if a child arrives full of energy (and it happens every single day), when they walk into the doorway, they find a calm environment.

preschool morning meeting

When it’s time to start our morning meeting, the children put their books either under their stools (so they can look at them again later), or in the basket.

We then sing our good morning song.

(Tune: If You’re Happy and You Know It)

Good morning, good morning, how are you?

Good morning, good morning, how are you?

It’s such a special day, I’m glad you came to learn and play!

Good morning, good morning, how are you?

Each day we have a class helper. That child’s name is placed on a pocket chart at the entrance of our classroom. A teacher will hold up the child’s name and call out each letter until someone figures out who it is.


preschool morning meeting

Introducing Our Learning Centers

We then share what is happening in each of our learning centers. We talk about the materials and how we will use them. If we are introducing new tools, we might pass them around while showing how they are handled.

preschool morning meeting

We might demonstrate something that is related to that week’s theme.

preschool morning meeting

We will pass items around to touch and explore.

preschool morning meeting

All of these tie into that week’s theme, making what we will be doing that day more meaningful.

preschool morning meeting

We then invite the children to go work and play. And it’s amazing how they all go off into different areas, excited to explore!

Do you have a morning meeting? 

preschool morning meeting


More posts for early childhood teachers:

Classroom DYI Ideas for Teachers      Creating a Preschool Circle Time - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     music and movement for preschoolers


Looking for a easy printable lesson plan?

preschool lesson plan printable

*EDITABLE* 150 page lesson plan packet contains lesson plan examples, fillable lesson plan templates, and planning calendars for preschool, pre-k, kindergarten, and first grade. Never write your lesson plans by hand again!

This electronic lesson plan packet features fillable forms in PDF that allow you to type your own text into the form fields.

Click here to download >>>> Editable Lesson Plan Templates

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Setting Up Your Preschool Learning Centers

You have figured out your preschool schedule. You have set up your classroom. Now you are wondering about setting up your preschool learning centers.

Well, good, dear teachers! I’m glad you are here, because that’s what I’m going to help you with today.


preschool learning centers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.



Setting Up Your Preschool Learning Centers


At what part of our day is centers time? How long is it?

Our learning centers are offered during free choice centers time. It is one of the first events of our day, after our morning meeting. It is 60 minutes long and the preschoolers can be at any center they wish, for as long or as short as they want. I feel strongly that with 3 year olds, they get time to explore areas they are interested in. Others have expressed concern that some children might only stay in certain centers if we don’t rotate them from center to center.

What if the children stay in one area most of the hour?

Rarely do our preschoolers stay in one area the entire hour. Because we introduce each center during our morning meeting, they are naturally curious and want to explore several areas. Many times they will leave a center and return later, realizing there is more exploring to do.

If we do see a child staying away from certain centers, we might encourage him to come try something else. (Encourage, not pressure.)

How do we set up an inviting center?

We put great thought into how we set up each center, especially at the beginning of the year when we are still learning what our preschoolers are interested in. We strive for an uncluttered atmosphere where everything has a home. (Sometimes that can be a challenge, but we are always working on it!) While observing the children working and playing in these centers, we notice how they are using the materials. If the children seem frustrated or are dumping everything, we adjust what we have available. Even though we do show them how to use the materials, sometimes the children just are not ready for them. In that case, we replace them with something simpler and will try again later in the year.

How do we teach them to take care of each center?

At the beginning of the school year, we keep it super simple, not putting out near the amount we will later in the year. This is so we can stay on top of showing the children how to take care of the materials, including putting them away. With our 3 year olds, we don’t expect them to neatly clean up each area when they are finished, but we work on simple actions such as placing all the puzzle pieces back on the tray, or sweeping up spills under the sensory table. Our main time for clean up is at the end of centers time, when our class helper rings the clean up bell and we work as a group to clean each area.


Our Preschool Learning Centers

Here are the centers we have on most days during our free choice centers time.

Science Center

This is our discovery and exploration area. It usually relates to that week’s theme. We provide books, photos, and materials that can be touched and held.

Further reading: How to Set Up a Preschool Science Center

Preschool Classroom Science Area Ideas


The easel is part of our art area. It is an important part of fine motor development, but also fosters creativity as children learn how to use a vertical surface.

Further reading: Preschool Art at the Easel

Preschool Art at the Easel

Art Center

Our art center is a perfect place to explore colors and textures. Like with the easel, the art center builds fine motor skills and also strengthens hand-eye coordination.

Further reading: 10 Favorite Painting Activities

Salt and Watercolor Painting - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Fine Motor Center

There are so many fun ways to strengthen the hands and fingers to get them ready for holding writing tools! We use this center for activities such as transferring water, threading macaroni, and making collages on sticky paper.

Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water

Dramatic Play Center

The dramatic play center is important for developing social and emotional skills, as well as motor skills and communication. We change this center out approximately every 2 weeks, depending on what the theme is.

Further reading: Dramatic Play Activities

Apple Stand Dramatic Play

Block Center

This is our most active area during centers time. If anyone ever doubted children learn through play, they need to watch preschoolers in this area. While building with blocks they are sorting by shape, color, and size. They are counting as they stack the blocks, using their fine and large motor muscles handling the block center materials, and building social and language skills while working with other children.

Further reading: Fun Block Activities for Toddlers and Preschoolers

block play for toddlers and preschoolers

Sensory Bin

Having a sensory bin (also known as a sand and water table) provides many opportunities for hands-on exploration. Preschoolers can dig, scoop, transfer, and pour. Our sensory bin is offered every day and we change out what’s in it every 1-2 weeks.

Further reading: Fun Water Table Activities

Ocean Theme Sensory Bin

Cognitive Activity Table

We have 1 table during free-choice centers time where we offer various activities that build cognitive skills, such as counting and sorting, matching shapes, and alphabet puzzles.

preschool learning centers

Light Table

Not all preschools have a light table, but after visiting a Reggio Emilia inspired preschool, we just knew we had to have one. Thankfully, through fundraising, we were able to purchase a light table that conveniently fits in the corner of our reading and writing center. Not only can we explore light, but also different colors with translucent pieces. Our light table is also nice for science displays, such as leaves and shells.

Further reading: 30 Light Table Activities

preschool learning centers

Literacy Center

Having a quiet area to look and books and use writing tools is very important in the preschool classroom. This is also where we keep our memory books and our journals.

Further reading: Creating a Writing Center in the Preschool Classroom

First Day of Preschool

Play Dough Center

Play dough is offered just about every day because it is loved so much by our preschoolers. (Toddlers, too!) We make our own play dough and change it every week. We vary what materials and tools we set out, but rolling pins and cookie cutters are usually part of each week. The play dough table is another fun way to strengthen fine motor skills, and because we sometimes add scent and texture, it’s a fun sensory experience.

Playdough Snowmen - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

Cooking Center

Cooking is not a regular center, but when we do offer a cooking activity, it’s usually at our fine motor table. There are so many advantages to cooking with children, from building fine motor skills, learning how to cooperate with others, strengthening language development, and doing simple counting while measuring.

Blueberry Cake - Cooking with Kids


What are in your learning centers?

Preschool Learning Centers

More posts for early childhood teachers:

Classroom DYI Ideas for Teachers      Creating a Preschool Circle Time - Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds     music and movement for preschoolers

Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds

67 Free Printable Activities for Preschoolers

There are so many creative ways to use printables with preschoolers at home and in the classroom! I’m not a fan of worksheets, but I do love labels, picture cards, sorting activities, busy bags … well, the list goes on. If you are like me, you will LOVE these 67 FREE printable activities for preschoolers.

Yes, you read that correctly.


Who doesn’t like free? (Teachers, I know YOU do!)

Save this post as reference to any time you are looking for a quick printable to go with your theme or classroom environment.

Free Printables for Preschoolers

This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.


67 Free Printable Activities for Preschoolers


Arts and Crafts

Dramatic Play Printables











Okay, if you have actually counted how many free printables I’ve shared, you know that I added some more. I can’t help myself. I keep finding more!


More easy ideas for preschoolers:

Shape Activities for Preschoolers      Preschool Fine Motor Activity Transferring Water     preschool color activities

Free Printables for Preschoolers




Back to School Bundle for Teachers and Parents

Woo hoo! I am so excited to help promote this amazing back to school bundle for teachers and parents and homeschoolers, too!  The 54 titles cover everything from crafts and activities to educational printables.

You might recall my book Learn with Play. Well, it’s included in this bundle. Imagine many, many more fun and educational activities all in one place!

The timing is perfect for back to school planning. Scroll down to read why!

back to school bundle for preschoolers


This post contains affiliate links for your convenience.


Back to School Bundle for Teachers and Parents

This bundle is PACKED with great bonuses that cover everything from picky eating to potty training to early learning activities. It’s like a early learning library at your fingertips!


13 ebooks – examples99 Fine Motor Ideas, Learn with Play: 150 Activities for Year-Round Fun and Learning, 50 Alphabet Crafts for Little Kids, LEARN: Hands On Learning Plans for Your Preschooler, and more!

31 educational printable packs – examples: My First Calendar, ABC Workbook, Pom Pom Mats, Shapes Games, Dinosaur syllabus, Ultimate Preschool Literacy Bundle, Counting Printable Pack, and more!

10 additional resources – examples: Yoga for Kids, Put a Stop to Picky Eating and Help Your Kids Love Veggies, Homeschooling with ADHD, Potty Train in a Weekend, Family Systems, and more!

All of this for only $29.95

That’s 92% off!

But hurry! This incredible deal only runs from July 25 to September 10, 2016.

Back to School Resource Bundle for Preschoolers

Back to School Resource Bundle for Preschoolers




Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds