Fairy Gardens

Miniature gardens filled with fairies, gnomes, and cute little fairy houses offer children an enchanted play space to develop their creativity and imagination.

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As part of our fairy theme, we created our own fairy gardens.

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Each child used a variety of materials to created their very own magical kingdom!

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Unicorn Sorting

Measurement concepts are often a part of children’s interactions. “My dad is bigger,” “I can jump higher,” and “I have more play dough than you!” are common comparisons that children make.

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From the child’s perspective, these statements compare quantity; however, they also provide a nice introduction to measurement.

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Unfortunately, it is an often neglected content standard in early childhood classrooms.

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Throughout the many projects we do throughout the week, we are constantly measuring, comparing, and contrasting items related to the theme.

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For this activity, your little one was presented with a problem. They were each given three pictures of unicorns that were of varying length.

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After this, they were asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest.

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Following this, they were encouraged to measure the width of the largest unicorn. Lastly, we recorded the answers and compared our results!

Unicorn Spelling with Manipulatives

Manipulatives give children to interact with the alphabet through hands-on play.

They are able to feel the shape of the objects and arrange multiple letters to form letters and words.

They can see the curves and the lines that come together to form each letter, and some manipulatives even allow children to explore letter formation and tracing.

We used manipulatives as part of our unicorn theme.

To do this, we did a couple of things.

First, we wrote the word U-N-I-C-O-R-N on the sidewalk using chalk.

Then, we placed jewels (the manipulatives) on to the letters.

Lastly, we sounded out each letter until we created the word!

Unicorn Counting using One-to-One Correspondence

One-to-one correspondence is an early learning math skill that involves the act of counting each object in a set once, and only once with one touch per object. Rote counting and counting with one-to-one are very different.Rote counting is just reciting the numeral names in order, “One, two, three, four, five…” But counting with one-to-one involves actually touching each object and saying the numeral name aloud, which is a much more complex skill for young children.Activities that involve real objects that children can hold in their hands and manipulate are going to be the most effective for teaching the concept of one-to-one correspondence. One of these activities involved counting with unicorn “horns”. Using pipe cleaners as the “horn”, students slid beads while counting.Each “horn” had a number ranging from one to ten. They were directed to slide the number of beads that matched their number. It was so exciting to see how sparkly our “horns” became!

Fairy Dough Gardens

In our classroom, we are always in interacting with play dough.The most important benefit of playdough is the word “play”.When teachers introduce playdough, they usually do not have an ultimate agenda or ending outcome – the children are simply given opportunity to play.As part of our fairy week, we used play dough to create “gardens”, complete with glitter, flowers, and jewels!Because this was open-ended play, students were given the opportunity to manipulate the materials however they so chose.

The Polar Express

The Polar Express is an enchanting holiday tale of a young boy who doubts that Santa Claus truly exists. On one special Christmas Eve, as the boy skeptically waits for the sound of sleigh bells, a magical train appears outside his home and the conductor invites him aboard.

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What lies ahead is an extraordinary adventure of self-discovery through which the young boy learns that for those who believe, the wonders of life never fade.

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This beautifully made film, based on the book by Chris Van Allsburg, was one we enjoyed learning about for a day or two.

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We began our journey with reading a condensed version of the book. We then used flour, tracks, and automated train cars to create our own version of the story!

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Snowflake Puzzles

In preschool classrooms, you may observe children enthusiastically counting collections of erasers, small toy animals, colored cotton balls, and buttons, then represent their counts on paper—often by drawing the objects or a circle to represent each item and placing the objects on their representations to ensure an accurate count.

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They may seem like they are just playing, participants in a silly game of little significance. This could not be more untrue.

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Play versus academic skills: It’s not a zero-sum game.

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Did the children engaged in these activities know they were participating in math lessons?

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Probably not. But they were indeed learning math through what I refer to as playful instruction. As part of our curriculum, we are constantly using everyday items to count, sort, and label their physicality.

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For one week in December, we talked about the shapes that make up snowflakes. We discussed triangles, hexagon, squares, and circles and their relevance to the snowflake shape. We initially matched pieces of a snowflake into a pre-made puzzle and then cut up paper to construct our very own!

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