Christmas Tree Play Dough

The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used fir trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia.

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Nobody is really sure when fir trees were first used as Christmas trees. It probably began about 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas Trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers/lighting hooks). To create our own version of the early Christmas tree, we created our very own using play dough and jewels!

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Using play dough helps a child practice using certain physical skills with the hands when they manipulate the dough with their fingers. Children can practice skills such as pinching, squeezing or poking while they play with the dough. Lastly, using play dough helps a child practice using imagination and other cognitive abilities such imitation, symbolism and problem solving. This helps our little ones learn more about their environment as they make and mimics everyday objects with the play dough.

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Turkey Nests

Wild Turkeys live year-round in open forests with interspersed clearings in 49 states (excluding Alaska), parts of Mexico, and parts of southern Alberta, Ontario, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan, Canada.

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Turkeys in northeastern North America use mature oak-hickory forests and humid forests of red oak, beech, cherry, and white ash.

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They nest on the ground in dead leaves at the bases of trees, under brush piles or thick shrubbery, or occasionally in open hayfields.

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To help us understand the world of the turkey, we created our very own turkey nests!

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Turkey Feather Ts

There are so many ways to strengthen pre-reading and pre-writing skills that have nothing to do with books or worksheets!

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Young children can easily become frustrated with writing, because their gross motor skills are developing faster than their fine motor skills.

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It is not until they turn five or six that they can truly master writing implements.

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But… that doesn’t mean that they still can’t have fun with letters! In Miss Carrie’s class, we like to think outside of the box. For this activity your little ones were encouraged to read and write in a very special way.

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Because our activities relate to a theme (in this case, Thanksgiving), we tend to keep them within certain parameters.

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This particular week involved learning all about turkeys and the letter T. This was a two part activity. First, students were given play dough that they were told to roll into two separate rolls.

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Then they connected each roll to form a T. Next, they placed feathers into the T. Lastly, they added feathers, googly eyes, and a pipe cleaner (for the beak) to create letter T turkeys!

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The Floating Mayflower

Young children enjoy learning about how things work.

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By participating in science activities, they are learning important critical thinking and observation skills.

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These activities also promote their inherent sense of curiosity about the world.

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For this activity we experimented with sinking and floating.

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Using blocks and sails (toothpicks and paper), we recreated the Mayflower, and then placed them in water to observe whether they would sink or float.

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It took a little time, but eventually everyone figured out how to balance their boats so that they would stay afloat!

The Common House

The first house that Pilgrims built in America was called a Common House. It was used to store food and provisions.

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During the first winter in America, it also served as a hospital. The construction of this building was simple. The Pilgrims first used logs and then sticks to make the walls.

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Sand, clay, water and straw were then mixed together to cover the walls, and the roof was made of reeds and wild grasses.

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Within a year after landing in America, the Pilgrims had built seven houses and four other buildings.  For this activity, your little one created this exciting structure using a variety of materials.

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They were then given some pilgrims they used to recreate the story of its construction.

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Young children love to create stories and scenarios that apply recently acquired knowledge. Their imaginative brains are constantly conceiving plots and characters for even the simplest of things. This tendency for creative story building can be incorporated into any curriculum.

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Turkey Baster Water Transfer

Using turkey basters, plastic bowls, a plastic turkey, and colored water, we practiced moving water from one container to another!

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This activity incorporated several developmental tasks.

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It enabled your little one to formulate ideas based on quantity and space.

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It also helped your little one improve coordination.

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Lastly, by transferring the liquid among the different compartments, your little one was given the opportunity to estimate how much should be poured into each compartment so that the amounts were equal.

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This was a two part activity.

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Following the transfer of water into another container, each student then saturated a plastic turkey with water!

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