Cooperative building activities provide one of the most valuable learning experiences available for young children.
Play such as this stimulates learning in all domains of development, including intellectual, physical, and social-emotional and language.
In fact, current research shows that this type of instruction is fundamental for later cognitive success in mathematical and critical reasoning skills.
For this activity, we constructed a savannah out of wood planks, toy animals, and plastic grass.
Students worked together in small groups, constructing elaborate animal scenes that they played with alongside their friends!
When young children are given clay, they are instinctively motivated to explore its responsive sensory qualities. As they poke it, squeeze it, and pound it, the clay responds. For a preschooler, this empowers them to continue experimenting!
As they experiment, they recognize that their actions have consequences. Their curiosity continues to empower their learning experience, as they construct and reconstruct a variety of shapes and forms. Before we began this activity, we discussed the story of the Lion King and the Lion Guard.
With pictures and two short stories, your little one was introduced (or perhaps reintroduced) to the regal home of Simba and Mufasa, called Pride Rock. They were then encouraged to use clay and rocks to create their own version of Pride Rock! By doing this, they applied their understanding of a concept, and continued to develop their hand eye coordination and the small muscles in their hands.
When young children categorize items by number, they are beginning to perceive the relationships between them.
As they evolve in their ability to recognize and count the written numeral, they start to understand how they work together.
In this activity, your budding mathematicians learned how to recognize and count tigers within the scope of our tiger theme.
Using toy tigers and pictures of a jungle, students placed these items onto four different pictures, counting and naming the numbers while doing so.
Children can find it very difficult to re-tell stories and even harder to make them up. This is particularly so if they have not had much experience with stories and story telling in the preschool classroom.
There are a variety of ways to involve children with texts, and the use of ‘story trays’ is one that does not only spark an interest in reading but also involves much talk and discussion, which is why we include them in our curriculum!
A story tray is a tray or similar item containing a book, plus items associated with the story, which might include characters in the form of toys or puppets. There might also be a non-fiction book on a similar theme, which allows children to experience different types of text.
These items are used to help bring the story to life. They provide a visual and tactile stimulus that the children can use to take part in the telling or re-telling of the story.
Children of all abilities enjoy using them but they can be particularly useful in helping children who are not interested in reading, for whatever reasons, to enjoy books.
For this activity, we used a variety of items to re-tell the story of Disney’s The Lion Guard. Each child was given a character in the story, and as the story was read, they would add their item to the tray. This enabled everyone to participate in one of their favorite stories!
Children learn through experiences, and the earlier they are exposed to STEM-based hands-on learning experiences, the better.
Engineering activities, by their nature, are an inquiry-based pedagogical strategy that promotes learning across disciplines.
Engineering curricula introduces students of all ages to everyday applications of science, mathematics, technology and engineering that match their values and view of the world.
This, and many of our other activities are designed to engage students in hands-on STEM experiences in order to improve their understanding of fundamental concepts in a way that capitalizes upon their design, visualization, creativity and teamwork skills and yearnings.
For this activity, students were given toy tigers, rocks, pine cones, and blocks.
They were told to construct a structure using the materials.
After they finished, they teamed up with their friends to create even bigger structures!
The tiger is the largest of the four big cats, and one that is very fascinating to people all over the world.
Tigers are fierce predators that make them a formidable member of the food chain. They have been able to successfully evolve from ancient tigers for almost 2 million years, continually adapting well to their surroundings.
These fascinating creatures live in Asia, which is where their natural habitats are. They are most likely found in the swamps, grasslands and rain forests of Southeast Asia, China, Korea and Russia.
For this activity, we created a habitat for our tigers, resembling the rain forests of Southeast Asia. Together with their friends, your little ones used toy tigers and leaves to make a lush home for their creatures!
For this activity, we combined bamboo, rocks, and dirt to learn about panda bears!
By using these materials, we created habitats for our little creatures and learned a new word: omnivore!
Physiologically, giant pandas are carnivores — they are made to eat meat — but they prefer a vegetarian diet.
Herbivores are, by definition, anatomically suited to a plant-based diet.
The giant panda is no herbivore. He’s essentially a vegetarian, a carnivore that eats little meat.
Throughout the activity, your little explorers delighted in manipulating the materials, and providing the perfect home for their little panda bear.
Group projects (such this one) can help preschoolers develop a host of skills that are increasingly important in their budding development.
Properly structured, group projects can reinforce skills that are relevant to both group and individual work, including the ability to break complex tasks into parts and steps, refine understanding through discussion and explanation, and develop stronger communication skills.
Young children are constantly assessing the patterns in their worlds.
From how items fit together, to the similarities between objects in their environments, their awareness of logic and order compose a significant part of their play. To cultivate this, we used a variety of colored bears to create sequences!
Sequencing hosts an array of developmental benefits; it enables your little one to see how items are alike and different; it helps visual acuity; AND, it fosters critical thinking skills. This activity consisted of students matching bears to a diagram. Each diagram contained a missing item, and it was up to the student to determine what item it was. Through some trial and error, we enjoyed manipulating a variety of colorful bears, laughing and learning in the process!
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. From the child’s perspective, these statements compare quantity; however, they also provide a nice introduction to measurement.
Unfortunately, it is an often neglected content standard in early childhood classrooms. Throughout the many projects we do throughout the week, we are constantly measuring, comparing, and contrasting items related to the theme. For this activity, your little one was presented with a problem.
They were each given seven pictures of hippos that were of varying length. They were then asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest.