From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to explore and try to make sense of the world around them. They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving and hearing. Children and even adults learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses. Many of our favorite memories are associated with one or more of our senses: for instance, the smell of a summer night campfire or a song you memorized the lyrics to with a childhood friend. Now, when your nostrils and eardrums are stimulated with those familiar smells and sounds respectively, your brain triggers a flashback memory to those special times. Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways. This leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks and supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction and problem solving skills. As part of our pirate week, we used our senses to construct a pirate lagoon. With plastic liners, pirate and fish toys, boats, seashells, and our imaginations, we created a pirate lagoon with our friends!
Monthly Archives: April 2019
An exciting pre k activity is that of sequencing. You can learn how to sequence anything from stories to numbers to objects! Sequencing is important for young learners because it provides an introduction to pattern recognition, an important skill for math. For this activity, we used mermaid manipulatives to create various patterns. These were two and three color patterns that they were asked to repeat. Everyone enjoyed seeing just how many mermaids they could fit into their sequences!
Literacy manipulatives are physical objects that aid understanding of concepts or processes by allowing students to physically demonstrate and see the concept or process.
The use of manipulatives provides a way for students to learn concepts in a developmentally-appropriate, hands-on, experiential way.
Literacy manipulatives can be used to promote reading and writing skills, particularly in the early stages of literacy development for young readers.
For this activity, we used manipulatives to spell the word MERMAID.
Students were asked to name each letter in the word, trace it with their fingers, and eventually, place jewels on top!
With most of our blue planet covered by water, it’s little wonder that, centuries ago, the oceans were believed to hide mysterious creatures including sea serpents and mermaids.
Merfolk (mermaids and mermen) are, of course, the marine version of half-human, half-animal legends that have captured human imagination for ages.
One source, the “Arabian Nights,” described mermaids as having “moon faces and hair like a woman’s but their hands and feet were in their bellies and they had tails like fishes.”
We had so much fun learning about mermaids this week!
We talked about King Triton from the movie, The Little Mermaid, sung the song “Under the Sea”, and created mermaid tails with bubble wrap!
For this activity, we used a few materials to create our own version of the Disney story, The Little Mermaid.
With seashells, toy mermaids, a wooden house and their thinking minds, students enjoyed creating their very own mermaid lagoon!
Leprechaun Small World Play
Small world play allows children to act out scenarios (scenes from real life, stories they have heard and/or from their imagination) in a miniature play scene, created with small figures and objects.
A child’s small world play is often based around a certain theme depending on the child’s interests such as farming, construction area, dolls, fairy garden or even a dinosaur world.
Everyday items around the house or garden can be transformed to create small world play scenes. An empty box transforms into a garage for farming and construction toys, a carpet turns into a busy highway.
The options are as limitless as kids’ imaginations! During our leprechaun week, we learned all about Ireland, rainbows, and hidden treasure. With a variety of different sensory materials, students explored this new world with their friends!
Many scholars believe that the origin of the word leprechaun is the old Irish Lú Chorpain meaning small body.
Another definition has linked the modern name to luchorpán ( a word from the 8th century AD ) which is defined as sprite or pygmy.
Finally, the word leprechaun has been connected to leath bhrógan (shoe maker). This definition is also a possibility as many stories about leprechauns have shown their profession to be the cobblers of the fairy world.
For this activity, we used a few holiday relics to learn about Saint Patrick’s Day. Using slime, pots of gold, shamrocks, gold coins and miniature gnomes, we created various stories with our friends!
The Leprechaun is a much-loved and sometimes feared magical creature of Irish folk legend.
Short in stature and with a long-beard and pot of gold, leprechauns were once believed to pervade the Irish countryside.
Those little men all dressed in green, obsessed with rainbows and treasure, trickery, and of course shoe-making.
As part of our leprechaun week, we made our very own leprechaun traps! Using gold coins, a shoebox, and our imaginations, we set up the perfect trap for our little friends!
Miniature gardens filled with fairies, gnomes, and cute little fairy houses offer children an enchanted play space to develop their creativity and imagination.
As part of our fairy theme, we created our own fairy gardens.
Each child used a variety of materials to created their very own magical kingdom!
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 three pictures of unicorns that were of varying length.
After this, they were asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest.
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 the opportunity 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!