Shark Pinata

Gross motor skills are essential for a child’s development.

These skills involve using the large muscles of the body, and they help children with movement and coordination.

Gross motor development is critical to balance, coordination, and connection to other body functions.

For this activity, we used a large, cardboard “bat” to hit open a shark pinata.

We used our gross motor skills to manipulate the “bat” and hit the pinata.

This was the favorite activity of the week. Everyone had so much fun and enjoyed laughing with their friends!

Fine Motor Fish

Fine motor skills provide the backbone to any preschool program.

Through these skills, students are able to access several areas of development.

For this activity, students used a clothespin to pick up a cotton ball.

They then dipped the cotton ball into some pain.

Lastly, they made dots onto the letter F for Fish.

Cleaning the Bay

You may think that preschoolers are too young to learn about environmental conservation and sustainability. But it’s actually the perfect age.

If you’ve ever sat and watched young children playing outside, you know how kids just seem to have an innate connection to nature. They’re fascinated by the clouds in the sky, the dandelions in a field, the bugs crawling in the dirt.

Environmental education for kids builds on their natural interest, encouraging their curiosity and helping them grow into adults who consider the environmental in everything they do. For this activity, we talked about pollution and how it affects ocean life.

To tie this in with our fish theme, we decided to both create and then “clean up” a bay. Students were first presented with a sensory table full of “dirty” water and “trash”.

They were given nets, recycling bin, and a trash bin to remove the trash.

Following this, students were presented with a sensory table full of clean water, abundant with sea life. Lastly, we had a discussion about why it is so important to throw our trash away in trash cans.

Sorting Fish

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 fish 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.

Amazonian Ant Hills

The largest ant in the world is the giant Amazonian ant which can reach an impressive size of 1.6 inches in length.

Found only in South America, these huge red ants are happy to live in both the rainforest and the coastal regions. The females are jet black while the males are a dark red color and they can be territorial when faced with other ants.

The giant Amazonian ants commonly make their nests in both soil and sand and don’t travel further than thirty feet when searching for food. They eat a wide variety of plants and insects as well as spiders, snails, and crickets.

For this activity, we first watched a short clip of these voracious eaters. Following this, we created our very own ant hills out of sand and toy figure ants.

Bumble Bee Letter Roll

There are many creative ways that educators can engage young learners in pre-reading activities.

For this one, we decided to use dice to teach us about six different letters.

These include letters H, P, C, B, A, and F.

Students were guided to spin this dice and say the letter name of the letter it landed on.

They they were given a “bee board” or different words associated with the bumble bee.

Each letter on the dice corresponded to a different word (provided with a picture).

Students then learned about the sound that the letter made and then applied toy bee figures to it.

B is for Butterfly Pom Pom Transfer

Fine motor skills are finger and hand skills such as writing, cutting, opening lunch boxes, and tying shoe laces.

The development of these skills relies upon age appropriate development of physical skills (such as core trunk control and shoulder strength) providing the stable base from which the arm and hand can then move with control.

For this activity, we used tweezers and pom poms to make the letter B!

Caterpillar Gross Motor Toss

Gross motor activities are an essential component to any preschool curriculum.

These activities build skills that aid the development of young children, and prepare them for elementary school.

Because your little ones are active and often on-the-go, it is important that they learn how to control their bodies.

Comfort with gross motor skills means that your child is aware of his personal space.

By controlling his body, he can respect other peoples’ personal space as well. For this activity, we used rings to play a fun tossing game.

Students were first shown a large caterpillar on a stand. They were then given three rings. Then they were instructed to toss the rings onto the caterpillar!

Butterfly Scale Craft

Thinking of the visual arts in early childhood education can initially evoke an image of a child standing at an easel, thick stubby paint brush in hand with bright acrylic poster paint spreading quickly across the page.

However, research has shown the visual arts to be a rich domain through which young children can explore and represent their experiences, think through and deepen their working theories, and develop their creative thinking.

It is through the visual arts that children learn about the symbolic systems of representation and communication valued by their communities.

For this activity, we used tissue paper to create butterfly wings.

These fascinating creatures (butterflies) have beautiful wings made of chitin and scales.

Students glued each “scale” (or tissue paper) to construction paper along with their friends!

Bugs in the Sand

For this activity, students strengthened their fine motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and bilateral abilities by engaging in the fun fine motor project.

Using tweezers, a net, toy bugs, and an observation jar students practiced picking up small items and transferring them to another location.

This incorporates the physical development domain.