Paint Bag Comets

Color has been an intense topic of interest for thousands of years. Mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, and poets have all contributed to our understanding of color.

To tie in an artistic element within our comet theme, we spelled the word comet using paint bags. These colorful packets contain paint, stars, and the word comet written on a laminated sheet of paper.

Using their fine motor skills, students manipulated the bags until they could see the letters C-O-M-E-T in the bags!


Comet Spelling

Gross and fine motor skills help foster language development from infancy to early childhood.

For these two activities, we combined these skills to spell the word COMET!

Our three and four year olds spelled this word using chalk and glass beads, while our two year olds did so using q-tips and paint.

Rocket Ship Dramatic Play

Dramatic play benefits are numerous. In addition to supporting creativity and self-expression, dramatic play can help children learn real life skills and social skills that can serve them throughout their lives.

The benefits of dramatic play include learning conflict resolution, helping children to learn creative problem-solving skills alongside their peers.

Dramatic play also allows children to explore self-empowerment, allowing kids the opportunity to make choices, act out their feelings, and find a new connection to themselves.

For this activity, students participated in a dramatic play activity where they (along with their friends) “flew” to the Kuiper Belt! Different students played different roles. Some were the passengers, some steered the rocket, some were the engineers, and some were the engine or “fire”.

Students counted down from 10 to 1 and “flew” to the music of Star Wars. Along their adventure, students faced asteroids, interference, and black holes!

Astronaut Food

Living and working in a microgravity environment requires culinary ingenuity and creativity. In the early days of space flight, Mercury astronauts would consume puree squeezed from tubes and cubes of dry goods.

Currently, NASA uses freeze-dried food to create nutrient dense food for astronauts. For this activity, students used a few simple materials to create their very own astronaut food.

This activity was so great because it accessed a host of development skills!

By manipulating the different tools, students practiced their fine motor skills. By figuring out food amounts, they practiced measuring: an essential math skill. By following directions, they practiced their listening skills.

Paper Moon Rock Walk

Small group time is a meaningful and important part of any preschooler’s day. It’s a time when teachers work with a small group of students and individualize instruction based on student needs.

For this group project, we explored the surface of the moon!

Using rocks and shredded paper “moon dust”, your little ones went on an adventure!

They used their hands to search for rocks, often teaming up with their friends to complete the task.

It was so exciting! Not only learning about what was on the surface of the moon, but the tactile feel of the paper “dust” sliding through our fingers!

Jasper is cute. I like his cheeks.

Star Manipulatives

Manipulatives are an invaluable tool in any preschool classroom. They help students learn by allowing them to move from concrete experiences to abstract ones. Experts in education posit that this learning takes place in different stages.

For preschool children, the first stage involves symbolic thought. This refers to recognizing and labeling symbols that take on different meanings. Two examples of these are letters and numbers.

Seeing a letter, understanding that it is a symbol for something else (a sound), and then being able to create that letter is a difficult feat for any young learner. It is our goal to break up this reasoning into small steps that can be readily accessed by the young learner.

Manipulatives can also be important tools in helping students think and reason in more meaningful ways. By giving students concrete ways to compare and operate on such quantities, symbols, and other features can contribute to the development of well-grounded, interconnected understandings of different ideas.

For this activity, students used manipulatives to create the word STAR. They placed the manipulatives onto different points of the letters and then saw the final product!

Huntley National Park

On March 1, 1872, Congress established Yellowstone National Park in Montana and Wyoming as a public park for the benefit and enjoyment of the American people. It was placed under exclusive control of the Secretary of State of the Interior. The founding of Yellowstone National Park began a worldwide national park movement. Today more than 100 nations contain some 1,200 national parks or equivalent preserves.

In the years following the establishment of Yellowstone, the United States authorized additional national parks and monuments, many of them carved from the federal lands of the West. These, also, were administered by the Department of the Interior, while other monuments and national and historic areas were administered by the War Department and the Forest Service of the Department of Agriculture.

Upon learning about these national treasures, we decided to create our very own using a few simple materials. Students were involved in each step of the process and enjoyed creating the various exhibits they would later visit during our “hike” through.

Each exhibit featured a different landmark within the park. These included Huntley Lake, Huntley Flats (an animal reservation), Huntley Peak, Huntley Bear Caves, and the Huntley Picnic Area.

With their hiking sticks, your little ones practiced lining up in a straight line, following directions, and using their large motor skills to visit each landmark. From one to the other, they learned about the specifics of each feature, and were given free rein to interact with it.

Environmental education is important in the preschool classroom. For one, it instills passion for the environment. Secondly, it encourages children to form sustainable habits. Thirdly, it raises eco-friendly consumers. Lastly, it trains the next generation of environmental advocates.

Miss Cheyenne’s Little Butterflies

For pre-literate children, the visual arts are a primary means through which they can explore and share their perceptions of their world. The visual arts can help children to communicate ideas that cannot be expressed verbally, which is particularly important for children with English as a second language.

This week’s theme entails all things related to hiking. In order to bring the visual arts to our young ones, Miss Cheyenne came up with this colorful art project! Students used their fingers to add glue and pipe cleaners to paper shapes in order to create a beautiful butterfly!

Our students enjoyed sharing their creations with their friends. Many of them even engaged in some dramatic play!

H(ikers) in the Grass

To start our hiking week off with some fun, we integrated this exciting fine motor language activity. At our preschool, we understand that children process information using more senses than just their sight and sound. It is for this reason that we post many sensory activities that focus on the three year olds’ favorite sense: touch! Instead of using a pencil and becoming frustrated, many of our twos and threes use a combination of different fingers to create symbols, such as letters and numbers. What more fun than to accomplish this by tracing the letter H into “grass” aka rice.