Fine Motor Moons

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 Q-tips and paint to write on the moon!

To begin with, students dipped their Q-tips in white paint. They they added white dots onto the word MOON.

Spelling Planets

In the past, spelling was usually taught as a separate subject; memorization was thought to be the key to its mastery. Even now, most elementary schools using spelling series and treat spelling as a subject separate from the other language arts.

However, during the past decade, language researchers have she new light on the spelling process. The acquisition of spelling rules is now viewed as a complex developmental process.

Once the stages of the process are identified, elementary teachers can help students develop strategies for learning standard English spelling, and they can assess students’ progress more accurately. For this activity, students used blocks to spell the word PLANET. Initially, they were presented with a scrambled jumble of letters.

They were then asked to point out the identification of each letter. Following this, the teacher helped them with figuring out which sound each letter made. Lastly, the students matched the block letters with the letters on the word mat to spell PLANET!

Counting Planets

Counting can be a fun task for young children. Children will begin by counting forward and should be provided a lot of experience practicing this new skill. They will also begin to recognize written number symbols.

Kids will start as “pre-counters” saying numbers in no particular order. This is typical of a two-year-old child. The next level is “chanters”. At this stage, children may say numbers in a sequence but run them together.

If the child is interrupted, they will have to start over at the beginning versus where they left off. Finally, “reciters” can verbally count to five, ten and so on. This is a very advanced skill and should not be expected during this age period.

A more advanced skill of math is one-to-one correspondence. This is also typical of a three to four-year-old child. They will be able to point at objects and count them at the same time. This activity strengthens this skill. For this counting activity, students practiced counting planets.

They did this by picking them up with tweezers and placing them around the sun. The number they selected was chosen through the rolling of a dice.

Neptune Phonics

As a parent, one of the most important things in life is seeing your child do well in school and life, and one key stepping stone on the path is becoming a good reader.

For teachers, it’s all the same, as The Department of Education states that deploying a phonics education at an early age can also help children develop culturally, socially, and emotionally.

Research shows that phonics, when taught correctly, is one of the most effective ways of teaching children to learn to read, and can lay a proper foundation for the success of a child. In our school, we are always coming up with fun ways to practice our phonics.

For this activity, we learned about the letter N for Neptune. To begin with, students were directed to locate the letter N in the alphabet.

Following this, they were asked to say the sound that the letter makes. After, they sang a silly song about words that start with this letter. Finally, students were asked to place jewels onto this fun letter N Neptune tray!

Planets Sensory Play

Research shows that sensory play builds nerve connections in the brain’s pathways, which enables young children to complete more complex learning tasks.

Sensory play also supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.

Lastly, sensory play aids in developing and enhancing memory. For this activity, we interacted with “planets” via this fun sensory bin!

Students manipulated the planets, along with black rice, star confetti, and tweezers. They ran the rice through their fingers and tried picking up the confetti with their tweezers.

In addition to this, your little ones enjoyed creating different story lines for the different planets touched. Lastly, they laughed and had fun with their friends!

Tracing Planets

There are many activities children can enjoy that will improve their pre-writing skills.

If you visit some of our other tracing activities, you’ll find lots of great information on the importance of pre-writing skills, what they are, and how to develop them.

Tracing lines is just one way of helping children get ready to write.

And they don’t even have to pick up a pencil to do it. It’s valuable to start out tracing with fingers because holding a writing tool can be tricky!

So as part of our planet theme, your little one participated in an activity that honed their tracing skills.

With a few simple materials, we learned about the letters that make up the words for the different planets.

Throughout the week, we talked about all of the planets and the letters they start with. We then discussed the sounds that S makes (for Saturn), E makes (for Earth), etc. Following this, we sung a song about the different letters. Lastly, we used paint and glitter to make the letter first letters of the different planets!

Asteroid Play Dough Spelling

Many children feel that practicing handwriting is a chore, an unwanted burden and something they dislike spending time on. With all the technology and electronic devices we have today, it almost seems like handwriting is becoming irrelevant.

In our class, it isn’t. There are several ways to form letters, and in our class, we learn to construct them properly without even using a pencil!

As your children are introduced to letter formation, they benefit most from a hands-on approach using manipulatives.

Even before children can properly grasp a pencil they can practice this way and get a feel for the way a letter should be formed.

For this particular activity, we practiced creating letter A (for Asteroid) with play dough and stones. Each child first rolled their play dough into the letter A. They then placed “asteroids” (stones) into the dough!

Asteroid Toss

Throwing is an important skill that young children acquire in their preschool years.

It involves the whole body and requires balance, as well as planning and executing movements in a sequential, coordinated way.

We love throwing because it strengthens hand-eye coordination. It also improves bilateral skills. By throwing, your little ones practice using opposite sides of the body in a coordinated way. Visual perception and control also increases.

Accurately throwing something at a target involves gauging the distance to the target, and how much power is required to reach it. Lastly, throwing requires a child to learn about gravity and the properties of objects.

It is a child’s first gravity lesson, as she learns that when she throws something up as it always comes down. For this activity, we practiced throwing asteroids!

These asteroids were constructed out of tinfoil balls. Using the large muscles in their hands, students threw their asteroids into a box!

Shapes Rocket

Learning shapes isn’t just about teaching your child how to draw a circle or square.

When we look closely enough, we may recognize just how many shapes occur naturally in the world around us.

Not just in math, but in also reading, science, and art. For a young preschooler, learning shapes can be incredibly helpful in offering an early step in understanding how shapes and numbers relate to one another.

To tie this in with our rocket theme, students used shapes to construct rockets! They were first presented with craft sticks and a diagram of a rocket made out of construction paper.

Following this, they were asked to match the sticks to the corresponding color on the page. Lastly, they were told to put these sticks together into the shape of a rocket!

Straw Rocket Combustion

In a rocket, fuel and a source of oxygen, called an oxidizer, are mixed and exploded in a combustion chamber.

The combustion produces hot exhaust which is passed through a nozzle to accelerate the flow and produce thrust.

To create our own rocket engines, we used straws and rocket figurines to blast off to Huntley Preschool!

The source of our engines? Our breath!

Utilizing their lungs, students blew into the straws which launched their rockets off of the ground!