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. 

Counting Wings

Butterfly wings are made up of thin layers of proteins called chitin.

They are supported by a system of tubular veins that allow for oxygen exchange.

The wings are then covered by an intricate system of scales that give butterflies their unique color and pattern variations.

To learn both about butterfly wings (and to incorporate our math domain) your little ones placed “scales” onto three different butterfly cut-outs.

The scales were represented by glass jewels and numbers we counted were ten, eleven (our number of the week), and twelve. 

Monarch Butterfly Release

Many preschools make the mistake of providing strictly academic experiences that entail pencils and worksheets. While this may be appropriate for school-age children, preschoolers suffer greatly when only allowed traditional tutelage. This is why learning through play is so important.

Unlike older children, little ones are incapable of abstract thought. Things like recognizing symbols and numbers must come from three-dimensional activities. Worksheets do not offer that. This is why most of our activities are hands-on. For this activity, one of our students brought in cocoons of REAL Monarch butterflies! We read all about this fascinating creature with a fun, interactive book and then gazed upon the interesting cocoons. One of the butterflies was ready for release so we let him go in our back playground. Such an amazing experience!

Bingo Dauber Butterflies

Bingo daubers are great tools of the preschool classroom.

These chunky ink makers are perfect for little hands to grab.

For our two different groups, they help with letter formation, number marking, coloring, and creating art!

This activity entailed placing small dots onto a butterfly printout.

Using a variety of colors, students enjoyed creating and adding life to their illustrations!

S is for Spider

The origins of the long s, ſ, can be traced all the way back to old Roman cursive, a script used in Rome for everyday, informal writing from the first century AD to about the third century.

In this script, the letter s was written as a vertical downstroke with a small curve at the end of it, and a diagonal upstroke at the top. It looked almost like a check mark, with an added diagonal line on top of it. I

n new Roman cursive, which developed between the third and seventh century AD, s was written almost as we write the lowercase r today: a vertical downstroke, followed by an upstroke with a curve.

For this activity, we learned all about the long s sound found in the word SPIDER.

To do so, students used manipulatives (in this case, toy spiders) to cover the letter S.

This letter S was placed onto a letter card. Students enjoyed playing with the spiders and putting them into different shapes on the letter.