Play Dough Evergreens

Play dough can be found in almost any preschool classroom.

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The most important benefit of play dough is the word “play”.

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When teachers introduce play dough, children are simply given opportunity to play and learn at the same time.

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There are several benefits to using this malleable substance.

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One involves fine motor control. An important aspect of exploring play dough is the use of those fine muscles in the child’s hands.

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Young children NEED to build their fine motor strength and control and time exploring play dough helps give those small hands a good workout.

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Play dough also offers opportunities to increase vocabulary.

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Time at a table with play dough is a terrific opportunity to naturally emphasize words like soft, squishy, roll, flatten, cut, squeeze, as well as just having simple conversation about what the children are doing with their hands.

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For some children, play dough is about making something but for most, it is simply about exploring the process and talking about whatever comes to mind during the process.

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For this activity, we created evergreen trees out of artificial pine boughs and green play dough. Everyone enjoyed creating their own trees, manipulating the play dough and having fun while doing so!

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Flower Foam Wreaths

Lateralization activities provide a great educational and developmental experience for preschoolers. As children grasp whatever implement they are working with, they are building their pincer grip which is crucial for writing skills.

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The more they do this, the more they learn about which hand is more comfortable for them.

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Lateralization activities are also a lesson in patience as students ever so slowly work their way through a project  with their chosen implement.

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This activity involved a creative way to practice our lateralization skills. Using pine boughs and floral foam, your little ones wove their very own wreaths!

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Green Apple Trees

Food preparation is not only a fun, engaging activity for children, but one that has been used for years as an important teaching and development tool for all ages.

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For one thing, hands-on cooking activities encourage a sense of pride and confidence. The act of following a recipe can encourage self-direction and independence, while also teaching children to follow directions and use thinking skills to problem solve.

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Working with food also inspires children’s curiosity, thinking, and problem solving, offering new opportunities to make predictions and observations. Additionally, creating meals offers authentic opportunities for students to understand and apply their knowledge of measuring, one-to-one correspondence, numbers, and counting. As they follow a recipe, children organize ingredients, follow a sequence, and carry out multiple directions.

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Lastly, chopping, squeezing, spreading, and mixing materials help develop a child’s small muscle control and eye-hand coordination.

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For this activity, we used our thinking minds and our strong muscles to create Christmas trees!

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Using apples as our “trees”, cereal as our “ornaments,” and cheese as our “stars”, we enjoyed following a recipe (with the assistance of colorful illustrations), constructing a tree, and then devouring our yummy snacks!

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Christmas Tree Play Dough

The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come. The Romans used fir trees to decorate their temples at the festival of Saturnalia.

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Nobody is really sure when fir trees were first used as Christmas trees. It probably began about 1000 years ago in Northern Europe. Many early Christmas Trees seem to have been hung upside down from the ceiling using chains (hung from chandeliers/lighting hooks). To create our own version of the early Christmas tree, we created our very own using play dough and jewels!

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Using play dough helps a child practice using certain physical skills with the hands when they manipulate the dough with their fingers. Children can practice skills such as pinching, squeezing or poking while they play with the dough. Lastly, using play dough helps a child practice using imagination and other cognitive abilities such imitation, symbolism and problem solving. This helps our little ones learn more about their environment as they make and mimics everyday objects with the play dough.

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My Really Long Christmas Tree

Measurement concepts are often a part of children’s interactions. “My dad is bigger,” “I can jump higher,” and “I have more Playdough than you!” are common comparisons that children make. From the child’s perspective, these statements compare quantity; however, they provide a nice introduction to measurement.

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Unfortunately, it is an often-neglected Content Standard in early childhood classrooms. Throughout the many projects we do throughout the week, we use both standard and nonstandard tools for measuring. Students are also provided with a multitude of measuring experiences throughout the year.

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For this activity, your little one was presented with a problem. They were given five strips of paper of varying length. They were then asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest. Young children are natural problem solvers. To increase vocabulary and the comprehension of new concepts, students are asked questions that facilitate further exploration. The purpose of this is to promote measurement investigations and an interest in “figuring out” the answer.

Père Noël

In France, Christmas is a time for family and for generosity, marked by family reunions, gifts and candy for children, gifts for the poor, Midnight Mass, and le Réveillon . There are many traditions, and they are strongly integrated into the celebrations of most French families.
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From a special meal on Christmas Eve, to the exchange of gifts, traditions vary across different regions of France, as well as among different families. The celebration of Christmas in France varies by region. Most provinces celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December, which is a bank holiday.
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French children put their shoes in front of the fireplace, in the hopes that Père Noël (aka Papa Noël ) will fill them with gifts. Candy, fruit, nuts, and small toys will also be hung on the tree overnight. For this activity, we placed pine boughs, candy canes, and small toys into our shoes for Père Noël!

Trimming the Tree

Christmas is a theme that offers activities for your preschoolers to explore family traditions together!  It is such an exciting time of year and an exciting theme!

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Your preschoolers have been learning about each other’s family traditions, which brings about so many opportunities for learning about giving to others!

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Taking the time to explore the different aspects of this time of year can help give your preschoolers some perspective and understanding to it all!

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For this activity, we decorated Christmas trees!Using artificial trees, garlands, and ornaments, we lavished our creations with color and fun.Experiences like these grant children the independence to be creative and purposeful.

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When children choose how to play for themselves, they experience freedom in making those choices. They also begin to see connections between choice and the consequences or results of that choice.

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Open-ended materials can be used in many ways so children can decide for themselves how to use them. It is this intrinsic motivation that allows a child to regulate her own feelings and desires in order to keep playing.

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