Tactile Monsters

Tactile learning and touch is essential for a child’s growth in physical abilities, cognitive and language skills, and even social and emotional development.

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Touch is not only imperative for short-term advancement with infancy and early childhood sensory experiences, but for long-term development within the child. Many children learn through tactile experiences, especially when they are young.

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If a child struggles to learn through their auditory or with their visual system, they may use their tactile experiences to develop other learning skills. For this activity, your little ones explored the texture of corn starch and water, known as our “gooey monsters” experiment. Students enjoyed placing googly eyes and other manipulatives onto their goo, and experimenting with the different textures!

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One-to-One Bats

Before learning to count,  a child needs to understand one to one correspondence.

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This means being able to match one object to one other object or person. 1:1 correspondence is simply the ability to match each member of one set to the member of an equal set.

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Usually when we think of 1:1 correspondence, we are only thinking of matching one of something to one of something else, but this concept also includes matching two of one thing to two of another thing, or three, or four, or five, or a hundred (and on and on and on). For this activity, we practiced our one-to-one correspondence with bat erasers and numbers.

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Using tweezers, students placed their erasers into an ice tray. Within each cube was a number (1-6). Students were instructed to match their numbers to the correct number of erasers that they were instructed to count out. In addition to one-to-one correspondence, this activity also targeted fine motor skills and hand-eye coordination.

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Paper Pumpkin Faces

Jack-o-Lanterns can be a great way to explore feelings and emotions with young children.

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During our week of the pumpkin, we created a variety of different jack-o-lanterns.

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We used a variety of items to construct different facial expressions, all the while discussing the different emotional states behind them.

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For this activity specifically, we constructed these expressions using paper pieces.

Spider Puzzles

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.

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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.

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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 a picture of a spider separated into seven sections.

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These sections were of different sizes and shapes and it was their quest to see how they all fit together! When children work on puzzles, they are actually “putting the pieces together” in more ways than one. Puzzles help children build the skills they need to read, write, solve problems, and coordinate their thoughts and actions—all of which they will use in elementary school and beyond. A puzzle with a picture that has particular interest for a child may help her begin to recognize colors and letters, and come to realize that the sum of parts make up a whole—a concept that will help her with math later on.

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By inserting pieces into the puzzle, children also develop the muscle group used for writing, or the “pincer” grasp. Children can work on puzzles by themselves, without the help of adults or other children. They can also work together on large puzzles and practice compromising and getting along. By inserting pieces into the puzzle, children also develop the muscle group used for writing, or the “pincer” grasp. Children can work on puzzles by themselves, without the help of adults or other children.

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They can also work together on large puzzles and practice compromising and getting along. Because each child must concentrate on the puzzle individually, he experiences a sense of satisfaction as he picks up a piece, rotates it, and discovers the spot in which it fits. Piece by piece, he begins to recognize the picture that the puzzle represents.

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Bat Caves – A STEM Activity

Children learn through experiences, and the earlier they are exposed to STEM-based hands-on learning experiences, the better.

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Engineering activities, by their nature, are an inquiry-based pedagogical strategy that promotes learning across disciplines.

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Engineering curricula introduces students of all ages to everyday applications of science, mathematics, technology and engineering that match their values and view of the world.

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This, and many of our other activities are designed to engage students in hands-on STEM experiences in order to improve their understanding of fundamental concepts in a way that capitalizes upon their design, visualization, creativity and teamwork skills and yearnings.

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For this activity, students were given sand blocks and toothpicks. They were told to construct a bat cave using the materials. After they finished, they teamed up with their friends to create even bigger structures!

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Tracing Ghosts

The tactile experience (touching a letter with your finger) is important for building a memory trace.20181010_100911

This enables students to acquaint the name of each letter with a visual representation for the letter sound.

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For a child who is struggling with their letters, the sooner they can integrate the sound of the letter with what it looks like, the sooner their writing contains more meaning for them.

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For this activity, we talked about the letters in the word GHOST, particularly the letter G.

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We discussed words that begin with this letter, and then broke up additional letters into their component parts. Using our fingers, we moved to our writing trays, where we traced the letter G, using white paint and glitter.

 

Exploding Monsters

Preschoolers are actively engaged in scientific learning, both inside the classroom and out. As they ask questions and seek answers to their “how” and “why” questions, they are beginning to practice scientific investigation. Science is also a way to find out about the world through exploration.

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Children are investigators by nature. When their natural desire to investigate is nurtured,  young children develop scientific minds. In our classroom, we create environments that engage the senses of our young students and allow them to sort and classify, handle, observe, and ask questions, which is how they construct ideas about the physical and natural world.

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For this activity, we used vinegar, baking soda, and play dough to create exploding monsters! Introducing chemistry to young children at the beginning of their academic journeys is very exciting and aids their capacity to grasp more elaborate scientific concepts later on.

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Chemistry also provides an exciting supplement to their learning as they perceive and learn about predictable actions. Lastly, experiments conducted independently make them more meaningful to your little scientist!

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