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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Sorting Squash

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.

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They were each given seven pictures of squash that were of varying length. They were then asked to sort them by size. The target words for this activity were long, longer, and longest.

Pulling Carrots

Educators and child psychologists have long recommended gardening as a teaching tool.

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In the early 1900’s Maria Montessori believed children could learn lessons in life by practical experience – for example, by making a garden.

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Montessori’s theories of educating the young child are now common in most U.S. communities.

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Through the studies of plants, children become aware of how people depend on plant life as the source of food, clothing, and shelter, as well as the aesthetic beauty inherent in both indoor and outdoor surroundings.

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However, children can also learn that many plants, such as noxious weeds and poisonous plants, may be harmful. Others may be invasive or a nuisance to gardening.

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In addition to viewing gardening as a learning experience, growing plants and working the soil is just plain fun!

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If a child’s first gardening experiences reap success, chances are that their “green thumb” and enthusiasm will continue throughout life.

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As part of our vegetables theme, we planted and then pulled carrots from the ground.

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Students used their hand to grasp the stems. Then then used their words to describe what they saw.

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Following this, they enjoyed a yummy snack of fresh carrots!

Clay Crops

A planter is a farm implement, usually towed behind a tractor, that sows (plants) seeds in rows throughout a field.

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It is connected to the tractor with a drawbar or a three-point hitch. Planters lay seeds down in precise manner along rows. Planters vary greatly in size, from 1 row to 54, with the biggest in the world being the 48-row John Deere DB120.

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Such larger and newer planters comprise multiple modules called row units. The row units are spaced evenly along the planter at intervals that vary widely by crop and locale.

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The most common row spacing in the United States today is 30 inches. Since we are learning all about farm machines this week, we decided to explore the fascinating world of planters.

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With this activity, we used tractors to plant a variety of beans. Using clay as their soil, real (and fake) foliage, and their imaginations, students created a variety of different crops!

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