Is It?" Cards
cards are really easy to make and are an excellent way to
build visual discrimination and cognitive skills. You will
need colored cardstock paper ... velcro ... glue sticks
and an exacto knife. You will also need to find pictures
of a variety of things such as foods ... animals ... common
household items etc that you will use to glue inside the
cards. I got all of my pictures of the internet by typing
in what I was looking for at google.com and then clicking
on image search. You can also use magazine pictures.
you have your pictures you want to make sure they fit inside
a sheet of cardstock paper that has been folded in half.
I also made labels for each picture which helps with building
literacy. I glued the picture and label inside of the folded
cardstock and then cut out a rectangle shape on the side
that does not contain the picture. You will need to make
sure you cut the rectangle so that a portion of the picture
shows through. On the front of the closed cards I glue a
"What Is It?" label which you can download here.
I laminated the cards and attached velcro to hold the cards
can use these at circle time and have the children try and
guess what is inside the cards ... you can put these in
a literacy center and have the children write down what
they think is in the cards and then open the cards to see
if they were correct ... you could also create a graph with
what the children think is inside the card.
can make your own lacing beads using a super easy clay recipe.
You will need:
cup of salt
1 cup of corn starch
1 1/2 cups of flour
1 cup of water (added in small increments)
will also need:
will start by putting the salt ... flour .... and cornstarch
in a bowl. Add small amounts of water to the mixture
until you are able to knead the dough into a ball. You need
to be careful with the amount of water you put in ... too
much will make it to sticky and too little will make it
dry and crack. It is important that you advise children
that this is not a dough for eating.
you have the dough in the right consistency break off small
pieces and roll into balls. Place the dough balls on a cookie
sheet that has been lined with wax paper. Push a straw into
the center of each dough ball making sure the straw goes
through to the other side. Let dry (the time it will take
to dry the beads depends on the size of the beads ... usually
48-72 hours). You will need to flip the bead over periodically
so both the top and the bottom of the beads get exposed
the beads are dry you can paint them with tempera paint.
Paint one side at a time and let dry. You can string the
beads with laces ... or use them for sorting and making
patterns. Use your imagination and have fun!!
Dry Erase Boards
purchased individual dry erase boards (expo brand) from
K-Mart for less than 4.00 each (they are also at Wal-Mart
in the back school supply section). One side is a plain
writing surface with a dry erase marker attached and the
other side is lined like handwriting paper. The boards are
super easy to clean off with just a dry paper towel and
you can purchase markers in several different colors. We
use the boards in our writing center and at group time to
develop fine motor and cognitive skills.
are many activities you can do with these boards. Children
can draw pictures on them and retell what is happening in
the pictures. Children can practice writing letters ...
numbers ... shapes ... and simple words. You can make a
pattern on a larger classroom dry erase board and have the
children copy or complete the pattern. You can ask the children
to make a certain number of objects on their board ... for
example "draw five circles" or "write three
letters" etc. Of course the most favorite activity
is just to draw anything they want ... erase it and draw
make your own colored pasta you will need:
Zip Lock Bags
about a cup and a half of pasta into a zip lock bag. In
a cup pour 1/2 cup of rubbing alcohol and add a few drops
of food coloring (the more food coloring you add the darker
the color ... you can also mix the food coloring to make
different colors). Gently stir the rubbing alcohol and food
coloring together. Pour a little bit of the food coloring
mixture into the bag with the pasta in it. Pour enough in
to make sure all of the pasta is coated with the liquid.
Close the zip lock bag and gently massage the pasta as shown
above. Let the pasta soak in the color and then flip the
bag to the other side and repeat.
let our pasta sit for about 20 minutes rotating the bag
every five minutes (the longer you let the pasta absorb
the food coloring the darker the pasta will be). We then
lined cookie sheets with paper towels and took a straining
spoon (a big spoon with holes in it) and scooped out the
wet pasta and put it on the cookie sheets. After a few minutes
we removed the paper toweling with the pasta on it and put
new paper towel on the cookie sheets and put the pasta on
the new paper towel to finish air drying.
pasta was dry to the touch in about 15 minutes but we let
it sit overnight to make sure it was completely dry. There
are many things you can do with the pasta such as making
collages ... stringing them ... using them for counting
and making patterns etc.
word of caution: You will need to watch the children to
make sure they do not push to hard on the zip lock bags
with the pasta and food coloring mixture as leaking can
occur. Also make sure the children do not eat the pasta
once it has the food coloring on it.
is a great activity for developing cognitive and fine motor
skills. Children take the alphabet strips and put them together
in order from A to Z. You can print these on regular paper
and use glue sticks to put them together or you can print
them on carstock ... laminate them and attach velcro to
each end. You can download the Alphabet Sequence Chain here.
is another great activity for developing cognitive and fine
motor skills. Children take the number strips and put them
together in order from 0 to 30. You can print these on regular
paper and use glue sticks to put them together or you can
print them on carstock ... laminate them and attach velcro
to each end. You can download the Number Sequence Chain
bags are easy to make and the children really enjoy them.
You can make sorting bags for numbers ... letters ... shapes
... colors ... etc. I used white lunch bags and cut two
inches off the top of each bag. In the example above I made
apple baskets with numbers on them and glued them on the
front of the bags. The children then put apples with the
same numbers into the bag with the matching number. I also
made plain apples that the children used to put the correct
amount in each bag. You can download the Apple Number Sorting
You can also find more sorting bags in the download
and bolts are great for developing fine motor skills as
well as math skills. I purchased these nuts and bolts (32
total) from Menards in three different sizes for about $4.50.
The children had to find the correct nuts that fit on the
bolts and then screw them on. Some children filled up a
whole bolt with nuts and we counted how many nuts they put
on each bolt. They also compared the lengths of the bolts
and how many nuts it took to fill up each bolt. This activity
is not recommended for children under three or for those
children who put toys in their mouths.
Hide and Seek
is a fun activity that develops visual discrimination and
letter recognition. I hid large letters around the room.
I then placed the small letter squares that matched the
letters that were hidden into a paper bag. I had each child
pick a letter out of the bag and they had to find the letter
that was on the small letter square.. After we found all
of the large letters we placed them in alphabetical order
on the floor. If you would like the patterns for the letter
hide and seek activity you can download them here.
mats are a great way of developing math skills. Children
place the correct number of items on each mat. You can use
a variety of items for the counters that you place on the
mats such as counting coins ... links ... counting bears
... links ... candy ... marshmellows ... cereal ... goldfish
etc ... use your imagination and have fun. If you would
like the patterns for the counting mats you can download
oversized dominoes are a fun way to develop letter recognition
skills (you can also make dominoes for color ... number
... and shape recognition). We used black construction paper
... put a letter on each end and laminated them. You can
download the Alphabet Floor Dominoes here.
you are not lucky enough to have a large sensory tub (sand
and water table) in you early learning environment you can
make your own individual sensory tubs using dish pans. Children
develop fine motor skills ... muscle control ... as well
as social and cognitive skills. A sensory tub does not have
to be limited to just sand and water ... there are so many
items that you can put in the tubs. Supervision should be
used with very young children but for the most part preschool
and kindergarten children work well with the tubs. The nice
thing about the individual tubs is that you can put several
of them on a table and children will get a chance to interact
and talk about what they are doing with the tubs. You can
also put different items in each tub for a variety of activities
on a single table.
things you can include in a sensory tub include:
Small Toy Animals
You will also need things that can be used for measuring
... pouring ... and digging. The possibilities are really
is sure to be a favorite activity in your art center so
have plenty have paint on hand!! Ballon painting helps develop
cognitive as well as motor development. I used 9 inch balloons
that can be purchased from the birthday section at Wal-Mart.
I blew the balloons up just big enough for the children
to grab hold of (you do not want to blow them up too big
otherwise the children will have a hard time holding on
to them and controlling where the paint goes). The children
dip the balloon in paint and paint away. Balloon painting
works best when the balloon is gently bopped up and down
on the paper (like sponge painting) not dragged from side
to size as there is a risk the balloon will pop. Supervision
should be provided for younger children who put objects
in their mouths.
Mystery Bag is a weekly alphabet letter activity. Children
are given a bag with their name on it to take home. Inside
the bag is a letter to the child's parents asking them to
help their children write down three clues for the mystery
object that is placed in the bag that begins with the letter
of the week. For example ... the letter for the week is
Pp ... children find an object that will fit inside the
bag (if it is too big a picture can be used) that begins
with the letter Pp. Together with their parents the children
comes up with three clues to what the mystery object is
and they write the clues down along with what the object
is. They bring their mystery bags back to class on the designated
date and take turns reading their clues to see if the other
children can guess what is in the mystery bag. The child
then takes the object out of the bag to show the classmates.
The bag itseIf is made out of fabric sewn together with
an opening on the top. A name label is placed on the from
of the back with clear packaging tape. I would like to thank
my son's kindergarten teacher Mrs. Paula Ganser for sharing
this idea with me. If you would like the mystery bag take
home letter you can download it here.
cubes are great for developing fine motor skills and can
be used for many math activities such as measuring ... making
patterns ... and counting. In this activity we used them
for counting. I made number cards and put them face down
into a pile. The children drew a card out of the pile and
then snapped the same number of cubes together that was
on the cards. They then took the cubes apart and drew a
new card. If you would like the number cards you can download
I purchased the cubes online from classroom
tiles are perfect for letter recognition and "see and
spell" activities. They are also great for developing
fine motor skills. I purchased the letter tiles from WalMart
for 9.99 you can also order them online from Office
Depot. We use the tiles for sequencing and matching
as well as first name and word recognition. If you would
like the sight word cards shown above you can download them
are many things you can do with learning links ... they
are wonderful for devloping math as well as fine motor skills.
You can have the children put together a certain number
of links that you ask them to ... you can do measuring activities
with them ... and you can also do matching activites with
them as shown in the picture above. If you would like the
link cards you can download them here.
I purchased the learning links online from learning
Ideas Page 1