Early Learning Activities For Pre-K and Kindergarten

 

Teaching Ideas

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Tissue Paper Scrunch and Glue

 

This is an excellent activity for fine motor skills development as well as hand-eye coordination. You will need tissue paper cut into squares ... glue ... and cardstock paper. You can use a plain sheet of cardstock paper or you can use one with dots such as the one shown above. I glued the cardstock paper onto a piece of construction paper to give it a framed look. The children (or teacher) put a drop of glue on each black dot and then take the squares of tissue paper and scrunch them up and press them on to the glue dots. If you are using cardstock paper without the dots children can put the glue where they wish and then scrunch the tissue paper and pres sit on the glue dots. You can download the dotted pattern here ... you can also watch a video of this activity here.


Shape Do-A Dots

 

This is another great activity for hand-eye coordination. I made shape sheets that children can use dot-a-dot type markers or paint to fill in the dots. You can download the shape do-a-dots here ... you can also watch a video of this activity here.


Pumpkin Painting

 

This is a favorite October activity!! Each student gets a clean dry pumpkin. They can paint the pumpkins any way they wish and add embellishements such as conffetti or sequins once the paint is dry. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Pumpkin Seed Number Cup Matching

 

This is a great math activity!! I cleaned and baked pumpkin seeds that we used from a previous pumpkin seed sorting activity. I purchased orange paper cups and wrote numbers on the front of them and I also made cups that I glued number leaves on which I made out of construction paper. The children put the correct number of pumkin seeds in each cup. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Playdough Chain

 

This is another great activity to build fine motor skills. You will need various colors of playdough (I recommend four) ... it is important to make sure the playdough is soft and fresh and not dried out as it will not work well for you this activity. The children start by breaking off a pieces of playdough and rolling them into worm shapes. The children then take one of the playdough worms and pinch the two ends together to form a circle or loop. Children then take another playdough worm and put it through the first playdough circle and pinch the ends together and repeat with the rest of the playdough worms to make a chain. You can make an extension of this activity by having the children make patterns with the colors of playdough. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Magnetic Letter Memory Activity

 

For this activity you will need jumbo magnetic letters and a cookie sheet. I purchased the letter from my local school supply store but you can find them at amazon.com and other online educational supply stores. This activity can also be done with upper case letters and numbers. You can also do this activity at group time or when working one on one with children. I place for magnetic letters on the cookie sheet (you can use more or less depending upon the age of the children) and then we go through the letters together that are on the cookie sheet. I then turn the cookie sheet around and remove one of the letters ... not showing the children which one I have removed ... and then I turn the cookie sheet back toward the children and ask them if they can tell me what letter is missing. I put the letter back on the cookie sheet and then repeat with one of the other letters. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Learning Links Number Matching

 

This is a great activity for developing fine motor skills and math skills. In this activity children attach the correct amount of learning links to number cards. You can download the number cards here ... you can also watch a video of this activity here.


Clothespin Color Matching Strips

 

This is a great activity for eye-hand coordination ... fine motor skills ... and cognitive development. I made pattern strips and purchased color coding dots at Walmart and color clothespins from here. I placed the color dots on the pattern strips and laminated them. Children match the correct color clothes pin to the matching color dot on the strips. Older children can put the color dots on the strips and make what kind of pattern they would like. You can download the pattern strips here ... you can also watch a video of this activity here.


Playdough Letter Writing

 

This is another great activity for eye-hand coordination ... fine motor skills development ... as well as letter and word recognition. You will need playdough and the sentence strip pattern which should be printed on cardstock paper and laminated. Children roll the playdough into worm shapes and form letters and words. You can have letter or word cards set out for children to use as a guide if you wish. You can download the sentence strip pattern here ... you can also watch a video of this activity here.


Cookie Sheet Math

 

This is a wonderful hands-on activity for developing math skills. I made addition and subtraction patterns that I wrote numbers in. I also made circles (printed on cardstock paper ... laminated and attached magnets to) that the children use as counters for the addition and subtraction equations. This activity can be done three different ways. The first way would be to use the pattern with the three blank squares and write the equation that you want the children to solve. Children use the magnetic circles to solve the equation and write in the the answer in the remaining blank square. You can also use the pattern with two blank squares and write the equation with out the children having to write in the correct answer. A third way would be for children to self-select the numbers they want to use and make equations that way. You can download the cookie sheet math patterns here ... you can also watch a video of this activity here.


Instant Snow

 

Insta-Snow is a great way to add "snow" to your early learning environment. This is really a great product to add to your science area as well as a sensory table. Insta-Snow is powder that you add water to and in about three seconds you have "snow". It is fluffy ... white ... cold ... and lots of fun. You can purchase intas snow from Steve Spangle Science and Be Amazing. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Paper Bag Puppets

 

Paper bag puppets are very easy to make with simple craft items. They also help young children work on developing skills such as fine motor skills ... scissor skills ... and critical thinking skills. We used white lunch bags (brown bags work fine but the colors show up better on the white bags). We also used crayons ... paint ... wiggly eyes ... yarn ... pom-poms ... sequins ... foam shapes ... foam that needed to be cut out to make ears ... arms ... and tails. The children really used their creativity and imaginations and made wonderful paper bag puppets!! You can watch a video of this activity here.


Straw Lacing

 

This is another great activity for fine motor skills ... eye-hand coordination ... as well as math skills. You will need straws ... yarn or pipe cleaners ... scissors ... and masking tape. The straws are cut into pieces about an inch in length (use supervision for children under three and those children who put items in their mouths), Children lace the staws or with yarn or pipe cleaners. Putting masking tape around one end of the yarn string is helpful for young children when lacing. Children can make patterns or put the straw on in any order they wish. You can also have number cards set out for children to lace a specific number of straws. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Ice Cube Tray Number Sorting

 

This is a fun activity for your math center. You will need to have ice cube trays and items that you would like to use to sort into the trays. I wrote numbers in the bottom of the the tray and the children put the correct number of items (we used m&ms) in each section of the tray. . You can watch a video of this activity here.


Yarn Art

 

This is a wonderful activity for fine-motor skills development. I recommend using a thicker style of yarn. Children cut pieces of yarn (you can cut the yarn for younger children) and dip it into a paper plate that has a thin layer of glue on it. Children then put the yarn on a sheet of cardstock paper making any kind of a design they wish. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Tooth Brush Painting

 

Tooth brushes are a great addition to your art center/area. I recommend you purchase the ones that have an even bristle head area as they are easier for the children to paint with. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Counting Addition Mat

 

This is a another great math activity!! The mats are printed on cardstock paper and then laminated. You will need to have times for the children to count such as jewels ... beads ... cereal ... foam squares etc. The mat is placed on the table along with the items to be counted. Children self-select a certain number of items to go in each square on the mat and then count the total number of items in the two squares. The would then take a dry-erase marker and write the number of items in the space provided on the mat. Children can also used the provided number squares instead of writing the numbers. You can download the counting addition mat here. You can watch a video of this activity here.


Teaching Ideas Page 1


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