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Archive for the ‘Finger Plays’ Category

Finger Play Friday: There Was a Little Turtle AND Tiny Tim (song with motions)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on December 23, 2011


NOTE: This finger-play is written out as I learned it.  I do not know its original source. Most finger-plays, like “mother goose” rhymes, have been passed down from mother-to-daughter or from teacher-to-teacher, with slight variations.  When finger-plays are included in books, the author is usually listed as “unknown” or “traditional.” If anyone knows the original source of this finger-play, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

There Was a Little Turtle

(NOTE: To make turtle, hold hands out with thumbs touching. Keeping hands in the same position, lay one hand on top of the other. There should be one thumb on both sides of your hands. To make “turtle” swim, twirl thumbs in a circle.)

There was a little turtle (make turtle, twirl your thumbs)

Who lived in a box (use pointer fingers to draw a box)

He swam in a puddle (use hands and arms to “swim”)

He climbed on the rocks (use hands to pretend to “climb.”)

He snapped at a mosquito, he snapped at a flea, he snapped at a minnow and he snapped at me. (say slowly; on the word, “snapped”, clap outwards like you are snapping at something)

He caught the mosquito, he caught the flea, he caught the minnow (do the same as you did on the word “snapped”)

But he didn’t catch me! (say phrase slowly and with emphasis; wag pointer finger from side-to-side)

(you can also SING this one; the tune is the same one that is used for Tiny Tim. <click to hear tune>)

Tiny Tim Song (with motions)

I had a little turtle, his name was Tiny Tim (make turtle as above)

I put him in the bathtub, to see if he could swim (make swimming motions)

He drank up all the water, he ate up all the soap (make eating motions)

And now he’s blowing bubbles, out of his tiny throat.

Bubbles, bubbles, bubbles………etc till at the end of the phrase, when you shout, “pop!”

Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Music, Pets | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finger Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on November 11, 2011


NOTE: This finger-play is written out as I learned it.  I do not know its original source. Most finger-plays, like “mother goose” rhymes, have been passed down from mother-to-daughter or from teacher-to-teacher, with slight variations.  When finger-plays are included in books, the author is usually listed as “unknown” or “traditional.” If anyone knows the original source of this finger-play, please let me know so
that I can give credit where credit is due.

This finger play is great to use in fall–for Johnny Appleseed Day, things harvested in fall, etc.

Ten Red Apples

10 red apples grow on a tree (put both hands up and out to make a tree)

5 for you (hold out one hand, indicating “5”)  and 5 for me (repeat, with other hand)

Let us shake that tree just so (hold out hands and pretend to shake tree)

And 10 red apples fall down below (make 10 fingers fall down.)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (count each finger).

Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homepreschool and Beyond, Homeschool, Homeschool Preschool, Homeschooling | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finger Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on November 4, 2011


 This is one of the finger plays you might learn if you attend Gymboree with your children. You can also  hear it on Parachute Express’s CD, “Shakin’ It”.

Great Big Cat

There was a great BIG cat (hold hands out wide)

And a WEE little mouse (say “wee” in a high-pitched voice; hold pointer fingers close together to show how small the mouse was.)

Who ran around, and around (twirl hands around quickly)

In a high, high house (hold finger-tips together over head to make the roof-line of a house.)

Now, that WEE little mouse (say “wee” in a high-pitched voice; hold pointer fingers close together to show how small the mouse was.)

Got caught (begin to pretend to “catch” mouse by moving arms/hands together to scoop up mouse; clap hands together right after the word “last”) at last

Because the great BIG cat (hold hands out wide, emphasis on the word “big”)

Ran around (dramatic pause here-begin to twirl hands around)  and  around (dramatuc pause here; twirl hands faster)  sooo fast.  (hold out the word “sooo”, emphasize the word “fast”, saying it quickly, while twirling hands around quickly.)

Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Homeschool Preschool | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finger Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 28, 2011


NOTE: This finger-play is written out as I learned it. I do not know its original source. Most finger-plays, like “mother goose” rhymes, have been passed down from mother-to-daughter or from teacher-to-teacher, with slight variations. When finger-plays are included in books, the author is usually listed as “unknown” or “traditional.” If anyone knows the original source of this finger-play, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

Ten Red Apples

10 red apples grow on a tree (put both hands up and out to make a tree)

5 for you and 5 for me (hold out the five fingers of each hand one at a time.)

Let us shake that tree just so (hold out hands and shake them)

And 10 red apples fall down below (make fingers fall down.)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (count each finger).

Naughty Hands

(This one is definitely politically incorrect, but I love it and think it is very appropriate!)

Sometimes my hands are naughty (hold our hands, then slap one with the other)

And so my mother says, that she will have to scold them (shake finger as if scolding)

And send them off to bed (fold hands in prayer stance, then place on side of head; lay head on fingers, turn head to one side as if resting on a pillow, shut eyes and pretend to go to sleep.)

So little hands, be careful, of everything you do (hold out hands and look at them–OR extend pointer finger and shake it)

Because if you are sent to bed, I must go there too! (point to self; then fold hands in prayer stance and place on side of head; lay head on hand, turn head to one side as if resting on a pillow, shut eyes and pretend to go to sleep.)

Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homepreschool and Beyond, Homeschool, Homeschool Preschool, Homeschooling | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finger Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 21, 2011


NOTE: This finger-play is written out as I learned it.  I do not know its original source. Most finger-plays, like “mother goose” rhymes, have been passed down from mother-to-daughter or from teacher-to-teacher, with slight variations.  When finger-plays are included in books, the author is usually listed as “unknown” or “traditional.” If anyone knows the original source of this finger-play, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

Galloping Horses

10 horses galloped into town (start by holding your hands behind your back, then bring hands around to the front and “gallop” your fingers in front of you.)

5 where black (hold out right hand in front of you, as if you were motioning to stop)

And 5 where brown (repeat action with other hand.)

They galloped up (make hands “gallop” up)

They galloped down (make hands “gallop” down)

Then they galloped and they galloped right out of town! (“gallop” hands off to one hand.)

Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, homeschool methods, Homeschool Preschool, preschool at home | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finger Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 14, 2011


NOTE: This finger-play is written out as I learned it.  I do not know its original source. Most finger-plays, like “mother goose” rhymes, have been passed down from mother-to-daughter or from teacher-to-teacher, with slight variations.  When finger-plays are included in books, the author is usually listed as “unknown” or “traditional.” If anyone knows the original source of this finger-play, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

5 Little Monkeys

5 little monkeys, swinging in a tree,

(hold up one hand for “5”, then hang hand down and “swing” it back and forth like a monkey hanging from a tree by it’s tail.)

Teasing Mr. Alligator “you can’t catch me—you can’t catch ME!”

 (put thumbs behind ears and mock the alligator by moving fingers back and forth)

Along came Mr. Alligator quick as can be,

(make an alligator by placing hands in the “prayer” position and then hold them straight out in front of body to make an alligator’s head; wiggle from side to side, so the alligator “swims”.)

And he snatched that monkey right out of the tree!

(use hands, still in “alligator” stance, to open and close with a clap right on the word “snatched”.)

Repeat, changing the number: 4 little monkeys swinging in a tree, and so on, counting down to zero. When you get to zero, you say:

Now there’s no more monkeys swinging in the tree

(old up fist to indicate “zero”, while shaking head, “no”.)

But here comes Mr. Alligator (put palms together to make alligator; make alligator “swim”)

As fat as he can be. (On the word, “fat”, hold arms out to sides to show a “fat” alligator body; rock arms and body from side to side, as if waddling.)

Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homeschool Preschool | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finger-Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on September 30, 2011


NOTE: This finger-play is written out as I learned it.  I do not know its original source. Most finger-plays, like “mother goose” rhymes, have been passed down from mother-to-daughter or from teacher-to-teacher, with slight variations.  When finger-plays are included in books, the author is usually listed as “unknown” or “traditional.” If anyone knows the original source of this finger-play, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

 10 Little Soldiers

 10 little soldiers, standing in a row. (Hold up ten fingers.)

When they see the captain, they bow just so. (Bend finger-tips only.)

They march to the left and march to the right (move hands to the left, then the right),

Then shut their eyes and sleep all night. (Fold hands in prayer stance, then place on side of head; lay head on hands, turn head to one side as if resting on a pillow, shut eyes and pretend to go to sleep. We usually add soft snoring sounds at this point.)

      Have fun, and remember, it is your confidence and enthusiasm that makes finger-plays “work” and come alive with fun!! ~Susan

Posted in circle time, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homeschool Preschool, preschool at home | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Finger-Play Friday

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on September 1, 2011


     O.K., O.K., I know it’s not Friday yet. But I wanted to get a head start, and have these in my subscriber’s in-boxes first thing in the morning. I hope to make “Finger-Play Fridays” a permament fixture around here for awhile–at least until I run out of finger-plays!  Let me know what you think.  ~Susan

 NOTE: This finger-play is written out as I learned it.  I do not know its original source. Most finger-plays, like “mother goose” rhymes, have been passed down from mother-to-daughter or from teacher-to-teacher, with slight variations.  When finger-plays are included in books, the author is usually listed as “unknown” or “traditional.” If anyone knows the original source of this finger-play, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

 10 Little Fingers

 I have ten little fingers, and they all belong to me. (Hold up ten fingers)

I can make them do things—would you like to see? (Continue to hold up ten fingers)

I can shut them up tight (close fists)

I can open them wide (open fingers wide.)

I can put them together (put hands together)

Or I can make them hide (quickly hide hands behind back.)

I can jump them up high (“jump” hands up)

Or jump them down low (“jump” hands low.)

And I can fold them quietly, just like so.

(Fold hands together, interlacing fingers. On the words, “just like so”, move folded hands slightly up and down for emphasis; say the words, “just like so” with staccato emphasis.)

 

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Valentine’s Day Poems, Finger Plays, Felt Boards, Games, etc

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on January 23, 2011


Special note:  I’ll be re-posting my Valentine’s Day posts so that they will be easier for you to find.  It may seem early, but if you want to plan your units/make any felt boards or finger play play props/purchase any books (or reserve them at the library), now’s the time. 

     I collected most of these as a college student or as a preschool teacher.  These were given to me by other teachers, minus the original source.  If anyone knows the proper source, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due.

 Poems-Just for Fun (these can be recited or used on homemade cards):

 *Pucker you lips, close your eyes, you’re going to get a big surprise!

 *Do you love me or do you not?  You told me once, but I forgot.

 *I could not find a valentine, Meant just for you, for me to sign.

I thought and thought and then you see, I thought that I would give you me!

Two eyes that smile, two lips that kiss, And all my love come with this.

So here I am for you so fine, Here’s just myself-your Valentine.

(Discuss-how do eyes “smile”?  Fun idea:  Make a heart into a necklace, and let your child “give himself” to Grandma and Grandpa.)

 *This brings a very special prayer:  God keep you always in His care. 

And day by day, may you be blessed, With all that makes you happiest.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

 Felt Board Fun:

 Valentines

One red valentine, two red valentines, three red valentines, four.

We cut and cut and paste and paste, and then we make some more.

(Cut ten red hearts out of felt for this one.  You could number them, if you wanted to use them to introduce/practice number recognition/order.)  Lay them on the felt board as you say the poem; count “how many more” there are.)

 Five Little Valentines

 One little valentine said, “I love you.”  _______made another, and then there were two.

Two little valentines, one for me!  _______made another, and then there were three.

Three little valentines said, “We need one more.”  _______made another, and then there were four.

Four little valentines, one more to arrive;  _______make another, and then there were five.

Five little valentines, all ready to say, “Be my Valentine this happy day.”  

(Make the valentines by gluing felt or interfacing onto the back of store-bought valentines.  Alternately, you can glue the valentines onto tongue-depressors. You can use these for the next poem, too.)

Counting Valentines

Valentines, valentines, how many do you see?  Valentines, valentines, Count them with me.

One for father, one for mother, one for granny too;  One for sister, one for brother…and here is one for YOU!  (This is also a finger play; see below. Idea:  Add felt numbers to this one.)

 *Valentines Songs

(Sung to Farmer in the Dell):

My valentine is red, my valentine is blue,  Put them in the let-ter box and mail it off to you.

The mailman picks it up,  And sends it on to you.

And when it gets in-to your hands, it says “I love you true.”

 Also don’t forget:  Jesus Loves Me/You Are my Sunshine/I love you, a Bushel and a Peck/Jesus Loves the Little Children/etc

Finger Plays

 A Valentine

Snippity-snip my scissors go, (pretend to cut with fingers)

Cutting my paper to and fro  (cut one way, then the other)

Make a big red heart to be  (shape heart with arms & hands)

A valentine to you from me.  (point to self, the point to another.)

Counting Valentines

Valentines, valentines, how many do you see?  Valentines, valentines, Count them with me.

One for father, (hold up thumb)  one for mother, (hold up pointer finger)

One for granny too; (hold up middle finger)  one for sister, (hold up ring finger)

One for brother, (hold up little finger)   and here is one for YOU!  (Make heart shape with thumbs and pointer fingers.

Paper Hearts and Parachute (or blanket) Game

This is a game I made up to use with my parachute.  (For home use, you can substitute a small blanket.)  It works well with large or small groups.

Preparation:  Cut paper hearts out of construction paper.  How many?  This depends on the size of your group, and your blanket!  For family use, I would guess 40-50; for only one child, 20 or so. 

        Here is how you play the game:  Have children grab the sides of the blanket.  Tell them, “I’m going to put the hearts on the blanket in just a minute.  When I do, I want you to shake the blanket/parachute as hard as you can. As soon as all the hearts are off the blanket/parachute, I’ll say, ‘Go,’ and then you can let go of the parachute and pick up all the hearts you can.”  After the children have picked up the hearts, you can:

-Have them count their hearts; they can trade one heart for one small candy.  (Or two hearts = one candy.)

-For older children:  Before the game, write numbers on all the hearts (+1, +0, +2, -1, etc.)  After the children have picked up their hearts, have them add the numbers together.  This is the number of candies they receive. 

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.

Posted in Felt Board Fun and Learning, Finger Plays, Holidays, Unit Studies | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Thanksgiving Unit Ideas for Preschool through 3rd Grade

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 25, 2010


     I know it seems a little early to be thinking about Thanksgiving, but if you are gathering your ideas, books and materials for your Thanksgiving unit, it’s really just around the corner. 

   Remember to focus on “the main thing”, which is Thankfulness and praise to God–not just food and football.  For MORE Thanksgiving book lists/ideas that will help you put the “thanks” in Thanksgiving, be sure to read the chapter, “Holidays and Traditions” in my book, Homepreschool and Beyond

 Concepts:

-Thanksgiving is a special day to thank God for all our blessings

-Thanksgiving is a time to think about all the things God has given us.

-Thanksgiving is a time to remember the first Thanksgiving long ago.

-When we celebrate Thanksgiving, we eat a special meal; usually turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, pumpkin pie, etc.

 Memory Verses:

1 Thess. 5:18, Psm 100:4, Psm. 107:1, 1 Chronicles 16:34

*Older kids can memorize:  Psalm 100, Colossians 3:17, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, Colossians 4:2

 Vocabulary/Things to Learn About:

-Pilgrims, Indians, Native Americans

-Squanto, Samoset

-Harvest (what’s harvested in fall?  What’s made from the things harvested in fall…apple pie, applesauce, pumpkin bread, and pumpkin pie)

-Thanks/thankfulness

-The first Thanksgiving

 Books to Read:

Let’s Celebrate God’s Blessings on Thanksgiving, by Lisa Caldwell

Thanksgiving Is, by Gail Gibbons

Three Young Pilgrims, by Cheryl Harness

Sometimes It’s Turkey, Sometimes it’s Feathers, by Lorna and Lecia Balian  

I’m Thankful Each Day, by P.K. Hallinan (the board book version; the longer version talks about telling “ghost stories”)

Let’s Celebrate God’s Blessings On Thanksgiving, by Lisa Caldwell

Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving, by Ann McGovern 4-5+

Over the River and Through the Woods, (a book to sing), illustrated by John Steven Gurney

Three Young Pilgrims, by Cheryl Harness

Cranberry Thanksgiving, by Wende and Harry Devlin (out of print, but still fairly easy to find on Amazon/EBay.)

Books for Older Children (5-7+): 

Squanto and the Miracle of Thanksgiving, by Eric Metaxas (this is a very special book! Older 4’s might be up to listening, but it is better for ages 5 to age 8.)

If You Sailed on the Mayflower in 1620, by Ann McGovern

Pilgrim’s First Thanksgiving, by Ann McGovern (5+)

Samuel Eaton’s Day, Sarah Morton’s Day, by Kate Waters 6+

On the Mayflower:  The Voyage of the Ship’s Apprentice and a Passenger Girl, by Kate Waters (reads like it’s told by someone who experienced the voyage first-hand; beautiful true-to-life pictures.) 

The Plymouth Thanksgiving, by Leonard Weisgard (ages 5—7)

The Pilgrims at Plymouth ( a Landmark picture book), by Lucille Recht Penner, for ages 6-9.

Books That I Haven’t Read, but that Look Appealing to Me:

Thanksgiving:  A Time to Remember, by Barbara Rainey

Turkey Trouble, by Silvano/Harper

Music and Finger Plays:

     Remember, these songs were passed down from mother to child or from teacher to teacher.  Unless indicated, the original author is unknown.  If you have any information about the original author, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due. 

     Be sure to check out You Tube for more children’s songs and activities that you might like.

 Songs to sing:

 Turkey Dinner (Tune:  Frere Jacque) 

Turkey dinner, turkey dinner, Gather round, gather round,

Who will get the drumstick?  Yummy, Yummy drumstick?

All sit down.  All sit down.

Cornbread muffins, chestnut stuffin’, Pudding pie, one foot high,

All of us were thinner, ‘Till we came to dinner,

Me-oh-my!  Me-oh-my!

(Author unknown)

1 little, 2 little, 3 little Indians (I know this is “politically incorrect”, but we sing it anyway.)

Variation on 1 Little, 2 Little, 3 Little Indians:

     Sing the first verse in the traditional way.  Then sing the following verses:

1.  They jumped in the boat and the boat tipped O-VER! (repeat 2 more times, then sing the traditional verse ending, “10 little Indian boys!”)  (Motions:  from sitting position, roll onto your back, and then up again every time your sing “o-ver!”.)

2.  They swam and they swam and they swam to the shore (repeat 2 more times, and then sing the traditional verse ending, “10 little Indian boys!”)  (Motions:  Pretend to swim.)

3.  So they ran and they ran and they ran to their mothers (repeat 2 more times, and then sing the traditional verse ending, “10 little Indian boys!”) (Motions:  Make fingers “run”.) 

4.  She hugged and she hugged and she put them to bed (repeat 2 more times, and then sing the traditional verse ending, “10 little Indian boys!”) (Motions:  Hug self.)  (Author Unknown)

Hymns/Spiritual Songs to Sing:

     Note:  I tried to choose (mostly) the simpler songs that young children can easily sing and understand.  Some of the traditional Thanksgiving hymns, such as “Now Thank We All Our God”, or “We Gather Together” are difficult either musically or in concept/vocabulary.

Doxology 

Praise to the Lord, The Almighty

God is so Good

Count Your Blessings (does have some vocabulary to explain, but worth it)

Showers of Blessings

Indescribable by Chris Tomlin (one of my all time favorites!  This one does have lots of vocabulary to explain…but you might find it to be a great thing to add to your devotional time.)

Our God is an Awesome God (Michael W. Smith) 

   I’m sure if you take some time and listen to your favorite praise and worship music, you will find even more…I love Michael W. Smith, Chris Tomlin, Avalon, Point of Grace, Mercy Me, etc etc…send me your ideas via the comments!!

 Finger Plays:

5 Little Pilgrims

5 little Pilgrims on Thanksgiving Day.

The first one said, “I’ll have cake if I may.”

The second one said, “I’ll have turkey roasted.”

The third one said, “I’ll have chestnuts, roasted.”

The fourth one said, I’ll have pumpkin pie.”

The fifth one said, “I’ll have jam by and by.”

But before they had any turkey and dressing,

The Pilgrims all said a Thanksgiving blessing.  (Hold up the correct number of fingers for each Pilgrim; fold hands as if to play a blessing.)

(Author unknown)

We Thank Thee

We thank Thee, oh God, for sunshine bright

(Arms up, fingers touching to make a sun)

For birds that sing at morning light.

(Touch thumbs together, fly bird)

For happy children everywhere,

(clap on bold print)

And for our mother’s loving care.

(Bow head, fold hands in a prayer posture.)

(Author Unknown)

The Brave Little Indian

The brave little Indian (hold fingers behind head for feathers)

Went hunting for a bear (Hold hands to shade eyes and “look”)

He looked in the woods and everywhere (make sweeping gesture with hand)

The brave little Indian found the bear (act surprised and scared)

He ran like a rabbit (fingers run)

Oh, what a scare!  (Hand on head, shiver.)

(Author Unknown)

5 Little Turkeys 

Art/Activities:

-Turkey handprints:   Follow THESE directions or make the handprint with paint, and then glue on construction paper feathers.

     IDEA:  Make your turkeys on the front of paper that is folded to make a card.  On the inside, write out this poem:

This isn’t just a turkey, as anyone can see.

I made it with my hand, which is part of me.

It comes with lots of love, especially to say,

I hope you have a very happy Thanksgiving Day!

(Author unknown)

-Indian Headbands

-Collage with things harvested in fall—popcorn, sunflower, and pumpkin seeds are especially appropriate

-Paint with corn on the cob (roll cob in paint, then roll onto paper.)

-Try making leaf prints (lightly paint the back of a leaf, then use to make a print) OR make paint prints with things harvested in fall (apples, cut several ways; green peppers; potatoes/sweet potatoes; onions, etc.  Be sure to cut them the night before and let them dry out to get a clear print.)

Link to other fun ideas: (Remember, it is best to limit the number of crafts that have a set result or end “product”; preschoolers need more creative experiences.  Be sure to choose only a couple of these types of activities.  I like the ones that allow for at least some “creativity”, such as painting, etc.)  Check out the ideas on the Crafts Kaboose .

Foods to Try/Cooking Experiences:

  Pumpkin seeds, corn on the cob, persimmons, pomegranates, stuffing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, etc.  It’s also fun to try a variety of nuts (they are harvested in fall!), and try cracking walnuts/peanuts and then eating them.  For a really fun experience, try using your blender to make homemade peanut butterHERE is a different recipe. that looks good, too.  (Note:  This is more of a “kids watch” type activity.)

-Make homemade applesauce

-Make cornbread

-Make homemade stuffing:  I have my kids help lay the bread out to dry.  Later, they break the bread and cornbread into small pieces for homemade stuffing.

    Thanksgiving blessings to you and yours!

          ~Susan

      © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.

Posted in Art, Book Lists, Cooking Experiences, Crafts, Finger Plays, Holidays, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Music, preschool at home, Thanksgiving | Tagged: , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Felt Board Fun (Making and Using Your Own Feltboard and Figures)

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 13, 2010


     Special note:  I wrote this article years ago, and it originally appeared in Home School Enrichment Magazine.  It is re-printed with permission.  I added the pictures; they are from my own felt board sets.  Be sure to peek after the article for links to some of the resources I describe; a couple of the links are also embedded in the pictures. 

     A note to parents of school-aged children:  Felt board sets are also wonderful for older children; many of the companies listed below also sell sets designed for older children, so don’t skip this article! (there’s a human body set, for instance–put the organs in their proper place!) 

Pre-printed and pre-cut figures from the Family Worship felt set, from Little Folk Visuals

     Sunday school was always something I looked forward to when I was young. My two favorite things about Sunday school were the music and the stories. I always got excited when my teacher pulled out her felt board to illustrate—it made the story special. Sometimes, if we were especially good during the story, she would even choose some of us to put the figures up on the board—the ultimate reward.

     The felt board has been a traditional part of Sunday schools, preschools, and kindergartens for 50 years or more. When I was young, I had a small felt board set of my own at home, as did many of my friends. Nowadays, however, felt boards are nearly forgotten.

The Type of Felt Board Sets I Had as a Child

     Felt boards deserve to be saved from their untimely demise. They can be used for more than just illustrating stories; they can be used as serious early learning tools. Felt boards can do things that books can’t. They don’t just tell stories—they let your child participate in the story. Felt boards can be used to retell stories in new and creative ways, or to practice the sequence of the stories (what happened at the beginning? The middle? The end?) Felt boards can also be used for practice and reinforcement of new concepts, for games, and for other hands-on learning activities. They can be used to teach letters, numbers, shapes, colors, and much more—but most of all, they are fun!

A few pieces from my Beginner's Counting Set from Little Folks Felt--

     Felt boards and felt board sets can be purchased pre-made—you can even buy the figures pre-cut and pre-colored so that they are ready to go—but what fun would that be? It’s cheaper and more fun to make your own. And when you make your own, you will be able to customize your sets according to your children’s needs and interests. 

Homemade set; the pattern is from "Felt Board Fun" by Liz and Dick Wilmes

     Making your own felt board and felt board figures is easy—and doesn’t take many supplies. You don’t even have to be artistic. If you can trace lines and color, you can make your own felt board figures.

     If you are interested in making some felt fun for your children, you need to learn a couple of secrets.

     The first secret: felt boards aren’t covered with felt. A real “felt” felt board quickly frays and pills, turning quite ugly. The best covering for a felt board is actually flannel.  Another secret: not all felt board pieces are made of felt. The best material for homemade pieces is pellon. Pellon, otherwise known as interfacing, is used to stiffen and reinforce clothing (especially around the collar and button areas). It is available anywhere fabric and sewing notions are sold. The pellon you choose should be thick and smooth—and not the iron-on variety.

Making Your Own Felt Board

     If you can wrap a present, you can make your own felt board quickly and easily. Here is what you will need:

     •  Particle board or some other thinly cut board, in whatever size you choose (even heavy cardboard will work in a pinch). I like my boards to measure around 20” x 25”. For church use, bigger is better. For a personal felt board, 14” x 14” is a fun size.

     •  A yard or so of blue flannel to cover the board. 

     •  Masking tape or staple gun

     To make the felt board, simply wrap the board in flannel, in the same way you would wrap a present. Lay two layers of the flannel on a table or other hard surface, smoothing out all the wrinkles. Next, center the board on top of the flannel. Pull the flannel over to the back of the board, one side at a time. Tape or staple it in place. Next, do the opposite side, checking to be sure that the flannel is not wrinkled. Continue until all the sides are secured.  

To make your own felt board figures you’ll need:

     •  Pellon (start with ¼ to ½ a yard)

     •  Sharpie brand permanent markers (especially black ones)

     •  Oil pastel crayons (I like Cray-Pas brand)

     •  Sharp scissors (small ones work best)

     •  Patterns or ideas for your figures. There are several different options for this—picture books, pictures cut from a magazine, or felt board pattern books (my choice). My favorite pattern book is Felt Board Fun for Everyday and Holidays by Dick Wilmes, Liz Wilmes, and Donna Dane (you can find it on http://www.amazon.com). You might be able to find other, older pattern books that include felt board stories at your local library. An example of what you might look for is the book Story Telling with the Flannel Board, Book One, by Paul S. Anderson (there are at least three volumes).

"A Color of His Own"--homemade figures

      To make your own felt board pieces, use a pattern from one of these felt board books or  use a simple children’s book such as A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni (trace only the chameleons), or Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See? by Bill Martin for a pattern. Lay the pellon over the picture you want to recreate. Use a Sharpie brand pen to trace over the lines, leaving out any intricate detail.*  If you are making a story, it’s a good idea to number the pieces in the order they will be used. Next, color the pieces as desired with the oil pastels. Cut around the pieces and they are ready to go.  

     Another option: save catalog and magazine clippings and use rubber cement to glue a piece of pellon onto the back of them; this makes an instant felt board piece. 

     I put my finished pieces into labeled zipper bags, or into file folders that I staple along three sides. 

 Using Your Felt Board

     Letters, numbers, shapes, and animals are great first felt board pieces to make. Use them to practice counting and to match numerals to sets. (For example, make one cow, two ducks, three dogs, and so on; have your child find the animals that are alike, and then put the correct number by each set of animals.) A really fun idea is to make a farmer and various animals to illustrate the song “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.” (The patterns for these are in Felt Board Fun for Everyday and Holidays.)

     You can create a fun game by making small, medium, and large-sized apples. Find any simple apple pattern and enlarge or reduce it on a copy machine. Draw a simple worm or caterpillar, too. To play the game, place the apples on the board. Ask your child to point to the large apple, the medium-sized apple, and the small apple. Next, show your child the worm. Tell him that worms love to eat apples. Have your child close his eyes while you hide the worm under one of the apples. When your child opens his eyes, have him guess which apple the worm is eating: is he hidden under the large, medium, or small apple?  To extend this activity, have your child place the worm on the apple, under the apple, below the apple, beside the apple, and so on. 

Other Activities

With letters:

     •  Make the alphabet letters, then have your child match upper and lower   case. 

     •  Put the letters in alphabetical order. 

     •  Pick out letters and name them.

     •  Pick out letters and say their sound.

     •  Pick out letters and spell their name.

     •  Beginning readers can use the letters to practice word families. Put up the letters “a” and “t.”. Read “at,” then add sounds at the beginning of the word to change it (add “c” to spell “cat” and so on).

With numbers:

     •  Point to the numbers and practice counting, and later, skip counting.

     •  Label objects/sets with the correct number.

With shapes:

     •  Name the shapes.

     •  Make structures and designs with the shapes.

     •  Put the same shapes into a set.

     •  Put the same color shapes into a set.

With stories:

     •  Tell the story to your child, and then have him tell it to you, putting the appropriate figures on the felt board.

     •  Retell the story in a creative way, changing a dog for a cat, etc, or changing the ending. 

With finger plays:

     •  It is simple to make figures to illustrate finger plays such as Five Little Ducks, Five Little Monkeys, Five Green and Speckled Frogs, etc. You can also number the figures so that your child can see the count down.

For creative play:

     •  Let your child make up his own stories and play with the felt board. This works especially well when you use themed sets (Christmas figures, pre-made Bible figures, and so on).

     The felt board is a great tool that parents can use to teach their children valuable skills in a fun, game-like way.  I hope you will try some felt-board fun with your children. 

*(An extra note about copying pictures directly from books:  Make sure the pen doesn’t bleed through the pellon to the book.  If you are worried that it will bleed through, your solution is to trace the pattern onto plain white tissue paper with a pencil or regular ink pen.  Then lay your pattern onto the pellon.  Use a Sharpie pen to trace over the pattern; it will bleed through to the pellon and make your pattern.)

This article is copyrighted to Home School Enrichment Magazine and is used with permission.  Pictures and extra text © 2010 Susan Lemons, all rights reserved.

Links:

Felt Board Fun for Everyday and Holidays, by Liz and Dick Wilmes (I haven’t seen their other felt board books, but would guess that they are great, too!  This is my all-time favorite felt resource book.

Story Telling with the Flannel Board, by Paul S. Anderson (there are 3 volumes to this; they are old and out of print.  I don’t like every story in this series, but many of them are considered “classics” or “staples” in preschool classrooms.)

Betty Lukens Felt

Little Folk Visuals

The Felt Source

Story Time Felt

Free Online Resources:

Tutorial with pictures–making your own flannel board: Maya Made 

Preschool Printables: Printable felt board patterns/stories

Billy Bear 4 Kids:  Printable felt board patterns/stories

DTLK’s printable felt stories

Other Articles/Ways to Use Feltboards in your homeschool: (remember, they do make felts for older children, too!)

The Feltboard is Your Friend

Check out You Tube for more ideas–making flannel boards and figures, and how to use them!

Remember:  The the best boards are made of flannel, not felt.  You can glue pellon, felt, velcro, or sand paper to paper pictures and they will stick to your board.  Of course, you can use felt board pieces, too!

Final tips:  In addition to pellon, you can purchase milk filters from dairy supply stores for making your figures.  They are heavy and stiff, and pre-cut in a medium-sized circle shape.  Don’t forget to color your figures with Sharpies and Cray-Pas (oil pastels!)

  And most of all…have fun!

      ~Susan

Posted in Finger Plays, Homeschool, Homepreschool, circle time, Felt Board Fun and Learning, Flannel Board/Felt board | Tagged: , , , | 12 Comments »

Fall Unit/Theme for Homepreschoolers: Books, Songs, Finger Plays and More

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on October 2, 2010


     I realize that this unit is probably a little late for many of you; others, like me, would save this unit unil late October/early November.  Where we live, the leaves don’t really start turning until then.  In fact, although it’s cooling off now, it was over 100 degrees last week.  Please NOTE:  As with any homepreschool unit, please that these ideas are only suggestions.  Make the unit work for you by deleting or adding as you please.  Use the books and activities you already have at home, and make use of the library!  

      Keep it light and fun, and remember that reading aloud is the most important part of any preschool unit.

Concepts to Learn:

-There are 4 seasons in a year.  The seasons are winter, spring, summer, and fall.

-Another name for “fall” is “autumn”.

-In the fall, the weather starts to turn colder.

-Fall is harvest time:  Grapes, corn, nuts, apples, pumpkins, cotton, walnuts, almonds, watermelons, etc (individualize this for where you live) are harvested during fall.

-During the fall, the leaves on trees change colors and then fall to the ground.

-During the fall, animals are busy getting ready for winter.  Some animals eat lots and lots, storing fat in their bodies to prepare for hibernation.  Other animals collect and store food for winter.  Some animals migrate (or travel) to warmer places during the fall. 

-In olden days, families where busy preparing for winter–just like the animals!  During fall farmers harvested their crops and stored up food that they could eat during the fall.  They had to do this to have enough food to eat during the long, cold, winter (read the book, Blueberries for Sal.) 

Vocabulary:  Seasons, fall, autumn, migrate, hibernate, seeds, and harvest. 

Suggested Books to Read:

Animals in Winter, by Henreitta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder (how animals prepare for winter)

Apple Pie Tree, the, by Zoe Hall

Autumn Leaves, by Ken Robbins

Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey

Chipmunk Song, by Joanne Ryder

Fall Leaves Fall, by Zoe Hall

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf, by Lois Ehlert

How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World, by  Marjorie Priceman  (just for fun–goes with the apple theme.) 

Why Do Leaves Change Color?  By Betsy Maestro

How Do You Know It’s Fall, by Allan Fowler, A Rookie Read About Science Book (includes a quick, inoffensive mention of Halloween)

What Happens in Autumn, A National Geographic Young Explorer Book, by Suzanne Venino

When Autumn Comes, by Robert Maass

How Do Apples Grow?  By Betsy Maestro and Giulio Maestro   

Johnny Appleseed by Reeve Lindbergh and Kathy Jakobsen Hallquist

Corn is Maize by Aliki (or, you can save this one to read during your Thanksgiving unit.)

Finally:  Tell the story, “The Little Red House with No Doors and No Windows”, and illustrate with an apple.  Find the story HERE.  It’s fun to plan to do apple printing afterwards–make apple prints showing the star inside (see directions below under “activities.”)  

I haven’t read these books, but they look appealing to me:

Busy Animals: Learning About Animals in Autumn, by Bullard/Takvorian

Apples, Apples, Everywhere!  Learning About Apple Harvests, by Koontz/Takvorian

Raccons and Ripe Corn, by Jim Arnosky

Every Autumn Comes the Bear, by Jim Arnosky

Finger Plays

Alphabet Soup’s Apple songs and finger plays

More apple poems

Alphabet Soup’s Fall songs and finger plays

My Favorite Finger Plays and Poems:*

 10 Red Apples

10 red apples grow on a tree (hold up fingers)

5 for you and 5 for me (hold one hand forward, then the other.) 

Let us shake the tree just so (shake body)

And 10 red apples will fall below (hands flutter and fall)

1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 (count each finger.)

 

Popcorn Clapping Chant (clap where the letters are in bold print)

Popcorn, popcorn, shakin’ in the pan.

Popcorn, popcorn, Bam! Bam! Bam!

 

5 Red Apples 

5 red apples in a basket by the door,

Little _____took one, and then there were 4.

4 red apples were still enough for me. 

 _____took one, and then there were 3.

3 red apples, and what did I do? 

I baked one in an apple pie, and then there were 2.

2 little apples before this story’s done,

______will make some applesauce, and that leaves 1.

1 little apple, I’ll put it in a sack,

I’ll give it to my grandma, to have for a snack.   (fill in with names of people in your family.  This is fun to do with real apples, or felt apples and numbers.)

Four Little Leaves

(cut out 4 differently shaped leaves from pellon or 4 felt leaves in the colors below.  Place leaves on your felt board before you start the poem.  Have your children pick the correct leaf off the felt board as you read the poem.) 

There were 4 little leaves, on an autumn day.

The green leaf said, “it’s time to play.”

The yellow leaf said, “I will tumble to the ground.”

The brown leaf said, “I will not make a sound.”

The orange leaf said, “I can hear the north wind blow,”

Then the 4 little singing leaves drifted down below.

*I learned these as a preschool teacher years ago. The author is unknown.  If you know the original source, please let me know so I can give credit where credit is due.

Nature Walk and Related Activities: 

-Go on a nature walk and look for signs of fall:  Beautifully colored leaves, seeds and seed pods, squirrels gathering nuts, squirrel holes/caches/nests, migrating birds, and so on.

-While on your nature walk, collect leaves for these ideas:

  • -Press leaves between wax paper
  • -Preserve leaves in glycerin and later, use them to decorate for Thanksgiving (warning:  lots of supervision required—poisons involved.  Kids can pound stems and drop leaves into glycerin.) 
  • Make leaf rubbings
  • Older preschoolers will enjoy learning the names of some common trees in your area.  They can also learn to identify their leaves. 
  • Children will be fascinated to look at leaves using a magnifying glass or a simple hand-held magnifier/microscope
  • Older children will enjoy a scavenger hunt, matching leaves to trees and then identifying them by name (use a field guide for this.)  Draw or photograph your finds.

Other Activities: 

-Visit an apple farm and pick your own apples.  Use them to make apple pie and/or applesauce (see below for recipe.)

-Preschool Education.com includes a long list of fall art projects 

-Crepe paper fall tree:  Have your child draw or paint a bare tree trunk (or you make one for them.)  Pre-cut tissue paper squares (1×1”) in fall colors.   Have your child collage leaves onto the tree.  Experiment with crumpling the paper, laying it flat, rolling it, or wrapping it around a pencil eraser to make a flowery effect.  Alternate idea for the tree trunk:  trace around your child’s arm and fingers, then paint or color.

-Paint with fruits and vegetables harvested in fall:  Cut one apple in half down the middle in one direction, and another apple in two large halves across the middle; shuck corn and cut in half.  Set cut pieces out overnight (this dries them out a little to make a clearer print.)  Dip the fruit/vegetables in thick tempera paint or acrylic paint and then stamp or roll them to make designs (this is fun to do along with the story, “A Little Red House With No Doors and No Windows” (see above.)

-Make a collage with things harvested in fall:  Popcorn, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, etc.  Some children enjoy drawing a simple flower or sun shape to fill in.

-Crack walnuts and eat.

-If you can, take a field trip to an agricultural area and watch the harvest.

-Take a trip to the grocery story and talk about things harvested in fall.

-Learn how grapes are made into raisins.  Make your own raisins by drying grapes on a dehydrating machine.

Snacks/Cooking Experience: 

-Anything harvested or processed in fall (grapes, raisins, apples, corn, etc.)

-Make homemade applesauce (you cut the apples into medium sized pieces, and then have your children chop them into smaller pieces with a table knife.  Kids can also help measure and add sugar/spices and mash cooled applesauce.) 

Have fun!

     ~Susan

 © 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.  Copyrighted materials may not be re-distributed or re-posted without express permission from the author.  

Posted in Art, Book Lists, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Music, Picture Books, Unit Studies | Tagged: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Preschool/Kindergarten Unit: Community Helpers Theme

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on September 14, 2010


 A unit or theme about “Community Helpers” is a wonderful way to broaden your children’s horizons and help them learn about the world beyond home–their community.  It is easy to find books for this unit, and there are a number of creative activities to go with it—everything from dramatic play to field trips.

We usually spend 1-3 days per “helper” in this unit.  Remember to keep it simple; you don’t have to do every activity.  Reading aloud and talking about what you’ve read is the most important element.

Special notes about this unit:  Be sure to balance the safety lessons with your child’s age and maturity.  We don’t want to frighten our children.

 Concepts to learn:

 -Community helpers are special people who help and protect us:  Policemen, firemen, doctors, nurses, carpenters, postal carrier, grocer, baker, librarians, etc etc.

 -Community helpers often risk their lives to save the lives of others.

-Learn what the following helpers do: Policemen, firemen, doctor, nurse, carpenter, plumber, electrician, pilot, postal carrier, grocer, baker, librarian, etc (as appropriate for your child’s age and maturity.)

-Help your child learn the name of your city/state/country  

-Teach your child your address and telephone number (this will probably take longer than the unit—be patient.  This is simple memorization, and it’s important for safety’s sake.  See my book for more details on how to do it.)  

-How/when to call 911 and when not to  

-Safety rules (especially relating to pools, poisons, medicines, matches/stoves/fire, etc)

-Develop a home evacuation plan and practice it

-Practice what to do in case of fire/fire alarm (check doors to see if they are hot before opening; stay low to the ground; stop, drop, and roll) 

Vocabulary to learn:

Emergency; stop, drop, and roll; K-9; siren; poison; smoke detector, and the names of helpers and what they do:  Policemen, sheriff, firemen, doctor, dentist, nurse, carpenter, plumber, mason, postal carrier, grocer, baker, librarian, barber, pilot, employee, etc.

Generally suggested books to read/music, finger-plays, and activities:

If you can only purchase one book for this unit, I would recommend Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day; it pretty much covers all the bases.

Another fun general resource is the Sesame Street song and book, “Who are the people in your neighborhood”.  The video’s fun, too—and once you know the tune, you can “sing” the book (I always emphasize that “Mommy is your teacher!”)

 Police:

Books to read: 

What Do People Do All Day  (Richard Scarry)

Policeman Small  (Lois Lensky)

Emergency! (Gail Gibbons)

 Music and finger plays:

-Sing this “safety song,” from the TV show Barney, I believe: (Note:  If you know the original source, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due!)

Sing to the tune, “When the Saints Go Marching In:”

Oh, when I walk, across the street, oh, when I walk ac-ross the street, I always stop, look, and listen, when I walk ac-ross the street.  Oh, when I walk, a-cross the street, oh when I walk a-cross the street, I always wait for the green light, when I walk a-cross the street.

-Here’s another “source unknown” finger play (if you know the original source, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due:)

Red says STOP (hold up hand in “stop” gesture)

And green says GO (make motions as if you were a traffic cop motioning people to go)

Yellow says WAIT you’d better go slow! (with index finger extended, wave hand across body from right to left and then back)

When I reach a crossing place (cross arms at wrists)

To the left and the right I turn my face (turn face)

I walk, not run, across the streets (“walk” with fingers)

And use my head to guide my feet (point to head and feet.)

 Activities:

-Block city:  Make a city for cars out of blocks.  Use chalk or masking tape to mark intersections.  Pretend you are a policeman, making sure people obey traffic laws.

-Make a bigger version of the above on your driveway outside and drive tricycles around it….Mom or Dad can be the “police” and dole out tickets for reckless drivers.  Mom or Dad could also direct traffic or pretend to be a stop light (“Red light, everybody STOP!” etc.   If you are ambitious, it’s  fun to add cardboard box “houses”/”businesses”, etc; the children can paint the boxes and lay out their “town”.  Some families rig up pretend stop signs/stop lights out of cardboard as well.

-Learn about stop signs and stop lights, crosswalks and crossing streets

-Play the game, Red Light, Green Light

-Watch for opportunities for your children to “meet” a policeman, especially a K-9 officer/unit.  Some of these units put on demonstrations at community events, often allowing children to see the officers and dogs at work, sit in police cars, etc.

 Art: 

-Draw our three large circles for your children onto separate pieces of white paper (don’t cut them out yet.)  Let your children paint the circles:  One should be green, one should be yellow, and one should be blue; let dry.  The next day, have your child cut out his circles (to the best of his ability) and then glue them onto a black rectangle to make a stoplight (from top to bottom, the colors should be green, yellow, then red.)

-Paint with blue and then add a sprinkling of gold glitter (the colors of police uniforms.)

Firefighters:

Books to read: 

What Do People Do All Day  (Richard Scarry)

Fire! Fire! (Gail Gibbons)

Curious George at the Fire Station (Margret Rey and Alan J. Shalleck)

The Fire Engine Book (a Little Golden Book, by Gergely)

Richard Scarry’s Busiest Fire Fighters Ever (A Little Golden Book, by Scarry)

I’m Going to Be a Firefighter, by Edith Kunhardt

Pickles the Firehouse Cat (Esther Holden Averill)

 Songs and Finger plays

-Sing the song, “Hurry, Hurry, Drive That Fire Truck” from the Barney show

 Activities

-Pretend you are a firefighter:  Gather props such as an old garden hose, coat, snow boots, or any props you have on hand such as a plastic firefighter’s hat, badge, tricycle, etc (drive tricycles to fires with sirens blaring, then pretend to put out fires.)

-Learn about fire safety (see concepts to learn, above)

-Learn rules about lighters and matches/playing with fire

-Arrange a field trip to the fire station

Art:

-Paint with “warm colors” (yellow, orange, red)

-Make a crayon-melt picture (fire makes heat; heat makes things melt.  Note:  We laid paper directly in the pan and colored right onto the paper instead of making prints; we also laid towels around the edges of the pan to prevent burns.  When you lift the pictures out of the pan, watch out for drips!  See directions HERE.) 

 Mail Carriers

Books to read: 

What Do People Do All Day  (Richard Scarry)

Seven Little Postman (a Little Golden Book, by Margret Wise Brown)

The Post Office Book: Mail and How it Moves (Gail Gibbons)

The Jolly Postman (Aglberg; the postman delivers mail to fairy-tale characters; does contain a “witch” but otherwise a delightful book.  We also love the Jolly Christmas Postman.)

 Activities:

-Buy a wooden/cardboard mail box from an art supply store (Michael’s stores carries them.)  Paint, decorate, and then use your mail box to “mail” letters.  Be sure to teach your child what the flag on the mailbox means.

-Have your child draw pictures and dictate letters for you to mail to your relatives.  Show your child where the stamp goes, and the address.  Ask your family to write back, so your child can have the thrill of receiving her own mail. 

-Gather props to play “mail carrier”:  Large canvass/grocery bag, envelopes, paper, stickers, etc.  “Write” letters, “mail” and “deliver” them. (Don’t let preschoolers play with plastic bags.)

 About Doctors, Nurses, Dentists, etc

Books to read: 

What Do People Do All Day  (Richard Scarry)

Going to the Doctor, Going to the Dentist, Going to the Hospital (Mr. Rogers)

Jenny’s in the Hospital (a “Look Look” book by Seymore Reit)

Suggested songs and finger plays:

-Sing “Miss Suzy” (sung to the same tune as, “There Was a Little Turtle, his name was Tiny Tim…” OR chant the words adding a hand-clap pattern such as clap your own hands, clap your partner’s hands, or pat your lap then clap.)

-Do the finger play, “5 Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed”  

-Buy a “doctor kit” type toy, and combine it with props from home to play doctor/nurse, etc:  Toilet paper (bandages), “band-aids”, etc (see HERE for more ideas.)  

-If you can, see if you can purchase a real, working stethoscope and let your child listen to her heart.  Alternately, see if your doctor will let you take a “field trip” to his office and use his stethoscope and to talk about what doctors do.

-Talk about health rules that doctors/nurses teach us and why they are important (get plenty of sleep, eat lots of fruits and vegetables, wash your hands, keep clean, brush your teeth, etc.)

About Carpenters, Masons, Electricians, Plumbers, etc:

What Do People Do All Day (Richard Scarry)

The Tool Book, How a House is Built, Up Goes the Sky Scraper, (Gail Gibbons)

Songs and finger plays about carpenters, masons, etc:

Johnny Works with One Hammer (one hammer-“hammer” with one hand; for two hammers, “hammer” with two; three and four hammers, add feet, one at a time; for 5 hammers, add bobbing your head.)

Activities: 

-Hammer nails (supervise carefully!)

-Use pipe cleaners as “wires” and make a sculpture (use styrofoam as a base.)

-Use frosting as cement and sugar cubes as bricks to build a house, just like a mason (don’t let them eat too much!) OR make a gingerbread house

-Talk about parts of a house (walls, ceiling, floor, window, door, etc)

-Drive by construction sites and observe the activity.  Don’t enter the site without permission due to safety issues. 

     There are almost unlimited possibilities with this unit…play “restaurant”, baker (make some homemade bread!), pilot, store (complete with play money and empty cereal boxes to buy) and so much more!  Look for other ideas on these websites below (note:  I cannot vouch for all the content/appropriateness of all the suggestions on these sites, so use your own discretion):

http://www.childcarelounge.com/activity/dramatic-play.phphttp://

www.preschoolrainbow.org/helper-rhymes.htm 

http://www.everythingpreschool.com/themes/helpers/songs.htmhttp://www.preschoolexpress.com/theme_station.shtml

     Have fun, and live the 4R’s! 

           ~Susan

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Art, Book Lists, Crafts, Elementary School, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homeschooling, Music, Picture Books, preschool curriculum, Reading Aloud, Unit Studies | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Unit For A Day: For Preschool/Kindergarten

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on March 3, 2010


          If you aren’t sure about planning your own unit studies, or if you’d simply like to have some extra fun with your children, a “unit for a day” is a great idea.  Here are some ideas to get you started.  One is “just for fun”, and the other incorporates more serious learning:

 Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs Day

 ~Music:  Sing the Song, “On Top of Spaghetti”:

Tune:  On Top Of Old Smokey

On top of spa-ghetti,  All covered with cheese, I lost my poor meat-ball,

When somebody sneezed (ker-choo!)  It rolled off the ta-ble,  And onto the floor,

And then my poor meat-ball,  Rolled out of the door.  It rolled in the gar-den,

And under a bush,  And then my poor meat-ball,  Was noth-ing but mush.

So if you like spe-getti,  All covered with cheese,  Hold on to your meat-ball,

And don’t ev-er sneeze. (ker-choo!)

~Book:  Read the book, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

~Art:  Cook spaghetti and let cool completely.  Let children “sculpt” with noodles on dark-colored construction paper or better yet, tagboard.  Let dry.  When dry, the noodles harden again, and make a 3-D picture.  (Note:  If you let the children pile the spaghetti up too high, it will take too long to dry and will rot.  Encourage children to make line shapes or tiny (not thick) sculptures.

 ~Lunch:  Spaghetti and meatballs, of course! 

~Movie:  I haven’t seen the movie, so use your own judgement

Duck Unit Study (one or two days)

 ~Finger plays: Five Little Ducks.  (I like Raffi’s version better.  Raffi also sings the song, 6 Little Ducks That I Once Knew; another good musical choice.)

 ~Books:  Fiction:  A Story About Ping, by Marjorie Flack   and/or Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey; non-fiction: Ducks Don’t Get Wet  by Augusta Goldin and/or  The Little Duck by Judy Dunn.

~Science Activity:  Explain to your children that ducks don’t get wet because their feathers are covered with oil that repels water.  To prove that oil repels water, put some water in a glass.  Add some baby oil or vegetable oil and observe the result:  Does the oil and water mix?  No. The oil repels the water.

 ~Fishing Game:  We can’t catch fish the way a duck can (we don’t have beaks!),  but people do like to go fishing!  You can pretend to fish, and teach some preschool “facts” while you do it. 

 What you’ll need:  A short dowel; yarn; doughnut shaped magnet; paper clips; construction paper.

 What to do:  Tie the magnet onto the yarn, and then tie the yarn around the top of the dowel.  (You may need to tape it or use a dab or hot glue to hold it in place.)  Cut fish shapes out of construction paper and put a paper clip over each fish’s mouth. 

How to play:  Place the fish on the floor in front of a chair.  Have your child sit in the chair, and then “drop” his/her “line” into the pretend water and try to snag a fish.  When s/he does, have him tell you the color of the fish (or you tell him.)  If your child is older and has begun to learn his letters or numbers, write a different letter or number on each fish; put a star on a few of them.  If s/he catches a star, it’s a freebie (automatic keep.)  Whenever a letter or number fish is caught, your child should name the letter/number in order to “keep” the fish.  (Warning: Stay with your children during this activity.  One of my boys broke a window by swinging a tiny magnet….not to mention what a magnet could do to an eye…also, magnets and paperclips are dangerous if swallowed.)

 ~Snack:  Fish (tuna fish or fish sticks—Ping loves fish), or Goldfish crackers; peanuts (Mr. and Mrs. Mallard love peanuts.)

 ~Art:  Paint using feathers as brushes

Portions of this post are excerpts from the book,Homepreschool and Beyond”; used with permission. 

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Art, Book Lists, Curriculum, Elementary School, Finger Plays, Homepreschool, Homeschool, Music, Reading Aloud | Tagged: , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Baby Songs and Games

Posted by homeschoolmentormom on February 16, 2010


 Note:  As with many finger plays/baby games/nursery rhymes, these have been passed down from mom to mom.  I don’t know the original source.  If anyone does, please let me know so that I can give credit where credit is due. 

 Here are the words and directions for games we played with our babies.  Many of them are musical—or at least done in a “sing-song” type voice.   

X” Marks the Spot (My 6 and 9 year olds still ask for this one!  Say the rhyme, while “drawing” on your child’s back or tummy. Older children love it done on their bare backs at bedtime):

  “X” marks the spot (draw a gentle “x” with your finger, on their backs or tummies)

  With a dot and a dot (one “dot” or touch on each side of their bodies)

 And a line and a line (one horizontal line on each side of their bodies)

 And a big question mark. (“Draw” a question mark on them.)

 With a line going up (Use your finger to “draw” a line right up the middle of their tummies, or spines, as lightly as possible to give a tickle or “chill”)

 And a line going down (make a line down)

 And another line, going around and around (“draw” spirals)

 With a hug and a squeeze, (hug and squeeze them),

 And a cool ocean breeze (blow gently on their tummies, or on the back of their necks.)

Round and Round the Garden

 Round and round the garden, goes the little bear (“draw” circles on baby’s tummy)

One step (walk fingers up baby’s tummy)

Two steps (repeat, building the excitement)

Tickle under there! (Tickle under chin.)

Open, Shut Them

 (There are many different versions/verses for this.  These are the ones I learned.  For older children, this is a finger play; children open and shut their hands.  For babies, spread their arms open wide, then close them to hug their own bodies.)

 Open, shut them, open, shut them, give a little clap;

Open, shut them, open, shut them, lay them in your lap.  (first verse.)

 Creep them, creep them, slowly creep them,

Right up to your chin (creep baby’s hands up baby’s belly, towards chin)

O-pen WIDE (open your mouth wide)

But do not let them in!  (Say quickly; move hands or feet down suddenly.)

 Open, shut them, open, shut them,

To your shoulders fly; (move hands to touch shoulders)

 Flying like the little birdies fly up in the sky.

(Hold baby’s wrists, and gently “shake” hands in the air like a bird “flying”.)

Now fly them up high…..now fly them down low….

(Say in an excited verse, and follow actions.  Then, quickly switch back to first verse again.)

 

How Big is Baby?

 This is one of the simplest of all baby games, besides peek-a-boo.  Make eye contact with your baby and simply say, in a high-pitched, exited voice: “How big is baby?”  Grasp baby’s hands, and stretch his arms above his head or out wide and answer for him, “So-oo big!”  This is usually repeated three times. 

  

Other Games to Play with baby, age 5 months and up:

 -Lay baby on your lap, her head resting on your knees, one foot in each hand.  Bicycle baby’s feet; touch the soles of baby’s feet together; gently stretch her to touch her toes near her chin, etc.

 -Sing “Head, and Shoulders Knees and Toes” to your baby.  While you sing, touch the right part of baby. Prop baby up to a sitting position with pillows.  Hold baby’s hands and help him touch the body parts mentioned in the song.

 -Sing “Wheels on the Bus” and do the motions with baby’s hands or feet (up/down; open/shut; bounce, bounce, bounce; wind shield wiper motions, etc.)

 For more ideas, check out:

 Gymboree – The Parent’s Guide to Play (Gymboree Play & Music) by Dr. Wendy S. Masi and Dr. Roni Cohen Leiderman

 Suggestion:  Visit your local Gymboree program during open house, and learn what a “baby boogie” is!

© 2010 Susan Lemons all rights reserved.

Posted in Babies, Finger Plays, Mothering, Music | Tagged: , , , | 1 Comment »

 
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