Category Archives: Problem Solving Skills

Water Music!

owen bowls

What could be more fun than playing in water on a hot summer day? Making music AND playing in water! I came across a video at Child’s Play Music and just had to try this with our children. We’re only on day two, but the activity is so open ended that I’m sure it will be out for the rest of the summer!

ellie glasses 1

bella squirt bottle

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We began by rounding up all the colored plastic items we use for our light unit and put those in water tubs with some utensils including chopsticks and wooden spoons to use as strikers. The colors in the bright morning sun were beautiful and attracted the kids to the table.

green cups

owen pouring

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children began exploring sounds by pouring water from different heights to hear loud and soft sounds as well as fast and slow sounds. They also learned about high and low sounds. They experimented making sounds with containers both above and below water. Comparisons were also made with filled and empty containers. Differences between metal, plastic, and wood sounds were also discovered.

group playing cups

owen lids

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Metal objects including pan lids and several sizes of mixing bowls were added to the table this morning. The children loved the sounds from the mixing bowls!

izzy

owen blue spoons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m sure the children will make more discoveries about sound and water throughout the summer as we add other objects to the water center.

Little Pandas Preschool

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Learning Chinese Characters at Preschool

3 part cards izzy

The preschool class is learning to read and write Chinese characters.   We’re beginning with numbers and then will progress to other simple characters.  A variety of methods are being used to facilitate learning.

The Montessori 3 part card method is being use to introduce the characters. Children are shown a whole card with a picture and the Chinese character beneath the picture. The whole cards are placed on the table and then matched with the corresponding pictures and characters.

3 part cards elijah

 

 

 

 

 

The iPad is being used as a tactile method to facilitate writing. Our Chinese teacher shows children the correct order in which to write the characters. Children then practice writing and can do the activity as many times as they want since the sheet can be erased and reused. Children’s work can then be shared with parents through email.

ipad 4 marcus

ipad 4 chase

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After completing the Montessori 3 part cards and the iPad exercises children are ready to write the characters on paper worksheets.

worksheet max

worksheet bella

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Pandas Preschool

December Activities

sensory tub

December has just begun and we’re all very busy!  The children have completed many activities already and there are so many more to do before Christmas vacation begins.

sensory group 2

 

 

 

 

 

The winter sensory tub (inspired by Teach Preschool) has been a big hit with all the children.  Even the adults can’t keep their hands out of it!  A tub was filled with plastic frosty snow.  Penguins and an iceberg from a game we have were added to the snow along with clear and blue acrylic ice cubes.  Some wood scoops and a couple wire Christmas ornaments were added.  The blue confetti snowflakes add some cool color to the tub.  We’ve had a couple incidents where the children have thrown the snow up to watch it fall, but who wouldn’t be tempted to do that?

pompom elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The children continue to learn Chinese with Gao Laoshi and are beginning to learn to count to 20.  A couple felt Christmas trees were attached to the wall and velcroed pom poms  were set out in a dish.  This activity helps children to practice counting as well as learn Chinese color vocabulary.

chinese writing elijah 1

 

 

 

 

 

Gao Laoshi has started introducing some simple Chinese characters to the children.  They’re beginning to write numbers.

counting marcus 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas shaped erasers have been set out at the math center for children to work on one-to-one correspondence.

popsicles max 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Colored craft sticks were also set out at the math table.  Velcro dots were attached to the ends on both sides so that the children can build geometric shapes  with them.

stones group 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A basket of clear and different shades of blue stones have been set out at the light table for children to build with.

fingerpaint groupfingerpaint seneca

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finger painting on foil was a new experience for all the kids.  They enjoyed seeing the shiny foil through the paint.

Little Pandas Preschool

Magnetic Tiles at the Light Table

Bella’s Structure

Preschool has started, and I have so many ideas to share with the kids this year.  Our theme for the year is “All About Me and My World!”  This year’s big project will be an interactive iPad book created by the kids and teachers.  More will be posted about that in another post.  During September the kids are learning about themselves and their families.  Gao, Laoshi, our Chinese teacher has been using the wooden doll house and the panda family to give children vocabulary about their families and homes.  I wanted to take pictures of the doll house furniture for the iPad book, but found many of the pieces missing or broken.  So, I went to the store to get some new furniture.  Unfortunately the store only had plastic furniture.  However, the store had these magnetic tiles in clear colors that would be perfect for the light table.  I could’t resist them!

The tiles were introduced to the children Monday morning during center time.  They were a BIG hit, and the kids loved them!  It was amazing to watch the children explore and build with the tiles and to hear all the language being used to describe their constructions.  Children were building houses, towers, pizzas, and just putting pieces together like a puzzle.  One boy was creating birds and making them fly.  Not on the light table, but still he was using his imagination.

In addition to language skills the tiles have the potential to teach science and geometry concepts.  The kids were learning to build using trial and error and making hypothesis of what will and won’t work as they created.  There was also a lot of team work happening.  I may have to purchase some more tiles to create more elaborate structures.

Little Pandas Preschool

Look at all those Bones!

The preschoolers are still studying the human body and are currently learning all about their bones.

The children were very interested in the x-rays at the light table and could name many of the bones.

The next day the x-rays were set out on the floor where the children worked together to assemble the skeleton.

The kids did a great job putting the puzzle together and were very proud of their work!

Little Pandas Preschool

Mosaic Art at Preschool

The preschool class has been working on a mosaic art unit during the last month.  At the beginning of the unit children watched a slide show of mosaic art examples and discussed the different pictures and medium used to create the artwork.  Several activities were planned to enable the children to eventually create a nice mosaic picture.

The first project was open ended and permitted the children the freedom to create a mosaic without any constraints.  The children could play with the triangles, choose any colors they wanted and glue them onto the black construction paper in any design they preferred.

An ongoing mosaic activity has been set up at the light table for the duration of the unit.  Several overhead projection transparency sheets were printed with pictures for the children to fill in with different colors of overhead projector circles.  The circles are stored in clear plastic paint buckets.  Children could also view transparencies of real mosaic art pieces.

The children were given sheets printed with simple geometric shapes and directed to glue a different color paper in each section.  The kids were very successful with this.

This week each child chose a picture that will be used in their final project.  They are practicing glueing different colors of paper in each section.  Next week they will begin making their mosaic picture with buttons on canvass.

Little Pandas Preschool

Unit Blocks

This school year we’re updating the blocks and related toys in our block center.  We’ve already added some more Brio trains and a Quadrilla marble run.  Last week a new set of unit blocks arrived.

It must have felt like Christmas to the kids.  They were very excited to open the boxes.

The kids spent the rest of the day building.

The older boys were very focused on their work and built some interesting and complex structures.

Even the youngest ones built some very significant structures.

The block center provides the children with many opportunities for group interaction and cooperative play.

Little Pandas Preschool

Wheels & Axles

Our movement and motion unit continues this week as the children begin investigating wheels and axles.  

Kerry introduced the topic by giving the children a long narrow board and asked them to push it along the floor.  The kids decided the task was difficult to accomplish. After some discussion the children were shown wooden dowels and wheels Kerry made for the kids.

The pieces were assembled together and then the kids tried pushing the boards on the carpet, this time with much better results.

Each child was given an axle and wheel to assemble and then “drive” it on the carpet.

The children talked about other objects that have wheels and axles and all agreed that cars fit in that category.  They also discovered that cars and other things can have more than one axle.

The kids were fascinated with the wheels and axles and played with them for quite some time.

Little Pandas Preschool

Fall Collage

Last week the children created fall collages.  There are many concepts and skills learned from working on this type of project.  One of our objectives was to teach children they can work on a project over a period of time.  The collages and supplies were left out for a week.  During daily center time the children were free to work on the collages for as long as they wanted, leave for another activity and return when they felt inclined either that day or on a different day.

A variety of materials including leaves, dyed popcorn kernels, holiday ribbon, fall colored sequins, construction paper scraps, and foam pumpkins were available for the children to use.

When children are given time to work on projects they can plan what they want to do and which materials they will use.  They’re learning to organize their thoughts and ideas.

The children practiced fine motor skills while learning to use scissors.

Learning to use glue can be challenging, so some problem solving skills are acquired at the same time.

As with other open ended art projects we’re not concerned with the finished product, but with the process and the skills the children have gained.  Earth’s Kids has an excellent article about the value of children working on collages.

Little Pandas Preschool

Quadrilla Marble Run

I had been trying to find an affordable marble run for our ball unit and finally found a couple on Craigslist.  The kids are absolutely fascinated by it.

Everyday Kerry helps the children to build different marble runs.  The Quadrilla sets have the potential to build a variety of different runs, however, they’re not as stable as I would have liked.  While building the sets the children are also learning to be aware of their surroundings and their bodies.  That’s a huge task for a preschooler.  

The first day the kids watched Kerry build a run and then took turns dropping the marbles in the top slot.  

As the week progressed different runs were built.  As the kids get more experience and learn to be careful around the runs we will get to build bigger and more complicated structures.  There are many videos on Youtube featuring Quadrilla and other runs including some homemade ones.  

Little Pandas Preschool