Our new school year is well underway and the kids as well as the teachers are having fun doing all the activities. A typical day begins with free play while the kids wait for their friends to arrive. At 9:00 they participate in circle time which includes music and Chinese activities. After circle time the children may choose to work at a variety of centers the teachers have prepared for them. Each center has three to six activities to choose from.
On this morning most of the children opted to work at the language arts center. V. is working on a Zoo Phonics activity where he is filling in the “b” outline with playdough.
Next V. chose to practice writing “b” with Crayola window markers on a plexiglass sign holder. The boat worksheet is inserted inside the sign holder. This year the Zoo Phonics curriculum is being integrated with our science themes. We’ve been working on measurement and exploring balls, so the children have been learning all about the letters b and m with Bubba Bear and Missy Mouse.
These gel bags were featured in the toddler activities post a couple days ago. The gel bags are fun for all ages and help children to develop the fine motor skills needed to learn handwriting.
The teachers rotate through the centers and help the children as needed. With the exception of the Zoo Phonics activities Gloria encourages the children to learn Chinese vocabulary while completing tasks.
Children love sensory activities. A. is playing with the rubber bands that were set out as part of our movement and motion unit. The teachers started several rubber band balls for the children to add to. As the balls grow bigger the children will play with them and compare them with the other balls they’ve explored. As we move farther along in our movement study the children may also discover other attributes of the rubber bands.
Sand is the absolute ultimate sensory activity! The children can’t get enough of it. The sand table helps children to develop many skills including math, language, and social interactions. Currently the sand table is equipped with many measuring utensils to compliment our measurement unit. Through their play the children are learning about volume and comparing the different units of measurement.
In the past we’ve always used authentic Oregon beach sand in the sensory table, but I discovered colored sand over the summer. I love color and can’t wait to try out the purple sand. Although I’m sure if the kids choose the color we might have to buy pink!
The children are very busy at preschool and this is only part of what was accomplished on this particular morning. The next post will include the rest of the morning’s activities.
Little Pandas Preschool
Posted in Balls, Centers, Fine Motor Skills, Math, Measurement, Preschool Concepts, Problem Solving Skills, Sand, Science, Sensory, Writing, Zoo Phonics
Our sand and water unit has been extended into some art projects. The kids have experimented drawing with sidewalk chalk and sand, creating sand pictures using glue, and now with sand paper. The teachers cut shapes from sand paper for the kids to arrange. They covered their arrangements with newsprint and then rubbed crayons over the shapes. While doing the art project Yiwen gave the children Chinese vocabulary about shapes and colors. This is a great activity for working with shapes, texture, and color.
Today we made our own tide pools! Authentic Oregon beach sand was put into one of the pools and tropical aquarium gravel was put in the other. A variety of real shells, coral, and plastic sea life were added to the pools for the kids to examine and play with. The activity generated much conversation about the children’s real life beach experiences. The tide pools are a great extension of our sand and water unit.
Our sand and water unit has been a great success! I believe the children would never tire of these activities. As they continue to explore they find new things to do with the sand and water everyday. Today one little boy decided to shovel the moon sand into a bucket of water.
The children began to notice that the sand settled on the bottom and the cornstarch made the water turn a milky color. Other children began to join in and it became a very focused group endeavor to fill the bucket and watch the layers grow.
The children decided to add colored sand to the bucket which meant they had to carefully carry the sand from the activity table to the bucket on the patio thus practicing fine motor skills.
The kids were very proud of their accomplishment!
The project turned out to be a great impromptu science experiment where the children practiced observation and fine motor skills as well as teamwork.
Our sand exploration continued today as the children made moon sand. Moon sand is quite expensive and cost prohibitive to purchase in bulk for the preschool. There are many recipes on the internet for making it so we gave it a try.
The first step was to measure 16 cupfuls of beach sand and pour it into the tub. We practiced counting in Chinese at the same time. Learning to measure had its challenges but we’ll get lots more practice with that skill this year as we explore all of our science themes.
Next 8 cups of cornstarch were added to the sand. The soft powdery feel of cornstarch provides a great sensory experience for the kids.
The children mixed the sand and cornstarch.
The kids added 4 cups of water to the mix.
The best part was mixing all the ingredients together!
Everyone enjoyed molding the moon sand.
Getting the right consistency was a challenge. This is a bit too wet still, but as the water evaporated some it became more moldable.
The boys began putting trucks in the sand to see what would happen. They found that the tires make prints in the sand.
Kerry has spent the last couple weeks building this giant balance that I saw on the internet and just had to have for this year’s science projects. It’s the perfect toy for our outdoor water and sand table.
Today the kids just experimented with the balance and weighed different amounts of sand.
Water was the next obvious choice to try out on the balance. A soaker hose has been wound through the shrubs, tree, and over the playhouse to create “rain” on hot summer days. The kids decided filling their measuring cups from the “rain” was ideal.
We’ll continue to experiment and compare other things this week. We’ll look at wet and dry sand, water and sand, water and river pebbles, sand and pebbles and whatever else the kids want to weigh.
The children were fascinated with the colored sand that was added to our water table today. Additional toys and containers were provided for more experimentation. Several new sand and water activities are planned for the next two weeks.
This a great project parents can do at home with their kids. Color one cup of table salt with one tablespoon of liquid watercolor. Let it dry on a tray overnight and then transfer it to a bowl. We used tropical colors for our project at school. Spread a thin layer of white glue mixed with a little water onto the tray. Let the kids stamp on construction paper and then sprinkle the colored salt over the glue. We used ocean animal stamps to go with our tropical colors. The kids loved this project, and it’s great for reinforcing the Chinese vocabulary they’re learning.
Posted in Art, Color, Sand