Archive for the ‘ Preschool for ED – Fall 2011 (age 3 1/2) ’ Category

Animals and Their Groups Sorting Cards (ages 5-8)

Friday, May 16th, 2014

A couple of months ago, I did an animal unit with my youngest.  We went over the characteristics of living and non-living things. Then we talked about vertebrates and invertebrates and finally we went over the five vertebrate groups in quite some detail. I shared the free Montessori cards I made for that part of our unit: the Montessori Vertebrate-Invertebrate cards and the sheets I made on Animals and their Characteristics.

I had intended to then go over Animals and their Groups, but with all my ear surgery (4 since October and one more coming up in a few weeks), we never got to that part of our unit.  I thought I would share the cards I made with you even though we haven’t used them in our homeschool yet. I don’t want to forget about them!

Free Sort Cards: Animals and Their Groups Sort 

I also made a matching sheet to go along with this.  You can also download these if you’re interested:

Animals and Their Groups — Matching

I’d love to hear from you if you over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page if found these helpful!

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Preschool at Home: Alphabet Activities for 2-4 year olds

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Here are some alphabet activity ideas you can do with your little one: At first we played these activities just for letter identification, but as the kids learned their letters we would play these games and identify the sound/s they make. Above all, be enthusiastic and have FUN with the kids!!

Jump on Letters:We did this activity with everything from contact paper in the kitchen to letters written in chalk on the driveway. This active game was a huge hit with all my kids. “Find the “R.”  ”Go jump on the “K.”   You get the idea!

Sandpaper Letters: When my kids were letter, we ordered some sandpaper letters from  didax.com. The kids traced the letters which helped as they transitioned into writing letters (because it shows the order in which to make the strokes). It helped LD with some of the letters he hadn’t been forming properly.

Erase the Letter: You can write a letter on a white-board and have the kids practice “writing” by using the eraser size of the white board marker.

Paint in a Bag – Hair gel and dye: This activity only ever worked for a couple of letters with my kids before they lost interest, but it’s worth a mention. Anything to add creativity and piques the kids’ interest is worth a go, right?! We just put hair gel into a ziploc bag with some dye. Don’t add too much gel or the letter won’t show up. Then the kids practiced writing their letters.  I’ve heard of people using ketchup or liquid paint instead.

 

Writing in Sand: We did this in combination with a scavenger hunt and a “mail box” with a slot to mail the letter. We just had a tray of sand and ED had to write the letter before mailing off her letter!  I never wound up making more “letters” for her to mail, but if you’re interested in   A, B, C, E, L, M, N, O, R or S you can download them free here.

Alphabet discover bottle search and find bottle: Fill a bottle with rice, beads, glitter and the letter/s you are focusing on. Have your tot twist and turn the bottle to find the letter as quickly as possible.

Letter Scavenger Hunts: I can’t tell you how many scavenger hunts my kids went on when they were little. At first, I just hid letters and had them race back to tell me what they had found Enthusiasm was EVERYTHING in this activity! My kids were much more hyped when I was yelling out “Go, go, go! What’d ya find? Is it an “L” like in your name?!!!”

Improving Small Motor Skills

Do-a-dot Letter Painting: When the kids were little, we go a lot of mileage out of our do-a-dot markers.  I would print out an alphabet mat when it fit in with whatever theme-time table or unit we were covering. (Check out our theme time tables here.)

Q-tip painting: As the kids were learning their letters, I tried to change things up for them.  Sometimes I brought out Q-tips which they could dip into paint to practice “writing” their letters. Here are some alphabet mats I made that you can download as you need them:

Alphabet Mats: A to Z

(font licence purchased from Kimberly Geswein Fonts)

Play Dough Letters: Once the kids were old enough to roll out play dough snakes, they could make letters (either with a mat or not).  We also made letters from time to time out of pretzel dough or bread dough. Here are our edible letter Bb’s! The beans are there because these were from our Fairy Tale Unit: Jack and the Beanstalk activities.

Glue-and-Glitter: I’d have the kids “write” their name (or letters) with glue and let them go to town with the glitter.

Fishing for Letters: Some good old fashioned fishing fun! Either matching upper and lower case letters or simply catching a letter and identifying it.  These are with shamrocks for St. Patrick’s day but you could cut out any shape appropriate for your unit, the holiday or season.

Hide-and-Seek Name Game: Place hair gel in a sealed ziploc bag along with the letters of your child’s name,  glitter, and color beads… have them try to find all the letters of their name and squish the bag around to place the letters in the proper order.

Letter Factory: All three of my kids loved the Letter Factory movies. The tune is catchy and it helped the kids learned the sounds of the letter.

I hope you found a few ideas you can use with your kids!  If you found anything useful or have other ideas to share, I’d love to hear from you at our Homeschool Den Facebook page.

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Pattern Block Templates (Ages 18mo-4 years)

Saturday, May 10th, 2014

When my kids were little I bought a set of Pattern Blocks. It’s been one of the most enduring resources we have. We still bring them out occasionally and also use them for math now and then.

The kids have used templates like these:

And they’ve also used the pattern blocks for free play:

There are lots of places where you can find free pattern block templates:

One of the best places to get free pattern block mats is over at Prekinders.  There you have the option to print out black-and-white cards or full-color versions.

Kelly’s Kindergarten has two sets of pattern block pictures you can download as well.

Erica over at Confessions of a Homeschooler made a whole series of pattern block cards: Numbers 1-20; Alphabet Cards

If your kids are older, pattern blocks can be used for more advanced math problems. Mathwire  has a half-dozen problem solving activities that use pattern blocks for grades 3-4.

And there is a really neat set of Pattern Block Building Scenes mosques and temples here, though I don’t know the original website it came from.

You might be interested in this related post:

Long List of Activities for Tots and Preschoolers (Ages 2-6)

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Preschool at Home: More Geography Activities

Wednesday, April 9th, 2014

Yesterday, I shared a lot of activities that you can do with maps.  Today I want to share some other geography activities that my kids loved.

After reading through Me on the Map (which is just perfect for the 4-6 year old crowd), I had ED do an activity that focuses in on where we live.  You have the kids color in and paste their location, pinpointing their location by going from the largest to the smallest location. For example… I printed out labels such as I live on Earth, I live in North America…

I cut out circles for

  • the Earth
  • North America
  • USA
  • Your state: Kansas
  • City: Topeka
  • Street: 77 Maple Street
She colored in the maps and glued them onto the circles with the labels at the bottom:
Then you put the entire collection together (largest at the bottom) with a brad at the top:
In the past we did variations of this activity using stacking boxes instead. This post from several years ago was Nesting Boxes from the Galaxy to the Atom — and has a similar idea…
Here’s a close-up
We also sang through the song about the 7 continents and ED put in pins on our world map:
Here are the kids singing the Seven Continent Song. Last spring someone wondered if we could share the tune–so we made our first you-tube video.  We had a number of bloopers and flubs (which made us roll on the floor laughing), but this version went fairly well! So… here are the kids in their very first you-tube video!

 

If you want to print out and make your own Montessori materials, here are the posts where you’ll find those free downloads…

You’ll find the free Montessori World Map here (free to download over at that post) and instructions on how to make a Montessori pin map:

You might want to visit the post about the Animals Around the World. You can access free Montessori cards of animals from each continent at that post:

Don’t miss this post about using the free Montessori US landmark cards I made (Grand Canyon, Statue of Liberty, etc.) and how we used them.

Other related posts you might be interested in:

Categories you may want to visit (which have posts related to these topics):

Free and Useful Montessori Resources:

  • Living Montessori Now – This website has a wonderful collection of how parents are instituting Montessori inspired activities in their homes.
  • ETC Montessori – Free Downloadable Materials
  • Montessori Mom – This wonderful website has an extensive list of various Montessori resources.
  • Montessori Album – A growing site with lots of photos.
  • Montessori Materials – Lots of free resources. I especially love and use the paper purple beads for place value work in math (see “Bead Materials ones and tens, beads: hundreds and thousands. See my post about using these materials here.
  • Montessori for Everyone–Offers free downloads each month–sorting cards such as the seasons, where things come from, animal tracks and more.

Come visit us over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! It’s a quick easy way to browse through the past posts you might have missed.

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Preschool at Home: Geography Activities (Maps and More) Ages 4+

Tuesday, April 8th, 2014

There are so many fun things you can do with your preschooler (or elementary kids) to help them gain an understanding of the geography of our amazing world! You can make all kinds of maps to enhance your preschooler’s knowledge of the world.

Over the years we have made maps…

with sand, dirt and grass seed like our Nile River Valley

Out of clay, like our Ancient Greece (and Mediterranean Sea) map  (Ancient Greece Geography ProjectAncient Greece Geography Project, Part 2)

Out of graham crackers, like our map of Britain

and out of cookie dough like our map of South America (with the Andes as chocolate chips!)

You can study and color world flags

And use world flags with pin maps, like we did with the countries of Asia

and with the countries in Africa

You can use geography puzzles:

You can toss a globe around and identify the continent (or country) your thumb lands on when you catch it:

You can study famous landmarks and make replicas

You can locate famous rivers and lakes:

And you can study all the geography land form (and water form) terms like lakes, peninsulas, isthmus, bay and create them at home:

You can make your own world globe!

You can play board games like Ten Days Across Europe (or Africa or Asia)

You can make food from different places… like our almond soup when we tried different foods from Africa

or pretzels from Germany

You can study a specific country and learn all about their history, culture and music like when we studied Japan,  India,

and Australia

You can try to arrange a country box exchange, which we’ve done with homeschoolers from or living in Singapore, France, different states in the U.S.

Country Box Exchange: China

Country Box Exchange: Gambia

Or you could participate in a postcard exchange from around the U.S. or around the world!

Hope you have fun exploring our amazing world!

Other related posts you might be interested in:

Categories you may want to visit (which have posts related to these topics):

Free and Useful Montessori Resources:

  • Living Montessori Now – This website has a wonderful collection of how parents are instituting Montessori inspired activities in their homes.
  • ETC Montessori – Free Downloadable Materials
  • Montessori Mom – This wonderful website has an extensive list of various Montessori resources.
  • Montessori Album – A growing site with lots of photos.
  • Montessori Materials – Lots of free resources. I especially love and use the paper purple beads for place value work in math (see “Bead Materials ones and tens, beads: hundreds and thousands. See my post about using these materials here.
  • Montessori for Everyone–Offers free downloads each month–sorting cards such as the seasons, where things come from, animal tracks and more.

Come visit us over at our Homeschool Den Facebook Page! It’s a quick easy way to browse through the past posts you might have missed.

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