My favorite books and supplies to start our preschool year!

Monday, September 15, 2014

A is for Animals {Noah’s Ark}

We actually did 1½ weeks of letter A this year. And we spent two days on A is for Animals with different books.

A is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool Alphabet

  • Read Noah's Ark by Anne Wilson … this is a great book. The colors are bright and bold. The scripture story of Noah and the ark is told simply and accurately. We had fun looking at all of the different animals too! The rainbow at the end is my favorite part.
    1. Ask your preschooler to find the letter A’s on the cover.
    2. Look at the animals together and name them. Talk about the colors.

A is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool Alphabet

  • Read On Noah's Ark by Jan Brett … another great option for today. I grabbed this book from the library because of the amazing animal illustrations. The story is simple and there are so many animals to look at.
    1. As you read through the pages, see if you can find each animal’s match. Noah took two animals of every kind. Count “1-2” as you find them.

A is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool Alphabet

  • Animal Match Game … since we’re talking a lot about animal matches and “two of every kind,” this game was perfect.
    1. Print out this great Animal Matching Game from 1+1+1=1 on cardstock.
    2. OPTIONAL: Print A’s on the back of the pages so you can’t see through Smile Here is a PDF of the page I used:
      A is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool Alphabet
    3. Laminate and cut out the cards. I use this laminator and love it!
    4. Look at the cards together, so your preschooler can recognize the mom & baby matches.
    5. Lay the cards out on the floor, upside-down.
    6. Take turns turning over two cards at a time. If you found a match, keep it. If not, turn them back over and it’s the other person’s turn.

A is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool AlphabetA is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool Alphabet

  • Animal Grow Capsules … my 3-year-old was SO excited to do these. Find them at the dollar store or Michaels. If you’re doing this activity with up to 12 kids, I’d recommend getting your grow capsules (a 12-pack) on Amazon, here. 
    1. Fill a bowl with warm water.
    2. Place a few capsules (or, if you’re my daughter, all of them) into the water.
    3. Push them around, dunk them and watch.
    4. Once the animals come out of the capsules, squeeze out the water and match them to the silhouette on the back of the package.

A is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool AlphabetA is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool AlphabetA is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool Alphabet

  • Color Noah’s Ark … I’ve seen this idea in a few different places, so I’m not sure where the original idea came from. This takes a little prep, but I love it!
    1. Cut out a simple boat shape from two paper plates (see photo above). I just penciled it, then used an exacto knife on a cutting board to easily cut it out.
    2. I draw the bottom of the ark and the circle windows. The rest is up to my preschooler Smile
    3. Show them how to draw a rainbow on the “handle”.
    4. Color the water. We added fish this time.
    5. Color the ark.
    6. Staple both paper plates together, all the way around, forming a little pouch.

A is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool AlphabetA is for Animals {Noah's Ark} from Preschool Alphabet

  • Animal Crackers, Two by Two.
    1. Spread several animal crackers or cookies out on the table.
      • NOTE: I found these at our local grocery store. 
    2. Have the kids look and find several animal matches.
    3. When they find a match, have them “load” the animals into their ark.
    4. Eat them for a snack Smile

Friday, September 12, 2014

A is for Autumn

A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Read A Is for Autumn by Robert Maass …. this is a beautiful book. We loved it. Every letter stands for a different part of Autumn, from Apples, Colors and Frost to Wood burning in fireplaces and Zippers to zip up on chilly days. The colors and photographs are wonderful.
    1. Ask your kids to point to letter A on the cover.
    2. Have them draw a letter A in the air with their finger.
    3. What do they notice on the cover?
    4. As you read the pages, see if they can guess what the letters stand for by looking at the pictures. Say, “A is for ….” and let them guess!

A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Sing “It’s Autumntime” … click here for words and music.
    1. You can click on the “audio” tab at the top to choose “words & music”
    2. Let the kids hold a yellow, red and/or brown leaf as you sing (real leaves or paper!)
    3. Have them gently drop their leaves when you sing “The leaves are falling down.”
    4. Do other motions, such as:
      • “It’s all around the town” (move arms in a circle)
      • “There’s yellow, red, and brown” (point to or hold up each one)
      • “Bright colors can be found” (hold leaves high above their head)

A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}

A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Autumn Color Walk … it was nice to get out of the house and notice all of the pretty fall colors.
    1. Make an “Autumn Color Wheel”
      • Choose 8 fall-colored papers.
      • Trace around a plate and cut out a circle from each color.
      • Cut in half, then in half again, then one more time (to make 1/8 pieces)
      • Glue the 8 colored pieces to a full circle.
    2. Go on a nature scavenger walk. We went on a trail by the river here and it was beautiful!
    3. Help the kids look for leaves, sticks, pinecones, seeds, flowers, rocks, etc. that match their colors. Try to find one for each color!
    4. TIP: Collect a few extra leaves for the next activity!

A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Autumn Placemats … we actually did this the next day, but if your kids are not ready for some rest time (like mine were), this would be fun to make for their snack time.
    1. Use a glue stick to glue several leaves to a piece of cardstock. It was fun watching my 3-year-old choose which leaves she wanted and where to put them.
    2. NOTE: The leaves will not lay totally flat, but that’s ok.
    3. Use letter stamps (or stickers … or a crayon) to add letter As to your placemat. We have these See and Stamp Alphabet Stamps that are chunky enough for the kids to hold and you can see exactly where you are stamping. I love and recommend them. The ink pads (washable) that we use are here.
    4. Once their masterpiece is complete, send it through the laminator. I have the Scotch Thermal Laminator. It’s quick and easy.

A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Autumn {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Autumn Leaf Sugar Cookies … these look so pretty. You don’t even need frosting Smile
    1. Make a batch of your favorite sugar cookies.
    2. Divide the dough into four balls.
    3. Color each ball a different fall color. We used red, orange, yellow, and green.
    4. Take pieces from each ball and smoosh the colors together into a large ball.
    5. Roll out your dough (and ooh and ahh at the cool colors) Smile
    6. Use a leaf cookie cutter to cut out your cookies. This is the one we used:

    7. Sprinkle with colored sugar sprinkles & bake.
    8. Delicious … even without frosting.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

A is for Apples

A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Read Apples and Pumpkins by Anne Rockwell … this was the perfect book to read before our visit to the local family farm to see the apples and pumpkins. Definitely a good book to get you in the mood for fall!

apple farmer annie

  • Read Apple Farmer Annie by Monica Wellington … I just added this book to our home library because it’s one of my favorite apple/fall books. Annie is an apple farmer. She sells her apples at the farmer’s market. Simple and perfect for fall.

A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Picking Apple Tree ABCs
    1. Draw a large tree with chalk. We drew ours on our fence. Another year, we painted a big tree on a big cardboard box. You could even use window markers and draw a tree on a glass door or window.
    2. Write A-Z on apple-shaped post-it notes. Find them here or at office supply stores like Office Max and Staples.
    3. Stick all of the ABC apples on the chalk tree.
    4. Write A-Z randomly outside of the tree (again, we used chalk on the fence)
    5. Have the kids “pick an apple” from the tree and stick it on it’s matching ABC.
    6. TIP: For younger kids, have them match uppercase to uppercase or lowercase to lowercase letters. Older preschoolers can match uppercase to lowercase.

A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Digging for Apples … a little messy, but the kids love it.
    1. Fill a large bin with rice (or beans or sand or noodles)
    2. Bury several plastic apples in the rice. You can get mini plastic apples here (red) and here (green). Or these foam attribute apples are great for many activities!
    3. Give the kids a red bowl and a green bowl. As they find the apples, have them sort them by color.
    4. I love giving the kids an empty paper towel or toilet paper tube. They like to fill it with rice or apples!

A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Pick apples at an orchard … or do what we did and buy some at a local family farm Smile
    1. As the kids explored (and climbed all over) the pumpkins, we used lots of descriptive words: big, small, bumpy, smooth, round, long stem, short stem, orange, green, dirty, clean, heavy!
    2. Have the kids help pick out and count 10 apples to buy.

A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Apples Prints … I’ve never done this before and it was a lot of fun!
    1. Cut one apple in half vertically.
    2. Cut another apple in half horizontally (to see the star inside)
    3. Let the kids observe the inside of the apple and tell you what they see, smell and feel.
    4. Cut a handle in the apple … this is by far one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen on pinterest Smile See the photo above. 
      • Cut a notch in each side of the apple, creating a handle for the kids to hold while they’re stamping.
      • BONUS: the notches are perfect apple slices to munch on!
    5. Pour red and green paint onto separate plates. We used fancy glitter paint (found here). Washable paint is a must.
    6. Show the kids how to coat the cut side with paint, then stamp their paper to make an apple print!
    7. My girls loved it! They ended up finger painting several pages. Love it.

A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}A is for Apples {Preschool Alphabet}

  • Read Ten Apples Up On Top! by Theo LeSieg … this one never gets old. We use it every year.
    1. Print out a photo on your preschooler at the bottom of a piece of paper.
    2. Give them apple stickers and have them stack 10 (or more!) apples up on top of their head!
    3. TIP: I found this roll of apple stickers at Michaels. I’ve also used these before.
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