Sunday, February 15, 2015

We "Heart" Preschool!

Our Valentine's themed week was wonderfully rewarding! Caroline was especially excited for preschool and Gwen enjoyed it as extra fun when she got home too. I love it when the kids ASK to play with educational materials! At the end of the week we sadly had to cancel our Book Club Valentine's party because Caroline was contagiously sick with a nasty cold (some love should NOT be shared!). But we squeezed in all the learning activities during the week before she got apathetic and wanted to lay on the couch all day with someone rubbing her back. So here is what went down:
Capital/lowercase letter match. Just as simple as it sounds. I used a heart punch and card stock for durability and wrote the letters on myself. There are printables out there, but the ink saturation just seemed a waste. This was the easy alternative. 

Caroline is still challenged by lowercase letters, so I began with the easiest approach: I named the lowercase letter as I handed it to her and asked her to find the mommy. Next step up was to put 2-3 lowercase letters for her to choose from and then ask her to identify the "f" before pairing it with the "mommy". When she had that down, we transitioned to the hardest way: putting a large number of lower case letters out there and asking her to find their matches. We don't stay too long on challenging ones like this because Caroline still gets frustrated. So usually this is the 'crowning' activity before we move on. 

Another ABC/phonics activity we did was to put the heart over the letter that makes the phonics sound I was doing. Basic. I made this ABC sheet generic so that I can re-use it for all kinds of themes. You can use any kind of 'marker' to cover the completed letters, which makes it perfect for year-round use!

Caroline was singing "Red Heart Pink Heart" (a song we sing at her music class) throughout the lesson. Adorable. 

We did rainbow writing 'L is for Love' and 'H is for Heart' during the week. Caroline is getting pretty adept at this. I just have to remind her repeatedly to begin her letters at the top, otherwise she wants to start at the bottom of each.

This was our second time to do patterns. I originally introduced patterns in October, but she was NOT ready for the concept and it was a terrible failure. No big deal, I set patterns aside until last week when she tried out duplo patterns (during construction week. Sorry I'm all out of order on blogging) and she was getting the hang of it. So I brought them out again this week and she NAILED it! Just goes to show: if your kids don't like an activity, don't bang your head against a wall. Give it a rest and come back to it later! What fun it was this time around!

Gwen loved it too and spent a lot of time after school doing patterns. Candy heart patterns available for printing free from PreKinders. You'll notice I have a HUGE bag of conversation hearts. I needed a ton for a group game for our V-tines party that we didn't end up having. So now I've got a stash. :) I see science experiments in our future. :) Oh, and one last side note. Gwen laughed and told me she found one that said 'Pugs and Kittens' and I thought she was mis-reading 'hugs and kisses'... but nope. It said "Pugs and Kittens". How funny. 

One to one correspondence activity with a beautiful do-a-dot heart. Supposed to be red, but I am almost out of ink, so this was how it printed. Available for free printing from Gift of Curiosity. Of course Caroline ate the candy afterwards. :)

Caroline got a set of wooden shape blocks for Christmas and ADORES them. I knew she would love this activity. I found it for free printing at Playdough to Plato, but as I've already mentioned, my ink is low. Yellow always seems to be the first to go. So I had to color quite a bit of this AFTER it printed so that orange and green looked right in addition to the obvious yellow. While I was working away with my markers, Caroline kept asking when it would be ready. I told her 'after laminating.' Well, when we DIDN'T pull this out for our first day of Pre-K, she was offended. So I got it out anyway (even though we were officially finished for the day) and she played for about another hour. Yeah. An awesome activity!

One of our math activities was counting. Just plain ole counting. She would draw a heart, each with a number from 1-15 on it. She had to count that many M&M's into the muffin cup. Then she could eat one, dump it out, and pick another heart. 

In retrospect, I should have saved out the 11-15 hearts until the end. Her first 3 draws were from the teens and it was a frustrating way to start out. She would have done better with a 'warm up', I think. She kept getting sloppy and dropping multiple candies in while calling out numbers rapid fire. When she did this I made her start over. I want her to practice the one to one correspondence of counting so that she recognizes numbers aren't just a 'sequence' that we chant along like lyrics to a song. They represent actual objects, especially when counting. 

A simpler math activity was to create the number of tarts that the heart specifies. This was fun because playdough is always fun. The cute Queen of Hearts play dough mat was a free printable from PreKinders. The link takes you to ALL their Valentine's mats, but the one I used was the 'Toddler' mat because it has an unspecified number of tarts. I liked the open-endedness of this one. I paired it with my home made number hearts. 

Caroline loves sticking toothpicks into her play dough and asked if her tarts could have candles. Which then morphed into suckers? I'm not sure. But she pretended to lick them. So. There you go.
Gwen spent almost 2 hours playing with this and making cute mini tarts! She said they had blackberry sauce, marshmellow creme, and glowing candles. I'd say this play dough mat was a hit!

For our gross motor, we adapted BINGO into Heart-O. Got the idea from Mommy and Me Book Club, which is one of my favorite sources for our book club ideas. 

(tune of Bingo)

"There is a shape and it means love. Heart is it's name-o. 
H-E-A-R-T, H-E-A-R-T, H-E-A-R-T, and heart is it's name-o."
blow kisses instead of clapping when you take the hearts away. Very cute!

Our favorite books were:
The Day it Rained Hearts (thank you Mama! You chose a great one to send us!)

We also read:
I Spy Little Hearts
Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse!
The Biggest Valentine Ever
Pete the Cat Valentine's Day is Cool

There were a few others that didn't get to us in time (that happens when everyone is requesting the same books from the library. Guess I have a few more to add to my own collection wishlist!). But if you can snag a copy, I've heard wonderful things about:
Brugal. Love Monster
Boynton. Consider Love
Sperring. The Shape of My Heart
Sheehan. Love is You and Me
Patricelli. Hugsy Kissy
Isop. How Do you Hug a Porcupine?

Happy Valentine's Day! Hope you had a LOVE-ly time with your friends and family!

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