Spring is here – happy days in preschool

HSAh Spring…we welcome you with open arms and happy hearts!  What a long and formidable Winter it was. Soon to be a distant memory (thank goodness).  Along with fresh air and daffodils come new ideas for our classrooms and a renewed enthusiasm for learning.  By this point in the year our students have grown so much and are ready for new challenges. What can we learn from the changing seasons? How will Spring inspire us?

Here are a few ideas to inspire you.20140317_091405

Art

A favorite in our classroom is doing a sticky shelf liner mural.  This is new each time we do it, because we use different seasonal materials.  For instance, in the winter we used cotton balls, red cellophane bits, tissue snow flakes and other winter colored bits.  For Spring the teacher found small pastel feathers, tissue squares, shredded paper (the kind used to stuff gift bags), silk flower petals, and pastel cotton balls from the collage drawer (and her own collection). The great thing is, when you are done you can just stick it to a window or glass door. It’s a really lovely effect.b71152dd23f6fb4e39dce6e399659730

4d07679074432b095f03a702e9ec46a4Water colors make me think of April showers.  I love to buy fresh white daisies and let the children dip them into liquid water colors. You can dilute the colors as much as you like to create bold or light colors.  One year I made the mistake of painting on squares of donated cut up matt board. The water caused the mat board to peel and separate. So sad. This year we will use heavy weight construction paper.

It is fun to print flower shapes using unconventional items. The bottom of plastic drink bcelery1ottles can look like a flower, so can round kitchen sink scrubbers, a bunch of celery sliced cross wise, a pepper sliced, hand prints, finger prints, plastic forks and plastic gears, just to name a few. Experiment and see for yourself. The possibilities are endless.

Songs and felt stories

little seedI don’t know who wrote this little poem. It was listed as “author unknown” but is one of those activities we do every year around this time.  You can use the tune to “I’m a little teapot” and act out the words with your small group as your sing them.

Of course you should visit my Etsy shop and TpT store for fun story ideas!IMG_1894

Here is another good shop on Etsy for felt. Felt Resources has many cute and well made stories to share with your class. Here is a good one for Spring!

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What can we learn from Spring

Growing seeds in the classroom is a classic and useful activity. The children love watching their seeds sprout and grow. But what else can we do to demonstrate growth and the changing season?

Here are a few ideas…Spring-time-312

I usually prefer science that is more hands on than just visual, but Deborah at Teach Preschool shows us how to do this experiment with great success. This can also be done with good effect, using celery. I wonder about finding some unbreakable containers for this instead of glass. However, there is something to be said about talking to children on safety rules and careful handling of fragile items.  You have to assess your particular class and decide.laughingkidslearn

Other than seeds you can grow avacado pits (well, that is a seed actually), green onions, carrot tops, pineapple tops etc.  Click on the photo to the right to visit Laughing Kids Learn, and get the full instructions for growing your own carrot.

I like to include life cycle or plant growth matching games to support the information being learned. You can visit my TPT store to buy a very inexpensive plant parts chart or look on Pinterst to be inspired to create your own.  While you are there, check out the free downloadable file folder game with cute lady bugs. Very Spring-y!

bugs and flowersButterflyChartThe butterfly life cycle above is a TOTALLY FREE printable from Preschoolmom.com.  Here you will find many free printables for your Spring manipulative or science center! We love FREE  materials and are always very grateful!

Outdoor play…

How wonderful the fresh air is this time of year. We can truly appreciate being outdoors – what a sensory experience it is after being indoors so much.  The children love to observe that the birds are chirping more, and many varieties have returned to their summer home. Who can spot the first robin?

The tiny buds are visible on the tree branches and flowers such as crocus and daffodils are poking up out of the cold ground. Hallelujah!  Below is a picture of something I hope to have one day. How fun and enriching it would be to have a little raised garden like this, in which to play and explore.

fairyboxgardenDo you take your preschoolers outside when it is raining? We usually do not. However, if the weather is not too cold, I would consider it after reading this blog Let the Children Play. So many fun ideas and good explanations about why this can be beneficial.  I also just participated in a webinar about outdoor spaces and outdoor play that touted similar philosophies.  I am willing to give it a try. I would love to hear from you on this idea!

craftynatureLove, love, love this idea for school or home. So cute, a definite must try. Wishing you a joyful Spring in your classroom ♥ ~ M

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Rainbows and Shamrocks, lucky days in Preschool!

HAPPY Simages-8PRING! I can not say that enough. After a very long, snowy and unusually cold winter here – we are certainly looking forward to all promises of Spring.  Our preschoolers have had to endure basically eight weeks of indoor recess. We are all very ready for lovely shades of green shamrocks and colorful rainbows.

Shamrocks are fun to make in many different ways. Above you can see how we used a green pepper sliced in half, hollowed out, and dipped in green paint. Simple fun. Today I saw in a couple of different places how you can use wine corks taped together. I think we will try this!  This example is from “Omaha Area Kiddie Fun.” cork shamrocks

We all love free things that we can use in the classroom. Here is a link to an awesome matching game. We use this every year around this time. It can be used as a small group activity or in your math center. In fact, ours is worn out – time to make a new one!  Visit “Preschool Printables” for your very own copy 🙂 Here is an example of shamrock cookie cutter printing  from “In Lieu of Preschool” check out the page, there are many good ideas.

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Of course there are so many other good ideas. Please share your good ideas in the reply box below! I love to hear new ideas.

images-1On to rainbows!

Ah the magical rainbows, so much inspiration for great preschool activities. To the right you can see a simple reverse painting roller art project.  First I cut shapes out of clear shelf liner. Peel the backing off and lay lightly onto a large piece of roll paper. If you rub a bit of  the adhesive off on your pant leg first it helps when you go to peel it off later. I like to put several shapes scattered about the paper. Then mix up some pastel colors and let the children roll away! Once it dries, carefully peel off the shelf liner and voila!

Here is an easy yet engaging rainbow color matching game from “Pink and Green Momma.” Great for a table activity or your math center. images-11Rainbow rice, rainbow play dough, rainbow paints at the easel all carry the theme throughout your classroom.  best-play-dough-recipeimages-10 images-6

Above you can see an activity using a styrofoam square ( we love to reuse things right?!) and simple colored chenille wires with large wooden beads. I can’t remember where I first saw this (to give credit) but it is a very fun activity and the children enjoyed experimenting.

Wishing you a magical March…think Spring (March 20th) I for one can’t wait!

~Mimages-12