Thursday, September 21, 2017

Activities to do with Yarn - Art

If there is one thing that is universal for every single preschool program it's that you never seem to have enough materials for all of the activities that you want to do with the children. Over the years I've gotten pretty good at creating fun experiences with very few supplies.  I thought it would be fun to focus on one simple supply and share a ton of easy activities that you can do to meet different learning domains. This week is going to be all about things you can do with yarn.


Yarn is a creative material - while it is generally intended to be used for knitting, crocheting, and weaving it is also a material that can be easily manipulated by children for exploring line, shape, color, and texture.  Here are some fun ideas for art projects using yarn:








Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Activities to do with yarn - Fine Motor

If there is one thing that is universal for every single preschool program it's that you never seem to have enough materials for all of the activities that you want to do with the children. Over the years I've gotten pretty good at creating fun experiences with very few supplies.  I thought it would be fun to focus on one simple supply and share a ton of easy activities that you can do to meet different learning domains. This week is going to be all about things you can do with yarn.


Yarn is the perfect material for practicing fine motor skills because you can use it to string a variety of objects.  Stringing requires children to manipulate fingers on both hands at the same time.  They have to hold onto the string while also holding onto the object they are stringing, and they have to be able to stick the yarn through the object, and keep it their until they can grab the string on the other side.  As adults we take this process for granted, but if you've ever taken the time to watch a child work through it then you know just how complicated this process is.

There are Beads available in just about every size, shape, color, and material. You can also purchase beads with large holes, or beads with small holes.  My favorite thing to help children string is pasta. It also offers a variety of shapes and sizes, and it can be dyed to fit whatever season or theme you are currently exploring (here is a great tutorial if you've never tried to dye your own pasta before).

What are your favorite fine motor activities to do with yarn?

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Activities to do with yarn - math

If there is one thing that is universal for every single preschool program it's that you never seem to have enough materials for all of the activities that you want to do with the children. Over the years I've gotten pretty good at creating fun experiences with very few supplies.  I thought it would be fun to focus on one simple supply and share a ton of easy activities that you can do to meet different learning domains. This week is going to be all about things you can do with yarn.


When it comes to math, the simplest activities often make the biggest impact. There are so many ways to use yarn to help your preschoolers explore numbers, counting, shapes, and measurement.  Here are a few ideas that I've collected:







I'd love to share even more yarn math activities, link your favorites in the comments!


Monday, September 18, 2017

Activities to do with yarn - gross motor

If there is one thing that is universal for every single preschool program it's that you never seem to have enough materials for all of the activities that you want to do with the children. Over the years I've gotten pretty good at creating fun experiences with very few supplies.  I thought it would be fun to focus on one simple supply and share a ton of easy activities that you can do to meet different learning domains. This week is going to be all about things you can do with yarn.


When it comes to gross motor activities, yearn is the perfect tool for practicing a variety of skills.  Here are a few different ideas:

  • Create an obstacle course - drape the yarn across chairs, wrap it around table legs, and stretch it across the classroom, then show the children different ways to crawl under or climb over the yarn.
  • Toss balls of yarn - even the largest ball of yarn won't hurt too bad if it hits someone, which makes yarn balls ideal for practicing throwing and catching. You could even set up a basket ball hoop and practice making baskets.  While you're at it have the children help make the yarn balls and work those fine motor skills. 
  • Follow the string - Cut long lengths of yarn and tangle them all over the playground (through playground equipment, around trees, under benches) then ask the children to untangle them. They'll have to follow the string all over the playground.  For even more fun, tie a special treat to the end of the string.
  • Yarn ball bowling - use those yarn balls that you made for tossing to create a fun bowling game. Empty water bottles make great bowling pins, and they are light enough to be knocked over by a ball of yarn. 
  • Yarn limbo - you don't need a limbo stick when you have a piece of yarn.  Tie it between two trees, or have two volunteers hold it while the class limbos to some fun music. 
  • Yarn wands - Speaking of music, dancing is always more fun when you have a ribbon wand. Tape some colorful pieces of yarn to the end of a popsicle stick for quick and easy yarn wands that you can dance with. When you're done dancing take them outside and see what happens when you run across the playground while holding onto them. 
The simplest material often creates the most memorable experiences. The great thing about yarn activities is that you can make them fit seasonal themes simply by changing the color of the yarn.  Check back in throughout the rest of the week for more activities to do with yarn!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Freebie - Random Acts of Kindness


Happy Friday! I hope that you had a wonderful week! On Monday I shared a list of random acts of kindness that you can do with preschoolers, today's freebie is an additional list.  You can print this Random Acts of Kindness Freebie out and hang it on the wall so that you can check of each activity as your class completes it. Download your copy from the Kinder Project and have a great weekend!


Thursday, September 14, 2017

Using Question of the Day in the Classroom

One of my favorite parts of every single day in my preschool classroom is when it was time to ask the question of the day.  This was my chance to see where my students' heads were at that day, and to get to know them a little better.

I promise that it was a process to get our question of the day to a point where it was successful and the children would respond with thoughtful answers.  We had to model how to answer questions, and encourage them to think of their own unique answers instead of repeating the same answer as the person who answered before them.

Once the children learned how to handle the question of the day, it became an incredibly valuable tool.  We were able to use it to talk about opinions and the fact the we all have opinions, but they might not all be the same opinions, and that's ok.

We also used question of the day to see what the children's level of understanding was about specific subjects, and the types of traditions that their families engaged in.

The best part of our question of the day is that we would write down the children's answers every day and post them on the wall.  These questions and answers started wonderful conversations with parents.  The parents looked forward to seeing how their child answered the questions every day. Sometimes they were impressed by the child's insight, sometimes they laughed out loud at their comical answers, and sometimes they were completely confused and we had to dig a little deeper to figure out what the child meant.

The most difficult thing about doing a question of the day every single day was coming up with different questions to use. Sometimes we used seasonal questions, sometimes they were related to something that we were investigating as a class, and sometimes they were completely random.


I remember searching for questions online and coming up with one or two at a time, but never more than that, so I put together a giant collection of questions that can be used for question of the day.  This set has 51 weeks worth of questions that you can use with your students, along with really cute recording sheets that you can post your answers on.

You can also make copies of completed recording sheets to put in childrens' portfolios - there are questions that fit a number of social emotional and social studies standards.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Ideas for making show and tell meaningful


I think that show and tell is a wonderful idea - in theory.  I love that children get to share something that is really important to them, and that they get the opportunity to be the expert, even if only for a few minutes.  I don't love show and tell when it turns into "everyone bring the fanciest most expensive toy that you own and brag about it while the teacher spends the day making sure nothing gets broken and no one cries." Yup, I've been there too.

I think there are a few really great ways to stay on the positive side of show and tell, and make it something interesting, valuable, and relevant for all of the children in your group.

The first idea comes from a program that I worked with for a time.  They used show and tell bags, and five different children got a show and tell bag to take home at the beginning of each week.  By the end of the week those children would bring something back in their bag, and they would share with the class.  This helped make sure that show and tell didn't last all day long - because there were only a few children who got to share.  These genius teachers also did show and tell at the end of the day, right before dismissal.  This is an incredible idea because the children who are sharing know that they have to wait until the end of the day, so they don't spend the entire day asking to get their show and tell item out of their cubby to play with.  It also helps make sure that items brought from home return home intact because there is no time to play with them.

Another great idea for show and tell is to give show and tell a theme.  A theme helps the children makes sense of the items brought in through opportunities to compare and contrast.  It also gives them the opportunity to show off their creativity based on how they interpret the theme and the item that they chose to fit that theme.  Here are some examples of themes that you might use for show and tell:

  • Ask the children to bring in something that starts with the letter ____ (you chose the letter).
  • Challenge the children to bring in something of a specific color. 
  • Think about the other themes that you are using in the classroom and ask the children to bring in something that is related, for example if you are studying autumn ask the children to bring in something that is related to autumn, or something that makes them think about autumn.  
  • Ask the children to share a favorite memory or talk about something that their family does for a holiday.
If you are really struggling with children bringing their "stuff" to the classroom then encourage your students to make a poster with photos of the item that they want to share (or their own drawings).  This still gives them the opportunity to share, and you can hang their display in the classroom after they have shared. 

Show and tell can be a great way to get to know your students, sometimes you just have to be a little creative in order to make it a positive, valuable experience for all of your students - and for yourself!