Monday, June 30, 2014

It's not procrastinating... It's learning something new

I was supposed to be at school all day today, and I ended up finishing an hour early, so I essentially had an extra hour in my day today.  The entire way home (a whole 10 minute drive) I made a list of all of the things that I wanted to accomplish with my extra time - blog posts to write, new bundles to start, and a project that has been on my list for a while, I was going to get it all done!

Ha! When I turned on my computer I remembered that I had downloaded Inkscape over the weekend, and I hadn't really had a chance to play with it, so of course, that's what I did instead.  Can I just say, I may have a new obsession.  All of my doodles are finally becoming clip art and I cannot wait to add these to my classroom materials! What that means for you is that I have a freebie to share - I know, I know, it's not Friday, but just this once I think it'll be ok.

I want to share my first ever clip art images with you. I've made some pretty rudimentary clip art in the past, but nothing that I was ever comfortable sharing, this is completely different, I want you all to have it and use it please! (just make sure to credit Erin Holleran and include the link to my blog or store). Download the PNG and JPG images here! I would also love to know what you think so please leave me some feedback in the comments.

I am also linking up today with The Teaching Tribune for their summer Two for Tuesday [edit: I just realized it's monday, WOW, will link up tomorrow].  To keep with the patriotic theme of my clipart freebie, I've got both of my patriotic Vocabulary Card and Spelling Practice sets 50% off - this sale will end Tuesday at midnight, so get my Patriotic Vocabulary Set and my President's Day Vocabulary Set right now for $0.75 each!

Hopefully these three products will help you prepare for the 4th of July! Enjoy!

Kids can build with anything!

My favorite thing about working with young children is that their imaginations never cease to amaze me.  I love to introduce random materials and challenge them to be as creative as possible.  This is one of those activities that has saved me a million times - when they fly through all of my planned lessons, special events have to be rescheduled, or, like on Friday afternoon, when nap time was cut in half by an accidental fire drill. There was no way that they were all going to go back to sleep, so I needed to find a way to fill an hour, and I needed to do it fast, because they were cranky!

We have boxes of these tubes at school - one of our teachers has a relative who works for our local turnpike commission, these are the tubes that the toll tickets come on.  We have a lot of random objects that have been donated...

I pulled out two boxes of these tubes and literally dumped them on the floor, that was all my kiddos needed. They built towers, castles, and tunnels for nearly 45 minutes (which is a REALLY long time in the world of preschool).  They also slid the tubes onto their arms and pretended that they had huge muscles.  A couple of them found marbles to roll through their tunnels, while others attempted to stand on the tubes.

This kind of activity not only encourages creative thinking, but also problem solving, persistence, spatial reasoning, and social skills.  Some of the other items that I have used for impromptu building sessions include empty food containers, plastic straws, pieces of scrap paper, plastic cups, twigs and small tree limbs, stones, empty play dough containers, baskets, and pipe cleaners.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Friday Freebie!

Happy Friday! I worked my behind off this week so that I could spend my Friday afternoon getting crafty - make sure to watch my instagram feed for project photos, I haven't quite decided what I want to work on yet, so it'll be a surprise for you and me!

Today's freebie is Ready, Set, ME from A and M Productions.  This activity asks children to choose their favorite things (colors, pets, etc.) in order to create an all about me book that they can share with everyone.  This is a great activity for the beginning of the year, but it would also be wonderful for a self-concept and confidence building exercise.  Very young children can choose from the images that are included in the set, but older children would probably enjoy drawing their own answers to the prompts.  Download your copy of Ready, Set, ME here!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tried & True Teaching Tips

I'm linking up with the Teaching Tribune today for their summer blogging series.  Today's theme is tried and true teaching tips and strategies.  When I thought about teaching strategies that I can count on to work, the one that came to mind was the way that I reward positive behaviors.

When my students are having a really great day, I like to recognize it.  It lets them know that I see how hard they are working, and how cooperative they are being, and I really appreciate it.  I rarely recognize great days the same way - but my favorite way to show my students that I think they are awesome is by showing up with a spontaneous fun experience.  The last fun little experience that I did with my class was an impromptu walking field trip to a local park right before preschool graduation. It had been a really stressful week and my kiddos had done their absolute best to refrain from adding any more chaos to my plate, so I wanted to treat them to something fun.  This particular park has a fossil dig and they loved it!

Another one of my favorite things to do to reward my class is to bake with them. They love to cook with me because they know they'll end up eating it, and I love to cook with them because I can totally engage them in a science and math lesson and they have no idea. Plus, when we are cooking together, there are no fights because they know that I will put it all away and they won't get to enjoy the end results.

I have a couple of recipes up my sleeve that are easy to do in the classroom, and that I always have the ingredients to at home. My favorite recipe that meets these criteria is no-bake cookies.  I can make these using an electric skillet, so we don't have to worry about using an oven, and since the cookies have to cool and set up before we eat them it offers a great opportunity to practice a little delayed gratification.  The recipe that I use includes peanut butter, but I have made them several times with soy butter and sunflower seed butter because of allergies, so they can be very allergy friendly with a simple substitution.

I know that the idea of too many sweets in the classroom is a bit controversial, and I'm not advocating rewarding kids with food every single day.  These little experiences are special treats that happen once every couple of months.  You can download the recipe that I use for no-bake cookies here, it also lists all of the early learning standards that are met through completing this activity, so you can show parents that your reward is also educational.

Baking is something that I love to do, and my students can sense that.  When I am passionate and excited about an experience, they will be too, especially if they know that it is a reward for really great behavior! If cooking with your class (or cooking in general) isn't really your thing, then try a different kind of recipe - you can make paint, clay, goo, and all kinds of ice concoctions with supplies that you probably have in your classroom or kitchen.  To find some great recipes, check out my classroom recipe book!

Be sure to stop over at Teaching Tribune to check out the other great tried and true tips and startegies that others have blogged about today!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Social Emotional Activities

Social emotional skills are a huge priority in the preschool classroom. I plan a social emotional experience or activity for every single day, for a couple of reasons - the first being that I want to give my students every opportunity to practice recognizing and regulating their own emotions. The second reason that I focus on this so heavily is that the classroom is a safe place to practice social skills, if my students have the opportunity to practice these skills in the classroom, then they will have more confidence in their ability to behave appropriately outside of the classroom. Finally, I include these skills on my lesson plan because social emotional development is a domain on our early learning standards, and I try to implement an activity for each domain every day.

What all of this means is that I have to come up with roughly 250 social emotional activities each year.  I do have a couple of activities that I revisit throughout the year, such as drawing self-portraits, and practicing conversations, and occasionally I am able to implement different components of a single activity, to make it last for an entire week so we can really explore the topic, but that is still a lot of activities.  When it comes to academic activities, there are no shortage of ideas for math, science, language arts, and even social studies, but social emotional lessons are a different stories, mostly because this is a subject area that is often taught through natural occurrences - situations that arise between students which become learning experiences - so these lessons are not usually planned.

I've made it my personal mission to start collecting all of the best social emotional activities on my Pinterest boards, and I wanted to share a few of these here:

This genius idea is from K-1 Teaching besties, and seriously, this is perfect. How many classroom issues arise because one student tattles, and another student SWEARS that the tattler is not telling the truth.  Encouraging students to "leave you a message" on the phone gives them the opportunity to share what is bothering, and teaches them that every single issue does not have to be addressed immediately.  It's a means of self-regulation and classroom management at the same time. 

This is a great tutorial for making your own weighted cushion. I have one of these in my classroom and the children love it. Some of them put it on their laps or shoulders during circle time, and others choose to carry it around the classroom to get some of their energy out between activities.  Jacqui at The Brighter Side of Special Needs has a lot of other great suggestions for using these too!

Kids need visuals, and the experts over at Behavioral Interventions for Kids know that.  They came up with a great visual for explaining the two different ways that we can deal with anger.  First, you blow up an angry looking balloon and pop it with a pin - this demonstrates what it looks like, and also how it feels, when we don't control our anger.  Then, blow up an angry looking balloon and slowly release the air - this is what it is like when we slowly calm ourselves down.  When you get so angry that you "pop" it can be scary for everyone, but when you slowly calm down, no one gets startled, scared, or hurt.  WOW!

You can purchase this set from Oriental Trading, and I have a similar set in my classroom that is slightly more "cartoon-ish" but I think it would be really awesome to create a set using photos of my students.  I also love that this set includes the eyes. we often focus on how we express emotions using our mouths, but the eyes are also incredibly expressive.  A set like this could be used in so many different ways - if I had a set made from my class's photos then I would ask my students to figure out who the eyes and mouths belong to, I might also have them sort the emotions (which ones look happy?), and put the masks in front of their own faces and look in the mirror.  

These are just a couple of the social emotional activities that I've pinned recently, I'd love to know what you've been pinning. Leave the url to one of your boards in the comments and I'll be sure to check it out!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

When Sophie gets Angry

I'm linking up with Mrs. Jump's Class for Deanna's Let's Talk About Books linky. I love learning about new books, and I love the opportunity to share my favorites with you! This is also perfect because the book that I want to tell you about today sets the tone for the rest of my posts this week.

Last week I told you that I have a hard time choosing my favorite books, there are just too many that are amazing, and perfect for different seasons, themes, lessons, situations - you name it.  When Sophie Gets Angry - Really Really Angry is one of my favorite social emotional stories, because it is so honest.  I was introduced to this book by the first teacher that I worked with after graduating from college. She had this story in her Peace Corner (at a Montessori School) and I read it to nearly every child in the class at some point or another. 

This book tells the story of Sophie, who gets angry with her little sister because her sister has taken her toys.  Sophie gets so upset that she yells and kicks things and then she runs out of the house.  It also tells about the ways that she calms herself down, by sitting in a tree, looking at all of the beautiful things around her, and taking deep breaths.  Finally it shows Sophie returning to her house, where her parents are waiting to welcome her back, and where she resumes her day.  

I love this book because at no point in the story is Sophie ever judged, yelled at, or disciplined for getting angry.  It shows children that it is ok to be angry, and that there are appropriate ways to show that particular emotion.  It also gives examples of appropriate ways to calm themselves down, and encourages them to take a few minutes to themselves to calm down.  

Anger, really strong anger, can be a scary emotion for young children, especially when they do not have a lot of experience with it.  It is also one of the first emotions that teachers and parents really have to help children work through because it can be dangerous if children do not know how to appropriately express it.  This story is perfect for introducing anger and starting conversations about how to deal with and express anger because it is short and to the point, it gets the message across quickly, so that children do not get so lost in the story that they forget about the issues that they were having in the first place.  

I spend a lot of time in the classroom talking about emotions, putting out fires that started because feelings were hurt, teaching vocabulary and phrases to describe emotions and feelings, and modeling socially acceptable behaviors and conversations.  There are a lot of teachers who will agree with me when I say that I can talk about something all day long, but only after I read a story about it do my students finally understand. This is one of those books that I can read and they will GET the concept, and that makes it very valuable! You can find When Sophie Gets Angry - Really Really Angry on (Photo from

I'll be talking about ideas for teaching emotions and social skills all week, so make sure to check back for some great ideas, products, and freebies!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Business Cards

The Teachers Pay Teachers conference is in a couple of weeks, and even though I won't be able to go this year, I am really enjoying hearing about everyone else's preparations. One thing that a lot of sellers have been doing to get ready for the conference is ordering business cards to hand out as they network with each other. I think this is an awesome idea, so I finally sat down and designed my today. I'm not exactly sure when I'll get to use them, maybe I'll do some PD where I'm able to pass them out, but just having them makes me feel so official!

Working in an online marketplace is so different from having a brick and mortar store or office.  I feel like I have created some great relationships, and I love meeting people through social media, but having something tangible to give people when I talk about what I do will be so helpful! I'd love to know what you think, please leave me some feedback in the comments!

Friday, June 20, 2014

Freebie Friday

It's Friday! This week I am especially excited because we are finally going to get away. We are going camping this weekend, with our usual camping buddies - my sister, her fiance, and our two closest friends.  We are only going about an hour from home, but it is on the lake shore, and on tomorrow we get to go to Put-in-Bay. If you aren't familiar with Put-in-Bay, it's also been called the Key West of the Great Lakes, so the atmosphere makes it feel like we are far from home. I'm looking forward to exploring island wineries, hanging out around the campfire, and laughing a lot!

Today's freebie is from my store. This is my daily reflection check sheet. If you have even started to consider next year at all, you might think about including this little piece of paper in your daily routine.  This sheet is designed to help you reflect on your day quickly - so you can get it all down on paper at the end of the day, and then come back to your check sheets when you have a little more time, to see if there are any patterns that need your attention.

The reflection sheet is broken down into three categories; General reflection (your daily routine, what parts of the day are going well, which parts aren't working out), Project reflection (what have you noticed the children doing/saying, and how is this related to your project), and Classroom Climate (who needs attention, what can you do to improve behaviors, etc.).  Teachers don't have the time or the energy to sit down and think about all of these things every single day, but if you can take a minute to write down your initial thoughts, then at the end of the week you can revisit all of your check sheets and see if there are patterns that are emerging (repeated behaviors, conversations about the project topic, a specific time of the day that is causing an issue, etc.) that you can address now. Print a stack of these to keep next to your desk! You can download the Teacher Reflection Check List here.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

When I was a kid...

I found this article on facebook last week about giving your children a 1970's summer. You have to take a minute to read it, it's hilarious, and so true.  Of course it got me thinking about what summers were like when I was a kid. It wasn't all that long ago to be honest, I grew up in the 90's, but I still had a good number of summers before we had the internet (gasp!) or instant messenger (remember that?!), and I feel like those were some pretty innocent, carefree days, at least in my house they were.  I put together a list of the things that I spent my days doing when I was little.

Sitcom marathons - we watched Gilligan's Island, Saved by the Bell, Family Matters, The Cosby Show, and Full House ALL DAY LONG, kids today do not know good television.

Computer games - My sister and I were thrilled to be able to play Oregon Trail on our computer at home. When we went to work with my mom we would spend the entire day creating cards on the early version of Microsoft Publisher.

Game boy - I had a green game boy pocket, and I was constantly losing those little games, but I distinctly remember playing Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong for hours.

Crafting - you could say that my creative projects have improved by leaps and bounds since I was 8 years old, but everybody has to start somewhere. I'm pretty sure that I did every single project on

Reading - I was a total nerd, I always had my nose in a book. I read every single Baby Sitters Club Book, along with The Boxcar Children, Nancy Drew, and all of the Original American Girl books.  I was that kid who stayed up way later than I ever should have reading with a flashlight. To tell the truth, I still do, only I don't need a flashlight because my kindle is back lit.

Running through the sprinkler - this was pretty much the only way that you would get me outside in the summer. I did not like to sweat, or get dirty, and I wanted nothing to do with bugs. I would only run through the sprinkler if I could guarantee that grass was not going to stick to my feet.

Living on Kool-aid - This was the one thing that I was allowed to make by myself, and we drank it by the gallon. I also thought that I was pretty cool because I could use it to make slushies and popsicles. My favorite flavor was ice blue lemonade.

I'm going to be really brave here and share a picture of me, I think I was in the second grade when this picture was taken (I've got the flowered tank top and my sister is the one with the awesome bowl cut), it was probably 1994.

Seriously, life was so easy! What were your favorite things to do in the summer?

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Wordless Wednesday

I'm linking up with Miss DeCarbo at Sugar and Spice for my first Wordless Wednesday!

This planner is my life right now, what are you doing to stay organized this summer?

(Planner by A Modern Teacher)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The pressure's on!

One of my best friends is having her first baby this summer, and her shower is in a couple of weeks.  There's a new-ish trend for baby showers, you've probably been invited to a shower where you are asked to bring a book for the baby instead of a card.  I don't know about you, but I hate this! Now don't get me wrong, I think it's great that we want to get babies books, and that we encourage parents to read to their newborns, that is WONDERFUL. I hate having to pick out just one really great book! My friends all know that I'm a preschool teacher, I feel like this puts a lot of pressure on me to pick the best book ever. How do you do that?!

I have a few criteria for picking out books for baby showers. First, I stay away from the really popular books and the classics, namely the Eric Carle books, Dr. Seuss, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, because I am sure that others will gift these. I know they are great books, and so does every one else, so I try and spread the love and share authors that may not be as popular with the general public (read: those of us who are not teachers).  I also stay away from mom/baby books, the ones that make women everywhere cry ("Love you forever" and "Thank you for me" along with others), because these will also be gifted by others.  Then I think about the books that my students have loved since they were very very young. I've had many of my students since they were two, and a lot of the books that they loved at two years old are still their favorites at five years old - these books are definitely worth giving because families will enjoy them for years.

These criteria have helped me create a pretty solid list of books that I can turn to when I'm on the spot to choose a really great one.  Here are my top picks:

 Anything by David Shannon. He is hilarious, my kiddos love love love the David books.  For baby showers and very young children's birthdays I really like the Diaper David Board Books, they only have a few words, but they are all words that even very small children are familiar with, and they will laugh out loud every time you turn the page. My all time favorite David Shannon book is Alice the Fairy, but we also love Good Boy Fergus. 

Rosie's Walk by Pat Hutchins.  This book is a classic, but not one that many people pick up for a bedtime story because it doesn't have very many words. That is precisely why I love it.  People who don't read children's books for a living can be intimidated by books with few or no words, but children love them.  My students could tell me this story when they were three, and that really builds confidence in young readers.  This is a great book for parents to share with their children because both the parent and the child will be able to really get into the story of Rosie and that Fox.  Little ones worry that Rosie won't get away every single time that they hear the story, and older ones are able to predict what is going to happen, and figure out all of the ways that Rosie gets rid of the fox.

I Love You Stinkyface by Lisa Mccourt. This is a sweet book about a mom who is trying to explain how much she loves her child, but kiddos don't find it the lease bit sappy because the child pretends to be a stinky skunk, slimy swamp monster, and a bug-eating alien.  Children think that it is sill, and they love to come up with their own versions of repulsive, scary monsters to see how their own parents would respond to the question "Would you still love me if...?" We had an audio version of this book in my classroom and we actually had to throw away the CD because it was so scratched and worn from being listened to too many times.

Good night Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker.  This book is amazing, I give huge props to the author for coming up with rhymes for all of the construction vehicles.  The illustrations are absolutely mesmerizing, they are seriously works of art.  This is a great bedtime story for any child who loves construction and heavy equipment.

Pinkalicious by Victoria Kahn and Elizabeth Kahn.  I'll admit, I was a bit skeptical the first time that I read this book, but I was pleasantly surprised by the positive message that it sends all young children.  The idea that you should be yourself, and do the things that you enjoy, even when those things may not be popular or "in" is powerful, and something that, unfortunately we need to instill in our children at a very young age.  Plus, who can resist the illustrations of sparkly pink cupcakes that look good enough to eat!

I also have a number of series that I regularly turn to for gifts.  These have something for nearly every season, or gift-giving situation, so it's easy to make a book just a little more personal.

Little Critter by Mercer Mayer.  These are classics, but there are so many of them that it is unlikely someone else will choose to give the same one that you do, so that makes them fair game :) I remember my parents reading these to my sister and I when we were little, so there's some sentimental value for me, which is probably why I love giving them to others.

Llama Llama by Anna Dewdney.  I love the way that these books rhyme, without being to obvious, it makes them a lot of fun to read.  They are also great for introducing discussion about emotions and feelings, and the illustrations are great - it is super easy to read Llama Llama's facial expressions, and little one's really respond to this character.

The Pigeon Books by Mo Willems. These are really popular, but I can't resist them. Any book that can make children and adults laugh out loud is a winner, and all of the Pigeon books are hilarious.  They also lend themselves to voicing characters differently because they aren't narrated, but instead are full of dialogue.  Children love to be sneaky, but they also love to follow the rules, so they go back and forth with that silly Pigeon, wanting him to get his way, and loving the opportunity to tell him no!

The Bear books by Karma Wilson.  This is the sweetest bear in the entire world.  He takes care of all of the other forest animals and is a really good friend, and an all-around good role model for kids.  I love that Wilson uses animals that may not be as common (Wren and Hare), therefore introducing children to new vocabulary. There are Bear books for every holiday, but there are also books that touch subjects that are not quite as popular (Bear looses a tooth), so there is always an appropriate Bear story.

These are the books that I always turn to, I'd love to know some of your go-to picks for baby shower gifts. Do you feel the pressure like I do?!

(all photos from

Monday, June 16, 2014

Using Vocabulary Cards in the Preschool Classroom

I love vocabulary cards. I love them so much that I've designed my own and there are always some available in my classroom, but before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you why I love them. I started using vocabulary cards when my students showed an interest in working on their writing skills.  They kept asking me how to spell certain words, and how to write specific letters.  I eventually got tired of writing certain words over and over on scrap paper so that kiddos could see what the words looked like, so I wrote some on sentence strips.  This was a start, but then they couldn't find the word they wanted independently, so I sat down at the computer and typed up the words and added pictures so the children could find the words that they were looking for.

Now my students know what the cards look like, and that they can go find the cards, look for the word that they want to write, and write it on their own paper.  Sometimes I have the cards in my writing center, and sometimes they are with the dramatic play materials, I've even put them in the science center, when the science materials are seasonal (fall leaves, spring flowers, etc.) Occasionally we will put them in a pocket chart and explore the words as a large group, naming the letters and sounding out the words, clapping the syllables, and coming up with rhyming words.

My intention is not that the children will be able to read these words, or even that they will learn to spell them. I just want to give them the opportunity to see what words look like.  If they want to attempt to write the words, that's just icing on the cake! Many of the words that I include on my vocabulary cards are long, and would never be included on spelling lists.  They aren't grouped by phonetic rules or vowel sounds, they are simply the words that my students use, and words that I would like them to be able to use, the focus is more on increasing their verbal vocabulary than teaching reading or spelling.

Some of my students love that they can write these words all by themselves, by looking at the cards and copying down the letters. I love that they are working on letter formation, and that they are connecting the sequence of letters with the picture on the card.  I also offer blank vocabulary cards - with only the pictures printed on them, and encourage my students to write the words themselves. If they do each card, then they get to have their very own set of vocabulary cards to keep.  They love this, and are so proud when they finish!

I am slowly accumulating vocabulary card sets for nearly every subject and theme, and they are all available in my Teachers Pay Teachers store for you to use too! They can be purchased in individual sets, or I have them available as seasonal vocabulary bundles.  I'm hoping to finish my winter bundle this week! If you plan on having any kind of writing center in your preschool classroom, these are an amazing (and low-prep) addition!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Freebie Friday!

Happy Friday! I hope that you have something fun planned for the weekend, I'm trying on bridesmaid dresses with my sister today and helping host a bridal shower for my soon to be sister-in-law tomorrow, so I'm looking forward to a wedding-festivity-filled weekend!

For this week's Friday freebie I found a super cute ice cream themed activity that would go perfectly with the ice cream activities I shared yesterday. My students would absolutely love "We Scream for Ice Cream... Rhymes" by Jennifer Drake.  Not only are her ice cream cones really cute, but I haven't met a preschooler who didn't like to rhyme, seriously, they will make up silly nonsense words that rhyme all day long.  This set asks children to match the picture on the ice cream cone with a rhyming picture on an ice cream scoop. It also includes some cvc words on the scoops for a little extra challenge  Go download this freebie now for some summer fun!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Summer fun in my store

I've worked with children in the summer since I was 15 years old, so I know how helpful it is to have fun, summer themed activities. One of my favorite units to do during the summer is related to ice cream - who doesn't love ice cream?! my kids will do any activity that has to do with ice cream - even math and language activities that they otherwise wouldn't be interested in.

Over the years I've found a couple of activities that my students love, and will do willingly - without even realizing that they are learning.  These are the kind of activities that all teachers want to implement, so of course, I have to share them!

All of these activities are part of my Ice Cream Activity Bundle, they are all also available separately.

Ice Cream Centers - These are meant for kids who are just a little older.  They can design their own ice cream flavor and write about it, create an ice cream glyph, complete two writing prompts, graph the entire groups' favorite flavors, and play roll-a-cone with a friend.

Ice Cream Patterning - My students love to make patterns, it is a skill that they have really mastered, and they know they can do it successfully, so it has become a confidence builder for them.  This set has a ton of different cones and sundae bowls full of ice cream scoop patterns for the children to complete. It also comes with plain cones and bowls, and additional scoops so children can build their own patterns.  This is an activity that even the youngest children can do successfully - whether they are practicing patterning or not, they can still build cones and work on color recognition.

Letter Cones - This is one of my all time favorite activities, seriously.  Children practice their letter recognition as they match the capital letter on the cone, with the lowercase letter on the ice cream scoop.  Older children can benefit from this activity too, by adding the corresponding cursive cherry to the top of the ice cream cone. In addition to recognizing and naming the letters you can encourage children to make the letter sounds as they pick up the cones and scoops.  Once children begin to blend sounds you can use the scoops to create simple sight words and cvc words for children to read.

Counting Scoops - How many scoops do you want on your ice cream cone? This activity can be done a few different ways, children can match the numeral on the cone to the appropriate 10 frame on the scoop, they can then count the correct number of scoops for each cone.

Ice cream vocabulary cards and spelling practice - These are fun vocabulary words! they are all ice cream flavors, kinds of cones, and types of popsicles.  Children can practice writing their own set of vocabulary cards, and then write all about their perfect ice cream cone.

One of my other favorite activities to do when we explore ice cream is to make our own ice cream. My favorite way to do this is to make ice cream in a coffee can. It is so hands-on and the children get to be a part of making the ice cream, which somehow makes it taste even better! The recipe that I use is from one of my old 4H project books, you can download my recipe card freebie here!

(Graphics for this set by Polliwog PlaceRed Pepper, and Allie Hoops)