Saturday, April 30, 2016

Math with Dollar Tree Popsicle Sticks

This week I'm on a mission to share some fun math activities that your kiddos will love - the best part is that all of the materials you will to put them together are from the Dollar Tree.  I went to my local Dollar Tree store and I spent $11.  That $11 bought materials for 15 different math activities that are perfect for preschoolers.  I'll share one set of materials each day, and show you different games that you can use them for. 

Here are the items that I purchased:

The activities that I have to share with you today are all made with one package of colored popsicle sticks. 


There are so many things that you can do with popsicle sticks, the colors just make them more fun!


For this activity I used the popsicle sticks to make different geometric shapes, then I gave the children popsicle sticks and ask them to recreate the shapes.  


To practice shape recognition I made multiples of each shape (in corresponding colors) and then askd the children to find all of the triangles, squares, etc.  It is a very simple activity, but it's great for shape recognition, and after they match them you can see if they recognize that all of the same shapes are also the same colors. 


I love how simple this sequencing activity is.  I just wrote the numbers on the bottom of each popsicle stick, and then asked the children to put them in order.  I've also seen this done where you draw a picture on the popsicle sticks so that the children can put it together like a puzzle. 


This sort and count activity couldn't be easier to put together. I chose one purple, two blue, three red, four green, five yellow, and six orange popsicle sticks and put them in a small bucket.  The children had to sort them by color, and then put them in order by how many of that color there were.  There are only 6 colors in this set of popsicle sticks, but you could color plain popsicle sticks with a permanent marker for additional practice. 

How else could you use these materials for math practice? For more great ideas check out the rest of my Dollar Tree math material posts!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Freebie - Math Freebies


Happy Friday! I've been sharing some really great math activities with materials from the Dollar Tree all week, and I'm ending our frugal week with plenty of math freebies for you! I thought that I'd share all of my math freebies for this extraordinary Friday!!! So here they are - all FREE for you to download, some are from my TPT store and some are blog exclusives, but they're all for you!








Many of these freebies are seasonal, but they're still free - so download them now and save them for when you need them! Have a great weekend! 

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Math activities with Dollar Tree Ramekins

This week I'm on a mission to share some fun math activities that your kiddos will love - the best part is that all of the materials you will to put them together are from the Dollar Tree.  I went to my local Dollar Tree store and I spent $11.  That $11 bought materials for 15 different math activities that are perfect for preschoolers.  I'll share one set of materials each day, and show you different games that you can use them for. 

Here are the items that I purchased:

Today's activities are all done using colorful plastic ramekins.



I focused on patterning with these cute little cups.  I love them because children can spread them out across the table, or they can stack them up and still see the colors.  

These could also be used for;

  • Sorting
  • Collecting small objects
  • Number sequencing (write the numbers on the bottoms with dry erase markers)
  • Subitizing (set them out and see how quickly the children can tell you how many there are)
  • Holding other math materials (dice, counters, etc.)
How else could you use these materials for math practice? For more great ideas check out the rest of my Dollar Tree math material posts!

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Dollar Tree Math With Clear Glass Stones

This week I'm on a mission to share some fun math activities that your kiddos will love - the best part is that all of the materials you will to put them together are from the Dollar Tree.  I went to my local Dollar Tree store and I spent $11.  That $11 bought materials for 15 different math activities that are perfect for preschoolers.  I'll share one set of materials each day, and show you different games that you can use them for. 

Here are the items that I purchased:

Today I want to share what I made with the larger flat glass stones.  


I focused on three different math activities, but before we talk math, let's talk about how I added the colors.  I dug out my stash of scrapbook paper and chose the designs that I wanted, then I used a circle punch to cut circles from each paper.  I used a paint brush to coat the back of each stone with Mod Podge, and then placed the paper circle on top of the Mod Podge, so that the colored side of the paper would show through the stone.  To make the stones with the numbers I used number stickers, placing them on the paper circle before I attached the circle to the stone.  

Now, how can you use them for math?

We definitely want children to recognize the numerals, but it's also important that they know what order they go in.  The can practice both skills with these numbered stones.  These would also be great for practicing two-digit numbers if you have kiddos that are ready for that.


As long as you use multiple papers when you create your stones, your students will be able to sort them.  Fill a basket with colorful glass stones and provide space for the children to spread out the stones and sort them by color or design.


Once the stones have been sorted, they can be used to create a number of different patterns, depending on how many designs you used, and how many stones of each design that you created.

The best part about all of these activities is that they all offer opportunities for you to spend time working on the concepts with the children. These stones encourage conversation and exploration, and they only cost $1!

How else could you use these materials for math practice? For more great ideas check out the rest of my Dollar Tree math material posts!

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Math centers using Dollar Tree rocks

This week I'm on a mission to share some fun math activities that your kiddos will love - the best part is that all of the materials you will to put them together are from the Dollar Tree.  I went to my local Dollar Tree store and I spent $11.  That $11 bought materials for 15 different math activities that are perfect for preschoolers.  I'll share one set of materials each day, and show you different games that you can use them for.

Here are the items that I purchased:


Today I want to share the activities that I put together using these great black river rocks and the multi-colored accent gems.


I used a white paint pen to write the numbers on the river rocks because I had one at home, but you could also use stickers, a silver Sharpie, or even white out.


Once the rocks are numbered you can put them in a basket and ask the children to put them in the correct number order.  After they are laid out in order the children can count the correct number of stones to go with each river rock.  These are also great for seasonal math practice because you can switch out the items that you want the children to count (seasonal erasers, candy corn, miniature ornaments, etc. instead of the glass stones).

The glass stones can also be used for sorting - which could lead to some interesting conversations because some of the stones in my pack were multi-colored and I would love to see how the children determined where these should go.  Once the gems are sorted there are plenty to use for all kinds of patterning practice.  

How else could you use these materials for math practice? For more great ideas check out the rest of my Dollar Tree math material posts!


Monday, April 25, 2016

Dollar Tree math materials

This week I'm on a mission to share some fun math activities that your kiddos will love - the best part is that all of the materials you will to put them together are from the Dollar Tree.  I went to my local Dollar Tree store and I spent $11.  That $11 bought materials for 15 different math activities that are perfect for preschoolers.  I'll share one set of materials each day, and show you different games that you can use them for.

Here are the items that I purchased:


Today I want to show you what I did with these fun facial scrubbers - They come in really bright colors and they're terry cloth on one side and mesh on the other.


Since they're available in four different colors, I immediately thought that they would be perfect for patterning.  You could use them to create two-color, three-color, or four-color patterns.  If you purchased more than one pack of each color you could also use them to create different types of patterns (abab, abbabb, abcabc, etc.)

The great thing about these is that the children could spread them out across the floor, or they could stack their patterns. They could see how far their patterns would stretch, or how many scrubbers they could stack.


In addition to patterning, these are perfect for sorting by color. How else could you use these facial scrubbers in your math center?! Check back tomorrow for some more great (and cheap!) math ideas!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Friday Freebie - Graduation Countdown


Happy Friday! If your spring has been anything like mine, the weeks just keep getting crazier.  I'm looking forward to slowing down a bit, but that probably won't happen until Memorial Day! One things for sure, there are a few celebrations to get through before I can take a break.


This week I shared a TON of ideas for graduation celebrations.  Today's freebie is a fun way to help your kiddos look forward to the big day. This Countdown to Graduation set from Maria Manore Gavin is an easy way for you to answer the never ending question: "How much longer until we graduate?!"

If you're planning a graduation ceremony, or even just an end of the year celebration, be sure to check out all of my graduation-related posts!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Felt Tassel Decoration


I'm all for decorations that can be used more than once.  I made this cute felt tassel garland in colors to match my preschool graduation set, and it's durable enough that I can put it away with my decorations and pull it out again next year.  This will be adorable on the refreshment table!

It was incredibly easy to make, and super cheap too, so of course I had to share how I did it!

It only took felt, cord, and a hot glue gun.  The amount of felt you need will depend on how long you want your garland to be.  Mine ended up being approximately 3 feet long and I only use one and a half sheets of each color.



  1. Cut your felt into strips, I cut mine a half an inch thick.  Then take one of your strips and cut it into smaller 1 1/2 to 2 inch long pieces.  These will go around the top of the tassel. 
  2. Stack 4 long strips of felt on top of each other and place them underneath the cord.
  3. Fold the entire stack of felt strips in half over the cord.
  4. Place a dot of glue on one of the strips near the top of the tassel, but underneath the cord.  Take one of your smaller pieces of felt and wrap it around the top of the tassel, underneath the cord, attach this with another dot of glue. 
  5. Repeat using all of your felt strips. 

If you are still looking for more graduation decoration ideas make sure to check out my graduation decoration printables!



Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Graduation keepsakes for your students

Preschool graduation is one of those special occasions that you want to mark with a keepsake, especially because many your kiddos won't actually remember it 10 years from now.  I've rounded up a few fun ideas that won't break your budget!

Have you been keeping journals all year long? (Preschool Daze has a great how-to) Ask your students if you can write them a letter in their journals and send them home at graduation. 

Download my End of the Year Memory Books and help your students fill in their memories.  Bind them with each child's portfolio pages or work samples for a one-of-a-kind gift. 

Makes shirts for each student, they can put a new handprint on it each year and then wear it when they graduate high school - cute idea from Where the Smiles have been!

Put together a cute class photo (like this one from Little Red Wagon Photography) and print a copy each student. 

Make yarn tassels for each student using this tutorial.

Download this FREE stationary and put it out so that parents can write a letter to their graduate.  Put each letter in an envelope.  Seal the envelopes and ask families to keep them in a safe place so that children can open them when they graduate from high school.  

These keepsakes are perfect because they add to your ceremony and fit in any budget.  If you need extra help be sure to ask for parent volunteers - you know until you try!


Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Preparing preschoolers to transition to Kindergarten


The end of the school year is so full of ceremonies, parties, and silly photos that it all goes by in a whirlwind.  This is an overwhelming time for any preschool teacher, but it's even more overwhelming for those little ones.  They keep being told that next year they'll be a big kid and go to kindergarten, and from their perspective, that's a lot of unknown.

What will their new school be like? Will their new teacher be nice? How will they get to school? Will they get to see their friends? Do they still get to play with their favorite toys? Where will they keep their things? All of these questions are swirling around in their heads, making this time - which should be a celebration of how big they've gotten - just a time that they don't really want to come.

These are the days when one-on-one time, answering questions, and lots of extra love are the most important things.  Take time to read favorite stories, reassure them, and let them know how proud and excited they can be.  Look at things that they've completed this year, and talk about their fears.  Have large group conversations about the kinds of things they might encounter in kindergarten and role play scenarios with them.

While it's important to answer all of their questions confront their fears, it's just as important to keep your same routine and still do all of the things that they love the most - special art projects, fun dramatic play, lots of outside time, and silly songs.  Take time to enjoy each other and make sure that school is a place where they can forget about their worries and fears for a while!

What are your favorite things to do at the end of the year in order to get your kiddos ready for Kindergarten?

Monday, April 18, 2016

It's THAT time

It doesn't matter when Easter or your Spring Break falls, whenever it is that you come back from that particular break - or long weekend, it inevitably dawns on you tit is now time to think about graduation.  Whether you love it or hate it, preschool graduation (or even end of the year parties) tend to be quite the production.  It's the perfect time to showcase all of the hard work that the children have done throughout the year but organizing and displaying said work is, in itself, a lot of work!

One of my most popular posts is Everything You Need to Host a Preschool Graduation, so I thought I'd share it again!


Yup, it's that time of the year, time to start planning your preschool graduation ceremony.  Do you do the same thing every year? I like to switch it up and plan something new and special every year, but of course, that means I have to plan something new and special every year! So over the last few years I've put together a template of sorts that makes things just a little easier.

I include the same elements;

  • Introduce the students
  • Read a letter to the graduates
  • Read an inspirational story
  • Present class awards
  • Handout diplomas
and then each year I just swap in a new letter to the graduates, a different story that goes with the theme of the celebration, and cute stories about the kids to go with each of my awards.  I've found that this helps keep the actual ceremony short and sweet, and then I do a reception afterwards for the children and their families to enjoy. 

I always write a letter to my kiddos and include it in their End of the Year Memory Books. Sometimes I get really personal, sometimes I use a poem or letter that works for all of them, and sometimes I do a little of both - start with a poem and add a couple of personal sentences for each student.  Last year was the first year that I read the letter during the graduation ceremony and it was a really sweet way to let the kids and families know that I will miss them.  It made the ceremony a little more personal, and I'll definitely keep this as a part of my ceremony for years to come.  If you need a little inspiration, here are a couple of cute letters that you could use as a starting point;
I've used a number of inspirational books over the years, including (all Amazon links are affiliates);
There are SO MANY ways to share a story during your graduation celebration.  You could get the hardcover book and have each child in your class sign the book, and then read it during the ceremony (then it would be a cute keepsake for you). You could take video of yourself reading the story, and then project the video on a large screen so everyone could see it, or you could use a you tube video of someone else reading the book.  Last year I just took a photo of each page and put the photos into a power point presentation, but each of the books listed above is available in kindle format, so you could hook your laptop or tablet to a projector and use kindle to read the book.  The same book that you read during the ceremony would be a meaningful (and easy) gift for each of your graduates. 


My favorite part of the graduation ceremony is presenting the awards.  I use the End of the Year Award Ribbons that are available in my TPT store for a couple of reasons.  They're easy I just have to print them and cut them out. I usually put a rolled up piece of tape on the back, and then the children can wear them all afternoon.  These award ribbons make it really easy to find a personal reward for each child because they focus on character traits, and they make everyone feel warm and fuzzy. They can also easily be put into the End of the Year Memory Book, so families can keep them forever. 

Handing out diplomas is usually the photo opp of the ceremony, so during our rehearsals I encourage the children to take a minute and look at the audience so that Mom or Dad can get a picture.  They usually wave and it's absolutely adorable.  I have a diploma freebie in my TPT store that matches all of my decor, memory books, and awards. You can download it HERE.

I hope that my resources will help you with your planning. Check in later this week because I'm going to have ideas for decorations and snacks too!

** Here are some other posts with great graduation ideas: