Valuable Preschool Links

Activity Idea Place: This page lists 150 quick science-related activities to do with young children.

Preschool Rock: This fantastic site has literally thousands of well organized ideas for preschoolers and toddlers.  Its topics include crafts, activities, games, education, fitness, and more.

Katie’s Nesting Spot: Katie used to be a teacher; now she’s a stay-at-home-mom who teaches her preschool daughter.  This is her personal blog.  It includes great ideas for crafts and learning activities for preschoolers.

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Transportation Theme Completed!

The new Transportation Theme is completed!  I can’t wait to finish teaching it!  It includes seven lesson plans:  trains, airplanes and helicopters, bikes/bicycles, boats, buses, cars, and trucks.

Each lesson plan can stand alone or be integrated into the transportation theme.  I have so many ideas that I’m tempted to make a Transportation 2 with the same topics but different lesson plans!  However, that will have to wait until next year.

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Trucks Preschool Lesson Plan

1.  Freeplay

2.  Circle/Whole Group: There are many different kinds of trucks!  Use a variety of books to show different types of trucks and talk about them.  If you have toy trucks available, see if the kiddos can figure out what kind of trucks they have.

3.  Song:  My Big Truck (Tune: The Wheels on the Bus)

My big truck is coming fast, coming fast, coming fast,

My big truck is coming fast,

Oh, hear its horn!  (beep!  beep!)

Watch out for its big round wheels, big round wheels, big round wheels,

Watch out for its big round wheels,

Oh, hear its horn!  (beep!  beep!)

other verses: My big truck can carry cars.

My big truck can make cement.

My big truck can drag airplanes.

My big truck has a bed inside.

4.  Story: My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis.  What is the truck carrying?  How did the hole get in the road?  What are those groundhogs doing?

5.  Craft:  Tire Print Art. Give each child a small ball of air-drying clay (DLTK has a recipe if you want to make it at home.  Alternatively, Model Magic by Crayola is a great commercial product for this activity.) and a small toy truck.  Instruct the kiddos to flatten their clay and then carefully drive the truck in the clay so it makes tire prints.  When they are happy with their prints they can paint them or color them with markers.

6.  Learning Activity.   Truck and Car Graphing. Instruct kiddos on street safety.  Prepare a simple graph in advance.  Put numbers along the y-axis and label two columns on the x-axis:  cars and trucks. Introduce children to the graph and explain how it works to keep track of observations.  Go outside and count all the cars and trucks you can see.  As each car or truck is noted, have the children sort it as either a car or truck, then let one of the kiddos mark it on the graph.  When you come back in, ask which you saw more of (cars or trucks).  Alternatively, your graph could be of colors of vehicles.

7.  Snack: Trucks! Use a large graham cracker, a square cracker, and 2 round crackers to make a semi-truck.  Top with cream cheese or other toppings.

8.  Learning Activity.  Ramp Action! Set up ramps for the kiddos to race toy trucks down.  Hypothesize–which trucks will go fastest?  How can a ramp be arranged to make the truck go faster?

9.  Freeplay outside. Begin by acting out My Truck is Stuck–use sticks for props!  Then, freeplay.

10.  Circle to review and summarize day.

Supplies for the day:

truck books

My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis

Model Magic or other air-drying clay

trucks to drive in clay

paints or markers for clay

car/truck graph

crackers and cream cheese

ramps

trucks to race on ramps

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Cars Preschool Lesson Plan

1.  Freeplay

2.  Circle/Whole Group: Go outside and look at a car.  Let the kiddos climb in, turn on lights, and ask questions.  If possible, get a police officer to visit and show the kiddos his car.

3.  Song:   Traffic Lights (Tune:  Mary Had a Little Lamb)

Can you see the traffic lights, traffic lights, traffic lights,

Can you see the traffic lights and how the colors hop?

When the light is turning red, turning red, turning red,

When the light is turning red we know it’s time to stop!

Yellow is a very short light, very short light, very short light,

Yellow is a very short light and means it’s time to slow.

Green lights are the very best, very best, very best,

Green lights are the very best because it’s time to go!

4.  Story: Cool Cars by Tony Mitton.  What are your favorite cars?  Have you ever been in a police car?

5.  Craft:  Tire Tracks. Let the kiddos dip different toy cars in a tray with paint, and then “drive” the car on their page.  Talk about tire prints.  Let them see different prints from different cars.  Point out size and shape differences and similarities.

6.  Learning Activity.  Red Light, Green Light. Use a red circle and a green circle cut from construction paper.  If desired, glue the circles onto puppet sticks.  Review how red means go and green means stop.  Face the kiddos, hold the circles behind your back, and have the kiddos line up in a row at least 10 feet away from you.  When you hold the green circle out, say “green,” and let them come towards you.  When you switch to red, say “red” and have them stop.  Continue until they reach you.  Repeat, but say “verde” and “rojo” for the colors.  Let the children take turns being the stop light.  If you like, you can change how they walk:  they must elephant walk or hop or crawl.

7.  Snack:  Car tires. Serve muffins…or car tires!

8.  Learning Activity.  License Plate Sorting. Every car has a license plate on it.  License plates have numbers, letters, a state, and sometimes pictures.  Make 10-12 little license plates…these can all be printed on one sheet of paper. Let the kiddos find similarities and differences, then assign them to sort all the license plates with a “2” into one pile or all the plates with two letter “T”‘s into another pile.

9.  Freeplay outside. Begin by “driving” around the yard and “picking up” the kiddos and taking them to the circus.  Imagine all the animals you see!  When you’re done, drive them all back home.  Freeplay.

10.  Circle to review and summarize day.

Supplies for the day:

your car

police car (optional)

Cool Cars by Tony Mitton

various toy cars that can be rolled in paint

paint on a tray

paper for kiddos

red and green circles cut from construction paper

muffins

little license plates for sorting

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Buses Preschool Lesson Plan

1.  Freeplay

2.  Circle/Whole Group: Make a bus and take a ride!  Get 1-2 refrigerator boxes from an appliance store in advance.  They will often give these to you for free. Spread a drop cloth over your area and let the kids paint or color the “bus” with markers.  Cut out entrances and put little chairs inside.  Make a steering wheel.  Let the kiddos take turns driving.  Sing “Wheels on the Bus” inside the bus!

3.  Song:   Wheels on the Bus. Act out the song as the lyrics suggest.

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

Round and round, round and round,

The wheels on the bus go round and round,

All through the town.

Other possible verses:

The people on the bus go up and down.

The babies on the bus go “wah, wah, wah.”

The mommies on the bus go “I love you!”

The money on the bus goes click, click, click.

The doors on the bus go open and shut.

The driver on the bus says “Move on back!”

The wipers on the bus go swish, swish, swish.

And you can always make up silly verses like:

The lions on the bus go “roar, roar, roar!”

The birdies on the bus go “tweet, tweet, tweet.”

4.  Story: The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole.  Do buses really go underground?  What do they drive on?  If you could go anywhere on a magic bus, where would you go?  Note:  In reading this aloud to young children you will want to skip a lot of the extra text in order to meet their attention span needs.

5.  Craft:  Egg Carton Buses. Cut the lid of a 12-count paper egg carton into four pieces so each piece would have covered three eggs.  Help the kiddos glue two of them together to make a bus.  Let them glue 2-4 toilet paper rolls together to make the wheels and then glue the wheels onto the bus.  Let them paint their buses.

6.  Learning Activity.   My Magic Bus. Give the children a prepared mini-book titled My Magic Bus.  (Preparing the book:  use a word processor to make a table with two columns and three rows that fills an 8 1/2″ x 11″ page.  In the top right hand square, print: “My Magic Bus.”  Below that, print: “By ______.”) Help each child cut out their book, layer the three rows on top of each other, fold them in half, and place two staples right next to the fold.

Let each child make up a story about their magic bus and where it went.  Help them write it into their book.  Let them illustrate it with crayons or colored pencils.

7.  Snack:  Bus Crackers. Let the kiddos make buses out of crackers and cheese.  They can use several square crackers next to each other or a graham cracker with several pieces of cheese.

8.  Learning Activity.  Finding Shapes. Give each child a black and white picture of a bus.  Let them trace the shapes they find in the picture with markers and practice saying them.  You could even specify red for all circles, blue for all squares, etc.

9.  Freeplay outside. Begin with a bus ride…have children stand in a line and place their hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them.  The person in front “drives” the “bus” to a destination.  Rotate drivers till all children have had a turn, then freeplay.

10.  Circle to review and summarize day.

Supplies for the day:

dropcloth

refrigerator boxes

paint and brushes or markers

strong scissors

glue

little chairs

The Magic School Bus: Inside the Earth by Joanna Cole

1/2 an egg carton for each child

glue

paint

2-4 toilet paper rolls for each child

My Magic Bus book for each child

colored pencils or crayons

scissors

stapler

crackers and cheese

black and white bus picture for each child

markers

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Bikes/Bicycles Preschool Lesson Plan

1.  Freeplay

2.  Circle/Whole Group: Introduce the theme with a bicycle jigsaw puzzle.  You can make one from a magazine picture or internet picture. As the kiddos figure out where the pieces go, have them guess what the topic is.  Then invite stories/adventures from their lives.  Show pictures/talk about different kinds of bikes (like a road bike, a 2-person bike, a tricycle, a unicycle, a bike with training wheels, a folding bike, a bike that carries a rider, etc.).

3.  Song:  Ride, Ride, Ride Your Bike. (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)  Sing and sign as lyrics suggest.

Ride, Ride, Ride Your Bike

Ride, ride, ride your bike;

You will go so fast!

Hear the wind and feel the breeze,

Then watch the sky go past!

4.  Story: Curious George Rides a Bike by H.A. Rey.  Possible discussion items:  wearing a helmet, talking to strangers, being responsible.

5.  Craft:  Transportation Collage. Introduce kiddos to the  concept of a collage with an example or pictures of examples.  Show them the supplies and invite them to have fun!  Help them create a border, if they choose.  Supplies could include stickers of transportation items (cars, trucks, airplanes, boats, bikes, buses, trains, etc.), stamps of transportation items, and various other decorative items (feathers, pompoms, cotton balls, etc.), glue.

6.  Learning Activity.  Directions around a Bike! Bring a bicycle and a teddy bear into the lesson area.  Demonstrate, then have kiddos practice putting the teddy on or above the bike, under or below the bike, to the right of the bike, and to the left of the bike.  Let kiddos take turns giving instructions to each other.  Take Teddy for a ride when you’re done!  If desired, let kiddos put themselves above, below, and to the right and left of the bike.

7.  Snack:  Bike Wheels. Use cheese-in-a-can to spray spokes on round crackers.  Mmmmm!  Orange slices also make great wheels!

8.  Learning Activity.  Bicycle maze. Create a maze for the kiddos to solve.  This is their first maze experience this year, so make it simple! The goal could be to get to a bicycle or to ride a bicycle to get home, or to ride a bicycle to take a lost bird home. Give a maze to each child.  Give help if needed.

9.  Freeplay outside. Begin with a bicycle parade!  Let kiddos showcase their bikes…if you don’t have room for a parade you could let them show how they ride their bikes.

10.  Circle to review and summarize day.

Supplies for the day:

bicycle jigsaw puzzle

pictures of different kinds of bikes

Curious George Rides a Bike by H.A. Rey

collage supplies

bicycle

teddy bear

crackers, cheese-in-a-can (or orange slices)

bicycle mazes (one for each child)

bicycles for parade (if desired)

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Transportation in Progress

I’m currently working on the Transportation Theme.

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