Sandra Duncan: Classroom Containers as Invitations

This year at the NAEYC Annual Conference I had the delight of meeting Sandra Duncan. It was exciting because I love her book Inspiring Spaces for Young Children. Sandra is such an inspiration!  I asked her to inspire us at my 2017 Winter Conference. She said she wanted to share an amazing perspective shift in her session. Here’s a […]

Make Your Own Story Stones

Story Stones are a great way to get students excited about story telling and they are surprisingly easy to make! Materials Needed: Stones A variety of stickers Modge Podge Paint Brush Small container to pour the Modge Podge in (this is optional) *I purchased all of my materials at our local Dollar Tree*   The Process: […]

All Around Child-Outside

I have been sharing the wonderful things I saw while visiting All Around Child in Overland Park, KS. So far we have explored the common areas, hallways, and the beautiful classrooms. Now you will get to see the masterpiece that is the outside play areas, but they are so much more than that. They are […]

All Around Child-Inside the Classrooms

Recently, I posted about All Around Child, a Reggio-Inspired preschool in Overland Park, KS. I loved the school so much that there was no way I could have condensed my thoughts and pictures down to one post. We are about to explore the magic inside the classrooms and you will see why… I quickly learned […]

All Around Child-A Reggio-Inspired Preschool

I had the pleasure of taking a tour through All Around Child, a beautiful Reggio-Inspired preschool in Overland Park, KS. This school serves children 6 weeks to 6 years. I was so impressed with this school that I took way too many pictures to put into one post. This will be a glimpse into the […]

The Story Table

The Story Table is a vital part of my classroom.  It is a miniature world of nature complete with animals. STEP ONE:  The Base – I like to use a strong base so children can push on it and it will not collapse.   This is a shelf laid flat. STEP TWO:  Cover the shelf or […]

Dramatic Play: It’s Brain Smart!

Dramatic Play is not only a source of wonder and magic — it is good for cognitive development!  Pretend play requires the ability to transform objects and actions symbolically; for example, pretending to be mommy or a doctor; pretending a bowl of nuts and leaves is oatmeal for Goldilocks. There is research that has shown […]

Block Habitat Constructions

Block play is so rich.  It can expand to include so many different kinds of constructions.  In my block center I have the following materials (in addition to the blocks): large river rocks moss covered “rocks” (floral department) green grass (floral department – holds flower stems) assorted silk flower and plant stems small logs large […]

Patty’s Room: Light Play

Thank you Patty and Jenni for the treat of your classrooms! Stay tuned to a new e-workshop with Patty – happening SOON!  I am so excited about this collaboration. Details will be released Monday morning!!

DIY Clipboards

I don’t know about you but I love having a clipboard for every child in my class but holy moly that can get expensive! Well, I ran into someone  (Stacy)  who came up with a DIY version and I couldn’t wait to share the goodness! WHAT YOU WILL NEED: bulldog clips or binder clips (the […]

Free Storytelling Cards – Three Pigs

I am so excited to share a free set of storytelling cards for the story of The Three Pigs.  This set includes word cards as well.  To access this free set – go to the Fairy Dust Teaching Facebook page! Enjoy!

Porridge Playdough for Baby Bear!

It took several years to master this playdough.  The traditional recipes for oatmeal playdough are sticky and – honesty – a mess to deal with.   I adapted my basic playdough recipe and have created a perfect porridge playdough!  This dough has a hint of vanilla and cinnamon and is sure to give hours of wonderful […]

Cheap Imaginative Play Ideas!

I am such a huge advocate for imaginative play.  I think children need a good daily dose until at least 9 years of age.  There is a developmental unfoldment of the imagination that provides the ground work for higher order thinking.   Imaginative play provides nourishment for the frontal lobes.  In reality, imaginative play is a […]

Little Fairy Garden Habitats- Part One

Last week I had each color family create a little fairy garden for their table as a part of our study of plants.   I told the children we will be building the garden weekly.  This week we planted flowers in our gardens.  It was great as the root system in the flowers were so huge […]

Fabric in Blocks = Magic

I adore block play!  One of the most amazing things to provide block play is fabric!  Here is a student who made a “puppet” theater with the fabric and told a story — “The Three Giraffes and the Monkey.”  It was the story of the three bears retold with giraffes and a monkey. I also […]

The Noodle Shop

I loved the felt noodle idea so much!  I put out pieces of felt and let the children cut noodles.  They loved it!  Noodle Shop is open!

Ooo yummy felt foods!

I absolutely adore making my housekeeping a yummy place to play!  Loading it with real props and avoiding plastic toys are my starting point.  I try to keep those ugly plastic food sets out of my housekeeping center.  It is so much more fun to make our own food out of the “bread dough ornament” […]

Block Play: Wrap it up!

My wonderful intern, Katie, created the best little activity during centers last week.  She pulled out the blocks, a couple rolls of wrapping paper, scissors and tape.  Bam!  A great center for fine motor skills!  How many of you are wrapping present challenged?  It takes something to wrap a present.  The children put their “pretend” […]

Clothes Pin Animals

This is an adorable idea from Martha Stewart Living.  The kids loved it!  I used white cardstock and crayons.  I let the children draw whatever animal (we focused on farm animals) they wanted.   I discussed the importance of making the images big.  Kindergartners tend to draw small.  I demonstrated making one first and then let […]

Playdough Bakery is Open!

 During the Little Red Hen unit – I add a wonderful selection of pans, bowls, buckets, muffin tins, plates. . . even a cheese slicer.  The boys love that slicer!  Wooden spoons, pizza slicers. . .  Several colors of playdough. . .  Ooo, how the fun abounds!  I need another cheese slicer!  The girls adore […]

The Little Red Hen: Making Pretend Bread

Good old fashioned bread dough clay is the best treat for the children during our Little Red Hen unit. Basic Bread Dough Ornament Recipe 4 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup salt 1 1/2 cups warm water I make my dough in my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook.  I mix it until it is […]

I’ll Huff and I’ll Puff and . . .

My educational method is to present one fairy tale for at least two weeks.  I read multiple versions of the tale, retell it orally, retell it with puppets, and at the end – have the children act it out.  It is a method that I have developed over the last 12 years or more.  This […]

Building Plans

This week we are dwelling inside the story of the Three Pigs.  This week I will be posting some of my activities for this fairy tale.  First, this is such a perfect story to bring the vocabulary and work of architects.  I have a wonderful book called “Homes” that talks about architects and the planning […]

Ocean Block Play

This week the children reminded me of the incredible value of providing materials for block play.   With each change of theme – I like to put out new cloth and items related to our stories.  I put out blue fabric for water, green for earth and brown as well.  I had an assortment of […]

Making a Space Ship Play Center

I absolutely love my playstands.  I think I would rate these as the one of the best buys I have ever made for my classroom.  They are so easy to transform into a variety of things to fit the mood of current happenings.  And they make great space ships!  I start by putting the playstands […]

Insect Play Around the Kindergarten!

Sometimes in the middle of a life crisis, a little spark of creativity can eek in.  This week I have been dealing with my daughter’s illness (numbness on the left side) and last night, fed-up, I took her to the ER.  On the suggestion of my daughter-in-law, I began video taping her symptoms with my […]

Post Office is Open!

This year it has taken a while to open our classroom post office.  I think the two weeks lost to the snow storm took it toll on several projects.  Nevertheless, yesterday the post office officially opened.   Every year this becomes one of the favorite spots in the classroom. I made my post office boxes out […]

It’s Jack’s Beanstalk!

One of my favorite things is to create the atmosphere in the classroom that supports and expands the ideas we are currently exploring.  With Jack and the Beanstalk I love making a huge beanstalk.  Here is how I do this! Step One:  Pull off three long rolls from your green bulletin board paper.  With a […]

A Little Seed Drama

This is an sweet little poem I love to act out as we explore the world seeds and beans.  It is an adaptation of two poems. The little brown seeds went to sleep in the ground. In their little brown nightgowns they slept very sound. Old Winter, he roared and he raged overhead. But the […]

Make A Shield

One of the projects I like to do during the Kings and Queens of Hearts unit is a family shield.  I send home a tag board shield and the families decorate it according to my instructions.  This year, my intern, Amanda Mitchell, wanted the children to make the shields as one of our work stations. […]

Story Stones Huge Hit!

I wanted to let you know that the children adored the story stones! Oh my goodness!  I am going to be making more story stones this weekend (see last post for instructions).   What was so inspiring was how the stones provided an easy way to collaborate on telling/making up a story!  This idea is a […]

Story Stones

There are those ideas that you come across that capture your whole heart.  One day I was surfing the web for more ideas for storytelling and came upon Red Bird Crafts and Emily Neuburger.  Emily designed the coolest idea – story stones.  You must click over to her blog and take a peek at her […]

Dollar Store Capes!

It was a room full of Kings and Queens of Hearts.  To make it proper – each child made their own cape and crown.  Oooo – the fun we had! (These would be so great for a birthday party!) To make the cape – all you need is a plastic table cloth from the dollar […]

The Queen of Heart’s Tarts

The Queen of Hearts she made some tarts all on a winter’s day; The Knave of Hearts he stole the tarts and took them clean away. The King of Hearts called for the tarts and scolded the Knave full sore. The Knave of Hearts brought back the tarts and vowed he’d steal no more. Transform […]

My Home, My Address

During August, we talked about how we each live in our own home.  One of the projects we did was to make a paper bag house or apartment building (depending on where you lived).  We then set up a little city with our “homes.”   The photos below are from that first project.   I am going […]

Make an Elf Hat and get a Free E-Book of "The Elves and the Shoemaker"

  Look at these cute elf hats!  Cindy Williams and her gang at Philbrook Art Museum came up with this great craft activity for Second Saturday.  I am so taking this idea to my classroom this week! I took a photo of the instructions!  Use a large piece of construction paper (12×18).  Decorate and embellish! […]

The Bakery is Open!

During the Gingerbread Man unit, we open a bakery where the children buy and sell bake goods they have made.  I use an old recipe from my childhood that my mother used to make bread dough ornaments.  It is really like a clay.  It is great fun and the children feel such ownership of the […]

Native American Unit in Switzerland

In 2005, I received a Fund for Teachers fellowship to travel to Europe to see early childhood classrooms.  I had the delight of spending a few days in a kindergarten in Winterthur, Switzerland.  They were studying the Native Americans.  Here are a few of their class projects.  The teacher had cut out border strips into […]