Toddler Play dinosaurs

Toddler Tales ~ A Dinosaur Provocation

My little one is really into dinosaurs. I attribute this to his older brother's obsession spilling over onto him, nonetheless, we play with dinosaurs A LOT in my house. One day I decided to put a little dinosaur provocation on the light table and see what he would do...
DIY blocks construction

DIY Blocks! So Easy!

When I made the move up in grades from PreK to First grade, I was a little taken aback that blocks would not be an item that was provided by the district I worked for at the time. I cannot use the word shocked as that would be exaggerating, but I was definitely...

GUEST POST: The Life & Times of a Beloved Doll

  In a small village in the north of France (not far from the ocean), lives a little girl in a big buttercream house. She has blue eyes, pink cheeks & long blonde braids. Every day she dances & sings as she plays happily in the garden. When it is cold or...
Building the "Great Wall" of China

Building the “Great Wall” of China

Building the Great Wall of China with brown bags is a great collaborative project.  Today the class worked together to create a wall as long as they could.  It required placing the bags side by side.  The children had to make decisions about which directions the wall...
The Story Table

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...

Toddler Tales ~ A Dinosaur Provocation

My little one is really into dinosaurs. I attribute this to his older brother's obsession spilling over onto him, nonetheless, we play with dinosaurs A LOT in my house. One day I decided to put a little dinosaur provocation on the light table and see what he would do...

read more

DIY Blocks! So Easy!

When I made the move up in grades from PreK to First grade, I was a little taken aback that blocks would not be an item that was provided by the district I worked for at the time. I cannot use the word shocked as that would be exaggerating, but I was definitely...

read more

GUEST POST: The Life & Times of a Beloved Doll

  In a small village in the north of France (not far from the ocean), lives a little girl in a big buttercream house. She has blue eyes, pink cheeks & long blonde braids. Every day she dances & sings as she plays happily in the garden. When it is cold or...

read more

Building the “Great Wall” of China

Building the Great Wall of China with brown bags is a great collaborative project.  Today the class worked together to create a wall as long as they could.  It required placing the bags side by side.  The children had to make decisions about which directions the wall...

read more

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...

read more

Make a 3-D Game Board!

This is another idea I shared in my Summer Institute.  It is one of my favorite math activities - a hand-built 3-D game board. The best part - the children get to construct it. Base - a shoe/boot tray.  This one is from Target and is copper. I have used cheap black...

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DIY Sand Blocks

It is super simple to make your own sand blocks - and on the cheap!  These are wonderful for a Music center.   You can do group music as you can make a class set for under $25.  Woo hoo! What you will need: 60 coarse grit sand paper wood blocks (wood craft section of...

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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...

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My Favorite Things: Playstands

I cannot imagine my classroom without playstands.  These simple structures are truly the heart beat of my room.   I house my housekeeping center under these canopies. There is this natural impulse in children to seek hidden, tent-like places.  The playstands satisfy...

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Waldof: Table Puppets

Waldorf table puppets have to be one of the most powerful things I have ever taken into my teaching practice.  They are simple standing puppets.  People make them in a variety of ways and materials.  This table puppet is a part of a late spring Nature Table.  She is...

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Waldorf: Marionettes

There is nothing so magical as the art of the marionette - Waldorf style!  These etheric creatures are made of hand dyed silks and lovingly sewn into special characters.  For the newbie to Waldorf education - the lack of facial features can seem odd.   But wait and...

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5 Great Puppets to Make

  PUPPET #1:  Paper/Cloth Rod Puppets  These are wonderful for retelling fairy tales. For more details go to:  We Bloom Here PUPPET #2:  Popsicle Paper Puppets This is one of my favorite ways to make puppets - let the children draw them!  They always turn out so...

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Getting Your Groove On! Dance!

Dancing is one of my most powerful weapons against the lack of recess. We dance and everything works better. Yesterday I shared my "Dance Off" technique. Today I want to share my "Dance Circle." Dance Circle Instructions  Gather everyone onto the carpet standing on...

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Dance Breaking! Move it!

One of my favorite movement tricks is what I call "Dance Off."  At some point during the day - during table work, maybe centers, walking down the hall - who knows when this special moment will come. . . . We break into dance!  Yup! I turn off the light and say "Dance...

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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...

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A Simple Puppet Show

This is such a simple process that produces the most endearing results!   I had each color family (groups of four children) write their own story. 1.  The first round I let each group write and collaborate on their own a story.   Each group picked someone to record...

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The “Living” Dollhouse. . .

So dang sweet, it is!  It could be called a large fairy garden but I love calling it the "Living" dollhouse because I put dollhouse dolls and furniture in it. Here's how I did it: I used a large box that I cut down to just 6 inches tall.  I lined it with a plastic...

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A Fun Dr. Seuss Idea

Okay, so I am a day late and dollar short but here is a fun thing I did for my students: Using a science fair tri-fold, I painted the cat and the hat on it and cut out face holes.  So much fun!  I drew it free hand but you could use a projector or even your smartboard...

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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...

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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...

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Preparing for Chinese New Years

This last week my classroom has been a buzz preparing for Chinese New Years.   Here's a peek into our preparations:  Each color family designed a Dancing Dragon.  Colors and designs were recorded.  We built the head of Dancing Dragon out of cardboard boxes.  Painted...

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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...

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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...

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Pine Cone Elves

I saw this idea all over Pinterest and had to give it a try with my kinders! What you will need: assorted pine cones (mine came from a friend's yard) popsicle sticks wooden beads for head little red caps (I found mine at Hobby Lobby) pipe cleaners cut into fourths...

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Elf Hats

Oh what fun!  With the Elf on the Shelf rage - we had to make Elf hats!  I printed the ears on construction paper and the children cut them out.  On a 12 x 18 sheet of construction paper, the children made a pattern. Next, they folded the corners. The hat is made by...

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Got That Thanksgiving Feeling. . .

We have been busy bees in the kindergarten making all kinds of wonderful stuff.  Here are a few of the things in process.  I will post finished work tomorrow!  I have been having too much fun, forgetting to take photos! There are about five projects undocumented!...

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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...

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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...

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Little Red Hen’s Bakery

A little peek into my current housekeeping center:  I stock the center with lots of baking tools, containers of baking ingredients, the pretend bread items the children made, and more.  I put a little lamp on the table.  It creates such a special mood.  I love to use...

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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...

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The Three Pigs Table Puppet Show

Letting the children retell a fairy tale is very powerful in building comprehension.  The table puppet show can be very simple like this one.  I use simple plastic pigs and an old wolf puppet.  It works!  The children love it! The Three Little Pigs Table Puppet Play...

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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...

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The Power of Table Puppets and Retelling a Story!

This is pure educational magic.  Pure gold!  Give it a try if you have not.  It is very simple to do.  I have made basic table puppets for the children to use but you could use dollhouse dolls and brown bear figurines.  The children just need something to "pretend"...

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A Peek into My Classroom

The story of the Three Pigs offer so many extensions.  Here are a few currently underway in my classroom:  I set up my IKEA roadway rug (super cheap and wonderful) with matchbox cars, little wooden cars and a set of little wooden traffic signs.  I like to bring the...

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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...

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Oh So Lovely!

I have found the most amazing needle felted artist, Daria, on Etsy.   I ordered Mother Earth for my nature table.  It is more beautiful than it is in these photos.  Her talent is extraordinary!  If you are looking for nature table dolls - I recommend checking out her...

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Make a File Folder Puppet Theater!

One day I had an inspiration while making a "mini-office."  I realized the file folders would make a perfect puppet theater! What you will need:  2 file folders per puppet theater, scrapbook paper, tape, glue sticks. I used two special types of file folders.  The...

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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...

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Playstand Transformation – Tiki Hut

 This week the theme in the kindergarten classes at my school is "Hawaii."  We make volcanoes, have an Hawaiian Luau, to name a few things.  So, of course, I had to transform the playstands!  I found lots of Hawaiian themed items at my local party supply and Big...

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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...

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Farmer’s Market

With the study of plants and flowers - it only made sense to open a farmer's market in the classroom.  The first thing we did was discuss and brainstorm what was found at a farmer's market.  We then decided what we would make. The children made green beans, peas,...

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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...

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Developmental Stages of Block Play

Block play is such an important part of the early childhood classroom.  It provides potent opportunities for creativity, imagination, problem solving, and foundational mathematical understandings. It is something that actually has a developmental sequence to it - like...

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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...

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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...

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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...

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An Artful Housekeeping Center

There is this gasp of joy in the classroom when housekeeping center transforms.  It is my kinders favorite center.  It is my goal to transform this center every two weeks.  I notice that this refreshes the childrens' play as well.   There is an art to this - having...

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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...

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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 store. ...

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