SMASH, CRUSH, DESTROY! How to use a mortar and pestle in your sensory play!

I could not talk about messy play without mentioning mortars and pestles.   This has to be one of my favorite messy tools for indoor play. Children love pounding and mashing.   This harnesses the natural childhood schema of transforming - changing the state of a...

MUD PLAY!  How to set up a simple, movable mud kitchen

Have you considered putting a mud kitchen on your playground? If so, I would like to share my two cents worth.  Consider a movable mud kitchen. A simple movable mud kitchen provides children with the raw materials to create whatever they can imagine.  It is open-ended...

5 Ways to Take Your Sensory Table to the Next Level

  For over 27 years, Tom Bedard has been building apparatuses for the sensory table. And it all started with a bucket. The bucket answered a NEED at the sensory table - transporting the sand out of the table. Hello!  How many of you have fought the “there’s more sand...
Toddler Tales ~ How to Make Your Own Sensory Table Fairy Dust Teaching

Toddler Tales ~ How to Make Your Own Sensory Table

For my toddler's birthday this year, I decided to make him a sensory table inspired by Tom Bedard! I didn't really know how this would turn out since I was attempting to create this with items I had on hand, except for the bag of beans. However, I was pleasantly...
Making Reindeer Food Fairy Dust Teaching

Toddler Tales ~ Making Reindeer Food

Who knew making reindeer food could be so much fun?! Needing a quick and easy gift for my toddler to give to his classmates, I settled on reindeer food. With only 2 ingredients, it's so simple! However, I had no idea how much fun my little man would have with the...

MUD PLAY!  How to set up a simple, movable mud kitchen

Have you considered putting a mud kitchen on your playground? If so, I would like to share my two cents worth.  Consider a movable mud kitchen. A simple movable mud kitchen provides children with the raw materials to create whatever they can imagine.  It is open-ended...

read more

5 Ways to Take Your Sensory Table to the Next Level

  For over 27 years, Tom Bedard has been building apparatuses for the sensory table. And it all started with a bucket. The bucket answered a NEED at the sensory table - transporting the sand out of the table. Hello!  How many of you have fought the “there’s more sand...

read more

Toddler Tales ~ How to Make Your Own Sensory Table

For my toddler's birthday this year, I decided to make him a sensory table inspired by Tom Bedard! I didn't really know how this would turn out since I was attempting to create this with items I had on hand, except for the bag of beans. However, I was pleasantly...

read more

Toddler Tales ~ Making Reindeer Food

Who knew making reindeer food could be so much fun?! Needing a quick and easy gift for my toddler to give to his classmates, I settled on reindeer food. With only 2 ingredients, it's so simple! However, I had no idea how much fun my little man would have with the...

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Invitation to Build a Turkey

Thanksgiving is fast approaching and my little turkeys are super excited! I set up a simple invitation to build a turkey to keep them engaged this weekend while I got caught up on some much needed preparation for the upcoming holiday. The Provocation I used homemade...

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Fall Leaf Investigation

One of the perks of fall is the gorgeous weather and a leaf investigation is a great excuse to go outside which makes it a wonderful addition to your fall activities! To begin our leaf investigation we read the book, Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. This book displays...

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Toddler Tales: Outdoor Clay Play

Now that I'm not in the classroom, I get to spend a lot of time doing fun activities with my kiddos. I have a 20 month old and a 6 year old who still love doing fun activities with me so I try to take advantage of it every chance we get. I thought it would be fun to...

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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...

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Light & Shadow Provocations – Rosa Parks ECEC

Last week, I mentioned that I would be sharing a few of the light and shadow provocations I saw at Rosa Parks ECEC. These provocations were magical and inviting. They also added ambiance to the rooms. As beautiful as the pictures are, they can only attempt to capture...

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How to Set-Up A Simple Outdoor Math Center

Creating simple centers outdoors is not only easy but economical.  To demonstrate this - I want to share a simple center.  This center could be a solo activity or group collaboration. OBJECTIVE: Sorting, Classifying, & Pattering. Sorting and classifying objects...

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5 Reasons You Should Take Your Class Outside

If you should ask me - What do you remember about your childhood? - I would answer: playing outdoors.  I remember, like yesterday, creating a little hide-out under a group of tall bushes.   I would spend hours with my friends gathering twigs and rocks to make those...

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Picasso's Playdough

Guess what?!!  I am a contributing blogger to mom.me.   I am loving the opportunity to share my ideas with parents.  My latest post is my Picasso's Playdough Project.   I took loose parts, playdough and inspiration from Picasso's abstract portraits.  The level of...

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Multi-Dimensional Sensory Table

There is something magical about boxes.  Add those to the sensory table and it is pure magic! Tubes and funnels where attached to a large boxes taped between two small sensory tables.  I put openings on all sides of the box so the children could move the rice in...

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A Fall Nature Table – How to Create Your Own

GUEST BLOGGER:  Elizabeth des Roches Elizabeth des Roches is a Wild Waldorf Mama & a Vintage Crafts Explorer.   Just over 3 years ago – she & her husband decided to sell their house in Toronto after buying a beautiful old house in the French countryside.  They...

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The “Three Little Pigs” Playdough

This is a super fun playdough center - perfect during the fairy tale, The Three Little Pigs.   I make a big batch of brown playdough and put out the three materials the three pigs used to build their houses.  I let the children know that they can build a house for...

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Sensory Table Mojo – Part 1

I love love love putting weird and wonderful things in my sensory table.  This is an old farm milk strainer.   I set it in the wire holder of an antique apple strainer.   It worked perfectly. It is magic. . . This was just a little sensory table that created big...

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Zen Playdough. . .

Begin with plain playdough.  No color, no scent.  Just plain old simple playdough. I set out little bowls of old grains and spices.  Flax seeds, chia seeds, basil leaf, a flower tea. . . . All set out with a zen like peacefulness.  Sniff.  Pick.  Mix. I added a mortar...

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Rock Puzzles

This is the coolest idea from my colleague, Patty. She calls them rock puzzles. It is very simple. You find nice sized, flat rocks. Wrap the rock in a towel and bam! Break a piece or two off with a hammer or another rock!   How to use the rock puzzles: Put four to...

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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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Homeschooling in France: The Secret Garden

Guest Blogger:  Elizabeth des Roches Blog:  Handwork Homeschool Last week, here at Fairy Dust Teaching, I introduced my family & gave you a glimpse of our days at home. You can see that post here & more photos on my blog, Handwork Homeschool. Welcome to our...

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The Making of a Clay Fairy House

One day, while a few children were exploring clay, the notion of building house emerged.  Several children pulled out some of the log blocks. Pieces of clay were placed in the log "forest" as one child called it.  The piece with the hole in this photo was created for...

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Black Bean Sensory Tub

Materials: black beans and lentils lavender large glass discs (Dollar Store) little felted wool balls (Hobby Lobby) spoons and tongs little baskets tins and other containers on hand Skills: Scooping beans with the spoons. Pouring beans into the basket. Filling the...

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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...

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Reggio Inspired: Clay Play

The following photos are from two classrooms at Rosa Parks Preschool, Mrs. Winters and Mrs. Terry. A huge thank you to the teachers!! 4 It begins with one slice of clay. A blank canvas receptive to endless explorations . . . Squishing and pulling pieces off. Using a...

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Patty's Room: The Art Center

First, a big thank-you to Patty and her co-teacher Jenni for sharing their amazing classrooms!! Hold on tight!  This is a massive post!  But it will be worth every visual morsel.  First, I am going to share most of the items in Patty's Art Center.  Then, following the...

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Snowman Village

Here is a peek at the Snowman Village project.  I love the diversity of their villages.   I love providing a palette of choices.  In this project the children: embellished their houses with markers and watercolor paints painted the cardboard "earth" with snow created...

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Snowball Village

Last week I taught two classes for a new local museum.  My featured projects for both days - little habitats.   I have rarely seen a child who does not adore the task of creating a miniature world.  There is this amazing ability of a little world to pull the...

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Dem Bones

My kinders loved learning about bones. Here are some of the ideas I found online (links below) and of course, a Fairy Dust idea! I love this idea from Dilly Dali. For instructions:   Cotton Swab Bones This would be so great to build as a class. Instructions at: ...

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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...

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Fictional Bears vs. Real Bears

One of the strong impulses of the Common Core Standards is the use of non-fiction reading.  When I work with the fairy tales like the Three Bears - I think it is a wonderful opportunity to compare real bears vs. the three bears.  We research bears by reading...

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Oh My Stars!!

Today I received word that my kindergarten class' fairy garden was one of the winners in the 2012 Fairy Garden Contest (sponsored by one of my favorite blogs -The Magic Onions).  What a special honor and treat!  I highly recommend going over to The Magic Onions and...

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2 Easy Tree Habitats – Part 3

Ohh, these are so fun!  Here are my tree habitats with nests. Here's how to make a simple nest: Wrap a piece of brown tissue paper around your thumb. Glue with a glue stick.  Presto! A Nest! Owl Habitat Owls can live in tree trunks and tree holes.  They will make a...

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3-D Trees – The Four Seasons (Part 2)

This article continues a series on 3-D habitats and science topics. To learn how to make a brown bag tree, please refer to Part 1. Today, I am going to share how I use these simple bag trees to construct the four seasons.  You can have the children each make their own...

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3-D Paper Habitats 101 – Part 1

There are three basic 3-dimensional techniques to have in your teaching toolbox.  These three habitat basics can be used to have children demonstrate their understandings of current science studies or character settings. Over the next week, I am going to share how to...

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Volcanoes!

Start with all your old playdough!  Mix it together for that great swirly look!  (Or make a batch click here for recipe.) You will also need a big ole piece of sidewalk chalk. Place a handful of playdough on a plastic plate. Push the chalk into the playdough to create...

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Birds, Eggs and Nests: Playdough Fun

I love to use playdough as a medium for children to express what we are studying.  During our unit on birds - I put out three batches of playdough: brown for nests and limbs, blue for eggs and yellow for birds.   It was so popular!  The rule was "No mixing the...

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Earth Day Insects

I wanted to share one of my favorite Earth Day projects. The children design and create a clay insect that will air dry.   Once dry it is placed in an outdoor garden or plot of land. The insects are observed for the remainder of the year.  I like to place a plastic...

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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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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...

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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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A Narrative at Block Play

I love to watch little narratives unfold during centers.  One of the best places to "catch" such a narrative is in the block center.  Here is the saga I captured today: Four boys are building a structure.  I ask what it is.  S replies, "It is a house."  H chimes in...

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Valentine's Playdough!

Chocolate Playdough! I first found this idea at Counting Coconuts and loved it! Instructions here:  Heidi's Recipes Adding the empty chocolate candy box is key! Valentine's Bakery Playdough This is such a fun idea!  I adore the sprinkles - such a creative idea! The...

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Collaborative Scientific Drawings

Me oh my!  I saw the coolest idea ever!  Lacy Williams, an intern in the classroom next me, had the children in her class doing a collaborative scientific art piece.  I was so blown away by the wisdom of how she lead the up to the collaborative piece.  The topic was...

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Winter Dens for Bears

Make a hibernating bear den is one of the most beloved activities in the kindergarten.  See this post from last year:  Bear Dens.    This year I changed it up a bit and had the child glue the brown bag upside down on the paper plate.  I teach the children to use...

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Ideas for Winter Unit

Sitting on the couch at home,  I snuggled into the possibility of my next unit - Winter and the story "The Mitten."  Here are a few ideas I found: Hibernation Art Piece I love this!  I think the kinders would adore doing this! From:...

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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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Bread Dough Gingerbread

Sometimes I will adapt the traditional bread dough ornament recipe by adding brown food dye (Wilton brand makes it nice and dark.)  This gives the dough a "gingerbread look" for making gingerbread men and more. I feel it is important to bring a direct experience from...

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Crack! Yum!

I have an old nutcracker - I think it came from my grandmother.  Every fall I put it out as a center choice.  I first check to be sure there are no nut allergies and make all the necessary precautions.  (With some children - it is not possible to even have the...

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