Threading Towers

My co-teacher introduced me to the fine motor activity which is threading towers.  It’s a simple premise.  Start with a play dough ball for the base.  We used pipe cleaners as the thread but I have seen spaghetti and small dowels also used.  I like pipe cleaners as they don’t break like spaghetti but have an extra challenge of being flexible.

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Cheerios were used because the children were given the challenge that if they put cheerios to the top of the pipe cleaner; they could then remove them and eat the cheerios.  This is a great fine motor activity which works their pincer grasp.  It also involves their hand-eye coordination and spatial awareness when they work on how to fit the cheerios on the pipe cleaner.

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Traffic Signs

So my hope with this site was to document different ideas I use in my classroom and my thoughts.  But I get busy and now it really been months since I’ve updated.  And to add to all my things I’m starting a Master program in Early Childhood Education in the fall.  But I want to keep this up so I’m going to try and make this a weekly post about the different activities we do in my classroom.  I’ll probably continue some other post as well and as I start my grad program I hope to update it with thoughts I have from there.  So here’s my first post about Traffic Signs week.

We have a concrete area for the kids to ride their bicycles.  The rule of the area is the kids all have to ride their bikes in the same direction to keep things safe.  Every time a new kid starts the class we have to draw arrows on the concrete to help them know which direction to go.  Recently one of the students didn’t understand what the arrow meant so my co-teacher and I decided to do a unit on traffic signs.

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We started with stop signs.  I normally try to stay away from print outs.  But it was Monday morning and most ideas I found were to complicated for 2 years old.  The kids painted with fingertip sponges.

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We worked on our arrows by creating one way signs.  I cut out arrows and the kids drew on them with white crayons to make their own signs.  I then pointed the arrows in different directions and they had to say which way to go.  The bike area has had better flow this week.

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We also made traffic lights.  To add another element to the project we gave them red, green and yellow sticker and had them match it to the correct colors. We discussed the order of the colors.  We also sing the traffic light song in my class a lot:

Twinkle Twinkle Traffic Light (tune:twinkle twinkle little star)

Twinkle Twinkly TrafficLight

Standing On the Corner Bright

Red Means Stop, Green Means Go, Yellow means go but very very slow

Twinkle Twinkly TrafficLight

Standing On the Corner Bright

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We took a walk to the corner and watched the traffic lights change color.  There we saw Walk/Don’t Walk Signs.  We turned it into a class friendly project by making Don’t Walk the stop hand and used feet to resemble Walk.

We took several of our signs out to the playground so the students could follow them while riding their bikes.  Plus now my students know how to follow arrows.

 

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Pom Poms & Dry Erasers

Every once and a while a tip comes along that changes the nature of your classroom.  Last week it was in the form of a Dry Erase Marker and a pom pom.  We recently accuried several individual size white boards with lots of marker and two erasers.  This activity has been great cause it allows to students to draw for long periods of time with out having to get more paper.  We also seem to have less mess since adding them to both our art area and our table top toys.

However with only two erasers we were in a constant battle of where’s the eraser.  Then my co-teacher for this pin.  It is such a simple idea.  A pom pom glued onto the end of the marker.

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There are no more battles of the erasers.  The erasers have returned back to the teacher boards.  It does need a little elbow grease when the markers been on the board for a while, but it’s perfect for the kids in the moment.

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Toilet Paper Roll Flowers

Being in a classroom with 14 kids means we go through a lot of paper goods.  Which leaves us with a big stash of toilet paper rolls.  So when searching for spring time crafts I came across this pin I excited to be using up the pile of rolls we had.  The flowers in the link had been colored with markers but I felt paint would give the flowers more texture.

I placed paint on paper plates and let my twos use their fingers or dip their flowers in the paint.  They liked making flowers but quickly became bored with trying to cover their flower in paint.  Most of the flowers ended up looking like the one below, covered in some places and just dipped in other.

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Shape Cat

We were focusing on different pets my students have and I went searching for different types of pet crafts.  I found a pin which was a preschool halloween cat made from construction paper and I decidied to modify it from a black and yellow cat to more colorful.  And since we are still taking about shapes I made shapes more of the focus.

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The image on the left is the photo from the original pin (the photo doesn’t link back to a site) and the one of the right is my example.  I had my students start with placing the two circles discussing which circle was bigger and placing them on the top and bottom of our papers.  Next we added the different shapes to create the face, lastly adding the cresant to make the cat tail.  The image on the left followed the direction most carefully (but also used a lot of glue in the process.  The image on the right was created by a student who was being impatient during our project.

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St. Patrick’s Day Sensory Bin

To keep the story of St. Patrick’s Day simple for my students we talk about how the leprechaun was going to come and visit our classroom.  We dyed our milk green, ate lucky charms, made green jello and dyed the toilet water green during nap time.  The students were super excited by our leprechaun visit.   For our small group activity I had seen a pinterest pin for a sensory bin containing green easter grass, gold coins and a cauldron to gather the coins in.

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I knew for a couple weeks I was planning to this activity.  But as life seems to keep me busy I didn’t make it to the store to grab these items till a couple of days before St. Patrick’s day.  To my surprise Target and the two different dollars stores I went to no longer had gold coins available, let alone cauldrons.  Being on a budget I couldn’t afford to buy them from a store like Party City.  Luckily my co-teacher was gave the idea of hiding classroom items in the grass.

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So we fill the bottom of our sensory bins with orange and yellow puff balls, feathers, and spiky rings we had left over from our halloween party.  We put the grass on top and let the students dig their way through to the treasures.  The children were entranced by picking up the grass and letting it fall back in the pin and were just as excited to find puff balls as if they had been gold coins.

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Color Cotton Balls Dinosaurs

I came across this pin which had a dinosaur decorated with green cotton balls.  I love art that deals with textures.  After reading through the post I figure I could make it accessible for my students by precutting dinosaurs to give them clear boundaries.  The post clicked through to making color cottons balls in a very similar way as color rice.

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The directions were for coloring ten cotton balls and required a step of stretching out the cotton balls.  However to do this craft with my students I colored a bag of 300 cotton balls, meaning I didn’t stretch them out.  I put all the cotton balls in a zip lock bag, add roughly a quarter cup of rubbing alcohol and a couple drops of food coloring.  The color did not spread out through the cotton balls like I expected.  I added more rubbing alcohol little by little till I had added half a bottle.  The color did finally coat the cotton balls.  I think because I did not stretch them out the color never penetrated the inside.

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Despite my trouble with dying the cotton balls my students loved pulling apart and gluing the cotton balls on to their paper.  Even though I gave the cotton balls 2 days to dry the color was still rubbing off when handles so I had my student put their glue to the dinosaurs first to prevent the color getting all over the place.

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The end result was very cute and made for a textured display in my classroom.

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