Lesson Plan: A is for Alligator

We’re starting our preschool year with the letters of the alphabet. Each letter goes with a theme that we focus on for the week. Each week covers math, science, geography, sensory activities, crafts, letters, calendar, weather, music, ASL, Bible, P.E., and story time. It may seem like a lot, but Isaiah gets through most of it in under two hours each day. Some activities are only once or twice a week. If it takes longer, it’s because he’s having too much fun and wants to keep doing something longer than originally planned. I’m sure not going to argue with that.

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Just being cute

A is for Alligator

Click here to see the full lesson plan for the week. Feel free to use all or part of it yourself.

Our days all start out the same. We look at the calendar, discuss the weather and sing the ABCs. This is an opportunity to practice counting (days on the calendar), learn about dates, learn the weather, and do a little quick review.

The “name” section on the lesson plan is pretty simple. Isaiah does not write his name yet. He has learned the first two letters and really struggles with the rest, so we have to work on that every morning. I try to give some variety and do things he enjoys so that he’s more willing to practice.

I chose 5 Little Monkeys to learn this week because I couldn’t find any rhymes specifically about alligators. The rhyme can be found here. Isaiah loved it and picked up on it very quickly. Along with the rhyme, we always sing a couple of songs. I wrote in some songs I knew he’d know well to kick off our year because I wanted to keep things simple. Music is pretty flexible, though. Once we did what was written on the plan, I let him pick a couple of songs he wanted to sing. The purpose of music time is simply to have fun and get a basic introduction to music, though, really, he’s already pretty familiar with music because he’s in a music loving family.

Isaiah saying his rhyme

I have chosen to work on American Sign Language with Isaiah as a foreign language. He’s also working on Spanish with my dad, but that’s not on the lesson plan because he’s not around during our school hours. I believe that learning more languages is good for his brain’s development, so I work hard to give him lots of opportunities to learn them. Again, we started really simple. I didn’t want to overwhelm him at the beginning because school needs to be fun at this age. There’s certainly freedom to add more during phases where he’s picking things up quickly. The lesson plan will still just show a few key words that I really want him to know by the end of the week. Just assume he’s likely picking up a bit more than that. These words also go on his word wall. (If you’d like to do ASL with your child, this is a great free resource to get you started.

Our reading plan was a bit all over the place this week because the library had nothing about alligators. Oops. We also make sure to take some time for a Bible lesson. This includes reading Bible stories and working on his AWANA book and memory verse.

Isaiah's first AWANA verse

Science is Isaiah’s favorite thing in the world, so I wanted to make sure to nourish that. This week’s science included a video because he learns well through that. He’s been watching several science shows for quite a while and regularly amazes me with his understanding. Wild Kratts (and really anything by the Kratt brothers) is really popular with him and has tons of great, kid friendly information. After watching the video, we discussed what he’d learned and what he thought about it. On another day, we took it a step further by coloring a picture of an alligator’s habitat. This was another opportunity to talk about where they live, what they eat and what they look like.

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Coloring the alligator habitat

Math varies a lot for Isaiah because he doesn’t count very high, but within the numbers he knows, he’s able to do simple addition and subtraction. This week focused on getting him to count a little higher. I printed off pictures of alligators for him to count. I laid out different numbers for him and asked how many he saw. When the numbers got too high for him, I helped him to keep going.

Geography is another activity that Isaiah has shown a specific interest in. He’s fascinated by maps and wants to be able to read them. He loves to ask where people and animals live, when looking at maps. So, we’re working with maps as much as possible. This week, we charted the American Alligator’s territory on a simple outline map. This was also an opportunity to introduce him to using books for research (he’s used to seeing me Google things, so it’s important to me that he learn that information can be found in books, too). Since, obviously, he’s not reading, I helped him locate the right page in a book about animals so that he could find the map and copy the territory to his map.

A is for Alligator Map

Isaiah's completed map

Sensory and craft times are lots of fun. This week, Isaiah practiced writing the letter A in shaving cream, made an alligator from the letter A, played with water beads, made a card for his cousin, and played in a bucket of beans.

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Not so sure about the shaving cream

Letter A Alligator

Working happily on his alligator

Preschool 9/8-12/14

Water beads

P.E. for us is just an opportunity to burn some energy. Sometimes it’s pretty organized, other times it’s just Isaiah being wild. This week, I taught Isaiah how to play hopscotch. He was absolutely thrilled and has started using the tiles in the kitchen as a giant game of hopscotch. We also played with a mini trampoline and played games. Sadly, the weather went sour on us, so he didn’t get to ride his bike, but he’s hoping for a dry day to do next week.

Isaiah made up a song to help himself get the steps right


Hopscotch fun

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Wave Bottles

Isaiah and I made a couple of wave bottles tonight. The goal was to make one that glowed under a black light. Our first one did not, so we made a second.

Wave Bottles

Well shaken wave bottle


Empty plastic bottle
Highlighter (make sure it’s fluorescent)
Oil (we used baby oil)

Wave Bottles

Supplies for Bottle #1

Take apart the highlighter and put the foamy ink cartridge out. Put it into the water to soak. You can squeeze it to make the ink come out faster, but beware–you may end up with dyed fingers. I used a fork to press the ink out, though I still ended up with some on my hands. Isaiah even, somehow, managed to get it on his face. Once the water has a good bit of ink in it, take the foam out and throw it away. Pour the water into the water bottle, filling it about two thirds of the way. Drop in a bit of confetti and top off the bottle with oil. Hot glue the lid on and you’re ready to play.

Wave Bottles

Soaking the ink

Wave Bottles

Finished bottle

As I said, our first bottle didn’t work. My pink highlighter (Isaiah’s color of choice this week) wasn’t fluorescent. Oops. We also didn’t put any confetti in that bottle. It still makes an awesome wave bottle. The color from the highlighter looks really nice and very different from what we would have gotten with food coloring.

Wave Bottles

Isaiah says it makes really good waves

Wave Bottles


For our second bottle, we used a yellow highlighter. We tested it with the black light before pulling it apart to be sure it would glow. I let Isaiah put some confetti into this bottle, which he was pretty excited about. Then I turned him loose to try it with the black light. My dad propped it up against the side of the tv so that Isaiah could do whatever he wanted with his bottle, without someone having to hold the light the entire time. Isaiah raced back and forth, putting the bottle in front of the light, then moving away for quite a while. He decided to test a few other things under the black light, too.

Wave Bottles

Looking through the glowing bottle

Wave Bottles

Floating confetti

Glowing Boy

My glowing boy

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Science, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The Circus

Topic: The Circus

Books: Circus

•Practice recall skills.
•Identify different parts of the circus
•Discuss experiences


Supplies Needed
•Blue paper plates
•Blue half circles and long rectangles
•Pictures of the circus

Large Group Activities
•Read Circus
•Show students pictures from the circus, talking about each act and what they remembered about it.
•Give each student an opportunity to tell what their favorite part of the circus was.

Circus 2013

Circus Clown

Circus 2013


Table Time Activity
•Hand out plates, paper shapes, eyes and glue
•Allow students to glue the parts together to make an elephant’s face

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Lesson Plan: China

Topic: China

Books: China ABCs

•See items from China
•Be introduced to important aspects of Chinese culture
•Develop an interest in learning about another country, such as China


Supplies Needed
•Desert sized paper plates
•Dragon face
•Strips of crepe paper
•Objects from China (paper fan, Chinese coins, dragon)

Large Group Activities
•Pass around objects, telling students about each one as they look at them
•Read China ABCs, taking time to explain unfamiliar topics
•Allow students to ask questions

Table Time Activity
•Have children color dragon faces and cut them out
•Glue dragon faces and crepe paper to plates

Dragon Face for Craft

Here's the face we used for the craft

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Sensory Bottle–First Attempt

Isaiah and I made a sensory bottle last night. I only had one bottle, so we just made a very simple one this time. Here’s what we did.

Sensory Bottle

Our finished bottle

What you need:
Empty bottle (we used a Gatorade bottle)
Food coloring (must be water based)
We also used some stickers because we didn’t have confetti

Sensory Bottle

Isaiah with his bottle full of glitter and stickers

I let Isaiah put the stickers and glitter into the bottle before adding the water. Once he was done adding glitter and stickers, I carefully poured some of the water in. With very close supervision, I allowed Isaiah to add food coloring to the water. Giving him control resulted in a really dark color, but he liked the independence of doing it himself. I added the rest of the water and glued on the lid. He’s been playing with it ever since. Next time, we’re going to try using baby oil for some of the bottles.

Sensory Bottle

Excited that there's water inside

Sensory Bottle

Dye mixing

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Lesson Plan: Bear Hunt

Preschool Lesson Plan: April 9, 2013

Topic: I Spy

Books: Bear Hunt

•Recognize patterns
•Repeat phrases
•Predict the next step


Supplies Needed
•Empty bottles
•Rice (or birdseed)
•Small trinkets (erasers, beads, rubber bands, etc.)
•Labels with I Spy list

I Spy Bottles

Here is the list for the bottles. Since most 3 year olds don't read yet, I decided to print a picture of what's inside, rather than write a list.

Large Group Activities
•Read Bear Hunt
•Sing “Silly Bear Hunt”
•Talk about looking for things and going on adventures

Table Time Activity
•Hand out bottles filled with rice and trinkets
•Have children put the trinkets into their bottles and put the lids on
•Seal bottles with glue
•Allow children to look for the things they’ve hidden in the rice

I Spy Bottles

Isaiah working on his bottle

Complete I Spy bottle instructions are available here.

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Lesson Plan: The Best Nest

Topic: The Best Nest

Book: The Best Nest

•Learn about birds’ homes
•Learn about what birds may use to build a nest
•Learn places birds can put their nests


The Best Nest

The Best Nest

Supplies Needed
•Nest Building Supplies
•leaves (base material, we used palm branches that were left from Palm Sunday)
•yarn (for sweater string and stocking string)
•thread (for horse hair and man hair)
•stuffing (for mattress stuffing)
•Washable paints

The Best Nest

Isaiah posing with the supplies and book

The Best Nest

All the nest-building supplies, ready to use

The Best Nest

Feather painting supplies

Large Group Activities
•Talk about birds and where they might live. Ask students for their thoughts. Ask what they might make nests from.
•Read The Best Nest.
•Bring out nest building supplies and pass out a few pieces to each student.
•Have the students help assemble a nest like the one the birds built in the story.

The Best Nest

Excited about his leaves and twigs

The Best Nest

Playing with the leaves

The Best Nest

Soda straws for the nest

The Best Nest

Adding the ''horse hair''

The Best Nest

Isaiah's finished nest

Table Time Activity
•Hand out paper and feathers. Give each student at least two feathers.
•Put paint on trays and allow students to use the feathers as paint brushes to create art.
•Encourage the students to try different techniques, such as stamping or dragging the feather across the page.

The Best Nest

Happily settling in to paint

The Best Nest

Making careful marks

The Best Nest

Showing off his finished painting

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The Very Hungry Caterpillar

Topic: The Butterfly’s Lifecycle

Books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar

•Learn the lifecycle of a butterfly
•Learn what different stages of a butterfly’s life look like (egg, caterpillar, cocoon, butterfly)
•Practice counting
•Practice naming fruit


Supplies Needed
•Caterpillar with working mouth
•Fruit from book
•Pictures of the butterfly’s lifecycle
•Old fashioned clothespins
•Coffee filters
•White school glue


Isaiah's butterfly

Large Group Activities
•Read The Very Hungry Caterpillar
•Show pictures of the butterfly’s lifecycle, talking about each stage and the changes that occur
•Hand out cut out fruit, one piece per student
•Reread book, allowing children to “feed” the caterpillar
•Place caterpillar in box (to serve as a cocoon) and have students count to ten
•Pull out (completed) coffee filter butterfly


My caterpillar

Table Time Activity
•Hand out clothespins and coffee filters
•Give the students plenty of time to color their filters however they like
•When students are finished coloring, help them put the filter into the clothespin, creating butterfly wings


Coloring his coffee filter


Very excited about the butterflies

**Note, ink will leak through the coffee filters. Either color the filters on top of paper or, for a fun sensory activity, have the students help clean up by playing with shaving cream. It removes ink from surfaces, so the kids get to play and clean up their mess at the same time.

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Lesson Plan: Planting a Garden

Topic: Spring

Planting Flowers

Mini flower garden

Books: Planting a Rainbow

•Learn about gardens and growing things
•Learn about types of flowers and differences between them

•Tiger lily

Supplies Needed
•Watering can (empty)
•Paper cups
•Brown salt dough
•Artificial flowers with long stems

Planting Flowers

Artificial flowers and a cup to ''pot'' them in

Planting Flowers

The flowers

Large Group Activities
•Talk about spring and the things that start to grow as the weather gets warm
•Talk about other changes that come with spring, like birds coming back
•Read Planting a Rainbow
•Tell the students they are flower seeds and “plant” them around the rug, planted children sit
•Walk around the room with an empty watering can to water the students and help them grow, watered students stand slowly, like growing flowers
•Ask students what kind of flower they are (they can pick their favorite or be given an idea) and make a list

Table Time Activity
•Hand out paper cups and a ball of brown salt dough for each student
•Place artificial flowers in the middle of the table for students to choose from to plant in their garden
•Have students decorate cups with stickers and place the salt dough “dirt” into them
•Let each student pick a few flowers to plant in their “dirt” by sticking the stems into the salt dough
•Make sure students’ names are on the cups to take their gardens home

Planting Flowers

Packing the ''dirt'' into his cup

Planting Flowers

Placing the flowers the he chose

Planting Flowers

Finished product--so proud of himself

**Pictures from doing the activity home with Isaiah

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Lesson Plan: Colors and Mixing Them

Topic: Colors and Mixing Them

Books: Mouse Paint

•Learn the primary colors (red, blue, yellow)
•Learn how to make secondary colors (mix two primaries)
•Make predictions about what happens when mixing two colors
•Primary color—a color that cannot be made by mixing other colors
•Secondary color—a color that can be created by mixing two primary colors

Supplies Needed
•Transparent, colored discs (homemade)*
•3 water bottles
•3 clear cups
•Food coloring
•Colored salt dough
•Bags to send dough home in

Mixing Colors Lesson

Colored water, ready for the activity

Large Group Activities
•Talk about colors with partially transparent, colored discs
•Compile a list of students’ favorite colors
•Demonstrate mixing colors by overlapping colored discs
•Read Mouse Paint
•Put out 3 water bottles, filled with water, add red, yellow and blue food coloring to create primary colors
•Allow students to make predictions about what will happen when water from two bottles is combined.
•Pour water into clear cups to mix colors
•Discuss mixing colors with students

Mixing Colors Lesson

Talking about the primary colors

Mixing Colors Lesson

Showing the mixed colors

Mixing Colors Lesson

Isaiah loved mixing colors

Table Time Activity
•Talk about mixing colors
•Hand out 6 balls salt dough to each student, 2 balls of each primary color
•Talk students through mixing a pair of colors to create another color, then allow students to finish mixing the colors together
•Give students time to play with the salt dough before putting it in bags to take home

Mixing Colors Lesson

The three primary colors, along with the secondaries that we created by mixing two colors

*I made my transparent circles by printing red, blue and yellow circles on a transparency sheet.

**Pictures are from doing the activities at home with Isaiah

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