Posts Tagged With: craft

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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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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I Spy Bottles

I made an I Spy bottle years ago at a 4-H day camp. I kept it for years and really loved it, so I wanted to do one with Isaiah. There was only one small catch… Isaiah can’t read the list of items to find. I went ahead and got supplies to make the bottle, then, as we were making it, I realized that I could easily take a picture of the items to attach to the bottle. It worked great!

I Spy Bottles

I Spy bottle

In the end, we actually made a few bottles with different things inside. We’ll probably make more later. It’s easy to get things that go together and make bottles with different themes. We can try different fillers, too.

Here’s what you need:
Plastic bottle
Filler: We used rice for two bottles and birdseed in a third. You can also use sand, colored salt (or colored rice) or beans.
Trinkets: This can be just about anything that will fit into the mouth of your bottle. Ours had shaped erasers, buttons, a crayon, rubber bands, bobbie pins and beads.
Glue: White glue works fine, though hot glue dries much faster and tends to be a bit more secure.
Ribbon: I tied the list onto the bottle with ribbon. I only actually attached a list to one bottle, since Isaiah is more interested in shaking it to make cool sounds and seeing the treasure inside than he is in deliberately searching for an object.

I Spy Bottles

The list of treasures

I let Isaiah fill the bottles himself, which was pretty exciting for him. He filled them about halfway, added the trinkets, then put in the rest of the filler. Once everything was inside, I helped him put on the lid and shake the bottle to spread the toys throughout. It’s really important to make sure there’s some extra space left in the bottle when you fill it or nothing will move when you turn or shake it.

I Spy Bottles

Carefully filling the bottle

I Spy Bottles

He's pretty proud of his bottles

I Spy Bottles

Shaking his finished bottle

Categories: Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Bottles, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

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

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool, Making Sensory Toys, Sensory Processing Disorder | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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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Paper Chain Christmas Countdown

*Originally posted on my personal blog, November 2011*

We needed a creative craft for kids club and my mom and I came up with this. Well, she came up with the idea and I made it work. We’re a good team that way. I think it’s really cute, so I wanted to share in case anyone else wanted to try it.


Paper chain Christmas countdown craft

First, you need a picture of a present and a nativity. You can download the images I made here and here or make your own. Print them off onto card stock. Make sure that the nativity is small enough to be completely covered by the gift box. Once they are printed, cut them out.


Paper strips--Isaiah thought they were pretty cool, even by themselves.

You will need a piece of construction paper that is slightly bigger than your gift box and twenty six strips of paper (to make into a paper chain). I used green for my background paper, since the gift is red, and red and green strips.


Helping me cut the background piece

Glue the nativity image to the background paper, slightly closer to the bottom than the top. Make a fold about 3/4 of an inch from the top of the present so that it can easily be lifted to see under it. Put glue on the top edge of the gift and glue it down so that the gift completely covers the nativity. Using an x-acto knife, cut a slit toward the bottom of the gift, through both the gift and the background paper. Be sure to put something under your paper so you don’t gouge your table with the knife.


This is how it should look when the gift is glued on. Sorry it's not totally clear, I was trying to hold it open and take the picture at the same time.

Now, make a paper chain with the paper strips. The top strip on your chain should be threaded through the slit that you cut in the gift and background to hold the gift shut. Make sure you only use twenty five of the strips. Use the last one to make a loop on the back to hang the countdown up. I forgot to take a picture of how I made the loop, but I managed to find one online.

This is how you shape the loop for hanging your Christmas countdown.

You now have a finished Christmas countdown. Each day, tear off one loop from the bottom of your chain. On Christmas, you will tear off the last loop, allowing the gift to be opened. The gift then reveals the true gift of Christmas–Jesus. Isaiah quite enjoyed helping with this craft and will be thrilled to discover the picture inside.


Ours is hanging up, waiting for Isaiah to tear pieces off each morning.

Categories: Crafts, Homeschool | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

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