Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Counting, Sorting and Patterns

One of the activities we do in our MWF classes is work in pairs counting , sorting and creating patterns. We do these activities in a variety of ways all the time in daily lessons and centers but we often have a special activity when the children work with a partner.

This month we gave the children yellow candy corn, brown candy corn and candy pumpkins. Each pair received a small pile of candy. First, they count out ten pieces. Next, we have them sort the candy. We explain sorting is putting things together that are the same. We could sort candy pumpkins and candy corn but we could also sort candy pumpkins, brown candy corn and yellow candy corn.

Finally, we create patterns. We work on the AB pattern, ABC pattern, AAB and ABB pattern. As we introduce these patterns, we tell them how to create the pattern (put a pumpkin, pumpkin, candy corn). As the children are creating patterns, I am verbally chanting the pattern and clapping, slapping my legs or snapping the pattern, too. We talk about a pattern repeats itself over and over.

Activities for home-

*Counting, sorting and making patterns-use Halloween candy, coins, buttons, Hot Wheels, beads, shoes. Use your imagination. Anything you have a lot of your child will be able to count, sort and make a pattern.

*Use magazines and cut and glue pictures. Use a piece of paper and label food, babies, toys, etc. Glue the pictures on the correct paper.

*Lace Cheerios and Fruit Loops on craft lace (or we dip yarn in diluted glue and let dry for a 'needle). Make patterns with the cereal.

Have fun!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Writing Our Name

In our MWF classes, we will be helping the children write their first name. We do not focus on proportion, using lined paper or obsess about proper letter formation. We do not want them to get burn out on writing before they reach kindergarten. This is one thing most children want to learn to do-write their own name. Here are a couple simple things you can do at home to help your child--

*Cover your child with an old t-shirt or paint smock. On a tray or cookie sheet, place chocolate or vanilla pudding on the tray/sheet. Have your child use their pointer finger to write their name in pudding! Start with just writing the first letter. When your child feels successful with first letter, begin to add others. Older siblings? Have them practice their spelling words in pudding. Do it before bedtime and you can call it their bedtime snack!

*Write your child name with a highlighter and have them trace the letters.

Remember make it fun. If your child is getting frustated, it's time to stop.

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Our three's have learned a lot about pumpkins. Concepts we work on are: Pumpkins grow on a vine. Pumpkins grow on the ground. Pumpkins grow in a field. We look at the shape, color, texture and seeds.

Some of the things we do in our classroom, you can do at home (if you are brave and don't mind a little mess!)

*You will need a small pumpkin, golf tees, a toy hammer (highly recommend not using the real thing) and safety goggles. With adult supervision, have your child hammer in the golf tees. We do not create a face or pattern but older children would be able to be very creative with this activity, too. Great activity for a rainy fall day!

*Cut a small pumpkin in quarters (adult job) and place on a cookie sheet to contain the mess (well, sort of). Leave the pulp and seeds intact. Give your child a spoon and a magnifying glass if you have one and let them explore the 'innards'.

*Pumpkin Pudding-there was no middle ground with this recipe. They either loved it or hated it. I love it! It tastes just like pumpkin pie. You need a Snack Pack vanilla pudding and Pumpkin Pie Mix. Add a small spoonful of pumpkin pie mix to the pudding and stir well.

Have fun and enjoy!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Egg-citing Egg Experiment

This is a great experiment and totally amazes the children. You will need:
4 eggs
1 egg carton
A sheet of paper (paper towels, wax paper)
A 2 foot stack of hardback books that are about the same size and weight (which is why I used encyclopedias. I am also probably the only person in town who still has encyclopedias!)

Now place the eggs in the second and fifth row of the egg carton with the pointy part of the egg facing down. Place a sheet of paper over the eggs in case of breakage. Now here comes the egg-citing part. Begin to put the books on one at a time. We were able to place nine encyclopedias on top of our four eggs. We stopped because I only brought nine. Silly me!

I found this experiment in Family Fun magazine many years ago. It was submitted to the magazine by the Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Their explanation of why it works:
"The eggs shape-two dome shapes pushed together-makes it resistant to compression (in other words, a force pressing inward). That's why a mother bird can sit on her eggs without breaking them. On the other hand, eggs and other dome shapes are weak in tension, a force pressing outward, so that a baby bird can easily peck its way out when hatching. Of course, an egg is easily broken from the outside if a strong force is applied in one spot."

We do not give the children this explanation. We want them to see how strong the egg is and how a mother bird can sit on her eggs and they don't break. Have fun!

Friday, October 9, 2009

MCP Blog

Welcome to the MCP blog! I have been wanting to do this for awhile to post additional ideas you can use at home with your children.

The MWF classes will be doing creative writing throughout the year. We have already sent the Apple and Bees, Biscuits and Butter stories home. Some dictation will be just recapping what we have learned about the the unit. The children will also experience creative story writing and boy are they creative!

What can you do at home?

***Put the stories in a three ring binder for your child to 'read'. You might also consider either laminating the paper or picking up the clear three ring binder sleeves at an office supply store. Have your child design and color a cover for the story book.

You will notice I add picture clues and bold type certain words. You will be amazed how your child will pick up on these reading hints.

*** Have your child dictate additional information or continue the class story.

***After a holiday, special event or vacation, have your child tell you what they remember and what they did. Highlight repetitive words that occur in his/her story.

***Keep it light and keep it fun!!!