Preschoolers Can Practice Writing Anywhere

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Most printed letters are composed of a combination of clockwise circles and straight vertical lines. Although your child’s scribbles may look like nothing, they show his emerging writing skills. There are activities you can do anywhere to help your child develop these strokes.

Have your child make clockwise circles and up-and-down lines using his fingers. He can draw in the air, on the water in the bathtub, on your arm, in the sand, or on a table. It can also be fun to make these strokes in flour, salt, or sugar. You can also add a small amount of liquid or sand in a zippered plastic bag and let your child make the impressions on the outside of the bag. 

You can also ask you child to use his feet or toes to create the circles and lines. Or you can ask him to draw the shapes in the air and ask you to guess which shape he’s drawing. 

Once your child starts forming letters, you can do the same activities with the letter formations!

Writing photo source: wonderfulyearskindergarten.blogspot.com

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Taking Orders and Taking Charge

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Young children love pretending to be adults. They often imitate adult behaviors and jobs and enjoy doing so, so why not put that drive to good use?

Dinner time provides many learning opportunities in which young children can help and feel a sense of empowerment. Provide your preschooler with a paper and pencil and allow him to take the family’s drink orders. This activity will help with pre-writing, memory, and creating a link between the spoken word and written word. 

Your child may just scribble something down, may draw a picture, or may write the first letter of the word. Older children can try their hand at spelling out the whole word. You can also make a chart for your child with the words or pictures of the drink options with check boxes.

Next, have your child count how many glasses of each type of drink are needed. Allow him to help pour and serve the beverages.

With practice, your chid will know how to read and write new words and will gain confidence.

Our Roll-call Tree: Pre-reading and Name Recognition

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Our Roll-Call Tree: Pre-reading and Name Recognition–Square Roots Preschool

Every morning at the beginning of circle time, we sing our welcome song and do roll call, which is also in the form of a song. We sing for each child present while that child plays the tambourine.

Ms. Taryn holds up a name and asks the class who’s name it is. With a little bit of practice, not only can the students recognize their own name, but also the names of other children in the class. And we know they’re not cheating by recognizing only the first letter because multiple students’ names begin with the same letter. They’re reading!

Once the students determine whose name is on the card, they get to carry their own name to our roll-call tree. All the names on the tree represent the students present in class that day.

This activity helps with letter recognition, name recognition, and builds reading skills. Plus, each of the students feel confident and welcomed by being the superstar with all of the attention for a brief period as everyone else sings to them and they hang their name on the tree.

And we all know who’s present!

Related reading:

Taking Charge of Chores Helps Develop Reading Skills

Help Me Read the Mail

Children will begin the process of learning to read long before they are actually reading. Asking your preschooler to help you sort the mail is a fun, interactive way to boost those pre-reading skills.

Ask your child to sort the mail into different categories. These categories might include magazines, letters, envelope color, type of stamp, size, or person whom the mail is for. This process of sorting helps with sorting, classification, and letter recognition. Experiment with different ways to sort the mail, and your child can even play “postal worker” by delivering the mail to the appropriate person in the family.

Let your preschooler open the junk mail and pretend to read it to you. See where her imagination takes her. You can also have her fill out forms (often junk mail comes with order forms) or circle all of the “red” items in a catalog. All of these tasks help boost reading skills and help boost confidence and enthusiasm for reading.

We recently set up a “post office” in our dramatic play area. The students wrote letters, read mail, delivered packages to each other, sorted mail, made and pasted stamps, and categorized mail by type. They had a fantastic time and didn’t even realize they were boosting their pre-reading skills in the process!

Studying the Letter “N” With Napkins

This week we spent time studying the letter “N” in all sorts of ways. We created newspaper art and made newspaper Ns, we did a number toss, made dancing noodles, worked on our fine motor skills with nuts and bolts, and played net catch outside, among other enriching activities.

We, of course, learned the sound of the letter N and practiced writing it, but we also used an everyday activity to reinforce the letter concept. At snack time, we use NAPKINS! Napkins aren’t just useful for learning the letter N and wiping our fingers, they can do so much more.

Ms. Taryn talks to the students about shapes while passing out napkins.

Ms. Taryn talks to the students about shapes while passing out napkins.

Every day at snack time, Ms. Taryn asks the students what shape their napkin makes, and then, as they unfold it, what other shapes it makes. The napkin can be a square, triangle, diamond and rectangle (and if we crumple it into a ball after snack time, it might be a sphere). We reinforce the opposites “small and large” by taking our small square to a large square when we unfold our napkins. The students unfold their own napkins and clean up after themselves after snack time, so this whole napkin business also gives them a sense of responsibility, pride, and accomplishment.

Napkins can be important tools at home, too! Preschool aged children can help with family meals by counting out the correct number of napkins for the people sitting at the table. Napkins are a perfect thing for young children to work with when first setting the table because they won’t have to handle sharp utensils or breakables. You can ask your child to fold each napkin into a triangle or a rectangle or even unfold it completely to make a large placemat. If you use napkin rings, see if your child can roll the napkin into a cylinder shape and insert it into the holder. All of this is great, too, for building fine motor skills. Your child will likely feel pride in being able to contribute to family meal preparations.

Everyday objects and tasks may seem mundane to us, but can be a wealth of skill building for preschool children at school and at home.

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Nutrition Lesson: Vitamin K

NutritionDiscussionEvery day at snack time we talk about the healthy foods we are eating and why they are healthy. Once a month, we are treated to a very special nutrition discussion and snack by one of our parents who is a dietician. Since we are studying the letter “K” this week, we she talked all about Vitamin “K.”

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Ms. Christine uses her awesome interactive poster to keep the students’ attention.

Ms. Christine brought an interactive poster as a visual aid, which kept the children guessing about what might come next, holding their attention through a subject that may be considered quite dry by many preschoolers. The students learned first about what foods contain Vitamin K, including broccoli, grapes, super greens, cashews, and olive oil. It was then that Ms. Christine revealed that their delicious smoothies had a secret ingredient that no one could guess…spinach! Super sneaky!

We then learned about what happens when we eat those foods rich in Vitamin K. Vitamin K helps our blood clot to form scabs, helps our body produce new cells, especially for our growing bodies, and, in cooperation with Vitamin D and Calcium (nutrients we learned about in weeks past), it helps our bones stay strong.

After the discussion, Ms. Christine handed out stickers to the children when they remembered what they learned. While reinforcing letter recognition with the letter “K,” the students had a great time learning about Vitamin K.

“I” is for Ice Cream (in a bag)

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of the letter “I?” ICE CREAM, of course! We thought the same thing. Since our preschoolers learn by doing, we not only ate ice cream in school today, we made ice cream! We’re usually all about being healthy, but we couldn’t pass up this opportunity for fun and learning (we used organic ingredients, of course).

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Here’s what we used for each student:

• Ice cubes (enough to halfway fill a gallon Ziploc)

• 1 cup of half and half

• 1/2 cup of salt (kosher or rock is best)

• 2 T. sugar

• 1/2 t. vanilla extract

• 1 pint-sized Ziploc

• 1 gallon-sized Ziploc

Here’s what we did:

We first combined the sugar, vanilla, and half and half in the pint-sized Ziploc bag and sealed it tightly.

We then put the ice in the gallon-sized Ziploc bag (about half full) and added the salt. Then we placed the small bag into the larger one with the ice.

Then…shake, shake, shake! We shook until our mixture turned solid(ish).

Most importantly, we ate our creations right out of the bag! The students were very excited to taste the ice cream and were very proud to tell their parents that they made ice cream all by themselves. They practiced patience, followed directions, and achieved a spectacular result for their efforts.