Monday, September 19, 2011
If enough people express an interest, particularly preschool teachers, I will post some of my home made "trash to treasure" teaching aids.
I fascilitate at teacher recycling workshops, and my class always fills fast.
Cut the top off a two litre green soda bottle, cut a frog from fun foam. Cut out a mouth, then hot glue it on along with egg carton cup eyes and add wiggle eyes. Purchase plastic insects or ask parents to contribute. Provide tongs. I have several kinds: scissor tongs, but they are too difficult for younger children; open-close easy-to-use plastic tongs, and the tongs that are pictured here have resistance to them so the kids have to apply pressure and squeeze.
Using tongs to pick up objects develops fine motor, small hand/finger muscles.
Allow children to make their own discoveries. First, they will manipulate and investigate with their hands and discuss the properties of each.
"Hey, this caterpillar really stretches."
"Look at all these black spiders."
"There are different kinds of bees."
"This is a giant size bug."
"Once, I chased a grasshopper like this one."
After children have had sufficient time to examine the insects, explain that they can only feed the frog using the tongs. They have to twist and turn their hands and get a little wrist action going as they maneuver the bugs into the frog's mouth.
This should be left out for free play. You will be amazed at how the children sort/classify/ count, and make observations. This unstructured activity provides hours of fun. Please, don't hurry the 'educational play'. Don't explain classifying etc.
Observe as the kids begin to do these things on their own.
To further extend this activity, add a soft dice and show the children how to count how many dots, and then feed a corresponding amount (that many) bugs to Froggy. Add numbers 1-6 and show them how to match the number to the amount of dots, so they can remember how many.
Sometime during the day, talk about Froggy. Listen to what the kids have to say about their individual experiences. Talk about how frogs catch insects with their tongues. Tell them to pretend they have a frog mouth. Do tongue exercises which helps speech development: stick your tongue way out, to the right, left, in-out-in-out-in, catch a pretend bug, crunch and munch, say, Ribbit" and lick lips all the way around. Make a bug to eat: peanut butter on Ritz crackers, raisin eyes... have fun.
Please let me know if these activities/homemade games are something you are interested in; pass the word to others.
For those of you who are not classroom teachers, remember, you are teachers too, grandmas, moms, whatever your official title, your kids and grandkids will be delighted with these nearly cost free and fun activities and games.
I will be posting preK activities on Wednesdays accompanied with photos. Please stop by and leave a comment, especially if you try something and the kids liked it.