What’s the Weather?

The weather is a part of our circle time, even for the youngest of our KTNS friends. I once did not think it possible to have a class of 2-year-olds sit and talk about the weather, but THEY LOVE IT!  It is one of their favorite parts of circle. How, you ask?

Enter the weather sensory bottles! (Get the scoop here.) Imagine you are singing the weather song and get to shake one of these? And then maybe when we look outside the window, YOUR weather is the match?  2-year-old heaven! 🙂

Add our weather song and well, why wouldn’t it be a hit?

 

 

Our bigger friends in the 3’s and 4’s class, get to dress our friend Harry, (named after the famous wizard, when he had an unfortunately encounter with a younger sibling and suffered serious head damage, resulting in a “tape scar”).

While learning about the different types of weather, it takes on more meaning to our preschoolers when paired with WHAT to wear. Harry even has a bathing suit, though he only wears that during our beach theme 🙂

 

To make our weather even more fun, we teach all the classes the American Sign Language (ASL) signs for the weather and use them during our weather songs.

Check out those signs here.

 

Before you know it, we’ll be signing “snow” and dressing Harry in his snow boots 🙁

 

Keep playing!

 

~Suzanne

 

 

 

 

 

 

September Beginnings…

 

We are off to a great new year at KT! It’s so nice to see old friends and meet some new ones!

The first few weeks of school are all about ROUTINES. Even our older 4’s class kiddos can have difficulty saying goodbye to their grownup or transitioning from free-choice time to circle. Little by little, we get used to our schedule, learn to line up, and remember to “use our words.”It’s always amazing to see the difference from September to even just October!

We started our 2’s Class with a group mural and they had so much fun painting! Our 3’s and 4’s are working on All About Me projects.

 

Some great books we are reading include:

             

We also start our school year with some new play dough! Our 3’s and 4’s have some special red apple pie playdough!

Get the recipe here.

Smelling good and ready to be rolled out!
Making pizza and cookies!

 

We are so excited to be back at school! We hope you are too!

 

Keep playing 🙂

 

Suzanne

 

A Summer to Let It Go!

It seems almost impossible to read/write/say “Let it Go!” without thoughts of Elsa, even if she is slightly passe these days…

But thinking beyond Elsa, (you can do it, just get a Moana song stuck in your head, but please do NOT go see the Emoji movie- seriously) “Let it Go” is an excellent mantra to stay sane this summer, whether your kiddos are 2,3 or 10 years old.

I am guilty myself, of conjuring up visions of unattainable productivity, and leave summer with feelings of failed potential. OR feeling like the over-achieving tour guide, bent on creating a summer so wonderful and so fantastic and so amazing for my kids, that I am left exhausted.

BOTH unnecessary, and both leave you feeling somehow less than.

So, even if it is already August, I am planning on beginning anew, and mellowing out the rest of the month. I invite you to join me. It’s cathartic!

Painting project in the basement – Let it Go! My kids still are capable of ruining the walls, so best to wait anyway 😉

Weeding the garden- Let it Go! Pretty soon everything will die and be covered in snow, enjoy the green-ness!

Swimming at the lake, followed by play date, followed by ice cream, followed by a BBQ – Let it Go! Even 1 activity would be enough, except for the ice cream. There is ALWAYS time for more ice cream 🙂

Lesson plans and yoga plans for KT- Let it…Just kidding 😉   Those are a priority and will get done!!

 

However you choose to spend the remaining weeks of summer, have FUN, and remember your kiddos are only little for a short while. Enjoy and don’t blink!

 

We are looking forward to hearing all about their adventures come September.

 

Keep playing 🙂

 

~Suzanne

 

 

 

 

Happy Earth Day!

So kind of embarrassed that there’s been no blogging since, *gasp* January! Oops!

(We’ve been having all kinds of fun, I promise)

But now it is April, and we just finished up our Spring theme, with seeds, flowers, and recycling!

To celebrate Earth Day, we made some recycled crayons! Our families brought in donations of used-up, broken crayons, and we gave them a new lease on life! 🙂

In school, we used our fine motor muscles to tear off the paper on all the broken crayons, and break them into smaller bits if needed.

Then we arranged them in a silicone tray, which was great practice for 1:1 correspondence, color ID, and color matching.

 

We don’t have an oven at school, so I had to bring them home to finish.

To try it at home, preheat your oven to 275 degrees, and bake for 10-14 minutes, until all the crayons have melted down.

Here is the end result:

We have Spring break now, but our fancy “new” crayons will be waiting for our friends when they come back to school next week!

Happy Spring!

Keep playing 🙂

 

~Suzanne

 

Penguins, Polar Bears, Snow and Ice

Snowman

Winter has arrived at KT!

Even though it’s chilly outside, (and the snow has been hit or miss), we enjoyed all things “winter” in our classroom!

We brought the fun indoors!
We brought the fun indoors!

We did have a bit of snow, and were able to bring it…wait for it…INSIDE to our touch table! The table was crowded with preschoolers waiting to “paint the snow.” The watercolors worked really well, and students were able to blend colors and create some nice art in the snow!

Needs a bit more red...
Maybe a bit more purple… 🙂

 

We also asked families to save plastic jugs for a special winter project. They came back from the December break, and were greeted with this:

Complete with ice fishing hole!
Complete with ice fishing hole!

There is just something about snug, little places to play (think forts made out of sheets, and playing under dining room tables). Our preschoolers had a great time pretending to ice fish, looking over a good book, or even packing a picnic to have in our igloo 🙂

And we should have purchased stock in glue gun glue sticks…whew! It was ALOT of glue!

 

We also had fun with our sparkly, minty play dough. Perfect for little hands to roll our snowflakes, or build a snowman, without getting too cold 😉

Snowman

 

Speaking of snowmen, we read Snowmen at Night, and made our own melted snowmen. Our snowmen got caught up in all sorts of mischief, causing them to melt!!

Why did your snowman melt?Cover art

 

We finished our Winter unit, learning about polar bears, penguins, and narwhals (because we  Image result for heart  Elf).

There were penguins to swim, float, and rescue from the ice.

Brrrrrrrr!
Brrrrrrrr!

 

We learned about how polar bears keep warm and use their padded feet to walk on the ice.

We also made N is for Narwhal, to add to our Animal Alphabet Wall!

N is for Narwhal
” Bye Buddy! Hope you find your dad.”

We are leaving the cold behind and blasting off in to space next!

 

Keep Playing!

 

~Suzanne

 

Holiday Fun was had by all!

gingerbread-jpg

Happy Holidays!

 

Hard to believe the holidays are over and we are prepping for the New Year! This time of year always goes by way too fast…so many wonderful activities and events leading up to a much-needed break. School the day before Christmas Eve = seriously energetic and excited kiddos!

 

Our preschoolers had a VERY merry few weeks, leading up to Christmas!

We read 2 versions of the Gingerbread Man and talked about how the stories were alike and different.

Image result for gingerbread man book              Image result for gingerbread man book

We rolled, patted, and shaped gingerbread-scented play dough, and did some baking in  dramatic play.

Baking in the kitchen and sorting gingerbread men.
Baking in the kitchen and sorting gingerbread men.
We made sure to not let them run away!!
We made sure to not let them run away!!

 

We were little elves in Santa’s workshop, building and testing toys, as well as wrapping presents for our friends. The biggest hit was the Battat Take-A-Part Airplane. The kiddos loved the “real” power drill, and took turns putting the plane together and then taking it apart.

Building a plane
Building a plane!
santas-elves
Building planes, cars, and other toys!

Unfortunately, the weather did not cooperate on some days, and we were stuck inside. We read Who’ll Pull Santa’s Sleigh Tonight, and found out what would happen if the reindeer got sick. We decided it would be a good idea to prepare in case Santa needed us to pull his sleigh, and practiced some Reindeer Skills: Balancing on the Roof, Galloping around Trees, Dropping presents down the Chimney, and Hopping from Rooftop to Rooftop.

rooftop-balance
Balancing on the rooftop can be tricky!

 

We made special gifts for our families, using a small canvas, Q-tips, and paint.

Creating our special trees

 

We shared our own holiday traditions with each other and had a fun time with special yarn balls filled with treats, brought in by one of our families.

There was yarn EVERYWHERE!

 

We ended our unit with a Holiday performance for our grown-ups, (acting out an elf poem), and sang Christmas Lights (by Lori Berkner), learning sign language for “Sing” and “Tree.”

elf-poem

 

Looking forward to a wonderful new year!

Keep playing 🙂

 

~Suzanne

 

 

 

 

 

We are the DINOSAURS!

dino-table

 

Our parent helpers probably should have received a warning (or at the least, a complementary pair of ear plugs), before coming in during our Dinosaur unit! We definitely tested the volume limits in our classroom these past 2 weeks. We roared! We stomped! But to be fair, we also stopped to eat… a la Laurie Berkner’s We are the Dinosaurs.

Our KT preschoolers LOVED the dino unit! Not sure which they enjoyed more. Being Dinosaurs or Paleontologists!

We donned large feet and horns to stomp around like Triceratops…

Tricera's on the loose!
Tricera’s on the loose!

As Paleontologists, we studied dino bones and built large dino skeletons (paper towel and toilet paper tubes).

We also dug up bones VERY carefully using brushes, and magnifying glasses, in our sand-filled touch table.

We compared CARNIVORES and HERBIVORES, and even had the chance to create our very own pet dino.

Some of our pets liked meat, while others only ate feta cheese. Some pet dinos like to play with us, and others liked to sleep next to us. We all agreed our mom’s would not be happy about a pet dino though 🙂

Feathers, and pom poms, and crayons!
Feathers, yarn, pom poms, and crayons!

 

Our preschoolers also learned more about fossils, having fun with coffee fossil dough at the table, and making our own salt dough fossils with dinos and shells. The recipe for the Coffee Fossil Dough can be found here. It’s a step-by-step Youtube video, so you cannot mess it up 😉

Made with coffee grounds and cooled coffee!
Made with coffee grounds, cooled coffee, and a few other kitchen ingredients!

Moving on to Thanksgiving, Turkeys, and Native Americans next! We will welcome the quiet…..ha! Just kidding. This is preschool!

 

 

~Keep playing!

 

Suzanne

KT Playdough

Our Classroom

How do you tell it’s time for our friends to start school at KT? It MAY be that the classroom is clean, and shiny, and ready for exploring….but I know it’s time when the flour, salt, oil, and food coloring all get pulled out of the cabinet the night before, to make a new batch of KT PLAYDOUGH 🙂

We love playdough at KT, and have it out all year long. (Not the same playdough- that would be gross!)  😉

Depending on our current theme, we usually have a playdough to go with it! Sandy playdough for our beach unit, pumpkin spice playdough for fall, glittery white “snow” playdough for winter. There are a ton of fun recipes out there, so we are always changing it up. Our KT friends love coming in to see what new playdough is out, and the parents enjoy it too. Playing with playdough is very relaxing!

Why do we think playdough is so fabulous? Simply, playdough is wonderful for working those small hand and finger muscles, inviting imaginative play, and providing a fun way to practice letters and numbers. You get a lot of preschool skills, “bang for your buck!”

Although we are always trying new recipes, we start the year with the basic KT playdough. Here it is:

Ingredients

2 C of flour

1 C of salt

1 tsp cream of tartar

2 T vegetable oil

1 tsp food coloring

2 C water

Directions: Mix dry ingredients in a bowl, thoroughly blending. Place water, food coloring, and oil in saucepan and whisk to blend. Pour mixed dry ingredients into saucepan with wet ingredients and stir with a spoon. Cook over medium heat. Stir ingredients constantly, until dough leaves the sides of the pan and forms a ball. Remove from pan and cool on the counter. When cool to the touch, knead for a few minutes. Once completely cooled, have fun playing! Store in a zip lock bag. Playdough will keep for a few weeks.

Add some simple household items: small rolling pins, cookie cutters, buttons, straws, and a good time will be had by all!

Keep Playing 🙂

~Suzanne

The Simple Days of Summer!

Image result for sunshine

 

Happy Summer Everyone!

After the rush of June and all the end-of-the-school-year craziness it brings, I love the beginning of summer, where we have a few lazy days. My girls and I enjoy playing at the local playground, rediscovering our backyard, and curling up with some good books.

With our hectic, (and probably over-scheduled) school year, I celebrate this time. I also know quite a few parents who dread this time of transition, especially those with kiddos of preschool age. As with any change, some kids don’t take too kindly to it! Those with boundless energy need an outlet, (or several!!) and parents are often exhausted after a long, summer day with their nap-defying preschooler.

While summer fun can be had (for you AND your preschooler!) at local camps, those parents wishing to DIY have lots of options:

Check out your local Library as they have MANY free programs over the summer suitable for your preschooler. They also have a Summer Reading Program, designed for preschoolers, so YOU reading to them, counts!

Summer is a great time to explore State Parks with walks, swimming, and usually a playground or two. Pack a picnic lunch to extend your stay!

Rainy weather? No problem! Rain is a perfect excuse to check out a local Children’s Museum, or other kid-friendly Museum, or you could try bowling with your preschooler! (Also a great activity on those 90+ degree days).

And don’t forget the magic of your own backyard! A sprinkler or some gardening, can fill up a day with great summer fun!

As for technology, I tend to limit it over the summer. Parents looking to “reign it in” have several options. We use Technology Tickets at my house, and they work great! Each ticket is worth 30 minutes of screen time. You can decide how many tickets they get per week. You can print your own here.

 

Here’s to a wonderful summer! And don’t forget- whether you are wishing for it or not, September is right around the corner!

 

Keep Playing!  🙂

~Suzanne

 

 

 

Under the Big Top and Painted Ladies

 

Just Clowning Around
Just Clowning Around

 

 

As we finish up our school year, we end with our Circus Theme (my favorite!)

This is a super-fun way to end the year, focusing on gross motor skills, and all-around silliness!

In addition, because of a slight mix-up, we received our painted lady caterpillars a tad late, and we hoped and hoped they would become butterflies in time! End-of -the- school -year miracles DO happen, and we are happy to report all 6 butterflies are zipping around the butterfly house. We are excited to release them on the last day of school.

First, our butterflies….

 

All 6 caterpillars formed chrysalises
All 6 caterpillars formed chrysalises

We were ever-so-gentle studying these ladies, and our preschoolers learned a new big word: metamorphosis!

Then we waited and waited, until….

 

painted lady

Watching our painted ladies

They loved watching the butterflies drink using their proboscis. Better than Netflix 😉

 

On to the Circus…

The Circus came to KT and fun was had by all! We tested our strength lifting “heavy” barbells, worked on hand-eye coordination with a clown can knock-down, tested our balance on the “tightrope,” enjoyed some face painting, and used up some of our “it’s almost summer” excess energy!

Power lifter!Tightrope!Knock-downFace painting

 

Our fine motor skills also got put to the test using Wikki Stix during free choice time. If you have never played with them, they are fun and perfect for little hands! Get more info, and some great play ideas, here.

Unfortunately, sometimes, even the teachers start having too much fun, and forget to snap a picture of some of the cool creations we made….except this one:

Dino

We also practiced following multi-step directions, using multiple mediums (whew! We are getting SO big!)  for our clown face craft, similar to these:

 

Finally, we found some new great books to read and discuss, all about the Circus. Below are a few of our favorites.

Little Monkey Says Good NightPeter Spier's Circus! (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)

 

It’s hard to believe this is the last week of school!

 

Even with school out for the summer, we will be busy re-organizing and cleaning the classroom, and sprucing up our Outdoor Classroom.

Check back often for new ideas for Summer Fun and be on the lookout for KT Rocks at a playground near you.  😉

 

Keep Playing!

~Suzanne