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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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Measurement & STEM Activities for Kids in Preschool

Measurement and STEM activities are as easy to integrate into your preschoolers' day as breakfast!



Measurement is a huge category of math learning (the "M" in STEM stands for "mathematics"). Before we get started, though, let's establish what kind of measurement goals we have for our preschoolers.

Goals for Preschool Measurement:

* recognizing and labeling bigger/smaller, longer/shorter, heavier/lighter
* recognizing and labeling small, medium, and large
* counting and recognizing numbers
* using non-standard measuring tools (for example, six markers tall or five trucks long)
* identifying when one object does/does not fit inside another object

Like many academic goals in preschool, measurement skills can easily be learned during play time.   In this article I'm going to share how to integrate measurement as part of STEM learning for preschoolers in two ways: 1- during playtime and 2- during organized activities or lessons.

Measurement & STEM Activities During Playtime

Without doubt, the best way to "teach" anything to young children is to play with them. When they ask you to "play ponies" or "play cars" say, "YES!" Get down on the floor, grab your little action figures, a pile of toy blocks, and help them create a universe where measuring and scientific thinking are part of the norm. Find things to measure and compare, solve problems and make hypotheses (scientific reasoning), build and create (engineering), and use tools (technology).  Here are a few ideas...hopefully they will help you think of ways that are natural and fun for you and your kiddos:

1- Build a secret magical cavern under a waterfall for your fairies to hang out in! Measure how many fairies high it is (ie. how many fairies can stack on top of each other to equal the height). Of course, it needs to be at least two fairies tall so that the fairies' magical echo can work!

2- Build a race track that is at least ten times as long as a car length! Count them while you measure and time how long it takes them to go around the track. Measure it with a tape measure and count all the numbers you can see.

3- Build a dinosaur land with a volcano-safe hideout that can fit 6 dinosaurs during a volcano eruption! Host a dinosaur party that gets interrupted by a volcano eruption!

4- Put a fabric tape measure, a ruler, and a balance scale out on a shelf near the toys so your preschoolers can grab them during free play!

After you play a few games like this with your kiddos, you will start seeing them add in these elements into their own games -- even when you're not playing!

Measurement & STEM Activities for a Lesson

There are lots of activities that integrate measurement as the mathematics component of a STEM project. Just think about your current theme and find something to measure, compare, or weigh.  Add in an engineering component (some kind of building, designing, or creating), a science component (problem solving), and some tools (technology), and you have a complete STEM lesson!

Here are a few fun ideas to get you started:


1- Measure and count "penguin" feathers with this fun STEM activity!

2- Go outside, let everyone find a cool rock, weigh them on a balance scale, line them up from biggest to smallest, and then try any of these rock activities!

3- Use whatever holiday is nearest and measure your preschoolers with a holiday themed measuring tool (like these pumpkins in the fall)! Think stuffed polar bears or penguins in the winter, hearts or leprechaun hats in February and March, and flowers or umbrellas in the spring! Loads of possibilities here!

4- Go on a Stick Hunt and look for sticks the same length as your arm, foot, and body! Use those sticks to build a bridge, dinosaur nest, or art work! You could even create a land art project for others!

5- Count straws when you make straw necklaces, pretzels when you snack, seconds when you play Hide-n-Seek, and blocks when you build. Always count!

6- HERE is a collection of preschool lessons just focusing on sizes and measurement!




My kids wake up hungry for breakfast every day...and they also wake up hungry for learning! Popping STEM activities (including fun measurement-focused projects and play) into their day makes them just as happy as fresh fruit in the morning!



Are you looking for more preschool math activities? You might enjoy this nuts and bolts game or these adorable number line penguins!

And if you're looking for more STEM for preschoolers, check out the following:





(coming soon: STEM Activities for Kids (including preschoolers!) Collection!!)


And finally, this post is part of a huge introduction to STEM and STEAM at Little Bins for Little Hands! Be sure to click on over and check out the other posts!


Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




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Monday, January 16, 2017

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{FREE} Rhyming Words Heart Sort Game for Valentines

It's Valentines time, so I'm sharing a fun little rhyming words heart sort game! It's perfect to practice rhyming, word families, sorting, and more!



All you need to do is print the four pages of hearts and rhyming words, cut out the word cards, and hearts, and you're ready to go! 

What kinds of Valentines activities can you do with these hearts and rhyming word family cards? Here are a few ideas:


Literacy Valentines Activities You Can Do with This Word Family Packet:


* Set the hearts out face up and the eight cards out face down. Take turns drawing a card and placing it on the matching heart!

* Glue or tape the hearts down to a file folder to make a file folder game! This works best if you print the hearts at half size so you can fit all four hearts on the inside of one file folder. Store the cards in an envelope taped or glued to the outside of the folder!

* Use the cards to play a memory-style game where matches are made by rhyming words!

* Use a hanging pocket chart to hold the pieces while you sort vertically!

* Put the pieces on a metal door and hold them in place with magnets while you sort vertically!

* Use the cards to play a Go Fish-style game where matches are made by rhyming words!

What other activities can you think of?


Happy Educating,
Carla











I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Friday, January 13, 2017

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{FREE} Valentines {Rock Themed}!!

Valentines Day is one of our favorite holidays, and this year (like the last four years) one of my kiddos is obsessed with rocks. I always imagine that if I have a rock-obsessed kid, there must be others, so today I'm sharing these {FREE} rock-themed Valentines! I hope you love them!!


There are two different designs: One says "Valentine! You rock!" and the other says "Our friendship is crystal bright!"



I thought it would be fun to include a cool rock with the "You rock!" card or a quartz crystal with the "Our friendship is crystal bright!" card. Of course, you don't have to, but I know my kid would be delighted to get a cool rock in his Valentine (and I secretly love it when the kids get anything besides candy, lol)! 

Anyway, they would also be great little cards for teachers to pass out, or include as part of a rock unit or theme. And, just in case you're wondering (because I would have to know), the crystals in the picture on the crystal card are quartz crystals and the rocks in the picture on the rock card are (from lieft to right) granite, blue lapiz, and amethyst.


It's pretty easy to find cool rocks outside, but if you'd rather just buy some, here are some Amazon links to sets I like (images below are Amazon affiliate links):

 

 The rocks in the images above are "real" rocks, but you could also use acrylic "gems" like the ones below (Amazon affiliate link): 

 

You will "totally rock" with these Valentines too!  :D


And, if you are going to learn about rocks too, you will definitely want to check out my rock theme with loads of fun rock activities, experiments, and more!


And, if you want even more rock themed valentines, check out this post by my friend Sarah at Little Bins for Little Hands!

And if you want other fun {FREE} Valentines, check out my Construction Truck Valentines! We had a TON of fun with them last year!!

AND, if you're looking for some FUN Valentine ideas, be sure to visit my Valentines Theme!!



Happy Educating,
Carla









I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

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Bear Theme Activities for Preschoolers

A preschool Bear Theme is perfect for the winter when you might want to talk about polar animals (like polar bears) or for the fall when you might want to talk about brown bears and hibernating! Since most bear activities for preschoolers can easily be adapted for brown bears, black bears, or polar bears, I'm sharing them all here! Have fun!!



Bear Themed Arts & Crafts:

Kids love to make things, and these bear crafts and art activities are simple enough for preschoolers, but fun enough that school age kids enjoy them too!

They go really well with books like Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See? and Time to Sleep (scroll to the end for more book ideas)!



Bear Themed Science / STEM Activities:

Science and STEM activities are hands-on, sensory-filled, and loads of fun! Explore, experiment, and learn more about bears!






Bear Themed Literacy Activities:

Read a book and make a sensory bin, sing a song, or talk about letters! Literacy is all around us! (See below for some great book suggestions!)



Bear Themed Math Activities:

Play a game that uses counting! These are free and fun to use!



Bear Themed Fine Motor & Other Activities:

Coloring uses fine motor skills and muscles that prepares young children to write! You can also use the coloring pages for painting, gluing, or loads of other activities! The polar bear preschool packet free period has been extended, but may change...grab one while it's still free!


{FREE} Forest Animals Coloring & Fun Fact Packet (includes a black bear page)

Bear Themed Books for Preschoolers:

There are loads of wonderful bear books available, so I may add to this collection, but these are some of our current favorites! Each image below is an Amazon affiliate link:





Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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