As early education teachers, we are always looking for new materials and resources to add to our classrooms. In a few easy steps, there are SO MANY THINGS that you can MAKE YOURSELF to add to the classroom. I have spoken with several directors who are itching to make the LIGHT TABLES that I sent out several weeks ago. I can't wait to see how they come out! I will be sure to post pics! Plus, I have heard of at least 3 schools that have made the STICKY BOARDS and have put out their own cool materials for the children to explore. AWESOME!! It sometimes just takes a little hot glue, and a little bit of time to create some cool stuff for your kids to play with and explore. Check out these Math, Fine Motor, Science, Literacy and Dramatic Play ideas that will hopefully inspire you to try something new!!
MAGNETIC CRAFT STICKS- MATH
Here's something you can create for all of those MAGNETIC WALLS and DRY ERASE BOARDS and CHALKBOARDS that I have seen in your classrooms! (*If you don't have a hot glue gun and refill glue, it can be found easily at your local DOLLAR TREE store.)
Gather together some colored craft sticks and a collection of circle magnets. Discount School Supplies carries the sticks, or Walmart, The Dollar Tree, Target...Michaels or AC Moore surely have the magnets!
Take out your hot glue gun, and start gluing the magnets to the ends of the sticks.
Assemble some of the sticks into simples shapes like triangles and squares and hot glue the magnets to the ends.
Place the sticks in a basket in front of your magnetic board and let the children explore lots of math concepts with this easy Do It Yourself activity! It's great for Toddlers all the way up to Pre-K!!
MARBLE MAZES - FINE MOTOR
Here is a homemade game that can add a little extra fun to your preschool or Pre-K classroom.
(*Marbles are not safe for children under 3 as they are a major chozing hazard.)
Collect some small gift boxes (*check out the DOLLLAR TREE) and cut up some straws.
Get out your hot glue gun and set up the straws in different patterns. It may take some finagling to make sure that the size of the marble fits properly between the "lines."
Try to make different mazes for the kids to explore!
It takes concentration and good eye-hand coordination to get the marbles through the mazes! They will surely have an aMAZE-ing time!
MAGNETIC MARBLE TUBES - SCIENCE
Here's another cool Do It Yourself project that is good for those Pre-K and Preschool classrooms. It's a great way for the children to practice their Science and Engineering skills!
Take a variety of toilet paper tubes, paper towel tubes and even gift wrap tubes cut into various lengths. Paint them if you want to! (*If you paint them, I advise covering them up with clear packing tape so the paint doesn't chip off.)
Gather some more MAGNETS and glue them to the edges of the tubes.
Place the tubes in a box or a tray in front of your magnetic board along with some small balls or marbles.
Your little engineers will start constructing, and collaborating together to make a variety of Marble Runs! It will take some team work and trial and error, but they will get it so the marbles run all the way down the tracks!
SALT TRAYS - LITERACY
Here's a VERY EASY Do it Yourself project that consists of buying some very inexpensive containers of salt at your local grocery store.
Once you buy the salt, pour it into a tray, or a gift box. Use whatever you have handy. You may have to play around with the amount of salt depending on the size of your tray. It will probably be one container of salt to each tray. Get some chubby brushes and nametags of the kids!
You will need to show the kids how to use the brushes to write in the salt since they may be used to scooping and pouring it like a sensory table activity. Show them that they can use the SIDES of the brush to flatten out the imprints, and the ends of the brush to write.
They may end up hiding their nametags in the salt, but they will surely have fun writing upper case and lower case letters in the trays!! You may even want to try coloring the salt together as an activity beforehand as a variation!
DO IT YOURSELF DRAMATIC AREAS
The dramatic area is one of those centers that is SOOOOOOO important to change out on a monthly basis. With pretend play, it is really important to continue to give the children new experiences and setups for them to role play by adding some easy home made props to stimulate their imaginations. So if you are studying dinosaurs, make a dinosaur land/cave for the kids to act out what they are learning about. If you are doing a Circus unit, make it into a Ticket Booth. Other ideas are making a Post Office, a Hair Salon/Barber shop, a Movie Theater, a Weather Studio, a Restaurant, an Animal Shelter, a Camping Area, An Ice Cream Store, A Shoe Store, An Iceberg, The Beach, A Flower Shop, A Castle, A Gas Station, A Car Wash, A Bank, A Pizza Parlor, A Jewelry Store, A Science Lab...The IDEAS ARE ENDLESS!! It can sometimes be easy to leave it as a Kitchen/Housekeeping area for the entire year, but by doing so, it really is a disservice to the children and it is not stimulating the interests of the children. Since we are educators and we have the autonomy to be able to follow the leads of the children with an emergent curriculum, listen to what they are playing together and then just go for it!!
Here are just a SMALL SAMPLE of some of the dramatic play areas that you can do from Alicia's classroom in Brighton. Using large BOXES is probably the simplest way to make a different dramatic play area. The kids can even help with the homemade materials depending on what your theme is! Get creative and have fun!!
Remember, if you have anything you'd like to share on the BLOG with the Pine Village staff, please contact me so I can come out and take pictures! Or just let me know about the cool things you're up to when I am visiting your school! Gracias!