We try to change it up everyday with different items to count. Earlier this week I grabbed a stack of extra valentines and foam hearts and “Counting Valentines” was born! My kiddos are also working on recognizing numerals 1-10. I wrote large numerals on each card with a permanent marker and then handed one of the girls the stack. Her first task was to name each card, and try to put them in order from 1-6. Then we counted out hearts and matched them to the cards. It was a familiar task with novel materials and kept her engaged. She asked for a set to take home to show her family so they could play together.
One of my favorite sensory “paints” is our puffy snow paint. It’s roughly equal parts shaving creme (cheap, plain, not menthol, not gel) and white glue. Stir in some glitter, add some Styrofoam balls and foam shapes and let the fun begin! The texture is soft and puffy like meringue. It feels nicer than finger paint and spreads with a brush or plastic palette knife. When it dries, a soft crust develops so that when you lightly touch it, it springs back like a marshmallow.
We use this fun sensory paint in our winter artwork. You can also add a bit of acrylic or tempera paint and get grey clouds. Our Spring time exploration will include spritzing it with diluted watercolor paints for soft pastel Easter eggs and baby animal creations. Stop by in a couple of months to see those. Let me know how your little ones enjoy playing with Puffy Snow Paint!
“Santa reads to us!”
The highlight of our week before Christmas in preschool was a visit from Santa! He came to our door as the children were in free choice play. I wish I had a photo of their faces – visions of total surprise and happiness. Some froze with their mouths open. Others jumped up, cheering “Santa!” One little girl ran to him and gave him a big hug.
He asked them to come to the carpet so he could talk to them and to read a story. Santa chose Clifford’s First Christmas by Norman Bridwell. When Santa finished the story, he told us about his elves who were busy working at his workshop at the North Pole. He said he needed to get back so he could check his list and read letters from the children. He asked if we’d written letters and what each child wished to have under the tree on Christmas Day. He reminded them to continue to be good boys and girls. One of the little ones told him that she was leaving him milk and cookies. Santa thanked her and said all he needed was a very little bit of milk and a very little cookie. But he said if they left a little baby carrot, his reindeer would surely enjoy the snack.
As he left he gave them each a candy cane and erupted in a hearty “Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas!” What a wonderful visit that was for the children. I wonder how many of them went home on Friday exclaiming, “Santa reads to us!”
My class has loved watching and listening to covers of “Santa Claus Got Stuck in My Chimney”. Their favorite is by the Sid Winkler Trio. While we could watch it just for fun, we use it for a group language lesson in vocabulary, prediction, and inference.
While we were watching it a second time, I grabbed a large cardboard building brick that had seen better days after 15+ years of play. I opened both ends and taped the the flaps to the inside. Add a Santa puppet and we had an instant extension for play time. The kids loved posing the big chimney on top of the dollhouse. They added some toy reindeer, the family, and vehicles. It was cute to hear them singing the refrain to the song while they pushed and pulled Santa out of the chimney. One little one enjoyed singing the song with the Snowman puppet stuffed inside a small box. She would open and close the box repeatedly as she sang.
For more fun, check out the Christmas Bundle in my TPT store