“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
“Run, run as fast as you can. You can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread Man!” In preschool, we heard this refrain many times this past week. After reading the traditional story and several alternate versions a few times, the Gingerbread Man toys became part of the children’s play during free choice time. Some were busy in the play kitchen “baking” gingerbread man cookies. Others used the stuffed gingerbread man toy to “run” around the room. But the favorite was the printed characters that they used to retell the story. Some children spread out on the carpet. Others used the felt board to arrange the characters from the story. This little one liked standing to place the cut outs in the tabletop pocket chart.
Using cut outs to retell stories has been the best way to encourage some of my quiet students to talk about the stories they love to hear. When we combine the play and storytelling activities with baking and eating gingerbread, all of the senses are stimulated.
There are two centers on the walls where children can dress oversized paper dolls of the Gingerbread Man in our preschool classroom. This girl is adding a face to her Gingy.
Besides the character pieces and sampling tasty gingerbread, we’ll be playing with gingerbread scented playdough and gingerbread man themed game boards and bingo. More pictures next week of the Gingerbread Man in Preschool!
Our little sprites had the time of their lives pounding away in preschool yesterday! Little ones love to pound and I encourage it for a variety of reasons. It helps with fine motor skills, such as pinching and tripod grasp; build strength in those little muscles; it’s a great visual-motor experience; and best of all, it is just plain fun!
All you need is a pumpkin, squash, or large gourd, a bowl, some plastic kid-friendly golf tees, and a plastic hammer. I encouraged the kids to sit on the floor with their legs surrounding the bowl to provide stability. Most of the class spent at least 5 minutes pounding our little pie pumpkin, which had quite a tough rind. Many commented on the juice that started to ooze from the holes the pegs were making. We had lots of opportunity for conversation as they pounded.
I decided to have this activity near me while other students were making some fall collages. I could supervise the pumpkin pounding and provide the occasion “air kiss” to those who hit their finger by mistake. Surprisingly, boo-boos were infrequent!
I keep a jar of Halloween erasers, spider rings, and witchy fingers to use during the month of October in various readiness activities. Most of my preschool students love to play with them by sorting them into like categories.
On this particular day, I gave the child several paper pumpkin cutouts and asked her to put things together that are the same. This four and a half-year old sorted into like categories – spiders, witches, ghosts, cats, bugs, and jack-o-lanterns. Some of my younger students sort them by color or shape. Most find it more fun to sort while wearing a witchy finger or two! While they are sorting, they talk about the toys. I affirm their comments and expand the phrases and sentences as they play. For example, she may say “ghosts over here”. I respond with “Yes, white and yellow ghosts over here.” We talk about the colors and then count the toys and compare which toys we have more of on each mat. I may also have some letter cards (B, C, G, J, S, & W) to label beginning letter/sounds, or numeral tiles (1-6) to match the amounts.
During clean-up, I may ask the child to pick them up alternating left and right hands, grab a big handful, pick up with just thumb and one finger, use tweezers or tongs, etc. Screwing the lid on is also part of the task.
What items do you use to sort and count during October?