May 19, 2014

Opposite Preschool Theme

Introducing Opposites at Circle Time

Introduce a theme on opposites at a group circle. Ask the children what they know about opposites. They will immediately begin giving examples. Pictures work well when describing opposites to children. There are many opposite posters available at teacher resource centers. Sometimes all it takes for better comprehension is to ask children for some opposites, such as "what is the opposite of day?"

Preschool Song for an Opposite Theme

To the tune of Do You Know the Muffin Man:

Opposites, oh opposites
We know them,
We know them,
Opposites, oh opposites
I think that we know them
The opposite of black is _____ (let the children answer)
Black and white
Black and white
The opposite of black is white
We know our opposites

Continue the song with different opposites, here are some suggestions for this age group:

•boy and girl
•day and night
•full and empty
•big and small
•soft and hard
•hot and cold

Opposite Crafts

1) Opposite Pictures: The young children will be required to cut out the individual pictures and then paste them another sheet of paper with proper pairing. The blank sheet should have squares drawn on it to aid the preschoolers on where to place the pictures, with some opposite pairs already done to provide visual guidance. This craft is developmentally appropriate for four year olds and older.

2) Jars Empty and Full: A great craft for younger ages is to provide children with a sheet displaying two big jars or containers. Give the children bingo markers and explain that they have to fill up one jar and leave the other one empty. This craft activity could be completed with other material, instead of a bingo marker, such as sand art (glue with sand), shredded paper, pom poms, and so forth.

3) Hot and Cold Pictures: find pictures in magazines or symbols, such as stickers or foam pieces, representing hot and cold weather. The children must decide which paper to place their item on, the one with a sun showing or the one with snowflakes showing. This project could be changed according to the age group. If it is older preschool ages, then have the words hot and cold printed onto the paper as well and perhaps have them draw and decorate their hot and cold papers first before gluing the collage pieces on.

Preschool Games for an Opposite Theme

1. Transition children out of a circle time by giving each child a small toy, and then give directions to help teach the opposite concept. Tell a child, "Before you leave circle, please take this toy and place in on top of your head, and now place it on the bottom of your shoe". Some other directions could be:

•on and off
•in front, and in the back
•over and under
•forward and backward

2.  Choose an opposite pair and place items into a bag for children to pick out and then place into the right group. The two spots to place the items to will be in the middle of the circle and be established by the teacher. So, for instance, if you chose day and night, then place into the bag such items as pjs, stars, sunglasses, something used at preschool, moon, flashlight, sun, sleeping bag, suntan lotion and more.

3. Another game to play is the shoe game. Begin by telling the children to take one shoe OFF and keep one shoe ON and then ask the children if there was an opposite in the sentence just said. All the children will place one shoe into the middle of the circle, and one child at a time will be asked to leave the room or close his/her eyes. A shoe will be removed (or the child whose shoe it is will hide) and the selected child will have to guess whose shoe is missing.

Fun Theme Days for Opposite Preschool Lesson Plan

Within the length of the opposite lesson, plan to have some fun theme days.

1. Pyjama and Teddy Bear Day. (DAY-NIGHT)

2. During the winter months,  try having a  beach party inside. (WINTER-SUMMER)

3. Opposite Dress Up Day. Some ideas are:

•backward clothes
•one sided hairstyles
•black and white clothes
•day and night clothes
•clothes for hot and cold weather

4. Opposite Oder: have parts of the preschool schedule done in an opposite order, such as the good bye song sung first and the welcome song sung last.

Opposite Preschool Theme

Suggested Books about Opposites

There are many book on opposites. There are some classic stories that have opposites riddled throughout the pages, such as The Three Little Bears. Here are a handful of other suggestions:

•Opposites by Sandra Boynton (Little Simon, 1982)
•Foot Book by Dr. Seuss (Random House, 1996)
•Olivia's Opposites by Ian Falconer (Atheneum, 2002)

Opposites is a really fun topic to discuss with young children. The theme days allow children some silly moments of doing something out of the ordinary. Hopefully this article will trigger ideas for more opposite activities within your preschool curriculum and/or early childhood setting.

Online Workshops in Early Childhood Education 

Preschool Construction Theme: Diggers and Dumptrucks

Start a Construction Theme at Circle Time

Begin the theme at group circle by asking the preschoolers what they know about heavy equipment, like diggers, and then about construction. Soon, the true "digger" lovers will be found. Ask question like:

•"What is another name for a digger?"
•"Where would you see a digger or dump truck?"
•" What other big trucks do you know?"
•" Why do we need these vehicles?"
•" How is a house made?"

Record some of the children's answers, and display them in a large dump truck, or coming out of an excavator's shovel, for the parents to view.

Heavy Machinery Companies and Construction Sites

For brochures and to learn about the vehicles, visit the nearest Caterpillar, Komatsu or Hitachi dealerships, to name a few, before program planning for the preschool theme. The companies may offer some of their brochures to place into the classroom or for the use in craft projects. Perhaps the preschool children may have a field trip to view the lots full of heavy machinery, or even better, the employees might allow the preschoolers to crawl into some of the big equipment. Plan a walk to a local construction site where the children can view the excavators and other machinery being operated.

Preschool Books for a Construction Theme

There are many kinds of heavy equipment and learning the names is a chore. Choose several construction vehicles to teach to the children, such as excavator, backhoe, bulldozer and cement truck. There are many books that will also introduce the topic to the preschool children. In addition, some great DVDs are available for preschool children to observe about diggers and trucks, for a special activity. Following is a suggested list of both preschool books and DVDS for this construction theme:

•Dazzling Diggers by Tony Mitton and Ant Parker (Kingfisher, 200
•C is for Construction: Big Trucks and Diggers from A to Z (Chronicle Book, 2003)
•B is for Bulldozer: A Construction ABC by June Sobel (Harcourt, 2006)
•Cody's Crew – The Big Building: DVD directed by Malcolm Marcus
•Diggers and Dozers Starring Mighty Machines (DVD-2007)

Felt Board Activity: Ten Dumptrucks All in a Row

At circle time, have the children participate in this felt activity with dump trucks by thinking of their own ideas for what to fill a dumptruck up with. Suggest to the preschoolers to imagine whatever they wish, and then give some suggestions, like dolls or chocolate. Make ten dump trucks out of felt with the following poem:

Ten dump trucks all in a row. All filled with something and a place to go.
(Child's name) truck is filled with______, that's fine, and now there's only nine
Nine dump trucks all in a row. All filled with something and a place to go.
(Another child's) truck is filled with____, that's great, and now there's only eight.
Eight dump trucks...oh heaven and now there’s only seven
Seven dump trucks...what a mix and now there’s only six
Six dump trucks...are they alive? And now there’s only five
Five dump trucks ...ready to pour and now there’s only four
Four dump trucks...could it be? And now there’s only three
Three dump trucks ...what to do and now there’s only two
Two dump trucks ...weighing a ton and now there’s only one
One dump truck ...oh what fun and now there is none.

Preschool Song about Construction Workers and Safety

A great lesson to bring into this theme is to talk to the children about safety on the construction site. Here is a song that will help teach the message:

(To the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star)

Safety, safety when we work
All day long we watch and look
Hats and gloves, and goggles too
Steel toe boots for the crew.
Safety safety when we work
All day long, we watch and look

Preschool Craft Suggestions for a Construction Theme

1. Painting with dumptrucks through paint

2. Pasting pictures of construction vehicles onto a large paper or construction site scene

3. Have a picture of a dumptruck and collage items for them to fill up the truck with or use bingo markers!

Dump Truck Clipart Image: Dump Truck Coloring Page

Construction Theme in Other Preschool Areas

The construction theme can be included into many other areas or sections of a preschool curriculum and environment. The following list provides some suggestions:

•Drama: Construction Site lunchroom or office set up
•Sensory: sand and lots of mini vehicles
•Puzzles, Magnet activities with diggers, dump trucks, bulldozers and so on
•Wood blocks for constructing buildings 

Further Resource: Pinterest Board on Construction

May 18, 2014

Squirrel Preschool Theme for an Early Childhood Setting

Squirrels are tree animals that fall effectively into an autumn season curriculum, along with other preschool lesson plans. Including a theme day all around squirrels is fun and educational. Following are some facts and ideas for setting up a squirrel theme day for any early childhood environment.

Squirrel Theme at Group Circle

Begin, by asking children at group circle what they know about squirrels. Allow the young children in a preschool or daycare setting to be their own educators. Add more information to the group's collection of knowledge. Facts to teach children about squirrels are:

•there are over 200 species of squirrels
•squirrels can be found all around the world
•squirrels are mammals with bushy tails, sharp teeth, and flexible paws
•they are fast tree climbers
•squirrels are mostly vegetarian, eating nuts and seeds
•they hide nuts for later use, and find warm homes to burrow in during winter
•squirrels communicate with chirps

Some questions to expand on are:

•"How do squirrels open the nuts?"
•"Where do you think they store the nuts?"
•" Why do they store the nuts? "

Song and Poem for a Squirrel Theme

A fun action poem for the children to participate in begins with giving each child a nut. Collect a hazelnut, chestnut or even a store bought shelled peanut to give to each child at group circle. Start by acting like a squirrel and dig a hole in the "ground" to place the nut. Pretend to cover it up with dirt. Have the children act alongside your actions, then pop up and say:

I'm a busy little squirrel, searching all around
Searching for a nut that simply can't be found
Is it behind me? Is it in my backpack?
Is it in my pocket? Is it in the ground?
I'm a busy little squirrel, looking all around
Digging, digging, digging. Look what I found! (show the nut)

Another great song to sing is:

Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
Wrinkle up your little nose
Put it down between your toes
Grey Squirrel Grey Squirrel
Shake your bushy tail
(each time gets faster and faster!)

Squirrel Arts and Crafts

Cut out a squirrel shape for each child. Older children could draw their own squirrel or cut out the image to practise fine motor skill development. Choose from the following list of material for children to glue onto the squirrel's big bushy tail and/or body:

•brown wool
•construction paper (have children tear into pieces)
•tissue paper
•shredded wheat (allow children to shred themselves)
•coffee grinds
•dryer lint