ZOO Week

What kid isn't fascinated by animals? There is so much to learn about animals, and there are so many different kinds to learn about. Some are big and hairy, some are small and scaley. Some run and jump, some swim and some fly. They each behave in their own way and they all have different eating habits. They are fun to observe because they are always doing something interesting! The Zoo is a fantastic place for children because it houses a number of unique and interesting animals. We will talk about many different kinds of animals this week. If you can, go on a field trip to a local Zoo. A large city Zoo, a petting Zoo, or even a reptile Zoo is a great outing.

Talk about animals. Print the flash cards (cut them out on the dotted line and each card will be the same size)and use them to discuss the different animals, their names, what sounds they make, where they live, what they eat, etc. There are lots of animals to choose from! You could split them up and talk about a different group each morning in Circle Time. Start the discussion with the kids and see where it takes you. They often have some very interesting questions and observations!

Zoo Animal Flashcards

LETTER: Z z for Zoo

  Click HERE for coloring page
Trace the Z with a finger and then with a color. Talk about the sound Z makes.


Name Game

This will be the last week to focus on recognizing their own names! By this time they should be able to pick out their name fairly readily.

Print each child's name on 2 index cards using the correct upper and lower case letters. Cut one of the 2 cards into individual letters for each child.

Begin the game by placing the complete name cards on the table and ask the kids to choose their name card. When they have theirs, tape it to the table in front of them. Next, place the individual letter cards for their name on the table in front of them but all out of order. Ask them to put the letters in order by using their name cards as a guide. They should say each letter out loud as they go. Once they have this accomplished, ask the kids to trace the letters in their name with their fingers.


Animal Characteristic Graphing

Use the animal flashcards from circle time for this activity. Print the graph sheet. Talk about the different characteristics that the animals have. Ask the kids to place all the animals with hair in one pile and all the animals with scales in another. Once complete, place a sticker for each animal on the graph in the appropriate spaces. Continue through the rest of the characteristics. It will be interesting to discover the animals which fit into several categories!

Animal Graph


Monkey Mats

Print the mats from AtoZ TeacherStuff and cut everything out. Go through each numbered mat with the kids and have them trace and then say each number. Then ask them to place a banana bunch on the mat for the total number listed on the mat. This is a great counting activity, and it has MONKEYS! :)

Print in black & white or color, whichever you prefer!

Animal Addition

Use the divided plate again for a great visual addition helper! It is ok to use any kind of animal for this activity, such as stickers, little figurines, pictures printed from the Internet. My FAVORITE for this is to use animal crackers! Place 1 animal in one of the small sections and 1 animal in the other small section. Ask the children how many 1 and 1 equal. Place each of the animals into the 3rd larger tray to show that 1 plus 1 equals 2! Continue with this activity using different amounts each time.


Zoo Keepers

A "zoo" is a place where animals that you would not normally see are kept. People can visit and watch these animals without having to travel to the far away places these animals normally live.

People are necessary to help take care of these animals. In the wild, they can find food shelter themselves. While in a zoo, people help to provide these things for them. These people are called Zoo Keepers.

The Zoo Keepers bring food to the animals each day. This food must be prepared especially for each type of animal and special vitamins must be added to keep the animals healthy. This is a BIG job since some big animals can eat tons of food everyday!

The Zoo Keepers also check the animals to make sure they are not sick or hurt. They clean the spaces they live in to make sure they are comfortable. What fun it must be to play with animals every day!


Monkey Obstacle Course

This can be done any way you want! You can set it up inside or outside. Use whatever materials you have on hand. You could even do it at a local park. Be creative and make it fun. Have the kids act like different animals for different parts of the course. Hop like kangaroos, slither like snakes, swim like a seal. Maybe the winner could get a small stuffed animal or zoo coloring book! The possibilities are endless.


ART - Zoo Animal Collage

Find pictures of animals on the internet, in magazines, a zoo brochure, or whatever you can think of. Cut out all the pictures and ask the kids to glue their favorites to a piece of paper. Talk about their animals and why they chose the ones they did.

CRAFT - Paper Plate Elephant

I found this craft on No Time for FlashCards! Follow this link to do this super fun activity! http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2008/04/zoodley-zoo.html


  On AMAZON:  http://www.amazon.com/Brown-Bear-What-You-See/dp/B0073XW096/ref=sr_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364410724&sr=1-4&keywords=brown+bear+brown+bear+what+do+you+see

A great preschool book with different animals in different colors. The rhyming words make it a favorite!

On AMAZON:  http://www.amazon.com/Inside-City-Rebus-Read-Along-Story/dp/0590997157/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1364410815&sr=1-1&keywords=inside+a+zoo+in+the+city

A really fun book about some animals living in a big city all coming together to live at a zoo! There are pictures in place of words for the different animals so your preschooler can "read" this one with you!

Product Details  On AMAZON:   http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=goodnight+gorilla

A book of few words, this gives you or your preschooler the ability to make up the story yourself, based on what is happening in the pictures.


"Keeper in the Zoo"
(sung to Farmer in the Dell)
The keeper in the zoo,
the keeper in the zoo,
Heigh-ho! The derry-o!
The keeper in the zoo.
The keeper feeds the (bears).
The keeper feeds the (bears).
Heigh-ho. The derry-o!
The keeper feeds the (bears).
continue with monkeys, 'gators, birds, etc.


Zoo Cookies

Provide animal crackers and a couple different colors of frosting with some spoons. You could also provide sprinkles and other embellishments. Allow the kids to decorate their animals as they want.

"I Can" Week! Confidence Building (April 1 - 5)

It is important for kids to have self-confidence and realistic, positive perceptions of themselves. Children who lack confidence tend to avoid risks, become socially awkward, and participate less in class and extracurricular activities. Parents and teachers can help instill self-confidence in young children by posing challenges and then stepping back to allow the children to achieve or fail and support and encourage their efforts.

To kick this week off, talk about "I Can" in circle time. Go around the circle and talk about something each child can do. Give them an example yourself first. Try to get them to come up with their own special answer, but offer assistance if needed. They should be very proud of their accomplishments! Just being able to put on their own shirt or brush their own teeth is a big deal at this age. Congratulate each other as you discuss each child's "I Can".

LETTER:  D d for "Do"

Being able to "Do" things on their own is this week's theme!

Trace the letter D and talk about words that begin with D http://bogglesworldesl.com/alphabet_worksheets/BigD.doc


The Name Game

For this activity, you will need alphabet stickers and paper.  I like to use the foam stickers so they are more substantial. Write the child's name on the paper. Place all the alphabet stickers in a big bowl. Make sure you have enough stickers so that each letter of each child's name is available.

Give each child their paper with their name. One by one the kids will search through the bowl and find letters. Each turn lasts until they find 1 letter that belongs in their name. When they find one of their letters, have them stick it on the paper below where you wrote it. Continue this process for each child until everyone has fully spelled their name.

This is all about letter recognition and spelling their name. Be very positive and give good praise when they are able to make correct matches. They CAN do it! As each child finishes their name, they should get a "prize" for completing the game!


Ice Cube Painting

In keeping with the "I Can" theme, I wanted to pick something they can totally do on their own. Prep for this by making a couple of ice cube trays full of colored water. Just add a few drops of food coloring to the water in the trays. Try to make several different colors.

Give each child a piece of white paper or allow several children to color together on a piece of white butcher paper. This is a bit messy, but really fun! Use the ice to color the paper. You can provide napkins if they are having trouble holding the ice bare handed. If you feel comfortable, you could also freeze a toothpick in each ice cube (or maybe even a Q-tip) so they can use that to hold it.

While they are coloring, discuss what is happening to the ice. When water gets really cold, it turns hard and becomes ice. When it gets warmer it melts and becomes water again!  You can also discuss how the different colors are interacting with each other as they melt and mix together. Are they creating new colors?


Following Directions

Completed Pyramid
 Following directions is a very important concept for kids. Trying to follow directions and failing can be very frustrating, especially for kids. In order to empower them, we are going to do a special "I Can" activity.

Use blocks, legos, or whatever other building material you wish. Give each child a specific direction to follow in the building of your item. It is best to have a definate end product you are trying to complete, so that they know when they have accomplished it. For example, build a basic building with Legos. Ask the first child to build a square base to start. Assist them, encourage them, but do not do it for them. Remember, they CAN! Then ask each child to take a turn and add to the building. Give them very specific directions. 

Once the building is complete, give great praise and talk about how great they did. Allow them to really feel proud of what they have accomplished. You could take a picture of it, print it out, and write on it that WE BUILT THIS! Post it in the room to remind them that they did it! It is also fun to knock down whatever they just built, so let them have at it.


Pom Pom Gripping, Sorting, Counting

You can use the same painted egg cartons from a couple of weeks ago. Each child will need a set of tongs. Put a bunch of pom poms in different colors in a bowl. The kids will need to pick up each pom pom with tongs and place it in the corresponding colored egg carton section. (This is also a fine motor activity)

Once all the pom poms have been sorted by color, they should count how many of each colored pom pom there are. Organize them by number. Put the largest pile of pom poms first, then the next largest, and so forth.

Pom Pom Math

Use a divided plate for this activity. The top 2 sections will be what you are adding and the answer will go in the big bottom section. Place 1 pom pom in a top section and 1 pom pom in the other top section. Discuss what you get when you add 1 pom pom to 1 pom pom. Physically take the pom poms from the top trays and place them together in the bottom tray and say "1 pom pom plus 1 pom pom equals 2 pom poms!" Try this with 2 in one section and 1 in the other. This is a great visual way to begin to understand adding items together. Do this with them several times this week and see if they can begin to do it on their own at some point! THEY CAN!


Cutting Practice

Print the worksheet HERE and allow the kids to practice cutting straight lines using preschool safety scissors. (you guessed it, they can!)


Beading Bracelets

Provide colorful beads and pipe cleaners and direct them to create a beautiful bracelet!

I Can Be Anything!Get it on Amazon! http://www.amazon.com/Can-Be-Anything-Jerry-Spinelli/dp/0316162264/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363802173&sr=1-1&keywords=i+can+be+anything#

Just like the title suggests, this book talks about how kids can be anything they want to be!!

Incredible You! 10 Ways to let your greatness shine throughGet it on Amazon!  http://www.amazon.com/Incredible-Ways-greatness-shine-through/dp/1401907822/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1363802321&sr=1-1&keywords=incredible+you

A fantastic way to introduce the concept of being unique and powerful!


Glue Painting

Materials Needed:

White school glue
Food coloring
Small paint brushes

Squirt some glue into a small bowl and add food coloring until it is the color you want. Create several different colors. Direct the kiddos to paint with this just as they normally would. The glue creates some really cool pictures that have texture! They CAN make cool art. Be sure to hang their masterpieces around the room. (if they have the manual dexterity to squeeze a glue bottle, they could paint that way also)


Create Homemade Instruments

This is a fun project! This way they CAN make their own music!

Castanets: make using poster board and buttons. Cut out rectangles of poster board (or cardboard), fold in half and glue a button to the inside edge of each side. Click them together for some great rhythm. (used bottle caps instead of buttons in the image)

Tambourines:  take 2 foam plates. Lay one down and place some beans, beads, rice, etc  on the plate. Lay the other plate on top with the edges together and tape the edges down. Depending on what you put inside is how the instrument will sound. You could make a couple of different versions of this.

Egg Shakers:  fill Easter eggs will rice and glue or tape shut. Shake, shake, shake!

Guitar:  Take a shoe box, cereal box, or tissue box. If you are using a cereal box or shoe box you will need to cut a hole in the center of one of the big flat sides. A tissue box is fine as-is. Wrap large rubber bands around the box longways to create the strings. Tape a paper towel tube to the top to act as the "neck". Strum away!


Fruit Pizzas

They CAN do this all on their own!

Sugar cookies or graham crackers
Vanilla frosting
Various fruit cut into small pieces

Give each child a cookie or graham cracker. Allow them to spread theirs with the frosting. Then they can add whatever fruit they want. Voila! Yummy fruit pizza they totally made themselves. :)

Easter Celebration!

This week (as with the other Religion based holidays) we will marry the religious aspect and the Easter Bunny to have a fun and joyous week! It is important to remember, as we color pictures of the Easter Bunny and search for eggs, the reason why the Easter season is filled with joy and hope as we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.

After Jesus died on the cross His friends were very sad. They took Jesus' body and lovingly placed it in a tomb. A big rock was rolled in front of the door to the tomb. Guards were placed outside the tomb to make sure no one would steal the body. Listen carefully as I read the rest of the story from God's Word, the Bible:

Read Matthew 28:1-10

Print the Jesus Has Risen color sheet HERE.

As the kids color their paper, tell them about the real reason for Easter. Explain to them that it may be fun to get candy and dye colorful eggs, but in reality, Easter reminds us that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Three days after He died and was laid to rest, He miraculously rose from the dead. After Jesus rose from the dead, He appeared and spoke to His followers. Jesus spent forty days with His followers, and before He went back to Heaven, He told them that He would return. One day, Jesus will come back!

LETTER: E e for Easter and Egg

Print the worksheet. Trace the letter with fingers, then with a crayon. Talk about the sound the letter E makes. It is one of the letters that has 2 sounds. Ee and Eh. Easter has the ee sound and Egg has the eh sound.


To continue with the Name Recognition lesson, this week we will do a really fun activity.

Use 1 index card per child. Print their name on their card, using small print and spread it across the card. Take some of those round, multi colored stickers that they sell for adding prices to yard sale items and print the alphabet, one letter per sticker. There should be 1-2 sheets of these stickers per child. If the child's name has multiple of the same letter, make sure they have all the letters they will need to make their name. You don't have to inlcude ALL the letters of the alphabet, just make sure there are several that they won't need. The idea is to get them to recognize the letters in their name.

Ask them to find the letters written on the card on the stickers and place the correct sticker on top of the corresponding letter on the card. When done, talk with each child about the sounds the letters in their names make and how they work together to make their name. Each morning, place their name card on the floor in the circle time spot where you want them to sit. Have them find their name and sit by it each day.

Make A Naked Egg!

This is a crazy experiment and they won't really understand what is happening, but it is super cool and its an egg so what the heck?
Materials Needed:
Clear Jar
White Vinegar

Show the egg to the kids. See? It is just a regular old egg. Tell them you are going to "dissolve" the shell away. Carefully place the egg in the jar. Add vinegar to the jar so that the egg is completely covered.  You should immediately see bubbles form on the surface of the egg. The chemical process has begun!  Each day a layer of foam will collect at the top of the jar. Once per day, drain the vinegar out of the jar and replace, always making sure to cover the egg with the vinegar. During this process, allow the kids to observe the changes that are happening to the egg. Generally within about 2-3 days the shell will have completely dissolved and you will be able to see the yolk through the rubbery layer left behind. You can allow the kids to check it out, but be carefull because the only thing left holding the egg together is the very thin membrane.


Easter Egg Addition!

Purchase a set of those plastic Easter Eggs. Pull them apart. On the bigger side, print simple addition problems such as 1+1= and 1+2=. I like to use shapes instead of numbers at this stage. For this, draw 1 dot, a plus sign, 1 dot and and equal sign. On the smaller side print the answer. For the answers, always use the number itself. Make a bunch of these with several different simple problems on them. Place all the problems in one bowl and the answers in another bowl. Go through the problems discussing what the answer should be. Ask the kids to search through the answer bowl to place the correct answers with their corresponding problems.

For a more advanced version, give each child 4 or 5 problem sides and 4 or 5 answer sides and have them put them together themselves. Check their work when they are done and reward them for the correct answers and talk about the wrong answers. Allow them to make corrections as needed.

Easter Memory Game

I found this very cool FREE printable at Modern Parents Messy Kids! Print out 2 pages of the template and cut out the pictures. The kids will be matching different colored bunnies. Use just like any memory game!


Tissue Paper Eggs


Print out the above Easter Egg template. Provide pretty colored squares of tissue paper and glue sticks. Allow the kids to glue the colored paper to their eggs to make beautiful works of Easter art!

Bunny Ears & Tails

There is a very cute template and instructions on DLTK's site HERE. That is how to make the ears.

To make the tail, draw a tail shape (basically a fluffy cloud) on a piece of white construction paper. Give the kids some glue and cotton balls and have them cover their tail in the cotton. When dry, you can tape them to their pants or tie a loose ribbon around their waist to hold them on.


Peter Cottontail (when they are wearing their bunny ears and tails, sing this cute song and hop around the room!)


Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail,
Hippity hoppity, Easter's on its way
Bringin' ev'ry girl and boy
A basketful of Easter joy
Things to make your Easter Bright and gay

Oh! Here' comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppity Happy Easter Day
Look at him hop and listen to him say,
"Try to do the things you should"
Maybe if you're extra good
He'll roll lots of Easter eggs your way
You'll wake up on Easter morning
And you'll know that he was there
When you find those choc'late bunnies
That he's hiding ev´rywhere,
Oh! Here' comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity hoppity Happy Easter Day.

5 Lil Easter Bunnies

5 little Easter bunnies
standing at the door
One boils the eggs and then there were 4

(keep counting down with the same lyrics)

1 little Easter bunny,
what can you say?
He hides the eggs for a happy Easter day!


Paper Cutting

For this activity, be sure to provide some toddler safety scissors for the kids.

Print out the scissor skills template HERE. Allow the kids to practice cutting the straight lines.


Bunny Poem

This is not a book, but it is a fun little poem to read this week!

On Amazon -

A great book about the true meaning of Easter!


Egg Salad on Crackers

Boil a few eggs ahead of time. Put them in a bog bowl and allow the kiddos to mash them with forks. Add some mayonnaise and pickle relish (or how ever you wish to make it) and let them mix it all up.

Give them some crackers and spoons and show them how to top their crackers with their mixture. Yum!

SPRING! A time of renewal and warmth (March 18-22)

UPDATED - 3/18/14
South Texas had a pretty interesting winter this year, and we are really looking forward to Spring! Our grass will begin to turn more green and the leaves on the trees will grow back. It gets warmer outside and outside games are more fun! We welcome the birds singing in the trees, begin to see our butterfly friends around, and flowers bloom and smell wonderful. Ahh, Spring!

To begin this lesson, it is a great idea to head outside and play a game of I Spy. Try to find pretty birds, flowers, bird nests, butterflies, etc. Make it a fun game and provide flower stickers for correct answers!


C is for Colorful! Trace the letter on the worksheet and talk about the letter C words! Letter C Worksheet


It is time to begin learning to READ! Really, they can do it. We begin with basic "site words" that are common and easy. For the next few weeks we will work on getting them to recognize their own names. Their names are the most important words of all! Young children are so proud when they are able to spot their names.

This week begin by taking a picture of each of their smiling faces. Print the pictures.
Next freehand some flowers on colorful construction paper OR you can print some out HERE. 
Cut the pictures out and tape them in the center of a flower.
Print their names above or below their face on the flower.

Hang these up near your Circle Time area. Every morning, talk about their names. Ask them to point to their name on their flower. What letter does their name start with? On Thursday, remove their picture from the flower and see if they can still recognize their name. Remind them of the first letter of their name to help them along.


Growing Seeds (Lima Beans)

All plants grow from seeds! There are many different shapes, sizes and colors of seeds. We even eat some kinds of seeds. We can eat sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, black eyed peas, lima beans, green peas, sesame seeds. These are all examples of something we eat that can grow if we plant them in dirt.

A seed will grow into a plant if you plant it in dirt and provide water and sunlight. Sunlight is like food for plants! We are going to grow a plant of our own! We won't even need any dirt!

Materials Needed:

Lima Beans
Paper Towels
Gallon Size Zipper Bags

Soak the dried lima beans over night to help speed the growth process. The faster they see results, the easier to keep them engaged in this!

Place the pre-soaked beans in a bowl. Provide paper towels and a water source.
Write the children's names on a baggie. Display them on the table and see if they can recognize theirs. Explain that sometimes seeds will sprout with water and no dirt. Let's see if we can make that happen!

Have the kiddos place the paper towels in the bowl of water so that they are saturated. Place at least 2 saturated towels inside the baggie all spread out. Then ask them to count out 2 lima beans and place them in the bags on top of the wet towels. Seal up the baggies. Tape the bags to a window where the kids can check them easily all week.

After about 24 hours you should be able to see some sprouting! Each day you should see some growth. After around 7-8 days, there will be a green plant with a leaf in their bag. Beyond this time, the plants may begin to mold.


Gardners (Landscapers)

A Gardner is a person whose job is to take care of lawns and gardens. Gardners sometimes work for people who own a home and they take care of their yard for them. Other Gardners work at a school, a zoo, a park or even around roads to take care of the grass and flowers there. These people are good at taking care of plants and helping them grow big and beautiful!


Flower Counting

Print the blank counting grid HERE and the numbered flowers printable HERE.  Write the numbers 1 through 5 along the left side of the grid. You will need multiple copies of the numbered flowers. Cut out the numbered flowers. (You could also use foam flowers from a craft store or flower stickers)

Give a grid to each child and place the numbered flowers randomly on the table. Direct the kids to place the 1 flower numbered with a 1 next to the 1 on the grid. Then they should place a number 1 and a number 2 flower on the number 2 row on the grid. Complete this through number 5.

When done with foam flowers

Less Than & More Than

Print the worksheet from Education.com HERE. This worksheet has less than and more than in a butterfly theme.
  More or Less Butterflies Worksheet


Handprint Flowers

Materials Needed:
Pink, Red, Yellow, etc finger paint
Construction Paper
Stem & Leaves Template (here)

Print 1 stem and leaves set for each flower. Cut them out.

Ask the kids to glue the stem and leaves to their piece of contruction paper.

Dip the kid's hands in one color of paint. Make sure their hand is open faced and flat. Have them make a print of their hand at the top of the stem. You can stop here, but it turns out really pretty if you do multiple separate prints for 1 flower.

Multiple Prints

One Print


Yarn Weaving

Provide each child with a metal cooling rack (for baking) and some lengths of yarn. Instruct them to weave the yarn through the rack.

This is a very calming excercise which requires patience and fine motor skill!


The excitement of spring is in the air as a boy explores the world around him.

DLTK's website has a fun printable book all about Spring HERE. Print, assemble and read with your class!


Signs of Spring Collage
Cut out pictures of flowers, birds, baby animals, green and leafy trees, Easter eggs, butterflies, four leaf clovers, dandelions, etc from magazines. Provide each child with a piece of construction paper or provide 1 large piece of paper if you want to do a full class project.

Place the different pictures on the table and ask the kids to glue their favorites to the paper. Once done, talk about the pictures and how they show the signs of spring!


Ice Cream Sundaes

Ice Cream Flavor of Choice
Chocolate Sauce
Whip Cream

Place a scoop of ice cream in a small bowl. Provide the toppings in small bowls with a spoon and allow the kids to create their own sundaes! Lots of fun and super yummy.