Pirates, treasure hunts, and maps are always super fun ways to bring learning into the classroom! My preschoolers love our dress like a pirate day that we have every year. And our printable pirate number puzzles freebie fits in perfectly to those kind of themed days. It is always a good idea to have some routine to fun days and keep the learning activities just as fun as the rest of the day. I love that these number puzzles fit easily into an under the sea or ocean theme too!
Pirate Number Puzzles
The free printable set of pirate number puzzles includes 4 full puzzles. Each puzzle includes 5 numbers. The first puzzles has numbers 1-5, the second one has 6-10, the third has 11-15, and the fourth has 16-20.
Print the pirate number puzzles from the pink button below. Laminate the puzzles before cutting them apart at all. After laminating, cut the puzzles out on the black lines around the puzzle and then down the black lines to separate the pieces.
To introduce the pirate number puzzles to your preschoolers, do not mix all 20 pieces together. It may be frustrating at first to work through all of the pieces. Instead, take all of the pieces from one puzzle and put them in a pile or spread out on a table.
Encourage your preschooler to find the biggest number and smallest number. Ask your preschooler to count on from the smallest number while trying to figure out which number comes next. Show your preschooler how the pictures on the puzzle line up to help create the puzzle correctly.
The smaller numbers will be easier at first to put together because they are more recognizable to younger learners. The great thing about these puzzles is that they make it easy to expose preschoolers to numbers beyond 10 and those tricky teens.
These pirate number puzzles can easily end up being an independent learning center because they are self-correcting with the pirate themed images on them.
Summer is coming! That means we all get to relax and recharge over the break. In my house it also means we have an abundance of creatures around. We get everything from frogs to dragonflies to snakes (both friendly and not so friendly!). Our frog on a log lowercase letter match is the perfect activity to play during the warmer weather while practicing alphabet recognition. There is something about those little lowercase letters that can be tricky for preschoolers and kindergartners. This printable allows the focus to be on the lowercase letter only, which some kids really need when working towards mastery.
Frog on a Log Lowercase Letter Match
This free frog themed printable letter match activity includes 25 lowercase frog cards and 26 lowercase log cards.
To prep this activity, print the file from the pink button below. Print on cardstock or plan on laminating the cards after they are cut apart on the gray dotted line.
In my classroom we add all of the frog cards to a basket and spread the log cards on the table. Sometimes I will also split the log letter cards up on to 4 different trays for a more individual learning center.
Add the frog letter cards to a basket or cup. Choose one frog letter card at a time and identify the letter on its belly.
Find the matching log letter card that has the same letter on it. Place the frog on the log card to make a match. At this point, I like my preschoolers to practice the letter sound or tell a friend a word that starts with that letter.
The object of the alphabet activity is to match all frog letter cards and log letter cards.
To create an activity that will not feel overwhelming to those learners still struggling with lowercase letter recognition, consider using only half of the cards to begin with. When working with only 13 letters becomes easier, add in a few more each time the frog on a log lowercase letter match game is played.
Even though matching lowercase letters to lowercase letters seems like an easy task, it is a great way to build confidence while practicing alphabet recognition.
If your little learners are fans of the lowercase letter matching activity, they may also like playing with our frog splashing pond!
Grab your lowercase letter match now!
Having trouble downloading and printing this free printable? Check out our Printable Help Page!
There is this ice cream place near us that only serves vanilla and chocolate custard-style ice cream each day. Along with those flavors, there is a special flavor of the day. We love this ice cream place so much, that I will check out the flavor of the day almost every day just in case we need to make time to go get ice cream that day! I think that eating yummy ice cream (with sprinkles, of course!) dripping from a cone is a classic sign that summer is here…or just about here. Our printable ice cream emergent reader goes perfectly with all things summer, and includes beginning sight words and repetition which is perfect for those preschoolers heading to kindergarten!
Ice Cream Emergent Reader
Our free printable ice cream emergent reader includes the easiest prep instructions ever!
Grab the file from the pink button below.
It is set up to print the cover page and then the 6 pages of the story, so that all you have to do is print, cut and staple. Each printed page of the emergent reader has 2 of the same page of the story on it – one on the top and one on the bottom. This means that after you print, all you have to do is stack the pages in order, and then use the paper cutter to cut down the gray dotted line in the middle. After you cut the book in 1/2, staple the pages together in the upper left corner.
Seriously, that’s it!
Each page of the ice cream emergent reader has similar words on it and a big ice cream cone.
The text is repetitive except for the color word. Only the color word changes on each page. This allows early readers to be able to pick up on the high frequency sight words and themed words that do not change on each page.
Reading Emergent Readers With Kids
There are many different ways to read our ice cream emergent reader with little learners. In my own classroom, how we read them depends on who is sitting at the table with me. Mid-way through our school year, when working with color words, I would have 3 different reading styles going on with one emergent reader.
And my preschoolers LOVE our printable books that they can read!
Sometimes I will have the group go through each page with me and find the color word. We take the time to use the same color crayon to color the color word on each page. Then we go back to the beginning, so that I can read the first page to the group.
We practice bouncing our finger under each words as it’s read aloud. With the repetitive text, the group quickly picks up on the words. With the color word colored in, the group already knows what the word will be, and is able to bounce and read fluidly across the page.
With another group, I simply ask them to find the color words and color the ice cream the correct color. We have the color words hanging on the wall in our classroom, so they get right to work using that wall as a resource.
After the ice cream cones are colored in, I will read the words on the first page. This group will usually read along with me!
I also have a few readers who can read like early kindergartners and can sit down and just read along with me.
No matter which group comes to my table though, they all leave just a little more confident. And that’s really all I can ask for as they are getting ready to head into kindergarten next year!
Looking for other ice cream themed learning ideas?
The very best way to keep learning fun and interesting as the weather gets warmer is to bulk up on hands-on activities! Keep little kids engaged and motivated with these hands-on ice cream activities for preschoolers. Little kids like ice cream. Little kids like to move and learn. And little kids like to have fun. Each of the ice cream activities in this awesome list below are perfect additions to your summer theme, and can be used at home or in the classroom.
Which do you think will be your favorite ice cream activity? I love activities that you can prep once and use again and again.
We use reusable busy bins (our ice cream theme is super popular with the preschoolers!) throughout the year, but I love adding even more ideas to my classroom. Games, sensory bins, pretend play, move and learn, and simple craft ideas encourage strengthening and mastering preschool skills of all kinds.
So basically, no matter what skills you are working on with your preschoolers, you will find a great idea below!
Every year when we go to the beach for a week, we see the cutest sand crabs! We could sit there and watch the crabs run from hole to hole forever. They duck in and out of the holes while making sure it’s safe to keep moving across the sand. This is why our lowercase letter crab match is the perfect activity for preschoolers to practice alphabet recognition in the warmer weather over the summer!
Lowercase Letter Crab Match
The lowercase letter crab match is a free printable activity that includes 26 cute little crab puzzles. Each crab puzzle has a lowercase letter on it.
To prep this printable literacy center or busy bag, print the file from the pink button below. Cut the lowercase letter crab puzzle apart around each puzzle on the gray dotted lines. I recommend laminating the puzzles before cutting down the middle of the crabs to separate the pieces. This allows the puzzles to fit back together perfectly.
Play & Learn
After the alphabet puzzles are prepped, it’s time to play and learn!
Add the pieces to a small plastic bin or basket. I like to add all of the left sides of the puzzles to one container and the right sides of the puzzles to another. This makes it easier to search through when trying to find the match.
Choose a puzzle piece and lay it on the table or on a tray. Identify the lowercase letter in the top corner. Then find the puzzle piece that has the same lowercase letter on it to complete the puzzle.
Place the matching pieces together to create a lowercase letter crab!
Continue to identify lowercase letters and make matches while putting puzzles together.
After all puzzles are complete, clean up is easy! Simply add all of the pieces of the lowercase letter crab puzzles to a small plastic container with a lid or a reusable freezer bag until it’s time to play again!
If you are looking for even more beach and ocean themed learning, you have to check out the following activities!
There is nothing better than delicious ice cream on a warm, summery day! Ice cream is one of my favorite themes to end the school year on. It also is a fun theme to use during birthdays. Our free printable ice cream counting mats are the perfect addition to any ice cream or restaurant theme!
Ice Cream Counting Mats
This free printable ice cream counting mats set includes 12 ice cream cone cards. Each card has a number in the lower corner.
To prep the ice cream counting mats, print the file from the pink button below. Cut the cards apart on the gray dotted lines. Laminate the cards for added durability and if you choose to use play dough or dry erase markers with the cards.
Count & Play
After the ice cream counting mats are prepped, simply add a small manipulative of some kind to the set. I like to add the cards to a bright colored plastic tray. I add the small manipulatives to a cup or small bowl.
There are some great options for manipulatives for these printable math mats. My go-to options include: beads, buttons, mini erasers, pom poms, play dough, dried black beans, and even dry erase markers.
I love simple counting cards and mats! In my classroom, I use these as independent learning centers and partner work.
My preschoolers will identify the number on the card. Then they will take the same number of beads and count them out one by one on the ice cream cone. Who doesn’t love sprinkles on their ice cream? I know I do!
After the beads are counted out, I insist that they count them one more time making sure to touch and count each one.
Then they clear the card and pick another one!
You can easily add kid-friendly squeezer or scoopers to add even more fine motor work to the ice cream counting mats.
There are 2 of our favorite printable sets that we cannot live without in my classroom. I use the Ice Cream Fine Motor Busy Bins as welcome work, for early finishers, and when one of my preschoolers needs just a little extra fine motor practice. No one complains about the “hard work” involved while strengthening those fine motor muscles because each activity is fun!
We also are huge fans of the Ice Cream Literacy & Math Centers. Between the ice cream themed words cards and the write the room options, to the different options available in some of the activities depending on which letter or initial sound skills are being focused on, these centers are perfect for the 4-5 year-old kiddos!
I’m so excited to offer you a sample of our brand new Alphabet Initial Sound Summer Pack! If you are working on initial sounds with your older preschoolers or if your little learners are heading into kindergarten after summer break, this set is for you! The popsicle initial sound puzzles are low prep, practice early reading skills, and encourage visual discrimination skills.
Popsicle Initial Sound Puzzles
The free set of popsicle initial sound puzzles include 26 puzzle cards. To prep this activity, print the puzzles on yardstick. Laminate and cut out around the gray dotted lines. Cut across the middl of the puzzles.
Spread the bottoms of the popsicles on the table or tray. Add the tops of the popsicles to a cup or bowl. Choose a popsicle piece from the bowl and identify the letter on it.
Find the popsicle bottom that has the picture with the initial sound. Add the top of the popsicle to the correct bottom.
Once a match is made, pick another top piece. Continue to make letter and initial sound matches until all of the puzzles are complete.
It’s not always easy to come up with alphabet activities for younger kids who have no prior letter knowledge. Exposing preschoolers to letters of the alphabet without the stress of a correct answer or desired outcome is a fun way to begin learning the alphabet. Our dinosaur egg alphabet match can be set up for young children to play different ways to fit their individual learning needs.
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Dinosaur Egg Alphabet Match
To set up this activity, you’ll need just a few supplies.
Gather 26 smooth, flat rocks to use as dinosaur eggs. Wash any excess dirt off of them and let them dry. On our rocks I used vinyl alphabet letter stickers. You could also use scrapbooking letter stickers or just write the letters on the rocks with a Sharpie.
The dinosaurs we used in this activity were from a set of all different sized dinos. My preschoolers call these the babies. It does not matter what size dinosaurs that are used though. If you can’t find a set of small dinosaurs, use whatever size you can find!
I used the circle stickers that you can find in the office supply aisles to add letters to the dinosaurs. Simply write one letter of the alphabet on a each sticker with a marker. Apply one sticker to each dinosaur.
Now that the dinosaurs and the rock eggs are prepped, it’s time to play – and learn!
Ways to Play!
For kiddos who are not yet mastered the uppercase letters of the alphabet, start this activity with just the letters in your child’s name. Slowly increase the amount of dinosaurs and rock eggs as confidence builds. Practice saying the names of the letters on the rocks and dinosaurs. Ask questions about what the letters look like, and if your child can find the matching egg for the dinosaur. Encourage creative play with the dinosaurs and the rocks too!
Older kids who have alphabet knowledge can match uppercase letters to uppercase letters on the dinosaurs and the eggs.
To add more of a challenge to the activity, add lowercase letters into the game! Write uppercase letters on the rock eggs and lowercase letters on the stickers. Practice letter recognition and matching with this mixed set!
My preschoolers love dinosaurs! It’s such a fun theme and the learning activities to go along with dinos is endless!
Flowers are blooming and the weather is warmer, so spring must be here! My preschoolers only have a couple of months left with me before summer break. This means that it’s the perfect time of year to really focus on those skills that they haven’t quite mastered. In my classroom, one of those skills would be lowercase letters. Most of my preschoolers have no problem recognizing them, but writing these letters are a little bit tricky for their little fingers. Our gardens flower lowercase letter tracing cards are not only reusable, but also help reinforce letter formation and work those fine motor muscles!
Garden Flower Lowercase Letter Tracing
This free set of gardens flower lowercase letter tracing cards includes all 26 letters of the alphabet. Each letter is printed in dotted tracing lines on a fun spring flower.
To prep this handwriting activity, download the file from the pink button below. Print the lowercase letter tracing cards and laminate the set. Cut the cards apart on the gray dotted lines.
If you do not laminate them, stick the tracing cards in a plastic pouch to use with dry erase markers. This allows the tracing cards to still be reusable.
How to Play
Now that the garden flower lowercase letter tracing cards are prepped, it’s time to play and write!
Add the 26 lowercase letter tracing cards to a small plastic bucket or basket. I like to put everything on a tray for my preschoolers. So the letter cards go in a small bucket, and the bucket will sit in the corner of the tray. Add a dry erase marker (I prefer the skinny ones!) and an eraser to the tray.
Pick a letter card from the bucket and place it on the tray. I have my preschoolers identify the letter and make the letter sound. If they are working in a small group, I will also have them tell each other a word that begins with the letter on the card.
To practice handwriting and letter formation, use the dry erase marker to trace over the white dotted lines. Focus on correct letter formation, which goes from top to bottom and left to right.
Trace the letter and then use the eraser to clean the card off. Pick another card and do it all over again!
When my preschoolers are at activities like these in a small group at a table, I will give them a certain amount of cards that they need to complete before heading to another learning center. This allows them all to be little independent workers while I sit with a small group working on more specific skills.
If you need more garden learning ideas for this spring, you are going to love the busy bag activities below from some of my favorite preschool bloggers! The best part is that you only have to prep these busy bags once, and can play again and again.
Rainbows are not just beautiful, they are also the perfect way to reinforce color recognition with preschoolers! Our printable rainbow color play dough mats help strengthen fine motor skills while practicing color skills. Older preschoolers can build the color words with play dough. Younger preschoolers, and even toddlers, can build colored rainbows with the matching color. Play dough is a motivating learning material in my classroom, so we get it out for many different kinds of activities. The rainbow color play dough mats are perfect to use as we kick of warmer weather and spring heading our way!
Rainbow Color Play Dough Mats
The free printable set of rainbow color play dough mats includes 8 different colors. Each play dough mat has a different colored rainbow on it with the color word and the word rainbow.
Simply print the file from the pink button below. Even though I laminate our play dough mats, I always print on white cardstock. This makes the set more durable. I find that the little hands in my classroom are more likely to bend my printable pieces when they are created with laminated printer paper.
Cut the rainbow play dough mats apart on the gray dotted lines. Run them through the laminator. Add different colored play dough and you are ready to play!
At the beginning of the school year, we work hard to practice rolling out play dough in “snakes” and “balls.” These play dough rolling skills are usually needed when working with play dough and any kind of play dough mat. By this time in the school year, most of my preschoolers can do these with very little help. So creating the rainbow arches will be a great way to reinforce this skill.
The rainbow color play dough mats can be used a few different ways.
The classic way to play with these play dough mats is to roll out matching colored play dough and create the arches of the rainbow. The colored rainbows are perfect to do this with preschoolers. Roll out three arches and place them on the bold arches on each rainbow picture. This leaves the perfect amount of room to place the play dough on the rainbow without frustration!
For the littler guys, it may be fun to add the matching colored play dough to the clouds only. This will work best for those little hands that cannot quite roll out play dough into “snakes” quite yet.
For my big bad pre-k kiddos who are easily reading color words, we will practice making the letters in the word out of play dough on the mat. I have a handful of kiddos who will rock this. Most of my preschoolers will focus on making rainbow arches. But when I pull them into small groups at my table, we will all work on rolling out the letters in the words.
I like that the play dough mats also offer writing practice! Now rolling out skinny play dough to make the letters in the color words written on the play dough mats is an option. It may be hard for those kids whose fine motor skills are as strong. I suggest using dry erase markers to trace the letters in the words after the rainbow is built.
I prefer to offer learning activities that have a variety of ways to play with them. This allows all different levels of learning to happen without prepping so many activities. I also love to use reusable activities that can prepped once and easily be stored in a reusable freezer bag.
Our rainbow color play dough mats go along perfectly with our Rainbow Fine Motor Busy Bins. The reusable busy bins in this set work on simple academic skills and fine motor skills at the same time. They can be used as independent welcome work, fun activities for early finishers, or even small group activities for the 3’s classes.
If you love rainbows as much as my preschoolers do, you will want to check out the other preschool rainbow busy bag ideas below! I love activities that you can use over and over again!