I usually suggest waiting until after Halloween to grab clearance costumes for your dramatic play area, but this year I'm telling everyone I know to RUN to the Dollar Tree because they have some amazing costumes out already.
You can't beat dress up clothes and accessories for a dollar, and while I know that the quality may not be the best they're all $1. Can I say it one more time ONE DOLLAR! Ok, I'm pretty sure that I've managed to convey my level of excitement, now let me show you a visual.
I bought all of this for my own daughter - she's getting a great big bag of dress up clothes for Christmas and I spent less than $20 on all of it (I also snagged a few items that are not pictured, including a unicorn headband and tail, black cat mask, and dress up necklaces).
They also have chef aprons and hats, turtle shells, pirate gear, a variety of wands and tiaras, witches hats, and wigs. If you've ever wished that you had more options in your dramatic play area then go go go to the nearest Dollar Tree quick, these are bound to be picked over fast!
**This is not a sponsored post, I just love the current offerings from the Dollar Tree**
Years ago I made a set of felt food for my classroom. When I make something I have a tendency to go a little above and beyond, which means that this particular set of felt food was amazing, but took me FOREVER. Which is why I haven't made any more, until now. I'm working on a set for my own daughter to play with so I thought it would be fun to share some of my inspiration with you.
Happy Friday! I am all about being outside this week and today's freebie is the perfect easy outdoor activity for a lazy summer afternoon. This Cloud Hunt Bingo game from Green Grubs is the perfect way to encourage children to be creative while taking time to pay attention to the world around them. Go download your copy and have a great weekend!
The weather has been beautiful and I am fully in the summer spirit. All I want to do is be outside, so I thought I'd put together a list of all the fun things that little ones could possibly do outside for those times when my "let's go outside" is met with a chorus of "I don't want to."
Look for bugs
Follow some ants
Put together wildflower bouquets
Make daisy or clover necklaces
Build a sandcastle
Dig a deep deep hole
Go to the park
Pretend the playground is a pirate ship
Make mud pies
Start a sand bakery
Find shapes in the clouds
Draw your scientific observations
Decorate with sidewalk chalk
Make giant bubbles in a baby pool
Chase a butterfly
Play dodge ball
See how high you can go on a swing
Build an obstacle course
Throw water balloons
Run through a sprinkler
Soak in a wading pool
Have a squirt gun fight
Start a game of tag
Build a fort
Watch ice cubes melt in the sun
Trace your shadow
Play hide and seek
Pretend that you're camping
Make music with things you find outside
Pick up litter
Plant a garden
Start a car wash for bikes
Read books outside
Have a picnic
Make up your own game
Start an outdoor dance party
Put together a bike parade
Go for a walk
Listen to birds
Create your own relay races
Do crayon rubbings
Take a hike
Go on a scavenger hunt
Start a rock collection
Jump in puddles
Play with a parachute
Fly paper airplanes
Now you're sure to have a response every time a child tells you that they are bored!
Happy Friday! I am currently on vacation, so I thought I'd share something a little different this Friday. Those of you who have followed Preschool Ponderings for some time are well aware that I have a passion for all things organization. It should come as no surprise that I am known as the master of the packing list, but I may have found a freebie that challenges even my own list - this packing list freebie is from I Should Be Mopping the Floor. If you don't have a love for packing like I do, then this list is going to be your best friend! Go download yours and have a wonderful weekend!
One of my good friends started her own little tradition. Every time she goes to a child's first birthday party, she gets them one of these personalized name puzzles from Fat Brain Toys. I absolutely love this idea! Each child receives a gift that is uniquely their own, and I can't tell you how many children have learned to spell their names because they play with their puzzles so often. The best part is that the buyer types in the child's name, and then Fat Brain Toys creates it from that custom order - so there is no hunting down a name only to find that it doesn't come in the specific spelling that you need!
My daughter was gifted her name puzzle for her birthday this past week and I have been amazed by how much she has played with it. At this point she is mostly still at the chewing-on-the-letters stage, and I have to say that the pieces have held up to that particular use really really well.
I briefly browsed the rest of their best-sellers and I had to tear myself away from the site before I started adding things to my cart. It's safe to say that when it's time to think about Christmas shopping Fat Brain Toys will be my first stop!
This post was not sponsored in any way - I just really love this company and I think the puzzle gift is an awesome idea.
If you had to ask my friends and co-workers to use one word to describe me, most of them would use the word "organized." It's true, I am a very organized person and because this is something that I excel at and enjoy, it's found its way into my work. Lately I've spent a ton of time helping other teachers implement systems that will keep them organized. I wanted to take a minute to share some of my favorite products for staying organized so that you can benefit from some of my over-the-top organization. All links are affiliates.
Half-inch white labels - These might be one of my all time favorite things just because I use them multiple times a day. I use these to keep my planner organized. The best thing about these is that if I write an appointment on a label and it gets rescheduled I can just peel the label off and move it. You can read more about how I use these HERE.
Binders - I have a binder for everything, and while the plain white view binders work for most situations, sometimes I like something a little nicer. Lately these and these have been my favorites.
File Bags - I put together a file bag this winter and it has been a life saver. There are certain files that I tend to transport a lot because my meetings for that specific project are never in the same place. With this bag I always know that I have what I need because it is all in there. The hanging files make it easy to find what I'm looking for, and I don't have to punch holes in everything before I can put it away like I do when I use a binder sustem.
Plastic Baskets - I have these woven plastic bins all over the place. They come in 4 different sizes and they look like a nice basket but they're plastic so they're fairly durable and easy to clean.
Small containers with lids - These little plastic containers are meant to hold snacks or condiments, but they are perfect for all of the tiny little things that you keep in the classroom - mini erasers, sequins, dice, beads, counters, play money - the lids keep all of the little things in, while the clear plastic and easy stacking design makes finding what you're looking for simple and quick.
Zip pouches - I have an obsession with zippered pouches, especially ones that match. I hate clutter so all of my bags are organized with zipper pouches. It make things easier to find while hiding the mess and preventing things from getting lost at the bottom of my bag, never to be seen again.
Binder rings - I use these for so many different things. The most common use is to hang documents that I need to have at my fingertips regularly, but I also use them to attach flash drives to three ring binders, and to sort and store items. What are your favorite organizational items? I'd love to know what works for you!
Happy Friday! I have such a great idea for you today - I did a training last week and one of the participants was sharing that she is doing summer journals with all of her students. She thought that this would be a good way to continue the writing and language work that they started during the school year, without really feeling like they were doing "work". She is planning on having them take their journals along with them on all of their fun summer trips so that they can write or draw what they learned and how they felt about the experience.
These Summer Writing Prompts from Kinder Molly, would be a great addition to any summer journal! Go download your set and check out one of my all-time favorite posts on preschool journaling from Teaching 2 and 3 Year Olds. Have a great weekend!
A couple of years ago (June of 2014 to be exact) I shared a series of posts about fun activities to break up summer boredom with your own children and your students. You can find those posts HERE and HERE. I thought it was time to refresh those lists and share some of my favorite easy summer activities.
I am constantly reminding the teachers that I work with that children will always love the most simple ideas - we (the adults) are the ones who get bored with the same things over and over again, but children haven't been doing these things for nearly as long as we have, so they are still exciting for them!
Here are some easy ways to spice up your summer days whether you are home with your own children or with your students at school all summer long:
Go to a different park than usual. There is something magical about a different playground with different equipment than the children usually get to use. I recently found a list of amazing playgrounds in my area (if you're in Northwest Ohio/Southeast Michigan you can check it out here). I plan on exploring as many of these as possible with my daughter this summer.
Make something new for lunch and let the kids help. Do you know what my favorite special lunch was as a child? Pizza bread - it was literally pizza toppings on a slice of bread that we cooked in the toaster oven, but I loved it because Mom let us make it ourselves, all she did was manage the toaster oven part. It wasn't something that we got to do everyday, so it was special and exciting.
Create a water park in your yard. How many water toys have you collected because I have a ton of them. I'm planning to get them all out at one time - the pool, sprinkler, water table, squirt guns, everything - and have our own little water park in the back yard. You could absolutely do this on your playground too. The beauty of this idea is that the children won't play in the pool for 5 minutes and then decide that they're bored and ready to go inside. When they do get tired of one thing they can move right on to the next thing.
Make popsicles. There are a ton of fun popsicle recipes on Pinterest, but the easiest just require your favorite juice, or even kool-aid. You don;t need fancy molds, paper cups and popsicle sticks work just fine. The anticipation of waiting for their popsicles to freeze and getting to eat something that they made all by themselves makes this super fun for young children. My biggest tip for making popsicles is to put them together late in the afternoon so that they can freeze overnight and you can eat them the next day. This helps a ton with the lack of patience that preschoolers are known for.
Start a summer collection. Get your entire class or family in on the fun by starting a summer collection that everyone can add to. Try to think of something that you can easily pick up nearly everywhere you go - small rocks and pebbles, paper napkins, sugar packets, receipts, leaves, etc. This will make all of your routine trips a little more fun because children will be tasked with finding the item as many places as possible. It will also give you little mementos to remember the fun with. Get creative and find a way to keep track of where each item came from.
Plan a trip. I truly believe that half the fun of any trip is planning it. Whether you've got a family vacation or a field trip coming up, find a way to involve the children in the planning - what will they need to pack? What do they want to see when you get there? Do they have any questions about the location that they would like answered?
Ice Cream. Those two little words are magic when you put them together. Ice cream makes everyone happy, and it is almost always attached to special memories. Whether you make ice cream or take a special trip to a local ice cream store, it is sure to be a highlight of the summer.
Have a lazy day. We all need a break from our regular routine sometimes. Plan a day where you get to just hang out and relax - leave your pajamas on, watch a movie, do a lot of reading and drawing and just chill.