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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 4d ago

Once kids have a grasp of the beginning concepts of combining sets and telling stories about joining groups of objects we can begin introducing addition sentences and gently exposing them to math facts. This is not something they will master in preschool or kindergarten. Instead it is a gradual progression from understanding the concept of addition toward quickly being able to recall math facts that will be used to later solve more complex math problem. Using hands-on activities like this flower petal addition activity we can give kids concrete opportunities to model and make sense of early addition concepts and help them begin to recognize math facts.

GET MORE FLOWER INSPIRED MATH ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE FLOWER NUMBER SENSE PACK.

This free printalbe flower petal addition activity works well as:

• a small group activity during math groups
• a math center option during center time
• an independent activity for early finishers
SEE THE FLOWER PETAL ADDITION ACTIVITY IN ACTION

Watch this quick video to see some of the ways we’re using this free printable.

Ways to Use the Flower Petal Addition Activity

As with nearly all of my early learning printables I designed this addition activity to be versatile. That way you can prepare it and use it in the way that best meets your preferences.

If you want to save a bit of time cutting out the materials, then leave the stems as a work mat. Then cut out the individual flower petals, and have kids match the correct petals to each work mat.

Note: These can also be added to a math activity binder with velcro dots in place for each petal to be attached to the mat.

If kids are just beginning to learn about addition, I would not include all of the mats and petals. Instead limit to two or three options for them to work with until they beging to develop some math fact fluency.

If you’d rather cut the flower stems out so they look more like actual flowers, then that’s a fun way to switch it up a bit. Just be sure to laminate your pieces so they don’t tear easily.

Another options is to use real maniplutives instead of simply adding the flower petals to the stems. Here we are using buttons to represent the flower petals. Kids can choose a flower petal that goes with the sum and modle the combination with the buttons, or they can create their own combinations without the petals as prompts.

If you have little sensory seekers who love play dough, you can even use play dough as the “petals”. Let kids roll play dough balls or press out their own flower petals to show different combinations for each sum.

There are a ton of possibilities! Your kids may even come up with more ideas as they begin working with this free printable. Be open to their discoveries!

More Number Sense Resources for Early Childhood

One More One Less Activities

More and Less Domino Math

Ladybug Number Sense Activities

GET YOUR FREE FLOWER PETAL MATH ACTIVITY

The 10-page free printable flower petal math activity set includes:

• Flower stems for numbers 6 through 10
• Flower petal combinations for numbers 6 through 10
• Blank flower petals for kids to create their own addends

Click this link if you do not see the pink download button above.

Get More Flower Math Activities in the Flower Number Sense Pack

This 69-page set is designed to be very interactive, giving kids many opportunities to use manipulatives.

You can introduce the ideas during circle time and then use the math games during small group and center time.

There are even differentiated take home packs for families to do the activities at home.

Inside there are:

• Tips and Ideas for Use
• 0-10 Flower Number Cards Sets in Color and Black and White
• 16 Activity Cards with Hands-on Number Sense Activity Directions
• 9 Small Group and Center Number Sense Activity Mats
• 14 Number Sense Recording Sheets
• 4 Differentiated Take Home Packs of Number Sense Activities

Get a Full Week of Flower Theme Fun & Learning

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Summer is that time of year that we all can feel free and relaxed, no matter our age. Summers are made for family trips, beach/lake visits, late nights, ice cream cones and so many other things that make us feel like a kid all over again. This book list of our favorite summer books for kids will help you to get ready for summer and get you in a summer mindset.

Summer Books for Kids
FIND EVEN MORE SUMMER THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE SUMMER LESSON PLANS. Books about Summer for Kids

The Summer Visitors by Karel Hayes

The Summer Visitors is a funny book about two families, humans and bears, that are both enjoying a summer at a house on a lake. Throughout the book, the bears follow the humans around trying out their swim suits, flying their kites and eating some of their food. The story is told in a comic book style and each page has 2-5 words or no words at all.  The story is really told through the pictures.

Rules of Summer by Shauna Tan

Rules of Summer is a very creative and imaginative book that older readers will enjoy. Each page gives one rule and a picture to go with the rule; for example my favorite rule is ‘Never step on a snail’ and the picture next to the rule shows two boys on a street and one has just stepped on a snail and the other is looking at a tornado headed towards them. This is a great way to practice inferring, predicting and cause and effect and how breaking the rule creates the strange events you see in the picture.

Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee

Summer Days and Nights is a sweet, dream like story told by a little girl. The story starts in the morning as she wakes to a bright room and the reader follows her through a fun day of all things summer. I love the rhyming story and the reminders of all the simple things we can do to enjoy summer.

Cheers for a Dozen Ears: A Summer Crop of Counting by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky

Cheers for a Dozen Ears is a fun counting book that features fruits and vegetables that are most commonly grown in the summer. The illustrations are bright, colorful and the collage art creates a 3D feel. This is a great book to read before heading to the farmers market or when learning about fruits and vegetables grown in the summer.

Canoe Days by Gary Paulsen

Canoe Days is a poetic story of a man in his canoe on a lake. The watercolor illustrations of the lake’s surface, animals under the water and at the shore line will make you wish for a canoe day of your own.

Mama, Is It Summer Yet? By Nikki McClure

In the story Mama, Is It Summer Yet? a young boy ask his mother in winter if it is summer yet and she says no but points out the signs that summer will be there soon. Throughout the book, from winter until summer arrives, he asks and she shows him a new sign that summer is coming. I like the simple text and bold illustrations that remind us that even when it is not summer we can see that summer will arrive soon.

Let It Shine by Maryann Cocca-Leffler

Let It Shine is a simple and fun book that looks at all the ways we can get out and enjoy summer. Each page is bright and colorful and shows fun summer activities from sleeping in a hammock to taking a trip to the beach. This is one book in a series by Maryann Cocca-Leffler and each book focuses on a season.

Summer by Gerda Muller

Summer is a wordless board book that is great for readers of all ages. The wordless illustrations open up discussion of what is happening and all the things that readers see. Summer is one book in a series of four that features each of the seasons.

Zoomer’s Summer Snowstorm by Ned Young

In Zoomer’s Summer Snowstorm, Zoomer ask for a snow cone and creates a winter wonderland in the middle of summer. This is a silly story that young readers will love as they see all the non-summer things Zoomer can do.

The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice by Wendy Pfeffer

The Longest Day is a non-fiction book that explains the Summer Solstice, its history and the science behind it. The book also includes suggested readings and websites and four activities for students that will help readers understand the Summer Solstice. This book is written for elementary age students.

The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant

The Relatives Came is a classic story of a family all gathering together during the summer. The book is a Caldecott-Honor book and reminds us of how fun it is to have family visit. A must read before visiting or having family visit this summer.

Summer Color! by Diana Murray

Join two children on a backyard adventure in this beautifully illustrated book about the colors and wonder of the outdoors in the summer months.

I See Summer by Charles Ghigna

The very simple repetitive “I See” pattern of this books makes it a great read aloud in a toddler classroom and an excellent book to start a predictive writing activity about summer with preschoolers and kindergarteners. After reading the story together guide children in coming up with their very own “I See” statements about summer traditions.

Summer: A Pop-Up Book by David A Carter

This simple pop-up book is engaging for toddlers and preschoolers, and it introduces a variety of flora and fauna related to the summer months.

My Awesome Summer by P. Mantis by Maul Meisel

This is not your average “What I Did This Summer” book. Instead of being told by a child. It’s told by a newly hatched praying mantis! In diary format learn some interesting details about the life of a praying mantis. Bonus: You can even hatch your own praying mantis eggs. It’s a really neat experience!

And Then Comes Summer by Tom Brenner

Teaching cause and effect? This book is terrific in helping kids understand when/then statements. Use it to discuss what they might do when prompted with a specific situation in the story, and you’ll inspire quite a bit of creative thinking in addition to exploring some favorite summer pasttimes!

MORE SUMMER FUN WITH PRINTABLE SUMMR THEME LESSON PLANS

Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.

GET YOUR LESSON PLANS

Preschool Summer Theme Lesson Plans

Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

More Summer Books

Summer ABC Books

Camping Books

More Resources for Little Book Lovers

The best way to encourage a love of reading is to provide kids with many opportunities to engage with a wide variety of books that are of interest to them. That’s why we share so many books lists on Fantastic Fun and Learning. We want to make it easy for you to find great books your kids will love. Over the years we’ve also discovered some helpful tools for connecting kids and books.

Digital libraries are one very handy way to do this. Epic! is one of our favorite online libraries. It’s full of over 25,000 books, learning videos, quizzes and more for kids 12 and under…and it’s free for educators. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Book Boxes are another fun way to get kids excited about reading. What kid doesn’t love to get a special delivery in the mail?! The crew over at Bookroo finds the best little known books that you won’t already have in your library, and they send them to you each month. Take a peak inside a Bookroo Box here.

Book-Based Activities are also a lot of fun for kids. Jodie over at Growing Book by Book has saved us all a ton of time and created a full year of Book-Based Activity Calendars so that you can extend the fun with a special book each week.

Originally published June 2015. Last updated May 2019.

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 1w ago

Get kids up and moving around the room or outdoors in this Bug Alphabet Game for your preschool camping our summer theme activities.

Summer is full of so many amazing things. Watermelon, trips to the beach, ice cream, camping, and so much more. Unfortunately with the summer heat also comes pesky mosquitoes. While we know mosquitoes play an important role in our eco-system, they are not always the most welcome visitors at our summer activities. During our camping theme we like to play a fun Bug ABC Game that gets kids moving, weaves in a bit of fine motor practice, and helps them practice letter recognition.

FIND ALL OF OUR CAMPING IDEAS IN OUR PRINTABLE LESSON PLANS FOR HOME PRESCHOOL AND PRESCHOOL CLASSROOMS. Materials for Bug ABC Game
• Free printable ABC “bugs”–Choose either the full alphabet or limit to a smaller set of letters if children are just beginning to learn the alphabet.
• Your choice: Spray bottle (empty and clean) or bug catcher–We’ll discuss the different uses for each below.
• Optional: If using the spray bottle, you may want to add the “Bug Spray” label included in the free printable. Adjust your printer settings to help make it the right size for your particular bottle.
GET THE BUGS READY

Place the ABC bugs of choice around the room. You can scatter them in various spots, attach to a wall with sticky tack, or attach to magnets and place on a magnetic surface.

Related Resource: Camping Theme Book List Time to Play the Bug ABC Game

To play kids can:

1. Spray/find the bugs in ABC order.
2. Spray/find the bugs for the letters in their name.
3. Pull a magnetic letter or letter card from a bin and spray/find the matching letter.
4. Listen as the teacher/friend calls a letter/sound to find. Then spray/find it.

Personally I love using the spray bottle because:

• Kids have fun squeezing it and playing with the spray bottle–even if it’s empty
• It playfully adds in an extra bit of much needed fine motor practice

However, when I first introduced this activity some teachers expressed that they preferred not to encourage killing the bugs and wanted to avoid giving the message that we needed to do so since they play an important role in our eco-system.

I understand that point, too.

As an alternative you can give kids bug catchers and play the game in a similar manner. But in this version the bugs can be released and set free at the end of the game instead of sprayed with bug spray.

If you play the Bug ABC Game this way, you can simply place the bugs around the room instead of attaching them to a surface.

No matter which version you choose kids will get a fun and active way to practice learning the letters of the alphabet.

GET YOUR FREE BUG ALPHABET GAME

The 31-page Bug ABC Game freebie includes:

• Game Directions
• “Bug Spray” labels to attach to your spray bottles (in color and b/w)
• Individual bugs for each letter of the alphabet –uppercase and lowercase (in color and b/w)

Click this link if you do not see the pink download button above.

GET A FULL WEEK OF CAMPING THEME LEARNING AND PLAY

Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.

This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:

1) Animal Tracks Matching Activity (Color and B/W)
2) Individual Camping Survey Sheets (2 versions)
3) Whole Group Camping Graph Headers
4) Words vs Letters Sorting Activity (Color and B/W)
5) Camping Letter Matching Puzzles
6) Camping Number Cards
7) Camping Pattern Cards (Color and B/W)
8) Ending Sound Matching Activity
9) Gone Fishing Counting and Number Recognition Activity

GET YOUR LESSON PLANS

Preschool Classroom Camping Theme Lesson Plans

All of our products are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers if you prefer to shop there.

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 2w ago

With summer just around the corner, kids begin to think of all the fun things they can do such as swimming, sleepovers, and camping. Camping is an experience that teaches us so much about nature, problem solving and how to have fun outside. As you begin to plan for a real camping trip or prepare for your preschool camping theme, check out some of the books about camping in this collection below. You’ll find fun picture books and some nonfiction books about camping for kids.

Books About Camping
FIND ALL OF OUR CAMPING IDEAS IN OUR PRINTABLE LESSON PLANS FOR HOME PRESCHOOL AND PRESCHOOL CLASSROOMS. Camping Stories

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Flashlight is story about a boy in the woods at night with a flashlight. The pages are black and illustrations are drawn in gray and white.  The only colors are shown where the flashlight shines. There are also cutouts from page to page that show hidden items.

The Big Blue Thing on the Hill by Yuval Zommer

The Big Blue Thing on The Hill, a RV, has all the forest animals worried. The animals each take turns trying to scare the “thing” away. This is a fun book that looks at camping from the animal’s perspective.

When We Go Camping by Margriet Ruurs

When we Go Camping is a fun book about two kids that are camping. Throughout the book there are hidden animals on each page for your little one to search for as you read.

Scaredy Squirrel Goes Camping by Melanie Watt

As you might have guessed Scaredy Squirrel is not a fan of camping…at least not outdoors. But in this story Scaredy must find an electrical outlet, and that means going into the woods! In Scaredy Squirrel style he outlines and extensive action plan to avoid the perils, and along the way he learns that maybe nature isn’t so bad.

Duck Tents by Lynne Berry

Duck Tents is a sweet story of five ducks that are camping. The five ducks enjoy fishing and a camp fire, but when it comes time for bed the five ducks find that one tent is better than five.

Toasting Marshmallows: Camping Poems by Kristine O’Connell George

Toasting Marshmallows is a poem book about camping. The poems come in all styles and include illustrations that are whimsical and dream like.

A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee by Chris Van Dusen

In A Camping Spree with Mr. Magee, Mr. Magee and Dee head for the mountains to camp and both are excited to spend some time in nature. The trip takes a very strange turn when the camper comes lose during the night. Little Bit and I enjoyed the crazy ride that Mr. Magee and Dee take.

S Is for S’mores: A Camping Alphabet Book by Helen Foster James

S is for S’mores is an alphabet book that includes everything from canyon, desert, s’mores and much more. This book includes many different places that you can camp.

Camping by Nancy Hundal

Camping is a story of a family vacation that is unlike any other trip the family has taken. They soon discover the importance of spending time together and the magic of camping.

Stella and Roy Go Camping by Ashely Wolff

Stella and Roy Go Camping with their mom and will never forget their trip. Along the way readers can look for hidden animals and can use the reference pages in the back to track animals.

1 2 3 Make a S’more with Me by Elizabeth Gauthier

This camping inspired counting book makes a perfect attention grabber for math lessons during your camping theme.

Scare a Bear by Kathy-jo Wargin

Would you bang pots and pans?

Would you rattle some cans?

Would you shout?

Would you yell?

Would you ring a loud bell?

Preschoolers love the rhyming and silliness in this fun story!

Our Great Big Backyard by Laura Bush and Jenna Bush Hager

Our Great Big Backyard provides a gentle introduction to our nation’s National Parks encouraging families to trade in the technology for a road trip filled with natural wonders. Read it together. Then spend some time researching one or more of the National Parks.

Goodnight, Campsite by Loretta Sponsler

Goodnight, Campsite focuses on RV camping to give kids a bit of a different perspective from typical stories that focus on tents. The rhyming text makes it an excellent springboard to continue phonemic awareness activities after reading aloud to preschoolers and kindergarteners.

Don’t Feed the Bear by Kathleen Doherty

In Don’t Feed the Bear Ranger and Bear are at odds, one wanting to be fed and the other discouraging visitors from feeding the bear. Kids will laugh at the silliness in this fun story! Follow up this story by having kids write their own silly signs that could be part of the book.

Ruby’s Sleepover by Kathryn White

Ruby and her friend are camping out in the backyard when some noises start to scare them, but Ruby has some special treasures to help.

The Three Little Pigs Go Camping (After Happily Ever After) by Tony Bradman

This is a short chapter book that works well as a read aloud for young kids who are familiar with the traditional version of The Three Little Pigs. Kids can discuss any similarities to the original stories.

Guide and Fact Books

The Kids Campfire Book by Jane Drake & Ann Love

The Kids Campfire is a collection of recipes, tips and tricks, campfire stories, songs, games and more. The book is broken into sections based on stages of camping, from setting up to the end of the night.

So Much S’More to Do by Becky Rasmussen

Get to cooking with these fun twists on the classic s’more recipe. For added fun have kids create and write their own s’more recipe.

Campout! The Ultimate Kids’ Guide by Lynn Brunelle

Campout! Is the ultimate campers guide to all things camping. The book is written for elementary age kids and older and includes information on weather, food, camping skills, crafts, games, the night sky and so much more.

More Camping Fun

Get ready for your camping trip and add to the fun with this Camping Small World for pretend play at home or in the classroom.

GET A FULL WEEK OF CAMPING THEME LEARNING AND PLAY

Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.

This set includes active hands-on learning ideas and the following printables:

1) Animal Tracks Matching Activity (Color and B/W)
2) Individual Camping Survey Sheets (2 versions)
3) Whole Group Camping Graph Headers
4) Words vs Letters Sorting Activity (Color and B/W)
5) Camping Letter Matching Puzzles
6) Camping Number Cards
7) Camping Pattern Cards (Color and B/W)
8) Ending Sound Matching Activity
9) Gone Fishing Counting and Number Recognition Activity

GET YOUR LESSON PLANS

Preschool Classroom Camping Theme Lesson Plans

All of our products are also available on Teachers Pay Teachers if you prefer to shop there.

More Resources for Little Book Lovers

The best way to encourage a love of reading is to provide kids with many opportunities to engage with a wide variety of books that are of interest to them. That’s why we share so many books lists on Fantastic Fun and Learning. We want to make it easy for you to find great books your kids will love. Over the years we’ve also discovered some helpful tools for connecting kids and books.

Digital libraries are one very handy way to do this. Epic! is one of our favorite online libraries. It’s full of over 25,000 books, learning videos, quizzes and more for kids 12 and under…and it’s free for educators. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Book Boxes are another fun way to get kids excited about reading. What kid doesn’t love to get a special delivery in the mail?! The crew over at Bookroo finds the best little known books that you won’t already have in your library, and they send them to you each month. Take a peak inside a Bookroo Box here.

Book-Based Activities are also a lot of fun for kids. Jodie over at Growing Book by Book has saved us all a ton of time and created a full year of

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 2w ago

It is helpful to provide little learners multi-sensory ways to learn the alphabet. These free printable alphabet mats can be used with play dough and other loose parts so kids can practice building letters. For preschool watermelon theme activities this watermelon ABC preschool letter printable can be used in small group or during literacy centers. Use them for your own watermelon theme, or incorporate them into your ongoing summer alphabet activities.

Watermelon ABC Preschool Letter Printable
GET A FULL WEEK OF WATERMELON THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRESCHOOL WATERMELON LESSON PLANS. PRINT TO THE SIZE YOU WANT

The free printable watermelon ABC mats are designed one to a page. This gives you a lot of flexibility for printing. Some activities require a full page per letter, while others work best with a smaller 1/2 page or 1/4 page format. Simply change your printer options to print 1 per page, 2 per page or 4 per page to get the desired layout for your activities. All mats are also available in black and white for your convenience.

I also highly recommend laminating these or using dry erase pockets so you can use them over and over again and even have kids practice writing the letters on them with dry erase markers.

SEE THIS PRINTABLE IN ACTION

Watch this quick video clip to see some of the ways we use these Watermelon ABC mats. There are a lot of fun possibilities!

WAYS TO PLAY & LEARN WITH THE WATERMELON ABCS PRESCHOOL ALPHABET PRINTABLES

Use these alphabet mats for your alphabet center, literacy groups, or morning table choices in preschool. Set them out with your favorite manipulatives and kids can build the letters on their own.

Here we’re using black buttons as pretend watermelon seeds. You could also use small tiny black pom poms or black beans.

RELATED: TOP WAYS TO TEACH THE ABCs

Our favorite way to use these mats is with play dough. Kids love squishing and rolling the dough to make each letter.

Save time by using storebought play dough, or make your own watermelon scented dough by adding watermelon Jell-o powder.

As kids work to roll the dough they are getting tons of extra fine motor practice, too!

Add in even more fine motor practice by having kids press the “seeds” into the dough.

As kids are ready to do more writing use a dry erase marker and have kids follow the letter outline to practice writing. These works well if you print the pages 4 to a sheet and bind them as a flip book.

GET YOUR FREE WATERMELON ABC MATS

The Watermelon ABC Preschool Letter Printable includes four complete alphabet options:

• Uppercase Letter Mats in Color
• Lowercase Letter Mats in Color
• Uppercase Letter Mats in Black and White (print on colored paper for added fun)
• Lowercase Letter Mats in Black and White (print on colored paper for added fun)

Click this link if you do not see the pink download button above.

MORE SUMMER FUN WITH PRINTABLE WATERMELON THEME LESSON PLANS

Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.

GET YOUR LESSON PLANS

Preschool Watermelon Theme Lesson Plans

Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Vin Giannetto - 3w ago

With the weather getting warmer and our gardens beginning to brighten it’s the perfect time to build a flower through creative play. Today for this Air Dry Clay Flower Craft we’ll be combining two of my favorite and most versatile art materials: pipe cleaners and Crayola Model Magic or any similar air dry clay.

The simple and repetitive process of pushing a pipe cleaner into clay can be satisfying and calming for young children of all ages and abilities. This creative play activity will also introduce/reinforce pattern development, textures, clay building skills, and is ideal for fine motor skill development. So let’s have a seat outside in the garden, gather up some art materials and PLAY!

Creative Play with Air Dry Clay: Build A Flower

FIND EVEN MORE FLOWER THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR FLOWER THEME LESSON PLANS. The Role of Creative Play

Creative play is all about children exploring, experimenting, and discovering in a relaxed environment. It focuses on self-expression, imagination, and learning through doing. The importance and benefits of play should never be overlooked.

Play is vital to childhood development and a great way to strengthen problem solving skills as well as social skills. It fosters creativity and self-discovery while enabling one’s imagination to blossom.

Sadly in many classroom settings creative playtime has been reduced and/or undervalued. Let’s appreciate and celebrate the magic of play and all of its benefits!

Air Dry Clay Flower Craft
Supplies
Step By Step Directions
Clay Building

Begin by giving your child a small amount of Model Magic to see how they react to the texture of the clay. How do they start to manipulate the clay on their own without direction? Next, ask them to make a ball out of the clay and model the technique if necessary by molding the clay in your hands in a circular motion. Next, use another piece of clay to roll a coil. Model this by using your hands as a rolling pin. Collect up the various balls and coils while adding straws into the mix.

Build the Flower

Set up the flowers on the construction paper. Let your child play through this process by exploring the placement of the materials to form the flowers. Encourage them to move the materials around the paper. Feel free to cut the straws into different lengths. They can be used as the stems of the flowers. The balls can be used as the center of each flower and the coils can be used for the leaves. Or maybe your child will come up with another interpretation. Seeing what your child creates is half the fun!

Hot Glue

Once your child has completed setting up the flowers, turn this creative play activity into a keepsake by hot gluing the straws and clay onto the construction paper. Just a small dab of hot glue is all you need for the clay and straws to stay in place.

Add Pipe Cleaners

Finally, let the poking and pushing begin! The pipe cleaners will represent the petals of each flower. Let your child pick the color of the pipe cleaners they wish to use. Would they like to create a color pattern? Do they want to create a realistic flower from your garden or create an imaginary one? Cut the pipe cleaners into various lengths. Now your child can work each piece of pipe cleaner into the clay. Next, use green pipe cleaners to add color to the leaves as well. Over the next week the Model Magic will dry out/harden and the pipe cleaners will be secured into place.

Extend the Activity Talk About Texture:

How does the clay feel in your hands? How do the pipe cleaners feel? Introduce the word texture to your child and have them describe how the art materials feel. Are they rough, soft, fluffy, prickly, hard, smooth, or bumpy?

Art and Literacy:

I recommend the book Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert as a literary companion to this lesson. Through beautiful illustrations this book details the process of a flower’s growth from bulb or seed to fully developed flower. It also identifies an array of flowers by name and sorts them by color likeness.

Art and Science:

These questions can extend this creative play activity into a quick science lesson.

• Identify the parts of a flower. Can your child point out the leaves, stem, petals, and seeds?
• What does a flower need to grow?
• How many different types of flowers can you find in your garden?

I hope your child enjoys this creative play activity. It’s nice to sit back and observe your child during play to see how he or she reacts, adjusts, and manipulates the materials.

CONNECT WITH VIN GIANNETTO

Learn more about Vin here on his author bio page. Follow along with him on Facebook at Young School Art with Mr. Giannetto and on Instagram @youngschoolartwithmr.g for art project ideas.

More Art and Craft Project Ideas from Vin

Creative Ways to Paint with Carrots

More Flower Theme Activites

Visit the flower theme planning guide for more hands-on learning and playful activity ideas.

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 3w ago

In preschool and kindergarten much of our math focus is on building number sense skills. As I shared in our ladybug number sense activities there are many fun ways we can give kids exposure to number sense concepts using hands-on activities. We’ve developed of series of number sense packets that help kids get valuable number sense practice all year long, and help teachers quickly and easily differentiate instruction to reach the needs of all of their students. Here is a free printable sample of some of the Flower Number Sense Math Activities from one of these sets. Use it to practice addition and subtraction with preschoolers and kindergarteners.

GET ALL THE FLOWER NUMBER SENSE ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE FLOWER NUMBER SENSE PACK.

The full Flower Number Sense Pack includes resources to practice the following skills for numbers to 10:

• Counting Sets
• Recognizing Numbers
• Ways to Make 10
• Composing Numbers
• Decomposing Numbers
• Adding
• Subtracting
• Comparing
• One More
• One Less

Here in this article we’re focusing on addition and subtraction using manipulatives.

See these Flower Number Sense Math Activities in Action

Watch this quick video to see how we’re using some of these materials.

Addition Activity

In the number sense math packs there are activity mats that help students use math manipulatives to practice each math concept. There are also no-prep activity card prompts and writing response sheets that correspond to the activity mats.

The activity mats can be used in small groups, one-on-one, and during math centers. This activity mat is for helping kids practice adding numbers.

To do this addition activity kids select a flower number card (available free here and in the full flower number sense pack) or roles a number cube as an alternative.

Then they count out that many seed manipulatives and add them to the seed packet on the activity mat.

Repeat for the second seed packet.

Finish by completing the addition sentence. You can laminate the activity mats or use dry erase pouches as shown here and have kids use a dry erase marker to complete the additon sentence, or you can use number tiles.

Give kids ample time to practice different addition sentences. For kids who are ready you can even have them record the addition sentences they have created. They’ll naturally start to note different patterns and combinations of numbers.

Subtraction Activity

As you begin to practice taking apart sets of objects it can be helpful to use manipulatives that allow kids to physically touch and see what is happening as they subtract.

While using the subtraction mat kids draw two flower number cards (or roll two number cubes). They decide which number is greater and use that number first by adding that many seeds to the seed packet.

Then it’s time to “plant” the seeds, and kids remove the number of seeds that corresponds to the second number they identified, placing them in the soil.

Then kids can either use number tiles or a dry erase marker to record the corresponding subtraction sentence.

Quick tip: If kids are not yet comfortable identifying more and less, you can modify this activity by giving them the number to start with. For example, you could tell them to start with 10 each time. Then they could choose only one card and remove that number. This also allows them to work on properties of 10.

To follow up with the activity you can also have kids continue practicing by using the subtraction recording sheet.

These are just two of the hands-on ways we’re using the Flower Number Sense Math Activities pack to practice number sense skills. There are so many more options to help you get the most out of the set!

More Number Sense Resources for Early Childhood

One More One Less Activities

More and Less Domino Math

Ladybug Number Sense Activities

GET YOUR FREE SAMPLE OF THE FLOWER NUMBER SENSE MATH ACTIVITIES

The free sample of the Flower Number Sense Math Activities includes:

• Addition Mat Pictured Above
• Subtraction Mat Pictured Above

Click this link if you do not see the pink download button above.

Get a the Full Flower Number Sense Pack

This 69-page set is designed to be very interactive, giving kids many opportunities to use manipulatives.

You can introduce the ideas during circle time and then use the math games during small group and center time.

There are even differentiated take home packs for families to do the activities at home.

Inside there are:

• Tips and Ideas for Use
• 0-10 Flower Number Cards Sets in Color and Black and White
• 16 Activity Cards with Hands-on Number Sense Activity Directions
• 9 Small Group and Center Number Sense Activity Mats
• 14 Number Sense Recording Sheets
• 4 Differentiated Take Home Packs of Number Sense Activities

Get a Full Week of Flower Theme Fun & Learning

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 1M ago

Learning to identify and isolate initial sounds in words is a beneficial skill that supports early literacy development. Once kids are able to hear a word and orally identify the inital sound (focusing on the phonemic awareness aspect) and they know some letters and the sounds associated with them, we can begin to focus on the phonics aspect of initial sounds. Here kids are matching a letter to an object that starts with that sound. This is the phonics aspect of initial sounds, and that’s exactly what we’re doing in this free printable superhero initial sounds activity. Read on to learn more about teaching initial sounds and how to use this free printable.

More Phonics Initial Sounds Activities to Try

Find real objects around the home or classroom in this fun initial sounds shopping activity.

Go on a dinosaur egg scavenger hunt and match beginning sounds.

More about Phonemic Awareness and Phonics

Read more about the role of phonemic awareness and letter-sound identification here in The Threads of Reading.

Read more about phonics in this article about Phonics and Word Recognition Instruction from Reading Rockets.

Free Printable Superhero Initial Sounds Activity

FIND EVEN MORE SUPERHERO THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE SUPERHERO LESSON PLANS.

Before introducing this activity to preschoolers and kindergarteners they should:

• Be able to orally identify the initial sound in a word (i.e., correctly identify /c/ as the beginning sound in cat when they hear the word cat or see a picture of a cat (with no letters present)
• Know a fair amount of letters and the letter sounds associated with each

To set up this activity as a phonics initial sounds activity:

• cut out the initial sounds cards with the letters attached (laminate if desired)
• cut out the superheroes and attach them to clothespins
• Optional: Gather objects that match the objects on the shields and use them to introduce the activity. Have kids orally identify the beginning sound of each object during small group or one-on-one instruction as a phonemic awareness review.

Have kids match each superhero to the letter that matches the initial sound of the object pictures on the shield.

To extend the activity, have kids think of additional words that start with the same sound.

What if your kids are not ready for phonics just yet?

No worries! You can still use the freebie, but we’ll switch it up a bit.

If your kids are still working on phonemic awareness skills, cut the letter section of each card, leaving only the shield. Then orally identify a sound and have kids zoom their superhero and clip it to the corresponding shield.

For example, you might say:

“My superhero’s shield has something that starts with the /p/ sound (saying the sound, not the letter name).”

Kids will then clip a superhero to the pumpkin card.

Continue identifying initial sounds until all shiled have a superhero.

GET YOUR FREE Superhero Initial Sounds Activity

Click this link if you do not see the pink download button above.

MORE SUPERHERO FUN WITH PRINTABLE SUPERHERO THEME LESSON PLANS

Save time and get right to the playful learning with our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.

GET YOUR LESSON PLANS

Preschool Superhero Theme Lesson Plans

Also available on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 1M ago

Building number sense skills is an integral part of early childhood math activities, and there are many hands-on ways to help kids gain exposure to number sense concepts. We’ve developed of series of number sense packets that help kids get valuable number sense practice all year long. They also allow teachers and parents to easily differentiate learning for multiple kids, making it much easier to meet individual needs. Here is a glimpse of some of the Ladybug Number Sense Math Activities from one of these sets.

GET ALL THE LADYBUG NUMBER SENSE ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE LADYBUG NUMBER SENSE PACK.

The full Ladybug Number Sense Pack includes resources to practice the following skills for numbers to 10:

• Counting Sets
• Recognizing Numbers
• Ways to Make 10
• Composing Numbers
• Decomposing Numbers
• Adding
• Subtracting
• Comparing
• One More
• One Less

Here in this article we’re focusing on decomposing numbers and one less.

See these Ladybug Number Sense Math Activities in Action

Watch this quick video to see how we’re using some of these materials.

Decomposing Numbers Math Center

In the number sense math packs there are activity mats that help students use math manipulatives to practice each math concept. These can be used in small groups, one-on-one, and during math centers. This activity mat is for helping kids practice decomposing numbers.

As kids are decomposing numbers they are learning that there are multiple combinations that can be created to make the same numbers. Here 4 and 3 is shown as a way to make 7.

Another child may show that 1 and 6 is a way to make 7. This provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to discuss their math thinking and show different ways to make the number.

Give kids ample time to practice different ways to show the focus number. Then try a different focus number and see how kids begin to expand their thinking and find more and more combinations.

The set also includes a recording sheet that can be used to record their findings. (Tip: Laminate them for kids to reuse over and over again.)

One Less Activity

Learning about one more and one less can be a bit tricky for some kids, so practice this concept often and with concrete materials can be very beneficial.

Here we’re using mini pom poms to represent ladybugs. As kids draw a card from the stack they show one less on the leaf and add the magnetic number to show one less than the amount on the card.

Note that we are using the set cards here. You can also differentiate by using the number cards or the number word cards.

To follow up with the activity you can also have kids continue practicing by using the One Less recording sheet.

These are just two of the hands-on ways we’re using the Ladybug Number Sense Math Activities pack to practice number sense skills. There are so many more options!

More Number Sense Resources for Early Childhood

One More One Less Activities

More and Less Domino Math

GET YOUR FREE SAMPLE OF THE LADYBUG NUMBER SENSE MATH ACTIVITIES

The free sample of the Ladybug Number Sense Math Activities includes:

• Ladybug Numbers Cards 0-10 in color
• Decomposing Activity Mat
• Decomposing Recording Sheet

Click this link if you do not see the pink download button above.

Get a the Full Ladybug Number Sense Pack

This 69-page set is designed to be very interactive, giving kids many opportunities to use manipulatives.

You can introduce the ideas during circle time and then use the math games during small group and center time.

There are even differentiated take home packs for families to do the activities at home.

Inside there are:

• Tips and Ideas for Use
• 0-10 Ladybug Number Cards Sets in Color and Black and White
• 16 Activity Cards with Hands-on Number Sense Activity Directions
• 9 Small Group and Center Number Sense Activity Mats
• 14 Number Sense Recording Sheets
• 4 Differentiated Take Home Packs of Number Sense Activities

Get a Full Week of Ladybug Theme Fun & Learning

In this 98-page set you’ll find tons of playful learning activities and these printables:

1)  Ladybugs Shape Mats (6 versions)

2) Upper and Lowercase Ladybugs Letter Puzzles

3) Ladybugs Rhyming Activity

4) Ladybugs Counting Cards (2 versions)

5) Ladybugs Color Sorting Activity (11 version)

6) Ladybugs Emergent Reader (in color and b/w)

7) Letter Sorting Mats (2 versions)

8) Ladybugs Addition Game (in color and b/w)

9) Ladybugs Number Cards 0-35

10) Ladybugs Picture Word Cards

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Fantastic Fun and Learning | Fun Things .. by Shaunna Evans - 1M ago

Growing up I had a dear friend who was fascinated by space exploration. Her passion was contagious and inspiring. As a teacher and now as a parent, I think of her often when we are learning about outer space, and I hope to encourage that same enthusiasm when I see it in kids–no matter what the subject. Over the years we’ve discovered quite a few books about rockets, and I’m excited to share some of our favorite rocket books for little learners. Read them with aspiring astronauts or as part of your preschool space theme.

FIND EVEN MORE SPACE THEME ACTIVITIES IN OUR PRINTABLE SPACE LESSON PLANS. Rocket Books

Roaring Rockets tells the story of three animals as they blast off into space. The rhyming couplets and bright illustrations make it a fun read. My oldest enjoys looking at the details about the rocket parts at the back of the book.

In On the Launch Pad kids can count back from twelve to one and see what happens as a rocket prepares for liftoff.

Rocket Town is a board book. Toddlers love to see the different “rockets” in the book as an astronaut and his dog drive through Rocket Town, and they love the surprise blastoff at the end. My oldest also liked the illustrations. The mix of old and new gave us a good opportunity to talk about past and future.

Zoom, Rocket, Zoom! is from the author of Stomp, Dinosaur, Stomp. Astronauts zoom through space and take care of few tasks once they are there. The rhyme and rhythm in this story make it very fun to read.

Baby Loves Aerospace Engineering! is a simple yet factual story that follows a bird and a girl as it teaches about how things fly.

Mousteronaut is a partially true story with a lot of wonderful lessons woven in along the way. “Astronaut Mark Kelly flew with “mice-tronauts” on his first spaceflight aboard space shuttle Endeavour in 2001. Mousetronaut tells the story of a small mouse that wants nothing more than to travel to outer space. The little mouse works as hard as the bigger mice to show readiness for the mission.”

Counting on Katherine is a picture book biography that inspires kids to pursue their passions. “From Katherine’s early beginnings as a gifted student to her heroic accomplishments as a prominent mathematician at NASA, Counting on Katherine is the story of a groundbreaking African-American woman who not only calculated the course of moon landings but, in turn, saved lives and made enormous contributions to history. “

Elon Musk: This Book is About Rockets is a fun and inspiring book about entrepreneurship and of course…rockets! Kids LOVE shouting rockets as prompted throughout the text. Use it as an engaging book to prompt discussions about persevering and creative thinking.

Rocket to the Moon is one of the Playtime with Little Nye books. In the book Little Nye is trying to figure out how you get to the moon. It’s a great story to encourage inquiry, creative thinking, and a little imagination.

If You Decide To Go To The Moon is a story I loved reading in the classroom. In the book a boy tells us how to prepare for a trip to the moon, what to do when we get there, and of course how to get home.

Space Boy is a charming picture book. Nicholas decides his house is too noisy, so he heads to the moon for a picnic and some peace and quiet.

The Best Book of Spaceships is a great nonfiction text to introduce kids to spaceships. The text is clear and simple enough for preschoolers to understand, and we loved looking at the photographs.

Rockets and Spaceships is another great book for little astronauts hoping to learn more about space travel. The vocabulary terms and descriptions are straightforward and easy to understand.

How to Build a Fizzy Rocket is a simplefan project tutorial. It’s great for kids learning to sequence and follow directions. They can follow along in the text while making the rocket.

The Flying Machine Book: Build and Launch 35 Rockets, Gliders, Helicopters, Boomerangs, and More is full of fun projects to try and let kids experiment with force, motion, and gravity.

Get Even More Outer Space Ideas

Continue learning with outer space inspired activities in our printable lesson plan sets. Each set includes over 30 playful learning activities related to the theme, and we’ve provided different versions for home preschool families and classroom teachers so all activities are geared directly toward your needs.

Get Your Copy

Home Preschool Outer Space Theme Lesson Plans

Preschool Classroom Outer Space Theme Lesson Plans

&lt;A HREF=”http://ws-na.amazon-adsystem.com/widgets/q?rt=tf_cw&amp;#038;ServiceVersion=20070822&amp;#038;MarketPlace=US&amp;#038;ID=V20070822%2FUS%2Ffantfunandlea-20%2F8010%2F48435e13-b9de-44f5-b0e5-eed01e0962a2&amp;#038;Operation=NoScript”&gt;Amazon.com Widgets&lt;/A&gt; More Resources for Little Book Lovers

The best way to encourage a love of reading is to provide kids with many opportunities to engage with a wide variety of books that are of interest to them. That’s why we share so many books lists on Fantastic Fun and Learning. We want to make it easy for you to find great books your kids will love. Over the years we’ve also discovered some helpful tools for connecting kids and books.

Digital libraries are one very handy way to do this. Epic! is one of our favorite online libraries. It’s full of over 25,000 books, learning videos, quizzes and more for kids 12 and under…and it’s free for educators. Click here to learn more and sign up.

Book Boxes are another fun way to get kids excited about reading. What kid doesn’t love to get a special delivery in the mail?! The crew over at Bookroo finds the best little known books that you won’t already have in your library, and they send them to you each month. Take a peak inside a Bookroo Box here.

Book-Based Activities are also a lot of fun for kids. Jodie over at Growing Book by Book has saved us all a ton of time and created a full year of Book-Based Activity Calendars so that you can extend the fun with a special book each week.

Originally published June 2013. Last updated April 2019.

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