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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

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{FREE} Pumpkin Sorting Rhyming Words Game

Do your preschoolers like to rhyme words? Then you will love this {FREE} Pumpkin Sorting rhyming word packet!

All you have to do is print the two pages of pumpkins and rhyming words, cut them out, and you're ready to play!

How can you use them? Here are a few ideas:

* Set the pumpkins out face up and the eight cards out face down (you can choose if you want to spread them out or stack them up). Take turns drawing a card and placing it on the correct pumpkin!

* Glue or tape the pumpkins down to a folder to make a file folder game! Store the cards in an envelope.

* Use the cards to play a memory-style game where matches are made by rhyming words!

* Use the cards to play a Go Fish-style game where matches are made by rhyming words!

* Put the pieces on a metal door and hold them in place with magnets while you sort vertically!

* Use a hanging pocket chart to hold the pieces while you sort vertically!

How will you use them?

Happy Educating,

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Monday, September 26, 2016

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Preschool Leaf Science Experiment

Preschool + Science Experiment + Leaves = Awesome Fall Activity!

Seriously, though, this has been one of my favorite preschool science experiments this year. It lets the kids explore and experiment on their own terms, while providing a rich investigative experience. It actually turned into a preschool STEM project too (more on that in a moment)!

Preschoolers are natural scientists, and I love encouraging their curiousity! About this time of year, they start noticing changes in the plants around them: some are changing colors, some are losing leaves, and some don't seem to change at all! I answer their questions about leaves and change as often as they come up, but sometimes, they just need to get up close and investigate the differences for themselves!

This leaf science experiment takes a tiny bit of planning (you need about two minutes of prep the day before the activity), but it is so worth the time to watch your child experiment with the set-up.  Here's the easy how-to:

1- (The Day Before): Place some leaves in 1- inches of water and place them in the freezer. Use some fresh leaves that you pick, and some dry leaves you find on the ground. I just put them on a plate.

2- (Right Before "Science Time"): Set up some freshly picked leaves, dry leaves from the ground, and frozen leaves from the freezer on cookie sheets for your children to investigate. (You can even send the kids outside on a leaf hunt while you arrange everything else.) Provide warm water and pipettes (to melt the ice) and magnifying glasses (to get a better look)!

3- Let your children get to work! You never know what they will discover! My kids wondered why the leaves from the ground were so crispy (because they didn't have water in them), and had a WONDERFUL time "melting" the frozen leaves.

We learned that both water and ice can act like a little magnifying glass on the leaf! They let you see the different parts of the leaves better...like the "tubes" in the leaf (great chance to talk about xylem, phloem, and plant food and water)!

We observed that the green from the leaves (chlorophyll) was dissolving into the water as it melted! We will be revisiting this soon because it is a great tie-in to why leaves change colors, and it totally deserves its own post!

We also built some little leaf ice towers!

So how did this experiment become a STEM project? STEM activities incorporate science, technology, engineering, and math. They can be oh, so simple too! Here's how each area was included in this experiment:

Science: experimenting with melting the ice, comparing the leaves in different states, and hypothesizing about how the leaves and ice would behave when they tinkered with them.
Technology: Using pipettes and magnifying glasses
Engineering: Building towers with the ice and leaves
Math: Qualitatively comparing sizes and predicting the effect of gravity on the ice tower pieces

It is worth noting that I designed this activity as a science experiment/investigation, but as the kids explored, they chose to build the towers. They created their own STEM challenge!

We did this preschool science experiment to go with the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. {Amazon Affiliate Link below:}

This week the Virtual Book Club for Kids is talking about leaves! We are sharing leaf themed activities to go with Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert!

We would LOVE to have you join the Virtual Book Club for Kids too! Just read the book and do a leaf themed activity with your kids! Be sure to join us at the VBC Facebook page too! If you want more details about the VBC (including a list of upcoming books), click here.

More LEAF Resources:

And be sure to check out all these other leaf themed activities that are perfect for preschoolers:

Learning About Letters with Leaves & Falling Leaves Song – Kori at HomeBeginning Sounds Activity: Leaf Sticker Tree- Growing Book by BookLetter Recognition Game with Free Leaf PrintableLeaf Name Sticky Wall – Inspiration LaboratoriesLearn to Write Your Name with ‘Letter Man’ – Chickadee LitWrite Your Name In Leaves – Adventures of Adam
Fall Loose Parts Sensory Invitation  – My Storytime Corner
Fall Leaf Auditory Processing Activities – Sugar Aunts
Preschool Leaf Science Experiment  – Preschool Powol Packets
Simple Preschool Science: Leaf Matching Activity – School Time Snippets
Giant Colorful Watercolor Fall Leaves for Kids – Toddler Approved
Basic Math with Fall Leaves for Preschoolers  – Views From a Step Stool
Leaf Color Sorting – My Bored Toddler
Leaf Art ~ Prewriting Patterns for Fall – Rainy Day mum
Leaf Tracing Pre-Writing Activity  – Books and Giggles
Leaf puppets – messy little monster  – Messy Little Monster
Follow the leaves: Cardinal Directions and Map Skills for kids  – Extremely Good Parenting

Learning Fun With Leaves – Clare’s Little Tots
Number Leaf Scavenger Hunt – – The Educators’ Spin On It
Preschool Printable Counting Leaves -CraftCreateCalm
Amazon Affiliate Links:

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Saturday, September 24, 2016

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Our Top Favorite Best Halloween Preschool Books

Our favorite Halloween preschool books actually link back to a tradition my mom started when I was a teenager: she made a Halloween-themed quilt, and every night in October we would sit on it while she read a Halloween or pumpkin themed story.

I loved this tradition! I loved it so much that reading Halloween stories with my own kids takes me back in my memories every time! I don't have a Halloween quilt yet...it's on my never-ending list of things to do, but I do read Halloween stories! We usually do Halloween activities to go with the stories...things like these Halloween science projects or this giant spooky ghost are always fun and pretty easy!

I should probably confess that I don't like truly scary or creepy books or stories. I like friendly witches, smiling skeletons, and helpful ghosts, so those are the types of stories on my list. Plus, they're more friendly for preschoolers!

So here are our absolute favorite Halloween Preschool Books:

(Images are Amazon Affiliate Links.)

Big Pumpkin is absolutely wonderful! The language and rhythm are delightful, the pictures are fun, and the friendship lesson is light and cheerful.  I also love hearing kids saay "Drat!" after we read when things go wrong for them! I love this book so much that it is my recommended book for the Pumpkin Theme in HEEP, my preschool curriculum!

Room on the Broom is another delightful book about a friendly witch whose friends help save the day! The lyrics make a wonderful read-aloud with loads of side themes to explore as well.

The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything is hilarious! It has lots of great onomatopoeia too, which make reading it out loud with your kiddos twice as much fun...be sure to encourage them to clomp and stomp along with you! Possible warning: this story does have some slightly scary elements (like getting stalked by random clothing items and a floating jack-o-lantern), but our kids have always loved it and thought the "scary characters" were just silly.

What can I say...we have been Fancy Nancy fans since my oldest was 2 years old! The Halloween version actually presents a challenge that your kiddo can fix with the enclosed stickers. After my daughter "fixed" Fancy Nancy's costume, I changed the ending to include the new outfit. :)

This book may be the oldest in our list of best Halloween picture books, but it is wonderful! The text is super simple, but so fun to say and the pictures tell a lovely story of a group of a Halloween adventure!

This little witch is not quite so friendly--she wants to scare away the ghosts who live in a mansion she wants! Ten Timid Ghosts is a counting book with amazing pictures and fun rhymes!

This is one of the most fun books to read aloud ever! If you tend to get tongue-tied, do a quick preview first, but be prepared for some rolling, rollicking fun with a crazy pumpkin! This is only loosely tied to Halloween (the boys discover the pumpkin on Halloween and there is a Halloween feast), but pumpkins are a fun topic all fall!

The science teacher in me just cannot resist Dem Bones! I love this book *so* much, lol! It has two "layers" to the story--the first one talks about the bones to the rhythm of the traditional African-American spiritual. The second one has little biological fact inserts that tell about the bones!

So there you have it...our favorite best Halloween preschool books ever!  You can click here to see our favorite pumpkin preschool books too!

What's your favorite?

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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