SMALL FRIENDS PRESCHOOL AND CHILDCARE IN MAPLE GROVE
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January

 Hibernation is a part of this months theme. We will be talking about What is Hibernation anyway?! Technically, it is a time when animals sleep through the cold winter. However, it is very, very different than a human's deep sleep. An animal can actually be moved or touched and not even be aware of it!  

HIBERNATION THEME ARTWHAT KIND OF BED? 

 Materials Needed: Pictures of animals that hibernate (from magazines, online, etc.); glue sticks; construction paper; markersLook at the pictures with the children. Ask them where they think each animal would make its bed in the winter when it hibernates (in a tree trunk, a log, a cave, in the mud-for snakes!).Have the children choose just 1 animal picture.Encourage the children to write their name on their paper. Then instruct them to draw a bed and/or home for the winter for their animal and then, using the glue stick, place their animal in its home.As the children are making their pictures, be sure to ask each of them (individually) where their animal will sleep and write it down.When done, write what they told you on their papers and hang to display.*You do not need to just write "My snake sleeps in the mud." Write down EVERYTHING they say....it could be come quite the story!

EXTENSION: After the pages have been on display for a couple of days, make them into a class book by stapling them and add it to your classroom's library for the children to read!They love to see their own work in print! Also, read this book at story time to the group!

RECYCLED HOMESMaterials Needed: Empty boxes, cans, egg cartons, etc.; paintAsk the children where animals might sleep during the winter. Discuss the many different places-snakes in mud pits, turtles under mud, frogs in logs, bees in the ground, animals in holes in the ground or in tree trunks, in caves, etc.Tell them they are going to create some animal homes! Let them choose from the items to come up with a home they'd like to paint.

EXTENSION: When dry, use their homes at interest learning centers througout your classroom.Place them on a table or on the floor with beanie babies, in the block area with some small, toy animals and reptiles and bees!

HIBERNATION THEME BLOCK CENTER IDEASBUILD A BEDIf possible, suspend a dark colored sheet or piece of fabric over the block area to make it a bit dark. Add smalled stuffed or other toy animals, snakes, frogs and bees in the block area and encourage the children to make winter homes for them to sleep in.

THEME CIRCLE TIME IDEASCircle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Hibernation Theme!

LITTLE MOUSE, WHERE IS YOUR HOUSE?This is a favorite activity for our preschoolers...we use it throughout the year as a transitional activity as well!In advance draw out and laminate 1 small mouse and 1 house shape (each of different color). Make sure your mouse is SMALLER than the house shape!Tell the children they are going to help find the hibernating mouse! Tell the children to close and cover their eyes! You hide the mouse under one of the houses.Tell the children to look now. Ask them to join with you in saying "Little Mouse, Little Mouse, where is your house?" Ask one child which house you should look under. (Encourage them to NAME the color, not just point, to reinforce color recognition*)."Little Mouse, are you under the orange house?" Have the child lift up the orange house. "NO! Where could she be?"Continue with each child until found. Keep playing until every child has had a turn.* Program the houses to work on the skill you are working on in the classroom such as letters, numbers, shapes, etc. (Little Mouse, are you in the "A" house? Are you in the "2" house? Are you in the "star" house").

WHERE DO I SLEEP?Materials Needed: Pictures of animals and pictures of the homes they sleep in. Frog--log Snake--lake and mud Turtle--mud Ground Hog--the ground (of course!)--his burrow Squirrel--tree trunk Bat--CaveShow the homes and ask the children if they can tell what they are.Show the animals and ask the children to identify them.Hand out the animals to the children. Place the home animals on the floor in the circle. Ask the children, one at a time, where an animal would live. This is a group activity, so don't put any one child on the spot (i.e. Where does YOUR animal sleep in winter?". Instead, say "Cheryl, which animal do you have? Childen, where do you suppose a snake would sleep?" Have the child place the animal on the home.

SNACK RECIPE IDEAS Cooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific theme questions while making these fun snacks!

ANIMAL TOASTIngredients and Items Needed: Bread, Toaster, jelly or jam; animal cookie cutters; plastic knives.Give each child a piece of toast. Have them use the cookie cutter to make an animal shape. Spread with jelly-yum!

EXTENSION: Do not throw away the extra crust! Take a walk later after snake with the children and let them break up the toast and leave it outside for the birds and animals who do NOT hibernate!Fine Motor Skills -Penguin and winter fine motor practice. Children will practice pre-writing skills as they trace the path from the penguin to the food. This activity is great for developing the fine motor skills needed for writing. Twelve different pre-writing cards provide practice with a variety of strokes at a variety of levels. Creative Art and Crafts-I love crafts! Not only do they always help our classroom look cute and inviting, they're also a great way to practice those tricky fine motor skills. And they involve following directions which we all know can be a challenge ;) Square penguin is a fun craft for the winter months! It incorporates shapes, symmetry and lots more! Math- How Many Mittens Tall Are You? With the help of a friend, students will use a beautiful mitten measuring tape to measure how many mittens tall they are. Kiddos will then record it on a recording page and draw a picture of themselves to match. 

 January First Week

Winter is our preschool theme that offers activities with snow, ice and more for your preschool classroom!This theme includes all kinds of weather! Not only is it windy but there is ice and.......SNOW! 

 As you know, we see LOTS of it! Unfortunately, sometimes it is just too cold to actually go outside and play in it. What do we do? You guessed it: Bring the snow and ice inside!

Snowball PaintingMaterials Needed: Large bucket of snow, powered tempera paint (any colors will do!); white paper and mittens!With mittens on, have the children make a snow ball.The teacher sprinkles some tempera paint onto each child's paper*Encourage the child to either roll the snowball on the paper or use the snowball as a paintbrush!VARIATION: Place the paper into a shallow tray or box. Place the paper in the box and sprinkle the powdered paint on the paper. The child then places the snowball on the paper and tips the tray or box back and forth to paint!VARIATION: Try both the activity or the above variation using ice cubes instead of snowballs.*Adults only should sprinkle this so that it does not get into eyes.

Snow Flake ScenesMaterials Needed: small, round blocks, white paint in shallow trays, light blue paper.Show the children how to dip the flat, round end of the block into the paint and stamp circles onto the paper. What a scene!Winter IciclesMaterials needed: aluminum foil, thinned paint, eye droppers.Have children drip paint on the edge of the foil. Hold foil up and let paint drip down the foil. Continue with many colors. Let dry. Mount onto black paper. Shine flashlights to reflect the "ice"!

Block AreaPreschool Winter Theme Block Center Ideas

Soft Snow PilesMaterials Needed: Cotton balls and cotton batting (polyfill)Simply add these materials to your block area with trucks and cars. The children can plow the snowdrifts around!

Table Block SnowmenPut out your colored blocks and beads. Provide several pre-cut snowmen shapes and encourage the children to use the blocks and beads to make the face, buttons and even the arms! Have many snowmen cut outs available--many of our kids try to recreate what their friend made! 

Circle Time ActivitiesCircle Time is such a great time for children to learn the social skills of being together as a large group AND to learn more about your Winter Theme!

5 Little Snowmen FingerplayMaterials Needed: NoneChildren hold up one hand and pretend that their fingers are snowmen. Say the following fingerplay with them. Encourage them to count how many are left and sing on with you!5 little snowmen made of snow.5 little snowmen in a row.Out came the sun and it shone all day.And one little snowman melted away. (put one finger down).Ask "How many left? Let's count! 1-2-3-44 little snowmen made of snow....repeat until gone.

EXTENSION: Make snowmen out of felt and use a felt board for this activity. Place feltboard and snowmen in Library center for the children to use during Interest Center time.EXTENSION: Make snowmen out of paper and have at the math table for the children to use and recount while singing the song.More FingerplaysJanuary's ColdJanuary's a cold month- Shiver, shiver, shiver!(wrap arms around self and shake) Button up (pretend to button your coat) Cover your ears (pretend to put on your hat) Quiver, quiver, quiver

What We Do In The Snow-Class Book

At circle time, ask the children what they like to do in the snow. Write down their answers. Encourage them to draw a picture of them doing that activity in the snow.Write their description on the picture, make a cover for the book, staple it and read it at your next circle time!

EXTENSION: If you have small pictures of the children, tape their picture onto their page. Place the book in your class Library. I promise you, it will be read a lot!Cooking RecipesCooking with children helps develop their math skills and helps them to learn how to follow directions. It also allows for some great conversation! Ask many questions while cooking with your children to encourage conversation! Be sure to ask specific winter theme questions while making these fun snacks!

Banana BlizzardsIngredients needed: Frozen yogurt, bananas and other banana split items! Why not?!Graham Cracker SnowflakeIngredients and items needed: Graham cracker squares; small paper doilies; powdered sugar (confectioner's sugar); tray for extra sugar.Place doily on graham cracker.Have child shake sugar on.Lift doily off to see snowflake design. Shake of extra sugar into a tray.

Snowmen BiscuitsIngredients and materials needed: Refrigerated biscuit dough; small amount of flour; rolling pin; raisins; thin pretzels; small snow man cookie cutters.Roll out dough onto lightly floured surface.Child cuts out a snowman and places it on a cookie sheet.Bake as directed.Give children raisins (for eyes, nose and buttons) and pretzels for arms.

Dramatic Play IdeasIce FishingMaterials needed: Wading pool or large bin, plastic fish and fishing pole set, or you can use plastic fish and butterfly nets!, campfire (made of firewood or, make one out of paper towel tubes and provide orange and red paper flames); pans to cook on and plates to serve food!Fish for food and cook on your pretend campfire!Easel Ideas

Preschool Winter Theme Ideas for your Easel--More Than Just Painting (Although that is always THE favorite in our classroom!)

Chalk SnowballsPrecut white circles, chalkAdd to your classroom decor after the children have decorated snowballs!Winter StormClip dark colors of construction paper onto the easel.Place warm water into cups and mix in several spoons of salt. Mix to melt salt.Dip sidewalk chalk into water and draw!The salt gives quite the sparkling effect when dried!

Gross Motor GamesPreschool Winter Theme Large Group Games that help build their muscles while they have fun togetherA Snowman to MakeProvide white trash bags and lots and lots of newspaper! The children should crumple the newspaper and toss it into the trash bag.Fill 3 bags of different sizes to make your own classroom sized snowman!

Snowball Throwing PracticePlace a large basket outside for the children to try to throw snowballs into. If you can't get outside, provide clean rolled up socks to aim into the basket as well as different sized balls.

Library and Literacy(I LOVE Amazon, and if you choose to get yours there, they do send me a few cents--which supports my coffee habit!)

The Biggest Snowball Ever! by John RoganChicken Soup with Rice by Maurice Sendak

The First Snowfall by Anne and Harlow Rockwell

Frozen Noses by Jan CarrIt's Snowing! by Olivier DunreaKaty and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton

Sadie and the Snowman by Allen MorganSnow Is Falling by Franklyn M. Branley

Snow? Let's Go! by Karen Berman Nagel

Snow on Snow on Snow by Cheryl ChapmanSnowballs by Lois Ehlert

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

Snow Storm by Heather Amery & Stephen Cartwright

There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow! by Lucille Colandro

Yay! A Snow Day! by Bill Cosby/Little Bill

Wintertime by Ann Schweninger (book of poems)

Library Wall Winter Theme DecorHang pictures on the wall of different types of winter scenes: snowmen, snowstorms, icicles, glaciers, etc. as well as pictures of cold areas of the world like Alaska, Greenland, etc.If possible, provide winter themed magazines and pictures to look at.

Math And Manipulatives ActivitiesPreschool Winter Theme activities to help your Preschoolers develop those small muscles in their hands!

Winter Snowball CountingMaterials: Muffin baking pan; cotton balls; tongs or spoons; precut circles to fit into tins with the numbers on them that you are working on with your children.Place a number circle in each compartment. Encourage the children to place the corresponding number of cotton balls into each circle, using the tongs.

Music and MovementPreschool Winter Theme Music and Movement Activities and Ideas to get your Preschoolers Movin' and Groovin'!

Icy Hand Dancing!Materials needed: A bowl of ice cubes (do not let the children see them!); a metal tray; a CD player.Tell the children you are going to drop something and ask if they can guess what it is. Drop an ice cube on a metal tray. Let them guess! Try a few more times. If they don't guess, give clues (It's cold. It's hard. etc.).Have the children sit in a circle. Tell them they are going to pass the ice cube around the circle as the music plays. When you pause the music, they should freeze (HA- get it!) and the child with the ice cube holds it while you count to 1. Play music and repeat, next time count to 2. Next time ask, what number is next? We counted to 1 and then to 2? Continue as there is interest!

EXTENSION: To get them up and moving, play a game of "Freeze Dancing" with the music! If you're really brave, give them each an ice cube to dance with!

Sand and Water TablePreschool Winter Theme Activities for the Senses!Sand the Icy RoadsMaterials Needed: Sheets of ice; play sand; ice cubes; toy trucks and carsIn advance, freeze thin layers of water in shallow trays (like foil cookie sheets). Place sheets of ice in the water table and provide the children with cups of sand to put on the ice to sand the roads! We have actually placed the actual sheets with the ice in it directly into the water table rather than chancing having the sheets of ice break while taking them out!

Insta-SnowThis stuff is SO cool! It can be purchased at a teacher store or some department stores have it as well. It is so much fun to make with the children!Place several tablespoons of Insta-Snow into a plastic up for each child.Have them hold their cups over the water table.Pour warm water in, quickly, as they hold the cup to fill the cup to the top with water.Have children wait....within seconds the snow will begin to overflow the cups!Empty cups of snow into the table. As the children handle it, it will fluff up a bit more!You can also put a few teaspoons in each child's hand and pour water into their hands. It feels really cool as it "grows"!Insta-Snow is NON Toxic. It is a polymer and is cold to the touch when mixed with water!

Science ActivitiesPreschool Winter Theme Science Activities--for your Preschool Scientists in Training!Ice CatchersMaterials Needed: plastic bowls, items from outside (twigs, leaves, rocks, etc.); a piece of ribbon for each child; waterFill each bowl about half way with water.Ask each child to guess if the item they are going to put in the water (twig, leaf, rock, etc.) will sink or float. Have them place it in. Where they right? Repeat for each item except for the ribbon.Now, place the ribbon so that both ends are in the water and a "loop" is out.Place bowls in the freeze overnight.The next day, when you remove the ice from the bowls, there will be the ribbon loop sticking out of the frozen water so that you can go outside and hang it from a tree!

EXTENSION: Take guesses about what will happen, how long till they melt, etc.! If you can't get outside, be creative! See if you can hang them somehow in the classroom perhaps over the water table where it can drip while you watch!Colorful SnowFill spray bottles with water colored with food coloring. Bring them outside and let the children spray the snow! If you can't get outside try this:Bring in different sizes of bowls of snow, spray them with the water bottles and then let them melt. Once melted, freeze them overnight.The next day, put the different colors and sizes of ice in a bin (or your water table) and let the children sprinkle salt on them! They'll be amazed at what the salt does to them!

How Cold Is It TodayProvide several thermometers for the children to look at. Discuss how they measure how cold it is, that the line goes up when it is warmer, etc.Place one outside to check the temperature. Record the temperature each day.Provide extra thermometers and many cups of water at different temperatures for them to experiment to see what each type of water does to the thermometer.

Window Fog PicturesC'mon! Be brave!Wash the outside front glass door. Let the children "breathe" on the glass to see the fog and then draw pictures on it! Explain why this happens: the outside air is cold and the air in their mouths is warm and that makes fog!Clean the door and let a few more children make fog! (For germ reasons! only allow a few children at a time do this.)

Winter Letter MatchIn advance, cut out 26 snowflakes. Print one letter in the middle of each snowflake.Cut out 26 circles that will fit in the middle of the snowflakes. Using dashes or dots, make the shape of one letter in each circle. Laminate the circles.Provide the children with dry-erase markers and encourage them to trace the dots/dashes on the letter and then match it to the snowflake.

VARIATION: Have the children find the snowflakes with the letters of their name on them and spell out their name with the snowflakes. Then have them find the matching letter circle, trace the letter with the dry-erase marker and match it to the snowflake.

VARIATION: Rather than make all 26, just make snowflakes for the letters you have already covered with the children.