Building with Preschoolers
building, construction play with preschoolers

A Day of Skill Building with Magnet Tiles

Building with Preschoolers

Grader develops problem solving skills as he builds a house and experiments with cause and effect as he uses different items to knock the house down.

Building with Preschoolers

As Foreman constructs a school bus with magnet tiles, he not only shows what he knows about the world (by building rear doors and adding windows) and develops problem solving skills, but he also practices resiliency (those magnet tiles fall apart easily).

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art, collaboration, fine motor, peer communication, preschool, sensory play

When We Go With the Flow

I’m sitting for circle time, it’s going well. We’re doing our bell ringing and our greeting. We sing some songs and read a book. And then the children let me know they are ready to do something else. Before I can tell them what I had brought for them, they requested to use the playdough and asked for the little animals we’ve been using.

sensory play with preschoolers

Dr. Kitty uses a napkin ring to create a house for her rabbit and frog toys.

So we got out the playdough and had a fabulous time sitting together and building houses. Foreman cut pretend pizza pieces and offered them to all of his friends. Many stories were told and myriad conflicts navigated. Was this what I thought we’d do today? Nope. Was it valuable and full of great learning? Yep.

Sensory play with preschoolers

Totto makes footprints in purple playdough with a plastic hedgehog.

Even our toddler sibling friend was into it: he smashed dough and copied what the older children were doing. He spent longer at this activity than any of our other friends, in fact!

painting with preschoolers

Georgia works on her refrigerator painting.

I also had provided a big canvas board for us to paint on together, which is something we’ve been practicing for a few weeks. I thought this would last a short time and that then we’d move on to something else. Instead, what happened was that Georgia and Dr. Kitty decided to do their own paintings on separate paper after they worked on the collaborative piece. They explored the new watercolor pans that I brought and did some problem solving about how to fit both papers at the same table.

What I thought we would be doing today didn’t really happen. And what did happen was beautiful and full of wonderful wonderings, excellent fine motor control development, and great peer-to-peer conversations. This is something I’ve been toying with the last few months, and I am still finding my way to how best to follow some semblance of a plan and also go with the flow and provide materials that are engaging for the children. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going.

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art, building, collaboration, fine motor, gross motor, painting, problem solving

A Day of Togetherness and Joy

We’ve been making paintings together at circle time as a way to practice collaborating, get some color identification work in and build strong muscles in our hands. As we do this work together each week, we develop familiarity with the tempera cakes and how to use them and we build social and vocabulary skills.

painting with preschoolers

Lightening adds her signature mark to the collaborative painting.

The magnet tiles continue to prove interesting. Today Rocket says as he arrives, “wow, there are so many interesting things to do today!” Later, he begins the painting below as a way to explore the construction we built together and then he notices that he can take a turn on the trampoline and hurries off. I am tempted to draw him back in and then I decide that today is probably one of the last days it will be warm enough to spend a long time outside together so I decide we’ll try again next week.

painting and building with preschoolers

We’ve started drawing and painting our magnet tile buildings to practice making shapes, planning and making our ideas visible.

As a teacher, I say it is easy to get caught up in the chaos of the moment and forget to notice the accomplishments and sweet snippets of our days together. I got lucky this afternoon and got to watch this monkey swing like a pro across these bars and I couldn’t resist sharing his joy with you.

gross motor play with preschoolers

Mr. Conductor Monkey bravely works his way across the tricky monkey bars.

When we work together with our peers to make something happen as part of a dramatic play game (Anna and Elsa visit Rapunzel in her tower), we develop problem solving skills, practice engaging our friends in imaginary games, and work on peer communication skills.

gross motor play and problem solving with preschoolers

Dr. Kitty and Rocket work problem solve ways to get the hula hoops into the play house.

Today was full of excellent learning, funny dancing, hula hoop chasing and skill building. These are just a few examples of what we’ve been up to and in observing this group today, I am reminded to not take myself so seriously, to take some deep breaths when I feel slighted by someone, to sit and eat with people that I love and that sometimes (usually?) it’s best to go with the flow instead of resisting what is happening.

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building, painting, rituals

A Day of Tree Climbing, Building, and Drawing

getting outdoors with preschoolers

Dr. Kitty finds her way out of the tree after her foot got stuck in the branch. Tree climbing is great problem solving practice!

building with preschoolers

Foreman draws a plan for the magnet tile construction he wants to build.

painting with preschoolers

Lightening makes a card for a daddy of a classmate after we used up all the coffee filters.

painting with preschoolers

Using droppers to drip watercolor on coffee filters helps build fine motor control.

creating rituals with young children

Totto shows that he knows how to ring the bell that we take turns ringing at the beginning of class.

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creative ways to tell stories with preschoolers
light play, storytelling with preschoolers

A Day of Storytelling and Light Play

This afternoon’s threat of rain sent us to the basement to do some light play and exploring with the Picasso Tiles on the overhead projector. We’ve been playing this game about taking a vacation inside a snake (a crawling tube toy) for the last few weeks together and so a string of bone-like beads was added to our choices of what to put on the projector.

The ever-compelling circus rings were still hooked up in front of the wall that the light shines on so a circus show was going on while we took turns telling stories about the snake.

When we tell stories together, we practice showing what we know about the world, work on memory and recall skills, and build vocabulary. When our friends perform during our stories, they work on listening skills, practice taking turns, and build their gross motor skills.

creative ways to tell stories with preschoolers

Professor Worm performs his circus act while his friends tell stories about snakes and mountains and hunters on the overhead projector.

creative ways to tell stories with preschoolers

The green and yellow hunters search for the snake.

creative ways to tell stories with preschoolers

A storm visits Snake Mountain.

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construction play with preschoolers

A Day of Construction Play: How We Build Skills Together

In our Tuesday class, we have some friends that are seriously focused on construction and cars right now. So after a few weeks of chaos and struggling to provide activities that would hold their interest, we switched and started a transportation and construction topic. This mixed aged group of two to five-year-olds is now happily immersed in teaching their teacher about what each of the machines will do and fully engaged in exploring ways to show what they know about construction sites.

As we played today, we worked on fine motor development as we held paint brushes, pinched play dough and used toy backhoes to scoop and pour sand. We practiced peer-to-peer and adult/child communication skills when we described our map paintings and directed our friends in our exploration of the sensory table.

At the sensory table full of sand and new construction toys, we had many chances to develop our negotiation skills as we navigated who would get which truck and to practice how to be kind to our friends while also expressing what we wanted.

We even did some work with one-to-one correspondence as we lined up the trucks and counted each of them.

It was a peaceful and fun day of construction play!

painting maps with preschoolers

Rocket paints a red road on his map.

painting maps with preschoolers

Grader makes a mud puddle on his map.

transportation play with preschoolers

Foreman explores the new sensory sand and construction vehicles.

construction play with preschoolers

Professor Worm pushes sand at the new sensory table.

construction play with preschoolers

Foreman lines up the construction toys and counts them.

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