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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art, collaboration, painting, preschool

Painting Progress: Pinterest Inspiration and Circle Time Collaboration

If you’ve ever tried to make something you found on Pinterest, I’m sure you can identify with the idea that sometimes those ideas just don’t pan out the way “they” said. Today was an example of a successful experiment when we used the salad spinner to make spin art. The idea was to make monster faces (it’s almost Halloween) and the children chose not to do that, though they did have some good laughs at the few monster faces I made to show them what was possible.

salad spinner art with preschoolers

Everyone’s spin art on the drying rack.

This activity turned into a great opportunity to practice squeezing and to use our knowledge of how to make hypotheses during an experiment.

salad spinner art with preschoolers

“I can do it MYSELF”

We had tempera paint sticks to draw on the plates first and then there were four color choices to drip onto our plates before spinning them. We experimented with what would happen with a few droplets of paint versus big globs of paint and explored concepts of cause and effect as well as problem solving as we tested out fast and slow pushing of the spinner handle.

salad spinner art with preschoolers

Drawing with tempera paint sticks first, then dripping paint to spin on top.

We also did some practice using the tempera cake paints. During circle time, we talked about how to use them successfully. The children described the way to get the most colorful paint by dipping the brush in the water, swishing it on the dry cake and then applying the brush to the paper.

collaborative painting with preschoolers

Our collaborative painting made during circle time.

First, I made some red lines on one side of the paper that was taped to the white board. Then we took turns each adding a set of marks to the page.

collaborative painting with preschoolers

Georgia takes a turn working on the collaborative painting.

It was good practice in waiting our turn and gripping the brush and making creative choices. And we even got a chance to do some social conflict resolution when one friend made marks that covered another friend’s marks. This was an awesome chance to work on negotiation skills as we talked together as a group about whether we all wanted a second turn to return to the painting and make another set of marks.

collaborative painting with preschoolers

Collaboration is tricky for preschoolers, we got to practice taking turns and problem solving as we worked on our piece.

In the end, we had a beautiful painting full of interesting marks: some dry, some wet. And we even got to experiment with color mixing when one friend showed the others that if she swirled her brush on the red cake and then on the blue cake it would leave purple paint on the paper.

Doing collaborative work can be very hard for people of any age. And particularly difficult for children that have a strong sense of how they would like their work to look. It is an excellent opportunity to practice communication skills however, and the end result is often stunning and unique.

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