positive steps therapy · topic

Therapy Thursday– Gross Motor Insects

If you tuned into my blog last week, you read about my new team up with Positive Steps Therapy. They will be providing tips and tricks to help your child with all sorts of activities that work on improving and increasing developmentally appropriate skills (gross motor, fine motor, speech and language and more).

On Saturday, I posted the first post together on gross motor development. You can check it out here. Today I’m going to share how I would incorporate some of these skills into this week’s topic!

Movement! Children love movement, and movement is key for gross motor development. Here are three links to videos to get your kiddos moving: The Insect Song with Will Parker, Bug ‘n Roll by Pinkfong and Enzo the Bee with Cosmic Kid Yoga. These videos can be watched and followed along. The two song videos you can just listen to the music and you and your child can make up your own moves and actions.

Want to play a game? Create your own dice with insect movements. Grab a cardboard box. Have your child draw 6 different insects, one on each side. Now toss the box to roll it. Whatever insect is on the top, your child must move like that insect. You can let them choose when to switch or set a timer for each movement. This is a great activity to take outside. Some suggested insects and movements– crawl like an ant, flutter like a butterfly, buzz around fast like a bee, jump/hop like a grasshopper, pounce like a mantis, fly like a ladybug.

Here are some of the Positive Step ideas that can be changed into insect activities:

  • 2-3 Feed the frogs – Cut out frogs or other animals or use stuffed animals and place them at the bottom of the stairs. Place pom poms (food for animals) on the first few steps. Tell your child to walk up a certain number of stairs and collect the food to bring them to the frogs. Encourage your child to alternate feet on the stairs. 
  • 3-4 Perform animal walks to encourage gross motor development and overall strengthening. Use your imagination and practice being different animals such as bear, frog, kangaroo, flamingo, horse, and crab. 
  • 4-5 Practice jumping with two feet progressing to one foot by using hula hoops as place markers 

STEAM · story · topic

Bumblebee

Are you enjoying learning about insects? Today let’s talk about BEEEEESSSSS! Bees! While often people are afraid of bees, honey bees or bumblebees are very important to our world. Let’s learn more. Today’s story is Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton.

Want to learn more? Check out these videos:

Are you willing to give bees a chance? What will you do to help the bees?

Children need to learn that they can help. Often times children want to help the environment and other causes, but can’t figure out what they can do. Help your child brainstorm ways that (s)he can help the bees. Can they help plant flowers? Can they make and hang a bee box? Eat local honey?

STEAM · story · writing

Dragonflies

Today we will learn about one type of insect, a dragonfly. Let’s listen to the story Are You a Dragonfly by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. Then head over to SciShow Kids (Super Strong Dragonfly) to learn some more dragonfly facts. Just for fun, listen to the song D-D-D-Dragonfly by Pinkfong.

Now… let’s draw a picture and write some facts!

Teaching your child to create a can, are, have chart will assist them in collecting facts. This also becomes the start of writing paragraphs about the topic. When learning to write, provide your child the sentence starter and have them complete the fact “Dragonflies are _____. Dragonflies can_____. Dragonflies have____.” As they get better at writing and understanding the format of writing, they will then begin to use this format in their own informative writing process.

STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic · writing

Head, Thorax, Abdomen…

This week we will learn about bugs! First let’s watch SciShow Kid’s Inspect an Insect. Think about bugs you know… are they insects? Remember an insect has an exoskeleton, 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and six legs. Here is Dr. Jean singing a song about insect body parts.

Now let’s draw and label an insect. Which type will you draw? An ant, a beetle, a walking stick, butterfly, dragonfly?? Make sure it has a head, thorax and abdomen, only six legs and an exoskeleton.

Children love learning about the world around them. Learning about items found in nature and discovering the fascinating facts about these items motivates children to learn more. This lesson taps into a child’s natural curiosity about why things are what they are. What fits into the category of an insect and why? Learning to draw detailed pictures and label them will help with later studies in science. The incorporation of music helps to connect to additional levels of learning, fun and so much more.

math · STEAM

Fun Friday- Lego Patterns

Today for fun Friday, we will work on patterns. Patterns can be found all around us. Many insects have patterns on their bodies.

Self Mimicry
25 Best Dragonflies and damselflies images | Insects, Beautiful ...
232 Best insect - pattern & texture images | Beautiful butterflies ...
The Science Behind Nature's Patterns | Science | Smithsonian Magazine

Your child can explore patterns with many items, but today we will use Lego blocks to create patterns. Children are taught that a pattern is something that repeats itself. We label patterns using letters. An AB pattern would be green-red-green-red or tall-short-tall-short. An AAB pattern would be green-green-red-green-green-red or tall-tall-short-tall-tall-short. This can also be explained by saying one green, one red, one green one red or two tall, one short, two tall, one short.

When working on patterns in preK and K we tend of focus on one attribute at a time to explain the patterns.

Have your child create a pattern using Lego blocks.

AB pattern

This picture demonstrates an AB pattern, or actually many different AB patterns. You will see that this pattern can be read as black, yellow, black, yellow, black, yellow, black. It could also be labeled as long, short, long, short, long, short, long. Or 8, 4, 8, 4, 8, 4, 8… do you see that one?

ABB

After your child begins to see how to make an AB pattern, demonstrate how to make AAB and ABB patterns. These patterns are similar and can easily be taught together. This pattern is an ABB pattern blue, red, red, blue, red, red, blue, red, red. It can also be stated as 1 blue, 2 red, 1 blue 2 red, 1 blue, 2 red. This helps the child focus on the quantity and not just the naming of the pattern. If you flipped the pattern over you now have the AAB version.

Typically you would then move into an AABB pattern and then introduce a third item moving from ABC to AABBCC and then going to AABC, ABBC, ABCC etc. You will be impressed at how intricate they child create their patterns when you show them the process and let them explore.

ABC pattern

Just remember to have fun!

STEAM · story · writing

Topic Tuesday- Insects!

Children love insects. Who doesn’t enjoy learning about those flying, crawling, pesky and cool critters? This is a great opportunity to teach your little one about doing research… yes, you read that correctly. Even 4/5 year olds enjoy doing research. They love learning facts. But, here is my suggestion… skip wikipedia… go to youtube! There are so many videos made for children that teach about anything and everything.

E- KWL Charts - The Amazing World of Teaching
KWL chart
A Bug's Life | Insects preschool, Insect activities, Insects ...
can, are, have chart

Have your child choose one insect (make sure it is an insect and not an arachnid, we will work on those later). Create a KWL chart (what I Know, what I Want to know, what I Learned). You can either write in the chart for him/her or have them draw illustrations to help remember what they put into each section. Another great learning chart for child is a Can, Are, Have chart. This can be started before you research, you might be surprised what your child already knows about the insect of their choice. Have him/her state ________ can ________ (caterpillars can become butterflies), ________ are ________ (ants are little), ________ have ________ (flies have wings).

After you have worked together on this research, you can have your child draw and write about the insect. In my classroom, we often take the information off the Can, Are, Have chart and make it into a class book. Each child chooses one fact and then draws and writes about the fact. This is an easy sentence to write as they have already stated the sentence Ants have 6 legs, with an illustration of an ant.

Hey Little Ant is a fun story to read with children. If you do not know this story, I encourage you to read it and then get chatting about it. The story is a conversation between a boy and an ant. The boy is explaining why it should squish the ant and the ant is trying to explain why the boy should not. The book ends with the question still up in the air. Have your child draw a picture of what he/she would do if he was the boy. Would they squish the ant or walk away? Why? (This can be taken into either an opinion or persuasive writing direction depending on how you word the starter, see below)

math

Monday Math- Symmetry

This week we will do a bit of exploring about insects. Make sure to check out the links on Sunday’s post for stories and information for your preK kiddo on insects.

Today we will focus on symmetry. When we learn about symmetry in preK we learn that it means to make things the same on both sides. We use mirrors to show that the two sides should look the same (ie a mirror image). Most insects have very clear lines of symmetry down the middle. https://all-about-symmetry.com/line-symmetry-in-insects/

shape symmetry
not symmetrical

But, before we get to insects, let take symmetry back a step or two… shapes. Cut out basic shapes. Show your child how to fold the shapes to locate lines of symmetry. Also show fold that would be incorrect (see triangle photo).

Once your child begins to understand the concept of lines of symmetry (do not expect mastery, just a basic understanding), we can have some fun. Here are a few fun projects you can do with symmetry:

fold paper to draw insect
symmetrical dragonfly

Fold a sheet of paper in half and draw half an insect (butterfly, dragonfly, ant, housefly, bumblebee, etc). Show your child how to draw it on the fold so that when it opens up it is the whole insect. Then have him/her color it so both sides are the same. This coloring does not have to match the real life object, the real lesson is making sure it is symmetrical.

If your home is anything like mine, you have lots of Lego bricks around the house. Here is a way to use the Lego items to practice symmetry. Find a variety of matching blocks. Set up a design and have your child create a matching symmetrical version. Remind them that it is a mirror image and therefore should build out from the middle.

Lego symmetry
finished Lego symmetry