Fun Ideas For Five Senses Week.

We are smack dab in the middle of the dog days of summer. It’s way too hot to take your class outside and they are quickly tiring of the same old everyday toys. You may be even having a week where you are completely stuck on what to do differently. It happens. Why not plan some activities for the five senses? Today I’ve compiled a list of fun ideas for five senses week.

Fun Ideas For Five Senses Week.

Sight-Bring in a pair of binoculars and let the kids look through them to see what they can see. If you have one on hand, bring in a View Master from the eighties or a kaleidoscope. If you have an older class, make tie dye shirts so they can see what their t-shirts turn into once removed from the solution.

Smell-Bring in a variety of oils, spices, or unlit candles for the kids to smell. Arrange a field trip to a botanical garden so the kids can smell several different flowers. Research some fun facts about the nose and how we smell. Take a walk with your class in the fall and smell the crisp, cool air, leaves, and other smells of the season.
More Ideas For The Five Senses.

Sound-Bring in CDs or download sounds of nature on your phone or your iPod. If you know someone who knows how to play various instruments, have them come in and teach the kids about the different sounds that various instruments make. You could also just have them come in and sing with your class as well. Bring in a diagram of an ear or call a local ear, nose, and throat doctor to see if someone can come in and do a presentation about the ears.

Fun Ideas For Five Senses Week

More Ideas For The Five Senses.

Touch-Bring in different fabrics for your kids to touch. You could also bring in brown lunch sacks with cold spaghetti, peeled grapes, cotton balls, hard candy, etc. Have your kids put their hands in and tell you what they feel inside the bags without them looking inside the bag.

Taste-Bring in different flavors like peppermint candies, starbursts, potato chips or pretzels, lemon slices, etc. This way you can cover the full spectrum of our taste buds. Show your kids a picture of a tongue and explain what our taste buds do, where they are located, and the different tastes that they pick up.

Your kids are going to learn a lot and have a lot of fun with these ideas for  five senses week.

 

 

 

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3 Ideas For Classroom Pets (Other than fish.)

Are you looking to do something different for your classroom? Have you thought about getting a class pet but aren’t sure where to start? Here are 3 ideas for classroom pets that are fun to have around, are easy to take care of, and won’t break the bank.

3 Ideas For Classroom Pets.

Bearded Dragon-Although they may look scary, bearded dragons make great classroom pets. Bearded dragons are gentle by nature. Since they are from the desert, they will need a warm and dry habitat. Once they have adjusted to their new environment (usually a few days) you will be able to take them out for handling sessions. Make sure your students never take the bearded dragon out without supervision. They are fragile in some areas and if a student accidentally picks it up by its tail only, it can break off.

3 Ideas For Classroom Pets (Other Than Fish)

Photo courtesy of Dawn via Unsplash.

 

Guinea Pigs-These makes great classroom pets due to their minimal care. Just like other animals, they require food, water, room to play and exercise toys and at least a once a year checkup. Guniea pigs are bigger than hamsters and gerbils which make them easier to handle. They are very social animals that require daily interaction/activity not to become bored. The only thing special that they need is a source of vitamin C, so fresh food is important.

 

Brine Shrimp(SeaMonkeys)– These come in kits and are extremely easy to set up. Just add water and then watch them emerge and grow. They only need to be fed once a week and may need additional water to help combat evaporation. This classroom pet is one of the easiest ever in maintenance.

 

These 3 ideas for classroom pets will add some fun to your classroom. In addition, it teaches kids about animals, maturity, and responsibility. With the ideas above, you can still have a classroom pet that won’t break your budget.

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How To Help Your Child Readjust After Vacation.

Have you just returned from vacation and are dreading your first morning back to your usual routine? Do you have visions of oversleeping, lost shoes and meltdowns?  Here are some ideas on how to help your child readjust after vacation.

How To Help Your Children Readjust After Vacation.

Let them pick out their clothes the night before-Let kids pick out their clothes the night before. This way there will be no fights the next morning. Make sure shoes are in plain site too.

Make sure they eat dinner- After being on the road for so long, everyone is exhausted. Still, it is important that everyone eats dinner. This will help your bodies replenish for the next day.

Put them to bed on time-Chances are everyone was up way later than usual during your vacation. Make sure everyone gets to bed on time, if not earlier.

Pack lunches the night before-Pack the kids lunches the night before and make it as easy on yourself as possible. If this is the one time you pack them  a Lunchible or something else a little less healthy, so be it.

Make sure all school supplies are in order-Take a minute to make sure all your child’s school supplies (pencils, markers, calculators, notebooks, textbooks,etc) are in their backpack.

How To Help Your Child Readjust After Vacation.

More Ways To Readjust After Vacation.

Here are a few more ways to help your little ones adjust to going back to day care and school after a leisurely vacation.

Wake them up a little earlier-Sure, this sounds counterproductive. Early risers usually equal crankiness. However, if you get them up  a little earlier, it won’t be a mad dash to get out the door. This way your kids can take their time waking up and you will still have enough time to get out the door.

Make sure they eat breakfast-Have a few things on hand that are easy to make like instant oatmeal, frozen waffles, or breakfast bowls.

Take a little extra time during drop off-Plan to spend a little extra time during drop off with your child. Remind them that you will be back to get them just like always so they feel secure.

Use these tips upon your return and see how they work. Make notes and see how you can make things better next time. In doing this you will know exactly how to help your children readjust after vacation next time.

 

5 Fourth Of July Activities For Your Classroom

Are you still looking for some creative activities to do the rest of this week? Here is a list of 5 fourth of July activities for your classroom.

5 Fourth Of July Activities For Your Classroom.

Fireworks-Get white card stock paper and let the kids squeeze streams of glue all over it. Then let them sprinkle red and blue glitter  on it to make their own ‘big’ firework.

Fourth of July Dance Party-Decorate your classroom with red, white and blue streamers and balloons. Have your kids dress in red, white and blue and play both patriotic and non patriotic music for them to dance to. Include songs like Yankee Doodle Dandy, This Land Is Your Land, America The Beautiful, etc as well as other fun songs like The Chicken Dance.

Fingerpaint-Get rolls of white paper and cover the tables in your classroom. Let the kids finger paint with red and blue paint. After it dries, hang it on your wall to display in your classroom. Make sure you write each child’s name near their ‘painting’ and when you are done, cut in between paintings so they can take their creations home.

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5 Fourth Of July Activities For Your Classroom.

Photo courtesy of Ben White via Unsplash

More Fourth Of July activities for your classroom.

Water Day Fun-If you have water day once a week,  treat the kids to a red, white and blue Popsicle before you go in to change clothes. You can use the hose to wash them off before they dry off and head inside.

Fourth of July Snack-Buy cups of ready made blue jell-o and add whipped cream and a strawberry for a patriotic snack. You could also custom order a fruit pizza from your local grocery deli/bakery with just strawberries and blueberries on it. Or make parfaits with yogurt, blueberries and strawberries.

Tie Dye Shirts-Have each parent bring in a white t shirt for their child and tie dye them red and blue.

These 5 Fourth of July Activities for your classroom are bound to light your kids up like fireworks in the sky.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Please don’t pee on me: Potty Training at Daycare

Potty training at daycare can be the most rewarding and most horrible thing at the same time.  As a former teacher, it could be difficult to get those little butts to sit down. Some days two or three would go and it would be like a party. Other days there would be pee everywhere and kids everywhere. If this is an issue for you as a teacher, here are some tips to make classroom potty training much easier.

Potty Training at Daycare.

Gather your supplies-This sounds like a no brainer, but always double check your supplies. Make sure you have gloves, wipes, and everyone’s diaper or pull-up before you start.

Split your class in half-If you have sixteen, take eight at a time. It also helps to keep each gender together.

Make them sit down-I always made my kids sit down in the bathroom and wait to be called. Of course I immediately regretted this after finding a poopy diaper or two minutes later. 🙂 Still, it kept them organized and I always knew where everyone was.

Entertain them-I used to sing to my kids all the time during diaper change/potty time. Sometimes I would sing songs we knew, sometimes I would make something up.

Ask One on One Questions-Sometimes I would ask how their night was last night. What did they do? What did they eat for dinner? If they watched a movie or tv show, what was it?

Give them love-I always gave each one a hug after changing their diaper. Some days that was the only one-on-one time I had with them.

Potty Training at Daycare

Tips for potty training at daycare: Autistic Kids.

-Pay close attention to the autistic children in your care, do they soil their diaper at a certain time of day? Once you know, form a unique schedule of him or her based on their habits. Consistency is key.

-Offer a tangible reward. Take the classroom jar of m&m’s in with you and present the child with a reward immediately (after washing both yours and their hands of course) upon going to the bathroom.

-Sometimes autistic children struggle with picking imitation and picking up on other’s behavior. If the child is a visual learner, make a picture chart of every step of going to the bathroom so he understands the process.

-Be sensitive to their fears.  New noises, equipment and sensations can be disconcerting for autistic children. Always be available in case they become frightened, they may have to leave the bathroom and then work up to sitting on the toilet or flushing.

A Fun Rhyme for Potty Training at Daycare.

Here is a fun rhyme I wrote awhile back in regards to potty training.

The Potty n’ Me

It’s time to be a big kid
From diaper land, I’m free
I walk around, underwear proud
And smile with ease
Because…

The potty n’ me
Best friends are we
It makes a happy flush
When I poop or pee

Mom and Dad come and look
Then dance around with glee
Because they heard the happy flush
They are so proud of me

The potty n’ me
Best friends are we
It makes a happy flush
When I poop or pee

-Carrie Lowrance

 

These potty training at daycare tips should help make things go smoother and keep your class entertained.

 

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Sidestepping the Summer Learning Slump

The kids just got out of school and summer vacation is on. Although kids need to rest and recharge like the rest of us, you don’t want them to totally lose the skills they learned during the school year. Still, you’re not sure if summer school is the answer either. So what do you do? Here are some ideas to sidestepping the summer learning slump.

Sidestepping the Summer Learning Slump.

Cook Together-Have your kids cook with you at night to keep their math skills sharp.

Join A Reading Program-Sign them up for reading program at the library. When they are done reading the book, discuss it and see if you can plan an activity around it.

Go on a Virtual Tour-Would you love to travel the world with your kids but just don’t have the funds? Go on YouTube and find a video about the place you want to go.

Sidestepping the Summer Learning Slump

Photo courtesy of David Lezcano via Unsplahs

Plan an activity day-Pick a day and plan the whole day with your child. Choose a set amount of money and have them help you manage it as you decide what activities you want to do.

Take your High School kid on a Virtual Campus Tour-Use the website CampusTours.com to find tours of colleges your child wants to attend.

Join a community garden-Join a community garden with your child where they can learn to how to plant different vegetables.

 

These are just a few ideas in sidestepping the summer learning slump. With some conversation with your child and a little creativity, you be able to make this summer a fun learning experience.

 

 

 

 

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6 Ideas For Your Summer Bulletin Board.

We are slowly making our way into the hot, lazy days of summer.  Time for baseball, cookouts,  and splashing in the pool.  It’s also time to switch your bulletin board for the next three months or so. Are you looking for some simple ideas that won’t take a lot of work? Here are three ideas for your summer bulletin board.

Six Ideas For Your Summer Bulletin Board.

1. Sipping through summer-Cut out milkshake patterns and have your students color them. Add stretched out cotton balls for fluffy whipped cream and a small red pom pom on top. Buy a red checkered table cloth and cut a piece as long as the bottom end of your bulletin board. Staple it to the bottom. Add a colored background that you think will complement and then line up and staple the milkshakes on the table cloth. Add the caption, “Sipping Through Summer.”

 

2. Lazy Days-Make a pool background on your bulletin board. Copy and cut out patterns of children at the pool and add a head shot of each of your students. Add the cutouts to the pool. You may even want to add yourself and your co-teacher as lifeguards.  Add the caption, ” Crazy, lazy days of summer.” or “Splashing through summer.”

3. Flying through Summer-Another great idea for your summer bulletin board is to add a blue background with some clouds and green on the bottom for grass. Copy patterns of kites and have your kids color them. Add different colored yarn for a tail and then staple them all over the bulletin board. Add the caption, “Flying through summer.”

Six Ideas For Your Summer Bulletin Board

Another three ideas for your summer bulletin board.

 

4. S’more Summer- Cut out a template for a s’more and have your kids color the graham and the chocolate. Add googly eyes to the marshmallow part and a smile. Add a dark blue background to your bulletin board and a template of a bon fire and then scatter your s’mores all around the board. Add the caption, “We are ready for s’more summer.”

5. Strawberrylicious Summer-Print an oversize template of a basket of strawberries. Also print off enough individual strawberry patterns for your class. Have the kids color them and add googly eyes and a smile. Add green on the bottom for grass and light blue on top for sky.  Add the caption, “Strawberrylicious Summer.”

6. Swimming into summer-Add a blue background and have your kids color templates of fish. Add some grass and seaweed. Then add the caption “Swimming into summer.”

These three ideas for your summer bulletin board should make re-doing things a snap and have a bright, eye catching board all summer.

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9 Social Skills Kids Need Before Preschool

Your child is getting ready to start preschool. This can be a whole new game when they are used to being home with you on a regular basis.  It can be hard for some kids who struggle with social skills when they start their first day. Here is a list of 9 Social Skills Kids Need Before Preschool to help you prepare them for their best school days ahead.

Social Skills Kids Need Before Preschool.

Skill #1: Introducing Themselves-Sometimes kids can be shy but it’s good for them to be able to introduce themselves. To make things easier, teach them to start with a smile and then introduce themselves. Starting with a smile shows others that they are friendly and fun to be around. Explain to them that they may have to introduce themselves several times because it will take time for everyone in their class to learn each other’s names.

 

Skill#2: Asking for help-It is important that your child is comfortable asking for help.  If they are nervous, explain that sometimes asking for help in a group is much better because there are a lot of other people to help you. Give them an example where they may need to, like needing help picking up the Legos at clean up time.

 

Skill#3: Following Instructions-This is a big one. It is important for your child to be able to follow instructions. In the weeks before preschool, start giving them 3 step instructions to follow and see how they do. For example, to clean your room;

  1. Make your bed
  2. Pick up the toys off the floor
  3. Put your dirty clothes in the basket

 

9 Social Skills Kids Need Before Preschool

 

Skill#4: Disagreeing Appropriately-It’s bound to happen, there will be disagreements at preschool. Teach your child to respect other people’s opinions and to agree to disagree sometimes. For example, a boy may think that girls can only play with dolls, ponies, and stuffed animals while your girl thinks that she can play with whatever toys she wants, regardless of gender stereotype. Teach your child to calmly state their opinion instead of getting into a he said/she said, I’m right/you’re wrong screaming match. Your teacher will thank you. 🙂

 

Skill#5: Accepting ‘No’ for an answer- This is very, very important. There will be many times when your child will want to do something or try to do something and hear the word ‘no’.  Sometimes they will want to get out a new playing center when there isn’t enough time before transitioning. Sometimes they will follow another student in doing something they shouldn’t just to test the waters. It happens. Teaching your child to accept the word ‘no’ will lead to a lot less headaches later.

More Social Skills Kids Need To Know.

Skill#6: Showing Appreciation-Teach your child to say “Thank you” when a classmate does something for them.

 

Skill #7: Making An Apology-Teach your child how to make a heartfelt, genuine apology. This  will go a long way in the classroom when a wrong has been done.

 

Skill#8: Controlling Emotions-Children need to learn how to control their emotions in stressful situations. Teach them techniques to calm down before they lash out in their emotions. Everyone has a right to how they feel but blowing up at a teacher or classmate can lead to much bigger problems.

Skill#9: Accepting Consequences or Criticism-When your child gets in trouble at home, make sure they have consequences. They will need to learn this in order to prepare for school.  Each school has different consequences for bad behavior and your child will have to deal with these consequences. Also, they need to learn to accept criticism when it comes their way. And it will. Kids can be really mean sometimes. Explain to your child what criticism is and teach them ways to cope and understand it. Always start off your day with a positive affirmation.

 

By teaching these 9 social skills kids need before preschool, you will be sending a genuine, sympathetic, awesome child to school. By your child learning these 9 social skills today, they are headed for a better day in the classroom.

 

 

 

 

 

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15 Tips To Prepare For The First Day Of Daycare

It’s the day parents look forward to and dread at the same time, their child’s first day of daycare. You are excited because your child is growing into a little human but you are also nervous in leaving them with another human. Getting ready for the first day can be stressful on parents and kids alike, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 15 tips to prepare for the first day of daycare.

15 Tips To Prepare For The First Day Of Day Care

Tips To Prepare For The First Day Of Daycare.

 

       Tip #1:Explain the schedule-When children know what’s going to happen, it makes them feel better. As a former day care teacher, if a new child was upset I would respond like this. “I know you’re upset Sadie and miss your Mommy but it’s okay. We are going to have a great time today. We will continue to play for awhile, then we’ll have breakfast, after that we will have circle time and play some more. Next we’ll eat lunch and then take a nap. After nap we will get up and go potty and then have snack. Once snack is over we will go outside and then your Mommy will be here.”

       Tip #2: Start adjusting to the new routine-Start getting your child used to an earlier bedtime and wake up time.

      Tip #3:  Visit the center-Take your child to the center so they can look around and meet their teacher and classmates.

      Tip #4:  Make sure you are both comfortable with the teachers- Ask your teachers lots of questions and pay attention to how your child reacts to their teacher. It is normal for them to be shy or quiet at first, but pay attention over the coming weeks to their interaction.

      Tip #5: Purchase something special for your child-Starting a new chapter can be both scary and exciting for children so buy them something special to mark the occasion. Boys can get a new backpack or character shirt while girls can get a new outfit or cute pair of shoes.

15 tips to prepare for the first day of daycare

Photo courtesy of Markus Spiske via Unsplash

The Day Of.

Tip #6:  Take plenty of time- Wake up early and allow you and your child plenty of time to get ready. Compliment them on how they look, take time to eat breakfast with them and address any last concerns about their day.

Tip #7: Add a memento of home-Add a family  photo or a favorite stuffed animal to their backpack or cubby so they can look at it if they become upset.

Tip #8: Arrive early-Kids like to spend a little time with their parents in the morning so make sure you arrive early. Let your child talk to you about what they see in their classroom or even show you around.

Tip#9: Come up with a goodbye routine-Since children thrive on routine, come up with a goodbye routine for each morning. I have seen parents use a sequence of hugs n kisses, a positive affirmation (I was never in day care but my Mom always used to tell me “You’re beautiful, you’re smart, and I love you.” everyday before I got on the bus.) or a combo of high fives and fist bumps.

 Tip #10: Treat yourself-This can be a stressful day for everyone so treat yourself on the way to work. Stop by your local coffee house and order that grande iced peppermint patty coffee with whole milk and whipped cream or two of those super indulgent donuts that you love. 🙂

End Of Day.

Tip#11: Establish a going home routine-Sometimes your little one can be wound up at the end of the day after playing with his or her friends so establishing a going home routine is important. This can be as simple as greeting your child with a hug, grabbing their stuff out of their cubby, having a brief conversation with their teacher and then leaving.

Tip#12: Arrive On Time-This is crucial for at least the first two weeks of daycare. It is important that your pick up time stays consistent. Children get very anxious when they are waiting on their parents past normal pickup time.

Tip#13: Plan something special at home-In honor of the first day at daycare, serve your child’s favorite meal, watch a favorite movie, or go out for ice cream.

Tip#14: Extra bonding time-Spend some extra time with your child in the evening. Play a favorite game together or read an extra story.

Tip#15: Ask your child about their first day-Make sure you ask your child about their first day and really listen to what they tell you. If there is anything you need to talk to his or her teacher about, make a mental note.

As a former day care teacher, I hope these tips are helpful to you. The less stressed you and your child are, the better.  Use all 15 tips to prepare for the first day of day care or just the ones that resonate with you and your family. Using these tips to prepare for the first day of day care will help establish a great first day for you and your child.

 

 

 

 

 

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Getting To Know Your Students Questionnaire.

Have you ever started a new school year or had a new student and wondered what is the fastest way to get to know them? How about a getting to know your  students questionnaire that they can fill out with their parents. Once you have collected all the questionnaires, put them in a binder of clear plastic sheets for future reference. This way they won’t rip or tear and if anything gets spilled on them, they won’t get damaged. There can be tons of questions to ask to get to know your student better, here are some to get you started.

Getting To Know Your Students Questionnaire.

 

  1. What are your child’s strengths?
  2. What are their weaknesses?
  3. Do they like school in general?
  4. Where do they struggle?
  5. Do they have any fears about school and what are they?
  6. What upsets them?
  7. What frustrates them?
  8. What are their interests?
  9. How does your child get/stay motivated?
  10. What are your concerns/goals for your child?
  11. What helps your child when they are frustrated/stressed/upset?

How Does This Questionnaire Help You As  A Teacher?

This questionnaire is a great way to get to know new students and your entire class in a quick, effective manner. These sheets are great for future reference and for when those who have to substitute teach in your classroom.

Getting To Know Your Students Questionnaire.

Photo courtesy of Ashton Bingham via Unsplash

How Does This Help Your Parents?

This definitely lets your parents know that you care and that you are interested in their child. It shows that you are taking the initiative to get to know their family and that you want to help their son or daughter be successful.

Parent/teacher relationships are important and this is a good way to get off to a good start. Take some time to think about the questions you want to add to your getting to know your students questionnaire today and watch the relationships between you and your kids blossom.

 

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