Whether you have preschoolers in your life or you are planning a Child Development class for older students, this is for you.
Every Tuesday morning, my 15 year old son and I lead a small Nursery School at our church for 2-4 year olds. I structured it as part of a Human Development course he’s taking. It’s just a couple of hours, but it gives him lots of hands on experience, and we hope to be a blessing to the families as well. You can read more about his curriculum below.
But first I want to share some activities and songs we’ve done this year that have been an especially big hit with the Littles we work with at Pre-School. If you have Littles in your life, give these a try!
Before Five in a Row
We are using Before Five in a Row as our guide. Since we only meet once per week, we ‘row’ the same book for 2-3 weeks. Besides reading our featured book, we spend time doing both large and small motor activities, some type of art, and we always sing some songs.
‘In the great green room there was a telephone, and a red balloon…”
Goodnight Moon is a classic.
One of the most enjoyable and unique things we did was this awesome dipped cotton ball activity.
Just mix 1 cup flour with 1 cup water and add red food coloring. Then just dip and bake the cotton balls at 300 degrees for about 40 minutes. I found that putting them on parchment paper to bake made cleanup a lot easier. It makes a hard shell around the soft cotton inside.
First, we gave the kids small tubs with both regular cotton balls and the dipped ones. They had fun pulling the regular cotton apart. It took them awhile to figure out how to smash the hard shell on the “balloons” and pull out the white cotton inside. Once they did, they were mesmerized.
Then we put small buckets of the ‘red balloons’ out on a hard floor and the kids stepped on them to break them open. They pulled them apart and put the “popped” balloons in a different bucket.
Speaking of balloons. The most fun and engaging large motor activity we’ve done all year was providing blown up red balloons for the kids to play with. THEY LOVED IT. They loved it so much, in fact, we packed up the balloons in garbage bags and used them the next week as well. A little deflated, but not enough to put a damper on the running, chasing, throwing, and attempted popping. As an aside, if you ever want the laugh of a lifetime, watch toddlers trying to pop balloons. (Mandatory safety comment about not leaving toddlers alone with balloons or other choking hazards).
The Snowy Day
Living in Minnesota, snow is not a novelty in the winter. However, bundling up a toddler takes an eternity – and they typically ask to go inside after exactly three minutes.
Snow is a Fantastic Sensory Exploration for Pre-School
We filled up a small tub for each child and gave them measuring cups and spoons to dig, play, scoop and mold their snow with. The lovely part of this activity is that even when the inevitable spills happen…it’s just water to clean up!
The following week, we filled up the same tubs, but instead of scoops and spoons, gave each child a set of watercolor paints (pre-moistened). They had a wonderful time painting their snow and mixing colors.
Our Bear Cave/Angus Lost Cave
When we read We’re Going on a Bear Hunt, we just had to have a bear cave. We are fortunate that one of our pre-school dads works in the produce area of a local grocery. Can you picture the giant, freestanding boxes that watermelons sit in? Yup. Flip it over and cut an entrance and you’ve got the best cave around. And sturdy! We played with this cave for several weeks.
I’ll bet even if you didn’t know someone in the produce area, you could ask about getting one of these gems for your Littles.
“Miss Susan, Angus’ cave looks a lot like our bear cave!” Why yes. Yes it does.
A Star Wars Diversion
Knowing that all of the parents of our Littles are Star Wars fans, when The Force Awakens opened, we took a little break from our Before Five in a Row series and had a little Star Wars fun.
We had Star Wars Lego Mini Figures “frozen in carbonite.” You can read more about the activity here. You make a paste of baking soda and water and fill ice cube trays, submerging your Han (or other Mini Figs). Then just stick them in the freezer to firm up.
The Littles can “rescue” the figures by spooning vinegar over the top.
We also put together these character pictures. Our Littles love glue. Do yours?
Human Development Course
The curriculum we’re using for my son’s course is “Human Development from a Christian Worldview.” It’s a downloadable resource that we used paperless. He did his reading on the laptop and kept a running vocab list in a Word document. The writing assignments also were done in Word.
It’s laid out in a very user-friendly way, with vocabulary for each chapter in a sidebar. And at the end of each chapter, not only are there questions to check for understanding but enrichment questions to dig deeper and apply the information.
We liked how straightforward the text is, too. No fluff.
I highly recommend it!
Click the image below to check it out:
He’s also preparing to take an exam to receive college credit for the knowledge he’s gained in this course. Read more about that in my series on credit by exam – here and here.
I’ll leave you with a couple of our favorite songs. Enjoy!
*This post contains some affiliate links. Part of why I created The Sparrow’s Home was to be able to share resources that I’ve found useful or wonderful in some way. Every so often, I’m fortunate enough to become an affiliate with the makers of these fantastic resources. This will never add cost to my readers.