Wednesday, July 31, 2013

IKEA Puppets

I went to IKEA yesterday.  My plan was to purchase a cardboard puppet theater/store that they have advertised.  Once I saw how beat up the display one was, I changed my mind.  I'm sure it would hold up better under classroom supervision, but somehow it just didn't seem sturdy enough to bring to school.  It only seems to be available at retail stores.

 I also looked at a circus tent that they are advertising right now, but since I don't do a circus theme, I was able to leave without it.  It does seem to be available online if you would like to purchase it.  It might make a good reading place if the bright red isn't too stimulating for your class.  I wish they would bring back the igloo tent I bought there a couple of years ago.  It is a wonderful quiet place for kids to read in the winter months.

I did buy two adorable puppets though.  They  are both very soft plush and seem like a great value.  The owl cost five dollars.

I am kind of an owl junkie.  I have a hard time walking by anything owl.  Wouldn't this be great to use on the first day of school with a song like:

I am Owl, I am Owl,
Who are you?
Who are you?

He could even be the class mascot.  "Who's following the rules?"
                                                       "Who's here today?"
                                                        etc., etc.

The other puppet I bought is a friendly looking dragon or dinosaur (no wings). It was a little more, I think seven dollars.  I will use him when reading aloud books on those topics.

I'd love to hear about your back to school finds!


Thursday, July 25, 2013

Pink Crayons !

Crayola must have heard me (and lots of other early childhood teachers)!  Guess what I found in the school supply department at Walmart today....boxes with a variety of PINK crayons.   They were 78 cents and yes... I stocked up.

They also had other color specific boxes.  I plan to use the "sand" colors to fill in some missing spaces in my Lakeshore People Colors box.  I purchase these myself and the kids know they can use them when drawing people, as long as they return them to the box.  These popular colors do tend to wear out though...

These little paper hole punches were 98 cents each.  They will be great for one of my fine motor tubs.

This metal pencil box was about 4 dollars.  I love these for storing magnetic letters and having the kids make words on the front of the box.  There were several bright colors available.  The orange and black combination would be fun in October.

These Scholastic dvds were in a 5 dollar table.  The Pigeon one includes Knuffle Bunny!  The Magic School Bus one includes three body related programs.  No.... I do not show a lot of dvds to my class, but there are those emergency times and I like to have really good quality educational ones available when those times arise.


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

ABC Pretzels

I came across a fun, inexpensive, edible manipulative today in the chip aisle at H.E.B.

These were "store brand," so if you don't live near an H.E.B. grocery store, there may be other store brands of them available.  I was pretty impressed with how well the uppercase letters were shaped.

Of course, there are the usual precautions to consider if using a food as a classroom material.  I would probably only use them in small groups and I would wear disposable gloves so that I could hand children the letters to make their names, help them sort letters according to straight and curved lines, etc.  The kids would definitely want to eat some at the end of the activity!

Parents at home could have a great time with games like if you can name the letter you may eat it...

What would you do with them?


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Picture Books to Help Teach Math Concepts

I am joining in on First Grade and Fabulous' Picture Books to help teach Math Concepts Linky Party.  Many of my favorites have already been covered (10 Black Dots, The Shape of Things, etc.).  I love to combine math and literacy through wonderful read alouds such as these.

Here's one that I don't believe has been covered yet:

100 Days of School is a fun book to share around the 100th Day of School.  Four and five year old kids just love the riddle format, the number 100 and the idea of 100 toes! This book also touches on the concept of 100 pennies being equal to a dollar.  It is a fun and quick read as well as a great introduction for any 100 activities you have planned.  One quick one is to have ten students count off their ten fingers.

Hope you're having a great summer!

Free Printable Classroom Suppy Labels

I have added a FREE printable file to my TeachersPayTeachers store.  It is a set of 18 printable labels to identify the school supplies in your classroom. 

Dollar Deals

I love scouting for dollar deals over the summer break!  Look what I found at Dollar Tree this week:

Shapes & Color Bingo
Even if you have something similar in your classroom, this affordable 
game could go in a take home literacy bag.

Tactile Letters
 (The paper is lighter weight than you would find at a teacher supply store, but still quite a find for a buck!) 

 Paper clock with moving hour and minute hands.
This could be used on a calendar wall.  I have also seen classrooms on Pinterest where the times for lunch, recess, and dismissal where displayed on the wall with similar clocks.

Monster Time card matching game.
The clocks reflect hours, half hours, and quarter hours.
This game is labeled for first and second grade, but I know kindergartners who could play it.

Happy Shopping,

Let's Kick this new blog off with a Giveaway!

Technical difficulties with adding Rafflecopter to the blog have given me the extra push I needed to go ahead and launch this new blog.  I'm thrilled that you have found it and I hope you will follow it on Bloglovin'.  I will leave all the old content on and plan to blog here from now on.  The new name "Growing in Pre-K and Beyond" also reflects the fact that many of the activities shared on my blog also work in kindergarten settings.'s your chance to win  3 rolls of Smart-Fab!  I wrote about this great new product in my last post (at the old blog) HERE.

There are four ways to enter:
- Follow GrowinginPreK on Facebook
- Comment here with a specific and creative way to use Smart-Fab (not pom poms or bulletin boards....)
- Follow the GrowinginPreK TeachersPayTeachers store
- Follow on BlogLovin'

The winner will be announced on July 14, 2013.  This contest is limited to U.S. addresses only.

Follow this link to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Independence Day!