I had a few highlights, successes and new discoveries this summer that I would love to share:
Pirate themed weeks:
A new game called “Pirate Race Game” by Orchard Toys joined my old faithful games “Pop-Up Pirate” and “Pirate Talk” for teaching turn-taking, colors, sorting, problem solving, predicting, matching and memory. Add to that a big box decorated like a pirate ship and a sensory bin of gold coins and plastic jewels and we had a great few weeks learning with a pirate theme.
For Ocean and Beach themes, I filled the sensory bin with shells, glittery craft sand and a small bucket and shovel. Later I added some plastic fish. So much fun! I discovered this cute book “Diver Diver” on the Teachers Pay Teachers site and used it with just about every kiddo working on vocabulary, predicting, making sentences, labeling, sequences story telling. What a find! My kindergarten prep group made miniature beaches with vanilla pudding cups dyed blue, graham cracker sand, a Skittle beach ball and a Teddy Graham.
I also spent a week on “Ice Cream” using my ice cream Duplo blocks. A quick Pinterest search will lead you to tons of learning activities using ice cream as a theme. My favorite activities were listing ice cream flavors and guessing the favor based on the color of the ice cream scoop. I made a giant ice cream with Velcro pieces for the wall. It was just right for sequencing and following directions.
I was already in love with my Tiggly shapes, but stumbled upon Tiggly alphabet (on the clearance aisle at Target no less!!) and fell in love even more. Tiggly provides plastic shapes or letters that are used to activate their apps. The alphabet apps target letter matching, letter identification, simple spelling, vowel discrimination and word families. What a great way to learn phonological awareness skills!
I share these ideas with you to show you simple ways to use the toys and materials that you already have in a thematic way to provide intentional teaching opportunities for your child. Even familiar toys will become suddenly more interesting when groups with other things within a common theme. Give it a try!
Now, I’ve put away all of my sand and shells, ice cream and fish and pirates and boat. I’m finishing up a 3 week stretch of farms and am ready to move on to fall….my favorite themes to teach. Here’s to leaves, apples, pumpkins, scarecrows, costumes and turkeys. Stay tuned!