Manipulative Monday



Every month I receive two new set of manipulatives in my Mother Goose Time curriculum box. These are great tools for developing fine motor control.


Mother Goose Time also sends out cards with ideas of what can be done with the manipulatives. I find that if I give my students the manipulatives without the cards they are automatically sorting by colour or by shape anyways.


Sometimes the manipulatives have to do with our theme.  For example this month we are studying Nursery Rhymes  and we received sheep in two colours (purple and yellow) and sizes (Mommy and Daddy and baby).


Anyways, I have talked about manipulatives before and you know that I use them regularly and how much I love them and now is my chance to share that love with you!  Mother Goose Time has offered to send one of my readers two bags of manipulatives.  It will be a surprise as to which one you will receive but I can guarantee that it will be awesome!!


This giveaway will be open from 2/13/17- 2/20/17. Prizes will be fulfilled by Mother Goose Time. Must be 18 years or older to enter to win, and a resident of Canada or USA. Void where prohibited by law.



Today I am going to share a bit of our portfolios.  Mother Goose Time sends out cover and end sheets for our binders. I have to admit that I haven’t been using our portfolios to their full potential but mostly as a storage space for our work and to show our progress.


The very first page is a welcome poem.


The second page is our invitation to create from orientation.


Each month we do a self portrait and write our name.  I started doing Mat Man in the fall and found it very helpful in creating self portraits.

Then we collect our artwork and store it in our portfolio.  I also include our name tags from each month.


At the end of the binder I have our end sheet which includes the themes that we studies all year long.

To end I just wanted to share a literacy activity that was included last month.  Each month we receive a story with storytelling pieces.  This past month we learned about a turtle and monkey that learned a lesson about working together.  We also explored numeracy in this lesson as we counted the bananas and shared the bananas equally between the two animals.

Carrying babies


I just realized that I didn’t share our baby turtles! This was a two day activity.  On the first day we painted our turtle shells then on the second day we assembled the turtles.


Often before we start an activity I google an inspiration photo.  I didn’t realize that mommy turtles carry their babies on their backs!  I project photos on the smart board so we can learn together.


Mrs. Thibodeau helped each of the students assemble their turtle pieces.  She kept calling me to the table because the excitement was just too much.  After each turtle was assembled the students gave an amazing big smile and received a kiss from their turtles. This activity was a make and play activity from our Baby Animals Mother Goose Time box last month.


Sometimes I just let them explore and create with the materials and other times we have a specific outcome.  For this make and play activity our goal was to create a turtle and every student was so excited to have a baby turtle to play with.


I was really excited to see our learning extend into the playdoh area.  Several students found the turtle cookie cutter and loved showing me the turtles that they created.  Each month I get new parent helpers donate play doh for us to use.  Usually the parents and student work together to make the play doh at home.



Happy Birthday


This month we celebrated baby animals with Mother Goose Time.  I thought we would be learning about kittens and puppies but the theme went deeper than that.  We learned that daddy sea horses carry the baby sea horses in their pouch.  We learned that mommy turtles carry their babies on their backs. We learned that different eggs take different amount of time to incubate. I really liked the week where we learned about how mommies and daddies care for their young.


This day we made birthday hats.  First we coloured the hats with crayons and markers then we added confetti to the hat. Notice my coffee on the table.  I start my cup of coffee at 8:30 and usually finish around 10:30.


It was great fine motor practice to add one confetti at a time!


I have really noticed that their attention span has developed over the course of the year. Plus it helps that I have developed a relationship with them so they know that the crafts don’t take too long and they get to play again when it is finished. Working hard in Pre-K!


Look at his concentration.  I love how they can decide how they want to decorate their birthday hats.

Another one of our Make and Play activities.  We made kitty masks.  I tried to do as much prep work as I could before.  I tied on the string and punched out the kitty masks before class. The Mother Goose Time comes with very little prep and it probably takes me an hour to prep for the month.  Just basic stuff like punching out (not much cutting) and adding string.





Routine, routine, routine… the backbone of Pre-K. Every morning we start our morning with table top time.  This time is either playing with the manipulatives that come in our Mother Goose Time Curriculum (I have been using this kit for a few years now so I have the collection) or completing an invitation to create.  I really like this set up because the students all arrive at a slightly different time so it gives them a chance to practice fine motor skills while their friends are arriving.  I don’t dictate what they do with the manipulatives but just let them play.  Above you can see that a student is sorting the leaves by shape.  See the large pile of leaves that are stacked exactly on top of each other?


These bright and large pom poms were from a rainbow game.  They are amazingly soft and fun to play with.  I love adding all different types of sensory options.  I also let the students choose where they sit and what they play with that morning.  I have so many choices that I often have different options out but sometimes the same manipulatives are offered.


Another of our favourite routines is the Would You Rather Game.  This game is included each month in our curriculum box and I always look forward to it.  In the photo above I asked the students if they would rather give their mom a hat, boots or a bear and then they cast their vote.


After everyone has cast their vote then we count up the votes and figure out who has more and who has less votes.  A great math activity.


The last activity that I want to share today is our bird feeders.  First we dipped it into Peabutter.


Then we dipped it into the bird seed mixture. We put them into zip lock bags and at the end of the day played a game with them.  We passed them around and shared them with our friends.  We earned our friendship feather by sharing and being generous.

Hats and scarves


This week we finally have beautiful weather!  Last week we had -40 and indoor recesses all week long which makes for a very long week.  This week if a student forgets their scarf then there is no worries.


The invitation to create all ready when the students arrive in the morning.


First we painted out hats with glue.


Then we added square tissue pieces.

Look at their concentration!  Look at them practicing their fine motor control! The other day I was wondering if I do too many crafts?  I quickly stopped worrying about it because crafts are so much more than the final product.  They are gluing, cutting and pulling apart the thin tissue paper which are all great skills that work on their fine motor skills.


Our finished hats with a pom pom on top.


During our centre time, Mrs. Stolz played a scarf game with the students.  She pulled out two or three students at a time to focus on the letter O, Z and W.


First they pulled out a card out of my hat then they had to figure out which scarf it belonged on.

Some of the cards actually contained the letter and some of the cards had a picture of something that starts with that letter.


Not only was it an activity where they worked on recognizing their letters but they also learned how to work together to complete the task.  Superwoman and the Fire Captain did a great job or working together to complete the game!

Owls and Mittens


One last post from our Winter in the Woods, Mother Goose Time box from December. Today’s post is all about owls.  Sometimes the Invitation to Create is more for creativity, “What can you create?” or “Can you make an owl?”  Today I gave a bit of guidance so we actually had owls and not slaughtered birds and feathers all over the place.




First they had brown paint to paint a body and a head.

Then we squirted glue and added feathers to the body and two muffin liners as the eyes.


They loved the soft texture of the feathers!  I was really impressed with their pictures.  They actually looked like owls!  They were so proud of them.


I just wanted to share one more activity.  This is a classic fine motor activity, lacing. I tied yarn to the end of the mitten and the students concentrated hard to lace to the other end.


Sure, they didn’t turn out perfect but they did them independently.  I showed them how to start it and let them go on their own.  Did they miss holes?  Yes. Did they skip to different holes? Yes. But they did it on their own.  We are all about independence in Pre-K.  They are learning important skills and if I do too much for them then they aren’t learning.  Sure in the Owl activity I gave them direction but I let them do it on their own.


Look at how proud she is of her work!  I try to display as much of their work as I can.  Yes, that means taking up and down bulletin boards all the time but I just can’t put away their work without celebrating it first.  I do have a portfolio for each student so they can take their art work home at the end of the year.  I am almost out of room so next year I will order bigger binders.

My Little Tree


I really do love how the Mother Goose Time Curriculum box is not seasonal.  By that I mean that they include activities for the holidays but in December we didn’t receive a whole box of Christmas activities.  When I first saw this tree project I was overwhelmed.  It asks for alot of cutting.  Some of my guys are awesome at cutting and some just don’t have a clue.  Well they will only get better with practice!  They were required to cut out the tree cards (which is easy but it is one short line) and four large green triangles for trees.  I just thought that would be too much so I cut out two triangles and asked them to cut out two triangles.


They did great!  I gave them the triangles and cards at our table time to work on as a group.  Then I had small groups sit with me to assemble the trees.  Fine motor skills is something that we always work on in Prekindergarten.




I am not sure if you can tell in this photo but I set out their name cards at their spot.  That way they can find their name when they go to the table but also I can identify each students work after they leave and I can call them to come back to assemble the trees with me.  I also use the name cards at snack time just so they can work on recognizing their names.


Our finished product.  I did end up hanging them on the bulletin boards because they turned out so awesome.


One day we studied deer so we made deer headbands.  We did the reindeer pokey many times over and sent a video home of the students dancing with their headbands.


We also played Reindeer games, a Mother Goose Time activity in the gym.  We used the spinner and acted out accordingly.  For example we had to stomp.  It was fun playing with our headbands in the gym.



I truly do love the Invitation to Create that is included in our Mother Goose Time curriculum kit each month.  Today I am highlighting our Hedgehog Invitation to Create.


Each child is given a green piece of paper, a spiky ball, half a paper plate and an eye.  All I had to add was the brown and white paint.  So easy peasy. I have been adding the students name first so it helps to build their name recognition.


The students then dipped in their spiky ball into the paint and dabbed it onto the plate to create the hedgehogs spikes.  Some dabbed, some speared, and everyone had fun.


So simple and so fun.  Spiky balls are included in our Mother Goose Time kit for painting a few times each year.


After they finished painting, I then asked the students to grab a marker or crayon and create a habitat for their hedgehog.  Do they live in the wild?  In a cage?  On a mountain?


As always each one turned out unique and creative.


I love hanging up our Invitation to Create pictures in our classroom and in the hallway for everyone to see.


Another activity that I want to highlight today is our pocket cube and rhyme time poster. The pocket cube is new this year and I love it.It has plastic inserts so our concepts that we are focusing on each month can be changed.  I have my students take turns rolling it and it is soft and easy for preschoolers to use.


I had my students roll the cube and then find the mouse card with the matching number.  We then sang Hickory, Dickory Dock with the number that we rolled.  A fun easy way to reinforce our number skills.

Bella and the Umbrella


Each month our Mother Goose Time box includes a storybook, a story telling set and a puzzle.  This month the story was called “Bella and the Umbrella”. It is a cute story about a little girl who borrows her mother’s umbrella but ends up leaving it on the bus.  It goes on quite the adventure but lucky Bella as it somehow reappears back at home just in time to show her mom.

I set up the materials on a table during centre time.  I had four girls sit down and play with the storytelling set and puzzle pieces.


Not only was it a great literacy activity but it was a great lesson in sharing. Two girls sat down to play then two more girls wanted to join in.  So we had to figure out a way for everyone to be included.  What we ended up deciding was that they would share and take turns with the paper dolls and one girl would do the puzzle.  When she finished the puzzle then the girls would share the paper dolls with her and another girl would take a turn with the puzzle.  Win, win!


One of our community helpers theme was the dentist.  Our Mother Goose Time bag for that day included a tooth brush and large tooth for each student.  I gave each student a container of shaving cream and then they had confetti (or sugar bugs) to share.


Their task was to use their pretend toothpaste to clean the sugar bugs off the tooth.  They loved it!


So much fun and I love how each student had their own toothbrush to complete the activity.


This past week we started our new theme “Winter in the Woods”.  Mother Goose Time makes their boxes so that they can be used anytime.  So instead of making a Christmas box that can only be used in December they make a winter box.  This way if I don’t finish and use all the lessons I can continue to use them in January.  They do include a seasonal celebration kit each month so this month we received a Santa kit.  Pictured above you can see that we again are using shaving cream.  This time I added some glue to the shaving cream so that it stuck to the paper.  We first talked about mice and the tracks that their footprints leave in the snow.  They then used large q-tips to make mouse tracks.


I love how they can be creative with these projects and make it however they like.


So many different techniques…