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Monday, July 8, 2019

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4-Piece Preschool Number Puzzles - Free!

Happy Monday!

I love a new week, and I am excited to start this week by sharing a new freebie: a set of 4-piece preschool number puzzles!


You can print these puzzles off and use them in a ton of different ways:

* Solve them one at a time with your preschooler at a table!

* Place each puzzle in an envelope at a number station. Label the envelopes, and let your preschoolers choose which ones to open and solve!

* Glue one piece of a puzzle to a file folder to make a file folder game. Place the other pieces in an envelope and glue the envelope on to the file folder

* Spread the pieces to 2-3 puzzles out, face-up, on a table, and match the correct puzzles together!

* Or use them in any way you like!

Not only do these puzzles build problem-solving skills, but they help reinforce number concepts by representing each number in four different ways: one cardinal number, a portion of ten, fingers, and the word written out!

I would LOVE to see you use these--feel free to tag me on Instagram (Preschool_Powol_Packets) or Facebook (Preschool Powol Packets)!  


Please encourage your friends and other teachers or parents to visit this post and click the link themselves. Please do NOT just share the file or the link to the pdf. Sharing the link to this blog post lets me continue to create and share more resources for your for free!  ๐Ÿ’•  Thank you!!





Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Saturday, July 6, 2019

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Preschool Prodigies Review - Amazing Music Lessons for Kids!

I have been looking for music lessons for my kids for some time, so when I discovered Preschool Prodigies I was both super excited and a little anxious--could they really be as amazing as they seem?!


This article contains affiliate links.

I think it is important to start with what I want in music lessons for my kids. I have been looking for something that...


* fosters a love of music

* teaches how to play an instrument
* teaches how to read sheet music
* introduces a variety of fun songs
* trains my preschoolers in basic music theory

And, in addition to all that, I want the lessons to be fun, engaging, and playful so that my kids are excited about music lessons. It would be especially cool if the curriculum included material for both my preschoolers and my other kids.

I know it's a tall order...that's why I've been looking for so long!

The amazing thing is...Preschool Prodigies really does do all of that! And more!!


* The love of music is built in: the preschool lessons are based on a set of C Major bells. Just opening the bell box made my preschoolers giddy! Every lesson feels like a party, and the kids ask for Music Time every day!


* The kids learn how to use the bells to play both songs they already know and new songs while simultaneously learning how to read sheet music! The video instructions use a multi-sensory approach that makes reading sheet music very natural--the kids play their bells, see and hear the instructions, and hear and feel the music! As I've used the lessons with my kids I keep thinking, Mr. Rob has both a fantastic musical background AND a strong understanding of brain-based learning and educational theory. I even enjoy the videos!    



* The variety of songs is fantastic! They teach everything from basics like Mary Had a Little Lamb and simplified Beethoven's 5th to modern classics like Baby Shark to completely original songs I've never heard anywhere else (like The Campfire Song, Sweet Beets, and Hello C)! They even have more than 20 classic holiday songs that they teach your kids how to play!

Here's a peek at one of the holiday videos:



* The music theory in Preschool Prodigies is incredible. There is no other way to say it! The educator in me is truly amazed at the amount of research-based methodology that feels like play for the preschooler! During just the first chapter of lessons kids are introduced to three notes, pitch, chords, solfege, quarter notes, rests, long and short notes, and more! But it never feels boring--my kids were captivated by colors, shapes, music, their own bell-playing, singing along, counting, clapping, and more. The videos are very interactive. There is so much wrapped up in every lesson that I was completely blown away. I even invited my older daughter (who already has some piano experience) to join us because I thought she would benefit from the music theory. She had a great time! (It's funny--I don't usually gauge lessons by how much fun my kids had, but I think that it's important to point out that they are really enjoying it AND learning music basics! I love this quote from their website: "Imagine a world where we all understand music as easily as we understand color." The Preschool Prodigies lessons are totally creating that!!



Everything I was looking for in music lessons is part of Preschool Prodigies. I would have been thrilled if that was it, but there is so much more. I am super excited to try out all of these aspects:

* There are "playtime" lessons for toddlers who might not be ready to actually play the bells yet!
* There are "Performance Prodigies" videos that teach performance songs!
* There is an elementary music curriculum with even more advanced music theory for older kids!
* There is a recorder curriculum that teaches how to play the recorder!
* There are plans to introduce ukulele, percussion, and piano lessons in the next few years! Actually, I believe the ukulele lessons will begin to go up this fall. This is actually a great reason to look into the lifetime membership because it includes everything they will add in the future!
* There is a Facebook group to support parents and teachers using Preschool Prodigies. I joined this group and really love how involved and responsive the Preschool Prodigies team is. They are actually a family-owned business, and the owners are in the group answering questions and giving you updates on new curriculum!
* There are online games that reinforce theory concepts!
* There are also workbooks to reinforce concepts from each lesson!



If you teach in a classroom or group setting, there are also lesson plans and support just for teachers. They have suggestions on ways to set up a music class in different formats, depending on your needs.

Plus, the format is really user friendly! From the main entry page you can choose which curriculum you want:




And then once you're inside a curriculum the lessons have the video at the top and parent/teacher information under it. Here's an example from the first lesson:




Preschool Prodigies is constantly introducing new goodies...like lessons on DVD (in case you don't want your kids online) and apps for your phone. They have the lessons on the app so they're more mobile. They also have a bells app that I really love--the app loads a set of bells on my phone that you can play by tapping them! Here's a picture:


It is perfect if you want to try out the lessons before buying a set of bells or (in my case) if you have a 14-month old that really wants to play with the bells but would most likely destroy them within 30 seconds! He LOVES playing them on my phone!

When the baby takes his nap, all my other kids gather for a daily Music Time. We watch a video from the Preschool Prodigies series and play the bells. When we finish introducing all the notes in the staff, I'm going to let my older kids start the Primary Prodigies (elementary level) series, but I want them to "meet" all the notes in the *extremely* memorable format that the preschool lessons are in first. They already can point out the notes on the treble staff that we've covered and name them!  I'll post another update and let you know how it is working for us again at that point!

This is a picture of my 3-year old about to start a lesson...I LOVE this smile...it is her biggest, "I am SUPER excited!!" smile! ๐Ÿ’–




Logistically, Preschool Prodigies has different purchasing options for every need you can imagine! You can buy a monthly subscription to the lessons, a yearly subscription, or even a lifetime membership! They are having a huge 4th of July sale right now, so if you're tempted by the lifetime membership, this is a really great time to do it!



I have just been 110% delighted with both Preschool Prodigies and the people who are creating the music lessons and other resources in their curricula...and I'm seriously telling everyone about it! I was going to include a pros and cons list for you, but the pros took me this whole article to list and I literally cannot find any cons! The program is every bit as amazing as it seems, and we will continue using it both for our homeschooling needs and to share with our friends.


Disclosure: This review is sponsored by Preschool Prodigies. Like always, I only recommend products I absolutely love and am happy to use! 



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Wednesday, June 26, 2019

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Preschool SHARK Activities Packet!

SHARKS!!! We seriously love them!! Even my preschoolers think they are super cool, and if my kids like them, I imagine there are other kids who like them too! Sooooo... I put together a new Shark Preschool Activities Packet! Just in time for summer!


This packet has SIX sets of hands-on movement-filled learning activities!

Do you need a quick game for your preschooler? Got it!

Do you want to teach about a shark's life cycle? Got it!

Does your preschooler like to color? Covered!

What about matching or puzzles? Got them both!

I even have letter cards in this set!!

Here's a quick overview of all the Shark Activity Printables you'll find in this packet:

1- Life Cycle Spinner! Use this to learn about the life cycle of sharks that lay egg sacs (also known as mermaid purses)! I also included some fun biology information about the brown banded bamboo shark that is featured in the spinner! NOTE: You can get this activity FREE as a sample HERE! ๐Ÿ’•

2- Shark Swim Game! Preschoolers love games...especially if they require rolling dice! This game is straight-forward, and includes fun "special" squares like "move forward two spaces" and "go back to start!" It is great for practicing subitizing, taking turns, and coordinating a one-to-one relationship between your piece and the space the die represents (an important pre-reading skill)! Use two dice to make the game go faster and practice adding!

3- My Shark Book! This fun-to-fold little book introduces six popular sharks--choose to print the full-color version or the coloring-book style! What's your favorite shark?

4- Shadow Matching! The same six sharks in My Shark Book appear in fun matching cards! Can you find each one's "shadow?"  After matching them together you can play memory games too!

5- 4-Piece Puzzles! These puzzles feature different artwork and new sharks--and each includes a label so you know what you're looking at! Build the puzzles separately, mix the pieces together, and then see what happens if you trade out one piece of one puzzle for one piece of another puzzle!

6- Letter Cards! This adorable shark has a letter card for each letter in the alphabet, both uppercase and lower case! Print enough to form your kiddos' names and any words you might be working on! Then spread the letters out on a table, and give your preschoolers fly-swatters to swat the letters you call out! Or spread them on the ground and let them jump on the letters you call! Or spread them out on the floor, place a bowl on one end of the room, and let your preschoolers race to fill the bowl with the shark letters you call out! There are HUNDREDS of activities you can do with these letters!

You can grab this fantastic packet below or on TeachersPayTeachers!


Discount



And in all your shark activities, be sure to include these fun shark science experiments!



Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!



I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!


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FREE Shark Life Cycle Activity

We have been talking a lot about life cycles lately, and now that it's summer one of our favorite themes is SHARKS! So it only makes sense that we would start out our shark unit with a life cycle project!


I won't lie...my girls love making these things! You can expect to see a lot more coming because they are a favorite activity lately...also the fastener brads come in packages of like 150! It's like someone thinks that if we need one, we need 150!

Anyway, the brown banded bamboo shark is a fantastic animal!  It eats at night, lives in the warm waters of coral reefs and tide pools, and can survive out of the water for 12 hours! That's particularly convenient if you get stuck in a tide pool when the tide goes out...

Sharks in general have a huge variety in their life cycles. I made this spinner to showcase a shark that uses a "mermaid's purse" to grow their babies, but I think it's important to point out that only about 40% of sharks develop this way. Others lay eggs like most fish and still others lay eggs inside the mother shark. This last group (including the great white shark) will actually hatch inside her body and seem like they are "born live" as she delivers independent "pups."

But, more about the brown banded bamboo shark: it grows to be about three feet long. When it is an adult, it lays an egg sac where the baby shark develops. When it is mature, the baby will swim out of the sac. It will have dark bands on its body that will lighten as it grows. The mature brown banded bamboo shark is almost a solid color.

Here is a real picture of a juvenile...you can easily see the bands! I adjusted the lighting on the image so you can see it more clearly - click here for more details about the source and author.


The brown banded bamboo shark also has "barbels" that look like whiskers, so this shark is often called a catshark.

I like to let my preschoolers cut out each step in the life cycle, so we print out two black and white circles and one colored. They cut and glue a colored shark (or egg sac) in the correct order on one of the black and white cycle circles. Then they cut out a "viewer" from the final black and white circle and connect them all with a fastener brad!

You can download the Shark Life Cycle Activity HERE!

Also be sure to try out my shark science experiments (lots of awesome science going on here!) and see if you're interested in any of my other free ocean printables!



This shark life cycle is also part of my SHARK Preschool Activity Packet! You can learn more about that by clicking here or you can purchase it below!


Discount





Happy Educating,
Carla





Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!





I may share at any of these parties!







Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




Read More

Friday, June 21, 2019

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Preschool STEM: Fossil Hunt

I have a secret to confess. The fossil hunt STEM activity is the project I have been most excited about in the Preschool STEM series



I absolutely adore fossils and dinosaurs. There is a part of me that will forever be about four years old and absolutely in love with anything more than 10,000 years old. And if it makes it over 65 million years--well, anything older than the KT Extinction is more exciting than chocolate (and that's saying a lot)!

When I was a teenager we went to a dinosaur quarry, and I kind of wanted to move right then and become a paleontologist! I wanted to create some of that magic for my preschoolers, especially because the nearest dinosaur quarry that I know of is thousands of miles away.

Happily, we have this very awesome game: Fossil On!



I Laugh-n-Learn sent us this game to review last year, and we have absolutely loved it (you can see some of my thoughts on it HERE on Instagram)!

Anyway, I decided to use these fossils to create a sensory bin that is inspired by a dinosaur quarry!

The set up was incredibly easy! I just buried the fossils in my bean bin and added a couple paintbrushes!



The kids had a great time!

As they "discovered" more fossils, we talked about what they were: there are trilobites, snails, dinosaur bones, crinoids, shark teeth, ammonites, and so much more! (Seriously, I love this set...you can buy it on Amazon...here is my affiliate link:FOSSIL ON!)



I also added in some non-fossilized shells, so the kids could practice discriminating between real fossils and other things.

If you don't want to get the real fossils, you can make a set with salt dough...I have a recipe here where I talk about how to make salt dough "fossils" (specifically coprolites)!  ;)  The advantage to using salt dough fossils is that you can bury them in dirt, sand, or flour without worrying about them getting dirty. I used my bean bin as "soil" because I hate the thought of getting our real fossils dirty! 

Either way, let your kids get inside the bin and explore!

And remember, kids learn more through play than any other way!

How is this activity STEM?  It requires your preschoolers to use science skills (like exploring, predicting, hypothesizing, experimenting, analyzing, and communicating), it lets them experiment with science concepts (like fossils), it allows them to use technology/tools (paintbrushes), it requires them to engineer/design an exploration plan, and allows them to use math concepts (like a one-to-one relationship, comparing and contrasting textures, counting, pouring, size comparisons, and more).

It's the perfect dinosaur quarry...with a whole set of prehistoric fossils! And all in an easy-to-pull out sensory bin...or should I say STEM bin?!  :D  

Do you love preschool STEM? Do you want to learn more about it? This June I am featuring a Preschool STEM series that includes a fantastic introduction to preschool STEM and nine STEM activities, projects, or challenges that are appropriate for preschoolers! This is the first one--I would LOVE to have you join in and share your own experiences as we move through the next two weeks! You can find the landing page with links to all the activities HERE!  You can also join my STEM Activities & Projects for Kids Facebook Group HERE for more STEM-inspired conversations!





Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!





Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!







Read More

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

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Preschool STEM: Photography and Puppets

Our final project in the Preschool STEM series this month is inspired by my kids' love of my phone and crafting! 


Like so many of our other STEM activities, this one also creates a path for creative play, imagination, and story-telling. The best STEM activities for preschoolers integrate these other subjects (arts and literacy) easily and beautifully! This one also provides excellent fine-motor exercise!

Supplies:

* camera or phone with camera
* computer (optional)
* printer
* scissors
* craft sticks (or straws or pencils or sticks or strips of cardboard...something to make a puppet!)
* tape or glue

Start out by letting your kids take pictures of each other and you.

Let them gather around a computer with you and select which pictures they want to print to make puppets. Print them.

You can let them decide if they want help cutting out their people. My kids cut a lot, but sometimes they want help too. 

*** It is so important to let them cut if they want to--there is no reason to do something for them when they can reasonably do it themselves! This helps them build confidence and fine motor skills. You can see in my top image the ragged edges of a 3-year old cutting. You can see in the image below that I helped when she asked. Just let your preschooler lead the way! ***



Finally, let them glue or tape their puppet to a stick, and start playing! 

We did have a craft stick once get taped to a head (making an upside down puppet), but it's pretty easy to remove the stick and tape it to the right side of the puppet. And it only happened once!

My preschoolers think it's hilarious to have the puppet kids tell the puppet mom what to do!

We had so much fun making puppets that my 3-year old asks me to print her pictures (almost daily) that she can turn into puppets too!

How is this activity STEM?  It requires your preschoolers to use science skills (like observing, analyzing, and decision-making), it lets them experiment with science concepts (like the fusion in tape or how glue changes states as it dries), it allows them to use technology/tools (like cameras, computers, and tape dispensers), it requires them to engineer/design their puppets, and uses math concepts (like a concept of one-to-one relationships).

Do you love preschool STEM? Do you want to learn more about it? This June I am featuring a Preschool STEM series that includes a fantastic introduction to preschool STEM and nine STEM activities, projects, or challenges that are appropriate for preschoolers! This is the first one--I would LOVE to have you join in and share your own experiences as we move through the next two weeks! You can find the landing page with links to all the activities HERE!  You can also join my STEM Activities & Projects for Kids Facebook Group HERE for more STEM-inspired conversations!





Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!





Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!







Read More

Monday, June 10, 2019

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Preschool STEM: Button Board Art

We are doing one more big art project in our Preschool STEM series


If you visit here much (or even just our last Preschool STEM post!) you've heard me mention how much my youngest daughter loves to do art projects, and I love to let her--partly because art is a magical experience for her, and partly because there are so much educational value to art!

This particular project has 5 important supplies:

1- canvas
2- paint and brushes
3- buttons
4- glue (We used Tacky Glue so it dries faster)
5- glitter (okay, this is optional, but my girls loooove it!)

I introduced the project by suggesting they use paint and buttons to create a tree from their imaginations. I encouraged them to paint backgrounds first, but many made their trees first and then added backgrounds! Either way, the results were fantastic!



Since then we've done similar projects, but I didn't even need to introduce anything...the kids had their own ideas and wanted to try out their own projects with the supplies.

Sidenote: I know it's more expensive than construction paper, but my preschoolers (and older kids too, lol) LOVE working on canvasses! You can get the thinner ones for about $1 each, and they give the kids SUCH a neat surface to experiment and create with!

Resist the urge to tell them to use particular colors or to glue in any particular way--experimenting with the colors and arrangements are a part of the STEM experience!



This is a great activity for mixed ages too--we also did it when my daughter turned six, and we kids from 3-11 at her party!



How is this activity STEM?  It requires your preschoolers to use science skills (like problem solving, predicting, hypothesizing, experimenting, analyzing), it lets them experiment with science concepts (like how glue changes from a liquid to a solid as it dries and how paint colors change as they interact with each other), it allows them to use technology/tools (like a glue and paintbrushes), it requires them to engineer/design their masterpieces, and uses math concepts (like spatial relationships, colors, and often counting).



Do you love preschool STEM? Do you want to learn more about it? This June I am featuring a Preschool STEM series that includes a fantastic introduction to preschool STEM and nine STEM activities, projects, or challenges that are appropriate for preschoolers! This is the first one--I would LOVE to have you join in and share your own experiences as we move through the next two weeks! You can find the landing page with links to all the activities HERE!  You can also join my STEM Activities & Projects for Kids Facebook Group HERE for more STEM-inspired conversations!





Happy Educating,
Carla


Have you seen HEEP? It is a preschool homeschool curriculum! Learn more here!





Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!






Read More