Archives for posts with tag: activities

1) I Caught You Raffle

For behavior management I use a “catch them when they are good” system.

During the day give the children a ticket for various positive behaviors that are noted. Have them write their name on the ticket and put it in the box.

At the end of the week, pull out a determined amount of tickets from the box. They then can earn small tokens like a pencil, homework slip, chart, book, etc. this is a great positive reinforcement technique. By recognizing positive behavior, negative behavior does not get reinforced. With a tangible object to look forward to at the end of the week, the majority of the children love to join this “game”.

A math lesson on percentages is a secondary outcome of this game. The odds of having one’s name drawn in the raffle according to how many tickets are earned during the week can be calculated. Middle level elementary age students and older can keep graphs from week to week to chart the correlation between these factors. When the children realize that the more tickets they earn, the better their chance of having their name picked in the drawing, they exhibit positive behavior to get their name in the raffle.

I have used this with great success. Parents are wonderful about donating to this project.

As we all know, one of the most important parts of the D.I. recipe is a positive classroom climate.

There must be a feeling of camaraderie between the children.  In order to instill this, the children must know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. The following activities assist the children in getting to know each other. One activity increases positive behavior, which is also important in keeping the integrated classroom running smoothly. Behavior issues can take away a considerable amount of valuable learning time from other students.

2) The Toilet Paper Game

Throw a roll of toilet paper and tell students to take sheets from the role. Do not place a limit on how many sheets they can use.

Tell them what the sheets are for AFTER they all take sheets off the role.

For each toilet paper sheet they take, they have to tell the class one fact about themselves.

3) The Index Card Game

Each child takes an index card.  They have to write three questions on each card. Some examples would be: do you have a pet? do you have a brother or sister? do you like to play sports?

Have the kids walk around the room as you say, “mingle, mingle, mingle”. When the teacher says stop, the children switch cards with the child closest to them.

The intent of this game is to get children to speak and socialize with each other.

Whatever card a child was given when the cards were switched is kept, and the game starts again.

4) When children enter kindergarten some can already identify sounds of letters, some can actually spell words, and some are not readers. Some learn through auditory modalities, some through visual modalities, and some are tactile. This letter and sound recognition activity incorporates everyone’s different readiness levels.

Using concrete learning materials, everyone has fun while learning.

Take plastic letters, fill a bucket with macaroni and mix the letters into the bucket. Let the kids dig their hands into the bucket and pull out a letter.

If a child is a pre-reader, have them try to identify the letter. For the slightly more advanced child, have them identify the letter and the sound it makes. For the extremely advanced child, have them do all of the above. Ask them to think of a word that begins with that letter.

Have a great day and most of all have fun :-0)

Mari N. M.Ed.


Hello There :-0)

I have included some fun ideas to increase fine motor skill development, sensory awareness, literacy skills, and more. On the surface, these activities may look like mere fun. AHHHHHHH but one cannot always tell a book by its cover, can we?  Include a high fun factor in the learning and children will maintain the engagement in the project. The more engaged the child is, the more that child will recall and practice what they have learned.

1) Rutti Tutti Water Colors: This is an excellent way to explore colors,sense of smell, and occasionally taste, as an occasional child attempts to “taste” the paint. (do not worry, the paint is totally non toxic sugar-free jello) :-0)

Drop two boxes of sugar-free Jello in a bowl. This project works best when you use four or five flavors in separate bowls. i.e. orange jello for orange cherry jello for the color red, lime jello for the color green, etc. Drop tablespoons of water into the bowl of jello and stir. This must be done slowly as the intent is to create a pasty consistency. If too much water is added the jello will be watery, thus losing its texturized appearence when the children paint with it.

Attempt to include the children by allowing them turns stirring the jello and adding water. This encourages independence and a sense of team work in the kids. This project may be adapted by adding Q. TIPS, sponges, even potato stamps that the children create, as alternate ways to paint. This is an excellent way to explore and think outside the box.

You may want to encourage the children to provide you with their impression of what each flavor of jello smells like, and broach a discussion. i.e. You can talk about the orange jello and display an orange for visual reinforcement, etc.

2)  Make Marbles and chopsticks: This game enhances eye hand coordination and fine motor skills. Have the children place colored marbles on a plate. Provide them with straws to use as chopsticks. The chopsticks are the only instrument that can be used to move marbles from one plate to another. This can be made into a team game. You can encourage the children to compete and see who can pick up the most marbles. Use judgment as applying the competitive edge depends on the childs social and emotional development. You can also provide a basic math activity by counting the marbles on the plate.

3) Chalk fun: The children have the opportunity to stand in a line and draw a line with chalk. The next child adds to the first childs line, (or drawing) with the intent of creating a group art project. No scribbles allowed in this one. The intent is to think ahead towards an ultimate creation. This is a fun way to reinforce taking turns, reciprocity, and plain old team work. :-0)

4) Spud Knockers : This is a great game for children who have social emotional challenges, or are merely not developmentally ready for team games. They merely compete against themselves. In this game, they will reinforce coordination, gross motor skills and more.

Two potatoes are placed in a panty hose leg. The pantyhose is lightly tied around the childs leg. Another potato is placed on the ground. The child hits the potato on the ground by swinging their leg that has the other potato in the pantyhose. The ultimate goal is to move the potato that is on the ground across the room with the other potato.

5: Snake Dance: This is played like follow the leader except in a Conga Line style. Children in line imitate the movements of the leader of the line while music plays in the background. This game encourages awareness and listening skill, as the children must stay in line and focus on what the lead child is doing.

I call out the child at the end of the line to go and lead every thirty seconds or so. As the child at the end goes to the front of the line the leader goes to the back. The intent here, is that ALL children get a chance to be the leader. You will have to prompt them to change places.

This game has a high fun factor. The children are welcome to move about anyway they wish when they are the leader. (As long as they stay in the snake line)

Warning be prepared for a high silly and giggle factor:-0)

Most of all, HAVE FUN!! :-0)

Mari N. M.Ed.

Empathy towards co – workers can avail adults the chance of a successful career. These traits are developed in early childhood. My long-term project has a major focus. It will emphasize what power children have when working as part of a team. Children often feel powerless. They often believe they are not capable of achieving anything of worth to adults. Hopefully, by the end of April these children will be equipped with self empowerment skills that will take them far in life. We are designing a giving tree. It sits on the wall by the art center. The children can pick a blank leaf. They may take the leaf home write the item down that they wish to donate to the families at the homeless shelter. When the item of choice is returned to the school, the leaf is placed back on the tree. A box sits by the door waiting to be filled with donations. The parents were asked to let the children pick the item of choice.

Parents may feel that a child’s donation is not the same item they would have chosen. By not coercing the child by choosing the item, parents are instilling choice making skills in the kids. The children are sorting, and packing the items every Friday. I will deliver the items to the shelter. We will add cheery notes and pictures from the school age class to our donation box. The shelter has agreed to let their children respond back to the school age class.  These will be memorable pen pals. Lessons will be learned, and a widened understanding of our world will develop.

I held a circle today to gain an understanding of how much my young charges comprehend about charitable projects.  We have gone over basic concepts such as the definition of a donation, and what kinds of notes we will write to the children. I first asked the children what the definition of a donation is. A child promptly raised her hand. Her definition was quite interesting. The child said a “donation is when we give away things that we don’t like”. This is a direct example of how children assess and scrutinize the adults in their life.

This child was mimicking others in her social circle. I responded by explaining that sometimes we donate things that others need. I added that this is a hard thing to do. We may choose a toy for our project. The child may decide that they would like to keep the toy. However, sometimes we need to realize that we have many nice things at home. The one toy we donate may be the only toy this child will own. Some may see this concept as above a child’s cognitive level. If adults take the time to model and explain, children surprise us with their level of compassion. Sometimes they are more empathetic than adults.

The next topic covered was the content of the pen pal letters. I asked the group what we should write in the letters. One child suggested that we write, “I am sorry you do not have a house”. I gently told the group that it was a wonderful sentiment but perhaps we could tell the children at the shelter about our hobbies, names, favorite foods, etc.  In actuality, the child’s statement had shown a simple level of comprehension in regards to why families live at the shelter. I believe the children will be shocked when the kids at the shelter write back with similar likes and dislikes. Perhaps the children will find a kindred spirit in the shelter kids. Utopian in thought, no doubt, but doable!

Have a great weekend !! Mari N. M.Ed.

Hello – I have included some fun educational activities. My approach is to present learning in a fun format. Children will be more engaged if they enjoy what they are learning. Preach to a child and they will turn a deaf ear to you – I guarantee that.

Below are some activities that have hidden learning agendas. I equate with the child that loves a particular brand of cereal until he realizes that it is GOOD FOR HIM. :0)

1) Math:  Children are encouraged to preplan a bead arrangement by drawing a sketch by counting and designing color arrangement. color arrangement. This can be adapted to just choosing colors depending on the childs level of development. For young children, or children with motor skill challenges, use larger beads. They can preplan a design for a key chain, necklace, bead drawing, or pencil holder (provide empty soup can to glue beads on for pencil holder) Imagination is the only limit, and accommodation is the key. Large beads for younger children and children with fine motor skill issues, smaller beads for older children.

Always allow the children to choose their bead colors and designs. Children gain independence and a sense of pride from a creation that the “did all by themself”. Remember, coach projects, do not do the project for the child. If a child is experiencing difficulty, guide them, but do not hover. Safe challenges that are successfully achieved give children the positive self efficacy to move up to another skill.

2) Movement and literacy: Vocabulary kickball is a great way to reinforce word comprehension in the kids while having fun. The children can stand in a line while you say a definition. If the chosen child can identify the word associated with the definition, roll the ball to them. If not, it is considered a strike for the team. Modifications can be made for various developmental and cognitive levels. Instead of giving the child a definition, give them a word to define.

For some children, you may hold up an object and ask them to tell you what letter it starts with. For children who struggle with behavioral issues and are just learning the skills for reciprocal behavior you may choose not to count strikes and merely move along in the game. The important point is to always adapt the game so all children feel safe enough to participate.

3) Shape recognition: Provide children with a sponge. Encourage them to take a walk or look around the classroom. Reinforce the point that all objects are actually shapes. i.e. The desk is a square, the art table is a rectangle, The bottom of their thermos is a circle, etc.

Children grasp the concept easier when you have pointed out objects that are present in there live’s everyday. Young children do not have the capability to think in an abstract format,.They are concrete thinkers and learn better through visual prompt.

Upon completing the lesson on shapes, children can dip their sponges in paint and proceed to create a work of art fit for Picasso. :-0) Circle sponges can be used for the son, stars may become part of a painting of a camping trip, ideas are unlimited with the creative minds within the classroom. Encouraging the children to share their sponge shapes with the other children increases their sense of pride and reinforces reciprocal social skills. Kids love to see their shape used on a friends artwork. Again, please encourage children to create their own sponge shape. I always reiterate the importance of remembering that projects are the childs, not ours. There are always adaptations that can be made to make each and every child feel included by their teacher, parents, and peers.

4)Science: The Blue Sky experiment is a blast! This experiment will explain the ultimate children’s question. “Why is the sky blue”? A two liter soda bottle is filled 1/2 way with water. Shine a flashlight on the bottle. Add milk to the bottle. Shine the flashlight on the bottle again The color is now blue!!! Add a little more milk and the color should turn red or orange when you shine the flashlight on the bottle again.

Have fun – I hope you enjoy these ideas. More tomorrow.

Mari N. M.Ed.