Early Learning Activities For Pre-K and Kindergarten


Teaching Ideas

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Magic Nuudles



Magic Nuudles are biodegradeable building blocks that are made out of cornstarch and can be used for a variety of activities. They are also excellent for fine motor skills development. The magic nuudles stick to paper and to each other when they are gently pressed on to a wet paper towel or sponge for about two seconds. They can not be dipped in water as they will dissolve.

In the pictures above we used the magic nuudles on letter pages ... for making patterns ... and for free design.

The magic nuudles can be purchased in teacher stores for about 7.99 and online at magicnuudle.com.

Playdough Cookie Cutters



Playdough is a favorite activity in any early learning environment. It is perfect for fine motor skills development when children pinch ... shape ... and roll the dough. It is also great for social and cognitive development as the children think of what to make and share their creations with their friends. Plastic cookie cutters are wonderful tools to use with playdough. I purchased the two cookie cutter buckets shown in the picture above at Michael's Craft Store for under ten dollars each. You can also purchase them from the company that makes the cookie cutters.

Symmetrical Painting



Symmetrical painting is a great open ended project. All you need is paint and paper (we like fingerpaint and fingerpaint paper because the paint does not dry as quickly ... I do not recommend tempera paint for this activity). Give each child a sheet of paper and let them make any kind of a design on the paper that they wish. We use fingers or brushes but sponges and other things can be used as well. Once the design has been made fold the paper in half and gently rub on the folded paper. Open the paper and you will see a design that is the same on each half of the paper. Children can then decide what they have made. Another way of doing symmetrical painting is to fold the paper in half first to make a crease and then paint a picture on one half as shown above in the flower picture. Fold the paper ... gently rub and open and there will be a mirror image.

Name and Word Cups



Name and word cups are a great literacy building activity. For the name cups I printed out the names of everyone in our class on mailing labels (1 x 2 5/8 size). I did the same thing for the words that I wanted to use on the word cups. I then stuck the labels on 6 ounce plastic cups (you can use any size that works best for you) and put letter tiles in each cup that would spell the name or that was on the cup. Children take a cup and pour the letter tiles out and put them in order of the name or word that is on the cup.

If you do not have the letter tiles you can download some that I have made here.

Cotton Ball Counting



Cotton ball counting is an excellent activity for building math skills as well as hand-eye coordination. You will need cotton balls ... a bowl ... spoons ... plastic cups (optional cotton ball counting page ... glue and markers). Pour cotton balls into a bowl (we used a plastic one) and put a spoon in (we used a tablespoon) the bowl. Children scooped the cotton balls out of the bowl and put them in their cup (we used a six ounce size but you can use any size you want). They then emptied the cotton balls out of the cup and counted them as they put them back into the cup. They then put the same number of glue drops on the cotton ball counting page and put the cotton balls on the glue drops. They counted the counted balls again and wrote in the number that they had on the page in the blank square.

If you would like the cotton ball counting page you can download it here.

Playdough Name Mats



Children love to see their names in print and using playdough name mats is a wonderful way to develop letter and name recognition as well as fine motor skills. I printed each child's name in large letters on a sheet of cardstock paper. I then cut off about 1/4 an inch all the way around the page and glued it on a sheet of color cardstock paper and laminated it. The name mats were placed on a table and the children were asked to find their own name. They then rolled the playdough into "snakes" and put it over the letters on the name mat. When they were all done with their own name they exchanged mats with another student.

Alphabet Do-A-Dot



This activity is great for letter identification, hand-eye coordination and developing fine motors skills. We used do-a-dot paint (which is kind of like bingo markers) and letter sheets that I had made which contained circles for the children to put the do-a-dot paint on.

If you would like the alphabet do-a-dot pages you can download them here.

Cookie Cutter Name Stamping


This is another great name identification activity which helps to develop literacy skills. You will need plastic cookie cutter letters, paper plates, paint, and large white construction paper. I poured different colors of paint onto paper plates and had each child find the cookie cutter letters that were in his/her name. The child then dipped the letter cookie cutters into the paint and pressed them down on the white construction paper. You can also use all different kinds of plastic cookie cutters for a fun stamping activity.

Group Collage


Making a group collage is wonderful way to develop fine motor skills (cutting and gluing) as well as cognitive (deciding what to cut and where to put it) and social skills (working with others). I purchased black foam boards from Wal-Mart for around 3.00 each. I also purchased packs of small colored cardstock squares (found by the scrap booking material) for 2.00 each (you can use construction paper as well). I had groups of 3-4 children work together on one board and the children cut the paper into any kind of shape/design that they wanted and glued it on to the board. When they were done putting the paper on the board they glued on gemstone sequins that were also purchased at Wal-Mart.

Clothes Pin Counting


Clothes pin counting is not only a great activity for developing math skills but is also wonderful for developing fine motor skills because of the pinching and grapsing of the clothes pins. I made number circles and printed them on cardstock ... cut them out and laminated them. I put the cothes pins in a bowl and set out the number circles. The children then put the correct number of clothes pins on each number circle.

If you would like the clothes pin number circles you can download them here.

Letter Puzzles



Letter puzzles are great for letter identification and hand-eye coordination. I printed the puzzles on cardstock paper ... cut them out and then laminated them. I also printed out a puzzle mat that the children could use to place the puzzles on.

If you would like the puzzles you can download them here.

Paper Bag Counting



This is another great counting activity that is very easy to make and also great for building math skills. We used white paper lunch bags (we took about 2-3 inches off the top of each one to make it easier for the chidlren to put their hands in) and glued number labels on the front the bags. The children were then given counting coins and they put the correct number of coins in each bag. You can use any objects that you like for the children to count into the bags (smaller children may need supervision).

If you would the number labels for the front of the bags you can download them here.

Fabric Matching Cards


This is a wonderful activity for visual discrimination and hand-eye coordination. I purchased fabric in different colors and patterns and cut them into squares. The children had to find two pieces that matched and glue them onto the cards.

If you would like the fabric matching cards you can download them here.

Teaching Ideas Page 1

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