Five to Try This Week

Grace Cooperative Preschool, May 26 – 29, 2020

All About Me! Use scissors to cut out your favorite things from magazines or catalogs and make a poster that tells all about you!

Play Memory! While there are many memory games on the market, you can also play with a deck of cards or even make a game with family photos.

Build a Fort! Blanket forts are always fun. Ikea just released plans for six different blanket and pillow forts- and they are easier to put together than a bookcase!

Bury a treasure! Make a treasure map for your child to follow, or even better- make one together for another friend to find. X marks the spot!

Normally this time of the school year, we are reading Amos and Boris by William Steig. The year hasn’t gone the way we planned and we can’t be together in person, but we will always be friends, no matter where we are.

Five to Try This Week

Grace Cooperative Preschool, May 18-22, 2020

Go on a “Duck Walk!” Wet weather brings out worms and birds and beautiful droplets on plants and flowers. Head outside and explore what the rain leaves behind!

Make an erupting volcano! Put some baking soda in a small container, add a little vinegar and watch it erupt! Another way to explore is to sprinkle baking soda on a cookie sheet. Preschoolers can use an eyedropper to squirt drops of vinegar and watch the sizzling reaction!

Will it slide or roll? Explore what might slide down a ramp and what objects might roll. At preschool we have a ramp at the ready, but at home you can make a ramp from long blocks, cardboard or even a book!

Put on a puppet show! In addition to being super fun, pretend play with puppets is a great way to express creativity and imagination, develop language and social skills found in conversation.

Make a shape picture! We love pattern blocks at preschool, but you can cut shapes from paper and arrange them to create houses, rockets, vehicles, flowers, whatever you like!

We think you’ll like Color Zoo by Lois Ehlert. Preschoolers can explore the cut out shapes by tracing with their finger as well as enjoy the animals they become!

Five to Try This Week

Grace Cooperative Preschool, May 11-15, 2020

Make an obstacle course! This is one of our favorite large motor activities! Running, hopping, stepping in and out of hoops, balancing, crawling through tunnels… this can be indoor or outdoor fun!

Make some hockey puck crayons! Peel the paper off of broken crayons and give them a new life! You can add them to a greased muffin tin sorted by color, or mix colors to make a rainbow. Bake crayons at 250 degrees for 15-20 minutes. Crayons will be liquid when they come out but harden as they cool.

Make a feely box! Any shoe box or tissue box can be turned into a fun guessing game. You can put one item in and ask children to describe it and guess what it is, or you can add several items for them to discover.

String a necklace! Using laces or pipe cleaner, try stringing beads or cereal or pasta. This fine motor activity can also be a counting activity!

Roll the Dice! Try rolling dice and counting how many dots you see. To reinforce the counting, try putting stickers on paper to correspond with with numbers or counting out toys. You might also like Ten Black Dots by Donald Crews.

Five to Try This Week

Grace Cooperative Preschool, May 4 – 8, 2020

Get Cooking! This coming Sunday is Mother’s Day. Why not make or bake something special for Mom? Preschoolers are capable and excited to mix, prep and help with cookies and baked goods. Using a small butter knife or pumpkin carving tool, young children can cut fruit for a salad! It’s a great way to learn kitchen skills, practice good hand washing and be a part of the celebration.

Open a restaurant! Write your own menu, serve family members, stuffed animals and pets! Maybe the special of the day is something you make yourself!

Give the grass a haircut! Cutting grass, weeds, and small flowers (with permission) is a great way to work on those scissor skills!

Make a family portrait! Make a Mother’s Day card! Moms love nothing better than gifts from the heart! It will be a keepsake she will always remember! (This photo of our Grace family is courtesy of Tilden!)

Happy Mother’s Day! Celebrate Mom! We think you’ll like What Mommies Do Best by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger. When you get to the end, flip it over and read a bonus book- What Daddies Do Best!

Five to Try This Week!

Grace Cooperative Preschool, April 27-May 1, 2020

Go Fish! Playing with a “regular” deck of cards helps with number recognition and identifying pairs. Special “Go Fish” decks may match colors, animals, and more!

Make a basket! This is a favorite game inside the house or out! The “ball” can be a ball, crumbled paper, small toy, or rolled up sock! The “basket” can be a bag, a trash can, a box, or a sibling’s outstretched arms!

Can you move like a monkey? Can you stomp like an elephant? Can you balance like a flamingo? Can you skate and slide like a penguin? What new way can you move your body?

While you are outside, be on the lookout for springtime babies! Learn a Rhyme and share it! Here is a nest for bluebird (hands cupped together) Here is a hive for bee (hands in balls, wrists touching) Here is a hole for rabbit (hands in a circle) And here is a home for me! (hands above head like rooftop)

Paint a Rock! You might enjoy Only One You by Linda Kranz! The thoughtful story and illustrations include painted rocks to make unique fish. Your painted rocks may be colors or designs, your favorite animal, or a message for the person who finds it!

Earth Hour: A Lights-Out Event for Our Planet

Meet Nanette Heffernan, author of Earth Hour!

Happy Earth Day!

Today is Earth Day.  At Grace Preschool we take pride in teaching our students to be stewards of the environment.  We compost our snack waste.  We bring refillable water bottles.  We ask the parents to be conscious of reducing single use plastic when providing snacks.  Normally on Earth Day we have a big celebration at Grace Preschool.  

We are located on the campus of Grace Presbyterian Church and Earth Day is a day of community for both preschoolers and church members.  Throughout the year, Grace Church supports Grace Preschool.  For many years our preschool families have enjoyed a weekend Family Camping trip at Westminster Woods in Occidental, CA.  Grace Church believes in the importance of getting children and families together in nature.  Through The Elena Lass Fund, Grace Church has generously provided us with funds towards the trip.  The Grace churchgoers are also some of our very best customers at our annual Pancake Breakfast fundraiser!  Most importantly, the Grace Church community offers smiles and friendly faces and helping hands throughout the year.

We commemorate Earth Day as our special day to say thank you.  In anticipation of Earth Day, we practice some well known songs with our students.  We think of them as Grace Preschool’s Greatest Hits!  We talk about the difference between singing out and screaming.  We talk about how special it will be to share songs with our friends at Grace Church.  Then, on Earth Day our preschoolers start arriving in play clothes and fancy dresses and t shirts with a clip on tie- all the “special” outfits they select as only preschoolers can!  When Ms. Lavenia plays “The Ants Go Marching” our children march into Grace Church and stand up tall in front of the congregation.  Church members and friends who are smiling so hard their cheeks hurt are joined by preschool parents standing in the back with enough camera equipment to qualify as paparazzi!  Ms. Marlene sits in front in front to lead the children.  She tells them, “Don’t be nervous, just look at me.”  Ms. Meg and Ms. Joy artfully arrange the children on the steps so everyone is visible then they duck down.  From their kneeling spots behind the singers they provide backup vocals and remind them to “Sing out!”  Ms. Sarah is our octopus!  She encircles the little ones who are thinking of making a break for it.  She comforts our two year olds who get worn out part way through the first song.  She sits on the steps with the preschoolers and they are happier because she is with them.  Our “concert playlist” consists of two or three staples- “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”, “Everybody’s Got to Grow” and “Skidda-ma-rink.”  We all march out to applause and smiles and waves and it is beautiful!  It is weeks of anticipation, 5-10 minutes of actual singing, and months or years of fond memories!

The children then head to the play yard and explore a variety of Earth Day activities.  We’ve enjoyed visits from Jungle James, showed off our silkworms, made seed balls, and sprayed coffee filter butterflies with liquid paint.  We talk about what to recycle and where to recycle it.  We play together and visit together.  NIne years ago at our first Earth Day celebration, children planted teeny tiny lemon trees and lavender bushes.  Nine years later, they are exploding with lemons and our preschoolers have enjoyed picking them, juicing them, and making lemonade!

This year, we are doing our part to help the Earth’s inhabitants by not getting together!  Each week we offer activities for children and families to try.  This week included some of our Earth Day favorites, like making butterflies, and encouraging children to make an Earth Day promise.  Today I am happy to speak with Nanette Heffernan, author of the new children’s book Earth Hour.  Nanette will share with us her inspiration for her book as well as little things children can do to make a big difference.  We won’t be celebrating as a community this Earth Day, but we look forward to connecting virtually and continuing to work together to make the world a better place.   

Five to Try This Week!

Grace Cooperative Preschool, April 20-24, 2020

Try making your own play dough! Combine 2 cups flour, 1 cup salt and 4 teaspoons cream of tartar in a sauce pan. (You can sub in lemon juice if you don’t have cream of tartar.) Slowly stir in 2 cups water over medium heat. Mix 4 tablespoons oil and food coloring of your choice. Keep stirring until it forms a soft ball. Remove from heat. When cool enough, knead until smooth.

Make a nature print! Use a rolling pin on clay or play dough to create a smooth surface. Put a leaf or flower with veins facing down on the clay. Lightly roll over the leaf with the rolling pin. Carefully lift up the leaf to reveal the imprint!

Celebrate Earth Day! Will you make a promise to the Earth today? Maybe you can turn off the lights when you leave a room? Can you remember to turn off the water while you are brushing your teeth? How about helping with the recycling at home? Little kids can make a big difference to help keep our planet healthy.

How do you measure up? Try measuring things in your home using more than one unit of measurement. How long is your table? Your bed? What if you used your hand to measure? How many hands long is it? What if you used a block?

Butterflies! Decorate a coffee filter or a paper towel using markers. You can drip water on it to help the colors spread. Accordian fold your butterfly in the middle and secure with a clothespin or pipe cleaner. Spread out the wings and let your butterfly fly!

We think you’ll love The Earth Book by Todd Parr. It encourages children to do little things every day to make a big difference, like using both sides of the paper to save the trees.

Five to Try This Week!

Grace Cooperative Preschool, April 13-17, 2020

Make a Memory- We are all missing our routines and the friends and activities that were a part of our “regular life.” However, the shelter in place has also given us an opportunity to slow down and connect with our families. Why not take a moment to remember the sweet part of this time at home? Years from now, let this be a memento of when our families came together to care for the world by staying apart.

Count and Sort- Gather a group of items- buttons, beads, small cars, jellybeans, coins, etc. Count them! Can you group them by color? Keep counting! Can you sort them by size? How else can you sort your items?

Chalk it up! Head outside and have some fun! Use chalk to make a hopscotch board. Spread out the letters of the alphabet for preschoolers to hop on as they sing the alphabet. Leave a picture for a neighbor to enjoy!

Sink or Float- One of our favorite preschool activities is experimenting with what might sink or float in water. Fill a tub with water and test a variety of objects- paper clip, block, cork, small toys, acorns, etc.

What comes out of eggs? Explore your environment. What can you find outside that came from an egg? Birds? Ladybugs? Chickens? Don’t forget inside! Do you have any toy animals or critters that came from an egg? Dinosaurs? Snakes/ Frogs? You might enjoy Chicken Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller.

Five to Try This Week!