Celebrate Read Across America Day (and one of the most beloved children's book authors of all time) with activities that perfectly complement some of Dr. Seuss' most popular works.
Wow! Things Are Different!
With these simple activities from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans, children will learn to identify opposites, understand that not everything is the same, and discover opposite word pairs.
Circle or Group Time Activity
- Play hide and seek with the children, but use opposite words to ask the children to hide in certain areas. For example, "Hide behind something or in front of something;" "Hide under something or above something."
- Another way to do this is to ask half of the children to hide inside the Dramatic Play area while the other children hide outside the area.
- Make pairs of word cards of opposites. For example, write the word "over" on one card and "under" on another card. Add pictures to the cards to illustrate the concept. Give each child one card from a pair and place the other card in the pair in a box. Pick out a word card and read the word. The child with the opposite word stands up and acts it out. Note: Some children may not want to act out the word. If this is the case, let another child act it out.
- Invite the children to fingerpaint. As they paint, talk about left and right, large and small, and so on. Encourage the children to paint some opposites, such as a tall person and a short person, a person with short hair and one with long hair, a long car and a short car, and so on.
- Children use blocks to show opposites; for example, over and under, in and out, up and down, left and right, more and less, and so on.
- Provide pieces of string and straws of different lengths and amounts. Have the children arrange them from the longest to the shortest, more to less, and so on.
Sand and Water
- Set several objects that either float or sink in the sand and water table. Also provide washcloths, sponges, and small towels for the children to compare what soaks up the most water.
Story Time Suggestions
- Children make their own vegetable salad while discussing opposites. Give each child her own bowl and let her choose the vegetables she likes: long and short carrot sticks, celery sticks, big and little pieces of lettuce or tomato, more or less amounts of salad dressing, and so on. Use whatever vegetables are in season.
To ensure the children understand this new concept, separate them into groups. Give each group a word and ask the group to decide upon the word's opposite, and then act it out together. Ask the children if they can identify the opposites of various words.
This activity was contributed to The GIANT Encyclopedia of Lesson Plans by Eileen Lucas from Fort McMurray, Alberta, Canada. For more teacher-created lesson plans perfect for preschoolers, visit our website.
This blog post was contributed by Marie Faust Evitt, author of Thinking BIG, Learning BIG
Children want to do BIG things because it makes them feel powerful and not so small. They love ENORMOUS numbers like a hundred million billion and BIG words like Tyrannosaurus rex. They love to spread their arms wide and run as fast as they can across a HUGE field.
Here’s how you can use children’s love of BIG things to create a strong foundation for higher-level thinking and learning.
Start with the familiar and E-X-P-A-N-D
You know children love building with blocks. Introduce Styrofoam egg cartons to build a giant skyscraper. Ask what they need to do to make their building stable. Try using BIG cardboard boxes to create a whole neighborhood.
Make a GIANT model
Spiders and webs can be scary for children but when they create their own web from string and tape, and a BIG spider from paper bags and pipe cleaners, they are in control. They learn how spiders spin two kinds of silk, one that’s not sticky for the frame and another that is sticky to catch prey.
Make learning a game
Children experience freezing and melting by using ice cubes they’ve made to play a simple game of ice cube hockey.
Explore their questions
When we take children’s questions seriously they feel empowered and engaged. “Why do I have to wear a rain jacket when it’s raining?” can become an engaging exploration of what’s waterproof.
Art provides a wealth of opportunity for creative investigations. What happens when you send a toy car dipped in paint down a ramp?
What kind of inventions might children create with milk carton caps, shoe boxes, colored masking tape, paper towel tubes and parts of discarded appliances?
To see directions for these and many other BIG explorations check out Thinking BIG, Learning Big: Connecting Science, Math, Literacy and Language in Early Childhood.
This post was contributed by Marie Faust Evitt, head teacher of a preschool class for four- and five-year-olds. Prior to teaching, Marie was an award-winning newspaper reporter and freelance journalist for more than 20 years. Her articles and essays on education, parenting, and child psychology have been published in Newsweek, Parents, Child, Parenting, Scholastic’s Parent & Child, Scholastic.com, and Family Fun. She posts about her classroom activities at www.thinkingBIGlearningBIG.com and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thinkingBIGlearningBIG.
Children will love the opportunity to wear these fun hats around the classroom as you have a parade in celebration of the presidents!
Presidents' Day Hats
This activity comes from The GIANT Encyclopedia of Preschool Activities for Three-Year-Olds (available in paperback).
- 12" x 18" white construction paper, two pieces per child
- American flag, optional
- Red and blue crayons, markers, or paint
- Rhythm instruments, optional
What to Do
- Give each child two pieces of white construction paper.
- Demonstrate how to put the two pieces of paper together and fold them as if making a newspaper hat.
- When the children have done this (with adult help), help them staple the papers together at both ends to hold the hat together.
- Encourage the children to decorate their hats using red and blue crayons, markers, or paint. This is a good time to show them the American flag and talk about the colors in the flag. Ask if anyone knows the name of our president.
- After the children finish their hats, have a parade using rhythm band instruments.
Like this activity? Find more February-related activities in our Free Activity Booklet by liking Kaplan Early Learning Company on Facebook!
This activity was originally contributed to The GIANT Encyclopedia of Preschool Activities for Three-Year-Olds by Phyllis Esch from Export, PA. For more fun activities to engage your preschoolers, check out The GIANT Encyclopedia of Preschool Activities for Three-Year-Olds (available in paperback).
Children will certainly make someone smile this Valentine's Day with a gift of card stock flowers featuring their own cute, happy faces.
"Say Cheese" Flowers
This activity was taken from 101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make (available in both paperback and eBook formats).
- Various colors of card stock or recycled cardboard scraps (e.g. cereal or cracker boxes), cut into flower shapes
- Crayons or markers
- Small photo of child
- Green pipe cleaners
- Clear tape
- Card stock, 1 full sheet
Cut card stock into 4" x 4" flower shapes.
Make Your Great Gift
- Decorate at least three or four flower shapes with crayons or markers.
- Choose one of the flowers, and glue the photo in the center of it.
- Tape green pipe cleaners to the backs of the flowers to create stems.
- Decorate a whole sheet of card stock into a funnel shape, and secure with clear tape.
- Place the flowers inside the card stock funnel to create a beautiful bouquet. Be sure the photo is clearly visible.
- To create a personalized bouquet, decorate four flowers, place the photo on one of the flowers and, in the middle of the other three, write a letter of the recipient name or her initials. For example, write "MOM" or "DAD."
From the card to the wrapping paper, and everything in between, 101 Great Gifts Kids Can Make has dozens of perfect ideas to give kids and adults the opportunity to experience the joy of giving and receiving unique child-made gifts.
The most important traditional holiday in China, Chinese New Year, is Sunday, February 10th. While creating the Chinese lanterns in this activity (selected from Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children), children will express their individual creativity, develop and improve their fine motor skills, and learn about another culture.
- Felt pens or crayons (optional)
- Paper or thin card stock (letter size)
- Sticky tape or glue sticks
- Cut a 1" strip from one of the short edges of a piece of paper or thick card stock, and set aside. Fold the remaining paper in half lengthwise.
- Mark lines 1" from each of the short ends and 1 1/2" from the long edge.
- Inside the lines you've just drawn, mark more lines, this time in red, 3/4" apart, going from the folded edge down to the long horizontal line.
- Hand a folded, marked piece of paper, plus a 1" strip, to each child.
What to Do
- The children can decorate their lanterns with felt pens or crayons.
- Help the children make the lanterns by doing the following steps:
- Cut along the red lines, starting at the folded edge and stopping at the horizontal line.
- Cut through both layers of paper.
- Open the paper and curve it around so the short edges slightly overlap. Stick them together with tape or glue to form a lantern.
- Take the extra paper strip and tape or glue the ends to the inside top edge of the lantern on opposite sides, forming a handle.
- Was the child able to follow the directions to make the lantern?
- What did the child learn about the Chinese New Year?
- How did the child express his individuality with his/her lantern?
Share these fun facts with the children:
Spring Festival, also known as the Chinese New Year, always starts on the day of a new moon. The festival ends with Lantern Festival on the fifteenth day of the month when the moon is full. Lantern Festival has been celebrated for more than 2,000 years, and people gather with their lanterns at fairs and festivals, where there are fireworks, dancing, special holiday food, and a parade.
This activity was originally contributed to Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children by Kirsty Neale, from Orpington, Kent, UK. For more educational explorations that actively engage children's imaginations, check out Another Encyclopedia of Theme Activities for Young Children (available in both paperback and eBook formats).