Bunches of Bulletin Boards

We are always looking for fun, new bulletin board ideas.  I thought I would share some of the bulletin boards we have had here at preschool over the years, in case you are looking for some new ideas, too!

Birthday Boards

These next two were made by a very talented co-worker of mine who actually quilted these bulletin boards!  So cool!

Welcome to School Boards

This one was our seasons tree. We left it up all school year but changed the decorations with children’s artwork to go with the seasons. I’m missing a picture of the spring one. It had flowers on it.

Fall and Thanksgiving

This picture was taken before I put the title on the board. It read “OWL Always Be Thankful.”

This one was an interactive board. Each of the turkey’s feathers were made out of a different material for the children to touch and explore.

Winter

Snow globe- “There’s SNOW Place Like Preschool”

Having a Blast with Birthdays

Literacy

One of our favorite things to do when the kids are learning about the letter B is talk about birthdays!  One story we really like is “The Secret Birthday Message” by Eric Carle.  In the story, the little boy has to follow the secret birthday message on a kind of scavenger hunt to find his birthday surprise!  As some added fun, we print copies of the message and hide pictures of the book around the room.  The children then get to follow the clues to find the surprise, just like the boy in the story!

Dramatic Play

In our dramatic play area, we set up a birthday party with pretend birthday cakes, party hats, paper party plates and cups, and balloons.  The kids love taking turn pretending it is their birthday and having a party!

Art

This year, I wanted to try something different at the art table for birthdays.  What I came up with were these fun three-dimensional birthday cakes.

They are made from upside down paper bowls.  To make the frosting, I mixed one part glue with one part shaving cream and then added a few drops of liquid watercolor.  This concoction dries thick and foamy, and really looks a lot like real frosting!  After spreading on the “frosting,” the kids decorated the cakes with foam shapes, candy sprinkles, and cut-up pieces of straws as candles.  Of course, you could use any collage materials you have on hand to decorate the cakes.  The kids really got into making these.  I almost felt like I was watching Cake Boss there for a while!

Plastic Bracelets and Other Creations

I got the idea to make melted plastic art forms from the blog ARTASTIC! . They melted sheets of plastic like Shrinky Dinks as well as plastic cups for really neat results.  I changed it up a bit and tried it with melting plasticware.  My niece and I did this activity together. It was super easy and so much fun for both of us. We made really cool plastic bracelets and other modern-art-like plastic forms.

 

Here’s what you’ll need to try the project yourself:
* Clear plastic cutlery (#6 Polystyrene Plastic)
* Colored Sharpie Markers
* Toaster oven (or regular oven)
* Cooking tray or cookie sheet
* Aluminum foil
* Metal tongs

The process is fairly simple. You will first want to pre-heat your oven. We heated it up to 350. Then, cover the tray or cookie sheet with tin foil to protect the tray.
To make plastic forms, simply chose a plastic fork, spoon, or knife. Then color designs on it with the Sharpie markers. When you are satisfied with your design, set the plasticware on the foil lined tray and put it in the oven (this is obviously an adult duty). Now, watch the magic happen! These work a lot like Shrinky Dinks, they will shrink and curl up as they heat up. Keep an eye on it; it’s neat to watch and it happens quickly. When they are the size and shape you like, an adult can take them out of the oven using oven mitts. Do not touch until they have cooled and hardened. If you’d like to adjust the shape of them a little, an adult can use the metal tongs to shape it a bit immediately after it comes out of the oven and is still hot and moldable.


To make the bracelets, we used the plastic knifes. If you’d like, you can sand down the serrated edge before you start.  Just like with the plastic forms, color the knives however you’d like using the Sharpie markers.  When finished, put the knives on the foil lined sheet colored side down.  Putting the colored side down ensures that  the colored side will be on the outside of the bracelet and the colors won’t rub off on your skin.  An adult can put  the cookie sheet in the preheated oven and watch carefully.  The knives will shrink and the sides will probably start to curl up into a bracelet shape on their own (if they don’t, don’t worry, you can shape them in the next step).  When the bracelets look to be about the right size for the person who will be wearing them, the grown-up should take them out of the oven quickly using oven mitts.  Then, while they are still hot, the adult can shape the bracelets using the metal tongs.  The bracelets will probably be about the right shape already, but you will want to make sure the opening is big enough to slip a wrist through.  Also, if the edges did not curl in the oven, now is the time to curl them using the tongs.

Once they have cooled and hardened, the bracelets will be ready to wear.  Since the colored side is on the outside of the bracelet, the color should not rub off much.  However, if you’d like a little more protection to help your bracelet last longer, I suggest painting it with a layer Mod Podge and letting it dry.

  

** Some people are concerned about the safety of eating out of #6 plastic containers.  If you have a concern, please use discretion.  Personally, seeing as it is the same kind of plastic as Shrinky Dinks (see here), I found this project safe enough.**

Happy About Angry Birds

It’s been a number of months since I’ve blogged.  My husband and I were busy buying a house -a beautiful 120 year old Victorian style farmhouse that’s everything I’ve ever wanted (might have to start a blog about it)- and the last semester at preschool got crazy busy for its own reasons, so blogging kind of fell by the wayside for me for a while.

The preschool is closed during the summer, and I keep myself busy nannying for my niece and nephews (ages 6, 10, and 13) so you will see some of the fun activities they’ve been doing show up here on this blog as well.

Many of the preschoolers -as well as my nephew- have been obsessed with Angry Birds lately.  It’s a pretty good, simple game, too, as far as video games go.  There is a lot of physics going on with figuring out the projectiles and the speed and everything.  Plus there’s sling shots and destroying/knocking things down- of course kids love it!

So, how much more fun and educational would it be if kids could play Angry Birds in real life?  Wouldn’t it be great if they could have a favorite game and hands-on science all rolled into one?  That was our thought when we started brainstorming at preschool how we could make this happen.  We were so excited when our plans finally came to fruition.

Here’s what we did:

Our wonderful preschool director sewed little Angry Bird bean bags in three different styles and weights- red birds being the lightest, yellow birds being a  medium weight, and black bomb birds being the heaviest.

We used exercise bands for the sling shots.  We found them on sale in the Target dollar section (yes, less than a dollar each).  We tied on a little piece of cardboard to nest the birds in and wrapped the ends of the band around the legs of an upside-down chair. Voila, slingshot!

We used foam blocks to build structures and taped pictures of piggies to small stacks of Legos.

The kids spent a lot of time building structures, placing pigs, and taking turns trying to knock them down by slinging birds at them.  This was so much fun.  One of my classes in particular really enjoyed this.   One boy even asked me if we could shut off a bank of lights so they could play Angry Birds Space!

    

Last fall, I saw a wonderful backyard Angry Birds game from Simply Styled Home on Pinterest.  I’ve been waiting all year to make it happen.  Now, with our new house, we had the perfect opportunity since we now have our own backyard and plenty of moving boxes to build with!

I bought some balls and drew Angry Birds faces on them with Sharpie markers.  I didn’t make the fancy sling shot like the one at Simply Styled Home, but instead bought a three-person water balloon sling shot (once again) from the Target dollar section.

Yes, those are adults on lawn chairs holding the ends of the slingshot!

We built with boxes, and we tried to use balloons as pigs, but we had trouble getting them to inflate or stay inflated.  But it was still fun knocking down boxes!  Great times!

  

 

“N” the Newspaper

This is an activity we did at the writing table when the kids were learning about the letter N.  We put out newspapers, magnifying glasses, and markers and challenged the children to find as many n’s  as they could-using the magnifying glasses for added fun- and circle or highlight them. 

 

Our set up.

Looking for n's.

Highlighting n's.

 

St. Valentine Secret Message Hunt

We did another hunt-around-the-room activity today. My director/co-teacher put this together. Our morning class is really into sight words, so this worked quite well for them. However, I’m not sure if most preK or preschool classes would be successful with this activity. I think it would probably be a good activity for Kindergarten.

We hid these cute little love bugs all around the room (clip art compliments of Carson Dellosa) each with a number 1-9. Next to each love bug we placed a sight word.
We supplied the kids with clipboards and papers numbered 1-9. The children went around the room and wrote down the words next to the corresponding number. Then, (and this was the really fun part of the activity) they got to read the sight words to figure out the secret Valentine message (our message was “I love Jesus. His love is in my heart.”)! It was really a fun, active writing and reading activity.

Tie Dye Ice Sculptures

This is something we do every year in January.  The ice sculptures always turn out so cool!

To do this activity, we ask each child to bring in a uniquely shaped piece of ice.  We get all kinds of fun ice from creative families.  For example, we get ice frozen in balloons, rubber gloves, Tupperware, jello molds, bowls, and cups among other things.

They bring their ice into school and put it in the water table.  At play time, we give the children kosher salt to sprinkle on the ice and watch the effects, making little craters in the ice.  Then, after the ice has melted a bit, they can use the salt and press two pieces of ice to gether, fusing them together. Their coldness re-freezes the parts that have melted and makes the pieces of ice stick together.

After the children have had some time to create their sculptures, we give them  eye droppers (great for fine motor)and liquid watercolor paint to color their creations.  The results are beautiful!