So, last week was Apple week in our household, and we had such a blast. Anything and everything related to the Letter A, ants, and apples we tried to squeeze into our week.
As I’ve mentioned before I’ve created a spreadsheet that outlines what my goals are for the year. My handy dandy spreadsheet is broken down into weeks, however it does not go into details. So, I typically sit down on Sunday afternoons and take a look at what skills I am going to address during the week and try to put together activities for each day. My main purpose for this is just so that I can gather materials and do any prep work that is needed. I’ve learned quickly that trying to prep materials or search for something with three little ones can become very frustrating for all involved.
I have always been and continue to be an over planner. I always plan for more than we can do, which has actually worked out well since Bumblebee usually requests to do more “school stuff” after nap time and even before bed (insert huge smiley face here). As a teacher there is absolutely nothing wrong with being an over planner. You can always pick up where you left off the next day.
No matter what the theme or letter is, I always try to incorporate the same basic types of activities every week. So throughout the year you will see a variety of different activities and tools that you can use for these different skills.
- Letter/ Shape/ Number Recognition
- Math Concept/ Skill
- Fine motor
- Arts and Crafts
- Bible story
- Reading, reading, reading
Let me start off by saying that I have purchased God’s Little Explorers preschool curriculum and am doing a modified version of that for my almost three year old. So if you are following that curriculum, it’s actually week 3.
Click here to visit Motherhood on a Dime, for more information on God’s Little Explorers.
Letter A Activities
We kicked off our Apple themed week by visiting a local apple orchard on Saturday as a family. It was a first for me as well as my girls, and we all had a blast.
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With the help of daddy, Bumblebee was able to pick some gorgeous apples way up at the tops of the trees. Tuna and Shrimp (18 months old) also got in on the apple picking action.
1/2 bushel of apples and a nice wagon ride later, and our apple picking adventure was over.
For prewriting activities this week, I had Bumblebee trace the letter A in our prewriting notebook. I used a highlighter to write the letter A and then had her trace it on her own. We also explored a few different Wipe Clean books for her to practice drawing shapes, lines, and even letters.
I am very excited about starting a preschool journal with her. I just have not gotten around to it yet, but that is another good tool to encourage writing skills with your preschooler.
Letter/ Number/ Shape Recognition
We do a morning board/ circle time activity every day. During this time we talk about our letter, shape, color, and number of the week (we haven’t started numbers yet but it’s coming soon). She sings the ABC’s while I point to the letters, and then we switch. We also review the letters we have already learned and their sounds during this time.
We are totally into water-color paints right now, so we do at least one water-color project a week. This week she used water colors on a simple letter A coloring page that included the letter A and an ant. Check out Easy Peasy and Fun for free printable alphabet coloring pages.
If you haven’t invested in dot markers I highly, highly recommend it. This is another favorite activity as well. The Measure Mom has Dot Pages galore. This week I actually let her use Dot Markers but we have done stickers, pom poms, and a few other different methods.
I also love to use block letters. The Measured Mom has over 150 ways that you can use Block letters. After reading ““Hey Little Ant” by Phillip Hoose, Bumblee created fingerprint ants all over her Block Letter A. While singing the “Ants Go Marching,” of course!
I am by no means a math person, in fact I’ve hated math for pretty much most of my life. Over the past few years my hatred has turned into a profound appreciation, one I want to pass on to my girls. So, I am determined to help them learn the skills they need and to make math fun. I do not want them to suffer as I did.
This week our skill was sorting. I gave Bumblebee a cupcake sheet and some pom poms and let her go to town. She had no problem sorting them and then we counted out each color individually. This specific activity she requested at least a dozen times throughout the week. We also substituted pom poms for buttons, beads, and colored rocks. I think that she has successfully mastered colors so I plan to move on to sizes, shapes, and other characteristics in the future.
Our main fine motor activity this week was beading a pipe cleaner. I twisted the end of the pipe cleaner so that she wouldn’t accidentally push the beads off and gave her a bowl of beads. We also tried to introduce the idea of patterns with this activity as well. That wasn’t our primary focus, but it was a perfect time to try. My engineering brained husband loved making different patterns and trying to get Bumblebee to figure them out. This was another activity that was requested over and over, even at 7:20 on Friday night.
The God’s Littler Explorers curriculum had an amazing themed project that involved the kids using their hands, feet, and fingers to create an apple tree. We did a piece of the tree each day. This was such a fun project that I even got Tuna and Shrimp involved. By the end of the week, all three girls had created gorgeous apple trees using their hands, feet, and fingers! And I mean gorgeous, they may be framed on my walls in the near future.
Even More Activities
We also read “How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World”. This is such a cute book about a little girl who wants to make an apple pie but her local grocery store is closed, so she travels the world gathering ingredients for her pie. Another cute apple pie book is, “The Apple Pie that Papa Baked”. I really enjoyed this book also. It talked about how apples grew on branches that were a part of the tree and so on.
You can probably guess what we did after all that talk about apple pies. Correct! We baked an apple pie. Now I feel the need to tell you that I don’t enjoy any kind of pie unless it has chocolate in it, however I was just as excited as Bumblebee about baking one.
We cut and sliced, we mixed, we read the recipe, and even decorated the top. Our beautiful pie looked and smelled delicious, however…
… it tasted HORRIBLE! The inside was runny and the apples were not soft. Bumblebee and I both tasted it, made faces, and then laughed. In this situation, I could have inserted a dozen mini lessons about life: looks can be deceiving, everything doesn’t turn out like we hoped, etc. Instead we laughed. I know the perfectionist that I am and that she is slowly turning into, so in this moment I just wanted her to see that it’s okay that our apple pie was a total flop and that it was the memories of making it that mattered. So we took a ton of ridiculous selfies with our not-so-good apple pie and laughed.
What I love about God’s Little Explorer’s curriculum is that the primary focus is reading through the bible. So the letter of the week and the theme directly correlate with the story that we read in the bible. This week’s story was about Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden. I love that we are reading through the bible stories but at the same time it’s a struggle. I know that just reading the stories and hearing the stories is important but having her really get anything out of them is difficult. This week she learned, “Don’t eat the apples”. I can’t wait to go more in-depth with this next year and see how much she grows.
Well friends, that about wraps up our letter A activities. I hope that you find ideas that you can use, resources that will enhance your teaching, and if nothing else I hope my failures and struggles will bring you peace and a smile!