Preschool Fairy Tale Princess Unit

Project Based Unit Ideas

When my daughter was about a year into her boycott of pants she discovered a book at the library. It was a version of Rapunzel with stunning illustrations by Sarah Gibb. We read this book together every day for a month, renewed the book and read it every day for two more weeks. She returned it to the library regrudgingly and then checked it out one week later for a whole other month. Clearly, she was in love.

At this point I wasn’t sure, was she in love with the story? The character of Rapunzel? The illustrations (easily swoon worthy)? or Something else entirely.

Not being a huge princess fan, I admit I waited a while before venturing down the road any further with her. At the end of the day, however, I am a big believer in following a child’s interests and my daughter is more of a little of everything kid, rather than a fixate on one idea kid.

But Princesses? Where to go with princesses?

Preschool Princess Project

Our Preschool Princess Project

(This post includes affiliate links)

Field Trip Ideas

  • A Castle – obviously if you live in the US this isn’t going to happen, but if you could this would be the ultimate field trip for a princess project.
  • A Play – look into what your local kids theater or high school is performing. Maybe you’ll luck out and it’ll be a Fairy Tale.

Activity Ideas

Our princess project started with Rapunzel. The Rapunzel version written by Sarah Gibb to be exact. My daughter asked the librarian for help finding books about fairies and given that there were few, she came back with some fairy tales including this book.

My daughter was hooked.

She obsessively read the Rapunzel story and requested we read it to her multiple times a day. I found more versions of Rapunzel and soon she was hooked. We weren’t talking about fairies anymore.

Now we were talking about princesses and fairy tales.

Rapunzel Picture Book Versions

Rapunzel by Sarah Gibb
Find it Online
All of Sarah Gibb’s renditions of fairy tales are lovely, but her Rapunzel is special. Stunning illustrations, which really make all the difference when you are retelling a story for the hundredth time. Hands down, this is her favorite.

Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky
Find it Online
This is another classic version of the Rapunzel story illustrated with stunning oil paintings. Traditional, but stunning.

Rapunzel by Rachel Isadora
Find it Online

I completely adore Rachel Isadora’s books. Her unique takes on fairy tales are inspiring. This followed almost the exact story as the other traditional versions we read, but the gorgeous illustrations of the Rapunzel story  set in Africa transform it into a different tale.

Falling for Rapunzel by Leah Wilcox

Find it Online
What if Rapunzel couldn’t quite understand the prince shouting from way down below? That is the premise of this humorous take on the Rapunzel story. It led to a great discussion about the differences.

Tangled
Find it Online
Our kids both loved the Disney version of Rapunzel. Although it does go way off the traditional path with Flynn and the horse and the whole she’s-actually-a-princess part, our kids love it. The songs are fun. Rapunzel is spunky. This cheap Golden Book version gives a brief version of this story.

Literacy Activities

Art Activities

  • Open ended drawing prompt : All you need for this is a piece of white paper, a sharpie and some markers. I drew the crown on the paper and then left it as pictured for them to find. I often make copies of drawing prompts so they can do it again if they are interested.
  • Paint with glitter.

  • Bathtub art / engineering : Bathtime is a favorite in our house and I love coming up with fun things to do in the tub. My very first was this DIY Foam Counting Train. For this one I simply cut some rectangles and triangles in varying sizes from purple and white foam along with a couple “royalty” (which admittedly turned out a little abstract). These are presented at bathtime and the constructing that had taken place for weeks downstairs was transferred to the bathtub and a flat canvas.

More Arts & Crafts

Fine Motor

Pretend Play

STEM Activities

  • Rapunzel Tower Challenge : We built and measured towers for Rapunzel. This was a fun activity that ended up inspiring a LOT more building. First with the Fairy Tale Blocks we used for this activity and then duplos, Magna-tiles, and more.
  • Estimating & Counting with Gems. I have a collection of glass “gems” that get used for various purposes. For this unit, we used them as a math manipulative for a few different activities. The first and most popular was estimating. I filled a glass jar with gems. They took turns guessing how many we inside. Then we poured with out and counted together. Later, I placed the gems and some different sized containers in a tray on their shelf for further exploration.
  • Cardboard Box Castle : from Here Come the Girls
  • Kid Cardboard Castle Fort : from Learning and Exploring Through Play
  • Princess Counting Cards : from Living Life and Learning
  • Shape Recognition Castle : from My Mundane and Miraculous Life

Science + Sensory
*Castle in the Clouds : Go Science Girls
*Frozen Play Dough : Here Come the Girls
*FREE Princess Printable & Sensory Play : Life Over Cs
*Frozen Sensory Play with Shaving Cream & Ice : Theres Just One Mommy
*Princess Popsicles : Mini Monets and Mommies
*Playdoh Princesses : Here Come the Girls

Social Studies Activities

  • Castle study: We made a book about Castles. I used a blank book (You can find a pack here) and wrote a title on the front. We looked online and found some photos of castles. I also printed some pictures I had taken of castles they had made. They gave me descriptions of their castles to add to the book. We added a few more pictures to the book over the coming weeks of their creations.

Gross Motor

*Princess Yoga : Kids Yoga Stories

Today, she is still interested in princesses although her favorite changes. This project eventually seemed to naturally merge with a more general building project that has taken over our play spaces for the past few months. She has, however, started adding pants into her wardrobe again and, with Winter approaching, for that I am grateful.

30+ Princess Unit Ideas for Preschoolers including Literacy, STEM, Gross Motor, Math and More

Click for More Thematic Units

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Colors Unit for Preschoolers

Colors are all around us and offer so many delicious ideas for exploration, adventure and learning.

Today’s unit is perfect for preschoolers and children a little younger and older with a few simplifications or additions.

Let’s dive in!

Color Unit Ideas for Preschool

Our units often start with a book and a field trip – here are two ideas for field trips to get the wheels spinning about possibilities.

2 Color Field Trip Ideas

A field trip is always a great way to bring a topic to life – to draw connections between what you’re learning at home or in the classroom.

These two field trip ideas are ways to draw attention to the colors all around us.

Car Colors Walk

1. Color car hunt

This is a fun idea to do any time of the year with kids who are excited about or learning about transportation.

Before the Field Trip

Prepare color swatches (paint chips work great!) or color cards for each kid to reference on the walk.

Read a book about colors or talk about different color names and then introduce the idea of hunting for colored cars. Show them the color swatches or color cards they will be using during the field trip.

During the Field Trip

Head outside with our color cards in hand and a plan to look for cars. My toddlers each picked a color to look for first.

From there we alternated between looking for that color and labeling the color of cars we saw. For the most part, we searched for the color Red.

We also talked about shades. Our color cards have different shades for many of the colors which gave us the opportunity to discuss shades of colors.

after the field trip
  • Tie your colors into play back at home in the classroom. Add your color swatches to your block area in a basket next to a collection of toy cars. Don’t force the idea of matching, but have them available and support your kids if they are interested in using them with the toy cars.

Flower Color Hunt

2. Flower colors walk

Spring is the perfect time for a Flower themed color hunt around the neighborhood to further deepen the early interest in flowers.

Before the Field Trip

Introduce the idea before you go.

We read Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert and then went back through the book reviewing the different colors we saw. As we identified each color, I drew a corresponding circle of the color on a piece of paper for each of them.

During the Field Trip

*Papers in hand, we headed out into the neighborhood to see what we could spot.

*Consider taking a photo of each flower you find or inviting your child to take a photo.

after the field trip
  • Print photos of the flowers and arrange an invitation to draw at the table.
  • Talk about planting your own plants or flowers.
  • Sort your flowers by color

Color Unit Field Trips and Activity Ideas for Toddlers and Preschool

Color Activity Ideas

Learning colors is a learning goal for preschoolers. Field trips like the ones described below and activities like the ones below are some fun ways to explore color.

One of our favorites was color week. It was a week of color and fun that got my preschoolers excited about color and led to other explorations afterwards.

Color Week Resources

Rainbow Colors Week Ideas for Preschool

More Color Themed Activities

Literacy Activities

  • Rainbow Journal Start a Rainbow journal and use for the entire Color Week or throughout the year.To make ours I simply stapled together several pieces of paper that were folded in half. On the front, each of my kids wrote “Rainbow Book” following the example I wrote out for them on a piece of paper.Next, they turned to the first page and wrote RED. Then they used a collection of Red art materials to draw on the other page whatever they wanted.The following day we provided Orange materials and so on.
    (Literacy)
  • Read Books about Colors Here are my favorite picture books for each color of the rainbow.

Art Activities

  • Collaborative Rainbow This art project will last you the entire Preschool Color Week or over the course of a few days. Start by drawing a rainbow outline on a large piece of paper. Hang this on a wall in your art area or classroom.Each day present art materials for that day’s color of the day. Monday, we added Red Gummed Art Tape to the first stripe.
    (Creativity + Social Skills)

STEM Activities

  • Play PRESS HERE: The Game. This is such a fun game for exploring the way colors and patterns work together. It is great for building color awareness and reasoning skills, as well as imagination.

More ideas!

Fire Safety Field Trip and Unit for Kindergarten and First Grade

Fire Station Field Trip and Unit

Her eyes are gleaming as she steps up and grabs the fire hose. The fire fighter shows her how to turn it on and a gush of water swooshes out in front of her. She beams.

A field trip to the Fire Station never stops being cool. These are moments that no book, no picture, and not even a video can capture.

The uniforms. The hoses and levers. The bright shiny red trucks.

We have been lucky enough to go on several Fire Station trips in the different state we have lived and every time it is an awesome experience for my kids.

On one particular Fire Station visit my kids initially seemed a little less interested.

Our son climbed in the front and then out the other side. Our daughter started in the back and then hopped out. They both started wandering around the truck. I suggested we get our inevitable coloring books to speed along this process.

Then my son asked me, “What is this for?” He was pointing to one of the many switches on the side. I had no clue and I could see that he was curious, so I told him to ask a firefighter. He was a little unsure about this, but his sister bravely walked up to one of these large men and said “What does that do?”

The firefighter bent down and answered her question.

This led to another question and another. Soon they were following the firefighter around the truck as he demonstrated everything to them. Where the hoses were and how they got hooked up. What was inside the different compartments and what they used each item for.

Their questions were endless and his patience, seemingly, was as well.


They were utterly fascinated and this kind man took the time to share his expertise with these two young children.

We forgot about the heat. We forgot about needing water and wanting AC.

We learned a lot about firetrucks and then when they were done, they grabbed those coloring books and headed for the car full of ideas.

Safety Unit for Kindergarten + First Grade

 

related curriculum or projects
  • Members of our community have different roles.
  • There are community jobs to help keep everyone safe.
Before the Field Trip
  • Talk to the Fire Station to confirm date and what to expect.
  • Read some children’s books about Fire Fighters and Fire Stations. Here are our favorites: 10 Books about Firetrucks
  • Talk to your kindergarteners or first graders about what they know about fire fighters and what questions do they have. Write these down on a chart, but also copy the list of questions onto paper to carry with you to the field trip.
During the Field Trip

You can absolutely just walk up to a station with a kid or two. If the fire fighters aren’t busy they are usually happy to show you their trucks.

However, if you plan ahead and call the fire station to set up a time the experience is definitely more in depth and fun. Fire Fighters are more than happy to have kids come for an educational field trip.

6 Tips for a Successful Fire Station Field Trip

1. Read a Book Beforehand

Read a book or two about fire fighters and fire trucks before you go. Looking at pictures of fire fighters in their gear might be helpful. Some of the children in our group were frightened by all of the gear, especially the face mask. Preparing your child beforehand by introducing them to what a firefighter wears and why might be helpful.

2. Bring a Camera

Bring a camera and take pictures. We spent a lot of time referring to the pictures of our trip in the weeks to follow.

3. Have a Bathroom Plan

If you have a child more recent to toileting, make sure to go to the bathroom beforehand. The bathroom at the firehouse is not usually set up for outside use, plus your kid is not likely going to be thrilled with a toilet break during the field trip excitment.

4. Prepare Your Child

Talk to your child beforehand about some of the things you might see. The fire trucks, the fire fighters. Older kids could also brainstorm questions that they want to ask the firefighters on your trip.

5. Talk about Expectation

I think this is a good idea anytime you go anywhere. Having clear behavior expectations and communicating them to your child improves the odds that you’ll get good behavior. My expectations at the fire station where that they would follow the fire fighters’ directions, use walking feet, and stay near me.

6. Go Again!

Like I said above, we’ve done this several times. We’ve gone with moms groups in each of the cities we have lived, taken advantage of fire trucks at festivals, and visited fire stations without a group. Kids need to be exposed to things more than once. Even though I typically only share each activity or place once, don’t be fooled – we do most things many, many times.

 

after the field trip

Now is the time to extend and deepen learning. First, print out your pictures from the field trip and post them where the children can see them and reflect on what they learned.

During a group time, add to your chart with the answers to your questions and write other things you learned at the station.

Have new questions arisen? How could you go about answering those.

Use this conversation to help direct where you go next. What interested them the most? What are they wondering about?

Below are some Fire Fighter Unit ideas we have used.

 

Literacy Activities

  • Draw and/or write a family or classroom emergency plan.

Compare and Contrast Fiction and Non Fiction

Art Activities

  • Paint Fire and then pretend to put it out with play hoses.

STEM Activities

STEM Emergency Vehicles Unit Invitation

  • Make a Rescue Vehicle STEM Invitation
  • Drawing signs shape activity – based on the goal to build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes. For example, a triangle is a closed shape with 3 sides and 3 corners)
  • Five Little Firefighters (Craft + Song) from JDaniel4’s Mom

Social Studies Activities

  • Things that work on social studies goals of understanding that people in the community have jobs, use tools to provide services, help in emergencies, and are diverse and work together.
  • STOP, DROP AND ROLL (Song) from Rubber Boots and Elf Shoes
  • Set up a dramatic play center using fire fighter costumes (we used these) and the DIY Pretend Play Fire Hoses described below.
  • Add pretend fire trucks to your block area and perhaps some construction paper “fire”

DIY Pretend Play Fire Hoses

Materials

  • Tape (I used craft tape and painters tape)
  • Scissors
  • 1/2 Inch Self Adhesive WeatherstripDirections:
    1. Gather materials
    2. Cut the insulation to the desired length. I made two of these, one for each of my kids. If you are making them for a larger group, I recommend at least 4.
    3. Cut lengths of painters tape and fold each strip in half to make the “water”
    4. Tuck the painters tape into the insulation and use tape to wrap it shut. I used colorful tape of two different colors to distinguish which hose belonged to which child. Masking tape would have worked just as well to hold it together.
    5. Coil and place in a basket on the shelf for play time.

Current Learning Objectives

Examples of what is learned through the activities in this unit based on NYC Common Core Standards for First Grade.

  • People in the community have different jobs. (Social Studies)
  • Community workers use tools and resources to provide services in a community. (Social Studies)
  • People in a community help their neighbors in emergencies. (Social Studies)
  • Community workers are diverse and work with one another. (Social Studies)
  • Build and draw shapes to possess defining attributes. (Math)
  • Compare and contrast fiction and non-fiction. (Literacy)
  • Understand parts of informational texts. (Literacy)
  • Understand features of a sentence and write various forms of texts. (Literacy)

Fire Station Field Trip and Unit Ideas for Kindergarten and First Grade

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Top 10 Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love Animals

I waited (almost) patiently this morning while my daughter carefully arranged her outfit this morning.

Fox shirt.

Animal print leggings.

Owl boots and ear muffs.

Deer sweatshirt.

Polar bear mittens.

Animals from head to toe just in case it wasn’t already clear to me that she is obsessed. She threw on her panda bear backpack and was finally ready to go.

Like a lot of kids, she loves animals and I want to keep that in mind when I’m shopping for her Christmas gifts. If you are shopping for a kid who loves animals, this list is for you. It is a carefully curated list of ideas that your child will love all year long. Everything on the list is something we already have and love or something on the top of her wishlist.

affiliate links are included below.

10 Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love Animals

Top 10 Gift Ideas for Kids Who Love Animals

1. Zoo Membership

I believe firmly in the value of learning through adventure and experience. All the books and video clips and stuffed animals in the world could never compare to the value of seeing animals up close and personal. We have had a zoo membership in all 4 states in which we have lived and I have never once regretted it. If your child loves animals, add this to your list for year round fun.

If you live in NYC: Learn more about the WCS Membership to all 5 zoos + aquarium here

2. Stuffed Animals

I often find my daughter’s stuffed animal collection overwhelming but they are her favorite things. You can find an adorable cuddly version of just about any animal. Make sure you invest in some sort of storage bin as well – we have tall baskets like this one.

3. Vet Set

A cute puppy or cat, a carrier, and simple animal care equipment, this vet set is a win for animal lovers. This was a birthday present this year for both of our twins and they have been their most played with toy for the past 6 months. These simple props helped to expand how our twins played with their animals.

Order the Dog Vet Kit Here

Order the Cat Vet Kit Here

You may also like: active toys for preschoolers

4. Miniature Play Animals

Another way to expand play about animals is to provide some small animals that work well with blocks, magnatiles, and loose parts. Our kids use this type of animal to build zoos, create elaborate play scenarios, and more. They also work well for counting and letter to object match learning games.

Find Zoo Animal Toys Here

Find Other Animal Toys for All Ages Here

5. Picture Books about Animals

When my daughter isn’t playing with pretend animals or pretending to be an animal (we were deer fawns this morning) then she is usually curled up with a book about animals. Animals are a common theme in my picture books. No matter what your child’s favorite animal is you can find a book – if you can’t let me know and I’ll point you in the right direction. Our favorite animal book collections are listed below to help but this National Geographic for Kids series is also a wonderful starting point.

Creaturepedia : Our New Favorite Animal Book This Year

10 Farm Books to Make Your Kids Quack, Cluck and Moo

Best Picture Books about Owls

6. Animal Costumes

Costumes are not just for Halloween…at least not in our house. Post-Halloween is a great time to stock up on some sale Animal costumes but they can also make for a fun gift idea for birthdays or Christmas. You can find a huge range of animal costumes online. Masks are also a fun option if you want something less space filling.

Browse Kids Animal Costumes

Kids Animal Masks for Dress Up

7. How to Draw Animal Guides

If your animal lover enjoys art activities then a How to Draw guide might tickle their fancy. Drawing animals can be a fun way to explore their parts and details, as well as create stories about your favorite animals. There are a ton of options out there for various ability levels, but we love Ed Emberley’s books for young kids.

Browse Ed Emberley’s Drawing Books

You may also like: gift ideas for creative kids

8. Binoculars + Guide Book / Scavenger Hunts

It would hard to describe just how much my kids love their binoculars. We bring them on hikes and to places like the zoo. They would certainly work as a gift on their own, but for fun you could pair them with a guide book or a pack of printed scavenger hunts.

Find Our Favorite Kid Binoculars

Find a Kids Bird Guide

Collection of Scavenger Hunts

9. Animal Themed Board Game

There are so many inventive and games out there for kids now. We have quite the collection. For a kid that loves animals, there are also some animal themed board games that would make fun gifts for the whole family to use together.

Animal Upon Animal Ages 3+

Hoot Owl Cooperative Game Ages 3+

Snorta Ages 4+ (Looks like this might have been upgraded since we got it to the Snorta Deluxe version)

10. Animal Scene Kits

Being avid travellers, we have to have ways to bring our animals on the road with us as well. Below are two of our most beloved travel toys. We have a bunch of the Melissa and doug sticker scenes, but the animal one is a favorite. My kids also love the animal magnets that we pack with a small cookie sheet. Both are fun for creating scenes and telling stories in the car or on an airplane.

Buy Melissa and Doug Sticker Set

Buy Animal Magnets + Small Cookie Sheet

Shopping for someone who isn’t an animal lover? Check out more carefully curated lists in the KBN Holiday Gift Guide.

Z is for Zoo Animals: Learning Activities for All Ages

My kids still sleep with a mound of stuffed animals around them. When I peek in on them before I go to bed I find they both stretched out on their backs dozing peacefully. Tucked under their arms and all around them are monkeys and giraffes and bears and bunnies with well worn ears and noses. An entire zoo right there in their bed.

Animals have been a huge part of their childhood so far. Most little kids seem fascinated by the world of animals.

We read endless imagination filled books about zoo animals and we tromp around the zoo in search of animals.

Since this is an interest that seems to follow children through childhood below are zoo animal ideas for every age baby through early elementary school.

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Zoo Animal Learning Activities by Age

Scroll down for zoo animal activities that are perfect for babies, toddlers, preschoolers and school aged kids!

Zoo Animal Activities for Babies

For Babies: Zoo Animal Peekaboo

 

easy diy zoo peekaboo

How to Make a Zoo Peekaboo Game

Materials:

  • Laundry Basket / Table Top / Empty Wall
  • Animal Picture Pairs (Make your own or order these – note the ones linked are not identical to the ones I used when they were babies. I wish I had saved them but hindsight…the ones linked are instead the ones I made and have used since they were toddlers.)
  • Contact Paper
  • Tape

How to Make:

Select a surface at your child’s height to place the game. I did mine on the bottom of a flipped over laundry basket, but a short table, shelf, or low wall space would work well.

  1. Tape the full animal pictures onto the surface and cover in contact paper.
  2. Laminate the closer animal pictures.
  3. Tape one end of each closer animal picture on top of the matching pair.

That’s it! So easy, right?

Even better, this activity help develop the following skills:

  • Interesting reason to practice standing.
  • Fine motor practice as they work on lifting the flaps
  • Practice with cognitive and language skills as they recognize, name, and even make the noise of the animal they find.

Extension Ideas:

Make another version with something else that interests your child. Some ideas include;

  • Family members
  • Household items
  • Vehicles

4 More Zoo Animal Ideas for Babies

  1. Make a Song Cube like this one with Animal Pictures
  2. Read some awesome Zoo Animal Picture Books
  3. Sensory Zoo Activity: Exploring Animal Textures
  4. How to make a Sock Monkey (Craft for Mama, but what baby wouldn’t love playing with this?)

8+ Zoo Animal Activities perfect for Toddlers

For Toddlers: Zoo Animal Photo Cards

Toddler Zoo Animal Picture Cards for Matching

Toddlers are OBSESSED with learning new words. “What’s that?” or just “That?” was one of the most common phrases in our house at this age. This is the age for books of real images that they can look to and point at all day – and also for photo cards.

More ideas for matching games and other extensions are below but start with just the cards.

Materials:

How to Make:

Use contact paper to cover the photos and make them more durable with all the inevitable drooling, mouthing, bending and general love that toddlers give all things

Toddler Zoo Animal Matching Cards

THEN place these cards in a basket or on a low table for your child to discover. When they do, let them explore. If they look to you or ask what something is, use simple words to talk to them about the cards. “You are looking at a giraffe” or “What do you see?”

This activity help develop the following skills:

  • new vocabulary
  • finger isolation when they point which helps later fine motor skills
  • social skills as they engage you in talking about the pictures

Extension Ideas:

  • Tell a story using your photo cards. Put them in a pile face down and flip over one at a time. “Once upon a time there was a lion and he went for a walk and ran into…flip over another card” It doesn’t really matter what your story is about. Keep it simple and just have fun.
  • Matching game. Use the close up and far away cards to match. Make it hard and play as a memory card game.
  • Match the card to a toy version of the animals. This picture to object matching is an important pre-literacy skill
  • Make a book or photo cards of a trip you take to a farm, the store, anywhere that interests them.

8 More Zoo Animal Ideas for Toddlers

  1. Learn this Hey Elephant Song (with printable visuals)
  2. Sensory Zoo Activity: Exploring Animal Textures
  3. Read some awesome Zoo Animal Picture Books
  4. Dear Zoo Story Spoons
  5. Zoo Animals Small World Play
  6. Easy Zebra Slime
  7. Animal Charades with Printable
  8. Paper Plate Bear Craft

12+ Zoo Animal Activities for Preschoolers

For Preschoolers: Zoo Animal Tracing

Zoo Animal Cards for Tracing with Preschoolers

Drawing and tracing lines is a pre-literacy skill that works on building the fine motor skills needed to write letters and words. Bonus – kids seem to find dry erase markers fascinating and fun.

Materials:

How to Make:

Simply cover the zoo animal photos with contact paper.

Put the cards with the dry erase markers and wash cloth on a low table.

When your child is interested, invite them to use the dry erase marker to trace the animal.

Note: depending on the age of your preschooler “tracing” may look less like tracing and more like coloring on the animal. Go with it. 

Demonstrate tracing the edges of an animal of your own and then show them how to erase the marker with their wash cloth.

This activity help develop the following skills:

  • Fine Motor grip
  • Hand-eye coordination

Extension Ideas:

  • Add more details to the animal picture. Can they draw some food for the animal? What does the animal play with?
  • Play hide and seek with the animal cards. Hide the full photos around the room and give your preschoolers the zoomed in photos as clues / visual reminders of what to look for.

12 More Zoo Animal Ideas for Preschoolers

  1. Host a Safari Themed Playdate
  2. Animal Fashion Show
  3. Bears Picture Books + Big and Small Animals Sort
  4. Learn about Polar Bears with this awesome booklist
  5. Zoo Animals Theme with Sensory Play and Printables
  6. Zoo Animal Counting Mats
  7. Zoo Animal Books for Children and even more Zoo Animal Picture Books
  8. Zoo Centers and Activities
  9. Edible Zoo Animals Sensory Bin
  10. Zoo Themed Counting Clip Cards 1-10
  11. Dear Zoo Story Stones

Note: Many of the toddler and school age activities above and below may also work well for your child!

8+ Zoo Animal Learning Activities for Kindergarten and First Grade School Agers

For K & First Grade: Writing with Zoo Animal Cards

Zoo Animals Photo Cards Writing Prompt

I love finding ways to make writing more meaningful for my kids and we did this as part of their animal study.

They each had an animal that they love and wanted to learn more about. We took cameras to the Zoo. They took pictures and I took pictures of their favorite animals. We also talked about some of the things we observed their favorite animals doing.

Back at home I set this up as a writing invitation using our photo cards and also included a photo they had taken at the zoo of their favorite animal.

Materials:

  • Zoo Animal Printable Photo Cards (use your photos or get these)
  • Contact Paper
  • Paper
  • Pencils and coloring tools

How to Make:

Laminate the cards and place on the table with the other materials.

THEN after your child has had some time to look at the cards and talk about them, as them to write about one or more of the animals.

Depending on your goals this activity will vary.

Kindergarteners might just draw a picture of the animal and work on using their best handwriting to label it with the animal’s name.

For slightly older elementary schoolers: If you are working on non-fiction, have them write a fact about the animal. If you’re working on just writing, have them write a story about the animal.

For my first graders doing an animal study, I asked them to write something they had learned and a question they still had. We used this question to go forward with their study.

This activity help develop the following skills:

  • Communicating using words and pictures.
  • Understanding the difference between fiction and non-fiction.
  • Adding details, capitalization and punctuation to their writing.

Extension Ideas:

  • Work on story telling. Give each child a card – or you take half and your child takes half – and go around the circle adding to a story using your photo as a prompt.
  • Draw or build a habitat for your chosen animal. Where do they live? What do they eat? What do they need to survive?

8 More Zoo Animal Activities for School Aged Kids

  1. Join Suzi’s FREE Wild Animal Passport Club for Kids
  2. Make Chocolate Strawberry Zebras for Snack
  3. Elephant Craft with Newspaper
  4. Going to the Zoo Interactive Book for Emergent Readers
  5. Jungle Animals Playset from Toilet Paper Rolls
  6. Complete the Animals Kids Craft Activity
  7. A-Z Animal Hunt
  8. Zoo Scavenger Hunt

Note: Many of the preschool activities above may also work for your child!

Zoo Animal Printable Photo Cards

Get Zoo Animals Photo Cards

Z is for…

Looking for more ideas? Here are some more Z ideas from the A-Z Play at Home series.

31 Days of ABC 2017 | Alldonemonkey.com

We’re nearing the end of a fantastic month of alphabet fun with the 31 Days of ABC! All this month activities, crafts, books, apps, and more, all dedicated to teaching young children the alphabet have been shared.

Find more great resources in our series from past years: 31 Days of ABCs 2013, 2014, and 2016!

Don’t forget to follow our 31 Days of ABCs Pinterest board for even more great ABC ideas!

 

31 Days of ABC

Teaching the ABCs – October 1

All Done Monkey: Early Literacy – Getting Started Teaching the Alphabet

A – October 2

Creative World of Varya: A Is for Aromatherapy for Kids

B – October 3

Hispanic Mama: B Is For Bilingual Baby Books

C – October 4

Witty Hoots: C Is for Cool Fingerprint Castle Keyrings Tutorial

D – October 5

Teach Me Mommy: D Is for Dinosaurs DIY Sensory Bin

E – October 6

E Is for Environmental Print to Develop Literacy

F – October 7

Look! We’re Learning! F Is for Printable Farm Paper Bag Puppets

G – October 8

All Done Monkey: G Is for Go

H – October 9

All Done Monkey: H Is for Hello/Hola

I – October 10

Jeddah Mom: I Is for Ice Cream Craft and Sorting Activity

J – October 11

All Done Monkey: J is for Jirafa (Giraffe) – Spanish Coloring Page

K – October 12

Pennies of Time: K Is for Kindness

L – October 13

Schooling Active Monkeys: L Is for Lion Craft

M – October 14

Sugar, Spice & Glitter: M Is for Madeline Craft

N – October 15

All Done Monkey: N Is for Nature Crafts

O – October 16

Kitchen Counter Chronicles: O Is for Owl Bookmark Printable

P – October 17

Creative World of Varya: P Is for Phonological Awareness in Toddlers

Q – October 18

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: Q Is for Quito’s Middle of the World Monument Kids Craft

R – October 19

JDaniel4’sMom: R Is for Decorating Robots in Sensory Bags

S – October 20

Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes: S Is for Spanish Resources for Kids

T – October 21

Sand In My Toes: T Is for DIY Truck Puzzle

U – October 22

The Educators’ Spin On it: U Is for Unicorn

V – October 23

CrArty: V Is for Van Gogh

W – October 24

My Story Time Corner: W Is for Wheels on the Bus

X – October 25

The Mommies Reviews: X

Y – October 26

Teach Me Mommy: Y Is for Yarn Letters

Z – October 27

Bambini Travel: Z Is for Zoo Animals

123’s – October 28

Creative World of Varya: Montessori Inspired Printable

Prewriting – October 29

Witty Hoots

Books, Songs, & Apps – October 30

Witty Hoots: Top 5 List

Printables – October 31

Royal Baloo and Logi-Bear Too

35+ Zoo Animal Unit Learning Activity Ideas for All Ages including Babies, Toddlers, Preschoolers and Early Elementary School Kindergarten and First Graders

Thanksgiving Field Trip + Unit for Preschool and Kindergarten

Leaves

Before I had kids, Thanksgiving was my absolute favorite holiday. I loved getting up to watch the Macy’s parade. I loved the long dinners with family that ended with pie. I loved watching football games. I loved getting to catch up with family that lives far away. I love that it is a holiday without a gimmick. There is no Santa, no Easter Bunny. It is just family getting together and being thankful.

Then I had children.

I love my children and they are pretty great kids, but they had different ideas about Thanksgiving. They thought the Macy’s parade was too long. They thought dinner was much to long and they had no desire (or ability) to catch up with family. They thought football games were too long and interrupted feeding time.

Despite their early opinions, I persisted because Thanksgiving is truly a wonderful holiday. Over the past four years I have gotten better at figuring out how to integrate our twins into our favorite Thanksgiving family traditions.

 

Thankful Walk Thanksgiving Field Trip

Thankful Walk + Thanksgiving Unit

One of the issues with Thanksgiving for kids is that it is hard for them to understand.

It is hard for them to understand why there’s no gimmick like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny.

It is hard for young kids to grasp the idea of pilgrims living off the land.

It is harder still to articulate what it means to be Thankful.

This field trip ideas is intended to help kids grasp the later just a little bit better.

 Thanksgiving Field Trip: Thankful Walk

Field trips bring a topic to life. They make an abstract concept meaningful, real and alive for young kids. On a field trip kids will be able to touch things, ask questions of experts, and more.

This field trip is a simple walk that focuses on the world around us and the little things that make it better.

Thankful Walk Thanksgiving Unit

Before the Field Trip:

Thankful Walk:

Explain to your kids that you are going for a thankful walk. Tell them you are going to head outside (or around the school) and look for things that they are thankful for like the ones they have just listed together.

Thanksgiving Unit Thankful Walk

For toddlers + preschoolers: Tell them when they find something they are thankful for gently touch it and say “Thank you” to it.

For early elementary schoolers: Tell them when they find something they are thankful for to write it on their clipboard or draw a picture. We used the printable below.

Thankful Walk Thanksgiving Unit

When you head outside you may need to start them out by finding something yourself. For example, you could walk up to a tree and say “Thank you tree for giving us shade” or “Thank you bench for being a nice place to sit.”

Thanksgiving Unit Thankful Walk

After the Field Trip:

  • Have everyone share something they said thank you to with a partner.
  • Hang up or make a book with everyone’s lists or your group list with photos from your walk.

Download Thankful Printable

I am Thankful For Printable

More Field Trip Ideas

Thankful Walk with FREE Printable

Thanksgiving Unit Activity Ideas

Below are fun learning ideas to use before and after your field trip. They are divided into developmental or curriculum areas.

Literacy Activities

  • 5 Best Children’s Book about Being Thankful
  • Read THANK YOU BEES by Toni Yuly and then write a simple poem using it as a model.
  • Thanksgiving Story Time
  • Name Cards – My kids love helping to make name cards and it’s a sneaky way to build in some letter-sound practice. I took cardstock, some crayons, and letter stickers and set them up on the table. First we colored the cardstock. Then I folded it in half and our twins helped figure out which letter we needed for each person. For example, Daddy got a D on his namecard. Older kids can work on handwriting and name recognition by writing the names on the name cards.

Art Activities

STEM Activities

  • Include your kids in some of cooking for Thanksgiving.
  • Investigate the insides of some traditional Thanksgiving foods – pumpkins, gourds, potatoes, etc.
  • Napkin Rings Patterning: I loved that these napkin rings were a sneaky way to get my daughter to do some fine motor practice. It is not her favorite skill to work on and yet she had fun making these because they were for Thanksgiving and her grandparents.

    Gather:

  • Pipe cleaners
  • Wooden beadsActivity: 

    I explained what we were doing, including encouragement to make a pattern with the beads, and offered them each a bowl with beads and some pipe cleaners. Then they started stringing. We made one for each person we knew was coming and I helped twist them to tie them off at the end.

Thanksgiving Unit Ideas and Thankful Walk with Free Printable

Don’t Forget: Download Thankful Printable

Current Learning Objectives

  • Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English when writing
  • Expand vocabulary
  • Learn about significant historical events and family customs
  • Develop important fine motor skills for future writing skills.

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Dinosaur Unit for Kindergarten and First Grade

When you walk in a dinosaur skeleton stretches in front of you up to the top of the vaulted ceiling. The American Museum of Natural History is a special place and one of my favorite in New York City.

It is not lost on me that we are fortunate to have this window of time to explore New York City up close and personal. The benefits this has on our Dinosaur Unit are an added perk.

Natural History Museum New York City with Kids

Wherever you live, your local Natural History Museum or Science Museum is an ideal place to start if you are doing a unit on Dinosaurs. Many of them have an exhibit about Dinosaurs, paleontology, or something related.

If you can take a field trip to the American Museum of Natural History, here are my top tips for this museum but many apply to a dinosaur exhibit anywhere.

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7 Tips for Visiting the American Museum of Natural History

  1. Scope out the museum’s website beforehand to get an idea of the exhibit. It is a huge place and it’s unlikely you will cover it all in one day with little kids.
  2. Also check out their online educational resources about dinosaurs.
  3. If you are learning about dinosaurs (like we obviously are right now!) then I would recommend starting on that floor of the museum.
  4. Bring clipboards with paper and pencils or cameras to help your child document what they see and to encourage them to slow down. We use our adventure journals for this.
  5. Pack a lunch or snack to eat in the cafe when you need a break.
  6. Read books about dinosaurs before you go. This new ladybug girl adventure follows her trip to this very museum with her grandpa.
  7. If you need to run off steam before or afterwards, Central Park is right across the street. Here is everything you need to know about their playgrounds.

Field Trips like this bring a topic to life. They make an abstract concept meaningful, real and alive for young kids. On a field trip kids will be able to touch things, ask questions of experts, and more.

This dinosaur exhibit helps kids appreciate the vast size of the dinosaurs. It also has several interactive computer stations where you can learn more.

More Field Trip Ideas

Dinosaur Unit Activity Ideas

Below are fun learning ideas to use before and after your field trip. They are divided into developmental or curriculum areas.

Literacy Activities

Art Activities

STEM Activities

  • Dinosaur Addition and Subtraction Game (details below)

Materials: Dinosaurs. Number Rocks (make your own with at least 10 rocks and a sharpie). Cloth Bag.

Set up: Place the number rocks inside the bag and spread out some dinosaurs on a table top or the floor.

To Play: 

1. The first person reaches into the bag and picks a rock. They read the number and then choose that many dinosaurs. Do this around the circle until everyone has dinosaurs.

2. Next, reach into the bag and choose another rock. Read the number and ADD that many dinosaurs from your pile. Count your dinosaurs to determine your new total. Repeat this around the circle.

3. Finally, reach into the bag and choose a last rock. Read the number and SUBTRACT that many dinosaurs from your pile. Count your dinosaurs to determine your total. Repeat around the circle.

Optional: You can write out the math problems as you go or show them with number rocks or manipulatives. If you are feeling competative, the person with the highest number at the end could win. Put everything back to reset and then you can play again.

Gross Motor Activities

SCROLL TO THE BOTTOM for More Awesome Unit Ideas Below!

Current Learning Objectives

  • Retell key details in a story.
  • Ask questions to clear up any confusion about topics or texts.
  • Relate counting to addition and subtraction.
  • Add and subtract within 20 using a variety of strategies.

Dinosaur Field Trip Tips and Unit Ideas for Preschool and Early Elementary School

 

Find All of our Thematic Units HERE

How to Celebrate a Yellow Themed Day with Preschoolers

The color yellow is one of the happiest – in my opinion. Is the color of light and sunshine. My kids would want me to tell you that it is also the color of bananas.

We celebrated Yellow Day with books, smoothies, and lots of yellow. Below are our books, snacks, and activities for a Preschool day full of yellow.

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Celebrate Preschool Yellow Day!

 

3 Picture Books to Read About Yellow

Yellow Ball by Molly Bang
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A little yellow ball gets left at the seashore and goes on an incredible adventure. We loved the illustrations in this one.

Yellow Square by David A. Carter
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This is an incredicble pop-up book. It is a beautiful feat of paper design that will amaze you.

The Little Yellow Chicken by Joy Cowley
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A twist on the tale of the little red hen. In this tale, the yellow chick is throwing a party but none of his friends are inclined to help.

7 Yellow Themed Activities & Snack Ideas

1. Wear Yellow

Part of the fun of a color week is finding an item of clothing or two to wear for the day. We decked out in Yellow and then snapped some selfies before we headed out for the morning. (Cognitive)

2. Lemonade Sensory Bin

Gather: A sensory bin, a towel, water, ice cubes, lemons, small bowls, wooden spoons.

Set Up: Slice the lemons into slices (not wedges) and let them float in the water.

Activity: This is a sensory bin that engages all of the senses, at least in our case. There was an abundance of ice cube and lemon eating. If you aren’t okay with this, make sure you are clear with your expectations. My preschoolers also poured and scooped, put things and out of the bowls, stirred, and generally enjoyed pretending to cook.

3. Yellow Art Invitation

Create a basket of Yellow art materials. Place this on your art table with some blank paper as an invitation to create. (Fine Motor + Creativity)

My basket included;

  • yellow markers
  • yellow colored pencils
  • yellow crayons
  • yellow stampers
  • yellow gummed art tape
  • yellow tissue paper.

4. Yellow Smoothie

Cooking with kids is a great opportunity to develop self help skills. In this case it was also a science lesson in color mixing. We discovered that orange + white = yellow. (Self Help + Fine Motor)

Ingredients:
1 Frozen Banana
1/2 Cup Frozen Mango
2 Oranges – Juiced
1 Cup Soy Milk
2 TBSP Peanut Butter

(Makes one serving)

Directions:
Put the banana, mango, orange juice, soy milk and peanut butter in the blender. Blend until creamy. We have this FANTASTIC blender that makes creating smoothies super simple. The ingredients are poured in, blended with a push of a button, and then poured in a cup. We make an assembly line of sorts and quickly create a simple breakfast. If you are using a large blender, simple add the above ingredients x the number of people. If the smoothie is too thick, simply add more orange juice and soy milk in equal parts.

5. Yellow Shake Snack 

This is another fun snack idea and super quick as well, but involves a bit more fine motor development.

Materials:

Yellow Fruits (we used pineapples and bananas, but there are a variety of options)
Mixing Bowl
Cutting Board
Sharp Knife (for adult use)
Butter Knife or Child Sized Knife (for child to use)
Mixing Spoon
Bowls or Plates to serve the snack

Set Up:
Back at home, prepare your area and wash you hands. For us this meant our kids ran to the bathroom to wash their hands, I quickly washed mine in the kitchen, and then laid out a cutting board and knives.

Activity:
After cutting a slit across the bananas near the tip, our children worked on peeling the bananas and putting the peels in the trash.

Meanwhile, I sliced the banana. At the time, I used a knife, although since then my husband got this nifty pineapple cutter at we highly recommend it.

Then they moved the pineapple from the cutting board to the bowl while I discarded the peel.

Then together we sliced the bananas. This is optional and depends on your comfort level, but with help (and close supervision), our toddlers were able to slice the bananas. Then these got added to the bowl and they took turns mixing.

Scoop the snack into bowls and go enjoy.

6. Yellow Duplo Challenge

Another activity for yellow day, and probably the favorite, was the Yellow Duplo Challenge. It sounds exciting and possibly complicated, but all I did was put our Yellow Duplos in a basket on the shelf and challenged them to see what they could build with just Yellow.

 

Color Week Projects

Rainbow Journal : Yellow Page

Continue the Rainbow journal today that you are using for the entire Preschool Color Week. You can find directions for starting one on our Red Day page. For yellow day, turn to the next blank page and have your preschooler copy the word YELLOW. Then have them use the basic of Yellow art materials to draw whatever they want on the facing page. (Literacy)

Collaborative Rainbow

This is the other project that will last you the entire Preschool Color Week. Today add to the Rainbow in the yellow space. Gummed Art Tape is hugely popular in our house right now so we added some Yellow today. (Creativity + Social Skills)

How to Celebrate Preschool Yellow Day with Book recommendations, snack ideas and activities. All yellow themed!

Want More Simple Play at Home Ideas?

Complete A-Z Ideas for Play at Home

 

 

Maps Unit for Preschoolers

There is something SO MUCH FUN about maps. Even in the age of GoogleMaps and smart phones I think it is so important for kids to learn how to use a map.

Maps are everywhere and learning how to use them is a life skill we still use far more than I think many of us realize.

When we opened our Little Passports kit for the first time it was the large, colorful map that our kids were most excited about. Our twins quickly unfolded it on the floor, their eyes wide, as they asked me to help them find where we live and where their grandparents live. That map still hangs, well loved, in the middle of their bedroom wall 3 years later.

Below are our favorite ideas for learning with and about maps.

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8 Playful Ways to Teach Kids About Maps

GO places + learn about Maps

1. Learning about Maps on the Go

Maps are a natural learning experience to integrate into learning on the go.

Adults frequently use maps to find things, navigate to and through spaces, and more. Our son in particular has noticed this and loves to take advantage of maps at places like the zoo or nature trails to help navigate our way.

Some tips for using maps with kids:

  • Point them out when they are displayed. Often they are placed at adult eye level and children might miss them.
  • Grab an extra map for your child to hold and use when a paper one is available.
  • Crouch down and help them read the map. Ask them where they want to go and then help them find the route with their finger.
  • Continue as you navigate through the space if they are interested.
  • Use direction words when you are driving or walking to increase familiarity with the vocab. “We are turning left” or “We need to go North to get to the library,” etc.

“I noticed about maps you have to look carefully to know where you are 
+ where you have to go.” – J. Age 3.

2. More Learning about Maps Through Adventure Ideas

Disneyland Maps Display from Crafty Mom in ME

Sketch an Outdoor Map with Kids from Frog Mom

How Maps Change Case Study from Boston Kid Friendly

READ books about Maps

3. Our Favorite Books about Maps

 

1. Follow the Line Around the World by Laura Ljungkvist

I love all of the Follow the Line books. This is a great introduction to a study about the world. Travel around the world and get little tidbits about places from Greenland to Mexico to New York. 3+

2. Follow That Map! A First Book of Mapping Skills by Scot Ritchie
This is my favorite kind of book – the ones that inspire adventure. This nonfiction book is full of information about maps, interactive, and inspires mapping activities – what more could you want? 3+

3. Henry’s Map by David Elliot
This is a story about a very tidy little pig. He comes up with a plan to make the farm yard more orderly, it involves a map. 2+

4. National Geographic Our World by National Geographic Society
After borrowing this from the library for a couple of weeks it is now on our wishlist. This atlas is such a great resource for young children. 3+

5. Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
This book follows a girl from her room to her house to her neighborhood as maps show the world getting bigger and bigger. A wonderful introduction to maps and our place in the larger world. 3+

6. Mapping Penny’s World by Loreen Leedy
This book does a great job of exploring maps on different scales from a map of a bedroom to a map of the world. 3+

 

More Children’s Books About Maps

Map Books for Young Explorers from Brain Power Boy

Map Books for Children from The Jenny Evolution

PLAY and Learn with Map Activities

Obviously reading maps is one of the major skills children are working on acquiring when working with maps. Here are some simple ways we have been working on this skill.

4. Maps and Train Play

As I described above, with a little prompt our twins drew a map during the planning stage of a new track layout. They drew the track and then pointed out to me where they wanted to various spots such as stations and docks. Then we propped up the map on a ledge and referred to it while we built the track.

Sign Up for a Little Passports Early Explorers 12 month subscription.

5. Maps to Find Snack

This has been a favorite activity the past two weeks. I hide their snack somewhere in the house and then draw them each a map. When they come down after Quiet Time they use their map to navigate the house and find their snack. They love this activity and the repetition is offering plenty of experience reading maps.

This X Marks the Spot Treasure Map from Teach Me Mommy is similar!

6. Drawing Maps

With our twins this was a self initiated activity. One of the benefits of having art and drawing materials available to your child daily and having extending time for free play is that they are able to create how and when they want.

The above picture was taking during one of our afternoons. Our kids were playing with pretend animals and he decided to draw a map of their zoo.

Another example is the train map pictured below. I asked if they wanted to make a map of their train tracks before they created a new layout. Simple prompts and suggestions like that can encourage map drawing which is a wonderful pre-literacy activity.

7. Printables Pack

If you are looking for more preschool maps unit activities, a pack of printables that I used with my twins is available on Teachers Pay Teachers. It has a literacy activity, measurement activity, original song about maps, and more. For details or to purchase, click here.

8. Even More Play Ideas



Since we started learning more about maps we have been finding them more and more in our environment as we explore. The photo above is from the Mississippi Children’s Museum. My daughter loved reading the map of Mississippi, finding us, and placing all of the people around the state.

8+ Playful Map Activities for Kids

Download the Maps Printable Pack Here

Want More Simple Play at Home Ideas?

Complete A-Z Ideas for Play at Home

 

Fall Unit for Kindergarten and First Grade

Signs of Fall Unit Field Trip

“What do you think we will see on our Fall Hunt?” So begins our conversation before our walk.

My preschoolers quickly shout out ideas. Leaves! Pumpkins! Trees! Squirrels! A ghost! Ummm…okay? I write them all down on our clipboard.

The kids are used to these conversations and sharing their ideas. I love how they vary from completely on topic to just a glimpse into what they are thinking about. There are no right or wrong answers – just ideas.

These ideas are part of my process for getting everyone ready, excited and focused before our field trip. Once we have our list of fall hunt ideas and collection bags in hand we are off!

affiliate links are included below. thanks for your support!

Fall Unit Field Trip: Signs of Fall Hunt

Field Trips bring a topic to life. They make an abstract concept meaningful, real and alive for young kids. On a field trip kids will be able to touch things, ask questions of experts, and more.

In the case of our Signs of Fall Hunt, we are exploring first hand the changes in our environment. For this walk I head outside hoping to touch on;

  • Changes to our neighborhood trees in Fall.
  • Fall colors
  • Animals preparing for Winter
  • Sensory experience of hearing, touching, and smelling Fall.

We have this beautiful book, The Nature Connection, that has a section for each month. I used it for three years as part of our homeschool preschool. It is a book that grows with your children and can help you investigate things more deeply.

Before the Walk

Preparation is key for any field trip or adventure with kids. This isn’t time consuming or stressful, but it is important.

Some things to consider include;

  • Always dress yourself and your child(ren) in weather appropriate clothing for a walk.
  • Don’t forget sunscreen
  • Pay attention to how far you are going and turn around long before anyone gets tired. Every child is different, but for a guideline our two year olds can easily walk a half mile – so about a quarter of a mile in I typically turn us around. A mile is possible, but they are quite tired by the end.

Some things to pack;

  • Notebook or clipboard (for you and/or the kids)
  • Writing and Drawing Implements
  • Bags for Collecting things
  • Camera

Get your kids excited!

  • Read a book about Fall.
  • Tell them you are going to hunt for signs of Fall
  • Ask what they think you will see
  • Write these down on your clipboard or notebook.

On the Fall Walking Trip

Together we walked a few blocks looking carefully for signs of Fall. We found flowers, collected leaves and noticed their colors and sizes. We looked up at trees and talked about the wind blowing the leaves. We also noticed tiny acorns on the ground.

Signs of Fall Hunt Field Trip

On the trip Kids can:

  • Collect Items in their bags
  • Ask questions
  • Share their observations
  • Take pictures or making drawings

On the trip Grown Ups can:

  • write down their comments and questions
  • take photos of them exploring
  • answer some of their questions in the moment
  • ask questions to help them focus or extend their thinking. Questions like what do you see? What does that feel like? Would you like to take a picture of that to help you remember?
  • Use the nature quest check list from The Nature Connection to use your senses.

Afterwards

When we got back, we spread our leaves and acorns out on the table. We talked about what we found and noticed the differences.

Try prompts such as:

  • “Tell me about what you found”
  • “This leaf looks green and brown to me, what colors are you seeing?”

Then do take their ideas and their questions and pick some of the fun Fall Unit Activities below to extend their learning!

Fall Unit Activity Ideas

Below are fun learning ideas to use before and after your field trip. They are divided into developmental or curriculum areas.

Literacy Activities

Art Activities

  • Leaf Man Loose Parts Invitation
  • Draw what you found most interesting on our walk with combination of crayons and drawing pencils.
  • Create fall leaves on simple tree invitation and oil pastels.

STEM Activities

Gross Motor Activities

  • Move like a falling leaf during transitions to sit for story or group time.

Current Learning Objectives (based on First Grade Common Core)

  • Explain connections between what we read and experiences.
  • Participate in collaborative conversations
  • Add and Subtract within 20
  • Solve word problems
  • Observe and describe weather conditions that occur during each season
  • Expressive use of crayons, oil pastels, and drawing pencils

Signs of Fall Unit Field Trip Tips and Activity Ideas

Find more fantastic ideas below!