Learning Activities for Kindergartners, Part I
Kindergartners are growing quickly both cognitively and physically. They are constantly working on mastering developmental skills and learn from everything they do. Kindergarten teachers face the challenge of coming up with educational activities to actively engage children as well as support their rapid development.
Here to help is The Giant Encyclopedia of Kindergarten Activities: Over 600 Activities Created by Teachers for Teachers (Consortium, 2004) by Kathy Charner! The result of a nationwide competition, this comprehensive resource is packed with over 600 activities and ideas that teachers around the country have used successfully. The editors carefully selected the finest entries, and as a result this large volume is filled with only the best of the best!
Each of the activities has:
- Materials needed: Each activity includes a list of readily available materials.
- What to do: Directions are presented in an easy-to-follow numbered list.
- Related books: Titles and authors of popular children's books that relate to the topic of the activity and can enhance the teaching value are included.
- Related songs and poems: Familiar and original songs and poems bring language and literacy into the experience.
Here are some great activities from the book!
Homemade Sidewalk ChalkJean Potter, Charleston, W.V.
Materials: Plaster of Paris, water, tempera paint, empty toilet tissue tubes, duct tape
What to do:
1. Mix the Plaster of Paris with water until it is runny.
2. Add tempera paint until it is the desired color.
3. Tape the bottom of the cardboard tube.
4. Pour the Plaster of Paris in the toilet tissue tube and let it dry.
5. Remove the toilet tissue tube and use the sidewalk chalk.
Tip: Find small boxes such as gift boxes and make different shapes of sidewalk chalk.
Incredible Shrinking ArtSandra Gratias, Perkasie, Pa.
Materials: clear plastic #6 deli and bakery containers, scissors, fine-tip permanent markers in assorted colors, hole punch, cookie sheet, oven, spatula, small towel, thin cord, thread or wire
What to do:
1. Cut off the flat bottoms and tops of clear plastic deli and bakery containers. Encourage the children to draw and write on the plastic with markers.
2. With a hole punch, make a hole at the top of each piece.
3. Bake them on a cookie sheet at 350 degrees F for two to three minutes. The plastic will shrink, and the artwork will be miniaturized.
4. Remove from oven (adult only). If necessary, flatten them with a spatula while still warm. Place them on a small towel to cool.
5. Use the pieces for necklace pendants, key chains or sun catchers by attaching thin cord, thread or wire through the hole.
6. If desired, demonstrate how to thread a piece on a cord and string beads on both sides of the piece to make necklaces.
Science and Nature: Talk about how heat changes things. Leave a crayon in the sun to melt. Discuss what happens to a burning candle.
Ball Bounce ArtSusan M. Myhre, Bremerton, Wash.
Materials: large box, large paper, 2 bouncing balls, plates, paint
What to do:
1. Put a large piece of paper into the bottom of the box.
2. Have the child dip a ball into the paint. Encourage the child to drop the ball into the box. It bounces and leaves a print each time. Take the ball out and repeat the process.
3. Give each child a turn using another sheet of paper. This makes a really great poster for children to take home.
Riddle Rhymes (Language)Dotti Enderle, Richmond, Texas
Materials: 20 sheets of construction paper, black marker
What to do:
1. Write each of these words on a sheet of construction paper: fat, cat, funny, bunny, bug, jug, bony, pony, snake, cake, cool, tool, wee, bee, mad, dad, mouse, house, toad, road.
2. Spread the papers on the floor, mixing and separating the rhyming words. Ask the following riddles and have the children match the rhyming words:
An overweight kitty (fat cat)
A silly rabbit (funny bunny)
A jar of insects (bug jug)
A skinny horse (bony pony)
A python dessert (snake cake)
A cold hammer (cool tool)
A tiny bug (wee bee)
An angry father (mad dad)
A rodent's home (mouse house)
A frog's street (toad road)
3. Think up more simple nouns and ask the children to come up with their own rhymes.
Mitten Matching (Math)Sandy L. Scott, Vancouver, Wash.
Materials: stencil of a mitten, wallpaper books, marker, scissors, clothespin, rope
What to do:
1. Cut out several pairs of matching mittens from wallpaper books.
2. For each pair, add a number to the back of one mitten and the appropriate number of dots to its match.
3. Lay all the mittens on the floor. Encourage the children to match them according to their pattern or by looking at the numbers.
4. Hang the matching pairs from the rope using the clothespins.