A Bucket of Beans for Your Preschoolers? A Rainy Day Activity !

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A Bucket of Beans for Your Preschoolers?


YES! Here is a fun and inexpensive activity for your preschoolers to do on a rainy day or inclement weather day.  Get a few bags of dried beans at your local market and pour them into a large but shallow container.  Beans are cheap enough and very easy to clean up if you buy the larger-sized ones. They are re-usable as well (for play of course – not to eat or cook!). Split peas will obviously be more difficult to clean up as they are very small. 

 Place some items in the container with the dry beans so that the children can pour and scoop the beans with – such as measuring cups and spoons and small plastic cups or bowls, etc.   Children will love this activity!  I purchased a small plastic swimming pool that was about 5 or 6 feet wide and poured about 10 bags of beans into it.  You can use any size container though.  The kids poured the beans into the various containers and even onto each other.  It was not odd to find a bean or two inside a toddler’s diaper!!!   

 You can add various toys, dump trucks, toy dinosaurs or plastic dishes, etc.  The kids like to play hide and seek with their toys in the beans.  You can create some simple math games such as counting up to 100 beans or 10 beans.  You can have the kids guess how many cups full of beans it will take to fill up a bowl or a pot, etc.  You can have an art activity where the children can glue beans onto a project.  For a science activity you can have each child plant some beans in a cup just to see what grows.  Lima beans work well for that activity.  There are lots of things you can do with beans and preschoolers – just use your imagination.

Cleanup tip: place a flat sheet or plastic table cover under your container or plastic pool to catch most of the spilled beans.  It definitely makes cleanup easier.  Also, after the bean play is over make sure you store the beans in an airtight container or plastic bag as they will grow into plants or begin to smell if they get exposed to too much moisture.  Have fun with BEANS !

(PS – You could also try this with rice but it is much harder to clean up!)


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Cool Activities and Fun Things for Kids to Do Indoors on a Rainy Day?

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Cool Activities and Fun Things for Kids to Do Indoors on a Rainy Day?

Need some ideas on fun activities that my kids can do when it’s raining outdoors? I hate for them to be stuck in front of the television & playstation all day.

Make Some Water Colors and
Paint a Picture

Mix the vinegar and soda together in a little bowl; add the corn starch and glycerin when the soda stops foaming. Stir in the water a little at a time, until your paint seems about the right thickness. This makes about 1/4 cup of stuff. Divide it into three or four little jars (baby food jars are perfect) and add about a drop of food color to each one. We usually make red, yellow, blue and green. Now find some paper, a brush and have fun!

Here’s what you’ll need for each color
1 tablespoon of vinegar
(either white or cider is OK)
2 tablespoons of baking soda
1 tablespoon of corn starch
1/2 teaspoon Glycerin
1 teaspoon of water
2 drops of food coloring

Blow Some Bubbles
Make Your Own
Here’s what you’ll need:
1/2 liquid dishwashing detergent
1 cup water
2 drops food coloring
Mix all the stuff together in a jar with a tight cover. Make a bubble wand using some wire, or use a purchased bubble pipe or wand. Store your bubbles at room temperature when you’re not using them.


Make Some Play Clay
Create Critters

Here’s what you’ll need:
A grown up person to HELP you.
1/2 cup table salt
(not kosher or sea salt)
1/2 cup hot water
1/2 cup cold water
1/2 cup cornstarch
a few drops of food coloring in 3 or 4 colors

Mix the salt and hot water in a large pan. PLEASE – don’t ever use the stove without a grown up to HELP you. OK? So.. ask your helper to bring the salt and water to a boil over high heat. Put the cold water in a small bowl and stir in the cornstarch. Add coloring now, if you want your clay to be red or green or yellow. We usually leave ours white and then paint our little critters with acrylic hobby paints. Now, add the cornstarch mixture to the boiling salt water and stir hard to keep it from lumping up. Continue cooking the clay over low heat until it becomes stiff.
After the cooked clay is stiff, carefully turn it out onto a bread board with a big spoon. Let it cool completely and then knead it until it gets smooth. Now it’s ready to use. Or, you can wrap it up tightly in plastic and store it in an air tight container for a few days.
Your clay critters can be preserved by letting them air dry at room temperature for 3 or 4 days, or by baking them in the oven at 200 degrees F for about 2 hours. Remember, you promised not to use the stove without a grown up to help you.

To make Christmas tree decorations, roll out the dough about 1/4 inch thick, then use cookie cutters to make ornament shapes. Use a toothpick to make a hole at the top for a string or ribbon. Bake until dry and decorate any way you want.

Write a Play – then invite some friends over and Act it OUT!

Tear Up Last Week’s
Newspaper and
Make Some Papier-Mache`

Here’s what you’ll need:
1 cup white flour
2/3 cup water
Newspaper strips
(torn about 1 1/2 inches wide)
A hint – newspaper tears best from top to bottom. If you’re not getting even strips easily –
turn the paper around and tear from the other direction.
A small disposable container of some sort to use as the base for your project. A little cereal box, an empty plastic milk carton or soda bottle, a strong balloon that’s partly inflated

Mix the flour and water in a good sized bowl. It should be about like thick glue when you’ve mixed it all up. If you want it to be thicker or thinner – add more flour or water a LITTLE bit at a time.
Put down a thick layer of newspaper to work on – so you won’t make a mess on the table. Dip a strip of newspaper into the paste, gently pull it through your fingers to take off any extra paste. Now put it smoothly on the base for your project. Repeat with another strip and this time crisscross or overlap the first strip. Repeat again and again, until the base is completely covered in newspaper strips and the whole thing is about 1/4 inch thick. Set it aside to dry thoroughly.
When your project is dry you can decorate it with poster paints or hobby acrylic paints, bits of braid, buttons, lace, ribbon or anything that pleases you.

Make Some Finger Paints

Here’s what you’ll need:

1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup water
3 tablespoons glycerin
a few drops of food coloring in assorted colors
Mix the flour and water in a good sized bowl. Divide the mixture equally into three or four smaller bowls. In each small bowl – stir constantly as you add 1 tablespoon glycerin and a drop or two of food coloring.
Put down a thick layer of newspaper to work on – so you won’t make a mess on the table.
Set a dishpan or large bowl of water nearby to rinse off hands between colors. Have fun! Hint: Pictures of the Kid’s hand prints are a favorite on the fridge at our house – cause then we can see how big they’ve grown. One year we even got a white sweat shirt with everyone’s hand prints all over it in primary colors of acrylic hobby paint. We still love that one!

Have fun


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Parents, What Do You Do With Your Kids On A Rainy Day?

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Rainy Day Activities for Kids:

I stay at home with my 10 month old son everyday. We usually go for a walk and to the park to play every day. Well, its rainy today so that’s out of the question. Any fun indoor activity suggestions that I can do with my 10 month old? What activities do you do with your children when its a rainy day?

Where I live we get a lot of rain in the late fall, winter and early spring months. So I have learned to make the best of a little rain. Usually we throw on our rain gear, play in the puddles, go to the park/play ground or go for a walk. Of course rain being what it is, you can still only handle so much wet. So we do end up doing more indoor activities then normal that day. Things I Try And Plan For Rainy Days o Appointments (doctors, dentists, etc.) o Shopping (grocery, mall) o Play Dates/Groups o Special Cleaning Projects Things We Do On Rainy Days Indoors o Watch A Favourite Movie o Bake Cookies/Bread o Listen To My Kids Fav. Music (The Wiggles) o Sing Songs & Dance o Arts & Crafts o Play With Their Toys o Make A Blanket Fort o Read Books o Do Flash Cards o Blow Bubbles (Indoor Bubbles – Non Stick) As far as 10 month olds go why not play some fun music that your little one would enjoy. Something that he can dance to or do actions to (with your assistance of course). Another option is to pull out the arts & crafts. Do things like painting with hands or special shaped sponges. Bake something like cookies. Read some books together. Make a fort (I know my kids liked blanket forts at that age). Throw in one of your son’s favourite movies. Rainy days are just so blah! Its been raining here off and on most of the week. So we have the blanket fort set up and the colouring books laid out inside. =)

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Promote Early Literacy with National Geographic for Little Kids

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What better activity for kids than reading on a rainy day! Here is a great magazine from National Geographic geared just for ‘Little Kids’. 


Product Description

An innovative new magazine full of learning and fun for today’s preschoolers and their parents! Bursting with lively photographs, engaging stories, and interactive picture games, each issue supplies you with fresh and imaginative teaching tools created by noted educators at National Geographic.

Promote Early Literacy


Order Here !

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What are some fun, easy games for a Pre-school’s Fall/Halloween Party?

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I was talked into heading up my little girl’s fall party at school. (she’s in preschool). The class consists of three and four year olds and I really need help thinking of games that would be fun and easy to understand at their age level. The kids aren’t all 100% on ABC’s, numbers, or colors . . Its a hard level to think on for me. Anyone been through this and have ideas?

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Barney – Mr. Golden Sun Song by RAFFI

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Preschoolers love to sing and dance and act silly. Add lots of music to your list of rainy day activities for kids! Here is a favorite from RAFFI – as sung by Barney & Friends. Mr. Golden Sun !

Barney – Mr. Golden Sun Song

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Multicultural Music in Early Childhood

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Multicultural Music in Early Childhood

Multicultural Music in Early Childhood

By Marlene Rattigan

Music is a universal language. Exposing children to the music, songs and dances of other cultures should simply be another aspect of the music and movement program, integrated quite naturally on a daily basis.  In the home setting, if another language is not spoken, exposing children regularly to the sounds of another language through music is a good idea.

Why is it a good idea? Young children learn by being actively involved in the process, through exploring and experimenting, through copying and acting out.  And so it is with learning music, including the music (and language) of another culture, the foundations for which are best learned while developing primary language.  As such, a successful early childhood music program must incorporate movement (including dance) and should quite naturally involve learning across the curriculum.  In other words, through music, the child can also develop language, mathematical concepts, physical development as well as social and emotional outcomes. Music, of course, is not exclusively reserved for the school domain. At home or in a childcare centre, music, including music from other cultures, should form part of the structure of everyday play. EVERY child has the right to a musical education. Like other forms of verbal and non-verbal communication, exposure to music should start at birth and even before.

It is important to bear in mind that not every child will naturally take to singing or learning to play a musical instrument. Physical expression through dance and drama is the way some children prefer to enjoy their musical experience. How wonderful to extend that experience by using the dances, the music and the costumes from another culture. And what child doesn’t love dressing up?

In musical interpretation there should be no pressure on the child to “get it right” because there is no right or wrong but simply the joy of participation. When a child feels successful at something, the child gains enormous confidence. This is critical where children are suffering from low self-esteem due to poor academic achievement. The more you can extend the creative arts experience, therefore, the better.

Furthermore, by exposing children to other cultures in a positive way, they gain understanding and learn acceptance of others. They need to be made aware that somewhere in another corner of the world are children just like them. These children are also having fun by singing songs, chanting rhymes, playing games and dancing.  In this way inherent social values are gained, especially discovering that difference simply means diversity.  Thus, it encourages a sense of harmony and inclusion rather than discrimination and distrust.

Studies show that exposing children to the sound, rhythm and intonation of language and music from diverse cultures assists them to discriminate between sounds, which assist with the acquisition of language skills. Listening is a skill that needs to be taught, as opposed to hearing which is a sense we are born with. Listening to the sounds of another language encourages concentration. In time, it starts to make sense, in the same way that as babies, we all learned to understand the spoken word. Introducing children to Languages Other Than English (LOTE) cannot start soon enough. Far from confusing children, learning another language actually enhances the learning of their mother tongue.

Unlike adults, children absorb the language of another culture easily. Children who come from bi-lingual households quickly learn to discriminate between the two languages and use them both appropriately. They soon become aware that communication, in whatever form, gets them what they want.

Whether in a classroom, a nursery or at home, children are naturally attracted to the sounds of another language. Most adults can remember the foreign songs that they learned at school.  How many English songs from school can we remember? And why limit it to songs? Include finger plays, dances and relaxation music. To the child, it is not important what the words mean as the music conveys the mood and that is everything.

Music is a universal language. Exposing children to the music, songs and dances of other cultures should simply be another aspect of the music and movement program, integrated quite naturally on a daily basis.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Marlene_Rattigan



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Using Flannel Boards in Early Childhood Education

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What is a flannel board or story board?  It is an invaluable and versatile educational tool for preschool teachers and children.  The story board has become an integral part of the preschool curriculum. It is basically a story-telling board covered in a flannel or felt  material that teachers can use with preschoolers to tell visual stories with pictures, storyboard shapes and a variety of other manipulatives that are made from flannel or felt cut-outs (flannel sticks to flannel).  Flannel boards can come in a variety of sizes and can be mounted on a wall or be a smaller table-top style with an easel that easily folds up to put away.


The table-top style is great for small groups of children and encourages more participation and interaction and can easily be stored away.  The larger wall-mounted style is more permanent and better for large groups such as in a classroom setting.  Flannel boards or story-boards can be purchased commercially but it is very easy to make your own.  Some of the commercially bought ones have a magnetic side on the reverse for use with magnetic manipulatives and some may have whiteboards on the reverse.


Story re-telling is an important skill in developing language and memory skills with preschoolers.  Pre-literacy is important and even toddlers will benefit from listening and watching as older children play. Younger children always learn by observing and modeling older children.  Most preschool settings have a multi-age population and age overlaps for various groups, just as most families do.


Encouraging a child to re-tell a story or a number sequence or identify colors and shapes is a great independent activity as well as partner fun.  Re-telling reinforces learning and abstract concepts.   Preschoolers will gravitate toward this anyway if the materials are left on the board for their use.  They will also make up their own creative stories using the flannel board shapes in a free-play setting.  Children enjoy touching and feeling the soft manipulative shapes.   


For parents, flannel board play is a great independent activity for quiet times such as waiting at the doctor’s office, long car rides or just before bedtime or nap time. Flannel boards are also fun for rainy day activities for kids. Teachers love to use them for everything from storytelling; abc kids games, themed lesson-plans to teaching songs, rhymes and finger plays.


Flannel board sets are soft, colorful felt cutouts of shapes, alphabet letters (upper and lower case) colors, numbers or story characters and props.   Commercial sets can be found for fairy tales, nursery rhymes, popular literature, safety lessons, maps, the seasons, calendars, animals (zoo, jungle, farm, pets, etc.), special holidays, dinosaurs, multi-cultural ideas, Bible characters, games, transportation and many more early childhood themes. They can be purchased pre-cut or teachers and caregivers on a budget can make their own designs from felt. 


Flannel board activities are fun for families, pre-school centers, Head Start centers, home daycare providers, home school families, early childhood education settings, Sunday school teachers, special education classrooms,  librarians, and school teachers in the lower elementary grades.  Even teachers in higher grades may find good use of flannel boards for teaching the States or other geography, maps or math lessons. The usefulness is virtually endless. From Rainy Day Prek!

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