November Preschool Lesson and Activity Ideas
Finding it hard to ponder up some ideas?
One week in and I'm finally starting to get the hang of developing a fun lesson plan for November. Considering the only holiday we have here in Canada this month is Remembrance Day, it's been a bit hard to think of something I could do with my classes. Yay November!... Although I wish the sound of sarcasm could be included in that seemingly enthusiastic statement. I honestly prefer any other month but November. However, November is here so I've been putting my thinking skills to the test, and discovered that there is so much I could share with 3-5 year olds in such a way that this month doesn't seem as boring to them as it does to me. One big thing happening is the season is changing. Talking about the weather, how it's getting colder, and how the days are getting shorter is one idea. A few others would be to talk about things like hibernation, seasonal nutrition, keeping protected from the weather by dressing up, feelings is also a great one considering the S.A.D. season is beginning, and even teaching about the sun and moon can all be fun interactive lessons for your preschools, and daycares. Parents might even find these topics to be fun for keeping the children busy at home. So here's a few activities, songs, and ideas that I've come up with to cover those topics.
So many critters are fast asleep, and many others will soon be joining them. Children are fascinated with how something can sleep all winter and not leave their homes till spring. Here's a few ideas to encourage their learning, and have fun.
Sleepy Bear Guessing Game
Have the children form a circle. The more the better. One child goes to the center, and curls up like they're sleeping then is covered with a blanket to prevent them from peeking. Another child is then picked to tap them and return to their spot. Then everyone says, "Wake up sleepy bear, wake up!" The child in the center then gets up and tries to guess who tapped them. You can provide hints like saying if the person was a boy or a girl. What color they're wearing, and what color hair they have. Allow the child to guess 3-5 times, then ask the child who tapped them to raise their hand, and take a turn in the center.
The Sleepy Dance
Invite the children to dance, hop, skip, and move around while you either sing or play a song on CD. Then stop the music and yell the word, "Sleep!" At that moment everyone is to fall to the ground and make snoring noises. When the music starts up again they can continue moving about, and listen for the sleep command. This game is great for building their listening skills.
Hungry Squirrel and Bear Stick Puppets
Try making some cardboard animals, but before bringing the puppets to your classroom try printing off some foods these animals eat, and don't eat. During the activity talk about how animals are searching around to find food to store for the winter so they can get ready for their long winter sleep. Introduce the two puppets, and invite the children to help them by taking turns to chose a picture of some food they might think the animal would like to take to their storage. Have three baskets. One for the Squirrel, one for the bear, and one for the food they don't eat. This is a great game for teaching about specific animals, and you can even use other critters than the ones I suggested.
This is a subject you can dedicate to a whole two weeks if you want to by simply doing one emotion per day. Children often have a hard time understanding their feelings let alone figuring out how to deal with them, but talking about how we feel, and how we react can help.
Invite the children to take turns telling you what makes them feel sad, happy, and angry. Then invite them to come up with an idea as to what they can do when they feel that way. If a child becomes stumped for ideas then invite one of their friends to help them think of one. Have them take turns talking about a situation where they felt sad, mad, or happy, and how they reacted. Then tell the children what makes you feel sad, mad, or happy, and tell them what you might do in those situations to manage it.
Emotion Face Matching
Print out some pictures of different emotions, and label what they are on the back of the picture. Then place some boxes on the floor with the emotions written on the boxes, and an example picture of the emotion pasted on it. Have the children take turns trying to match the expressions on the printed pictures with their appropriate emotion box.
One song that's great for singing in almost any theme is the Itsy Bitsy Spider. Change it around, and sing the Big Mad Spider, or the Little Sad Spider, or even the Really Happy Spider. Show the emotion on your face while you sing it, and use dramatic arm movements.
When I was a child I was always fascinated with the seasons, and you might find that it's a great topic for including science in your activities.
Mr.Sun, Mr.Moon, and Miss.Earth Flannel Story
Here's a little flannel story I wrote to explain the seasons using science, and literature. All you need is a sun, moon, star, snowflake, and on flannel, and a flannel board. show each picture as they're named in the story, and move them as described. Your children might find the sudden ending a bit funny, and the fact that it's short makes it easy to remember.
"Mr. Sun in the center of space, shining all bright gives warmth to our space. Miss.Earth where we live nearby, is our home and our Mother with Mr. Moon by her side. In the winter she floats... far, far away. The weather gets colder. The night stays, and stays. Snow flakes appear, and then melt away as Miss.Earth moves closer to Mr.Suns warm rays. They do this each year. Again, and again. Changing our seasons forever.... The End :).."
Have a box full of jackets, hats, boots, gloves, shorts, t-shirts, and sandals.
Invite the children to take turns going through the box to chose what they would wear in this season. Talk about how the night is getting longer, and the weather is getting colder. Ask Questions like, "What if it's raining? What if it's snowing? Cold? Windy?" Encourage them to choose appropriate materials, and give example as to why you would use them on certain days.
Seasonal Discussion and Art
Winter is almost here for Vancouver, and I noticed just the other day the first frost I've seen this year. So it's a great time to talk about the trees, and the frost. Ask if anyone else has seen frost. Do they know what it is? Is it cold? Wet? Talk about the rain, and how as it gets colder the rain turns into snow. Talk about the trees and how they've lost all their leaves so they fall asleep like some animals do, and wait for the warm spring to come and wake them up. Has anyone else felt more sleepy? Invite the children to color some printable autumn pictures, and pictures of animals that fall asleep in the winter. Encourage them to try to draw stuff in the pictures like rain, snowflakes, and frost. Make it more interesting for them by adding stamps, or stickers to their available materials.
These are all great ideas, and there are so many more. Printables are a great way of having children try and learn on their own, but it's always good to have an even balance of child-directed, and adult-directed activities. I hope this helps to inspire some fun things to do with your children for this long, and cold November.
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