I try to find ways to use Perler beads as often as I can. They are colorful, fun and really great for fine motor practice. This week I decided to pair them with some q-tip art sheets I had seen before (download them here) This activity is not as creative as I prefer their art jobs to be but overall I think it worked really well. The kids work on fine motor by practicing to put a perfect sized dot of glue in each circle, when they pick up and place the bead and of course cleaning up all the beads after the center is over.
Here are three other posts I have about Perler beads…
Patterns with Perler beads
More fun with Perler beads
Fine motor with Perler beads
I gave my class a fairly simple project this week. The job was to try to build the tallest structure they could using popsicle sticks and hot glue. Yes, we use hot glue a lot (see here.) Each group (2-3 kids) could only make one structure so they had to work together.
I know these types of activities foster creativity and I know they enhance learning but I don’t often get clear proof of these facts. If you look at the picture above the structures are in placed in the order they were built, meaning the structure on the left was the first group and the one on the right was the last group. It is not a coincidence that each group (spread over 3 days) was able to build their structure larger than the group before. As with any fun activity in the room all the kids were paying attention to this center as they worked in other centers. The heard the excitement when the second group figured out how to get a stick to stand vertical. They walked by and talked about how the structure need support sticks (in kindergarten language) to keep it from falling over. They were thinking of their own ideas as they waited for their turn. Beyond that they had a challenge to try to do more than the group before them. Am I training the next Frank Lloyd Wright? Probably not, but we won’t know unless we give them opportunities to find their passions.
Do you have similar activities for your room? I would appreciate you sharing if so, I know I want to include more of these type of activities in my class!
“The zebra was in the monkey’s cage. The tree was calling where are you”
Sticker stories continue to be a big hit in my class. We have had this as a writing activity during literacy centers every week since right before Thanksgiving. (read more here) I continue to be excited by the writing and creative thinking I see in this center. Each week I put new stickers in the center and give the kids the expectations on how many stickers they can use (typically is two or three stickers.) I get the stickers from Michaels and the book of stickers only cost $1. I stop by the store every few weeks and load up on the new sets they offer, usually centered around holidays or seasons.
I think the biggest struggle for kids when writing is thinking of where to start and that is where I think this center helps so much. It gives them one little piece of the story to begin creating. Drawing ability is another concern for many of my kids and I think the stickers make them feel like great illustrators and gives them the confidence to complete the scene.
This activity has been a tradition at our school for several years. It is simple to do and the kids LOVE it. All you need is streamers, tape and any other festive decorations you might have handy and let the kids go to work. When all the teachers have been wrapped the kids line the hall and we have a quick fashion show for all the classes. Looking for something cheap and exciting to add to your Valentine party? This might be the answer
Painting with circles! I had the kids use a paint cup to “stamp” circles on their page and then paint in the shapes that those circles made. I wish I had offered different sizes of circles and will add that option next time. They are really enjoying this colorful project. Another change I will make going forward is to have the kids let the black circles dry before painting them. I didn’t mind that the colors mixed but black is a very hard color to work with and it frustrated some of them.
I think this project does a good job of reinforcing exactly what camouflage is and the kids enjoy seeing the finished project
I start with scrapbook paper (usually in 12×12 size.) Typically this can be found on sale throughout the year. This year I scored paper that actually had animal print but this is not required. I have done the project in the past with just regular scrapbook paper, any pattern will work. (see example at bottom of page) First I cut the paper into 8.5 x 11 size so it will work in our printer. Next I print the animal cutout shape on the back of the scrapbook paper. You can use the same PDF I use (Camouflage Printable) or make your own. The last step is to cut the paper in half.
Printed shape on back and then cut in half
Kids cut out the shape…
And glue it onto the other half (really hard to see some of them!) …
Here is an example from last year. I used regular patterns and it worked great also.