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Madelynn loves penguins and winter is the perfect time for some polar animal fun.  This week we had all kinds of fun with these adorable waddling animals.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for our penguin theme:
And here are the details for each activity:
  Penguin Comprehension:
Our first book this week was If You Were a Penguin by Florence Minor. After reading, we talked about all of the different things the penguins did in the book. Then I asked Madelynn what she would do if she were a penguin and had her draw it on the response page. Madelynn said she would swim and fly through the water.
Penguin Retelling:
Our next story was the loveable Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester. After reading Madelynn drew pictures to show what happened in the beginning, middle and end of the story.
Penguin Problem and Solution:
Our next story was Penguins to the Rescue by Tony Mitton. Before reading we discussed and defined problem. We talked about how every story usually has a problem or something that goes wrong. After reading, Madelynn drew and labeled the problem in the story (The seal pup was sad. He missed his mom.) Then we talked about and drew how the problem was solved (The penguins acted silly to cheer up the seal while he waited for his mom.)
 Penguin Vocabulary Match:
Next we read Penguin Chick By Betty Tatham. After reading we used cards to match penguin related words to pictures.  I emphasized the beginning sounds to help her choose and match the correct word to the picture.Then I printed a second set of the same words and we used them to play a memory matching game. This gave Madelynn more practice with identifying the pictures and using the new vocabulary.
 Tracking Print:
Our last book was this Penguins Can Go book from our Scholastic Guided Science Readers set. Madelynn is starting to read easy level A books with patterned text. After I read the first page she used the pictures to read the remaining pages. I drew her attention to the first letter in words as needed.  
 Rhyme and Color Penguin:
This week we focused on rhyme  so we started with this color by code activity. Madelynn identified the pictures on the left side of the page, then searched the picture on the right for words that rhymed. Then she followed the directions to make each spot the correct color.  
 Igloo Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make an I for igloo. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase i's in the igloo, stamp them and make the "I" sound each time. 
 Penguin Sound Stomp:
This week we continued to focus on ending sounds with this penguin stomp activity. Madelynn choose a penguin card and identified the picture. I helped her say the word slowly as she listened. I had her listen for the ending sound and she used a dot stamper  to stamp it.
 Penguin Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created this adorable penguin.  First Madelynn cut the penguin pieces out. Then she wrote the letters in her name on each of the ice cubes. After she finished writing, she glued the penguin pieces together and glued the penguin to the ice. Then she added the ice cubes to the ice in order to spell her name. 
 Penguin Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw and write about what she learned about penguins. She drew a penguin swimming and looking for fish.  This week we ventured into writing a full sentence instead of just labeling the picture with a word or two.  Madelynn said "Penguins eat fish." In order to help her write an entire sentence I drew one line for each word.  This helped her to visualize and seperate each word and focus on just one word at a time. We are back to one letter for each word this week "P e f" but writing a sentence is a huge step!
 Penguin Writing Tray:
Our first math activity this week was a penguin themed writing tray.  I filled our clear tray with instant snow. Then Madelynn used small igloo number cards as a model to write numbers in the snow with penguins or her finger.
 Grab and Graph Snowflakes:
Our new math focus for the week was graphing. We started out with a picture graph with only 2 colors. I filled a bin with this fun winter pasta then Madelynn used fine motor tools to grab a scoop full of snowflakes. Next she sorted them. Then she counted how many of each color and filled in her graph.  She repeated this 4 times for even more practice.
Color & Graph Halloween:
For our next graphing activity, Madelynn and I played I spy. First I said "I spy seals that are brown." She then had to find the item I named, color each one, count them and color in her graph. This was a lot of steps to follow so I helped her along the way, but she really did great following along! We repeated the "I spy" game with each arctic object on the page.
 Penguin Sticker and Graph:
Like most kids, Madelynn loves stickers. I found these foam penguin stickers in 3 colors and knew they woul mak a great picture graphing activity.  She sorted, stuck them to the page, then counted to answer the questions at the bottom.
 Penguin Number Sense Mats:
We used these mats to practice numbers 11-20 this week. First, Madelynn identified the large number. Then she made it with play dough and counted the igloos in the ten frame. Next, she used a dry erase marker to practice writing the number, and finally counted out penguin mini erasers to fill each igloo.
 Build an Igloo Sensory Bin:
In this bin: baking soda snow, penguin mini erasers, empty fruit cups

Baking soda snow recipe:
  • Mix 1 cup of baking soda with 1 Tbsp. of white hair conditioner (or water). 
  • Stir to combine. 
  • Add more tablespoons one at a time, until the mixture forms a wet moldable consistency.
 Directed Draw Penguin:
For this directed drawing I drew one part of the penguin at a time on my paper, and Madelynn followed along by drawing the same or similar shape on her paper.  She is quite the perfectionist, so I had her use a pencil in case she wanted to erase try any part of the penguin again.  Then I quickly outlined the entire penguin with a black crayon.  (You could definitely skip the pencil and start with a black crayon to save time.) To finish off the project, Madelynn used watercolors to paint her penguin and add details to the background.
Penguin Feather Science:
For a this animal investigation, I printed a penguin outline and ha Madelynn color the entire penguin with crayon (including white for the belly.) Then I filled a spray bottle with water and tinted it blue. Madelynn used the water to spray the entire paper and watched as the water rolled off the penguin. We talked about how many penguins live in cold climates so the feathers help keep the freezing water away from the penguins body.
Igloo Stamp Art:
Our second art project this week was this stamping project. Madelynn used a building block to stamp rectangles on a light blue semi circle page with white paint. Then she stamped the other side of the block with circles on dark blue paper for snow and painted the bottom of the page white. After both pages were dry, she cut semi circle igloo out and glued it to the dark blue background. And finally she added penguin stickers.
Penguin Sensory Bin:
In this sensory bin: penguins from our Penguin Toob, blue gems, frozen icebergs, bowls, and water.

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:

And that's it for this week. I can't wait to share all of our learning and fun with you this year! Here are our tentative plans for weekly themes if you want to follow along!
September:

October: 

November:

Happy New Year everyone! We enjoyed our little break for the holidays but are ready to get right back into our school routine. It has been ridiculously cold and we have been hunkering down over here and not leaving the house, so I am glad I had these fun winter themed baby bins all ready for Miss Aubrey to explore.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here are the details for each of our Winter activities:
 Winter Read Aloud:
Lois Ehlert is one of my FAVORITE authors of all time (Fun fact: she's actually from my hometown!) and Snowballs is one of her books that is a must in every child's library.  The collage style of her illustrations make the snowmen in this story so lovable and interesting to look at so the board book version made a great book for this week's theme.
 Snow Themed Sensory Bin:
In this bin: instant snow, clear snowman cups, scoopssnowman cookie cutterscupcake linerspuzzle "SNOW" word
  Ice Paint/Tape Resist Snowflakes:
For this art activity I dyed water with liquid watercolors and froze them into blue & purple ice cubes with popsicle sticks in them. Then I taped snowflakes on cardstock with washi tape. Aubrey used the colored ice to paint over the snowflake shapes. After a bit of painting, I helped to remove the tape and reveal . *Be careful not to let the paper get too soaked or the tape will be hard to pull off without ripping the paper.
 Glowing Winter Water Beads:
Aubrey loved this glowing winter water bead sensory bin. Putting our sensory bin on top of our light pad added just enough magic to pique her curiosity.

In this bin: blue and clear water beadsfoam snowflakes, scoops and cups

**Remember water beads are NOT taste safe, so if your littles are likely to take a bite, try using tapioca pearls instead.
 Stained Glass Mittens:
I love a good stained glass craft so when I found this tutorial from Maria at Kinder Craze I knew it would be perfect for this week! Go grab the free templates and directions here.
Icy Sensory Bin:
In this bin: frozen water beads, cups, scoops, winter Little People

If you are looking for all of the plans and printables for this week's theme I will be posting them soon! If you'd like to be notified as soon as they are available please subscribe to my newsletter (in the sidebar to the right) and/or join our Tot School and Preschool Facebook group here:

Check out all of our Baby Bin themes here:
September:

October:

November:

December:

January:
Winter

Happy New Year everyone! We enjoyed a little break for the holidays but Madelynn has been asking for school every day since Christmas so we are jumping right back into our preschool routine.  It has been below zero almost every day this week too so I am glad I had some fun winter themed activities planned to keep us from going stir crazy!
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for our Winter theme:

And here are the details for each activity:
Making Predictions:
Our first story was The Hat by Jan Brett.  Before reading, we practiced answering questions and making predictions.

I asked "After looking at the cover, what do you think this story will be about?" 
Madelynn: "I think a porcupine will go in a hat and all the other animals will go in and get poked." 

We love Jan Brett in our house and just finished reading The Mitten which probably explains Madelynn's prediction. Also I love that she didn't know what animal it was on the cover and guessed porcupine, which meant we'd have a good teachable moment learning the word hedgehog.
 Cold Lady Retelling:
Our next story was all about our favorite silly old lady, There Was a Cold Lady Who Swallowed Some Snow by Lucille Colandro. We started by reading the story.  After reading I gave Madelynn 8 pictures from the story with simple sentences underneath. We read through them all together and then I prompted her to find what happened first, second, third, etc. She then glued them to her page in the correct order to retell the story. I kept the book nearby so she could check the  pages if she was stuck, and it was also an easy way to double check her work.
 If I Could Build a Snowman:
Next we read Snowballs by Lois Ehlert. While reading, we talked about all of the materials the author used to make each snowman. Then I asked “What would you use to build a snowman?” Madelynn decided she was going to make Frosty the Snowman (we had just watched the movie a week or so ago). After drawing the details in her picture I asked her to write her snowman's name and she wrote "FF."
Winter Vocabulary Match:
Our next book was one of my favorites, The Jacket I Wear in the Snow by Shirley Neitzel. The fun rebus style and repetition of this book make it a great anchor book for learning vocabulary. After reading we used cards to match winter clothing words to pictures. I helped emphasize the beginning sounds so Madelynn could find and match the correct word to the picture. 
Tracking Print:
Our last book was this It is Winter book from our Scholastic Guided Science Readers set. Madelynn is starting to read easy level A books with patterned text. This book is a level B, so she read the "it is winter." sentence on each page, and I helped her with the second sentence using picture clues to read the words.
 SnowLetter Writing Tray:
Our first literacy activity this week was a winter snow themed letter writing tray.  To make this fun winter activity I filled our shallow tray with instant snow. Madelynn used snowflake letter cards as a model and chose which ones she wanted to practice.  If you haven't played with instant snow before it is super fluffy and cool like real snow. It was a really fun way to switch up our normal sand/salt tray.
 Winter Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make a W. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase w's in the winter tree, stamp them and make the "W" sound each time. Then she stamped the other letters different colors and tried to make the sounds for each one.
 Icy Ending Sounds:
This week we began to focus on ending sounds in words.  Madelynn has been really focused on beginning sounds for a while now and isn't hearing the other sounds in words especially when writing.  (She'll usually hear the beginning sound and write it over and over like when she wrote FF for Frosty.) Madelynn choose an icy picture card and identified the picture. I helped her say the word slowly and she slid her finger under each letter snowball. I had her listen for the ending sound and then she filled in the missing sound with a clear gem letter.
 Snowman Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created this adorable snowman.  First Madelynn cut the snowman pieces out. Then she traced the letters in her name on each part of the snowman body. After she finished writing, she glued the snowman pieces together and added the snowballs under the head in order to spell her name.
Winter Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw and label a snowman. Of course she decided to draw her favorite snowman buddy Frosty again.  This time I encouraged her to really listen for other sounds after the first "F" sound. She wrote "FT" so hooray for learning ending sounds!
 Color By Shape Snowman:
Now that Madelynn is excellent at counting and identifying numbers to 10, we are switching up our focus for our color by the code activities.  For this week's color by code activity Madelynn worked on identifying and naming shapes. I told her the color for each shape and she had to search and color each one in the picture.
 Build a Teen Snowflake:
This week in math we are working on teen numbers. Madelynn has been doing great with identifying numbers 11 through 20 but still struggles to count out 11 through 20 objects (because you know 4 year-old attention span) So I put together this count and build snowflake math activity. I twisted 3 pipe cleaners together to make a snowflake. Then I gave Madelynn a bowl full of pony beads and snowflake number cards.  She chose a card then added that number of beads to each snowflake.
 Snowflake Ten Frames:
For this activity I started out by filling plastic ornaments with marshmallows in quantities of 11-20.
Madelynn choose an ornament, poured them out, then counted them. For additional number recognition and fine motor practice, she had to find the matching ten frame card and place the marshmallows on each snowflake.
 Mitten Stamp Book:
Our next number sense activity was a mitten stamp and count book. I helped Madelynn read the sentence on each page. Then she used mini dot stampers to add the correct number of spots to each mitten. The mini stamp markers were perfect for stamping quickly while counting.
Snowflake Catch & Count:
For our last number sense activity we reinforced the numbers 1-10 because you can never have too much practice right? Madelynn counted and velcroed snowflakes to each mitten to catch the correct number of snowflakes.
 Snow Sensory Bin:
In this bin: instant snow, clear snowman cups, scoopssnowman cookie cutterscupcake liners, puzzle "SNOW" word
 Ice Paint/Tape Resist Snowflakes:
For this art activity I dyed water with liquid watercolors and froze them into blue & purple ice cubes with popsicle sticks in them. Then I taped snowflakes on cardstock with washi tape. Madelynn used the colored ice to paint over the snowflake shapes. After a bit of painting, I helped to remove the tape and reveal . *Be careful not to let the paper get too soaked or the tape will be hard to pull off without ripping the paper.
 Pouring Ice Experiment:
This science activity took a bit of trial and error and prep time, but was totally worth it. First, I placed a bottle of water into a bucket and packed ice around the base. Then I poured salt over the ice and topped it with water to the bottle’s lid. Next, we let it sit for about 30 minutes (until the temperature was approximately 17 degrees.)
When I told Madelynn it was time, she carefully removed the bottle while I placed ice cubes in a mixing bowl. After I removed the cap, Madelynn slowly poured the water over ice cubes, and watched as an ice tower formed like magic.

 Tissue Paper Snow Prints:
I'm loving how this pretty wintery craft turned out. Madelynn placed bleeding art tissue paper squares on top of white cardstock. Then she painted water on the tissue squares to color the white paper. After we allowed the paper to dry we easily peeled off the squares to reveal a gorgeous water colored background. Finally she used white tempera paint to stamp snowflakes on the colored paper.
Icy Sensory Bin:
In this bin: frozen water beads, cups, scoops, winter Little People

Want all of this week's printables and plans?  You can grab them here:

Or you can grab our entire year of themes and plans here:

And that's it for this week. I can't wait to share all of our learning and fun with you this year! Here are our tentative plans for weekly themes if you want to follow along!
September:

October: 

November:

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