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Preschoolers LOVE playing with all kinds of vehicles. Cars, trains, and airplanes oh my! Madelynn is no exception so we spent this week playing with all kinds of vehicles and I made sure to weave in lots of fun ways to learn all week long.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for our Transportation theme:

And here are the details for each activity:
Vehicle Memory:
Our first story was Down by the Station by Jennifer Riggs Vetter. I love song books and this was a great one because it began with the familiar "Down by the Station" song, then there are lots of new verses introducing all kinds of fun vehicles. Afterwards we played memory with vehicle cards to build vocabulary.
Identifying Characters:
This week I introduced story elements to Miss Madelynn starting with characters. I told Madelynn that usually characters are the people or animals in the story and that they are the ones that a story is mostly about.  Then we read The Adventures of Taxi Dog by Debra Barracca because I knew Madelynn would just fall in love with the characters, especially Maxi the dog.  After reading I had Madelynn draw the characters in the story. There are really only 2 main characters (Jim and Maxi) so she was able to easily identify the characters and draw them.
Making Inferences:
 Madelynn loves a good guessing game, so our next book Whose Vehicle is This by Sharon Katz Cooper was a lot of fun! Each page gave clues in both the text and the pictures to help Madelynn guess what the vehicle was and then also who drives that type of vehicle. This was an easy way to introduce making inferences in a very straight forward format.
Transportation Vocabulary:
Next we read Transportation By Gail Gibbons. After reading I gave Madelynn 3 sorting mats for land, air and water along with small vehicle picture cards.  She sorted them into the correct place and tried to name each vehicle.
 Tracking Print:
Our last book was My Ride from our set of Little Red Readers. Madelynn is starting to read easy level A books with patterned text. First, I read the beginning of the sentence, "I went for a ride on a..." and paused, then she read the last word. She did a great job using picture clues to read the words.   And by the end of the book she was able to read the sentence by herself.
Train Read and Color:
This week we focused on beginning sounds so we started with this color by code activity. Madelynn identified each picture, then decided what letter it started with. Knowing it was one of the 5 listed on the left side of the page helped with some of the trickier sounds, then she followed the directions to make each spot the correct color.  
Car Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make a Z for ZOOM. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase z's in the car, stamp them and make the "Z" sound each time.  
Dump Truck Sound Sort:
This dump truck sort was a fun way to focus on just 3 beginning sounds.  I printed labels for our trucks and lots of rocks with pictures on them.  Madelynn chose a rock then sorted it into the correct truck. Of course there was lots of driving and delivering pretend play in between. It definitely kept her engaged and learning!
Train Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we recreated this little train that we made in Tot School last year.  First Madelynn cut the train pieces out. Then she traced the letters in her name on each car. After she finished writing, she glued the train pieces together and added the cars to the back in order to spell her name. To finish off the picture she used a black marker to draw a train track at the bottom.
Transportation Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw and label air vehicles. She drew a hot air balloon, a parachute and an airplane.  I encouraged her to label each item so she wrote HOT for hot and my teacher mommy heart grew 3 sizes that day, haha! The O was a for real accident, but she is starting to hear ending sounds in words too which is awesome progress for just a few months of journaling!
Transportation Sand Tray:
Our first math activity this week was a transportation themed sand tray.  I filled the tray with black sand and a few yellow straw pieces to form a road. Then Madelynn used small wheel cards as a model to write numbers in the sand with her finger. She also used the cut up straw pieces but decided her finger worked better.
Build a Train Addition:
We began to learn about addition for the first time this week with this fun build a train activity. First Madelynn chose 2 cards with numbers/colors on them.  Then she built a "train" with linking cubes to match the cards she chose (5 blue and 1 red). Next she colored her train on her paper and counted how many she had in all. The concept of "in all" was difficult at first because she still wanted to count each color separately but eventually it began to click.  Finally, I helped her to record the total for each train. 
Vehicle Addition Box:
Our next addition activity was this fun counting box.  I filled a tray with our transportation counters, then set out colored number cards for Madelynn to choose from.  She used the cards to build a number sentence and model it with the counters.  Then using the counters she could count to find out the total.  Although she is too young for the abstract concept of addition symbols and equals signs she was able to find the total and read the complete number sentences (4+3=7) to me each time with help.
Sailboat Addition:
For this part part whole activity I cut out foam triangles and semi circles from foam sheets then added foam sticker dots and numbers to each one.  First, I had Madelynn choose 2 "sails." Next, she identified the numbers and counted the dots.  Then, she searched for a matching boat to put underneath for the total.  
Transportation Story Mat:
For our last addition practice of the week, we used our transportation counters again along with a land, sky and water scene.  Madelynn chose 2 cards that each had a number, color and vehicle on them.  She added the matching counters to the story mat, then counted up to find the total.  After she placed the number in the number sentence we practiced reading from left to right again.  A good way to embed math vocabulary even if she didn't totally understand the concept yet.
Exploring Vehicles and Ramps:
This activity was a no brainer.  For science this week we made a ramp by laying a sheet of cardboard on top of a plastic bin and adhering it with a bit of double stick tape. I then gave Madelynn a few strips of washi tape and a bunch of cars and asked her to predict how far each car would go.  She stuck the tape down then pushed each car down the ramp.  She insisted on moving the tape to where each car ended up to record the result, so we talked a bit about how predictions are not always correct and that is okay!
Car Track Craft:
For this 2 part craft we started out by making lots of paint tracks all over a car outline with our little wheelie cars and tempera paint. After the car was completely covered, we let it dry overnight.  The next day I took a black marker and traced over the outline again so it was easier for Madelynn to see and cut.  She cut out the car, then used additional paper shapes to add details to her car an build a road scene.

In this bin: black beans, cut up yellow plastic straws, Melissa & Doug vehicles and signs

With this bin Madelynn first scooped the beans out onto a tray to build a road, then added the yellow straws for lines. Next she added all of the vehicles driving them around and following the signs. Finally she discovered that the vehicles were also fun and challenging to stack so she tried to see how many she could balance without them falling over.
 Salt and Watercolor Ocean Craft:
For this 2 part craft we started out by making glue "waves" all of a sheet of paper with white school glue.  Next, Madelynn sprinkled salt on top of the glue then shook off all the excess.  Then she used an eye dropper to add watercolor to the page which created a fun experience watching the salt soak up the color as it spread across the page.  Then we let the paper "ocean" dry overnight.  The next day to finish off her project she glued triangle and semi-circle foam shapes onto the page to create boats.
In this sensory tray: black beans & yellow straws(road), split peas (grass/land), blue gems & cotton balls (sky), blue play dough (water),  transportation counters

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:
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:

I have to admit when we started doing color themed bins I couldn't wait for it to be PINK week.  I'm pretty girly already but with 2 little girls that love all things pink and sparkly, there's pretty much always an explosion of PINK in our house. So get ready for PINK overload this week with our baby bin theme.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here is a look at what we have planned for our next 6 color themed baby bins:

Here are the details for each of our activities:
Pink Read Aloud:
If Everything Were Pink by Hannah Eliot is a silly book celebrating all the shades of pink from ballet pink, to rose pink and everything in between. The illustrations had my girls cracking up and learning new vocabulary at the same time with the labeled items on each page.
Pink Sensory Bin:
Princesses & Friends (Aurora, Glinda, Skye, etc)
Play Food (cupcakes, watermelon, donuts, ice cream, etc.)
Heart Puzzle Card


Play ideas for this bin:
1. Put together a pink heart puzzle card.
2. Find all of the princesses. 
3. Find all of the jewelry and play dress up.
4. Find all of the animals.
5. Find all of the food, and feed it to the piggies. 
6. Roll, toss, kick and play with the balls.
Pink Heart Threading:
To prep this fun fine motor bin, I started with a bunch of pink felt and foam hearts. Next, I punched a hole in the center of the foam hearts with a regular hole punch and cut a slit in the felt hearts with scissors. Then, I added a few pink paper straws and pipe cleaners. Aubrey needed no direction, she knew just what to do and got bust poking the hearts and threading them on the straws and pipe cleaners. This was a perfect quiet activity and is now in a zipper pouch in our diaper bag for future use at restaurants and doctors offices to tame the emerging toddler crazy.
Pink Heart Stamping:
For this baby safe painting activity, I made yogurt paint by mixing plain greek yogurt with magenta food coloring.  I wanted the color nice and dark since I was having aubrey paint on pink paper too so I added lots of food coloring, but if you don't want it to stain your little ones hands feel free to add just a little!
After the paint was all mixed up I put a few scoops in a plastic dish with sponges that I cut into heart shapes.  I demonstrated the process of dipping and stamping, then Aubrey took over squishing and stamping hearts all over the page. Of course in the end the entire page ended up covered in pink, but  this paint isn't really made to be stored anyways, so plan to toss the pages after admiring your little one's work.
Pink Bubble Sensory Bin:
Aubrey LOVES water play, so this week I created a pink bubble bin with water, a drop of pink food coloring, and lots of dish soap.  I put the dish soap and food coloring in our bin first then ran warm water into bin to fill it up and make bubbles at the same time.
I added in a few pink silicone cupcake liners, bowls, cups and whisks for mixing, pouring an pretending.
Pink Color Collage:
At the end of each color week we are making a color collage that I will put together in a book for Aubrey to flip through.

To make the pink book page, I first cut out a large rectangle from the center of 2 pieces of pink cardstock. Then I cut two pieces of contact paper that were slightly bigger than the pink rectangles.

  I took the backing off of one piece of contact paper and stuck one rectangle on it.  Then I gave Aubrey a tray full of pink pictures, stickers, sequins, and feathers to create a pink collage.

After she was finished, I glued the second pnk rectangle on top of the first and pressed the remaining piece of contact paper over the top to seal the collage inside. Next, I trimmed the excess contact paper around the rectangle.  I hole punched the top corner and added it to a small metal ring with our red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple collage pages to form a unique color flip book.

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:

Do your kids love dinosaurs? I feel like nearly every child (and most adults) find dinosaurs fascinating. We spent this week enjoying all kinds of preschool dinosaur activities to learn more about them.
**This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. View our full disclosure policy here.**

Here were our plans for our Dinosaur theme:

And here are the details for each activity:
Making Predictions:
Our first story was Brontorina by James Howe. 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: "A dinosaur." 
Then I asked: "The title is Brontorina, what do you think the dinosaur will do?" 
Madelynn: "Dance."
I asked one more follow up question: "What kind of dance?"
Madelynn: "Plies."

Obviously she was in a one word answer mood, but I love that being one on one with her allows me to ask lots of follow up questions to challenge her to think more about the books we are reading.
Dinosaur Retelling:
Over the past few weeks we have worked a lot on retelling the beginning middle and end of a story, so I thought it would be a good time to move on to sequencing the events in a longer story.  I chose Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Williems because I knew the story line would be familiar and a bit easier for her to sequence from beginning to end.
We started of course by reading the story.  After reading I gave Madelynn 7 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.
Dinosaur Stomp:
 After reading Stomp Dinosaur Stomp By Margaret Mayo, I printed out action cards from the story.  Madelynn chose a card then had to act out each dinosaur action.
Dinosaur Vocabulary:
Next we read Dinosaurs By Gail Gibbons. After reading we used cards to match dinosaur related words to pictures.  I emphasized the beginning sounds to help her choose and match the correct word to the picture.
 Tracking Print:
Our last book was the letter D book from Abby's Alphabet Book Series. Madelynn identified the picture then pointed to each word as she read. She has caught on to the pattern in these one word per page books, so she is completely independent with them at this point.
  Dinosaur Sand Tray:
Our first literacy activity this week was a dinosaur themed salt tray.  Madelynn used volcano letter cards as a model and chose which ones she wanted to practice.  To add a bit more fun, we used dinosaur tails for writing letters too.
Dinosaur Sound Stamping:
Next, for more letter practice we used our dot stampers. We started out stamping inside the letter to make a D. Then Madelynn had to find the upper and lowercase d's in the dinosaur, stamp them and make the "D" sound each time.  
Digging for Fossil Sounds:
This month we are focusing on beginning sounds so we started with this fun fossil dig.  I printed dinosaur tracks with different pictures on them, then laminated and pasted them onto our clear tray.  I covered them with sand and Madelynn used paint brushes to uncover each one. After she found a picture she used a magnet letter to show the beginning sound.
Stegosaurus Name Craft:
For this week's name craft we created an adorable stegosaurus.  First Madelynn cut the dinosaur pieces out. Then she wrote the letters in her name on each spike. After she finished writing, she glued the dinosaur pieces together and added the spikes to the back in order to spell her name. To finish off the face she added googly eyes and drew a smile.
Dinosaur Journal Writing:
For our journal this week Madelynn chose to draw and label a dinosaur habitat. She drew a volcano, flower, some dirt and a dinosaur.  I encouraged her to label each item so she wrote V for volcano and D for dinosaur.
Dino Egg Count and Color:
To continue working on counting and identifying numbers, Madelynn worked on this color by code activity. Madelynn counted the dots then had to follow the directions to make each spot the correct color.  Now that we've been doing these activities for a few weeks we moved onto 6-10 dots in each area.
 Dinosaur Spots Counting Book:
We made this little counting book together which was a perfect way to practice one to one correspondence to 10 and use emergent reading skills. Madelynn tried to read the sentence on each page. "The dinosaur has __ spots."  Then she used mini dot stampers to add the correct number of spots.
Dinosaur Egg Grab & Count:
This game was really easy to prep and fun to play.  I printed numbered dino eggs, then folded them up and hid them in easter eggs. Madelynn chose an egg, identified the number, then counted out the correct number of dinosaur manipulatives.
 Dinosaur Number Mats:
We used these mats for LOTS of math practice this week. First, Madelynn identified the large number. Then she made it with play dough and counted the eggs in the ten frame. Next, she used a dry erase marker to practice writing the number, and finally counted out dinosaur manipulatives to make the correct amount.
Dinosaur Number Puzzles:
I love making puzzles for Madelynn to practice different concepts but sometimes she gets frustrated that the pieces don't really snap together like real puzzles.  So for these dinosaur number puzzles I printed the entire 3 piece puzzle outline with a different number of dinosaurs at the top of each one.  Next I printed the bottom pieces and cut them apart. Then, I added Velcro dots to the bottom so that when she matched them to the correct spot she didn't have to worry about them moving around. 
Dinosaur Cloud Dough Sensory Bin:
In this bin: cloud dough (8 cups flour & 1 cup vegetable oil mixed together), plastic trees, TOOB dinosaurs, and rocks.

Salt Dough Fossils:
Salt dough is one of the only homemade play dough recipes I actually make because it's super fast, easy and I always have the ingredients on hand. To make our salt dough I combine 4 cups flour and 1 cup salt in a bowl.  Then I slowly add 1 1/2 cups of water. I start by mixing in a bowl with a spoon, then begin to hand knead the dough as it begins to form.
After the dough is ready I rolled small pieces out for Madelynn to use for fossil printing.  She chose to make some side prints, and some dinosaur tracks as well. After she was finished we baked them in the oven at 325 degrees for about an hour until they were completely hard and dry throughout. (You may need to adjust the time depending on the thickness of your dough). After they cooled we made fossil rubbings by laying paper on top of each fossil and rubbing a crayon back and forth across the page.
Be a Paleontologist:
I knew I wanted to find a way for Madelynn to play and learn about being a paleontologist for this theme. However, I bought a dino dig kit from the target dollar section before and it was so hard for Madelynn to chip away at, that I basically ended up having to break apart the entire thing for her since she was getting so frustrated.  I mean it was even pretty hard for me to break up, so I'm not sure who those things are really made for.
I decided I would make my own softer version of these dino eggs by making a baking soda version. I poured a few cups of baking soda in a large bowl, then added water very slowly so that the baking soda was JUST wet enough to mold without getting mushy.  (The drier you can keep it the better, because it will dry out faster later) I added a few drops of food coloring to the mix before adding the dinosaurs.
Next, I molded a small amount in my hand then pressed a dino skeleton into it and added more baking soda on top. I formed it into an egg shape then set it on a tray to dry. I made a bunch of them then let them dry overnight. Madelynn used a hammer and screwdriver as a chisel to break up each egg and it was SOOO much easier than the store bought version.
You could also add in a few eye droppers with vinegar for more fun. Since the eggs are made of baking soda they will fizz and bubble as they break apart.
Dinosaur Pasta Craft:
For this craft we made a bit of a mixed media collage. First, Madelynn painted cardboard semi circles with tempera paint for dinosaur bodies.  We let those dry for a bit, then she glued each one onto a piece of cardstock.  Then, Madelynn used colored pasta shapes to create long necks, tails, legs, spikes, and more.
Dinosaur Mud Sensory Bin:
In this bin: chocolate "oobleck," rocks, TOOB dinosaurs, and rocks.

To make the oobleck mud: Start with 1 cup water in a bowl. Add 2 cups cornstarch a bit at a time and sprinkle a few spoonfuls of unsweetened cocoa powder in as well for color and scent. Stir with a spoon (or I find it's actually easier to use your hands for this one) until you reach a gooey consistency. Add dinosaurs and rocks to explore!

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:
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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