Thursday, October 26, 2017

Learning Disabilities

What do Leonardo da Vinci, Woodrow Wilson, General George Patton, Winston Churchill, Nelson Rockefeller and Albert Einstein share? They are all famous, successful and were considered learning disabled.

15-20% of the U.S. population have some form of learning disability, according to estimates derived from the latest research conducted by the National Institutes of Health on reading disabilities. Learning Disabilities has been defined in many different ways by many different organizations. Public Law 94-142 defines it as “A disorder in one or more of the basic psychological processes involved in understanding or in using language, spoken or written, which may manifest itself in an imperfect ability to listen, think, speak, write, spell, or to do mathematical calculations. The term includes such conditions as perceptual handicaps, brain injury, minimal brain dysfunction, dyslexia, and developmental aphasia. The term does not include children who have learning problems which are primarily the result of visual, hearing, or motor handicaps, or mental retardation, or emotional disturbance or of environmental, cultural, or economic disadvantage.” Learning disabilities are often characterized by a significant difference in the individual's achievement in some areas, as compared to his or her overall intelligence. No one knows what causes learning disabilities as of now. There are many possibilities, and a few leading theories, one of which is that learning disabilities stem from subtle disturbances in the brain structured and functions. With early intervention, support and the appropriate teaching techniques and strategies, learning disabilities can often be minimized or overcome and individuals can lead productive successful lives.

There are two ways of diagnosing learning disabilities, informally flagged and actual diagnoses. Informally flagged is used by observing significant delays in the child’s skill development. A 2-year delay in the primary grades is usually considered significant. Actual diagnosis of learning disabilities is made using standardized test that compare the child’s level of ability to what is considered normal development for a person of that child’s age and intelligence. Test results depend on the not only the child’s abilities, but on the reliability of the test and the child’s ability to understand the questions, and pay attention.

Typical characteristics of individuals who have learning disabilities may include but are not limited to: Spoken Language: -Children may have delays, disorders, and deviations in listening and speaking.
-They may be slow to develop the ability to speak, understand stories, or follow directions.
-They may say words in the wrong order. For example: “Please up hurry.”
- They may start or stop talking in mid sentence, be unable to vocalize a word until someone says it and pronounce certain words in odd ways. For example: “aminals,” “emenies,” and “hopsitals.”

Written Language: 
-Children may have difficulty with reading, writing and spelling.
-They may persistently read “on” for “no” “14” for “41” “p” for “d”, or “q” for “b”.
-They may have difficulty associating the letter “c,” for example with it’s sound; or be unable to distinguish between words like “chop” and “shop”.
-They may have poor eye-hand coordination and be rather messy writers.

Math Problems: 
-Children may have difficulty in performing mathematic functions or in comprehending basic concepts.
-They may be able to add and subtract but not multiply and divide, or they can calculate in their heads but not on paper.

Orientation in time and space:
-Children often seen lost in time and space
-They may not know what time, day, year, or season it is.
-They sometimes have particular difficulty understanding the meaning of yesterday, today and tomorrow.
-They sometimes cannot remember what they were told an hour or two ago.
-They may have special trouble understanding concepts like up/down, left/right etc.

Perception of movement:
-Children may have problems with physical activities.
-they may be awkward and clumsy, frequently off balance and have trouble learning to tie their shoes.
-They may break things and be accident prone.
-They may be hyperactive and fidgety or underactive and appear tired most of the time.
-They may be unable to sit still or concentrate, although sometimes this occurs at school but not when playing a favorite game at home.

Abstract reasoning:
-Children may have difficulty in organizing and integrating thoughts.
-They may not be able to remember where their belongings are located.
-Their rooms and homework may be messy and disorganized.
-They may have a hard time following directions or making decisions.
-They may have difficulty planning an activity or carrying out a plan.

Social Actions:
-Children may be socially impulsive.
-Sometimes they can be free-spirited and bring freshness and enthusiasm to life. At other times, they want what they want when they want it.
-They can become upset instantly and over what seems to be “nothing.”
-They may lack self-confidence and self-esteem and refuse to try certain activities, saying “I Can’t,” “I don’t want to,” or “I’m not good at that.”
-They may have difficulty making friends.
-They may be socially immature, risk punishment to gain attention and constantly interrupt.

Professionals are currently debating whether special education there is a need for some groups of children who show LD characteristics. These groups include students who are at the low-average end of the intelligence scale, are highly intelligent, or come from linguistic, cultural, social, or economic backgrounds that differ significantly from their peers.

There are three types of learning disabilities, developmental speech and language disorders, academic disorders, and other (which includes certain coordination and learning handicaps not covered by the other two terms.
Speech and language problems are often the earliest signs of LD. Specific diagnosis may be: Developmental articulation disorder, Developmental expressive language disorder, or Developmental receptive language disorder. Children with Articulation Disorder may have trouble controlling their rate of speech, or may lag behind playmates in learning speech sounds. Articulation Disorders are usually outgrown or successfully treated with speech therapy. Children who have problems expressing themselves in speech are usually diagnosed with developmental expressive language disorder. There are a wide variety of abilities fall into this category. Like a four-year-old who cannot connect two words together like “my toy” to an eight-year-old who cannot answer the question “Where are you?” People who have receptive language disorder have trouble understanding certain aspects of speech, they hear fine but can’t make sense of certain sounds, words or sentences they hear. Examples include a pre-schooler who hands you a bell when you asked for a ball or a worker who consistently can’t follow simple directions.

Academic Skills Disorders include reading, writing, and arithmetic disorders. Students with academic skills disorders are often years behind their peers in the area in which they have difficulty. Reading disorders also known as dyslexia affects 2 to 8 percent of elementary school children. 

For children to read they must simultaneously:
Focus attention on the printed marks and control eye movements across the page
Recognize the sounds associated with letters
Understand words and grammar
Build ideas and images
Compare new ideas to what you already know
Store ideas in memory

Writing also involves several brain areas and functions. It utilizes brain networks for vocabulary, grammar, hand movement, and memory. A writing disorder may result from a problem in any one of these areas. For example, a child who has an expressive language disorder may not be able to compose complete grammatical sentences. Like reading and writing, arithmetic is a very complex brain function which involves recognizing numbers and symbols, memorizing facts, aligning numbers and understanding abstract concepts like place value and fractions. Arithmetic disorders are also known as dyscalculia.
Many of these areas are interlinked and overlap in diagnosis. There are also other categories, such as "motor skills disorders" and specific developmental disorders that are not included in the first two categories. These diagnoses include delays in acquiring language, academic, and motor skills that can affect the ability to learn but do not meet the criteria for a specific learning disability. Also included are coordination disorders that can lead to poor penmanship, as well as specific spelling and memory disorders.

Three of the most known LD are ADD, ADHD, and dyslexia. A child who has signs of inattention may be diagnosed as ADD. 

Some of the signs include:
-Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes.
-Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play.
-Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly. -Often does not follow instructions and fails to finish tasks (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand.)
-Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities.
-Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort, such as schoolwork.
-Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities.
-Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli.
-Is often forgetful in daily activities.

A child is considered to have ADD when six or more of the above signs have persisted for at least 6 months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with the developmental level for the child’s age.

Some of the signs of hyperactivity include:
-Often fidgets with hands and feet or squirms in seat.
-Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected.
-Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which remaining seated is expected.
-Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly.
-Is often "on the go" or acts as if "driven by a motor".
-Often talks excessively.
Some of the signs of impulsivity include:
-Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed.
-Often has difficulty awaiting turn.
-Often interrupts or intrudes on others.

There are also other criteria to be considered in defining ADD and ADHD. They are 1. Some of the above symptoms were present before age 7. 2. Impairment from the symptoms is present in two or more settings, (e.g. in school as well as at home.) 3. Clear evidence exists of clinically significant impairment in social, academic, or occupational functioning. Lastly, 4. The symptoms do not occur exclusively during the course of a Pervasive Developmental Disorder, such as Schizophrenia, and are not better accounted for by another mental disorder such as a mood disorder or anxiety disorder.

Dyslexia is a language-based disorder, sometimes it is inherited, and is shown by a difficulty in single word reading. It affects many children and has been extensively studied. It is also a major source of reading failure. Although a child is unlikely to outgrow dyslexia, it can usually be successfully remediated and is identifiable early in the child’s school career. Dyslexia and ADD are not the same but may both occur in the same child. Dyslexia is a significant discrepancy that exists between intellectual ability and reading performance without and apparent physical, emotional or cultural cause. 

Studies have found common history in children with dyslexia, some of the findings are:
-Family history with reading problems.
-Predominance in males (8:1)
-An average or above average IQ and proficiency in math.
-No enjoyment of reading as a leisure activity.
-Problem of letter and word reversal.
-Developmental history of problems in coordination and left/right dominance.
-Poor visual memory for language symbols.
-Auditory language difficulties in word finding, fluency, meaning, and sequence.
-Difficulty transferring information from what is heard to what is seen and vice versa.

It has been said that at least 40% of the population has some kind of reading disorder that disrupts their ability to read. With these statistics in hand, our researchers and educators should all be aware and strive to find better ways to develop each child’s ability to learn and read.

With IDEA enacted, free public education is mandated for children with LD from birth through 21 years. Services may be in private, or public schools through a variety of programs. The most severe LD students are often served in self-contained classrooms or residential settings, while students with mild or moderate LD are usually mainstreamed in regular classrooms with a variety of additional services. Additional services may include time in a resource room, an LD teacher joining with the teacher working together, or consultation with an LD teacher who provides support, resources and ideas to the classroom teacher.
Teachers must choose approaches and materials to suit the needs of the individual child, age, severity level are two very important factors to consider. The teacher must not only set a goal of concepts to be learned but also provide an effective environment, have specific techniques and strategies that will maximize each students ability to learn in a mainstream setting. It is very unlikely that the same tools can be effective for any two student, which is a great problem for LD teachers. An IEP is a written agreement between the parents and the school about what will be done to address the special needs of the child.

In my search for information on this topic, I found many quality resources and stories to help me understand more about LD on the Internet. One of the stories I read was about a boy who had LD and it described how he was tested, and how he learned. If he tried something himself, if something was demonstrated to him or if he could read step-by-step directions, he learned, but if someone told him how to do something he didn’t learn well. His counselor and teachers worked together to make his school experience more effective by having him do as much “hands-on” learning as possible, and by having him always do something in school, he was instructed to draw pictures during lectures of what he thought the teacher was talking about. The student was, then, very successful in school.

Children with LD are all unique, as is any individual. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and some learn better with some tool, and some with others. I guess the whole lesson here is individuality, each child learns better with certain tools, and our goal as educators is to realize and utilize these tools to the best of our ability to maximize each child’s abilities.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Monday, September 25, 2017

Is Homeschooling the Right Choice

Parents have some basic choices when it comes to educating their children. Many people opt to send their children to public school while others select private education. Now there’s even a charter school option! More and more families are also choosing homeschooling as a way to educate their young people. This is a viable choice and works for many families. The question, however, is whether homeschooling is the right choice for your family.

Is Homeschooling The Right Choice?

Whether or not to homeschool is a personal decision, and no one can tell you what is best for your child. There are some factors to consider, however, when you want to make the right choice. Here are some “ifs” and “thens” to help you decide whether you should venture into homeschooling:

If you genuinely enjoy spending time with your child and want more together time, then homeschooling may be right for you. Many families lament the rushed nature of their lives. Between school, work, and extracurricular activities, it's easy to feel like ships passing in the water. If you crave more togetherness and can put other things on the backburner to spend more time with your child, homeschooling may be the right choice. If you feel a burning desire for more alone time, you may prefer another educational option. Keep in mind, however, that we all want at least some "me"; this doesn’t make you unfit as a homeschool parent.

If you can make a commitment to creating an environment that is conducive to learning, then homeschooling may be the right choice for you. When you consider homeschooling, you may imagine setting up a traditional classroom. You may plan to copy what happens in school--just at home. This may work for some people, but it is important to realize that it may not be best for your child. To help your child learn, you may have to be creative with setting your homeschool up to stimulate his or her mind and make learning enjoyable--preferably for both of you. If you will find it difficult to bend to meet your child’s educational needs and sometimes step out of your comfort zone, you may not enjoy homeschooling.

If you are resourceful, or can learn to be, then homeschooling may be the right choice for your family. As a homeschooler, there may be many times when you hear about a great book or learning program that worked wonders for another family. Gung-ho about the exciting prospects, you may rush right out to buy it, only to find that it falls flat in your home. This is where your resourcefulness comes into play. To make the most of homeschooling, you may have to research and test a variety of resources to find those that mesh well with your child’s learning style and your expectations for homeschooling. The good news here is you don't have to be a great researcher to homeschool. Homeschool parents are usually more than happy to share what they've researched and learned with others!

Always remember that homeschooling is what you make of it. If you decide it is the right choice for your family, you just have to mold it to meet your child’s needs and your family’s lifestyle.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Monday, September 18, 2017

How to Homeschool When You Have a Full-time Job

Many homeschool families have the advantage of having at least one parent home during the day to focus on teaching the kids. However, what happens when both parents (or a single parent) has a full-time job? Should you give up on the idea of homeschooling or is there a way to make it work.

How to Homeschool When You Have a Full Time Job

Quick answer: there is a way to make it work. Here are a few tips for your consideration.

Tip #1: Work Opposite Shifts as Your Spouse

This may not be possible in every situation. However, if your place of employment (or your spouse’s) offers a variety of shifts, see if there is a way to work a shift that is opposite your spouse’s. For example, if your spouse works from 9am-5pm, see if you can work an evening or night shift. That way, at least one of you is at home during the day to take over homeschool duty. This also helps you to save money since you wouldn’t have to hire a babysitter or put your kids in daycare.

Tip #2: Plan Homeschool Around Your Work Schedule

The beautiful thing about homeschool is that you don’t have to follow a particular schedule. If you want to follow the public school schedule, you can. However, you can also get your homeschool work done early in the morning, in the afternoon, at night, spaced out throughout the day, or on the weekends. The flexibility makes it easier for you to figure out a schedule. If you work during the week, you can homeschool on the weekend. If you work at night, you can homeschool during the day. Or you can split it up so that you do a little homeschool before work and after you get off. It’s totally up to you!

Tip #3: Enlist Help

If you have friends, family, or fellow homeschoolers who are willing to help out – let them! There’s nothing wrong with asking someone else to oversee a few lessons when you need to work. Or to have them babysit and just make sure your child does their work. Identify the people that you can depend on and reach out to them to ask if they would be willing to help you sometimes. Also keep in mind that people who are helping you watch your kids don’t necessarily have to teach them. You may just need someone to watch them until you can get home to do so.

Tip #4: Focus on Independent Work

Depending on your child’s age, they may be able to do quite a bit of work on their own. Determine which aspects of their lessons they need your help with and then let them work on the rest on their own. For example, they may need you to go over the basics of a lesson and then look over their work when they finish. Once you know what you need to do, you can schedule in time to get it done before or after work.

Tip #5: Hire a Tutor

If you have the funds available, hiring a tutor may be an excellent option. That way, you know that your child is getting the help they need from someone who has experience teaching. You would still need to find time to follow up with the tutor concerning your child’s progress. Even if you only hire a tutor for the more complex topics, that is still a huge help.

Tip #6: Choose a Curriculum that Fits

A big part of homeschool is finding or creating the right curriculum. When it comes to balancing homeschool with a full-time job, finding the right curriculum is even more important. I think that it would be really helpful to find a done-for-you curriculum that takes away the stress of putting together your own curriculum (especially if you already have limited time). You could also consider video and online curricula that help you to teach the material.

Tip #7: Find a More Accommodating Job

This is another option that may not work for everyone, but that I felt should be mentioned. If homeschooling your children is a true passion or calling, but your current job will make it really stressful (or impossible) to make it work, consider finding a new job. If you find a job that has a better schedule, that could go a long way towards having a more enjoyable and successful homeschool experience.
These are just a few tips for making homeschool work when you have a full-time job. It may not be easy, but it can be done. Have any questions or concerns? I’d love to hear them. Just drop a note in the comments below.

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Monday, September 11, 2017

What To Do When Your Child Wants to Quit Homeschool

Your child has told you they no longer want to homeschool. Maybe this is a new revelation. They're growing older and want to go to school with their friends. Maybe you're just starting out, and they've been resistant from the beginning.

What To Do When Your Child Wants to Quit Homeschool

When you've invested so much in your child's homeschool education, it can be frustrating when they are resistant to continue. However, these tips will help you work through any challenges and figure out what to do when your child wants to go to school.

Stay calm

Instead of becoming defensive or telling your child that public or private school is not an option, remain calm and take some time to talk about why they're feeling the way they are. Validate their feelings by repeating their thoughts back to them. ("I understand you are feeling. . .") Don't make it about you; make it about your child.

Talk about the reasons you chose to homeschool

Families choose homeschooling for a variety of reasons. Whether your reasons were for religious, academic, medical, scheduling, or social concerns, talk to your child about what drew you to homeschooling in the first place. Help them understand why you believe this was the right choice for them and your family. Allow them to state their concerns and opinions, but tell them that you also have uninterrupted time to explain your reasoning.

Socialize with other homeschool families

If your child is missing his or her friends or kids their own age at school, set up some time to take field trips or meet up with other homeschool families. Giving them a tie back to their age group can be an important link to their community even if the students they meet up with are not in school. If your area does not have a lot of families that homeschool, consider enrolling your child in a local sport or club to increase their interactions with peers.

Homeschooling is an important decision for families. Make sure your child is a part of that decision as much as possible. Talking through their fears and frustrations of homeschooling can help you make decisions regarding what to do when your child wants to go to school

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

7 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Homeschool

If you have ever been on Facebook during back-to-school season, I am sure you have seen how parents all over the nation make a big deal about their kids’ return to school. You see plenty of pictures of first-day-of school smiles, frowns, hairstyles, and outfits. You read tales of waking the kids up and getting them to school on time. It can be pretty exciting and eventful for public school kids. 

7 Ways to Celebrate the First Day of Homeschool

The first-day-of-school excitement doesn’t have to be just for public school kids. Homeschool kids can get in on the action as well.  

First-Day-Of-School Outfit

Wo doesn’t like getting a brand new outfit? I know I do! I bet your kids do as well. Treat them to a trip to the store to pick out a cute (or cool) outfit to wear on the first day of school. If you want to make it extra special, you can let them shop at a store that you don’t normally shop at. For older kids, you can give them a budget to work with and give them freedom to shop within that budget.

First-Day-of-School Pictures

Make a big deal about your kids starting a new school year by taking first-day-of-school pictures. You can do it at home with your own camera, take them to a photo studio to have them done professionally, or hire a professional photographer to do a fun photoshoot around town. Get creative and have fun! Check out these super cute back-to-school picture ideas.

Back-to-School Party

Know some other homeschoolers in the area? Why not organize a fun back-to-school party? Of course, since homeschoolers choose the day school starts, it may not fall exactly on everyone’s first day back, but I doubt the kids will care about that little detail. It can just be a fun day where they reunite with their homeschool friends that they haven’t seen all summer. Check out these fun ideas for back-to-school parties.

Field Trip

Kids love field trips. Shoot…so do adults. Why not start the school year off with a fun-filled field trip? You could even make it a big event by inviting all of your homeschool friends to join you. Some simple, yet cool, field trip ideas include going to the zoo, visiting a museum, catching a live sports event, or even just taking a trip to a park you haven’t been to in a while.

Picnic in the Park

Speaking of going to the park, another fun idea is to pack up a big, tasty lunch and head to the park for a picnic. Don’t forget to bring a few toys to play with. You could even pack up your family’s favorite board games and set up shop underneath a pavilion. Enjoy your lunch and then spend a few hours enjoying some quality time as a family. If you have local homeschool friends, invite them to bring food and games as well. The more, the merrier!

Special Breakfast

Do your kids have a favorite breakfast that you just don’t make that often? Perhaps they love red velvet pancakes and chocolate smoothies. Or maybe they love stuffed French toast and cheesy eggs. Ake the first day of homeschool extra special by starting it off with a breakfast that will put a huge smile on their faces. After all, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.

Field Day

Last, but certainly not least, you can organize a field day. In public schools, field day is typically held at the end of the school year- often the last week of school (if not the very last day of school). It’s a day filled with food, games, and overall whimsy. But homeschoolers are rebels, so I don’t see why we can’t have field day at the beginning of the school year. Get together with your homeschool friends to organize some fun games, set up a potluck lunch, and make sure the kids have something to look forward to on the first day of school.
These are just a few ideas for how to celebrate the first day of homeschool. Do you have any fun first-day-of-school traditions? Let us know in the comments below!

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Feet Preschool Lesson Plans

Does it have feet?
Talk about different kinds of animals that have feet and don't. Talk about the number of feet each animal has. What objects have feet (chair, table)?

One foot or two?
Talk about how if you are talking about one object, it is foot and more than one is feet.

Footprints (or shall I say Feet prints.. LOL)
Obtain a stamp of various different kinds of animal tracks. Show the children which is which. 

Making Footprints
Supply the children with a variety of different animal track stamps. Allow the children to create a picture using the stamps with non toxic ink pads.

Snowman Foot
Click here to see an image of this project
Paint a child's foot white. Press the foot onto a piece of blue paper. When dry add eyes, nose and mouth to the head (heel of the foot) and other features. 

Footprint fun 
On a day that the snow has just fallen, ask the children to describe the snow on the ground. The children should see that there snow is smooth, and there aren't any footprints in the snow. Have the children walk across the snow, and have them turn around and look at their footprints. Have them follow their footprints back. 

Beach Scene
You will need butcher paper, paint and a paintbrush. Paint the bottom on one child's feet. Have the child walk across the bottom half of the paper. Paint another child's feet a different color and repeat. You can probably put about 5 or 6 children on one sheet. Paint the children's hands green and have them place their hand prints at the top of the sheet with fingers outspread. The hands with be the tops of palm trees and their feet will be footprints in the sand. Draw brown trunks for the trees and glue sand to the bottom half of the page. You can have the children paint the top with a mixture of blue paint and shaving cream for a cool blue sky. 

Toy Fossil Feet
To make fossil feet, fill a paper cup half full with damp sand. Press the foot of a large plastic toy animal such as a dinosaur or lion into the sand so you can see the footprint in the sand. Pour plaster of paris into the cup and allow to dry. When dry, the fossils are ready. Peal away cup and remove most of the sand.

Fossil Feet Match
Have the children match the fossil feet to the toy used to create it.

Fossil Feet Search
Place your fossil feet into the sand table and have the children search for fossils.

Children Fossil Feet
Fill a dishpan with about three inches of damp sand. Have the child press their foot into the sand to make an impression. Pour plaster of paris into the footprint and allow to dry. Write the child's initials and date into the plaster of paris with a small pointed object. When dry, the fossils are ready. Remove from the dishpan and remove sand from print.

Follow the Footprints
Trace each child's footprints in a different color of paper. Cut out many different copies of each footprint set from each color of paper. Use contact paper to attach the footprints about the room, having a red trail of footprints, and another trail with blue, etc. Have the children follow the footprints.

Footprint Lineup
Trace your set of footprints in different colors of paper. Cut out one set of your footprint set from each color of paper. Use contact paper to attach the footprints to the floor where the children normally line up. Each child can stand on one set of footprints when lining up. 

Foot Measurement
Trace each child's right foot and write their name on their footprint. Laminate the footprints so they will last longer. Use the footprints with the following activities.

Find Two Items
Have the children take their footprints around the room. Ask them to bring back to circle time one item that is longer that their foot and one that is shorter than their foot.

Measuring With My Foot
Have the children measure a variety of different items with their footprint. How many feet across is the table? The Door?

Foot Sort
If you have used different colors to create the feet, you can place all the feet on a table and have the children sort the feet by color.

Feet Sizing
Set out four different sized foot prints. Have the children arrange the feet from small to big.

Foot Friend
Place the footprints into a bag and when you need partners have the children draw a footprint for a partner.

Ordering the Feet
Write numbers on the back of each foot. Have the children place the feet in order from 1 to...?

Footprint Fishing
Tie 3 feet of string to a wooden spoon. Attach a magnet to the end of the string. Cut and laminate many different colored, and sized footprints from construction paper. Attach a paper clip to each foot. Spread the feet shapes on the floor and let your child try to catch the fish. Have them try to catch the red foot.. or the biggest foot. 

Footprint Tips
When making footprints (or hand prints) with paint it is best to use clean feet (or hands). To make a clearer image, paint the child's feet (or hands) instead of dipping them in paint. Using an ink pad to make prints is also very effective.

Footprint Turkeys
Paint the child's foot brown and press onto a piece of paper. This will be the turkey's body. Paint the child's fingers and hand different colors, this will be the feathers. When dry cut out the foot and hand print. Affix the hand print behind the footprint. Add features such as waddle, beak eyes and feet with construction paper or pen.

Footprint Butterflies
Paint the child's foot black and press onto a piece of paper. This will be the butterfly's body. Paint the child's fingers and hands different colors, this will be the wings. When dry cut out the foot and hand print. Affix the hand print behind the footprint. Add features such as antennae and eyes.

I Wish That I Had Duck Feet 
Feet Are Not for Kicking 
Happy Feet 
Happy Hands & Feet -art projects for young childrenRain Feet 
How Many Feet in the Bed? 
The Foot Book 
How Big Is a Foot? 
Your Foot's on My Feet

Metro Detroit Mommy Blogger:

The Five Senses Preschool Lesson Plans

The Listening Walk
Fun With My 5 Senses - lesson plan book
Fuzzy Bellies
Eyes, Nose, Fingers, and Toes
My Five Senses
Preschool Projects - lesson plan book
5 Senses Early Themes
Making Sense of Art
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You ...
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Polar Bear, Polar Bear,
Toes, Ears, & Nose! A Lift-the-Flap

Books to "See", these books are filled with color
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You ...
Good Night, Sweet Butterflies
A Color of His Own
Babar's Museum of Art

Books to "Hear", these books have rhythm or come with a cd/tape.
Barnyard Dance!
Winnie-the-Pooh and Some Bees Book a...
Animal Sounds
Saturday Night at the Dinosaur Stomp...

Books to "Touch", these books have textures for the children to feel.
Fuzzy Yellow DucklingsFuzzy Fuzzy Fuzzy!
Touch and Feel
Touch and Feel Animals Box Set
Feely Bugs

Discovering Great Artists


The Artist's Art (Sight)
Most artwork relates to the way that a person interacts visually with the piece. Explore some of the famous artists, such a Jackson Pollack, Pablo Picasso, Leonardo Da Vinci and the artists of the books that you read to the children. Have the children try to imitate the art they see. The book to the left give many great examples of how to accomplish this with a variety of different age groups. It is geared for older children, but has its use in Early Childhood as well.

Any Art (Sight)
Have the children do a variety of art projects. Display the projects like they were in a gallery. Ask the children to name their art and display the name and artist on tags next to the art.

Play Dough (Sight, Touch, Smell)
Play dough is great sensory activity. Children can use tools to manipulate the dough. Add a touch of Kool-Aid to add a scent to your dough.

Texture Collages (Sight, Touch)
Provide the children with a variety of different materials to create a collage. Foil, lace, paper, cloth, string, lace, ribbon are just a few examples of materials that can be used.

Torn Paper Art (Sight, Touch)
Have your child tear many different colors of paper. Let your child glue the torn pieces of paper onto a piece of paper.

Fingerprint Art (Sight, Touch)
Supply each child with a piece of white paper and non-toxic stamp pads. Show the child how to make fingerprints on the paper, using only one finger at a time. When finished, decorate with a black pen. You can make the fingerprints into bugs, balloon, apples, etc.

Paper Plate Shaker (Sight, Touch, Sound)
Take two sturdy paper plates. (The stronger the better) Place some seeds or beans on one of the plates and place the other plate on top of the first so that both eating surface areas are facing each other. Use masking tape to seal the plates together. Have your child decorate with markers, glitter, construction paper, or ribbons. When dry, shake. Shake to music, shake it each time you take a step. Shake, Shake Shake!!!

Kool Aid Art (Sight, Smell)
Sprinkle a little dry kool aid mix onto a piece of paper. Have your child spray water from a spray bottle onto the paper. Use different colored kool-aid mix. For added adventure, you may choose to take your children out into the rain with a piece of paper that has kool-aid on it.

Cotton Ball Clouds (Sight, Touch)
Make gray cloud shapes from construction paper. Have the children glue on cotton balls.

Cereal Rainbows (Sight, Taste, Touch, Smell)
You will need a box of Fruit Loops (or similar cereal), paper, pencil and glue. For younger children, you should draw a rainbow shape on to the paper then have the children glue the fruit loops inside the shape. Older children can make their own rainbow shape, or trace it. You may also do this project as open ended art by allowing the children to make whatever they wish with the fruit loops. Okay, for the taste part, most children will want to eat the cereal while working, provide the children with 2 bowls of cereal, one for the art, and one to eat.

Paint with Clouds (Sight, Touch)
Supply each child with a piece of blue paper, a cotton ball and white paint. Have the child dip the cotton ball into the white paint and press onto the paper to make cloud prints.

Shaving Cream Art (Sight, Touch, Smell)
Add a few drops of paint to shaving cream. Have the children use this to paint with. Not mixing the paint in will give it a special look.

Rubbings (Sight, Touch)
Cut a variety of shapes from paper doilys or sandpaper. Tape these shapes to the table. Have the children place a piece of thin white paper over the shapes and rub a crayon over the shape.

Rainbow Eggshell Collage (Sight, Touch)
Use food coloring to color crushed eggshells a few different colors. (You can use eggshells from eggs you have used, there is no need to hard boil these egg shells.) Let your child glue the eggshells to a piece a paper after the dye has dried.

Cookie Cutter Painting (Sight)
Put a small amount of tempera paint in a large shallow container. (A pie tin works well) Show your child how to dip the cookie cutter in the paint and press onto a piece of paper to create a print.

Stencil Art (Sight)
Provide the children with stencils to trace. They may use markers, glitter, paint, crayons.. etc to decorate the shapes.

Sticker Art (Sight, Touch)
For a very simple art project, supply the children with a piece of paper and stickers. For younger children this provides an excellent fine motor activity.

Sponge Print (Sight, Touch)
You can find already shaped sponges at most art and craft stores or you can make your own. Have your child dip the sponges into paint and press on a piece of paper.

Potato Prints (Sight, Touch)
Cut a large potato in half from the top to bottom, so it's a really long oval. Supply the children with the potato half, different colored paints, and paper. Have the children dip the potatoes in the paint and press them firmly onto the paper. If the potatoes are not cut evenly, the shape will not appear clearly.

Balloon Prints (Sight, Touch)
In a pie tin, place 3 to 5 teaspoon sized portions of colored tempera paint evenly spaced about the area. Inflate a small balloon to a size which will easily fit in the palm of your child's hand. Show your child how to "dip" the balloon in the paint and press firmly onto a piece of paper. Let your child mix the colors, or use one color at a time. This is messy, but the results are wonderful.

Bubble Art (Sight, Touch)
Supply the children with a bowl with bubble mix in it and a straw with a hole near the top to prevent children from sucking the soap up. Have the children blow into the straw while it is in the bowl creating bubbles. Then, have the child place a drop of food coloring on the top of the bubbles and quickly press a piece of paper on the top of the bubbles to create bubble prints.

Leaf Rubbings (Sight, Touch, Sound)
Have the child place a leaf under a piece of paper, and rub the paper with crayon, and the leaf shape will appear. This works much better with green leaves. Listen to the sound it makes.

Bells (Sight, Sound) 
You will need yarn, a pencil, craft bells, Styrofoam cups and decorating materials. Have the children decorate their cup. Cut a piece of yarn, no longer than the height of the cup. Tie the yarn to the bell. Then poke a small hole on the bottom of the cup. Thread the yarn through the hole so the bell is inside the cup. Tie the yarn in a knot (or a couple of knots) so it will not come loose. Now you have a bell.

Bell Rings (Sight, Sound)
You will need to make these for the children. Older children can do the threading. Simply thread craft bells onto a small piece of elastic, long enough to fit around your children's ankle or wrist. Then sew the two ends together. These can be used for group time dancing, songs and games.

Pudding Finger Paint (Sight, Taste, Smell, Touch)
Mix instant pudding according to the directions and paint on wax paper. Great for children who like to eat their art

Corn on Cob (Sight, Touch)
Allow the children to use a cob of corn to paint a picture. You may also use an ear of corn and have the children roll the corn in paint and then on a piece of paper. Another variation includes removing some of the corn from an ear of corn and roll the corn in paint and roll it on a piece of paper.

Games and Activities

Pumpkin Science (Sight, Taste, Touch, Smell)
What is inside a pumpkin? Let the children explore the insides of a pumpkin. It's a great sensory experience. Save the pumpkin seeds from a pumpkin. Boil 2 cups seeds in 1 quart water with 2 tbs salt for 10 minutes. Drain the seeds and toss them in 1 tbsp of butter. Spread the seeds on a baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes. Stir frequently.

What's in the Sock? (Sight, Touch, Sound) 
Find a very colorful sock. Place something in the sock, like a block, or a toy. Let the child feel the object and try to guess what it is.

What scent is this? (Smell) 
Gather four or more different objects with different scents, like vanilla, mint, lemon, popcorn. Blindfold the child, then place the object close the the child's nose, and ask the child to smell it and try to identify what it is.

What Taste is this? (Taste) 
Gather four or more different food objects with different tastes, Skittles can be used. Blindfold the child, then ask the child to taste the food, and ask the child to taste it and try to identify what it is. [Note: some children may have allergies or diet restrictions, please keep these in mind when choosing items for children to taste. Peanuts products, strawberries and meat products are ones that you should avoid.

Wet or Dry (Touch)
Have the children touch a variety of different fabrics that are wet (with water) and dry. Have the children guess whether they are wet or dry.

Milky Rainbows: (Sight)
Provide every child with a shallow container of milk. Place a couple drops of different food coloring in the milk. Next have the child dip a toothpick into a little dish soap and then dip it into the milk. What happens? Try it again!

Looking at the world through different colored glasses: (Sight)
Obtain different colored cellophane wrap and many toilet paper rolls. Apply a square of the cellophane wrap to the end of the toilet paper roll and secure with a rubber band or masking tape. Each child should have one. Have the children look through the tube to see what everything looks like. Have them trade with a friend. You could also have five of these set up in your science area for the children to use, or bind two of the same color for binoculars.

Goop (Touch)
Mix 2 cups water with a little food coloring, add 6 cups of cornflour/cornstarch to make goop.

Sand and Water Table Ideas: (All, except taste)
- Add a little food coloring to water
- Add plastic ducks with water to the sand and water table.
- For older children (over 3) place broken dried eggshells in the sand and water table.
- Supply the children with different colors of plastic Easter grass for a tactile experience.
- Add food coloring and soap to the water
- supply the children with colored pasta noodles or rice
- Add Shaving cream
- Add ice or snow to water
- Add ice or snow
- Add warm water in one section and cool water in another
- Add leaves
- Add beans
- Add dirt
- Add feathers
- Add Pine Cones
- Add a little kool aid to the water
- Add goop

Nature Sounds (Sound)
Obtain a nature sounds tape. Ask the children what makes the sounds. You may also find ones that have animal sounds on them.

Popcorn (All)
Make popcorn for the children. (Popcorn is a choking hazard, it is not recommended for children under the age of 3, for older children, direct supervision is required.) Before popping, look at the popcorn. While popping, listen and smell. If possible, use a popper that allows the children to view the popping corn, while also maintaining a safe environment. When done popping, look at the popcorn again. Have the children feel the warmth. Allow to cool. Finally, the best part, have the children taste the popcorn.

Flowers (Sight, Touch, Smell)
Provide the children with a variety of flowers to smell and touch.

Bell Balancing: Ages 3+ (Sight, Sound, Touch)
Supply the children with bells and a balance. Show the children how to make the balance even. Count the bells on each side.

Bell ringing: Ages 3+ (Sight, Sound, Touch)
Supply the children with many different bells. What different sounds do they make. How are the sounds different.

Bell ringing 2: Ages 3+ (Sight, Sound Touch)
Supply the children with pairs of bells. Mix them up. See if they can find their matches by the sound.

Bell Ring Song (Sound)
Supply each child with a bell ring. (Instructions on how to make bell rings in art section.) 
Sing this song and follow the directions: 
Sung to Frere Jacques 
Ring your bells, 
Ring your bells, 
Shake them left and right, 
Shake them hard and light, 
Ring them loud, 
Ring them soft. 

Ring your bells, 
Ring your bells,
Shake them up and down, 
Shake them all around,
Ring them loud, 
Ring them soft.

Bells on Shoes (Sound)
Younger children will enjoy this activity. You can thread craft bell onto the shoelaces of your children. Then have your children walk around, dance, or stomp.

Bell Ring Game (Sound)
Instructions on how to make bell rings in art section. Played like Doggie Doggie Where's your Bone? With a twist. Older children will have a hard time keeping the bells quiet, and it will give younger children the advantage of hearing the bells. This is how the game is played. The teacher picks one child to sit in the middle and be the Doggie. Then the other children sit in a circle around the Doggie. The teacher picks one child to hold the bells (bone) behind their back, and all the children sit with their hands behind their back. Say the Chant: 
Doggie, Doggie, 
Where's your bone? 
Somebody took it from it's home, 
Upstairs, downstairs, by the telephone, 
Wake up doggie, Find your bone.
The Doggie picks up to three people that he/she believes has the bells. One at a time, as picked, the children show their hands. If they pick the right child they "win". Regardless the child with the "bone" become the next Doggie, and the old Doggie pick who will get the bells next.

Another Bell Game (Sound)
Bell relay race. Have a relay race where the first player had a bell ring on each wrist and ankle (four total). They run to the next person, and they have to take off all the bells and put them on the next person. (variation: only one person of the two may touch the bells).

Snow Cones (All)
You will need a snow cone machine and the recommended ingredients. For the one I have, I need ice and snow cone syrup. Have the children look at the ice before you put it in the machine. While you grind the ice, have the children listen to the sound it makes. After the ice is made, have the children look at the ice again. You could add some of this ice in the sand and water table for the children to feel. Make snow cones for the children. Have the children smell the snow cones, does the ice have a scent? Does the syrup? Then have the children eat the snow cones. How does it taste?

Sound Jars
Obtain many film or prescription bottles. (Both are great items to get from parents.) Place matching objects in two containers. I.e. a penny, rice, a pair of dice, pasta, etc. If using film containers, seal the lids with hot glue or super glue. If using prescription containers, cover the bottles with colored contact paper. This Montessori based activity would normally be introduced to the children in the following manner: without speaking, the teacher picks up one of the containers and shakes it. Then the teacher will pick another bottle and shakes it. Then the teacher shakes the first again. The teacher will shake the bottles and compare them until it is determined if they are a match, if they are not a match, the teacher would shake his/her head "no" and set the second bottle aside, and continue by picking up another bottle and shaking it, comparing it again to the first bottle. When a match is found, the teacher shakes his/her head "yes" and places the two bottles aside, next to each other. Then continues by picking another bottle and try to find its match until all of the matches are found. The child is invited to help when prompted by the teacher, with a shoulder shrug, or by the teacher initiating the child to pick a bottle, etc.

Do any art Project.
View any art project.
Look at pictures in a book.
Find objects in the room that are red, blue etc.
Play "I spy"

Compare and contrast flavors.
Try different flavors of Kool Aid. Graph which one each child likes the best.
Blindfold the children for a taste test.
Try different kinds of foods.

Provide different objects in the sand and water table. (See Above)
Allow children to touch different fabrics, materials and textures. 
Read a book that has different textures on the pages, like "Feely Bugs.
Work with play dough, goop, shaving cream etc.

Provide the children with a variety of different things to smell.
Have children try to guess what they are smelling.

Play Music
Read Books
Explore the sounds animals make
Can we be loud, soft? Can we make our voices high, low?
Tap the table with your hands
Play an instrument.Sight:

Talk about the colors all around us. You could play "I spy" or have the children all search for an item that is a specific color and bring it back. 
Colors evoke feelings. How does a certain color make you feel? Which is your favorite? Make a graph of the children's favorite color. For many more ideas, visit our page about colors.

Talk about all the shapes around us. Blocks, traffic signs, flags, cups, bowls, etc. See if the children can find the different shapes in the class such as a circle, square, and so on. For more ideas, visit our page about shapes.

Compare the sizes of various objects in the room, such as blocks, cups, dolls, even the children. Who is the tallest? Who is the shortest? Develop the children's concept of big, small, tall, short, wide, narrow, thick, thin, tiny, huge. Have the children come up with as many words as they can to describe size. Create a list of those words for a word wall. 

Talk about how an object looks. Develop words that describe an objects texture such as rough, smooth, shiny, dull, clear, etc. Have the children come up with as many words as they can to describe texture. Create a list of those words for a word wall. Provide the children with many objects that have different textures to see and feel. 

Talk about the various prepositions that identify where and object is, over, under, below, above, beside, etc. A great book for this is is "Inside, Outside, Upside Down". Have the children use blocks to demonstrate a variety of words. Have the children come up with as many words as they can to describe position. Create a list of those words for a word wall. 

Magnifying Fun
Provide the children with a magnifying glass and a variety of objects such as coins, leaves, bugs, etc. For added interest, create a fingerprint card for each child with their finger prints and their name. The children can look at the fingerprints with the magnifying glass. You could make another set of cards without the names (or put the names on the back) then have the children try to match the fingerprints. 

My Voice: 

Allow the children the opportunity to tape their own voice and listen to it. There are many different devices that will record a few seconds and play back. 

Sounds of the World:
Record a variety of sounds such as running water, the microwave beeping, an alarm clock, traffic on a busy street, popcorn popping, a light switch being turned off and on. Play the sounds and have the children guess what sound it is.

Repeat the Rhythm:
Tap out a simple rhythm and have the children repeat it back to you. Alternatively, you can clap the rhythm or use musical instruments.

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