Archive for the ‘Discovery Baskets’ Category

Preschool Family Reading Night, Part II: Discovery Baskets

April 8, 2010

A few weeks ago, I hosted our second Family Reading Night this year for my daughter’s preschool.  I’m always amazed and excited at the number of families that attend.  The Parent Association, which I’m a contributing member of, is hosting Spring Fling in a few weeks.  This is a day when families can come together, enjoy a picnic lunch, a petting zoo, and spring related arts and crafts.  Knowing this was coming up, I chose to make the theme of reading night related to spring.  So, families enjoyed “Discovering Baskets of Hands-On Fun” with a spring theme.  It was a night of building background knowledge to help prepare students for Spring Fling.

I created Discovery Baskets using six sub-themes of spring.  Baskets included the following themes:

  • Caterpillars/Butterflies
  • Baby Chicks
  • Animal Babies
  • Gardening
  • Kites
  • Birds

Each basket had several fiction and informational texts for parents to read aloud with their children and a hands-on craft or activity.  Students had fun creating butterflies out of coffee filters, making baby chicks out of pom-poms, sorting and matching animal babies and their mothers, sorting packets of seeds, creating flowers out of cupcake papers, making kites, and creating their very own bird nest out of playdoh and twigs.  It was a fun night!

Children and Parents Create Chicks

Children Sort and Match Animals and Their Mothers

A Cupcake Paper Flower

Would you like to create a Family Reading Night for your child’s preschool, but don’t know where to begin?  Check out Links to Literacy for more information!

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.

Discover Hands-On Learning

February 11, 2010

My kids are interested in Presidents (particularly my 3 year old right now) and with President’s Day around the corner, I thought it was a great time to have a little fun with Presidents.  The Blizzard of 2010 hit the DC metro area with a vengeance and left just under 3 feet of snow in its wake.  Reminds me of the Blizzard of 2003, when my son was born, but that’s a story for another day. . . and I’m thankful I’m not pregnant this time around!  He was born on President’s Day that year, and so learning about Presidents while we are snowed in, just seems to fit!

I like to put together Discovery baskets to help build my kids’ background knowledge about topics.  Discovery baskets are baskets (buckets, tubs, etc.) that are filled with items that provide a hands-on experience and books related to a topic.  My 3 year old wanted to learn more about Abraham Lincoln, so I filled our Discovery Basket with two pictures of the Lincoln Memorial, a picture of his family’s log cabin, a few pennies, and some Lincoln logs.  Then we explored.

After exploration, we discussed what we knew about Abraham Lincoln (he’s on the penny) and what was new to us (he lived in a log cabin – what’s a log cabin?).  Then, I read aloud Abe’s Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln by Jen Bryant about Abe Lincoln’s childhood.  I chose this book because I tied it into another activity after we read.  My daughter enjoyed the book, but it is probably more appropriate for the 5 and up crowd.

I tied in an activity I found on No Time for Flashcards – a fishing game.  Abe Lincoln goes fishing in the story to catch dinner for his family.  Allie created the fishing game to practice fishing for letters.  My daughter knows her letters already, so I changed it a bit. . . we went fishing for letter pairs.  She had to match the upper case letter with the lower case letter – we are still working on recognizing lower case letters.  I think this game can be adapted to sight words as well.

This seems like a lot for a three year old, but we did all of this in about twenty minutes.  She has a little more knowledge of Abraham Lincoln and we spent some quality time just talking and reading.  Sometimes, that’s all we need. . .

Other books to consider:

A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln (Picture Book Biography) by David A. Adler

Mr. Lincoln’s Whiskers by Karen B. Winnick

Abe Lincoln’s Hat (Step into Reading, Step 3) by Martha Brenner

**Note: Typically, I include a mixture of nonfiction and fiction books in my Discovery Baskets, but I wanted to keep this activity short and focused.**

©2010 by Dawn Little for Literacy Toolbox. All Rights Reserved.  All Amazon links are affiliate links and may result in my receiving a small commission. This is at no additional cost to you.