Drawing Blueprints

Provide rulers, pencils and light blue paper. Have the children use the rulers to draw a house on their paper. Older children can use the ruler to measure the walls, roof, etc and write the measurements on the blueprint.


draws simple shapes

Floor Maps

Provide masking tape, toy cars and toy buildings (or small blocks). Give each child a car and have them sit on the floor in a large circle. In the middle, tape down a few buildings or blocks. Have each child use their tape to make a road to one of the buildings so that they can drive their cars there. Add more buildings and continue making roads.


demonstrates positional knowledge

Shape Boats

Cut half circles, triangles, rectangles, and squares from different colors of construction paper. Give each child a piece of blue paper and have them use the shapes to make a boat on their page. Allow them to choose as many shapes as they need and place them where they want. Children's pictures do not and should not have to be identical! As they work talk to them about the shapes they are using and have them name the shapes. Also talk about where they are placing the shapes in relation to other pieces already glued down. Use positional words like over, under, beside, etc. Children who finish early can use crayons or markers to finish their picture with water, fish, sky, clouds, etc.


puts shapes together to make pictures

Money Patterns

Begin a pattern with play money such as quarter, nickle, quarter, nickle. Have each child take a turn adding one coin to the pattern to continue it. Then give each child a collection of coins. Build a pattern in front of you and have the children copy that pattern with their own coins. Next give each child a chance to build a pattern for the other children to copy.


copies and continues patterns

Paper Airplanes

Provide LOTS of paper for children to practice folding paper airplanes. Show them how to fold a very easy one, then have them come up with their own. One that anyone can fly is folded like this: (1)fold an 8x10 page in half long-ways (2)fold each of the corners of one end back to either side to form a point in the front. (3)fold the sides down on either side, press them flat and then fold back up halfway for the wings. Be sure to hang some type of target so that the children will have something to practice flying their plays at.


folds paper

Play Dough Bakery

Prepare a simple play dough recipe ahead of time. Provide each child with a small amount of play dough, a rolling pin or round cylinder block, and many different types of baking tools such as spatulas, pans, cookie cutters, etc. You can also provide glitter, sequins, candles, etc. to enhance their creations. Suggest that they create a birthday cake, muffins, cookies, etc.


rolls and manipulates dough

uses tools

Tooth Paint

Cut tooth shapes from manila colored construction paper. Provide real toothbrushes and toothpaste (or use white paint instead of toothpaste) and have the children brush their tooth cutout until it is all white, simulating brushing a dirty tooth and making it clean and white.


holds and uses tools correctly

Baseball Glove Lacing

Children should do as much of this activity as they can on their own. Be ready to help children who may not be as developed as older children. First trace around each child's hand giving the fingers about 1/2 inch extra spacing so that they are 'chubby'. Cut out two of these from brown construction paper. Holding the two pieces together, punch holes around the edges. Provide plastic needles and yarn for stitching the two pieces together, leaving an opening at the bottom to get their hand in. You can have them glue a white circle in the center for a ball as though the glove is catching it.



cuts with scissors


Car Roads

Provide masking tape and toy cars in a large floor area near the blocks. Have the children work together using the tape to make roads for their cars. Use small blocks to create schools, houses, grocery stores, etc. for each child to build a road to. Have them figure out if they need new roads by started at their own homes and trying to get to different places around town. For subsequent groups you could either pull up the tape and start over or you could start with the last group's creating and let the next group tear down roads they don't need before they start to build and add on.


coordinates hand movements

Magnet Car Maze

Draw a simple maze on a piece of paper cut to fit into a shallow water table. Adhere different vehicle stickers to both sides of large paper clips. Place a paper clip with a vehicle sticker on the maze at one end and use a magnet wand under the water table to move the clip around the maze. You can draw different buildings on different parts of the maze such as a burning building for the firetruck paperclip to go to, or a hospital for the ambulance paper clip to go to. Leave this in the discovery area after small groups is over for free play.


manipulates small objects

controls an object without watching their hands

Pipe Cleaner Construction

Cut straws into different lengths. Cut pipe cleaners into 1 inch sections. Connect two straws together using a pipe cleaner to join them. You can bend the pipe cleaners any way you want to create angles. You can join three straws at one corner by putting two pipe cleaners in the end of one straw and putting one straw on the ends of each pipe cleaner. Provide lots of colors and pieces for the children to experiment with.


makes observations


Travel Collage

Provide scissors and old magazines. Have children flip through the magazines and find different types of transportation to cut out. Glue the pictures onto a large poster board to make a travel collage. For children who are inexperienced with cutting, have them find a picture, then draw a circle around the object with a wide tip marker. Then they can cut out the picture on the line instead of trying to cut out the object itself.


cuts with scissors

Hair Cutting Pot

Tape 15-20 strands of yarn together at one end. Push this end into the hole in the bottom of a clay flower pot and set the flower pot upside down on a table so that the free ends of the yarn hang over the edge as hair. Draw a face on the pot and have the children take turns giving the pot a 'haircut'. You can give each child 4 hairs to cut or go around letting each child cut one hair at a time until the hair cut it finished. Prepare many yarn bundles for each group. Place this in the discovery area when small group time is over.


cuts with scissors

Police Badges

Cut out badge shapes from cardboard. Give each child a foil square and have them place a badge shape on the square and wrap the square around the badge. It's okay if the foil doesn't cover the back, just tape the foil in place to hold. On the front of the badge have each child write their name with a permanent marker. You can also add a unique number to the badges by helping the children figure out their birth month number and the number of the day they were born and writing them as one number. For example, if you were born on July 9 your number would be 79, 7th month and 9th day. Have them write their number on their badge. They can wear their badges by placing a rolled piece of masking tape on the back and sticking it to their shirt.


takes care of own property

knows name and birth date

Job Life-size Paper Dolls

Have one child from each group lay on a large piece of butcher roll paper. Trace around their bodies -- you don't need the head. Have each group decide on a job and work together to decorate one body shape with uniform and tools for that job. Fold down the paper doll at the neck and take a picture of each child "wearing" it. If you tape it to their clothes they won't have to hold it and their hands won't show. Turn this into a week-long project by giving each child their own body shape to decorate.


expresses own interests

makes informed choices

Water Hoses

Provide small tubing in the block center. Encourage children to build buildings and use the hose to pretend to put out fires.


engages in role play
makes believe with objects

'When I Grow Up' Picture

Give each child a paper and crayons to draw a picture of themselves doing the job they want to have when they grow up. Be ready to offer suggestions for things to draw. For example, if they want to be a dentist you could suggest that they draw the chair, toothbrushes, the light, a mask on their face, etc. Encourage them to help each other know what to draw too.


shows respect for others

responds positively to differences between self and others

Three Little Pigs Home Building

Each group should spend a little time trying to build with straw (use real straw or plastic straws), sticks (use sticks from outside or use craft sticks) and bricks (use table blocks or Legos). After they build each one use a fan to try to blow their house down. Talk about why each house did or did not work and why the pigs may have chosen what they did.


examines situations from another perspective

Nuts and Bolts Patterns

Provide a collection of different sized nuts and bolts (you can include washers, nails, etc for older children to make the patterns more difficult). Start a pattern and have each child around the table add the next piece in the pattern. Then have them copy a pattern that you make. If there is time allow the children to create their own patterns for others to copy.


recognizes and reproduces simple patterns of concrete objects

Train Car Ordering

Cut out simple train cars from paper. Write numerals on them. Children take turns selecting a train that goes next as you work as a group putting them in numerical order.


sequences numbers

Money Sort

Provide a collection of real or play coins. Take turns choosing a coin and placing it in a pile of like coins. Compare the coins and talk about what is the same and what is different about different valued coins as well as coins that have the same values but that are made differently (like the new coins).


sorts by attributes
sees similarities and differences

Lock and Key Match

Buy 4-6 lock and key sets. Mark each key with a different color tape. Have the children take turns selecting a lock and trying one of the keys in it. If it fits have them open the lock. Otherwise have the next child choose a lock to try. Encourage them to help each other by reminding each other which keys they have tried.


uses tools for experimenting
experiments with cause and effect

Wheel Science

Provide different types of toy vehicles with and without wheels. Encourage children to experiment with ramps to see which vehicle goes down the fastest and talk about why.



experiments with cause and effect