Wednesday, December 2, 2020


In person, online, or any other way, don't let the Covid Grinch steal your fun this month.

Sight Words
Each day let children write a high frequency word on a strip of paper and glue the ends to make a link in a chain. They can practice reading over previous words each day as they add a new word and link.

*Adapt for younger children by letting them add a letter or number each day.  Older children could write spelling words or vocabulary words.

Snowman Math 
Give children the outline of a snowman similar to the one shown. They can take buttons or other manipulatives and place sets in the top two sections. Join them together in the bottom circle to make the sum. Ask students to write the equation.

*Give children a certain number of buttons. How many different combinations can the make on the snowman to come up with the same sum?

Descriptive Writing 
Fold 2 sheets of paper in half and staple to make a book for each child. Children think of a title for their books and add their name as author and illustrator. Have them write and complete the following statements on each page:

(My holiday) smells like…
(My holiday) looks like…
(My holiday) sounds like…
(My holiday) feels like…
(My holiday) tastes like…

*For younger children run off the sentences and let them dictate sentences.

Preposition Elf 
Hide an elf or similar seasonal toy in a different place in the room every day. Encourage children to use complete sentences as they describe where the elf is.
*Let children take turns hiding the toy and calling on friends to describe its location.

Read, Read, Fast as You Can! You Can Do It! We Know You Can!

I saw this delightful bulletin board several years ago. What an engaging way to get children to read sight words!

Give children long pieces of paper so they can make a time line of the “Gingerbread Man.” (I cut my strips from grocery sacks.)
*Read several versions of the “Gingerbread Man” and compare and contrast

Tuesday, December 1, 2020


Jingle Bell Club (Kitty Allen)
Kids get to sign their name as members of the “Jingle Bell Club” when they learn to tie their shoes. They also get a jingle bell on a ribbon to tie on their shoe laces.

Holiday Brain Breaks (Sharon Smith)
Have the children stand and in place and

Melt like a snowman…
Waddle like a penguin…
Twinkle like a Christmas tree…
Prance like a reindeer…
Laugh like Santa...
Smile like an elf...

*Adapt for different seasons and themes.

Let's Go on a Santa Hunt
Sara Lensing adapted these words for the "Santa Hunt" from “The Cool Bear Hunt.”

Santa Hunt
Get out your backpacks.
Open ‘em up.
Let’s put in some cookies for Santa and his reindeer.
And, let’s put in a thermos of milk in case he gets thirsty.
Oh. and don’t forget your Christmas lights in case it gets dark.
Zip ‘em up and repeat after me.
(Children repeat each line.)
We’re gonna find Santa (March and slap thighs.)
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly (Extend arms.)
And a long, white beard. (Pull down from chin.)
Look over there! (Point.)
It’s a Candy Cane Forest!
Can’t go over it. (Arms over head.)
Can’t go under. (Arms down low.)
Can’t go around it. (Circle arms.)
I guess we’ll go through it. (Open palms and shrug shoulders.)
Slurp, slurp, slurp! (Pretend to suck on candy cane.)

We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a hot chocolate river.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll swim across it. (Stroke arms as if swimming.)

We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s a gingerbread house!
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Yum, yum, yum! (Pretend to eat gingerbread.)

We’re gonna find Santa
Before Christmas day.
He has a big, round belly
And a long, white beard.
Look over there!
It’s Santa’s workshop.
Can’t go over it.
Can’t go under.
Can’t go around it.
I guess we’ll go through it.
Shhh! (Finger over lips.)
Get out your Christmas lights. (Pretend to get out lights.)
Turn them on – click.
Let’s set out the cookies and milk.
I see a big, round belly.
And a long, white beard!
It’s Santa!
He-he-he! We can’t let him see us!
Tip toe! (Tiptoe.)
Quick! Go through the gingerbread house! Yum, yum, yum,!
Swim across the hot chocolate river!
Go through the Candy Cane Forest! Slurp, slurp, slurp!
Go home.
Open the door.
Shut the door.
We found Santa. 
Merry Christmas to all!

Note! Each year I buy some inexpensive canvas and let me grandchildren paint a holiday picture. We date these and they are my favorite decorations. Some day when they get married I will pass the "gallery" on to them.

Monday, November 30, 2020


Here's a video where you can watch me demonstrate all of these holiday activities:

Match and Memory
Materials: stickers or gift cards, heavy paper cut in 3 1/2” squares

Attach 2 of each different sticker to the squares. Younger children can use these as a matching game.

Older children can play a memory game with these by place them face down and turning over two at a time.

Fit Like a Puzzle
Materials: puzzle and frame, marker

Write an uppercase letter on each puzzle piece and a lowercase letter on the shape in the frame. As children match up letters they will complete the puzzle.

*Use for math facts, synonyms, number words, and other skills.

Foam Letters

Materials: gift bag, foam letters, paper, pencils

Place foam letters in the gift bag. Children draw a letter, write the letter, and then draw something or write a word that starts with that sound.

*Hide the letters in the classroom for children to find. Can they get with a friend and make a word with their letters?

Silly Glasses

Materials: silly glasses, paper, pencil, clipboard

Children walk around the room and write words they can read.

*Can they find a word for each letter of the alphabet?

*For a partner project let one child wear the glasses. The friend takes a pointer and points to words for their friend to read.Book Presents (Danielle Underwood)

Book Presents
Wrap holiday books up like presents. Randomly choose a name out of a popsicle tin and let that child unwrap the present. After reading the book, display it for the children to look at during free time.

Sunday, November 29, 2020


You can keep those little hands busy with these simple materials.

Cookie Cutters
Materials: cookie cutters, pencils, scrap paper, scissors
Directions:  Children trace around the cookie cutters on scrap paper and then cut out with the scissors. 

* Children can hole punch and then use the shapes to make ornaments or a necklace.

Paper Plate Sewing Cards
Materials: holiday plates, hole punch, yarn
Directions:  Punch holes around the outside of the plates. Let children “sew” yarn through the holes.

*You can also make sewing cards out of old greeting cards.

Play Dough Writing
Materials:  play dough, golf tee
Directions:  Let children make a pancake with the play dough and then write with a golf tee. This will strengthen those little fingers as they practice writing letters, numbers, shapes, words, etc.

Materials:  jingle bells, pipe cleaners, yarn
Directions:  String bells on pipe cleaners and string to make jewelry.

Gifts for the Birds
Materials: pipe cleaners, cereal with holes
Directions:  Let children string cereal on pipe cleaners. Twist the ends to make a circle and hang outside for the birds.

Cut It Out
Materials: catalogs and advertisements
Directions:  Put catalogs, coupons, advertisements, etc. in a center with scissors, glue, and paper.
*Children can cut out objects they would like to “get or give” and glue them on a paper.

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Saturday, November 28, 2020


A package of pompoms, bows, erasers and other small items and you are set for MERRY MATH and hands-on learning.

Check out this Facebook Live video where I demonstrate these projects:

                                                      Watch the video

Ask children to sort the pompoms. What was their sorting rule? Can they sort them another way?

Use the pompoms for making patterns.

Have children estimate the number of each type and then verify by counting.

Math Mat
Children place the correct amount on the trees.

Match Dot Cards
Pompoms are a perfect one-to-one activity for younger children.

Materials: stamp set
Stamp a pattern, stamp out math facts, or stamp a set.

Roll of the Dice
Materials: foam dice
Roll them, count them, add them, or let children make up their own games with the dice.

Friday, November 27, 2020


It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!  Yes, it is!  We all need some JOY and HAPPINESS!  Over the next few days I'll show you some fun learning activities you can create from inexpensive materials.  They can easily be adapted for home or classroom use.  I know that some schools don't allow "holidays," so I tried to focus on a WINTER theme as much as possible.  I mean, who can object to winter?  

This is a Facebook Live video I did several years ago where I demonstrate these projects:



Napkin Books

Materials: holiday napkins, paper, stapler
Cut paper the size of the napkin. Insert 4-6 sheets of paper in the napkin and staple at the top as shown. Place these in the writing center for creative writing.

Note! The front of the napkin could also be used as a story prompt.

Sticker Story

Materials: holiday stickers, paper, pencils, pens
Let children choose a sticker and put it in the middle of a sheet of paper. Challenge them to write a poem or story or draw a picture around the sticker.

Giving Book
Materials: paper, rubber band, seasonal pencil, advertisements and catalogs, scissors, glue
Fold 3 sheets of paper in half. Punch 2 holes about 2 ½” down on the crease side as shown. Insert a rubber band in one hole and slide one end of the pencil through the loop. Slide the other end of the pencil through the other loop. Let children draw or cut out pictures of items they would like to GIVE to family members and friends.

Holiday Card Center

Materials: paper, pencil, envelopes, markers, crayons, stickers, scrap paper, etc.
Place the writing materials in a tub. Make a seasonal picture dictionary similar to the one shown. Add a class directory with students’ names and photos. Teach children how to fold a sheet of paper into fourths to make a basic card. Invite them to make holiday cards for family members and friends.

Note! You could also ask them to make cards for school helpers and volunteers.

Letters to Santa

Some of you may not be able to do this, but an open center where children could write letters to Santa might get them excited about writing.

Note! There are several free templates for these letters on the internet.

Thursday, November 26, 2020







Wednesday, November 25, 2020


Just stop and think for one minute. Do you realize that for some child you are the BEST thing that happens to them every day? Thanks for all you do!


by Jean Feldman

Whether you are large or small, rich or poor –
Come to me.

Whether your skin is brown or beige, gold or tan –
Come to me.

I’ll embrace you and love you and cherish you –
Come to me.

I’ll play with you and make you laugh –
Come to me.

I’ll kiss your hurts and keep you safe –
Come to me.

I’ll give you happy memories and dreams for tomorrow -
Come to me.

I’ll share the wonder of learning and the joy of each day –
Come to me.

I’ll take time to listen to you and try to understand you –
Come to me.

I’ll cheer you, encourage you, and believe in you –
Come to me.

I’ll never give up. I’ll try and try. I’m an early childhood teacher.
Come to me!




Tuesday, November 24, 2020


 I know you've been doing a lot of that so far this year!  

Thanks for not giving up and for loving those children!

We say “I CAN” in our country because we are AmeriCANS, not AmeriCAN’Ts.

Don’t let anybody take your JOY today!

Never, ever, ever give up!  Miracles happen every day!

P.S.  Here's a link to a video Hannah Severson shared.  Her nephews love construction and tools so she captured their interest with this project:

Monday, November 23, 2020


As Thanksgiving Day approaches, I just want to say THANK YOU to all of you!

Some of my favorite thoughts for you today!

All children are gifted – some just open their presents a little later than others.


Dance like no one is watching!  Teach like no one is watching!


We can’t all be stars, but we can all twinkle!


Teachers plant shade trees under which they’ll never sit.


Teachers who love teaching make children who love learning.

All children are wonderful.  You don’t have to be perfect to be wonderful.  

(Fortunately, you don’t have to be perfect to be a wonderful teacher either.)



Sunday, November 22, 2020


Do you need a few more ideas to get through this holiday week?

This idea is old as the hills, but it will be new to the children in your classroom. Have children place their hand on a sheet of paper extending all the fingers. Trace. Children turn the thumb into the head of the turkey and color the other fingers to look like feathers. Add legs, and there’s your turkey! You can also do this with paint. Paint brown paint on the child’s palm, red on the thumb, and a different color on each finger. Press firmly on a sheet of paper. Add legs and other details.

Turkey Glyph
What a fun math project for a small group of a center. Each child will need a cut out of a turkey's body. Provide them with paper feathers in the following colors. Children can add feathers to their turkey according to the foods they plan to eat for their Thanksgiving Dinner:

green – beans or peas
yellow – corn
white - mashed potatoes
orange – pumpkin pie
red – cranberries
purple – gravy
blue – dressing
brown – turkey
black – roll

*Challenge children to identify what their friends will eat from their turkeys.

Mr. Turkey and Mr. Duck
Mr. Turkey went for (Start with hands behind your back.)
A walk one day (Bring right thumb out in front of you.)
In the very best
Of weather.
He met Mr. Duck (Bring left thumb out in front.)
Along the way
And they talked (Have thumbs look at each other.)
“Gobble, gobble, gobble.” (Wiggle right thumb.)
“Quack, quack, quack.” (Wiggle left thumb.)
“Good-bye.” (Bow right thumb.)
“Good-bye.” (Bow left thumb.)
And they both walked back! (Wiggle thumbs behind your back.)

Gobble, Gobble
Gobble, gobble. (Teacher says.)
Who is that? (Children respond.)
Mr. Turkey (Children and teacher say together.)
Big and fat!

He is big and fat and he (Spread arms wide.)
Gobble, gobble, gobbles. (Wiggle from side to side with hands on hips.)
He spreads his tail and he (Fan arms behind you.)
Gobble, gobble, gobbles. (Wiggle from side to side with hands on hips.)
But when Thanksgiving Day is here, (Point finger.)
Then it’s our turn to
GOBBLE! GOBBLE! GOBBLE! (Pretend to spoon food in your mouth!)