Classification is both a math and science skill. The ability to classify objects also develops organizational skills which are helpful for writing and general “life” organization.
This activity is super simple to pull together. Simply gather a variety of beads (or buttons, cereal, rocks, beans…) in a baggie. For my kindergartener, I wouldn’t add more than 50 objects to the bag. Supply your child with small containers in which to sort the objects. You will likely need to help him understand how to define attributes in order to begin sorting.
For example, in the top right photo: I said, “Eli, some of your beads are round and some are not. Do you think you could separate the beads into groups to show which ones are round and which are not?” Because Eli has done classification activities before, he chose to sort the beads into four groups.
round like a ball
rounded, but flat
not pointed and not round
In the bottom left photo: I poured all the beads back into the bag and said, “Can you think of another way to sort the beads?” He decided on:
(Not that I necessarily agreed with his perception of dark, light and medium. Everything’s a process, you know.)
In the bottom right photo: I poured all the beads back into the bag and asked him if he could think of one more way to sort the beads. He was stumped. I said, “Hmmm…I can see through some of these beads, can you?” From that, he sorted the beads into three groups.
beads you can see through
beads you can see through with glitter on them
beads you cannot see through
An activity that is quick, easy and develops an important skill – joy! I have done a bazillion sorting/classifying activities with my little ones. Sometimes I’ve even been able to tie literature into the lesson – always a plus! Oh, and attribute blocks are great for learning to sort, too!
Notebooking with kindergarteners?? Isn’t that asking too much?
No way…especially when it comes from authentic, meaningful experiences!
We own a modest microscope and some simple prepared slides that made for a wonderful science notebooking lesson last week. Just having these things sitting out was enough to spark an interest that lasted nearly an hour.
Eli began the lesson by simply exploring the slides and how to work the microscope. He kept telling me, “Mom, you’ve gotta come here and see this!” Over and over again as each new slide came into focus he would say the same thing with such excitement in his voice.
I asked if he would like to draw some pictures of the magnified images to put in his nature notebook, which he thought was a great idea. Notice, I didn’t say he HAD to draw pictures for his nature notebook. I could have, of course, but with little people, the real learning usually best takes place when something like notebooking isn’t forced.
Slide after slide, Eli grabbed a new piece of paper. After looking at his specimen carefully three of four times, he would run to the art shelf to grab just the right crayon, marker or pencil. After several more peeks into the microscope, a drawing of each slide would emerge. I was amazed at how much his drawings actually looked like what he had observed on the slides!
I let him work to his heart’s content. With each new drawing, I was called over with, “Look, Mom, does this one look like the slide, too?” And, because he wanted to remember what he had drawn, I helped him label and date each of his pages.
A little freedom, interesting materials just waiting to be touched, and gentle suggestions. Man, what our children will take off and do when given the chance. (By the way, we never got around to the reading and math workbooks that day. I don’t think it mattered, do you?)
Eli is almost three! We’ve had such a good time keeping him busy this semester. Well, good time might not always describe what it was like keeping him busy! Here are just a few pictures of the little man who can frequently be heard saying, “I wanna do pwekool!”
Making “painted” cookies with Mahayla.
We pulled out the beans a lot! He loves to scoop, bury things and fill up all the wagons on his little tractors.
Mahayla is a super preschool teacher! She came up with the idea to make little cards with body parts written on them. She would read the body part and ask Eli to tape the card to the right spot on her! LOL He LOVED it!
The Dollar Tree is a great place for finding simple things to keep him busy. Several masterpieces were created with bottles of mini glitter glue.
Foam stickers from the Dollar Tree are probably his most favorite thing to use right now.
Yep, that’s a real hammer and nail. Why not – as long as we’re supervising?
I’m going to make his “pwekool” time a little more structured this coming semester. Not anything academic, but more purposeful and planned out – so I’m not rushing around like crazy trying to find something to keep him from drawing all over the big kids’ math!
The time has come to keep the toddler busy during school. I’ve always had to keep him occupied, of course, but now I’m finding the need for an arsenal of ideas so that school can flow smoothly. Well, as smoothly as school can flow with a toddler in the house.
Here are some of the things I’ve prepared.
A bookshelf full of books just for him. Board books, hardcovers and softcovers. Almost all of it living literature because there’s no sense in even reading twaddle to a toddler!
A CD player with preschool-friendly CD’s in the schoolroom.
Toddler activity bags and boxes ready to go at a moment’s notice. I’ve stashed them on a high shelf so he doesn’t have access to them. It’s partly to keep the activities fresh and partly to keep him from destroying them!
For the moment, imaginative toys are placed around the room in “centers”, but I’m sure they’ll all be jumbled in one big mess before the first week of the new school year is over with. What sorts of imaginative centers could you put together for a two year old? All kinds!
Easy dress up – hats, big shoes without heels, big shirts, old Halloween costumes
A toy barn with lots of animals and tractors (or any Little People set)
Toddler-safe art supplies are at the ready. He doesn’t have free access to these – he gets to help choose the supplies he wants and has to stay at his toddler table in the schoolroom. Some of our supplies include:
You might be surprised that many little ones can handle computer related games and apps! Watch for Wii games or iPod/iPhone apps for toddlers and preschoolers. Some computer-based games, both CD-based and free online, for preschoolers include:
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