Thursday, March 19, 2015

Easter Sensory Bin with Learning Activities

Easter sensory bin with learning activities

Time to change out the sensory bin from March to April. Since we are doing a full-on regarding holidays this year, since the bigs are heading off to kindergarten in the fall, Easter is the theme.

I wanted to use birdseed as our fill-n-pour, but the girls insisted that we use the red/white/blue rice.

There are many learning activities available with this sensory bin.

What's in it?
1 egg carton
18 plastic eggs*
18 colored feathers
1 set of egg dying baskets*
1 package of small/medium/large colored pom poms*
3 bunny plastic eggs*
1 package pink/green/blue styrofoam glitter eggs*
8 chick plastic eggs*
1 package Easter erasers*
crimped paper shreds
colored rice
*From the dollar store

Additional: tools, baskets, containers

Easter plastic egg matching

Easter sensory bin color matching pom poms

Easter sensory bin chick find the egg

The Learning Games

Number Matching 1-18:
At the bottom of the 18 egg carton, I wrote the numbers in colored Sharpie. The colors give a visual clue of the color of the egg for those children less skilled. For the more advanced, they usually grab an egg then look for a number, often disregarding the color coordination. 

Color Matching - Eggs:
For children who don't know their numbers, the egg carton can be used a simple color matching game with the color of the written number to the color of the eggs.

Color Matching - Feathers:
18 colored feathers are included in the bin, allowing for the same color matching activity, but with feathers.

Easter sensory bin feather color matching

Which Chick Has the Egg?
One child places a small egg into a chick and puts it back into the "nest." The other child[ren] take turns picking out a chick by number, and looking inside to see if that the one. If not, the chick gets closed and replaced and another turn is taken until the egg is found. Works prediction and number recognition 1-8.

Color Sorting Bunny Tails:
Sorting the pom pom "bunny tails" into the egg dying cups. These cups aren't that sturdy, so I've wrapped them in packing tape this year to see if they hold up. If not, I'll be buying small metal buckets for this activity in the future. They count how many are in each cup after sorting. Since they can't usually find all of them, or appropriate them, at every session, the quantities should change every time. 

Easter sensory bin pom pom color matching and fine motor

The feathers can be sorted into the cups as well, but there are only 3 feathers of each color on purpose for the egg carton, and there isn't an orange cup in this set. So sorting the feathers in this cup set has limited value.

Sorting Bunny Tails by Size:
These bunny plastic eggs came as a set of 3. It works, as the pom poms came in small/medium/large and this is a good observation, logic/reasoning, and fine motor activity. They fill up the bunny bottoms then count how many were in each one as they take them back out. A good volume measurement introduction as well.

Easter sensory bin size sorting and fine motor

Bunny Color Sorting:
These styrofoam eggs only come in the blue/pink/green, so sorting them in the bunnies works. Again, counting how many once done.

This set of Easter erasers just happens to have two of each style. Perfect for a simple matching game.

Easter sensory bin eraser matching

When I introduce the new sensory bin, I let them go at it for a while, then I introduce the learning games that I don't see them incorporating into their play. I simply do them while we play, and they pick up on any they are interested in and developmentally ready to perform.

They also make baskets, do fill-n-pour and have fun.

Easter sensory bin making Easter baskets

You may also be interested in our Spring Sensory Bin.

Follow Connie -'s board Easter Theme on Pinterest.
Tags: daycare, child care, preschool, pre-k, sensory, sensory bin, math, early math, science, gross motor, fine motor, homeschooling, kids, child, Easter, holiday, spring, egg, eggs, theme, curriculum, unit

Monday, March 2, 2015

Dynamic and Interactive Math Worksheets - Preschool/Early Elementary

dynamic and interactive preschool early elementary worksheets

Worksheets are not developmentally appropriate for children until around age 8. The key word being DEVELOPMENTALLY. Some children, like my current pre-k's, are developmentally advanced. Once we've gone through the first two levels of instructions, and we need to "take it small," then worksheets become a necessity.

That does not mean that they need to be boring, stagnant and one-dimensional. They can be fully engaging.

Once the children have a concept down, they need the ability to play with it in their own time. These worksheets are FREE CHOICE activities. The children can grab one at will and do it at their own pace. If they only want to do one or two problems, then they can place the unfinished worksheet in their work drawer to come back to later.

If they have difficulty, as with all of our endeavors, they have to try to come up with a work-around before bringing the problem to me. At their disposal for these math worksheets they can utilize an abacus, number line, manipulatives, 100's chart, or a peer tutor.

I have to limit how many worksheets the pre-k's can do in a day. Why? Because they are dynamic and interactive - fun. Every time they do one, it changes. They have no idea what the next draw will be. It's a little mystery, a little adventure, a little magic. Everyone likes surprises, and especially children. 

It is their choice to do the activity. They make the choices of cards, dominos, or how to roll the die, but chance determines the equations. Everything is within their realm of control and self-direction. Empowered learning.

Below is more information on the six worksheets we are using. The instructions sound much more mature than for this age group. Remember that the children already KNOW how to do these, so these instructions are for your information, not a child's instruction. Demonstration always works better than verbal instruction for the children.


This is the first one we utilize.  Since it is the first, I included a writing key at the bottom. If they need a key on the other worksheets, they just grab one of these for reference, because this is evidently easier than turning around and looking at the one on the wall, or pulling the one from the busy bag bin.

  • Roll the die and write down the first number.
  • Roll the die and write down the second number.
  • If the second number is SMALLER than the first, then you have the choice to add OR subtract.
  • If the second number is LARGER than the first, then you have to add.
  • Write the function in the circle.
  • Complete the equation and write the answer.
  • Roll the die and write down the next number.
  • Continue.


These kiddos have this one down, so I'm revising a new one that will be used with a 10 or 12 sided die. I will also be doing some for skip counting.

  • Roll the die and write down the first number.
  • Roll the die and write down the second number.
  • If the second number is SMALLER than the first, then you have the choice to add OR subtract.
  • If the second number is LARGER than the first, then you have to add.
  • Write the function in the circle. 
  • Place a dot on the number line relevant to the first number.
  • Write the number of leaps relevant to the second number in the correct direction.
  • Complete the equation and write the answer.

domino addition worksheet preschool early elementary

This can also be changed up for multiplication.

  • Pick a domino.
  • Draw the domino in the boxes.
  • Write the numbers that correspond to the domino amount.
  • Complete the equation and write the answer.

This uses only cards ace through 9. I like the aspect of A=l. Good algebra initiation. The first time they did this, I asked what the answer was to the equation, something like what is 59-37. Miss A looked at me like I was insane and said, "We can't do THAT!" Then I showed them that she just had on her worksheet and they were amazed.

  • Choose 2 cards.
  • Place the highest card above the lowest card.
  • Choose 2 more cards.
  • Place the highest card above the lowest card next to the previous set.
  • Write in the numbers as they are on the cards.
  • Subtract. Write in the answer.

graphing worksheet preschool early elementary

Since the children aren't allowed to throw inside, this is a special treat and very popular. I have a set of the soft insertable dice. I took one to use for this activity. This week it is has colors on each side. Next week will be shapes. The next, possibly words that go with our theme, or names of the students. Each week will be different to keep that dynamic aspect going and the interest high.

I could just have all 6 dice out with different things on them, but that takes away from the wonder and anticipation. I could also have a die for each of them, but there is also an element of limited resources being valued more highly than plenty that also keeps the interest higher.

This is by far their favorite. The discussion, prediction, and analysis they engage in between themselves and me as they go through this one is just awesome. "Oh, wow, now ORANGE is winning!" "Hey, now I have a four tie between green, blue, yellow and PINK!"

  • Referencing the die, mark in your legend on the bottom row of the graph.
  • Answer question 1.
  • Roll the die, marking the appropriate box until one column is filled.
  • Answer the rest of the questions.

hundreds chart preschool early elementary

The stated task of this worksheet is skip counting. However, it works odd/even identification, multiplication, one-to-one correspondence counting, number identification, logic/reasoning skills, addition & subtraction...

I have them work on our red=odd, STOP you can not divide evenly; and even=green, GO you can divide evenly.

  • Roll a die to see what the skip count will be.
  • Choose a random number as the starting number.
  • Skip count forward and backward from that number.
  • If you land on an odd number, color that square red.
  • If you land on an even number, color that square green.
We can also use the 100 Chart for other math activities, games and mystery pictures.

One of the wonderful things about a mixed age group, is how much the little ones learn through observation, asking questions, and listening to the older children discuss what they are doing.

A parent asked why I don't just laminate these. I may.

But these are new, BIG concepts and skills. I don't want these worksheets to become just another busy bag or time filler. 

I don't believe in flash cards. These children are performing their addition and subtraction facts multiple times a day, through CHOICE and what they consider to be PLAY. 

The retention of those facts is amazing, because it is meaningful to them.

They are identifying mathematical patterns and concepts on their own through exploration, rather than through instruction.

The children do not have to complete a worksheet. If they do not, it goes into their work drawer for later and they have to complete that one before getting another. I think it is important that they build this work ethic. Laminated sheets do not instill this continuity of performance.

Once a sheet is finished, they get to take it home. I also think that being able to retain their work and show it to others is an important aspect of taking pride in their work and accomplishments. The feedback and encouragement will support their continued efforts and self-esteem. 

If you don't want to spend the time making your own worksheets, I have this set available in my TPT store for $1.00.
Tags: homeschool, homeschooling, unschooling, independent learning, preschool, elementary, math, multiplication, addition, subtraction, graphing, child care, daycare, pre-k, child, care,