Sunday, May 31, 2015

Spring Garden Sensory Bin

I don't know about you but I have a bit of spring fever and have gotten into the gardening and planting mood. Oh wait, you thought I was referring to my own personal garden?! No way! I'm talking about my educational play garden. Not only are sensory bins a fun tactile way for kids to play and learn, they can be used with any kind of toys/manipulatives you have laying around.

I filled a plastic shoe box sized bin with dried black beans (about 4 bags). I then added plastic fruits and veggies from Target (see below). I felt like I hit the jackpot with this purchase! It came with 2 cutting boards and 2 knives. Win!

My children had a BLAST with this one! We worked on verbs (digging, finding, hiding, cutting, etc), labeling, following directions ("Give me the __"), 'wh' question comprehension ("What is the orange, crunchy vegetables bunnies eat?"), yes/no questions, and categorizing.

I paired this activity with "The Fruits We Eat" to provide additional reinforcement to work on vocabulary. We used one of the last pages as a reference the help identify whether or not a selected item was a fruit.

**Edit: I found a great book that targets vegetables called "Our Community Garden". My kids loved learning about all the different veggies that can be grown in their own garden.

What else can I do with the bin you ask? How does planting flowers sound!? I couldn't really find any cool plastic flowers in the store, so I decided to make my own out of pipe cleaners (thank you YouTube!)

My "bouquet" 
I made the flowers in an assortment of colors (pink, red, blue, and orange). Add a toy shovel and planters and you're all set for some gardening!

Kids have so much fun using the shovel to dig the "dirt" into the planters.

 With this activity, skills such as requesting ("I want the red flower"), sentence expansion, 'wh' question comprehension, following directions, yes/no questions, can all be targeted.

Do you use sensory bins in your sessions? What materials do you use?

I didn't want to make a separate post, so I'll just let you in on a secret I've been hiding. I'm pregnant! Hubby and I are so excited to be expecting a sweet baby girl this August. If I end up MIA again, you'll know why :) Please find the obligatory bump pic below:

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Learning to Read is a Ball {Review and Giveaway}

"What can I do to help my child improve their language skills?" This is a common question I hear regularly, especially now that I'm working with preschoolers. Although it may not be a mystery to us in the field, many parents (and other professionals) do not know how or what to do with their little ones when it comes to literacy.

Kimberly Scanlon's book, "Learning to Read is a Ball" is just the type of resource for those who are looking to work on important language skills but are unsure of how to do so.

In this simply illustrated book, you will find a 28-page picture book accompanied by a 17-page parent guide that covers techniques to develop oral language, strategies to improve vocabulary using synonyms and antonyms, methods of increasing print awareness and much more!

One of my favorite illustrations from the book.

Undoubtedly, children will find the illustrations and story line of "Learning to Read is a Ball" captivating. However, I believe the parent guide is the most valuable portion of this book. Not only will it provide strategies and tips to use with "Learning to Read is a Ball", but it also serves as a great jumping-off point for a host of other books!

The parent guide is a handy resource for parents and professional alike

Bottom line, I will definitely be recommending this book to the preschool families I work with. "Learning to Read is a Ball", can also serve as a lovely parting gift for many of my students who are transitioning to kindergarten.

So now that I've gushed over this wonderful book, you're probably interested in getting your hands on it! Lucky for you Kimberly was kind enough to provide a copy for me to giveaway. Enter below with Rafflecopter.

Please note that comments will ONLY appear once I've reviewed and approved them (prevents postings from spam-bots). If your comment doesn't appear immediately, wait a few hours. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure Statement: I was provided a copy of this app by the developer. No other compensation was provided. This review includes solely my opinions.

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