Dr. Seuss activities, games, crafts, lesson plans for preschool learning centers

The Cat in the Hat doffs his cap on March 2, to honor the 117th birthday of his creator Ted Geisel, better known as the beloved Dr. Seuss. To celebrate Seuss, the NEA (National Education Association) hosts "Read Across America." March is also National Reading Month and a perfect time to explore Dr. Seuss. Here are a hatful of literature-based activities to extend reading in preschool learning centers.

 Dr. Seuss is right at home in the book or library learning center. Fill your book corner with Seuss books. Emergent readers will love the pictures. Scatter some comfy pillows and any Seuss character toys. If you're like me and not into licensed characters, gather generic stuffed animals with Seussian theme: from Horton Hears a Who: elephants (Horton), birds (Daisy-headed Maisie), monkeys (Wickersham brothers), kangaroo and joey, turtles (Yertle), moose (Thidwick), cats (in silly hats), dogs (Max from the Grinch). From The Lorax; swans, bears, fish. Throw a Seuss story party (details to follow in my next post). 

For a Dr. Seuss art center, display his books: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back, Bartholomew and the Oobleck, How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Each day of Read Across America week, create Seuss-inspired artwork. Paint some of his crazy creatures at easels with brightly colored paints. Model creatures in clay or playdough. Create silly Seuss sculptures by poking recycled materials in Styrofoam blocks. But don't just model...create your own! 

To teach Dr. Seuss at the collage center, make Seuss toys from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas." Put out oddly shaped cardboard containers, egg cartons, aluminum foil and cans, plastic containers and colored fabric scraps. Students can design their own version of a Whoville Jing Tingler, Flu Flooper, Tar Tinkers, Who Hoover or Who Carnio Flunx. Make silly hats like Bartholomew Cubbins' 500! 

Bringing Dr. Seuss to music learning centers, is as easy as cut, glue, decorate! Using ideas from "How the Grinch Stole Christmas", make homemade Seuss-ical instruments. Create noise-makers like the Grinch's hated Gar Ginkers Trum Tupers Slu Slumkers Blum Bloopers Who Wompers and Zu Zitter Carzays. Encourage students to give their musical instruments silly sounding names. 

Dr. Seuss fits perfectly in dramatic play or dress up learning centers. Have students design masks of Seuss characters: Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose, Horton the elephant, Yertle the Turtle, Maisie the bird, the Wickersham monkeys, the Kangaroo and her joey.  Let children create their own Seuss creatures. Encourage kids to perform a Dr. Seuss parade like the one in his first book "And to Think I Saw It On Mulberry Street." Dress in homemade Seuss costumes, play musical instruments and show off homemade toys.

Dr. Seuss finds a play in science learning centers, using Lorax inspired life lessons. The Lorax deals with environmentalism and respect for biomes and animals on the planet. Set up an experiment on decomposition and pollution. Place different pieces of trash in zippered bags with a little water. Monitor them over time to show students how slowly trash decomposes. Students could also tend "truffula seeds" (use any flower seeds, sunflower, cosmos or daisy). Explore the food chain and animal species and habitats using these free printable habitat dioramas from First-Palette. Make Oobleck mixing liquid laundry starch and white school glue.

To teach a Dr. Seuss practical life area, use "The Cat in the Hat", "Green Eggs and Ham" and "Horton Hears a Who." These books deal with caring for others, preparing food and house cleaning. Do a Cat in the Hat tidy up relay race. Cook green eggs and ham. Care for an insect or goldfish.

Supplement with these free printable Dr. Seuss activities from Rock Your Homeschool. These are just a few of the Dr. Seuss activities to inspire a love of learning and reading in preschoolers. 

Cardboard castle craft project for social studies, medieval history, book-based activities

Here's a craft project that can be used for anything from home, to classroom to youth theater: a cardboard castle. Make it grand enough to grace a stage or simple enough to stow in the closet for children's rainy day fun. Create one for preschool learning centers or high school history projects. This castle project makes a perfect complement to medieval social studies units. It can be a book-based literature response activity or book report alternative.

To start, make cardboard castle walls. Cut open two large, recycled cardboard refrigerator boxes. Tape two boxes together to make an octagon castle "keep." Cut cardboard castle battlements. Castle walls had a series of crenelations and merlons (squared edge thingys) along the top. Here are free printable patterns for medieval crafts and castle design ideas. Cut cardboard castle keep windows: Draw a four-pane window and cut openings.

Decorate recycled cardboard castle. Draw in bricks and a medieval family crest. Cut a drawbridge opening in the side of cardboard castle. Attach yarn to both sides of to lower and raise drawbridge. Cut holes in the top to tie drawbridge closed when the royal inhabitants aren't receiving company. Place blue blankets around the outside for the castle moat. Fill with stuffed animal dragons, fish, alligators and other aquatic creatures.

Make flags for cardboard castle. Royals had ancient family crests that symbolized their clan. These were placed on banners flown when the family was in residence. Banners were carried standards into battles. Have kids design their royal family crest. Here are free printable heraldry stencils for medieval crafts for kids. Make banners on squares of fabric cut from old bed sheets or towels. Draw or paint crest using permanent marker or fabric paint.

Make secret entrances for your recycled cardboard castle. Line chairs up to make a crawl-through tunnel entrance into castle. Drape sheets, blankets and bed linens over tunnel. Establish a
dungeon. Make a parapet (walkway) by placing several chairs or a bench along the inside edge of the castle. Soldiers keep lookout here and send prisoners to sit under the chairs in the dungeon sit under bench. Fashion a turret. Put a collapsible net laundry hamper upside down on a
chair inside the castle. Children crawl into hamper and onto chair to look out of the turret.

Free printable Holocaust Remembrance Day activities for Jews and non-Jews

January 27 is International Holocaust Remembrance Day says the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. On this day, Allied forces in WWII liberated the Jewish concentration camps at Auschwitz and Birkenau. As the world mourns, it's time also for ora et labora--prayer and work--to end antisemitism, bigotry, discrimination and persecution. How? By looking to children, the hope for the future.

Visit a Holocaust museum. Yad Vashem (Jerusalem), one of the Martyrdom Museums at preserved concentration camps, USHMM in Washington DC., the Holocaust Memorial Center in Farmington Hill, Mich.

Use Holocaust lesson plans to teach about pogroms, Hitler's Final Solution, Goebels' anti-Semitic propaganda campaign, concentration camps, ghettos, ethnic cleansing and atrocities wreaked on the Jews (and others deemed "undesirable) by Hitler and the Nazi party.

Share stories. Most children probably didn't know anyone in the concentration camps. But they can write about how they would feel if it happened to them. Use Torah Tots Holocaust remembrance page for younger children. Evaluate the maturity of children.

Raise awareness. Talk about why a Holocaust Memorial was defaced. Observe Yom Hashoah, Jewish Holocaust Memorial Day in April. Use graphics like this poster Midnight East as a writing prompt about how survivors would feel.

Read books and watch movies on the Holocaust: Life is Beautiful, The Hiding Place, Schindler's List, Number the Stars, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, Night, The Book Thief, I am David, Sarah's Key. Use discretion as these are horrifyingly real, and too much even for adults. .

Visit a cemetery. Look for a Star of David to denote a Jewish grave. Place a rock ( a Hebrew memorial). Place flowers on any grave if you can't find one. A tribute to one is a tribute to all. Or plant a tree as a sign of life.

Free printable Thanksgiving activities, booklets, worksheets, lesson plans

Thanksgiving Day is October 12 in Canada and the third Thursday in November in the U.S. Here are free printable Thanksgiving booklets and fall themed activities and lesson plans for Thanksgiving Day. These activities explore pilgrim settlements, early American and Canadian exploration, Acadian settlements and western history. Activities cover native Americans, tribes in Canada and their interactions with Europeans. There are also coloring pages of turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, fall and autumn crafts and more. Teach children that Thanksgiving isn't just eating. It's about gratitude for blessings. Make Thanksgiving crafts and send as greeting cards to shut-ins.
U Create is mom blog that provides this free printable Thanksgiving booklet. It contains word games, word searches, puzzles, crossword and tic-tac-toe games based on Thanksgiving vocabulary. Homeschoolers and teachers, use for homework! Homeschooled Kids has free printable Thanksgiving activity booklets. There are lots of crafts, greeting cards, games, recipes to accompany it. You'll find enough for a complete Thanksgiving party guide.
Go to Enchanted Learning scads of free printable Thanksgiving mini-booklets. Activities cover a spectrum of Thanksgiving topics and learning connections: math, writing, spelling, reading, counting, social studies, science and more. Print maps, charts, diagrams, crafts, games and puzzles, too. DL-TK has a printable preschool Thanksgiving theme booklet. Use these activities to keep bored kids productively occupied in holiday preparations! Use for homeschool, rainy days, sick kids stuck and home, homework or just for fun!

Free printable Halloween lesson plans, activities for Fall themed units

Halloween is creeping up and children of all ages, even the young at heart are getting ready for the fun. In many schools, activities are planned around Halloween. Educators know that when children enjoy something and have fun with a lesson, they learn better. Here are free printable Halloween activities for school classrooms, homeschool or scout troop. Use with old folks in nursing homes or anyone who needs some Halloween printables.

Count down the days to Trick or Treat with dozens of free printable Halloween activities, coloring pages and crafts from Making Friends.com. Print free craft projects for all sorts themes. Making Friends has a really holiday activities, coloring pages, cut and paste, paper dolls, Trick or treat wrappers, worksheets, Halloween puzzles and mazes. Print word searches, crossword puzzles and word games, perfect for Halloween language arts lessons. Print Halloween card games, flash cards, dioramas, masks and pumpkin carving patterns and stencils.

Here free printable Halloween lesson plans, worksheets, games, coloring pages, activities and puzzles. Use for Trick or Treat themed math, reading, writing, literature, science, language, social studies and crafts. All Free Printables has free Halloween crafts, greeting cards, party invitations, decorations, cut-outs, coloring pages, masks, party invitations, name tags, treat bags, pumpkin cut-outs, book marks, picture frames and lots more. Puzzlemaker lets you create templates for printable Halloween worksheets, puzzles, mazes, jigsaws, dot to dot, Soduku, crosswords and activities galore.

Print Activities is another mega site for all your school and family activity printing needs. Look for units, printable worksheets and lessons focused around Halloween and trick-or-treat. Disney Family offers a plethora of free printable Halloween Disney activities, crafts and coloring pages. Coolest Holiday Parties has free printable Halloween party supplies. You'll find cards, invitations, treat and punch bowl printables, banners, place cards, name tags, wall hangings for a ghoulish party.

Homemade American history games for Labor Day, Memorial Day, Flag Day, 4th of July, Veterans Day lesson plans

Here's homemade fun for Labor Day, Memorial Day or 4th of July. Host a red white and blue backyard waterpark. Set up 10 activity stations and play American patriotic outdoor games. Party guests, young and old can play, but make a safe zone for those who want to stay dry. Guests should wear bathing suits or play inside in a pool. You can also make up dry versions of games.

Uncle Sam Sponge Toss. For this station, you will need a lawn chair, three large, soft clean sponges, a bucket of water and an Uncle Sam Hat (paint an old hat red, white and blue). Players take turns sitting in the 'hot seat' with the hat on. Players get to toss three wet sponges at "Uncle Sam." The object is to knock his hat off.

All American Splash Ball: Fill a bucket with water balloons. Divide players into teams of two. Players take turns lobbing balloons at each other and trying to hit with tennis or badminton racket, Nerf bat or recycled cardboard paper towel tube. Players should name presidents as they throw.

Memorial Day Bash Ball: Fill a bucket with water balloons. Give each player a butterfly net, colander, sieve or plastic butter tub. Balloons are tossed and caught without touching, as in "Hot Potato." Make it more difficult by introducing several balloons into play at once. Or make players name states and capitals as they play.

Stars and Stripes Shooting Arcade: Paint red and blue stars on white plastic containers of assorted sizes. Thoroughly rinse recycled squirt bottles and fill with water. As in a carnival water shooting gallery, players try to knock down as many bottles as possible in a limited time. Or place a waterproof map on wall and have kids aims for certain states. Winner gets to squirt the person of his choice.

Lady Liberty relay. Players take turns donning basic Lady Liberty costume (dress, crown, torch, book) as fast as they can and performing tasks.

Lady Liberty spritzer. One players dresses as Lady Liberty is blindfolded and gets a hose to spray with. Kids try to get past her, taking one step at a time, like Marco Polo.

Labor Day limbo: Hold hose up like limbo bar. Drop in lower and lower as players try to go under without getting wet. Or use a regular limbo pole. Each time, they must name a famous American.

Fireworks Sprinkler Golf: Make clubs from recycled wrapping paper tubes and balls from wadded up recycled paper or Styrofoam. Set up a small nine hole golf course, putting one hole in the middle of the sprinkler and another in the wading pool. You can also make a huge US map golf course with holes in each state.

Old Glory Obstacle Course: Arrange baby wading pools or shallow pans of water, colored red and blue in an obstacle course. Players must complete tasks like "hop on one foot to blue" or "crawl through red." Along with physical tasks students must name famous events in US history.

Patriotic Apple Bob: Fill a wading pool with apples and water. Winner gets an apple pie for the grand prize.

Award prizes for trash pick up. Be sure to collect all balloons.

Valentine candy hearts cookie recipe, math lesson, craft, preschool counting games

Looking for ways to use up leftover valentine candy hearts? Here's a cute Valentine craft and snack that teaches math using Valentine's Day Necco Sweetheart conversation hearts. They're an edible flashcards to help children practice counting and other mathematics skills.

Counting Hearts Cookies

You'll need 55 candy hearts per child and a roll of sugar cookie dough (enough for 10 cookies per child). Let children slice their dough logs into circles. This provides fine motor practice and eye-hand coordination. Talk about shapes as they cut; discuss geometry, circles, cylinders. Have children think of other round and tube-shaped objects. Make a list. Children can write it down in math journals or illustrate later.

Next have children divide candies per circle. Place 1-10 candy hearts per cookie, so each cookie has a different number of hearts. Count as you go. You might have to spread the 10-heart cookie thinner to get them all on.
When baked, use cookies as flashcards. Play counting and adding games. Say "show me three hearts." Or how many is "two hearts plus five hearts?" Let kids eat number cookies on the hour. Eat the 1 cookie at 1 pm, 2 at 2 pm. You can use these Valentine counting heart cookies in any number of ways.

For more free educational activities visit my blog Free Lesson Plans 4U. For specifically preschool lesson plans visit Preschool Child Activities. For more leftover use-up recipes, visit Great Food 4U.

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