Virtual Preschool Day 1

Today I have a fun Sensory Activity. Banana Playdough.  It is fun to play with and smells like banana bread — and you can eat it!
Our Science Activity is also our Art Activity.  Baked Cotton Balls.  The outside will be crunchy and the inside is soft white cotton.  You can make designs and sculptures on the foil before you bake them.  After they are baked you can use a small hammer to smash them, toss them in the air, break them with your hands or just play with them.   You can add scent to them before they bake if you wish.
Large Motor Activity.   With the weather taking a turn toward rain I thought I would add a few inside large motor activities this week.  This one can also be a counting / Math Activity as well as Fine Motor Skills.   Take two laundry baskets and fill one with items ( sorted sock balls that they have help roll in balls You can talk about what makes them the same / different.  Talk about texture, size, color, shape.  You can also use balls, wadded up newspaper, small items like cars, animals, etc).  Have a race with the “car” laundry basket to the other “car” laundry basket.  Move the items to the second one.  Time how long it took.  Race the empty one back and start again with “car #2”. Variations:  Two children?  Just race the full baskets next to each other.Don’t want them running because you don’t have a lot of space?  Crawl on your knees, sit on your bottom and push backwards with your back against the laundry basket.  There are many ways a child can move without it being a run.
Only have one laundry basket?  Using tongs, or a spoon, to pick up small items that have been distributed on the floor and put them in the laundry basket.
Make a race course and move the “cars” on the the course.Throw the sock balls and play basket ball.  Set the basket on it’s side and play a version of soccer.Kids like laundry baskets – and boxes.  See where they go with this project once you give them the materials.  They will come up with some ideas!

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After you take the frozen ice out of you containers you can explore with the cold ice blocks on the table.  Watch as it glides across the table, look at it with a magnifying glass, shine light through the ice, touch it and see what happens to the ice as it melts from the heat of your hand.  After you have explored the frozen water set the ice block on a cookie sheet with sides or a shallow pan.  Using table salt or coarse salt – or both – sprinkle the ice with salt.  Let the salt sit for awhile and watch as it ‘eats’ away at the ice.  Shine a flashlight through the ice, use the magnifying glasses again and look at the new shapes made by the salt.

Add color to the ice sculptures and watch as the color makes its way through the crevices created by the salt.If you want to make a permanent reminder of this experiment use paper or paper towel to make an imprint of the colors on your ice sculpture.


This is an idea sent in by Colleen, Mom of Finn (Bears class)
Does your child like to excavate and dig in the dirt?  Give them a block of ice with a toy or some kind of “treasure”  frozen inside.  Let them figure out how to get it out.  Chip away with a spoon, some kind of wooden or metal  tool, a small toy hammer and chisel.  Ask if they can think of another way to get the toy out.  Look at the toy with a magnifying glass and with light shining through it.  Make shadows …. Explore!


This is a fun art project and by adding a small drop of watercolors to a squiggle of salt, you can demonstrate capillary action. This is the property of liquids that allows them to move in small spaces without external help. The same principle is shown when water “spreads out” on a paper towel, or a flower in colored water takes on the color of the water. The water colors aren’t only a science lesson, they’re super pretty! 
1. Lay a piece of heavy paper (it can be construction paper, cardstock or anything else that won’t warp when wet) on top of some newspaper. With a bottle of glue, “draw” whatever patterns you desire. You could write a message, or draw a nice Valentine heart, or just some Picasso-esque squiggles. Make sure the glue lines are pretty thick, but not big puddle2. Pour normal table salt over the wet glue. You’ll need a lot of salt for this. Make sure it gets onto all the glue. You can do this by tilting the paper after the salt is on it. Then shake off all the excess salt onto the newspaper or into a plastic container.3. Using watercolors, paint the salt whatever colors you please. Make sure the paint is nice and watery so the paint brush doesn’t actually have to touch the salt that often. Don’t let it get too wet though, or it’ll wash the salt away. I recommend experimentation.I love the intensity of the color you get with this technique, especially against a darker paper, and the tie-dye-like effect. Happy art making!


Becky, Mom of Wyatt, Bea and Wesley (Orcas class) sent in this idea.Make Snow Ice Cream while we still have some snow outside.. Easy and delicious. Use half and half, sugar, vanilla and, of course, snow. The kids loved it!


Have a picnic in the living room.  (Or under the dining room table, on the bed in the bedroom.). Bring out a table cloth to sit on and let them decide what food to have for the picnic.Decide on a theme.  Stuffed animals are often guests at these picnics.  How about a Pajama Picnic where everyone wears their jammies?  Or a fancy picnic, a clothes on backwards picnic?  Then you can read a book while you finish your picnic treats.


Always a fun way to spend the afternoon. Fill up a storage container with water.  One where you can see through the container is best.  Set it on a a plastic garbage bag and towel to absorb the splashed water.   Go on a treasure hunt around the house to find items that may “sink” and items that may “float”.  Decide what items will go in the “sink’ collection and what items are in the ‘float’ collection.  You can make a graph and see if they were correct with their decision on what items would  sink and what items would float.


Play some music and when it stops everyone freezes.  Decide on how they should freeze — like an animal, like a letter of the alphabet, something silly, a yoga position, etc.
RED LIGHT GREEN LIGHT is also a fun version of this stop and go kind of game.

Enjoy your day with the kids.  The snow will go away and we will be back to ’normal’  soon and this will just be a memory.  A fun memory!   

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Teacher Janice’s Nesting Supply Depot Activity

Teacher Janice's Nesting Supply Depot - Crown Hill Preschool

Material List

  • Colored duct tape or clear packing tape
  • Scraps of yarn, ribbon, string
  • Feathers
  • Natural materials: ferns, grass or small leaves
  • 2 small twigs
  • Longer piece of yarn

Lay a 12 – 20 inch piece of tape on the table sticky side up.
Fold top 2 inches of the tape over a twig or stick.
Do this again on the bottom 2 inches of the tape.
Tie a piece of long yarn around the ends of the top stick to make a hanger.
Let the child place items to the sticky part of the tape.

Hang your Nesting Supply Depot outside and watch as the birds take items to line their nests with. As you walk in the neighborhood you can see your items in the birds nests in the trees.


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Essential Seeds – Creativity and Communication : Gardening (Part 3)

What seeds are the essentials for growing a child’s brain?  According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby, they are:

  • The desire to explore
  • Self-control (executive function)
  • Creativity
  • Communication skills—Non-verbal/Verbal

Engage them in activities that will help them as they build relationships. These actions will be the seeds that allow your child to grow into a self-confident, creative, productive person who is able to express his/her thoughts and develop meaningful relationships.

Enjoy your garden!


Preschoolers making stepping stones.

Preschoolers making stepping stones.

Researchers believe creativity has a few core components:

  • the ability to perceive relationships between new and old things that result in new ideas
  • creating things
  • developing activities
  • motivating actions that did not exist before

Creativity must also have an emotional connection. This involves risk-taking. For young children it is not as scary to be creative as it is when you get into grade school.

Encourage your child’s creativity by giving them open-ended activities so they can use their minds in a way that allows them the freedom to create. It may not be what you had in mind but it allows them to respond to the environment and materials that have been presented to them.


Choose blocks rather than media-based toys that have a pre-set idea already in place. They can create a city, a boat, a world for their small  animals. They can practice fine motor skills, discover scientific principles, concentrate on visual awareness. Or, all of the above!


Junk is a wonderful art/science open-ended starter.  Give your child a box of “stuff” that has been collected (juice lid tops, magazines, recycled materials, glue, string, etc.).  Let them create. Whatever they chose to create!

Write a Story

If you need an activity that is less messy or you are in an environment that will not allow so much freedom (a restaurant, Grandma’s house, the car or an airplane) have your child look at a picture and come up with a story.  Write down (or record) whatever it is they are saying to you, no helping, just whatever they say.

Communication Skills

Your child needs to be able to communicate with you and other people and we need to be able to communicate with them. This is done both verbally and nonverbally.


You need to help your child learn words — lots of them! – as well as what they mean. Sign language may help with their ability to learn spoken words. Start by talking, and talking, and talking with your child.

Let them experience a variety of visuals to learn new words that describe the world around them.  Take them places, show them pictures, read books to them.  Use a variety of words to describe the world around them.


Nonverbal communication is integral to learning the social skills needed to develop healthy relationships.

If your child can see that their friend is unhappy with their behavior then they can work on the “why” and figure out how to problem solve in that situation.  If they do not understand that the face of their friend is “angry” then they won’t know to stop their action until they are hit, bit, pushed or yelled at.

What does a face looks like when it is happy sad, mad, confused, or irritated? While watching your face and hearing your words a child works on developing a vocabulary and the ability to communicate — verbally and nonverbally.

The ability to read nonverbal cues allows one to be part of a successful team: family, friends, school, work, society. 

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Essential Seeds – Desire to Explore and Self-Control : Gardening (Part 2)

What seeds are the essentials for growing a child’s brain?  According to John Medina, author of Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Baby, they are:

  • The desire to explore
  • Self-control (executive function)
  • Creativity
  • Communication skills—Non-verbal/Verbal

Children need human interaction to learn. Learning is relational! We learn best from other human beings. Spend some time interacting with your child and giving them the building blocks (or seeds) that they can use for a lifetime.

Enjoy your garden!

The Desire to Explore

The desire to explore their world needs to be fulfilled in a safe and unstructured environment. Give your child opportunities to make choices about what they are doing, see connections, ask questions – “why?” and “what if?”. They need to touch, taste, hear, tinker, take apart, put together and just BE in their world in order to engage their brains in learning.

What to expect:

  • It will (most likely) be messy.
  • It can be time consuming. Young children are not known for staying on a precise schedule.
  • It can be joyful. Seeing the world as your child does.
  • It can be amazing. Watching your child as he/she grasps a new thought, idea,  concept.
Preschoolers exploring the Sandbox.

Preschoolers exploring the Sandbox.

Play in the backyard without an agenda.

Dig in the dirt, examine a plant, watch a bug, explore nature.

Get involved.

It takes time — your time — to give your child a safe area in which to do this. You have to engage your child in activities that will promote open-ended exploration.

Self-control (executive function)

Can a child have self-control? It is something you need to help your child develop. Self-control is also known as executive function. It is the ability to stop one’s self from doing something, to think about the consequences, to take responsibility for one’s words and actions.

Executive function is a better indicator of academic success than one’s IQ. According to John Medina, executive function controls planning, foresight, problem solving and goal setting.

If you can delay your actions (control yourself), you will do better in school and the workplace.

If you can filter out distraction and stay on course, you will be better at staying on task.

It is important to help your child develop good impulse control techniques. Teaching them to take a breath, count to 10 or stomp their foot when they are mad rather than throw the toy, hit their sister, bite their friend. Is this easy? No. Does it take time? Yes. Will it be worth it in the end? YES!

You want your child to explore the world but you want them to be able to control their body while doing so. They need to learn that:

  • there is a time to explore and a time to sit;
  • a time to be involved in their own activities or thoughts and a time to engage with or listen to others;
  • a time to take a chance and a time to be cautious.

Teaching your child when and how to use self-control is one of the most important lessons you can teach them.

The more practice they have at delayed gratification (staying on task when they are working on a project — concentrating on a task) the better the brain becomes at controlling behavior.

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Nature vs. Nurture : Gardening (Part 1)


Preschoolers planting veggies and flowers during class.

As we enter the gardening season I am reminded of the most important seeds you can plant: seeds that develop a love of learning for your child.

There is a debate as to whether it is nature or nurture that is most important in the development of a child’s intelligence:

  • How much is a child born with?
  • How much is influenced by their surroundings?

Attributes like athletic ability, musical ability and artistic ability are gifts a child is born with. Can a child who is extremely gifted not perform to their ability? Yes. Can a child who is born with limited abilities achieve in those areas? YES!

Do not put your child in a box and label his/her abilities to do something.  In the same vein, do not expect a child who does not have an interest or the ability to be gifted in that area.

Even though you were an art major your child may not have any interest in the activities at the art table. Sad, but it is not the end of the world. Some day your child may develop a respect for art even though they are not drawn to that area at the moment. It is your responsibility to open the world to your child. It is their responsibility to grasp what you give them.

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Welcome to Crown Hill Cooperative Preschool

welcome to crown hill cooperative preschool

Welcome to Crown Hill Cooperative Preschool! We are a nature explorer certified preschool & part of the North Seattle Cooperative Preschool system. We believe that “experience is the teacher” and work hard to give children a wonderful & exciting early learning experience.

At our preschool a typical day starts with large motor play outside where children climb, slide, balance and jump their way to better physical health, coordination and strength in a fun & inviting outdoor setting. Nutritious snacks are brought by parents and the children eat together family style learning to communicate & take turns with their peers.

After snack time, the children move on to free play (which if the weather is nice may also be outside) where they explore and experiment freely in the classroom. Play areas include a sensory table, art center, play kitchen, imaginative play area with dress up, climbing/sliding/large-motor area, table toys/puzzles and more. The day ends with circle time where the children and parents sing songs, dance and listen to stories as told by Teacher Janice.

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