Ideas for Teaching in a Nursery

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Using themes to organize preschool curriculum allows you to incorporate early literacy, math, science, music and movement activities cohesively into a fun-filled day. Theme-based activities allow young children to become engrossed in a topic for a longer period and investigate the topic in many ways.

Desert Theme

  • A desert theme gives preschoolers the opportunity to compare and contrast different climates and learn about weather, animal habitats and geography. After looking at pictures of deserts and identifying the plants that grow there, such as cacti, children can paint their own cactus. Using liquid starch and salt mixed into the paint, they create a cactus with a slightly scratchy texture once it dries. To incorporate a math activity, have children practice drawing a certain number of spines on cactus pictures. Investigate sand with magnifying glasses, so children discover that sand is made of very tiny pieces of rock.

Four Seasons

  • Focusing on each of the four seasons allows preschoolers to learn about changes in temperature and activities throughout each year. You could focus on the changes to a tree during each season. Children can draw a picture of a tree during each season, noting that the leaves change color and fall to the ground in autumn, the branches are bare in winter, and buds form in spring and grow into green leaves in summer. Preschoolers can use their bodies to model the changes trees go through during the four seasons. For example, if you call out "fall," children can wiggle their hands from up in the air to down on the ground, simulating falling leaves.

Rainbow Theme

  • Use a rainbow theme as the basis for investigating colors with your preschoolers. Students can experiment by mixing colors of finger paint together to create more colors. Starting with just red, yellow and blue, students can create a rainbow of red, orange, yellow, green, blue and purple. Preschoolers can make a color book by drawing or cutting pictures out of magazines that show objects of a certain color. This helps children learn their colors and sort objects based on the characteristics they observe. Children can also use colored ring cereal or beads to string colors according to the pattern found in rainbows.

Farm Animals

  • Young children love learning about animals and can match animal sounds to names and pictures with farm animal themed activities. Find recordings of real farm animal noises and play them for children. They can mimic the sounds and guess which animal is making the sound, demonstrated by drawing a picture of the animal. Fill a latex glove with milk and poke a hole in the finger. Children can practice milking the fingers as if they were cow udders. Talk about what comes from farm animals, like eggs and feathers.

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