Last week, Engineer and I had a lot of fun during Screen-Free Week. My goals for the week were:
- Keep Engineer engaged in screen-free activities all week
- Allow Engineer to seek out his own screen-free entertainment
- Come up with a plan to pare down our screen time (for after Screen-Free Week)
- Limit MY screen time to when Engineer is in bed
- Stay off of Facebook the entire week
- Use my computer for only preschool-related or blog-related work
I think Engineer and I did a great job sticking to most of our goals throughout the week. I came up with a few activities to keep him engaged, but also let him have a lot of time left to his own devices. Here are a few highlights from our week . . .
Water Beads Experiments
We always seem to have multiple packs of water beads in the craft closet! I’d told Engineer that I found a pack labeled “jumbo”, so we did a little experiment to compare regular water beads to the “jumbo” water beads. We started out using vases, then moved to large tubs, and finally ended up with everything in the water table on the back porch. The regular water beads ended up the size of regular marbles, while the jumbo water beads ended up the size of the large marbles. Engineer found it really funny that the larger water beads were the exact same color as our water table, making them appear invisible!
Playing at the Park
Since the weather (mostly) cooperated, we were able to spend extra time at a playground near our place. Engineer was delighted to see a couple of his classmates at the same playground. A neighbor girl, who I think he has a crush on, was also there. Spending more time outside in the sun was great for both of us, and I got a kick out of watching him play with his buds.
For about two days last week, Engineer went almost everywhere in a blue or a red cape. He didn’t wear them to school, as he thought they’d get in the way. When we went to the grocery store, when we grabbed some takeout, and when we went to the bank. Nothing says childhood-fun like a kid in a cape! He brought smiles to everyone’s faces wherever we went, too! Even the sullen teenagers at the restaurant loved his antics, even going so far as saying, “love the cape, man” to Engineer. He reminds me so much of my little sister sometimes — she loved to dress up just as much as he does.
Extra Reading and Snuggle Time
Probably my most favorite part of Screen-Free Week was the extra time I got to read to Engineer and cuddle up with him. That time, alone, made the whole week worth it! It helped me to see that having my work-time scheduled for after he’s in bed makes a ton of difference. He and I really got into a chapter book, and he was so excited to finish it quickly since we set aside more reading time during the week. That extra reading time is going to be kept up!
This was one of the activities Engineer came up with all on his own. He used a variety of Tinker Toys to design a multitude of different satellites. Each had a different back story, a different purpose, and a different person who was in charge of repairs. At some point, bad-guy alien spaceships came into the picture, attacking the satellites. I’m still unclear of the reason, but it was an entertaining show! He has some more designs in mind and has requested more Tinker Toys. We checked at our well-known bulls-eye chain store, but they didn’t have any. Even worse, the employee we asked had no clue what they were! So the search will continue this week. 🙂 Oh, and, yes, I know I need to vacuum — that picture makes it abundantly clear! 🙂
Process Art with Jell-O
Girly Girl and Engineer had WAY too much fun with this multi-sensory painting during the week. They used most of their senses during this little experiment of ours, and I had such a great time watching them get so into it! The paintings smelled delicious, even after they were dry. Click here to read more about this multi-sensory process art experiment.
I did well in my goals for Screen-Week too. I stuck to mostly working on the computer when Engineer was in bed, and I stayed off of Facebook the entire time. I’m not completely done with a screen “plan of action”, but it’s coming along! What about you? How did you and you family participate in Screen-Free Week? I’d love to hear about the fun you had!
Hands-On Preschool Materials
It is imperative that we keep our classrooms stocked with materials that will give our students the hands-on learning experiences that they love (and need!). There are a few specific things that I always keep on hand in my classroom. Check them out in the list below.
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- Safety scissors
- Dramatic play items
- Math manipulatives
- Dry erase markers
- Sensory items
- Play dough
- Craft supplies
- Playground balls
- Music and movement tools
- Books, books, and more books!
When it comes to preschool, this list is really just skims the surface of the wide variety of materials that can be used. The best thing about this age group is that they learn the most while playing. So, whether they’re playing on the playground, building with blocks, or creating a masterpiece, rest assured that the children are learning so many important skills, all while having fun!
Done-for-You Preschool Resources
Planning meaningful lessons for students week after week while balancing other teaching responsibilities and a personal life can be a daunting task. That’s where Preschool Teacher 101 comes in to save you time!
Sometimes my preschool classroom can get out of hand with such an open-ended project. Take a look at Preschool Teacher 101’s resources about classroom management. Click on the images to learn more.
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