Month: November 2012

Jack-In-The-Box Classroom Activities

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This jack-in-the-box song-action and art and craft activity was a hit with my preschoolers, so I thought of recording it here for future reference.

First, I introduced the children to the ‘Jack-In-The-Box’ song. The loved it so much I heard them humming the tune when their parents came to pick them up 🙂 The video is below if you want to hear it.

Then I added some fun actions into it.

1) I asked them hold hands and form a circle.

2) I called one child to squat in the middle (I demonstrated how)

3) Then I asked the other children to come closer to the middle and stretch their hands out front, just above the head of the child squatting in the middle.

4) I told them the person in the middle is going to be Jack, while we, with our hands, are going to be the box. So when we sing, “Jack in the box, Jack in the box, quiet and still, will you come out, will you come out,” Jack will reply and jump out, “Yes, I will!” Followed by the other actions – hands, head, eyes, feet and hands. (Refer to the song)

5) Each child took turns being ‘Jack’.

In the next session, I taught them how to make ‘Jack-in-the-box’. It’s pretty straight forward. Just refer to the pictures. Then I showed them how to make Jack ‘jump’ out of the ‘box’ (the plastic cup). First, pull Jack right to the base of the cup, and cover Jack with the other hand. Sing the song, and when Jack says ‘Yes I will’, push Jack all the way up, revealing his face.

On the way back, each child couldn’t wait to show them off to their parents. One parent even asked, can your Jack pop out of his box? The child said yes and demonstrated how. It was really cute! Haha



The Dinosaur who Ate an Eraser

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I tried out a storytelling ‘game’ with my kids today (aged between 3-5 years old). I picked a couple of objects and put into a bag. In the bag, there was an apple, a board book about a dog, a plastic cup, blocks, a toy dinosaur, a purple crayon, an eraser, a pair of sunglasses and a glove.

I started the ball rolling by picking one object from the bag, and began the story with, “Once upon a time, in a land far far away…” and took out an apple. So I continued, “there was a big apple tree that grew in a backyard of a castle.”

And to get it going, I asked the next child to take out another object, and he got the board book about a dog. He stared at it for awhile, not knowing what to say. So I prompted, “What would you like to say about the dog? Was he in the backyard with the tree? What was he doing?” After awhile, he said, “He was playing by himself in the backyard.”

The next child got the plastic cup. This girl is very good at storytelling and she’s only 4. She immediately knew what she had to do. “Then the dog saw a plastic cup that had water in it, and started drinking it!” To make it more interesting, I asked, “Was it magic water?” She said, “No! It’s disappearing water! The water disappeared from the cup when the dog drank it!”

The next object was a set of blocks, arranged into a shape. The girl who got it said, “A boat! The boat had water in it and it disappeared too!” “Where was the boat?” I asked. “The boat was next to the cup!”

Then it was a toy dinosaur. This girl who took it out was about 3 years old. She began saying, “Once upon a time, there was a dinosaur.” Before I could say anything, the girl who got the plastic cup interrupted and said, “No you must continue from the boat.” The 3 year old stared at the dinosaur for a really long time before saying, “The dinosaur came out from the jungle.” And we left it at that.

Then we got a purple crayon. The boy said, “There was a purple crayon in the garden.” To which the girl who got the plastic cup interrupted and said, “And the crayon started coloring the dinosaur purple! Is that okay?” She asked the boy who got the crayon. He nodded 🙂

The next thing was an eraser. The child who got it said, “The dinosaur ate the eraser!” The children found it funny and laughed. I couldn’t help it either 😀

Next was a pair of sunglasses, to which the child who got it said, “The dinosaur wore the sunglasses and put it on his head!” So I put the sunglasses on the dinosaur and the children thought he looked ‘cool’ 🙂

Finally, it was a glove. The child said, “The dinosaur wore the gloves too!” And the girl who got the plastic cup added, “But he didn’t put it in his hand, and put in his feet instead!” And another added, “Then he tried it on his head too!” And another said, “And he ate it too because he was so hungry!”

We had a great laugh at all of the suggestions. Then I said, “How should we end the story?”

One boy said, “He ate it and fell asleep.” I asked if everyone likes that and they nodded.

Then I let them ‘draw’ their story on colored papers and glued the pages together, gave it a cover and a title, and turned it into a book. (I should have taken pictures!! :(( )

Lastly, I asked them to retell the story using their book. Remember, the objective is to briefly introduce them the elements of a story – beginning, middle and end. I was very proud of some of them who knew how to start and end the story 🙂

Points to note:

* Don’t worry if the “flow” of the story isn’t as how you ‘planned’ it to be, after all, it’s the children’s story 🙂

* The younger children had difficulty creating the ‘flow’, because they haven’t really grasp the flow and elements of a story, whereas the slightly older children had fun exploring their ideas.

* Keep repeating the flow of the story when in the middle of it, because the children can lose track when they get over excited with the objects they get 🙂 I also lay the objects in front of them so they can keep track.

Tales for my Niece

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My niece has just turned 4 months old a week ago, and my sister wants to instill reading habits in her. She asked me what books are appropriate for an infant.

Reading aloud to babies are very important, especially during infancy, not only because it can help instil reading habits, but also because at this stage, infants are very receptive to language and visuals. This is the time when neurons make connections, a brain process called “synaptogenesis”, very rapidly till the first year of life. Another process called the myelination continues and the neurons controlling hearing and vision become myelinated.

Repetitions are very important at this stage. I suggested her to get board books that have big, colorful images and have repeated words. Those which have textures for them to touch will be great too. These are some of my recommendations.

How to read aloud to an infant:

1) Place them on your lap (not on the bed while you read aloud to them. They need to be able to see the images and colors, and be able to interact with the book and you)

2) Read using different voices (maintaining an infant-directed tone); make it as interactive and interesting as possible

3) Allow them to turn the pages, touch and feel

4) Encourage them to ‘point’. Keep repeating your instructions and guide their little fingers. Repetitions will help register meaning to their brains.

Have fun reading to her sis! 🙂