Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Centers

As I walked through our kindergarten classes on the day before "Good Friday" the children were abuzz with activity. Classrooms were full of centers as the children worked happily from one to another.

Our Kindergartens spent part of the day with a host of Easter/Spring-themed centers, usually lasting about an hour. Each class sets up 5-6 centers and the children went from center to center until they had completed them all.

Every class dyed eggs! Some teachers prefer putting out the colors and letting the students dip one end in a color and then the other end in another color. Some prefer the "spoon on the color" method and others the "tried and true" put them in the color cup and wait! This year I even discovered that you can paint boiled eggs with watercolor sets! Just use masking tape to cover the brown and black in the watercolor set and you'll end up with a rainbow of beautiful Spring-colored Easter eggs! This might be the best way to color eggs yet!  I am always amazed at the number of kindergartners who are so excited about coloring eggs, because they are doing it for the very first time!

Some of my favorite centers this year included the one at the left where the children had to sort a bag a jelly beans by color (reading the color words, of course!) and then count and write the number of jelly beans beside each color words. Edible graphs! Each child was allowed to eat one jelly bean of their favorite color when the activity was finished!

Another of my favorites was an activity where the child had a dozen numbered plastic eggs in an egg carton. In each egg was a different item. The child had to shake the egg and decide which item was in the egg and then cut out a picture of that item to match the number. When all the items were matched, she could open each egg to see if she was correct before she glued the pictures on the numbered eggs!

Like most kindergarten classes across America, we also spend part of our day having an Easter Egg Hunt! Of course, there is always a little academic goal hidden in the fun. Most of our kindergarten teachers number each filled plastic egg (sent in by the parents) with a Sharpie. Each child is given a checklist with the numbers and is instructed to check off each number as that egg is found but only one egg for each number. After the eggs are collected each child lays the eggs out in order from 1 to _ to make sure he hasn't missed any!

What a wonderful way to celebrate the season with a little number practice! Of course the same could be done by putting upper or lowercase letters of the alphabet on each set of eggs or even children's first names, depending on the skill that needs the most practice. Regardless, the bottom line is learning fun! Happy Spring!

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