We’re all familiar with the classic preschool and kindergarten learning center activities that involve blocks and books, but if you’re looking for something fresh in this new year, here are some ideas that can really set your classroom apart.
Take one of your learning centers and fill it with items that can help the kids explore their five senses. A blindfold would be an obvious choice. Find some other items that have a strong smell, like leather. Maybe some headphones with one of the earphones not working would work for sound. Keep some sugar, lemon water, and other taste objects around. Finally, touch items can be things like cotton, wool, sandpaper, and the like. For older kids, have them use a graphic organizer to record their experiences.
Even younger kids aren’t too young to start exploring what is heavier than what. Find a balance or scale and some random objects of various weights. Then just let the kids explore. Again, the older kids can record their findings in a journal or graphic organizer.
Ask your parents for some empty containers from their grocery shopping, like cereal boxes. Label them with an easy price, then make some fake money. One of the students is selected to be the cashier while the others are shoppers. It teaches everyone about money and computational skills.
Pick a transportation vehicle, like a bus or airplane. Everyone picks a job and has to perform that activity, then switch up the jobs. If you want to get really realistic, print and laminate some tickets, name tags, seat assignments, etc.
Thoroughly clean and bleach all of the major bones of a chicken, then hide them within a bin full of beads (or dirt, if you’re really brave). Students have to dig through the “site” and find all of the bones, then assemble the chicken as they would have looked when they were alive. You might want to give them a graphic organizer to help them.
Learning centers are an important part of the preschool and kindergarten experience, allowing kids to explore a wide range of interests. With these ideas, your centers will be more “real world” than ever.