Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog

Forest 4s: The Real Woods


This gallery contains 16 photos


How to Build a…

Our box building has been such a hit, Mrs. Pless and I thought the children might be ready for some more advanced building.  Time to break out the Toydle set! We cleared some space, modeled how to piece the pipes and cubes together and our little engineers began designing.  The adults needed to squish a few connections for proper sturdiness, but the design is all theirs.

This construction required experiments in balance, sharing, symmetry, motor planning, design choices, visualization, problem solving and team work. Go Pre-K Engineering Team!


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The Shoe Store

While in P.E. earlier this week, the class created a new venue using the Imagination Playground.  When I arrived to pick them up, I was ushered into our new, fancy shoe store.  There were displays of “shoes” and a register area to check out your purchases.  Workers would measure your feet and choose a shoe to fit your needs.  Some of the shoes were fancy and some were for hiking.  Now, I just need to get some tape, paper, and pens over there so they can make price tags and labels!

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A Horse Transformed

You might remember that a few weeks ago one of our students was inspired by our box-0-saurus and created his own horse.  Along a seemingly unrelated vein, some of you also might have heard that we’ve been working on writing a play. (I was über inspired by Teacher Tom on this one!) Today, the horse took on a new job and personality.  He has been dubbed a “War Horse”.  Since we were trapped indoors due to the weather, we had a lot of time for tinkering today.

Just in case you don’t remember, here is how our lovely horse began:

Our play, which will be unveiled in the next few days, underwent some rewriting today.  We added new characters, changed the plot a bit, and added an ending.  Though it was quite fun to act out our third version of the script, I wasn’t sure if this project was making it into the collective mindset of the students.  I was shown just how influential the idea has been when a group began making “props” for the play during our inside “recess”.

"We need a War Horse so our town can be safe from enemies."

While this project was being constructed, I was attending a fashion show on the other side of the room.  When I realized there was some major construction going on in the block area, I sidled over to find out what the hubbub was about.  I was amazed to find over half the class working on this project.  Some of the children wandered in for short periods of time, adding just a few details, while others spent over an hour (throughout the day) on it.

"It has music so that it doesn't get bored when it wants music."

I, of course wanted to know why we needed a War Horse.  Why, for the play, of course! Silly me.  I guess the fact that there is not actually a war in the play is not really a good enough reason to skip having a War Horse.  With all of this focused work, I wanted to know more about the design.

The bottle on the back is so he can squirt at people who are behind him.

Although at first glance, it looks as though the children haphazardly taped random pieces of cardboard together, they describe it with much more intentional thought.  They pointed out a row of pipes that make music, a small cannon at the front, armor to protect it from Army Men, rear defense systems, headphones, and speakers.  I find it interesting that the ability to listen to music was considered paramount to at least two separate students.   Who knew music was a prerequisite for a War Horse?

"I added the hair and the teeth. He's an armored horse because he's a bad horse." (Across the room: "No! He's a good horse!") "I mean he's a good horse."

Watching them build this creation as a team is inspiring.  They’ve gone from creating their first dinosaur with Mrs. Allan (where they built what she told them), to building an Ankylosaurus with me (where I built what they told me), to this.  Here, they built what they decided upon without any input from adults.  The previous experiences gave them just enough practice to feel confident and ready to experiment with the tools in their own way.

A War Horse with all the musical trimmings.

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On Wednesday we had planned to begin construction on our box-o-saurus.  I spread the boxes out on the floor, had paper ready for drawing plans, and asked the children to imagine the type of dinosaur we could build using boxes.  Silly me!  They informed me that it was impossible to build a dinosaur from boxes because they were the wrong shape.  Ah, what to do?

“Well”, I said, “let’s see if we can build them out of blocks first, then.”  No one even batted an eye.  Off they went, gathering the materials they needed.  Each child constructed their own version of a dinosaur.  Some made the one they are studying for their research journals, others tried their hand at the ever popular sauropod.

A Sauropod

An Ankylosaurus

Eventually, the children realized that their dinosaurs could not be complete without some added details.  Faces were drawn, eyes were cut out, and signs were hung to make our models complete.  As one sign points out, the dinosaurs in our museum should be looked at and not touched for fear of breaking them.

Don't Don't Touch the Dinosaurs!