Playful Directions

Mrs. Forst's Pre-Kindergarten Blog

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Map It Out

Our car is coming along.  In fact today it was suggested that it should be a camper instead since we are “making” such a long trip.  Since I’m pretty sure I won’t be able to stay awake for the whole drive to Florida, I thought it would be good to train some fellow navigators.  This atlas we’ve been looking over is way too complicated.  We decided to start with something a bit simpler.


We began with Map My Neighboorhood by Jennifer Boothroyd.  In this book, we learn how to draw our own maps.  We begin with a list of the places we would like to include and work from there.

Our first attempt was made out on the Northbound Trail.  The children used a large notebook, scissors, paper scraps, and glue sticks to create the areas they felt were important.  This map was made together.

The most difficult parts were deciding what to include and choosing a size for each piece.  Scale might be a bit beyond us at this point, but the practice with position in space was valuable.

Our next mapmaking enterprise took place in the classroom.  Each child created their own map.  I set up the paper first with the locations of the doors and windows marked.  When placing the paper in front of the children, I made sure that their paper was oriented so that the doors and windows were aligned with the room.  The children had many different takes on what was important to include on their classroom map.  None of you will be surprised to hear that the loft was almost always the first furniture added.




The children were trying to figure out how they might convert our loft into a more comfortable spot for hibernating or adapting through the winter.  A few ideas sprang forward including making a burrow under the bottom, creating cave walls on the lower portion, and making beds in all areas.  While a few debated the possibilities, another group began scouting out the top of the loft.  They explained that they needed to find materials to make a nest that they wouldn’t fall out of.  Their plan was to create a nest and suspend it from the balcony banister. Thankfully, they realized the trouble with flimsy grass-like materials in creating suspension beds before any human trials were put forward.

Feeling that I might be able to provide them with some more safe examples of nest building, we pulled up good ‘ole Google images and perused nests of all sorts.  Now our interest became more fully grounded in materials.  Our quest to create the perfect nest began.


This project is not yet done, but if you’re interested in making your own, here are the materials we used so far:

  • straws
  • brown paper (grass)
  • yellow paper (sticks)
  • many colors and lengths of raffia string
  • white and red Basket Box & Bag shred
  • twine

We moved it into the box as none of the children have yet come up with a plan for “sewing” (their words) or sticking the nest together, yet.  Although one enterprising student did suggest that I could tie all of the pieces together….  I think we’ll see if they come up with another suggestion.

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Caves and Burrows

Looking more closely at the winter homes we saw illustrated in yesterday’s book, we decided to try our hand at creating our own.  Today we explored creating caves and burrows using supplies in our block area.



Child A: “We almost had the same idea, but then we didn’t.”

Child B:  “Yeah, but we were building the same thing, but I didn’t have enough blocks.”


“Now….how do we make roofs?”


Child A: “Oh my gosh! I know how to make this!”

Child B:  ” Me, too!  I have a great idea!”

Child A: “No, no…I have a great idea.”

Child B:  “We need a little help.  It’s like, falling over.”

Child B:  “How about we slide it in and it holds it?”

Child A:  “There we go!  And put these here.”

Child A and B: “Yea! We did it!!!!”



Child A: “We need that roof on there.”

Child B:  “We need something to block them.”

Child A:  “We…..aaaaaaaaa [blocks fall down]…That’s ok!”

Child B:  “This is the shelter so the relaxing place doesn’t get rained on.”

Child A:  “This is where the garage is and this is where the balance beam for them to walk on.”


“We have two animals and they are separate.”


“I’m making a nice cave for my bear to live in.”

“I’m going to change my burrow, now.  My cave is going to be different from my burrow.  Caves are on the Earth, up top, and burrows are underground.”


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Aquarium Inquiries

P1210958Our trip to the aquarium today went quite well.  The sea life we most wanted to see was up and about, wiggling and swimming for all to view.  The almost unanimous favorite?  Drum roll, please…….


(hmmm…taking pictures in the dark is hard….)

On the Big Blue Sea

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Sharks, ahoy!

Our boat accidentally coasted into a swarm of sharks!  Oh my!  Luckily, there weren’t any injuries.  When one child decided to make a fin, others quickly followed.

With sharks came questions.

  • What kinds of fish do they eat?
  • How strong are shark teeth?
  • Is a shark’s fin always long?
  • How do sharks swim?
  • How do they breathe underwater?
  • Why do they swim underwater so long?
  • Do they eat fries?
  • Why can’t they go on the beach?

The children decided we could look through books, talk to experts, and check the computer to find our answers.



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On the day we went to sea….

Our studies have taken a new direction.  The other day, we noticed that some sharks were swimming around our boat.  Luckily, they were nice sharks and didn’t bite anyone.  However, it became apparent that the children maintained an interest in all things ocean.  One child suggested that we needed to make our room into an ocean using paper hanging from the ceiling.blobfish

Beginning our research with some non-fiction seemed like an appropriate idea.  Unfortunately, Blobfish appears to have written all over our Deep Sea Book.  Oh well, nonetheless, we were able to glean some interesting tidbits about the Hadalpelagic Zone.

***Ask your child about the size of the Giant Spider Crab or the light on the front of an anglerfish. See if they can find anything in your house that is bioluminescent. ****

The barnacles of information that stuck:

“I never knew a squid could grow and I never even knew this animal was in the world.”

“[A submersible]…goes under water.”

“That kind of fish can open it’s mouth really wide.  And this octopus glows.”

“I learned that fish light up in the dark”

“I learned that fish can glow.”

“Blobfish swam.”