When learning with little ones it is important to get the most out of every teaching opportunity. The best way to engage your little learners while getting the “biggest bang for your instructional buck” is to integrate multiple skills into one lesson or activity.
I do this each week during my thematic units by integrating my themes in science, reading, art, writing and more! For example, this fall I taught one 30 minute lesson while integrating science, reading, and art.
We began right after outside play time, instead of coming in we explored how fall was changing our play space. The wind was blowing leaves to the ground, the leaves were different shades of brown (gotta love Texas), yellow, orange and green. We found different leaves and tried to determine which tree they came from all while collecting leaves, acorns and a little dirt to take inside with us.
When we were inside we read the book Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert. We noticed some leaves that looked like the ones we collected while reading the story together. We looked at the pictures, listened to the story and were able figure out the type of animals, trees and food they saw in the leaves.
After pretending to be leaves blowing in the wind, we went to our table to create our own leaf pictures. We dumped the leaves out and picked which ones would work best for our creations. After piecing and gluing the leaves down it was time to add some detail to our pictures.
This activity would work great in a creation or art center after reading the story to your little ones. An extension for this activity would be to have your learners dictate their creation as you write their words on the paper. Such as, a man climbed a tree filled with squirrels and a dog ran through the green grass outside.