(Open picture game-Mountains) Print and laminate the pictures in the format you prefer. Use them to spark a conversation and ask children questions about the theme.
Illustrated discussion board
(Open picture game-Mountains) Print several pictures linked to your theme and glue them on a large piece of colorful cardboard. Laminate it. During circle time, use your illustrated board to present various items associated with your theme. Give each child a dry-erase marker. During your discussion period, children can circle the items they are able to identify. This will help younger children visualize what you are talking about.
A treasure hunt to discover the theme
(Open educa-decorate-Mountains) Print and laminate. Set the items throughout your daycare. Ask children to find them and bring them to you. Together, name the items associated with your theme. Encourage your group to guess the theme.
I can talk about mountains…using a puppet
Use a puppet to discuss various subjects related to the theme. The puppet may help shy children overcome their timidity. What’s more, it may help children who require language support. One thing is certain, the puppet will encourage children to speak!
Circle time sleds
Set a few sleds on the floor and invite children to sit in them during circle time. Add a few fake fur or checkered blankets. The larger your sleds are, the more children each one can contain. If you want to “separate” children, use smaller round sleds instead. If you wish, you can even press strips of Velcro under the sleds and on the floor to ensure each one remains where you want it to be.
(Open thematic poster-Mountains) Print, laminate, and display where children are sure to see it.
(Open educa-theme-Mountains) Print and laminate the different elements representing the theme. Use them to present the theme to your group (and children’s parents) while decorating your daycare.
(Open educa-decorate-Mountains) Print, laminate, and cut out the illustrations. Use them to decorate your walls and set the mood for the theme.
(Open stickers-Mountains) Print the illustrations on adhesive paper and use them to create a collection of unique stickers. Use them to reward children throughout the theme.
Hang pictures of clouds and suns from your daycare ceiling. On the walls, display pictures of animals that one may cross paths with on a trip to the mountains and let children observe and admire them throughout the week.
My mountain-themed floor
(Open floor illustrations-Mountains) Print and have children color the items. Cut them out and press them on the floor using adhesive paper. The illustrations can delimit your daycare corners and workshops and be used to create a path linking various areas.
Transform your daycare to represent a mountain décor. Draw trees on a large piece of white paper or brown paper grocery bags that you have cut open. To decorate your trees, collect fallen leaves and use a hole-punch to make a hole in each one. Thread them on a ribbon or string. Hang them in your trees. You can also glue leaves under the trees or have children trace their hand on colorful paper and cut them out to represent leaves. Add pinecones and apples. (Open word flashcards-Mountains) Print the flashcards and display them throughout your daycare. During your next walk in the forest, children may be able to recognize a few animals.
With the children in your group, create a special mountain-themed décor. Cover a complete wall with white paper and use green adhesive tape (used by painters) to draw triangles that will represent mountains. The triangles can overlap. As a group, paint the inside of each triangle using gray, brown, and green poster paint.
The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with the group. Use them to decorate the daycare or a specific thematic corner.
(Open picture game-Mountains) Print, laminate, and store in a “Ziploc” bag or in your thematic bins.
(Open picture game-Mountains) Print the pictures twice and use them for a memory game.
ACTIVITY AND WRITING SHEETS
Activity sheets are provided for each theme. Print and follow instructions. (Open activity sheets-Moutains)
Creating your own activity binder
Laminate several activity sheets and writing activities and arrange them in a binder along with dry-erase markers. Leave the binder in your writing area and let children complete the pages as they wish. At the end of the day, simply wipe off their work so the activity binder can be reused.
Writing activities-M like mountain
(Open writing activities-M like mountain) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.
(Open educa-spots-Mountains) Print for each child. Use bingo markers to add color to each circle. If you don’t have bingo markers, simply have children set dry cereal or press a sticker inside the circles.
Different ideas for your activity sheets
Glue 2 crayons end to end (with the tips at opposite ends). Have a child complete part of an activity sheet using one color and then invite him to rotate the long crayon, making his fingers crawl into position like a caterpillar to use the other end to complete the activity sheet using the second color.
Different positions, different challenges
Press several activity sheets on a wall, on the floor, and even under tables and invite children to explore different positions (lying down, standing up, on their knees, etc.) to complete the activities.
- Natural-colored wooden blocks (or colored ones).
- A few branches and pinecones.
- Tiny logs.
- Wooden sticks of all kinds that can be used for different types of constructions.
- Forest animal figurines.
Arts & crafts:
- Cardboard, tissue paper, empty egg cartons, recycled material, etc. Children can use them to represent a cabin in the woods.
- Hang a large piece of paper on a wall to create a mural. You can inspire children by drawing a few trees and letting them add leaves, animals, etc.
- A tree drawing printed on paper and children have to glue leaves and bark on it (torn pieces of green and brown construction paper). Glue sticks are best for this activity since liquid glue might seep through the paper.
- An easel with a large piece of paper (or paper on a wall) along with poster paint. Children can paint a forest.
- Popsicle sticks and white glue for building a log cabin.
- Discuss animal tracks with your group, apply paint to the bottom of children’s feet, and invite them to walk on paper. Once the paint is dry, encourage them to compare their footprints.
- Coloring pages related to forest animals, nature, birds, etc.
- Musical drawing: draw a forest as you listen to a CD of forest-related sounds.
- Provide recycled paper for children to draw on and explain the importance of preserving trees!
- A picnic basket filled with plastic dishes and food items, a blanket, a radio with a CD to listen to chirping birds as you pretend to have a picnic in the forest. This activity can be organized at lunch or snack time. Simply sit on a blanket on the floor, in your daycare.
- Camping in the forest:
- A tent, sleeping bags, utensils, plastic or disposable dishes, plastic food items, pyjamas, etc.
- No matter which theme you choose, decorate your area with giant paper trees, pictures of forests found in old calendars, fabric leaves, etc. The goal is literally to transform your area to make it look like a forest.
- Little Red Riding Hood: a red hoodie, a picnic basket, a stuffed wolf.
- The Three Little Pigs: Wood, bricks, and straw, three stuffed pigs and one wolf.
- Forest animal-themed memory game with educatall picture game or a store-bought game.
- Puzzles related to the theme.
- Brown and green modeling dough to create a forest. If you wish, you can use homemade modeling dough and leave children’s creations out to dry. They will enjoy building their very own miniature forest with the trees and animals.
- Fabric leaves that can be sorted by color, size, shape, etc.
- A felt board with felt trees, animals, etc. that can be used to invent stories and scenes.
- A variety of pre-cut mushroom shapes on which you have glued theme-related pictures for a unique memory game.
- An association game in which children must associate animals to the correct habitat.
- Set a variety of items related to the theme on a table (acorn, pinecone, squirrel figurine, pine needle, etc.). Ask children to observe the items closely. Cover them with a blanket and remove one item. Children must identify the missing item.
- Pieces of rope children can use to tie knots.
- Sorting game involving animals with fur and animals with feathers.
- Books about forest animals.
- Tales and fables with a forest setting: The Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Hansel and Gretel, etc.
- Headphones and CDs with sounds of nature, chirping birds, animal sounds, etc.
- Puppets representing forest animals and birds.
- Connect the dots or dotted lines children can trace to reveal trees.
- Games with educatall.com word flashcards.
- Tracing activities that involve forest animal names. Associate pictures to each word to help children identify them.
- Various activity sheets related to the theme.
- An obstacle course throughout which children are encouraged to move like different forest animals.
- A treasure hunt where children must find pictures of forest animals.
- Try to whistle like a bird.
- Act out different actions associated with forest animals or insects.
- Pretend you are firefighters extinguishing a forest fire. Have children stand in line and pass a bucket filled with water down the chain, attempting to have as much water as possible in the bucket when it reaches the end of the line.
- Sing songs alongside a pretend campfire and explain the importance of properly extinguishing a campfire to avoid causing a forest fire.
- A large container filled with dirt.
- A container filled with pine needles.
- A bin filled with pinecones.
- A large container filled with autumn leaves (real or fabric).
- A container filled with sunflower seeds.
- Fill a large container with leaves, pieces of bark, branches from coniferous trees, and pinecones.
- Arrange different types of mushrooms in clear containers and invite children to observe them.
- Have children use raffia, hay, and pieces of yarn to create nests for birds.
- Set up your very own vivarium and add any insects children find while playing outside to it. Be sure to cover your vivarium to avoid unpleasant surprises.
- Show children a compass, a map, etc.
- Plant flowers and different types of vegetables with your group.
- Build a birdfeeder. There are many simple models to try!
Use the flashcards to spark a conversation with your group, in your reading and writing corner, or to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards-Mountains) (Open giant word flashcards-Mountains) Print.
Mountain, skis, rock climbing, forest, bike, to ascend, to climb, zip-line, tree, stream, to slide, summit
Print and laminate the theme’s word flashcards. Have each child pick a word. They can take turns presenting their word to the group (ex. summit). Discuss each item and ask children questions to see what they know about the theme.
(Open educa-chatterbox-Mountains) Print and laminate the cards. To create your chatterbox, you will need an empty shoebox or a small bin that you can decorate as you see fit. Fill it with tiny objects, illustrations, pictures, and accessories related to your theme. To help you, we have created a series of cards that you may use. During circle time or, for example, when children are waiting for their lunch, have them take turns picking a card or object out of your chatterbox and naming the corresponding item.
At the summit
(Open word game-At the summit) Print, laminate, and cut out the cards. Sit in a circle with your group and spread the cards out in the center of the circle. Call upon children’s imagination. Tell them that you are at the top of a very big mountain and that you can see very far on all sides (360 degrees). Children take turns describing an item illustrated on a card. The others must guess what it is that he sees. For example, a child could say, “Way over there, I see a small animal that has wings.” The first child who spots the bird can keep the card. The child who has the most cards at the end of the game shall be the winner.
(Open word flashcards-Mountains) (Open giant word flashcards-Mountains) Print many copies of the word flashcards and encourage children to use scrabble tiles to write the words. Manipulating the small tiles represents a great fine motor skill exercise. At the same time, children will notice which letters make up the different words.
(Open word flashcards-Mountains) (Open giant word flashcards-Mountains) Print two copies of several different word flashcards. On a large piece of cardboard, stick one copy of each flashcard vertically to create a word column. Cut the second copy of each word flashcard so you have the word on one side and the illustration on the other side. Attach Velcro behind each part as well as to the right of the uncut flashcards (on the cardboard). Arrange the cut flashcards on the table and encourage children to look at your flashcard board to identify a matching word and illustration. When they succeed, they may stick them next to the corresponding flashcard, on your board. This exercise will help children associate words with pictures.
Scene-Snow tube fun
(Open scene-Snow tube fun) Print, laminate, and cut out. Children use the items to create different scenes.
Create sorting games. Set the pictures from the theme’s educa-decorate document in the center of the table. Ask children to pick a picture, name what they see, and associate it with a predetermined category (size, color, theme, shape, etc.).
PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS
Modeling dough activity placemats-Mountains
(Open modeling dough activity placemats-Mountains) Print and laminate. Let children pick a placemat and provide modeling dough. Encourage them to use the dough to fill or reproduce the shapes that are on their placemat.
(Open string activities-Mountains) Print for each child. Children trace the lines with waxed string pieces (Wikki Stix), yarn, or string. Variation: Trace the lines with glue and press string on the glue-covered lines.
Fire-lit obstacle course
Close all your daycare blinds and curtains and turn off the lights. Create an obstacle course involving a series of challenges. Hang red, orange, and yellow glow sticks from objects along the course. Children can collect them as they complete the obstacle course. At the end of the course, they can connect the glow sticks to create a ring of fire. Use glow stick bracelets for this activity.
Fine motor skills-Crumpled tissue paper mountains
(Open shapes-Mountains) Print for each child. Have children tear sheets of tissue paper and crumple the pieces. Next, encourage them to fill the shape they prefer with white glue before pressing the tissue paper balls all over their mountain. Display children’s artwork.
(Open mountain parts) Print and cut out the cards. Show them to your group and explain how a mountain is generally composed of a base, several plateaus, and a summit. Associate a body position to each illustration. For example, when you show children the picture of the base of the mountain, you could have them lie down on their back. When you show them the picture of the first plateau which is not too high, they could curl up in a ball with their arms stretched out on either side of their body. To represent the second plateau which is somewhat higher up the mountain, they could stand up with their arms stretched out. Finally, when you show the picture of the summit, children could form a triangle over their head with their arms in a standing position. Once children understand each position, have fun alternating illustrations slowly at first and, when children are ready, pick up the pace.
Giant snow slide
Cut a long piece of waxed paper. Children use it to build a giant snow slide. When they are satisfied with their construction, they can slide figurines down their structure.
Does this slide?
Set a gutter section diagonally, with the bottom end on the floor and the top end propped against a couch or other furniture item. Gather a variety of objects (made of fabric or other materials). For example, you could use tiny stuffed animals, rubber bath toys, plastic books, plastic figurines, puzzle pieces, etc. Children will enjoy setting the items at the top of the “slide” one at a time to verify if they will glide down the slide or not.
The mountain and its cardboard slides
Provide different sizes of cardboard boxes and invite children to use their imagination to build different types of mountains and slides.
Let children use the boxes from the previous activity to build original mountain hideaways.
Leaves in water
Add leaves to your water table. Encourage children to blow on the leaves through a drinking straw to propel them forward.
An obstacle course in the forest
Use adhesive tape to draw a start and finish line. Set 2 leaves approximately 10 cm apart on the start line. When you give the signal, 2 players blow on their leaf through a drinking straw, propelling it towards the finish line. The first child whose leaf crosses the finish line wins. The winner can play again with a new opponent. If you wish, add obstacles between the start and finish line (chair, cone, bowling pins, etc.).
Play music and invite children to dance. When the music stops, show children a picture of an animal. They must mime the animal’s way of moving about and make the corresponding animal sound. When the music starts again, children resume dancing. When the music stops again, show them another animal and so on. (Open word flashcards-Mountains)
Beware of the bears
Pick a child who will be the bear. The bear hunts the other children. When he touches one of his peers, he becomes the bear. Variation: If you prefer, when the bear touches a child, you can have him remain perfectly immobile, with his arms out to the side. Children who have been touched by the bear can be saved by their friends if they run under their arms.
Tents on the mountain
(Open tents on the mountain) Print for each child and invite them to color the tents per the color code before cutting them out. In the same way, have them color the mountains. Next, read the instructions. Children listen closely and glue the tents on the scene. At the end of the activity, verify their work.
(Open mountain chains) Print and cut out the numbered mountains as well as the ones that have letters of the alphabet printed on them. Glue each one on a Popsicle stick. Invite children to prick them in an indoor sand box in numerical or alphabetical order. You could also ask children to find the letters required to write their name and arrange them in the correct order. Another idea is to prick all the mountains in your sand box and use a second set. Children can take turns picking a mountain, naming the number or letter, and finding the matching mountain in the sand box.
(Open educa-dots-Mountains) Print for each child. Provide a small bowl filled with poster paint and give each child a cotton swab that they can press in the paint and then on the dots to trace letters or shapes. Let dry and display children’s work on a bulletin board.
(Open game-Four mountains) Print, glue the cards on opaque cardboard, and cut them out. Arrange all the cards upside down on the floor or table (so you can’t see the illustrations). Children take turns rolling a die. Every time a child rolls a “1”, he can turn a card. If he doesn’t already have this mountain in front of him, he keeps the card and places it in front of him for everyone to see. The first child who has collected all four mountains wins.
(Open counting cards-Mountains) Print and laminate. Prepare a series of wooden clothespins on which you can paint or draw numbers 1 to 9. Children count the items on each card and place the corresponding clothespin on the correct number.
Color by number-Mountains
(Open color by number-Mountains) Print for each child. Children must color the picture per the color code.
Snakes & ladders-Mountains
(Open snakes & ladders-Mountains) Print and laminate. Use a die and tiny figurines as playing pieces. The object of the game is for every child to reach the final square.
(Open tree leaves) Print and laminate the game. Help children learn to recognize the different types of leaves and the tree they belong to.
(Open game-Beaver) Print, laminate, and cut out the beaver. Glue it on a wall. Give each child a laminated tail. Blindfold one child at a time. Children must try to press the tail as close to the correct spot as possible.
It’s your turn to guess
Stand at one end of your daycare, facing the wall, with your back to your group. Ask children to stand with their back against the wall at the opposite end. Show your group a picture of an animal, but without looking at it yourself. Have children move towards you, making the corresponding animal sound. Try to identify the animal before children reach you.
Hunt and seek-Forest
(Open hunt and seek-Forest) Print and laminate. Children pick a card and search for the illustrated item in the scene.
(Open lacing-Forest animals) Print, trace the animal shapes on cardboard, and cut them out. Punch holes around the contour of each animal and invite children to thread ribbon or yarn through the holes.
Set a variety of objects used for camping in a cooler: flashlight, fishing rod, fork, bag of marshmallows, egg carton, etc. Show children one item at a time and encourage them to name them. Close the cooler and ask children to name its contents. Use this activity to explain how, when camping in the forest, animals can pay us a visit and play tricks on us. Remove an object from the cooler. Open it and encourage children to identify the item that was “stolen by a raccoon”.
(Open forest animal tracks) Print and cut out several animal tracks and glue them on the floor, using identical animal tracks to create paths. At the end of each path, glue a picture of the corresponding animal.
Use three empty storage bins. On each bin, glue a different coloured leaf (green, red, and brown for example). Place a large bag of leaves next to the bins. Children sort the leaves per their color.
I am going for a walk in the forest and I am bringing…
Sit in a circle with your group. Begin the game by saying, “I am going for a walk in the forest and I am bringing a flashlight.” The child next to you must repeat this sentence and add another item. Each child must repeat all the items listed by others before adding one of his own.
MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES
Cabin in the woods
Children love playing in cabins. Drape old bedsheets over tables, chairs, and other furniture items to represent tents or cabins. Add objects that are normally found in the woods. Let children play in their tents and cabins.
(Open word flashcards-Mountains) (Open giant word flashcards-Mountains) Print and laminate the word flashcards. Deposit several word flashcards in an opaque bag and use them for a mime game. Children can take turns picking a word and using gestures to help their friends guess the word. For example, if a child picks the word “mountain”, he can form a triangle over his head with his arms. The child who guesses correctly can be the next one to mime a word.
ARTS & CRAFTS
My moving mountain climber
(My mountain climber) Print for each child. Children color their mountain climber, glue him on a Fun Foam sheet, and cut him out. Once that is done, the set him face down on a table and, using adhesive tape, they glue a coin near the bottom of the silhouette. Next, they cut a drinking straw in half and glue each piece vertically behind their mountain climber, one next to the other over the coin. Give each child a long piece of yarn. They thread each extremity in one straw, from the top. Next, they pull the yarn upwards, just enough to form a loop that they can hang over a door handle. Show children how, if they hold both yarn pieces in their hands, their mountain climber will move up when they separate the yarn pieces. What’s more, when they bring both pieces of yarn close to each other, their mountain climber will descend. Hours of fun with this simple craft!
(Open models-Mountains) Print for each child. Ask children to color the items and assemble them to create a mobile. They can use a clothing hanger, a perforated plastic container, or even a paper plate as a base.
My mountain hat
(Open educa-decorate-Mountains) Print and cut out the items. Children glue them on a paper headband or hat.
(Open mandalas-Mountains) Print for each child. Encourage children to color the mandalas to provide them with a relaxing activity whenever needed.
My scrapbook-A walk in the mountains
(Open scrapbook-A walk in the mountains) Print for each child. Go for a walk in the mountains with your group and invite children to collect leaves and twigs that they can later glue on their scrapbook page. Add a picture of your outing. Insert this page in each child’s scrapbook.
(Open craft-Forest animals) Print for each child. Have children color the various items and glue them on empty toilet paper rolls.
Search for large rocks in the forest and let children paint them with different colors of poster paint.
Collect branches with your group. Paint them using poster paint and glitter. If you prefer, have children use the branches as paintbrushes. They can simply dip one end in paint and brush it across sheets of paper to create unique paintings.
Gather several animal figurines. Press their paws in salt dough and let it dry. Ask children to associate each animal to the correct set of tracks. If you prefer, press the figurines in poster paint before pressing them on paper or in wet sand.
Collect items found in nature with your group and have fun pressing them in poster paint and stamping them on a large piece of white paper.
(Open craft-Tree) Print for each child. Encourage children to fill the tree trunk with crumpled pieces of brown tissue paper. Next, crumple several tiny pieces of red, yellow, orange, and green tissue paper and glue them around the tree trunk.
Ask children to build a miniature log cabin using empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. If they prefer, they can also use an empty milk carton and glue Popsicle sticks all over it to represent logs.
Mountains to climb
In your yard, draw large mountains on a paved surface using different colors of sidewalk chalk. Children will enjoy walking on the lines to climb to the summit of the mountains and going back down the other side. Encourage them to name the colors.
During a walk in the forest with your group, collect objects found in nature. When you return to daycare, hang a large piece of paper on a wall. As a group, glue your findings on the paper to create a mural.
Here are a few squirrel facts. The red squirrel builds its nest in tree branches and cavities. During winter, it eats the foods it carefully collected at the end of summer and during fall. A single cache can contain hundreds of pinecones. Go for a walk in the forest with your group. Give each child an empty tissue box. Encourage them to fill their “cache” with the items they find, just like the red squirrel. Their cache can contain branches, leaves, pinecones, acorns, etc. They can use their findings for crafts and activities throughout the theme.
Invite children to build a bed of leaves that they can lie down on to relax. Encourage them to observe the clouds, listen to the birds and the wind, etc.
(Open coloring pages theme-Mountains) Print for each child.
(Open creative coloring-Forest) Invite children to complete the drawing by adding what they imagine among the trees, in the forest.
The educatall team