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Pre-K activities, learning games, crafts, and printables


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Ranch

This theme is perfect for developing gross motor skills and playing outdoors. When your little cowboys are tired, there are plenty of culinary activities, crafts....

In the Educatall Club
Coloring pages, word flashcards, picture game, and activity sheets to complement your theme


Educatall Club
Educatall Club

ALL THEMES See 2017-2018 schedule

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CIRCLE TIME

Wear a cowboy hat or a bandana to greet children in the morning. If you wish, you could purchase a cowboy hat for each child in your group. Let them wear their hat throughout the theme. Set up a pretend campfire in the centre of your circle time area.

 

AREA SETUP

Use pictures of horses to decorate the walls of your daycare. Laminate them for durable, eco-friendly use. Hang plastic horses and cowboy hats from the ceiling. Use different lengths of string or use ropes which look like lassos.

 

PICTURE GAME

The pictures may be used as a memory game or to spark a conversation with your group. Use them to decorate your daycare or a specific thematic corner. (Open picture game - The ranch) Print, laminate, and store in a "Ziploc" bag or in your thematic bin.

 

WRITING ACTIVITY

(Open writing activities - R like ranch) Print for each child or laminate for use with a dry-erase marker.

 

ACTIVITY SHEETS

(Open activity sheets - The ranch) Activity sheets are suggested for each theme. Print and follow instructions.

 

VARIOUS WORKSHOPS

 

Construction/building blocks:

  • Horses and stable.
  • Farm animals and buildings.
  • Blocks shaped like wooden logs. Children can use them to build log homes.
  • Objects found in nature such as coniferous branches, leaves, pinecones, etc. They are great for building a hideout!
  • A hay bale...let children climb on it. (Be careful with allergies!)

Arts & crafts:

  • A horse drawn on a large piece of cardboard. Children can glue small pieces of white, beige, brown, or black yarn on the horse's mane and tail.
  • Hang a large sheet of paper on the wall and use water guns to paint! A small drop of paint or food coloring is all you need!
  • Use brown paper bags to make cowboy vests. Help children cut the bags and let them decorate their vests as they wish.
  • Yellow, orange, and red construction paper can be used to create flames. Empty toilet paper rolls covered with brown paper make perfect logs. Together, they make the perfect pretend campfire.
  • A water bottle becomes a flask...add rope or masking tape.
  • Add sand to drawings to represent a sandstorm.
  • Make your own "Wanted" signs and add pictures of the children in your group.
  • Make gold pieces.

Drawing:

  • Cowboy and farm animal coloring pages.
  • Creative coloring activities related to the theme.
  • White paper children can use to draw their own cowboy and ranch.
  • Charcoal drawings.

Role play:

  • Cowboy costume: cowboy boots, shirt, jeans, cowboy hat, vest, etc.
  • Survival camp: sleeping bag, lantern, other camping material. Add a crafted campfire and a few musical instruments.
  • You can also pretend to cook over a campfire. Add pots and pans, BBQ forks (cover the tips with duck tape), etc.
  • Transform your role play area to make it look like a caravan: a few chairs with a sheet (or your parachute) draped over them.
  • If you have a wooden barrel or basket, use it for this theme.
  • Modeling dough which hardens and toothpicks are all you need to make your own cactus.

Manipulation:

  • Memory game related to the theme using educatall.com's picture game or a store-bought version.
  • Puzzles related to the theme.
  • A cardboard cowboy hat shape for lacing.
  • A long rope which children can manipulate like a lasso.
  • Ropes children can use to practice tying knots and bows.
  • Different lengths of rope. Children can place them in order, from shortest to longest.
  • Modeling dough and plastic horses. Children can make prints.
  • If there are stables nearby, ask the owner if you may borrow a saddle to show your group.

Pre-reading:

  • Books about horses, the ranch, and cowboys. They are usually easy to find at the library. You may also ask parents to share any books they may have related to the theme.
  • Books about the Far West.
  • Sequential stories with illustrations children must place in the correct order.

Pre-writing:

  • Hunt and seek games.
  • Various activity sheets related to the theme.
  • Games with educatall.com's word flashcards.
  • Tracing and maze games.
  • A connect the dots cowboy hat.

Motor skills:

  • A treasure hunt/obstacle course. Prepare a poster which shows several objects belonging to cowboys and Indians. Have copies of the individual objects (pictures or actual objects) on hand and hide them throughout the daycare. Have children search for the objects as they complete an obstacle course.
  • Pin the tail on the donkey.
  • Throw bean bags into a cowboy hat.
  • Dart game (with balls and Velcro). Store-bought versions exist but you can easily make your own!
  • Horseshoes.
  • Lawn bowling (petanque).

Sensory bins:

  • Sand box, sieve, and shiny rocks to search for (to represent gold pieces).
  • Container filled with straw and precious stones to search for!
  • Container filled with oats and plastic horse figurines.

Science:

  • Dye bandanas with your group. Simply use pieces of white fabric (ideally cotton) and cut them to the right size. Try different color combinations...chemical, food, or just fabric markers.
  • Plant grass (hay) to feed the horses.

Kitchen:

  • A mixture of cereal, peanuts, pretzels, and pumpkin or sunflower seeds is the perfect snack for long walks. Children will love preparing their own snack mix.
  • Serve chicken nuggets for lunch and pretend they are gold nuggets.
  • Prepare a "horse" snack. Serve Mini Shredded Wheat to represent hay bales, Cheerios to represent oats, and dried apples.
  • Serve chili for lunch.
  • Melt Cheez Whiz over pretzels for a snack which looks like a miniature campfire.

LANGUAGE ACTIVITIES

Word flashcards

Word-flashcards-The-ranchThe flashcards may be used to spark a conversation with your group, in your reading and writing area, or to identify your thematic bins. (Open word flashcards - The ranch) campfire, cowboy, cowboy hat, cowboy boots, bandana, horse, donkey, lasso, stable, rodeo, guitar, hay bale

 

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY AND MOTOR SKILLS

The cowboy gathers the herd
Select three children to represent cowboys. The other children are the herd. Deposit hula hoops on the floor throughout the area where the cowboys must round up their herd. Identify an area where the players who are captured by the cowboys can gather. When you give the players the signal, the herd must run from one hula hoop to another. If the cowboys capture a child, he must go to the identified area until the end of the game. The last three children who are caught become the cowboys for the next round.

 

Trot and gallop
Gather your musical instruments and explore different rhythms with your group. Show children the difference between trotting and galloping horses (trot: slow rhythm, walk and gallop: quick rhythm, run).

 

Country dancing
Play country-western music and teach your group a few dance steps. Let them dance as they wish. Encourage them if needed. You may also suggest they dress for the occasion...jeans, shirt, and cowboy hat!

 

Tug of war
Find a strong rope. Mark the centre of the terrain with colourful adhesive tape. Divide your group into two teams as fairly as possible. When you give the signal, each team pulls on the rope, in opposite directions. The object of the game is to pull the other team across the centre line.

 

Sheriff tag
Select a child to be the sheriff. The sheriff chases the robbers and puts them in jail (a designated area).

 

OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES

Gallop along
Have fun with hula hoops. Deposit hula hoops on the ground and invite children to jump in the hoops. They may also gallop between the hoops without touching the sides.

 

Horseshoes
Set up one or more horseshoe games in the backyard. Have children test their cowboy abilities.

 

Shooting practice
Hang several targets on a fence and practice aiming at them in various ways: dart game (Velcro), balls (Velcro), plastic arrows, paper targets with water guns, etc.

 

Cowboy training course
Arrange a variety of obstacles in your backyard (tunnel, balance beam, stilts, etc.) Ask children to complete the course several times as part of their cowboy training.

 

Lasso jump
Show children how to jump rope. Tie a long rope at one end and turn it for little ones. Let older children use individual ropes.

 

Sack race
Find old pillowcases or jute bags and organize a sack race.

 

ACTIVITIES INVOLVING PARENTS

Educational outing
Organize a trip to visit a ranch or equestrian centre nearby. Invite parents to join you.

 

COGNITIVE ACTIVITIES

Story and memory game-Cowboys and Indians
Print, cut out, and laminate the cards. (Open story and memory game - Cowboys and Indians) Place the cards face down on the floor. Children pick three cards and invent a story in relation to the illustrations. Variation: To solidify the cards, glue each illustration to the top of a frozen juice can. Print twice and use as a memory game.

 

Magnifying glass game
(Open magnifying glass game - The ranch) Print and laminate the board game and the cards. Cut them out and store them in a box or in a Ziploc bag. Children pick a card and search for the item on the board game, using a magnifying glass. Once they have found the item, they deposit it in the correct square, on the board game.

 

Educ-association
Educ-association-The-ranch(Open educ-association - The ranch) Print. Arrange the game in a file folder. Children must associate the illustrations. Once they have found the correct associations, they must place the cards in the correct squares using Velcro or adhesive putty.

 

Educ-same and different
(Open educ-same and different - The ranch) Print and laminate for durable, eco-friendly use. Children must circle the illustration which is different in each row.

 

Hunt and seek
(Open hunt and seek - The ranch) Print and laminate. Children pick cards and search for the items in the picture.

 

Educ-big and small
(Open educ-big and small - The ranch) Print and laminate. Children must place identical illustrations in the correct order, from smallest to biggest, and deposit them in the correct squares using Velcro or adhesive putty.

 

Cowboy or Indian
(Open game - Cowboy or Indian) Print and laminate. Display both pictures on the wall. Using Velcro, children associate the cards to the correct picture.

 

Hey! Cowboy!Hunt-and-seek-The-ranch
Select a child to be the cowboy and have him wear a cowboy hat. The child sits, facing away from the group. Point to a child and have him stand up and say, "Hey! Cowboy!" The child wearing the cowboy hat must try to guess who is speaking.

 

MORAL AND SOCIAL ACTIVITIES

Photo shoot
If you can find hay bales, have children wear cowboy hats and enjoy a thematic photo shoot. If you can't find hay bales you can still photograph children pretending to ride a horse (broomstick) to the sound of country music.

 

Fire, fire, pretty fire
Make your own pretend campfire using yellow, orange, and red tissue paper and a few logs. Provide musical instruments and, as a group, sing around the campfire.

 

EARLY SCIENCE

Popcorn
With a popcorn machine, demonstrate how popcorn is made for your group. Explain why the popcorn's appearance changes when it is heated.

 

My hay
Give each child a container, dirt, and grass seeds. Follow the steps together, but let children manipulate everything. In just a few days, their "hay" will begin to grow. Appoint a child in charge of checking if the plantation needs watering and if it is getting enough sunlight each day. Children can use scissors to cut their hay when it is long enough.

 

Cereal bin
Fill a container with a variety of grains and cereals. Add small cups children can use to fill and empty. Also include spoons, small horse figurines, etc.

 

My cactus
Set a cactus on a table and explore it with your group. Provide magnifying glasses.

 

CULINARY ACTIVITIES

Far West snack
Set several types of cereal, dried fruit, and seeds on a table and invite children to prepare their own snack mix. Tell them that cowboys need lots of energy!

 

S'mores
Melt marshmallows and chocolate pieces separately in a microwave oven. Dip the marshmallows in the chocolate and place them between two Graham wafers. Press and enjoy!

 

ARTS & CRAFTS

Horseshoe
(Open craft - horseshoe) Print on heavy cardboard and cut out. Wrap the horseshoe with aluminum paper.

 

Yarn collage
Make a collage using small pieces of yarn (a horse's mane).

 

My cowboy vest
You will need a brown paper grocery bag for each child. Help children cut a vest shape. Let them decorate as they wish.

 Models-Rodeo

My guitar
Collect several empty shoe boxes (ask parents to send a few). Invite children to paint the boxes. Glue an empty paper towel roll to each box to represent the guitar neck. Once dry, slide elastics over the box and show children how to pinch the elastics to produce music.

 

My rodeo poster
(Open models - rodeo) Print for each child. Ask children to color and cut out the pieces. Give each child a large piece of white cardboard. Invite them to glue the pieces on the cardboard to create a rodeo poster.

 

My sheriff badge
(Open sheriff badge) Print and cut out. Decorate the stars with glitter glue. Children will be proud to wear their sheriff badge.

 

COLORING PAGES

(Open creative coloring - The ranch) Print for each child. Children draw their ranch.

(Open coloring pages theme - The ranch) Print for each child.

 

SONGS & RHYMES

Have you ever seen a cowboy Songs-&-rhymes-Have-you-ever-seen-a-cowboy
by: Patricia Morrison
sung to: Have you ever seen a lassie?

 

Have you ever seen a cowboy,
A cowboy, a cowboy
Have you ever seen a cowboy
With no cowboy hat?

Have you ever seen a cowboy,
A cowboy, a cowboy
Have you ever seen a cowboy
Without cowboy boots?

Have you ever seen a cowboy
A cowboy, a cowboy
Have you ever seen a cowboy
Without a horse?

 

Have fun!

The Educatall team


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