The kindergarten class is enjoying our third week of learning about dinosaurs! For Friday Fun, I prepared a fine motor-focused project that used balloons, water, mini dinosaur figurines, and pipettes!

The students LOVED it!

They squeezed…

and squeezed…


a little dinosaur “hatched!”

This is a quick and easy project you can do at home! Simply grab a balloon (full-sized, not water!) and blow it up. Hold the air in it for thirty seconds to stretch out the shape. Let the air out and then use your fingers to spread open the balloon. Push a small plastic dino figurine into the deflated balloon. Fill the balloon with water and tie it off. Place in the freezer for 24 hours or more. Then, remove it from the freezer. Cut a hole in the balloon and have your child remove the balloon. Provide a cup of warm water and a pipette or turkey baster. Then watch as the egg melts away, and the dino is revealed! The repetitive squeezing of the pipette is the perfect way to strengthen fine motor muscles!



November Morning Exploring

I revamped our Morning Exploring bins once again! For the past two months, we have been using a rotation where it takes two days for each student to rotate to the next bin. With nine bins, that means it takes 18 school days to complete! With new activities begging to be showcased monthly, we just do not have 18 days to focus on one theme! So I decided to make two sets of each activity. This was a big task, but fortunately, I already had a lot of extra materials I could use to make these duplicate activities.

I recently received a back-ordered order of pencil boxes. I noticed immediately that these pencil boxes are quite challenging to open and close, and it became clear that they would not be an effective tool for students to use frequently throughout the day. I began brainstorming ways to use these boxes for something else. 
Why not make two kits for each Morning Exploring rotation using the pencil boxes as a way to keep the tools and supplies organized?! It works like a dream!

They are just the perfect size!

This month’s Morning Exploring activities are varied and build on a plethora of skills. Just wait and see!

Who’s ready to use algebraic thinking? Students are introduced to solving equations to ten with a missing number. They roll little balls of playdoh (fine motor!) and put the required number of balls in the ten frame to show the number at the top of the mat. Then they must count the empty squares to figure out how many more they need to get ten.

Another activity has students rolling two dice and adding them together. They must then move that number of water beads to the fall-themed cookie cutters.

Then and Now Writing has students writing high-frequency words using a pencil and the quill of a feather and black paint. They had SO much fun with this activity!

Leafy Patterns engaged students in extending colorful patterns using acrylic leaves.

Students use a feather to write high-frequency words in sand.

Q-tips were used for students to create fall-themed polka-dot masterpieces…and strengthen their fine motor skills!

Students used sunflower seeds to demonstrate number sense of teen numbers.

This addition activity has students sorting the acrylic leaves according to color. They recorded the number of red leaves and the number of yellow leaves and then added them together.

Having two sets of each activity prepared really made Morning Exploring so much fun! The feedback from the students has been very positive. They love doing the same activity as a peer and seeing the results of their friends’ work. I am planning on doing the same for our December tubs!

Fine Motor Fabulousness!

So many kindergarten skills involve fine motor…..and fine motor can be so tricky to develop and strengthen. It involves more than cutting with scissors or holding a pencil properly. I try to sprinkle fine motor activities into our everyday learning as much as I can. We use playdough. tweezers, stickers, hole punches, and pokey pins as much as possible to strengthen the littlest muscles!

Students working on a pokey pin activity.


Another GREAT fine motor activity is Perler beading. This group of kindergarteners LOVES making Perler bead creations. Students have the option of using their fingers or a small pair of tweezers to place the beads. Creating with Perler beads also helps build hand-eye coordination and fosters creativity.

We also spend quite a bit of our Friday Fun time sewing! So far this year, we have sewn pumpkins and coasters. Our first project was a minky fabric pumpkin. Students used a running stitch to sew around a circle of fabric we had prepared for them. I put a series of black dots circling the fabric so the students knew where to place the needle next. Look how cute these turned out!

Today, students sewed festive pumpkin coasters. This was a multi-step sewing project, and I was very impressed with the students’ enthusiasm and focus on completing the project.

The kindergarteners are so excited about sewing that they asked if I could include it as a Choice Time choice. Time to plan some new projects!

October Morning Exploring

With the new month comes new Morning Exploring tubs. The creepy crawlies are out and these students had no problem using the thematic manipulatives!

Students dig in sensory putty for googly eyes. They then sort them by color.


Students match numbers to coordinating tens frames and then clip them together.

Using stickers, students outline the shape of a pumpkin. They count to see how many stickers they used.


Students choose a number card and use pumpkin buttons and a ten frame to build the number.


Color patterns are extended. Students use tweezers to put the colored pom-poms in order.


Students roll one or two dice and move that many flies onto the spider web using tongs.

Using a push pin, students create a stained glass window effect.

Students use a hole punch to punch out teen numbers.

The last activity has students counting and recording the number of pumpkins in each container.

These activities keep the students busy practicing so many different skills! We love Morning Exploring!


Morning Exploring

We enjoyed our FIRST rotation of Morning Exploring activities today! These activities are designed to strengthen fine motor skills while reinforcing math and literacy concepts. They also encourage teamwork! I am just thrilled with how successful our first rotation was!

Take a look:

Students use their thumb and pointer finger to grasp very slippery water beads and sort them by color.


Working together, students place numbers in order from least to greatest. They use clips to clip the number cards in order.


Students cut along the curvy lines.


Using pop beads, students measure the pictures of school supplies to see how long each is. They record their answer.


Students roll two dice. They add the dice together. Using tongs, students place that number of frogs on the lily pads.


VERY CAREFULLY, students use a pushpin to make holes that follow each letter in their name.


Students use a hole punch to punch a specific number of holes on each page.


Pop beads are used again…but this time students use them to extend a pattern.


After Morning Exploring was complete for today, I overheard a student say, “I can’t wait to do this tomorrow!” These are words every teacher loves to hear!


November Morning Exploring Tubs

Though the month of November is quickly coming to a close, I wanted to share with you the November Morning Exploring tubs and the concepts they cover. The students could not get enough of these tubs…all of the little manipulatives were very exciting to them! The explanations for each tub are above the images.

Tub 1: Students choose a number from 0-20. The then link together the three different ways to show the value of that number. These ways include a ten or double-ten frame, tally marks, and pictures.



Tub 2: Using playdough, students fill in a ten frame to make a number. Then students must figure out how to complete the equation…who says kindergarteners can’t do algebra?!


Tub 3: Students use tweezers to choose a pumpkin. On the bottom of the pumpkin is a two digit number greater than 20. One student then spins the spinner, deciding on “greater than” or “less than.” Students must compare their numbers, and the student whose number matches the spinner gets to keep the pumpkins.


Tub 4: Students choose a High-frequency word and spell it using letter cards. They link the letters together to spell the words.


Tub 5: Students chose a number card and build the number using sunflower seeds.


Tub 6: Students follow the outline of the acorn with small stickers and then count up the total number of stickers used. The children LOVE using stickers and peeling and sticking is great for fine motor development!


Tub 7: Students choose a turkey container and count the number of glass beads inside. They record the two-digit number.


Tub 8: Students dig through a small sensory bin to find leaves. On the leaves are high-frequency words. Students read the word and match the leaves to their play mat.

I can not believe that in three short days, December will be here! It’s time to switch out the Morning Exploring Tubs!

October Morning Exploring Tubs

October is already half-way over, and I haven’t yet shared the October Morning Exploring tubs! There are some FUN thematic activities this month!


Tub 1: Students choose a number card. They then build that number in a ten frame using pumpkins. Read more about why the concept of the ten frame is important: https://mdelwiche.edublogs.org/2017/10/24/terrific-ten-frame/http://


Tub 2: Students us a die or two dice to roll a number. They then build that number on the spider web mat using tweezers and flies…eewww! With this activity, students are not only strengthening their fine motor skills, but they are practicing several math concepts including addition and number sense.


Tub 3: Students identify a number on the candy jar and then fill the jar with that number of candy corn. Besides building fine motor skills, students are recognizing numbers and demonstrating both one-to-one correspondence and number sense.



Tub 4: Students count the number of pumpkins in each container and record their answer. This activity reinforces counting as well as number writing.


Tub 5: Students match a number to the correct ten or double ten frame and then clip the cards together. Squeezing the clothespin strengthens fine motor skills. Students are also identifying numbers, counting, and demonstrating number sense.


Tub 6: Pokey Pins! Students use a push pin to poke holes along the outline of either a ghost or a pumpkin, making this fun light-up design! This activity works on strengthening fine motor skills.


Tub 7: Students pick a pattern card and then use tweezers to make the pattern. They are working on AB, ABC, ABB, AAB, and AABBCC patterns.


Tub 8: Each student has a number book with teen numbers. They use a hole punch to punch that number of holes on each page. This activity demonstrates number sense and one-to-one correspondence and strengthens fine motor skills


Tub 9: Students use links to measure Halloween themed items. They record the number of links long each item is on the picture card.

Mornings are delightfully busy in kindergarten!


Morning Exploring, Spring Edition

We are enjoying the final few rotations of our spring themed Morning Exploring tubs. Besides strengthening fine motor skills, these tubs continue to build both math and language arts concepts.

Students use mini stickers to follow the outline of an umbrella. They then count how many stickers they used.

Students extend the cottontail’s pattern using tweezers.


Students use tweezers to locate raindrops in plastic grass. They then solve the word puzzles each raindrop makes.


Students use a bunny hole punch to illustrate addition equations.


Students dig in therapy putty to remove colored beads, which they sort and graph.


Students choose a number card and place that number of ducks in the pond. They then write the two numbers that come before their chosen number.

Students choose a container and sort the erasers by carrot and bunny. They count the number of each and record that number in the coordinating box, writing an addition equations. Students then solve the equation.


Students create raindrop number bonds.


Students play a game of greater than or less than when they choose a duck, read the two-digit number, spin the spinner, and compare their number to their partner’s number.

March Morning Exploring

The March Morning Exploring tubs are ready! Students had a great time practicing math and language arts skills while building their fine motor skills. Read on for a description of the skills and activities we are working on this month.

Students find the missing addend by using the number bond and moving the pieces of gold with tweezers to help solve the equation. Once finished, they remove the clothespin from the card to check their answer.



Students read and write the heart word (high-frequency word) in salt with their finger, creating a rainbow word.


Students remove rainbows from containers using tongs, count and record the amount.


Students select a pot of gold and read the high-frequency word on it. They then link letter coins together using plastic links to duplicate the words read.


Students use links to put together the numbers with their matching quantities. This activity helps students recognize tally marks, ten frames, and numbers greater than ten and less than 21.


Students build the number shown by moving shamrocks to the jar on the playing mat. They then write that number in the box and count back. Once finished, they remove the clothespin from the card to check their answer.


Students build the number shown by moving gold coins to the pot on the playing mat. They then complete the equation on the playing mat. Once finished, they remove the clothespin from the card to check their answer.



Students make CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words by stringing the letter beads in order and writing the word on the response sheet. Once finished, they remove the clothespin from the card to check their answer.



Students use tongs to grab a green crystal with a number from 40 to 100 written on it. They then spin the spinner and read the number. Students compare their number to their partner to see which is greater or less than.


As you can see, there is a lot of fine motor building through the use of tongs, tweezers, and clothespins, in addition to building math and reading skills.


November Morning Exploring

The new Morning Exploring tubs are a hit, with nine fall themed fine motor, math and reading activities for the children to explore.

Using playdough and a ten frame, students complete equations.

Students extend complex patterns using acrylic leaves.

Students build high-frequency words using links and letter cards.

Students match numbers, items, and tally marks, and link them together.

Students count items and record the number. This activity works with the teen numbers.

Greater than or less than….students choose a pumpkin that has a two digit number on it. They spin the spinner to choose greater than or less than….and then they compare numbers. The winner gets both pumpkins.

Pom pom counting: Students roll a die and use chopsticks to move the number of pom poms to their turkey bucket. The winner is the person who has more in their bucket.

Students choose a card with a number on it and fill in a tens frame using acrylic leaves. Next, they write the number that comes before and after.

Using tongs, students pull out leaves and read the high-frequency words that are on each leaf. They then match the leaf to their game board.