Friday, January 09, 2009

Bean Shakers

Listen up and pay attention, all teachers and parents of toddlers-to-preschoolers. This here's the mother of genius activities. When we began to serve in nursery last fall you may remember my call for craft ideas. I got many responses, typed them up for a reference, and have been working my way through them when it's our turn to do activity. We tried this one a few months ago because it was cheap, easy to prepare, and easy to clean up, and we were BLOWN AWAY at its success. Every single kid, from newly 18 months to almost 4 could do it...and loved it. We did it again last Sunday, same results.

I give complete, total, and gratitude-laden, bordering on worshipful, credit to cousin-in-law Katy for this. She was a nursery leader in Charlottesville last year and threw herself wholeheartedly into it. She even kept a blog for a few months of all her lesson plans and ideas. She gave me a whole list of ideas in response to the October call for crafts (see those comments), and more on the phone. She said she came up with this one at about 11:30 pm one Saturday night out of desperation. Amazing. Here you go:

Take two small dixie cups and tape them together so they are closed. Poke a small hole (I use a mechanical pencil) in the top just large enough for a bean. Give the kids beans that they can shove through the hole. I don't know why but they LOVE doing this. When they are done tape the top closed with a piece of masking tape. Makes a shaker for singing time or just to make noise. (Good for lessons about being grateful for ears or moving because the dancing is more exciting with noise etc.)
Keeps them sitting still, keeps them engaged, excellent fine motor skill work, and the big kids can do more, the little ones less, but everyone ends up with a shaker that looks the same. For a real challenge I gave some of the bigger kids pony beads to pop in. They're about the same size as beans but harder to hold on to.

The first time we made these we kept them all as a class set and use them during music time. Yesterday we put their names on and sent them home. I think we'll be doing this at least once a quarter. These shakers rock my world.


Lindsay said...

I can't believe it but you're almost making me wish I was the nursery leader again. These are awesome! Maybe I'll just make some at home with Garrett. :) This would be a nice inside activity for these blasted cold days.

Stratton Family said...

Sadie LOVES her shaker. She has slept with it every night! Definitely a winner!

Just Katy said...

I know with every fiber of my being that bean shakers are true:}! Glad it helps!

dave said...

@Katy: All the fiber in your beans?

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