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.