Friday, January 29, 2016

February: So Many Preschool Themes- So Little Time!

Hi all!  

I’m so excited to be sharing with you all for the first time here on the PreK & K Sharing Blog!  

I am Cheryl Hatch, aka Miss Cheryl, from Preschool Plan It.  I love everything preschool and especially anything theme related!  Choosing just one to share here took me far longer than I care to admit! 

When planning themes with my team, it used to take us a long time to choose which themes we wanted to run for the month of February in our classrooms!  We would think about Valentine's Day and National Dental Health Month.  How do we choose?  And, what about Ground Hog Day?  And Presidents’ Day?

We decided not to choose!  The themes all work together! 

We started planning our months to include Dental Health (for National Dental Health Month) which is a great theme to discuss with Valentines Day and all that candy!  

A Post Office Theme was incorporated to include the delivery of our Valentine's Day cards. 

And finally, we’d add some discussion about Ground Hog Day and Presidents’ Day the day after those holidays.

Here are some of my favorite activities to go along with each theme.  

Dental Health Theme: The "Tooth" Experiment
This is a popular activity in many classrooms. 

We begin this theme with many activities about teeth.  We might chart who brushes their teeth, who brushed their teeth this morning, how often to brush teeth.  

We have, in some years, provided toothbrushes and toothpaste (donated by a local dentist who came in as a classroom visitor!) and practiced tooth-brushing.  We would end the theme by providing certificates that stated the children knew 3 ways to keep their teeth healthy!
During our discussions, we would begin this experiment as a large group, usually at Circle Time.

We would discuss cavities, what causes them and how to prevent them (specifically discussing sugar and candy with Valentines Day coming up).  Here’s the experiment:

1.    Crack open an egg (white shelled egg).  Clean the inside well.
2.    Place ½ of the egg shell in one jar and the other ½ in a different jar.
3.    Add cola to one jar.  Pour enough in to cover the egg shell.  Discuss the amount of sugar in soda.

4.    Add water to the other jar, pouring enough to cover the shell.
5.    Let both jars sit for the day in a place where the children can observe them.  Ask the children what they think will happen and record their predictions on chart paper.
6.    After a few hours, or near the end of the day in full day programs, check on the egg shells.
7.    Remove the egg from the water jar and discuss any changes (none!)
8.    Remove the egg from the cola jar and discuss the changes.

9.    Use a toothbrush and toothpaste and gently brush an area of the cola egg (carefully-the shell is now very fragile!).

10. Discuss the changes and their thoughts on what they have seen and apply it to the importance of tooth brushing.

The Rubber Egg

Of course, we must do this activity each year!

Use 2 clear cups, 2 eggs (in white shells, not cracked open), vinegar, cola
1.    Place the eggs, unopened and uncooked, in separate, clear jars.
2.    Cover one with cola.  Cover the other with white vinegar.
3.    Predict what will happen over time.  Let sit and observe for 2 days.

The cola egg will be discolored.  (showing what happens when we don’t brush.  Brush
this shell with a toothbrush and toothpaste).

The vinegar egg will lose its shell, showing what happens when the acids from foods
continually build up on our teeth if we don’t brush, eventually damaging our teeth.

Here's my YouTube demonstration:

Valentine's Day Theme Activities

For Valentines Day, there are so many activities to choose from!  

I have over 50 on my Valentine's Day Theme, so it was difficult to just choose 2!

Here are two of my favorites!

Textured Coolness  And Heart Tic-Tac-Toe!

Textured Coolness: This is an activity named by one of the children in my class years ago.  He called it “Coolness”.  It is a sensory bag of sorts and a twist on “Goop”!  The children love making their own!

The children measure the following into a seal-able baggie:

  • 5 tablespoons of corn starch
  • ½ cup of water
  • 1 drop of food coloring or paint

Seal the bags and let them mix!  

This is what’s known to many as Goop. 

It feels somewhat hard in the bag.  

But as they hold the bag, their body heat melts the mixture into….. mhmmm…..Coolness!

But wait!  There’s more!

Now have them add 1-2 tablespoons of oil (vegetable oil, olive oil, whatever you use).

As we know, oil and water don’t mix.  Therefore, when the children place the sealed bag on a flat surface and “write” on the bag with their finger, the oil pushes the mixture away.  It, too, is coolness!

Heart Tic-Tac-Toe

This activity can be used in so many ways!  Create a fun board and laminate.  

Your children can then use:
Hearts for playing pieces:

Have them cut out hearts (either free-hand as best they can or by tracing and cutting the hearts out). They then print their names on each heart.  Laminate their name heart and use those!

Dry-Erase Markers:  Give your children low-odor, dry erase markers to use on this game!

Post Office Theme:  Shades of Blue!

Post Office Preschool Theme

Valentines also leads us to talk about how the mail is delivered. 
Enter, our Post Office Theme!

We typically combine these to themes at the same time.  Our Dramatic Play area becomes a Post Office.  Our Writing Center has so many envelopes it appears to have exploded! 

Note:  We had SO many envelopes donated to us from parents and from our local drug store!  We asked parents, a month in advance, to send in any unused return envelopes they receive in the mail from bills or from junk mail.  We also asked the manager at the local Walgreens’ if they might save extra envelopes from their Greeting Card section for us throughout the year.  We received a call a month to pick up envelopes!! 

We also ask parents (and the drug store) to save boxes for us!  We use them throughout the classroom for mail boxes, packages to deliver in Dramatic Play, and we paint on them!

There are many fun activities for this theme, but the favorite is usually Shades of Blue.  You can have this at the Easel and/or at your art table.  The postal uniforms are officially blue.  Therefore, we provide blue and white paint. 

The children LOVE being color scientists and seeing how many shades of blue they can make.  Just provide plops of blue and white paint.

The children then help us rip up some of the boxes we’ve had donated to use as our canvas to paint on!


And there you have it, our mish-mash of February Themes!  

Of course, you can also add in an activity specific to Ground Hog Day as well as the day after Presidents’ Day to talk about why we had the day off from school!

I have over 145 free theme pages on my website with activities for all of your Interest Learning Centers!  Here are the links to the theme pages mentioned here:

Ground Hog Day Theme                                  
Friendship Theme

Valentine's Day Theme                                    
Post Office Theme

Dental Health Theme                                       Presidents' Day Theme

Happy Planning!


About the author
Cheryl Hatch has taught and directed preschool programs for over 20 years.  She is the Creator and Owner of Preschool Plan It, a website dedicated to sharing preschool themes, activities, articles and training with early childhood educators.  She volunteers as the coordinator and teacher of the MOPPETS program in her town (a preschool program for the M.O.P.S.--Mothers of Preschoolers Program).  She has her undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education.  Cheryl has been an active, integral member and leader within the Teachers.Net Early Childhood community for many years, moderating live chats and providing peer support on the Preschool Teachers Chatboard. You can read Cheryl’s articles, activities and themed preschool lesson plans at 

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