Me on the Map

Me on the Map Final

As we begin our study of North America, I wanted to help reinforce the idea of “continent” with a Me on the Map project.  I’ve seen several variations of these and decided for our purposes the handheld, concentric circles would work best.  I used my Creative Memories circle cutter set to cut 7 different circles from about 3 1/4 to 6 1/4″.  I used cardstock in the following colors:

Planet: black (to represent space)
Continent: blue (for the ocean)
Country: red (flag)
State: green (wildlife/outdoors)
City: purple (relevant to our slogan)
Street: orange (my son’s favorite)
House: white


I found this planet earth coloring page, which fit the largest circle perfectly.  They colored it, wrote “Earth” and glued it onto the black circle. We added star stickers and wrote “Planet” at the bottom.  On the back we glued a sheet with the following facts:

3rd from the sun
Has 1 satellite: the moon
5th largest planet in the solar system
Over 90 million miles from the sun
70% surface covered in water

I also got out our sandpaper globe and reminded them that the Earth is a sphere.  We laid out pictures of the 8 planets and talked about how they all revolve around the sun, their order and their sizes.


Me on the Map Pin PunchFor the North America disk, we tried pin punching.  Basically, instead of using scissors to cut out intricate lines, the child uses a push pin to poke little holes along the line.  I traced the outline of North America onto orange cardstock.  First, we tried pin punching into a cardboard base, but that required too much pressure.  The carpet squares (indoor/outdoor carpet leftover from our porch remodel last summer) worked much better as a base.  This project too MUCH longer than I anticipated.  I plan on purchasing some of the larger wooden pins, hopefully those will work better.  The facts on the back included:

3rd largest continent
Consists of 24 countries
In the Northern and Western hemispheres
English, Spanish and French most common languages
Named after Amerigo Vespucci

We glued the continent onto the blue circle, added fish stickers all over the ocean and wrote “North America.”


For the United States I printed out a map with the state boundaries, but not their names.  I thought I saved it, but I can’t find it now.  On the red circle we glued the map of the US, our national bird (bald eagle) and a picture of our flag.  We also put a star sticker on the capital (Washington D.C.).  The facts we included on the back were:

Capital: Washington D.C.
National Bird: Bald Eagle
Has 50 states
3rd largest country
National Motto: In God we trust


On our state circle we glued an outline of our state.  Each child drew famous landmarks like  lakes and mountains on their maps.  We also added a star for our capital.  Around the map we glued pictures of the state flag, animal, flower and bird.  On the back we included information about the capital, largest city, state bird, animal and flower.


I chose to do the nearest large city, instead of our smaller suburb.  We added pictures of the logos of the city, zoo and children’s museum.  On the back we listed the county, nickname, and local attractions.


For our street I used 2 pictures: one standing at the end and one of our street sign.  On the back we listed the number of homes on our street, the local park, and other landmarks.


The smallest circle has a picture of our house.  We added number stickers for our address.  On the back we listed the year it was built, sq footage, the swingset, our porch and painting it blue.


I laminated each circle and then trimmed them.  We punched a hole in the top of each and slid a brad through.  Now each circle can spin independently.  The kids love them!

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Butterfly Footprints

Butterfly Footprint






I’ve found painting is always a hit with kids.  As a toddler, my son would walk around the house with a dry paintbrush ‘painting’ everything in sight.  This is an art project we did last year, when my sons were 4 1/2 and 18 months.    We let the kids take turns painting each other’s feet because, well, it’s fun.  As a bonus the brushes were VERY tickly on bare feet, which made for lots of giggles.

Each child chose 2 colors, one for the ball and toes of their foot, the other for their heel.  Once the paint was on, they stepped onto paper (one foot at a time) placing the right foot on the left side of the paper and the left foot on the right side of the paper… so baby toes are in the middle of the sheet and big toes are on the outside.

After the paint dried the mommas used permanent marker to add butterfly bodies, heads, and antenna.

Happy Spring!

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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: Goodnight Moon

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Summary: A bunny says goodnight to everything in his room.

Story Treasure: Clothesline with foam mittens and socks

After reading the book, we went through and looked for the mouse hiding on each page.


ART: Colors
I brought in 3 cups: red, blue and yellow.  I also brought in a number of matching items in each color: crayons, counting bears, wooden blocks, pom poms, magnet sticks, foam cubes, and colored craft sticks.  We identified the colors of the items and sorted them into cups, over and over again.  (I actually took this to church as a quiet activity and my toddler sorted them over and over in church as well, it was a favorite activity for sure!)

Goodnight Moon_Colors

I set up a clothesline between 2 chairs.  The students used clothespins to attach child sized socks and mittens to the line.  We also matched the pairs of socks and mittens.  Some children struggled with pinning the clothes on and preferred to take them off instead, which was also good fine motor practice.

Goodnight Moon_Clothesline

SCIENCE: Zoology
We made animal cards as suggested on pg 34 of Before Five in a Row.  I chose to make 2 cards for each animal: one parent and one child.  We matched up the families and introduced the names of each (like cow/calf and cat/kitten)

Goodnight Moon_Animal Sets

I blew up balloons for the children to play with.  I recommend saving this activity for last or you may not make it to the others.

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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: The ABC Bunny

The ABC Bunny by Wanda Gag

Summary: A curious bunny races through the alphabet on his way home

Story Treasure: Alphabet magnets (purchased at Dollar Tree)

After reading the book, I held up a cookie sheet with all the magnets in alphabetical order.  We sang the ABC song as I pointed to each letter.  Later, each student was given a set of magnets to take home.


ART: Letters
Before class I cut out enough green paper leaves to spell each child’s name.  I wrote one letter on each leaf and we helped the student’s glue the leaves on their paper to spell their name.

MATH: Counting
Each student was given several cotton balls to represent hail.  We counted them together in our piles and in the book.

SCIENCE: Zoology
We made animal cards as suggested on pg 45 of Before Five in a Row.

I filled a tub with paper grass (purchased at Easter time, though you could cut your own paper into skinny strips and scrunch them up).  I bought several different fake flower stems from the dollar store and pulled the flowers off the stems.  Each child was given a stem and could mix and match the flowers to make their own bouquet.  Some flowers were easier to pull off and on than others.  You could also add plastic fruit to the bin.

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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: Caps for Sale

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Summary: A frustrated peddler tries to recover his stolen caps from a group of monkeys.

Story Treasure: Hat (I bought pirate hats in Walmart’s Halloween clearance, but most Dollar Stores have dress-up hats that would work, too)

After reading the story, before beginning centers, we reenacted the story.  I was the peddler and the students were the tricky monkeys.


Caps for Sale_Pennies









MATH: Counting
From the suggestion on pg 53 of Before Five in a Row, I made cards for each kind of coin.  You can download the cards I made here: Caps for Sale_Money Cards.  I brought in enough coins to fill each card and let the students take turns filling the cards.  Note that many toddlers will not be ready for this activity and for very young toddlers the coins will pose a choking hazard.  That being said, two of my students were enamored with filling the cards over and over.

We did the activity on pg 54 of Before Five in a Row, using pillows.

I had planned to bring in my Barrel of Monkeys for the kids to explore, but couldn’t find the set.  I’m sure they would have enjoyed it.

Caps for Sale_Hats









I brought in a variety of hats from our home dress-up center.  The kids really enjoyed trying on the hats and acting out the different jobs.  Some even stacked up multiple hats on their head like the peddler.

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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?

Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? by Nancy White Carlstrom

Summary: Follow a young bear through a typical day as he describes all the things he “wears”.

Story Treasure: Flannel bear with 4 matching shirt/short outfits

Before beginning centers we looked through the book again, this time using the “Can You Find” Search on pg 9 of Before Five in a Row.


SENSORY: Texture
I brought in 8 pairs of matching fabric swatches: fleece, flannel, felt, silk, suede, denim, cotton, and sheer.  I put one of each in a bag and gave each child one of the remaining 8 pieces.  As I walked around the table, each student reached in the bag (without looking) and felt around for the matching fabric swatch.  We talked about how the fabrics felt: scratchy, soft, thick, slippery, etc.

MATH: Matching
I brought in this bear puzzle and let the students take turns dressing the bear.  Most did a great job of matching the outfits, others had fun being creative.  I didn’t correct any of the students, we just commented on the outfits and let the students explain why they chose the clothing they did.

Bear puzzle









MATH: Shapes
I brought in a shape sorter and the students took turns fitting the pieces into the appropriate openings.  It was a favorite activity.  We also pointed out the shapes in the kitchen tile.

Shape Sorter









MATH: Colors, Counting, Sorting
I brought in these counting bears and we spent awhile sorting them into colored bowls, counting them and naming the colors.


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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: The Carrot Seed

The Carrot Seed by Ruth Krauss

Summary: A young boy plants a carrot seed and tends to it, despite discouragement from his family.

Story Treasure: Plastic trowel


We did the seed planting project from Pg 58 of Before Five in a Row for the students to take home.

MATH: Sorting
I opened several different seed packets and the students explored how seeds came in different sizes, shapes and colors.  Some students sorted the seeds and others matched them to the envelopes.  It’s important to use a variety of seeds, I think I chose: tomato, pumpkin, corn, carrot, lettuce and beet.

I printed pictures of seeds and plants for the students to match.  I also brought in a banana, pomegranate, cucumber and sunflower seeds.  We cut apart the fruits and discovered where the seeds were and what they looked like.

I filled a bin with a bag of dirt and buried several baby carrots in the dirt.  Each student was given their own little trowel to explore the bin.  They were thrilled to find the vegetables and enjoyed planting and harvesting them over and over.

Dirt Sensory Bin

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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: Katy No-Pocket

Katy No-Pocket by Emma Payne

Summary: A mother kangaroo struggles because she doesn’t have a pouch for her joey, until a kind contractor gives her an apron full of pockets.

Story Treasure: Apron (Project for Memories on Pg 89 of Before Five in a Row)


We did the memory activity from Pg 88 of Before Five in a Row.  I had brought in as many items that matched as I could and hid them in my lap under the table.  I asked them to remember the items from the book and as the named each one, I pulled it out from under the table.

SCIENCE: Zoology
We did the Animals activity from Pg 87 of Before Five in a Row, only I brought in stuffed or plastic animals instead of cards.

I also brought in a number of mom/baby sets of animals.  I used beanie babies and teeny beanie babies and happened to have 8 matching sets.  I made of pile of the babies in the middle and then gave each student a mother animal and asked them to help the mother find her baby.  Afterwards we talked about the different ways moms carry their babies and they demonstrated with the stuffed animals (dogs carry by the mouth, monkeys ride on their backs, kangaroos in a pouch, etc.)

I brought in a variety of kid’s toy tools, wooden tool boxes and benches.  They hammered pegs and twisted bolts for a looooong time.

I laid out three silks: yellow (sand), blue (sky) and green (grass).  The students then helped me sort the animals into their appropriate habitats.

Katy Habitat








I passed out the aprons so the kids could try them on.  We then filled their pockets with the smaller stuffed animals and they hopped around like Katy.

Katy Aprons

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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: The Runaway Bunny

The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Summary: A little bunny imagines he’s runaway to become a variety of different things, his mother always uses her imagination to find him.

Story Treasure: Magnetic Foam Fishing Set*

Foam Fishing Set









ART: Drama
We acted out the story with the students pretending to be the bunny and me as the mother.  I would call out one of the bunny’s ideas, like “fish” and they would all swim away as I tried to catch them.  It was a great review of the book, as well as getting the wiggles out.

MEMORY: Matching
I printed off and laminated pictures of all the things that the bunny and his mother pretended to be: fish/fisherman, rock/mountain climber, crocus/gardener, bird/tree, boat/wind, trapeze artist/tightrope walker, and boy/mother.  First, we matched each pair, then we divided the cards into 2 piles: one for the bunny and one for the mother.

MATH: Shapes
We did the “Shapes” activity on Pg 42 of Before Five in a Row.  I was surprised at how easy it was to find appropriate items at home.

I passed out the foam fishing sets.  Each child had their own pond, 6 fish (a large and small each of 3 different colors), and fishing pole.  We discussed colors and size as they fished.

I stuck painters tape to the carpet so they could practice being tightrope walkers.  This was a favorite activity!

*The water and fish were all cut from craft foam, I slid a paperclip onto each fish so they would stick to the magnet.  The fishing pole is made from a dowel, cut down to 12″.  I drilled a hole in a 1″ candle cup, fed the string through and tied it in a knot, then glued a magnet over the hole.  The other end of the string was tied to the dowel.


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Toddler BFIAR Co-op Class: Blueberries for Sal

Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey

Summary: A young girl and a bear cub each follow their mothers blueberry picking on opposite sides of a mountain. The young ones each get lost before being reunited with their mothers.

Story Treasure: Metal pail


ART: Ink
We did the suggested art project on Pg 32 of Before Five in a Row

MATH: Counting
I gave each child their pail and 5 marbles.  We counted the marbles as we dropped them into our pails.  The young toddlers just concentrated on counting to 5.  Older toddlers we worked basic addition, like “You have 2 berries in your pail.  How many will you have if we add one more?”

We talked about how blueberries grow on bushes.  Those who had been blueberry picking shared their experiences.  They also named some other berries and fruits they have picked (apples, strawberries).  Before class I drew a blueberry bush outline on a piece of paper and taped it to a small cookie sheet.  I had glued small magnets onto dark blue pompoms, which I then stuck to the “bush.”  In class, the kids covered their eyes while I hid the bush, then they took their pails and went blueberry picking off in search of the bush.  Once at the bush they each picked 4 blueberries and dropped them into their pails.  After everyone had a turn, they replaced the berries on the bush and we started all over.

SCIENCE: Zoology
We did the animal classification from Pg 31 of Before Five in a Row.  I brought in printed scrapbooking paper sheets: grass, sky and water to help with the sorting.

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