Preschool Quiet Bins

What can you do when your kids get all wound up? I suggest Quiet Bins.

How can you teach children independence and self-reliance? How about Quiet Bins?

What about reinforcing the skills being taught in a day, like letters and numbers? You guessed it – Quiet Bins.

These bins would be great in a quiet center or in many different areas of your classroom.

So what are these magical bins and why would you want them in your classroom? I can’t wait to tell you!

preschool quiet bins

As a teacher I strongly believe in Quiet Bins. And I am not even being dramatic. I love Quiet Bins so much that I wrote an entire book with a year full of educational quiet bin ideas.

preschool quiet bin ideas

What are Quiet Bins?

Let me start at the beginning. A Quiet Bin contains an

  • engaging,
  • independent,
  • open-ended,
  • educational,
  • and gently structured activity.

The activities in quiet bins are perfect for children between the ages of 2–6 years old. They are super simple to set up, contain materials you likely already have on hand, and can be used again and again.

Quiet Bin Materials:
You can use anything really, but here are a few suggestions to get you started.

  • buttons
  • pipe cleaners (chenille craft stems)
  • craft sticks
  • cotton balls
  • rocks and shells
  • small plastic animals and people
  • clothespins
  • really, just about anything!

quiet bin for preschool

How do Quiet Bins help kids learn?

Quiet Bins teach little ones many things. Most bins help kids learn letters, numbers, and sorting. They also involve small parts and little muscles, strengthening children’s hands for future writing. Also, and importantly, they help children learn to focus and concentrate.

Why should I have Quiet Bins in my classroom?

In my Kindergarten classroom I used Quiet Bins all the time. I would have them on the carpet for children to explore after coming in from an outside time. It was perfect for helping children settle after running outside, and gave me uninterrupted time to help students with any coats, shoes, or troubles that may have occurred. I would use them in much the same way after gym, lunch, and really any transitional time.

They are also fantastic learning tools. As we know, children need lots of time to play with concepts and ideas in order for the learning to really sink in. Quiet Bins are so easy to tailor to your students exact learning needs.

Here are some tiny glimpses of simple ideas for Quiet Bins through the seasons from my Book:

Fall: Fall Button Trees. Skills: sorting, counting, and strengthening little hands.
fall quiet bin for preschool

Winter: Build a Snowman. Skills: counting, building and stacking.
winter quiet bin

Spring: Popsicle Stick Paddocks. Skills: forming shapes, learning about sides and angles, and developing visual spatial skills.
Spring quiet bin

Summer: Watermelon Seed Letters. Skills: letter matching and letter formation.
summer quiet bin

Nice and simple to set up, full of learning and independence, and great for helping with transitions in the classroom…who wouldn’t love quiet bins!

How WEE Learn
BIO: Sarah is the writer of How Wee Learn where she shares out of the box learning ideas. She is also the author of the popular book and eBook A Year of Educational Quiet Bins. You can grab her eBook for only $6 by using the discount code “pre-kpages”. Follow along with Sarah on Facebook and Pinterest for lots of creative learning ideas for preschoolers.

Classroom Centers Pinterest Board
Follow my Classroom Centers Pinterest Board for more great ideas!

Apple Theme Gross Motor Learning

I’ve heard a rumor that Fall is approaching.

I still feel like I’m melting in the heat, but this fun Apple activity may tide me over until the crisp weather arrives in Texas. It’s sure to get kids moving and learning!

Apple Themed Gross Motor Learning for preschool
Disclosure: Amazon links included below.

Proprioceptive Sensory Input

My son has special sensory needs. Because of this, I’ve done a lot of research into the connection between movement, learning, and the brain. Gross motor activities not only engage large muscle groups, they stimulate the brain to LEARN!

Apple Themed Gross Motor Learning

I like to especially focus on one particular area when we do gross motor activities: the proprioceptive sense. While not a well-known term, this sense is essential for everyday function. Proprioception is the sensory input people get from their joints and their ligaments. It is what gives us body control and body awareness.

There are loads of ways to get proprioceptive sensory input: jumping, climbing, carrying weighted objects, getting a bear hug–these ALL help the body feel regulated and ready to learn.

Apple Gross Motor balls

Apple Movement Game

We bought a dozen stress balls shaped like apples for our gross motor learning games. I wrote a number 1-12 on the bottom of them. (Though you could choose to do letters as well.)

Scatter the apples throughout the room and let the children crawl, jump, or slither to the nearest apple. The goal is to get their bodies working hard! Once they grab an apple, they have to call out the number or letter to you. I increased the difficulty for my son by asking him to find all the numbers and place them in order.

apple gross motor finding numbers

A simple add on to this activity is to instruct your child to squeeze the apple as many times as the number on the bottom of the apple. It’s an easy way to get proprioceptive input and strengthen little fingers, too! Count together (building math skills). Isn’t it great to multi-task!?!

apple gross motor squeezing ball

One final way to get gross motor sensory input while learning is to have the child toss the apples into a basket. There are a variety of ways to change the physical difficulty level. Distance, height, underhand or overhand. You could even challenge your students to bend at the waist and throw it backwards through their legs!

apple gross motor tossing balls

I like to add simple addition to this activity. When two apples are in the basket we discuss what the sum of the two numbered apples would be. Example: “Look, this apple says ‘3’ on the bottom and this apple says ‘1’. If you add one to three, it equals four!”

Remember, when you combine movement and learning, the results are amazing and the possibilities are limitless!

Apple gross motor ball

Profile JulieBIO: Julie writes at My Mundane and Miraculous Life, a resource for parents who take a hands on approach to their children’s education. She is the mother of two tornados (with another on the way). Her son’s Sensory Processing Disorder changes how they live daily life, but they’re better off for it! You can keep up with the blog on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and Twitter.

More Apple Ideas—
Apple Counting Book
Apple Print Number Line
Oatmeal Apple Sensory Play
Apple Tree Play Dough Activity

apple pinterest board
Follow my Apple Theme Pinterest Board for more great ideas!

Apple Print Number Line

Ten Apples Up on Top has been a favorite book in our house since we read the board book version when the girls were babies. It is one of the first books my nearly 4-year-old, Big M, memorized and started reading on her own, and ‘reads’ to her little sister, Lil’ M. And now, even my 2-year-old reads it to herself.

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Print Number Line
Disclosure: Amazon links included below.

Early Math Skills

Ten Apples Up on Top is a great book to teach early math skills. I give Dr. Seuss full credit for teaching both girls how to count to 10 before their second birthdays!

We recently used this book as inspiration to create a life-size number line with apple prints. Creating a number line teaches preschoolers number sequencing and one-to-one correspondence as well as demonstrates written numerals are representative of groups of objects. The written numeral “3” is representative of three apples, for example.

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Number Line

Apple Print Number Line Supplies

To make your number line, you only need a few basic supplies. It can also be easily created with a group of children, with children taking turns making apple prints.

Supplies:

  • Ten Apples Up on Top by Dr. Seuss
  • Red and green tempera paint
  • Apple
  • Paper plates
  • Craft paper
  • Painters’ tape
  • Plastic forks (optional)

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Prints

Preparing the Number Line

Using painters’ tape, tape up a length of craft paper on the wall. We are big fans of using builders’ paper for crafting. It tends to be less expensive, comes in bulk quantity, and is more durable to withstand lots of paint and glue. Write the numbers 1 – 10 across the top of your craft paper.

Next, cut your apple in half vertically. Squirt red and green paint on two separate paper plates, and swirl the apple halves around in it. After a little trial and error, we found it helpful to insert plastic forks in our apple halves to make it easier to lift out of the paint.

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Print Stamp

Making an Apple Print Number Line

Once it was set up, I let Big M start making prints. Encourage children to press the apple firmly to the paper, and reapply paint each time to get the best prints.

Apple Print Number Line

We alternated colors for each number to help make the groups of apples stand out. As she made her prints, we counted each one aloud and talked about how many MORE we needed. (This will build more number sense and introduce math vocabulary.)

Ten Apples Up On Top Number Line

At our house, one of the biggest challenges is always keeping Lil’ M entertained with her own version of a project. I set her up with her own paper, paint, brush, and apples. Big M thought her little sister’s creation looked like the apple explosion at the end of the book!

Ten Apples Up On Top Apple Prints  for preschool

Hang your completed Apple Print Number Line in your classroom or home for continued learning and fun!

Playground ParkbenchBIO: Meghan is a former hedge fund professional turned SAHM to Big M (nearly 4), Lil’ M (2), and a baby boy due next month! She writes at Playground Parkbench, where she shares at-home activities for kids, parenting tips and financial savvy for the household CEO. Find her on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter!

More Apple Posts—
Ten Red Apples: Counting Trees
Apple Hedgehogs: Fine Motor Activity
Apple Science Experiment
Apple Pizza Snack Activity

apple pinterest board
Follow my Apple Theme Pinterest Board for more great ideas!

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