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When planning a monsters theme for preschool children, make sure to make the monsters silly and fun and not scary. Before you begin remind the children that monsters are pretend and that you will only be talking about friendly monsters.
Use this fun poem at circle time to introduce the theme.
Five Little Monsters by Eve Merriam
Five little monsters by the light of the moon,
Stirring pudding with a wooden pudding spoon.
The first one says, "It mustn't be runny."
The second one says, "That would make it taste funny."
The third one says, "It mustn't be lumpy."
The fourth one says, "That would make me grumpy."
The fifth one smiles, hums a little tune,
And licks all the drippings from the wooden pudding spoon.
Read the poem to the class and discuss what is happening in it. Explain any vocabulary that may be unfamiliar, like runny or drippings. Encourage the children to think about the poem.
- What time of day is "by the light of the moon?"
- Are the monsters being careful and doing a good job making the pudding?
- Why do you think that the fifth monster is smiling and humming?
Reread the poem and ask the children to listen for any rhyming words. On a third reading pause at the end of the lines with rhyming words and let the children say the rhymes.
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Use these activities for the math portion.
- After the children have heard the poem "Five Little Monsters" let them sample three or four different flavors of pudding. Then ask them to think about which one they like best. Give each child a small square of paper with a bowl on it to color. Have each child color the bowl the color of his favorite pudding. Then use the picture to make a graph of the class's favorite flavor of pudding. Discuss the results.
- Make index cards with pictures of monsters with different characteristics on them. You can vary the color, numbers of eyes, whether or not they have horns, etc. Show the class the cards and think of different ways to sort them. Sort the cards with the whole class the first few times and then place several sets of cards at a center and encourage the children to practice sorting them.
- Read a monster counting book to your preschoolers. In Monster Math by Anne Miranda, children will practice counting up by ones and then tens and then back down again. Young children will love this math story about a "monster" of a party!
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Literature and Language Arts
Here are some fun read alouds and language arts ideas.
Glad Monster, Sad Monster by Anne Miranda and Ed Emberley
This monster book is a great way to introduce different feelings to preschool students. It shows different types of monsters and what activities make them feel certain ways. After reading the book encourage the children to discuss what makes them feel glad and sad. Give each child a piece of paper, have him draw a picture of something that makes him sad on one and glad on the other. Then let each child share his picture while the others guess which activity goes with each feeling.
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley
This fun read aloud slowly reveals a big, green monster, until it is sent away by the narrator. "You don't scare me! So go away..." It empowers kids to take charge of their monsters and send them away. Read it more than once and you'll probably find your preschoolers "reading" along with you. After reading it, talk about the words used to describe the monster and then let the children draw their own scary monsters.
My Monster Mama Loves Me So by Laura Leuck
A little monster describes all the things his monster mom does to show her love in this sweet rhyming book. Preschool children will laugh as the mama monster bakes bug filled cookies, serves lizard juice and gives big hairy hugs to her little monster. This is a great story for reading aloud.
M is for Monster
Based on the Disney movie Monsters, Inc. this is a simple, rhyming alphabet book. Preschoolers will have fun reviewing the alphabet with a little help from the characters from Monsters, Inc. After reading it, make your own alphabetical list of monster words with your class.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Don't forget this classic monster story about Max who sails away to the island of the wild things. Let your preschoolers act out this story as you read or try some of these other fun Where the Wild Things Are activities.