If you’re a preschool teacher or homeschool mama who is excited about planning the perfect preschool island theme, then look no further! This post is full of quick & easy ideas for how to do exactly that. You’re definitely not going to want to miss it!
We’re wrapping up our Preschool Island Theme and I thought it’d be fun to share all of the awesome activities that we’ve done. After all, this is definitely a great theme, filled with lots of summer fun! We’ve learned all about boats, the sun, maps and even island life!
Toddlers and preschoolers are inquisitive and this theme was for sure a hit with both of my kiddos. Preschool is such a magical age.
Not only are we working to develop important social-emotional and fine motor skills, but we’re also learning about the world around us. We’re investigating physical science concepts and experimenting with earth science too.
Each day has both math and literacy activities included as well and we’ve spent lots of time counting and measuring and of course reading and writing!
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A huge thanks to Experience Early Learning (formerly Mother Goose Time) for providing us with their Experience Preschool curriculum for free in exchange for sharing our honest and authentic stories resulting from our personal experiences. It’s been such a huge blessing to us! As always, my opinions on awesome stuff for little kids are 100% my own.
Keep in mind that all preschoolers do things in their own time and on their own terms. What one is ready for, another might not be. Please use your best mama judgement when planning activities for your little kids.
Preschool Island Theme Activities
Experience Preschool is a research-based early learning curriculum that’s delivered right to your door each month. Because of it being not only play-based, but also incredibly versatile, we’ve been using it for over four years.
We’ve done tot school with both kiddos (with the addition of the Little Goose Teacher Guide) as well as preschool and we’ve even managed to include many of the activities as a much-anticipated part of our kindergarten homeschool day too.
This year I’m using it with a multi-age group and I’ve been blessed to experience this wonderful curriculum both at home as well as in the classroom.
During the first week, we learned about Setting Sail. The daily topics were Island, Boat, Captain, Wind and Sunshine. I love to sit down and read the Teacher Guide as we start each new theme. There’s always so much useful information.
Every week includes a snippet explaining exactly what we’re going to be learning about and why it’s important and today I wanted to focus a bit more on those weekly introductions and how everything we’re doing integrates so beautifully.
Categorizing Things into Groups
When introducing the Treasure Island monthly experience, children begin to think about what they already know. They may already have ideas about what types of things belong on an island and what types of things do not. This helps them begin to categorize things into groups. Categorizing allows children to make sense of the world around them. As they practice this skill, they are able to make connections, draw logical conclusion and make predictions. Teachers can help children categorize by reading books and discussing the objects they see, such as boats or a treasure map. They can prompt children with questions such as, “What might you find on an island? or “Where would you sail a ship?” Teachers can also utilize dramatic play to help children become more immersed in the theme of Treasure Island and introduce new vocabulary.
The little guy and baby girl learned what an island is and used magnifying glasses to discover islands on our large world map. We designed boats and took turns pretending to be the captain. We talked about what kinds of things might be on an island and of course read lots of fun books too.
It’s great that we can do these monthly thematic studies together as a family and that my toddler gets the benefit of being introduced to so many new words just from listening to the little guy and I discussing what we’re learning about.
- Preschool Island Theme Blocks Activity
- Squeeze the Boat Activity for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Island Sink or Float Investigation Station
Week two of our preschool island theme was spent investigating At the Beach and our daily topics included Crab, Sandcastles, Shells, Sunglasses and Sunscreen.
A while back, we also did a fun Ocean Commotion theme. If you’re interested, you can check out those printables and activities too! They coordinate so well with this month’s theme. And if you have little kids, then you already know how much toddlers and preschoolers love anything and everything related to sand and water!
Introducing Preschoolers to Dramatic Play
The Treasure Island thematic experience is a great way to introduce fantasy play into your classroom. Teachers can help facilitate this type of play by setting up the dramatic play area for children to explore. Through this process, children choose props and assign roles then work through any problems that arise. This is important because dramatic play reinforced conflict resolution skills, which offers children a chance to work through their differences. For example, children may have a conflict over who will be the captain of the ship. During these play scenarios, children learn new vocabulary and communicate their wants and needs to their peers.
The little guy had a blast building sandcastles and one of our invitation to create activities not only took on a life of its own, but also prompted an amazing discussion about the pink sand beaches on Komodo Island in Indonesia.
Oh, and did I mention that we practiced our gross motor skills by doing the Crab Walk? You know, because watching my almost two year old trying to imitate her big brother is always a great time. You should totally try it. I’m kidding, obviously. But you get the idea…
- Do the Crab Walk
- Make a Beach Sensory Bin
- Build Sandcastles
During the third week, we were all kinds of excited about Exploring the Island. The daily topics were Treasure Map, Volcano, Cave, Coconut Tree and Waterfall.
This week was great! We made our own treasure maps and even volcanoes while exploring geography and chemical reactions. What a blast! Pun intended. We added a unique twist to the classic baking soda and vinegar volcano by using a clear zip bag. The little guy could actually see the reaction taking place as the baking soda and vinegar combined.
Exploring Environments in New Ways
Children learn through exploring their environments. They learn best when they are interacting with other people and exploring objects in their surroundings. While learning with the Treasure Island monthly activities, children can build on their imaginary skills and explore their environment (indoors and outdoors) in new ways. For example children can explore pretend caves, follow treasure maps or construct waterfalls. Teachers play an important role by carefully planning and setting up these experiences for children. During these experiences, children can discover how to use their own creative ideas and put them into practice.
I can’t even begin to tell you how many different ways we’ve made waterfalls in the last week, but that’s okay. You know, because exploring our environment is one of the best ways for little kids to learn.
One of my favorite activities was definitely the water block tower investigation station because it gave the little guy an opportunity to explore forces and motion using a real world application. Could he knock over the blocks with only water? Check out the post and see for yourself!
- Waterfall Activity for Preschool Water Theme
- Pour A Waterfall Activity for Toddlers & Preschoolers
- Island Water Block Tower Investigation Station
Week four of our preschool island theme was spent exploring Island Fun and our daily topics included Luau, Island Dancing, Surfing, Island Music and Sunset.
This was my favorite week of the entire month. We listened to island music and had a luau! Coincidentally we studied World Cultures for kindergarten Social Studies this year, so this month’s theme was a great way to wrap up our homeschool year!
Learning About Different Cultures
During Treasure Island month, children learn about cultures, celebrations and traditions that may be different from their own. This is important because cultural awareness and tradition play important roles in helping young children foster a positive sense of identity and self-esteem. As children learn about different foods, music and dancing, they can begin to then reflect on their own. Preschoolers are naturally very interested in their similarities to and differences from others. Teachers can help by speaking with children openly about other cultures’ differences and similarities. This creates children with well-rounded cultural values who are more likely to be inclusive to all people as they grow older.
Baby girl stole my lei and my breakfast this morning, but you know what? I loved seeing her take an active interest in what we’ve been learning about this month. After all, I want both of my kiddos to respect and appreciate unique cultures and traditions.
She’ll take any opportunity to dance. That’s one of her absolute most favorite things to do. And don’t you just love how upbeat island music is? I’m so proud of both of them for being open to experiencing something new and different.
- Have a Luau
- Play Island Instruments
- Make Sunset Art
Have you noticed the underlying theme of building vocabulary and communication skills in each week’s objectives? It’s such an important part of preschool and I’m so thankful that Experience Early Learning places a priority on teaching these critical foundational skills.
Building Vocabulary & Communication Skills
I remember when we started this preschool curriculum with the little guy. He had just turned two and he was barely talking. And now? You should hear him! His vocabulary astounds me. And as far as baby girl, we’ve only been using the Little Goose Teacher Guide with her for a few months and I’m already amazed by the difference.
There are so many tools included in this month’s preschool island theme curriculum kit for both math and reasoning as well as language and literacy.
As a homeschool mama, I’m nothing less than thrilled with this curriculum. It’s given me the freedom and flexibility to get back to what’s important, which is learning together as a family. Even I’m continuously learning new things and I wouldn’t trade this time with the little guy and baby girl for anything.
I can’t even begin to tell you what it means to me to get a box each and every month that allows me to spend my time creating and exploring with my kiddos instead of planning and preparing each day’s lesson.
And everything totally fits my teaching style, which is of course a unit study type approach that includes lots of hands-on activities and tons of great books. Experience Preschool offers all of that and so much more!
By now you should have plenty of ideas for putting together an awesome preschool island theme. If you have a favorite craft or activity to add to the list, be sure to leave a comment and share!
Don’t forget to check back if you’re interested in seeing what we’re up to next week with our Bubbles, Boats & Floats theme from Experience Early Learning (formerly Mother Goose Time). And if you missed it, check out this year’s preschool homeschool space post.
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