Make it personal

One of my favorite things to do in the classroom is to bring the children into every area.  I don’t mean by physically dragging them over to the blocks or dramatic play areas.  What I mean is make each area personal for everyone.

Children love to see themselves, don’t they?  A great way to bring them into the areas and activities is to bring in pictures of them.  Here is a simple list of ideas that I enjoy:

Make block play people out of their pictures.  Print out pictures of the children making each child about 4 inches tall.  Glue those pictures onto cute and sanded 2x4 blocks that have been cut to size.  You can even take intentional pictures of the children and ask them to pose however they want.  Don’t tell them what it’s for.  They will get a kick out of it and love to play with each other’s blocks.

Recreate Brown Bear, Brown Bear.  Using pictures of the children, write your own book having each child on the page.  Write the words as in the book, substituting the children’s names for the animals. “Suzy, Suzy who do you see?  I see Alyssa looking at me.”  I did this once in a toddler classroom and used laminated pages so that when a child left and a new child came it was easy to change the children’s names on the pages as necessary.

File folder games!  There is so much you can do with this.  First is a matching game.  Real simple, a picture of John matched a picture of John.  There is the puzzle one where you glue half the picture to the file folder and they have to match the other half.  Use their pictures for this!  For a bit more creative, take pictures of the children in specific numbers of group so they match the picture with the written number on the file folder board.  If they are getting more advanced in letter sound recognition, have them match the child’s name to the letter on the board.

Make lacing cards with their pictures glued to cardstock, teach them how to wave them together to make a long line of classmates together!  Have a stack of pictures where they can sort by color shoes, boys and girls, color of shirts, etc…

What other ideas do you have to integrate pictures of the children into the environment?

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