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Playing with shoes offers pre-k and kindergarten youngsters many different kinds of learning experiences. These dramatic play activities take advantage of children's interests.
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Early Math: "Shoe Graph"
Introduce counting and one-to-one correspondence while creating a simple bar graph with this circle time activity from Carol L

Materials: Construction paper and marker.

Description: During circle time, have children decide which type of shoes they are wearing:  shoes with laces, velcro, buckles, zippers, etc. The teacher now makes a graph with the categories, and puts children's names under the appropriate 
category. Children help count how many names are in each column. Which column has the most, the least. Count how many names are there all together. 

Parachute Shoe Match
Young children use observation skills and they match shoes during this game by Amy.

Materials: Parachute, one shoe from each child.

Description: Ask children to take off one shoe (understand if a few children prefer not to remove a shoe).  Place all shoes in a pile.  Have the children stand around the parachute and get a steady movement up and down with the parachute.  Have one child run under parachute, grab a shoe and run out the other side. The child now walks around the group trying to match the shoe to the owner.  Continue until all shoes are matched.

Ali promotes counting in order and encourages youngsters to follow a path saying,
"The children enjoy this large group activity because it is energetic." 

Materials: Set of large paper numbered footsteps. Teachers can make these by tracing adult shoes and covering with clear contac paper.

Description: Arrange the footsteps around the room. Children can follow the path 
around the room moving from number 1 footstep to number 2 etc. until they reach 
the end. The children can take turns making their own paths around the room or 
garden for their friends. 

Extension:  Make it different, instead of footsteps you can make lilypads and the children can be frogs jumping from one lilypad to another.

Early Math: "Washing Line Pairs"
Julie F. encourages kindergarten children to count by twos and to match pairs during this early childhood activity that uses socks or shoes.

Materials: A makeshift washing line at the children's height,  pairs of socks or shoes, colorful and patterned if you can, plus some pegs or clothespins.

Description: After setting up the washing line have a small group of children engage in the activity.  Teachers have a wash basket full of socks or shoes that are all  mixed up. Tell the children that the socks or shoes need to be sorted into matching pairs. Each child is to have a turn sorting out a pair and then pegging them on the washing line. 

After they are done, explain they need to be counted. But because they are in pairs 
they need to be counted in two's (explain that pair means two). Show them how to 
count in twos by going along the line counting each sock (shoe) but emaphasising the 2, 4,6, 8 etc. in a loud voice and the 1, 3, 5, 7 etc in a quiet voice hence letting the children hear the counting in two's. Let the children have free experimentation afterwards, make sure you get them to say the two's in a loud voice.

Patterns: "Shoe Prints"
Children compare the different kinds of patterns on the bottom of shoes and use fine motor skills as they cut out the patterns during this activity by Cora S

Materials: Old shoes, sneakers have the best patterns, paint, brushes. and paper.

Description: Children paint the bottom of old shoes and press on paper. Let Dry. Children can also cut them out. If you want to use the shoes the kids are wearing to school just use water and make foot prints on concrete. Then watch the water evaporate. Old shoes can be cleaned up and donated to a goodwill store.  

Brown BootsShoe Match Up Relay
During this activity by Tammy S. children tie shoes, find pairs, take turns, use fine and gross motor skills and eye-hand coordination.

Materials: Children's shoes.

Description: Divide your class up into two groups. Ask each child to take off their
shoes and put them into a pile. The children form 2 lines and one child from each line will run to the pile and find their shoes. They'll sit down, put the shoes on, come back to the group and tag the next person who will do the same. Repeat until every child has a turn.

Comments: This is a great rainy day activity, just move all of the furniture.

Musical Shoe Game  Game: "Musical Shoes"
Cindy G. offers this preschool and kindergarten game to engage children in musical movement, recognition and self help skills.

Materials: The shoes the children are wearing and a musical tape or CD.

Description: Each child takes off their shoes, boots, or sneakers, (whatever 
they are wearing on their feet).  Make a circle on the floor out of all of the 
pairs, keeping pairs together in the circle.  Play music as the children walk 
around the outside of the circle.  When the music stops, the children need to see 
if they have stopped in front of their own shoes.  If they have, they put them 
back on their feet and continue walking around with the other children when the 
music begins again.  If they have stopped in front of shoes that are not their 
own, they do nothing.

Discussion can be promoted as to whose shoes they have stopped in front of and if they are their own or not.  Begin the music and continue to walk around the circle, stopping the music occasionally.  Repeat stop and start until all children have their own shoes back on their own feet.

Comments: This is a great activity and game because it does not promote winning 
or losing, just participation and fun.

Shoes & Plants
Jessica suggests this idea saying, "Here is an idea for a plant project that a fellow teacher showed me".

You will need:  An old pair of shoes for each child, soil, seeds, hot glue  and plastic cups.

Description:  Have the parents bring a pair of shoes that their child grew out of.  Teachers hot glue plastic cups inside the shoes and then tie the laces.  When the glue is dry, have the children fill the shoes / plastic cups up with the soil and plant the seeds. Make sure that you emphasize that the seed needs soil, sunlight and water to grow.  Have the children water their plant every day and every day check and watch it grow.  The children will see that the plant grows big,  just like they did.  That is why they can't fit into their shoes anymore!
The parents will love the activity and the children will also get a lot from it!

The Shoe Game
Christina offers this activity saying, "The object of the game is for kids to find the match to the shoe you hold up."

Materials: Shoes of different sizes and styles.

Description: My child loved this game in her preschool, she often asks to play 
the shoe game at home. It is so easy I love it. All you do is hold up a shoe and ask your child to find the match when they do they get to wear the shoes, dance around etc. until they correctly get the next match. This activity can go on as long as you would like.

Game: "Shooz"
This early childhood game by Suellen P. builds young children's ability to discern attributes.

Materials: Shoes

Description: Children sit in a large circle and remove one shoe. On the count of three, a shoe bearing certain attributes is requested by the leader, e.g., "A shoe that is white".  "A shoe made of leather".  "A shoes with patterns".  "Toss it in!" 
Children with a shoe that meets a particular description gently toss it in to the center. Then leader says "Take it out!" Children retrieve their shoes. 

Comments: They love this game!

Early Math Activity: What Size Is Your Foot?
Lisa P. teaches four year old children (and older) early skills in measuring, comparing, counting, fine motor skill development, tracing, coloring, decorating, cutting and pasting with this activity.

Construction paper, markers, scissors, measuring tape, pictures of dinosaurs.

Draw life-sized dinosaur tracks of different kinds of dinosaurs and 
tape them to a table top at the children's' level  (use a variety of colors).  Place construction paper big enough to surround a child's foot.  Ask the child to stand on the paper and trace their foot, or have the children trace each other's feet.

Have the children cut out the shapes, help them if needed.  Make a circle with the children to discuss similarities and differences among each other's feet, and then have the children measure the dinosaurs feet to compare with the size of their feet.  Record the findings and then perhaps graph the results.

Link:  Draw or paint dinosaurs without feet, attach their own foot cut-outs and display.

Follow My Foot Steps
Teresa R. uses this activity with Toddlers and two year old children who have enjoyed the fun while learning about patterns, comparing sizes and following directions.

Assorted colors of construction paper, pen, pencil, clear tape or contact paper. 

On different color construction paper I trace around my feet (shoes). I then cut them out and cover them with clear contact paper for durability.  Next, tape them on the floor or sidewalk.  Have the children follow them by stepping where you have stepped.

Dancing ShoesDancing in New Shoes
Enhance children's self-esteem with this circle time activity.

When a child wears new shoes to class, invite him / her to stand in the middle of the circle and sing the following song to the tune of "This Old Man."

Here's one foot. (stick out one foot)
Here are two.  (hold out other foot)
Each is wearing a brand new shoe.
So skip and dance all around the floor. (child dances or skips around the circle)
That's what these new shoes are for!
Shoe art activitySole Rubbings
You will need:
Newsprint (easel) paper and old crayons

Let children do sole rubbings of the bottoms of each other's shoes.  Use paper and a crayon with the paper peeled off.  Place the paper over the bottom of a shoe or sneaker and rub with the flat side of the crayon until the design appears.

  Shoe Hunt
Have each child take off one shoe and place it in a pile in the middle of the floor.  Tell the children to close their eyes as you take the shoes and hide them around the room in plain sight.  Then let them go and hunt for their shoes.  They can sit down and put them back on when they find them.

BootsDramatic Play Activity: Shoes
During this preschool education lesson plan children will use creative expression and thinking skills as they play with different types of shoes.

You will need: 
A variety of shoes, such as work boots, sneakers, ballet shoes,  silly slippers, baby booties, etc.  Empty shoe boxes.

A few days before the activity collect shoes by asking parents to donate shoes and visit a local thrift store to purchase permanent additions to the dress-up corner.

Teachers introduce this dramatic play activity by talking about shoes with preschoolers.  Ask them to tell about a time they went to the shoe store. Go around the group and talk about the different types of shoes the children are wearing.  Encourage them to point out similarities and differences.  Count how many children have shoes with laces and how many have on shoes without laces.  How do shoes without laces stay on?  Teachers, don't forget to examine your shoes, too.

Bring the play shoes to the dress-up area and discuss the different types of shoes, encouraging preschoolers to tell about the people who might wear them.  Give children lots of time to play with the shoes, try them on and attempt to walk in them.

Early Math: "Create a Shoe Store"
Suggest that pre-k children use the shoes to create a shoe store.  Provide empty shoe boxes as props.  Help them make a special try on area and take turns being customers and sales people.  Pre-k children have fun counting when "paying" for shoes.

You will need:
Play money or teacher-made paper money, a shoe store. 

Teachers help young children decide how much each pair of shoes will cost and label each shoe box with the number (cost).  Provide play money and encourage children to "pay" for the shoes.  Provide lots of small bills so that the children will have fun counting.  Each child "customer" should be given enough play money so that he/she can "buy" shoes and still have a little left over.

Extension:  Before snack pre-k children can help decide how much food items will cost and then have fun "paying" for their juice etc. during snack time.  Just make sure everyone has enough play money to "buy" snack plus a little petend money left over.

      Blue Shoes Storytime books about shoes:

       New Blue Shoes  by Eve Rice
       Shoes    by Elizabeth Winthrop
       What Can You Do With A Shoe by Beatrice de  Regniers

Teacher Tip: During the beginning of the school year and after holidays children may have new shoes and be interested in talking about them and participating in these activities. Don't forget about the classic counting nursery rhyme "One, Two, Buckle (tie) My Shoe".

Musical Shoe GameMusic Game: Imaginary Shoes
This early childhood education music activity takes advantage of the children's experiences during dramatic play activities with shoes and uses the the time concept of stopping and starting an action on a signal.

You will need:
A record player/tape recorder, easy instrumental music.

Encourage movement by putting on an easy instrumental selection.  Explain to children that when you stop the music they need to "freeze".  While they are "freezing," ask them to imagine that they are wearing a certain kind of shoes, such as cowboy boots.  Start the music again and ask children to move to the music as if they had on these big boots.  The next time you stop the music, change the imaginary boots to flippers, high heels, a giants shoes, ice skates, etc.

Each time the music stops young children change their "shoes" and move to the music as if they really were wearing that type of shoe.  Quietly end the musical game with a pair of imaginary slippers and invite the children to tiptoe off to "sleep".

Printable Page: Sneaker



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