Monday, November 21, 2016

5 Ways to Use Jingle Bells

Do you like jingle bells? One of the benefits of working with preschoolers is that we get to play with jingle bells all year long, not just in December! Here are a few ideas to use jingle bells in the classroom.

1. Play them.
Of course, string the jingle bells on chenille stems and make homemade instruments. My kids love to make these. They love to use them as much as purchased instruments.

With younger preschoolers, stick several in a empty plastic bottle and seal the lid. It's a great bell shaker instrument. And so simple to make.

2. Spy them.
Speaking of bottles, make great "spy bottles." Fill small bottles with shredded paper, sequins, jingle bells, and other various small items. Challenge children to find the bells (and other specific items) in the bottle. (We made these as gifts for our kids - they can play spying games at home.)

Or make this great discovery bottle from Preschool Inspirations: fill the bottle with mineral oil and jingle bells and use a wand magnet with it.

3. Practice number skills.
Provide bells and other items to string on a chenille stem or length of yarn. Add numbered cubes and a key. Kids can roll the numbered cube and add the specific item.

This activity was planned for first graders, so we used two cubes. For younger kids, use only one cube and adjust the list. Kids can practice their subitizing skills (recognizing quantities without counting) and counting skills.

4. Paint with them.
We love to paint with balls and marbles in an oatmeal box. Change this up a little and paint with large jingle bells. You have some sound in addition to the physical (rolling the box) and creative (painting).

Another way to paint with them is this idea from No Time for Flash Cards: Tie jingle bells onto paintbrushes to add sound to your easel painting.

5. Quiet them.

This STEM challenge from Little Bins for Little Hands is wonderful. Kids explore how to put a jingle bell into a plastic ornament with other materials in ways that will make it quiet. I think this would be a great fun exploration experience. And so counterintuitive to what we do with bells.

What fun ways have you used jingle bells?