Bucket Filler Water Play!
What better way to get in a sensory experience than letting children, quite literally, fill buckets and dip in buckets with water and other substances!
For the most part, i stuck with supplying water for each child, however you can have endless possibilities with soapy water, bubbles, and even non-liquid substances that can be dipped and poured!
One of the PreK pages I use often (Prekinders or Prekpages.com) has a printable template for patterning strips that i love to keep handy.
I always have a few strips here for use during Bucket Filling themes so that children can practice patterning with all the bright colors and stars and hearts! For this center, I have a bucket to hold all of the manipulatives, however for this activity, I also included heart and star hole punches and colorful cardstock so that the kids can create and save their own manipulatives!
Sticking with the very very colorful theme… I filled up one of our drawers in the art center with curling ribbon and rainbow beads, as well as wooden beads.
The children loved stringing and patterning throughout the week. When the children found something they liked, and tied off the end, I hung it from the ceiling for some great 3D creations!
Bucket Behavior Management
In your search for Bucket Filling ideas, I’m sure you’ll come across this…and I think you should do it. Because I love it and so do my kids! So do kids not even in my classroom!!!
Each child in my classroom has a bucket. I labelled them with their names, and as part of centers, allow them to decorate them and go crazy. I went out and purchased Command Velcro Strips, as well as a clear shoe organizer and packs of rainbow pom poms. I hang up the organizer on an open wall (I’ve been cutting my shoe organizer in half, and setting them up side by side using the velcro strips securing them to the wall. this ensures that they are at eye level)
Once the buckets are all decorated, each bucket gets a pocket in the shoe organizer, and I use some open pockets to hold all of the pom poms. During the week, I show them that when they do something nice, or give me a hug, or remember the rules, or help a friend, they filled my bucket…and I model putting a colored pom pom in my bucket and in theirs. After a day or so, the kids start doing this on their own, and run over to fill each others buckets. It is an amazing way to bring physicality, and a visual aspect to being respectful to one another and I encourage any teacher of any age to use it.
Here, I just provided the children some shapes to work with. Maybe they color sorted, maybe they shape sorted…maybe they patterned!
I used the Cricut to cut out the heart and star shapes on colorful papers in rainbow colors. I laminated them and cut them out again and stored them in the pencil pockets (which i store everything like this in. it’s so easy!)
Letter Recognition Grid Game
This is a bright and colorful grid game that is simple letter recognition! This is also great for various skill levels as it is quite adaptable for each child’s needs.
I like to have some children match letters as is. Whatever they can do. Lowercase to uppercase, uppercase to uppercase…you get the picture.
For kids who have mastered most letter recognition, I like to have them try to match lower to uppercase and visa versa!
It’s great practice! And when I’m sitting with them one on one, I like to have them practice letter sounds along with it.
Circle Time Wall
For my pocket chart in my circle time area, I take phrases from one of the bucket filling books and print them out and laminate them. We use them as discussion pieces for group time, and for when we brainstorm ways to fill buckets. Later in the week, we also use them for recognition, matching to illustrations, and story recall!
I put this out in my math and manipulatives center whenever the theme is appropriate, or the mood strikes. I decided to put the lite brite and some blank papers for poking out during Bucket Filling because it is so full of color and life! We also work a lot on patterning (as you will see), so patterning and shape making is so fun with the lite brite!
The kids love poking and creating. I even showed a few how to make their names out of light!
Math Dice Game
Bucket Filling is a complex topic, so for most of my focus materials, I make them bucket related, rainbow related, or hearts and stars related (because as you’ll see…there’s always a rainbow of stars and hearts in a full bucket!).
For this math activity, I simply used my word processor to find a nice clip art of a bucket, and used text boxes to fill in numbers from 1-6 multiple times. The children roll the dice, and use one of the provided manipulatives to cover up the number they rolled. Once they filled the bucket, they win!
This dice game helps 1:1 correspondence, numeral recognition, and counting with meaning!