Wrapping up Terrific Tools Curriculum

By: Nicole Wheeler

preschool teacher classroom learning


Our classroom has wrapped up our unit on Terrific Tools and have had so much fun learning so much new information along the way! Tools make daily living more efficient. Helping children identify and use common tools will allow them to expand their knowledge and make play experiences more meaningful. Inspire children to pretend with a variety of tools and let their imaginations take off!

DSC_0004​Young children love making impressions of items. Take a few smaller tools and allow the children to press them into playdough. Let the children flatten out the playdough with a roller or their hands and assist if needed. This is a project the children can do again and again. As soon as they make the imprint, they can roll the playdough out and start over! Discuss which tools they are using and what types of things that tool is used for. This activity will keep their little fingers and their minds actively engaged.​

DSC_0028Practice operating switches that turn items on and off. A light switch is a great place to allow children the opportunity to explore and increase their fine motor skills. If children cannot yet reach the switch, a step stool can be added as an additional tool to use. The children will enjoy knowing they have control over whether the light is on or off. ​



DSC_0033Acting out scenes from real life is a great way for children to show what they know and for teachers to add on new information. Most children have experienced a car being washed and might have even had experiences with helping wash. Set up a washing station with soapy water and cloths near the ride on toys for the children to have their own car wash. This will allow the children to take turns and work cooperatively together to get the car sparkly and clean! Sing this song to the tune of "B-I-N-G-O."

I have a toy I like to ride but it is very dirty.
Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash.
Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash.
Wash, wash, wash, wash, wash.
And now it is all clean!

*Note that close supervision is needed at all times during water play. Children can drown in a very small amount of water.​


DSC_1008Children love trying to be independent and over time they learn there are certain tools that can assist them during tasks so that they might not need as much help. Close supervision is always key but allow the children to use a step stool or a small ladder and let them see how high they can reach! There are certain jobs that require workers to get very high such as a firefighter or electrical worker. Sing this song to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star" while the children take turns reaching up high.

When you need to reach up high,
There are things that you can try.
Use a step stool if you can
Or ask a grown-up for a hand.
When you need to reach up high,
There are things that you can try. ​


DSC_1009​Step stools can also be used to get children to explore through art. Place a step stool near a wall where butcher paper is just out of reach for the children. Once children step up on the stool, they can reach the paper at their eye level and create their masterpiece! This will get children using their gross motor skills while stepping up, and use their fine motor skills by drawing on the paper. A variety of materials could be available for the children to choose from. ​


DSC_1013Sometimes we need tools to help us make life easier. Calculators are tools that most children have seen before. Teachers can take their knowledge that a calculator has a lot of markings on it and give it meaning. The children should be allowed to press different buttons and see what happens on the screen. Matching cards could be made to make a number game with the calculator. Children get instant gratification by pressing a button and seeing that same number appear right before their eyes! Show the children the clear button and they can start over again! This activity can also be done with toy cash registers. ​


DSC_1014​Climbing stairs is a skill that most people don't think about. For young children, it is a huge milestone to be able to climb a set of stairs all by yourself. Some children might have already mastered this skill but some still might need assistance. Be right near the children with a helping hand if it is needed and show children what they can use to hold onto if they choose. Show children how they can see different things being higher up than they do when they are down on the ground. ​


DSC_1012​Pressing keys on any items children see in their everyday life is always fun. Providing children with a keyboard will allow them to practice their fine motor skills and practice some early print awareness and literacy skills. You can allow the children to pretend to type anything they want. You can also make a more teacher directed activity by finding certain letters, especially letters the children find in their own names. You could have alphabet cards to help the children find the key that matches with the letter they are trying to find. If you have an actual computer that the children are typing on they would love to see the screen that shows each of the keys they have pressed. They could even get a print out of their typing to take home and share!​


DSC_1015This week we talked all about different tools and who uses these tools. On this day, we talked about office tools. What types of tools are used in an office? Do the children have parents who work in an office? What do they do while they are there? Our class went in small groups to our front office to visit with our director, Ms. Ami. The children pass by this office on a daily basis but most have never been behind the big desk! Ms. Ami showed the children all of the tools she uses on her desk. They enjoyed hearing the telephone ring and seeing the big computer. She even showed them how to use the tape dispenser and they all got to have a turn getting a small piece of tape. This was a great field trip without even leaving the building!

Stay tuned for our next unit: Trucks and Big Machines!


teacher_1988Miss Amanda is one of our Twos teachers from school #246 in Clayton, NC. She has an Associates Degree in Early Childhood Education and Paralegal Technology. She is wrapping up her Bachelors Degree in Early Care and Education. Amanda has over 9 years of experience working with children. Knowing that she is helping wire young minds for the future and setting the foundation for learning is her biggest reward. In her spare time, she enjoys photography, cooking, and spending time with her family.

Tags: Amanda's Classroom, teacher, teacher tips, Teacher Tools, tools, curriculum