Blueberries for Sal :: Preschool and First Grade Activities

This month began our combo plan for preschool and first grade using the Five in A Row {FIAR} curriculum.  The idea is to enjoy these books on a somewhat seasonal theme.  For 2 weeks in August, we rowed Blueberries for Sal first.

What fun we had!

Our boys are currently ages 36 months and 6 years, so activities were tailored to their particular level.  We read the book and also listened to an audio book version several times as well.  We liked the various songs and activities at the end of the audio.

The boys completed some writing and pre-writing practice.  For the 6 year old, we used the Read, Build, Write sheets from Homeschool Creations — he enjoyed writing words from the book.  His penmanship has improved quite a bit over the summer.  We used our All About Spelling letter tiles to help build words.

Both boys also traced using activity sheets from Homeschool Creations.  This was our 3-yr old’s first attempt at this…I think he did well!

One goal this year is to also include several Montessori based activities into our FIAR plans.  For this book, transferring ‘blueberries’ (blue pom-poms) with tweezers was the preschool activity.

Control of movement, focus and concentration, fine motor skills and more are several benefits of practicing moving the objects from one container to another.  He did this for a l-o-n-g time!

Preschool Math :: adding blueberries

Using our weighted numbers and our balance (this one is similar to ours), we talked about the concept of more or less blueberries since Sal and her mother had different amounts in their buckets.

With my 1st grader, we added in the concept of greater than, less than…and threw in some crazy twists!

Going by the above photo, I would say “which is greater: 3+1 or 9+2?”  He would use the weighted numbers to figure out the problems, then write the number sentence out (partially) with our printed number cards.

He did a few in his head, then worked out the problem using the weighted numbers and balance to self-correct.  A mental math beginning!

:: ::

We saved talking about bears for our next book, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  Then, I’ll share more about various kinds of bears, hibernation, etc.  I’d be happy to send you an email update when we row that book!

Making and playing with blueberry play dough was a great sensory activity!  Ours looks a little funny because the only flour I had on hand was a wheat-white mix, but it came out just fine and smelled yummy.

And naturally, we had to “can berries for the winter!”

This cinnamon blueberry jam recipe was super – an excellent choice and very delicious!  The boys had incredible fun mashing and mashing those blueberries…also a great sensory activity.

No worries, we did add in pectin though it’s not pictured.  And yes, the 3-yr old was still in pajamas mid-afternoon. 🙂

The recipe made 4 pints; one was nearly gobbled up over a PB & J lunch, the others put into the freezer.  One day this winter, we’ll take them out and enjoy our summer goodness!

And finally, for pure fun and because he likes funny words, I introduced our 1st grader to the term onomatopoeia :: words that imitate the sound it describes.  Such as ‘kaplink, kaplank, kaplunk’ from Blueberries for Sal.

We found a short youtube video with other onomatopoeias and watched this a couple of times:


Blueberries for Sal was a great way to start our literature-based year with these two boys of mine.  I invite you to subscribe via email to keep up with our Five in A Row journey!

Resources:  My FIAR Pinterest Board  ::  My FIAR Planning Resources page


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I’m very impressed with your preschooler’s penmanship!!

When you do ‘Bearhunt’ you should definitely watch this – the author reciting and acting out the book, it’s too fun!


so fun, i love it! did you do a big kitchen finale reveal that i missed? i pray for you often, daniele-

What a wonderful set of activities! We love Blueberries for Sal and FIAR. And your boys are C.U.T.E! 🙂

No big kitchen reveal just yet! maybe someday…

I love your post! Blueberry season is coming soon here, so I will incorporate your ideas and use it as a unit study to celebrate. Blueberry picking by itself is such fun, but when you incorporate a wonderful book like Blueberries for Sal and some fun activities it will be very memorable.

Hello, I know this is an old post for you but I just found it as I am researching to begin homeschooling my son in Kindergarten next year. My kids are about the same age difference as yours and so I have “filed this away” for first grade. I look forward to reading more of your blog. I enjoy your writing style and your photos. Thank you so much for sharing how you use FIAR. It is helpful for someone starting out! Kelly


For the “read, build, write” activity, I am wondering where you got the picture cards from? Those are great!

Daniele E

Hello Dori!
I got those printables from Homeschool Creations:

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