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Sample Prop Boxes

Sample Lesson Plans

Sample Books

Center for Organization of Schools > Early Learning > Current Projects > ERF > Sample Prop Boxes

Prop Boxes

Click here for a list of prop box themes!

Prop Boxes were designed as tools for the teachers to develop the language and literacy of their children. Each prop box is based on a common theme used in early childhood classrooms and contains books, concrete objects related to the theme, and lesson plans (with theme related book reading suggestions, circle time ideas,  and child centered center activities and explorations). The concrete objects were chosen to represent vocabulary in the theme that is frequently used and may be unknown to the children. In addition to being provided with the materials in the prop boxes, the teachers are also trained in how to use them as tools to further language and literacy development in their children.

There are 19 prop boxes total, in which, the teachers get one week of lesson plans, a Child Talk book related to the theme,  3-6 books related to the theme, as well as props that go along with the current theme. For example in the Who’s In the Garden prop box, teachers receive a box containing the following:

-Lesson Plans (click to read a sample in PDF format)

-Theme Related Books:  

- Child Talk Book (click to read the sample of Who's In The Garden, in PDF format)

-  Props: Bug Finger Puppets

finger puppets


The following is a list of prop box themes and a few examples of the concepts covered in each.

A Day at the Zoo

  • A zoo is a place for animals.
  • Zoo animals are kept in cages, fences, water, or in trees.
  • A zookeeper feeds and takes care of the animals.
  • Zoo animals need food, water, and shelter.

A Garden We Will Grow

  • Plants are living things.
  • Plants need sunshine, water, soil, fertilizer, and warmth to grow.
  • Gardens produce food and beautiful flowers.
  • We plant gardens by placing bulbs, seeds, plants, or roots, in the ground.
  • Fruits, vegetables, and flowers can be planted in our gardens.


  • Aquariums can either be small water filled containers in which a few fish and plants live or very large tanks of water found in large buildings that hold collections of fish, water animals, and plants for many people to see.
  • Fish, seahorses, jellyfish, crabs, octopi, shells, starfish, sharks, dolphins, whales, rays, seals, etc. live in aquariums.
  • Animals that live under water do not breathe like people. They breathe by using gills or a blowhole.

Froggy in Fall (Theme based on Froggy book written by Jonathan London)

  • Fall is one of the four seasons.
  • Fall brings changes in the weather. It gets cooler outside.
  • The leaves on trees change colors in the fall.
  • Pumpkins and apples can be harvested in the fall.
  • In the fall people begin to dress warmer.

Froggy in Winter (Theme based on Froggy book written by Jonathan London)

  • Winter is one of the four seasons.
  • People wear warmer clothes in the winter.
  • Some animals hibernate in the winter.
  • The weather changes in the winter. (It gets colder. It snows, etc.)
  • People do many different activities in the winter.

Here Come the Circus

  • Many adults and children enjoy the circus.
  • People and animals do special tricks in the circus.
  • An animal trainer teachers animals tricks.

In My Kitchen

  • People follow recipes when they cook.
  • When people follow recipes they combine different foods called ingredients.
  • People use many kitchen tools when cooking.
  • There are many kitchen tools and each one is used for something different.

Me and My Family

  • A family is a group of people who live together.
  • Each family is a special group of people. Each family member has a different role.
  • Family members care for us and teach us about our world.
  • Each family has special activities that they enjoy doing together.

My Check-Up

  • Doctors and nurses are community helpers.
  • Doctors and nurses help to keep people and animals healthy.
  • Doctors and nurses work in hospitals and clinics.
  • Special doctors and nurses care for our eyes, ears, feet, and teeth.

My Five Senses Make Me Special

  • I’m me. I’m Special. There is no one else just like me.
  • I have feelings. At different times I may be glad, sad, angry, tired, etc.
  • I have a wonderful body. It has many parts.
  • I can do many things with my body. I can see, touch, taste, smell, hear, talk, move, think, and learn.

Music Makers

  • There are many types of instruments.
  • Each instrument has its own sound.
  • Music can be played in different rhythms.
  • Our hands can clap; our feet can stomp and march.
  • Music sounds can be high, low, loud, and soft.

Pet Store Window

  • An animal kept for enjoyment is called a pet.
  • Not all animals can be kept as pets.
  • Pets need food, water, shelter, and loving care.
  • The care of a pet depends on the type of animal. 
  • Skin coverings on pets differ.

Traveling to School

  • People can travel by land, air, or water.
  • Vehicles come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors.
  • Examples of vehicles are wagons, scooters, tricycles, bicycles, motorcycles, automobiles, trucks, buses, Tractors, road workers, trolleys, trains, sleighs, snowmobiles, sleds, etc.

Wake Up Froggy (Spring) (Theme based on Froggy book written by Jonathan London)

  • Spring is one of the four seasons.
  • Gardens are often planted in the spring.
  • Spring brings changed in the weather. It rains frequently in the spring.

Welcome to Head Start

  • Going to school for the first time can make children feel excited, scared, and nervous, etc.
  • Children will use many new tools at school such as a ruler, pencil, computer, crayons, chalk, scissors, glue, etc.
  • Children go to school to learn, to have fun, and to meet new friends.

What Grows on the Farm?

  • There are many kinds of fruits and vegetables.
  • Fruits and vegetables come in many shapes, sizes, and colors.
  • Fruits and vegetables need soil, sunlight, and water to grow.
  • Some people grow fruits and vegetables in gardens or on farms.

Which Hat for Me?

  • Many adults have jobs that help other people.
  • For many jobs people wear special uniforms or hats.
  • Police officers and firefighters keep people safe.

Who’s in the Barn?

  • Barns, stables, and sheds are homes for farm animals.
  • A farmer cares for farm animals.
  • We can recognize some farm animals by their sounds.
  • Horses, cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, etc. are farm animals.

Who’s in the Garden

  • There are many different insects and animals that live in a garden.
  •  These insects and animals help us in several ways.
  • There are many kinds of insects. Insects are different in many ways: size, shape, color, eyes, mouths, and number of wings.
  • Insects can help us by making honey and pollinating fruits and flowers.  

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