Thursday, March 31, 2011

Recycle, Science, and Oooooohhhhh!

I've seen a lot about sensory bottles lately.  When making them, there are all different types to choose from.  A cold, rainy day led us to braking into the recycling bin to make our own using oil, water, and some treasures. 

 First I gave him a small cup of treasures to put into the bottle (fine motor skills at work!)

 Then we added water.  I helped to hold the funnel steady, but I let him do the pouring (independence skills). 

 He made sure he got every drop!  We added a bit more water until the bottle was about 3/4 full. 

 Then my son added the food coloring.  He chose blue, which was unplanned perfection.  The blue water + yellow oil= green (or teal in our case)!

 Thank you Costco for the giant bottle of oil!

 Next my son poured the oil into the bottle.

 He could clearly see the oil and water layering rather then mixing. 

 We hot glued the lid. 

Let the mixing begin!

The oil makes a lava lamp-type effect if you shake it gently and the treasures swirl about.

Shake it harder and the oil and water mix.  The color changes as well.  Ours is more teal then green due to the amount of blue dye in the water.  

Grandma and Grandpa were visiting so we had more people to share our experiment with!

Additional Sensory Bottle Ideas:
  1. Activity and Sensory Bottles for Young Children: Child Care Lounge (extensive list!)
  2. Rainbow Play and Getting Out of the Way... Teach Preschool
  3. Kids Crafts Sensory Bottles:
Do you have any additional ideas?  Share in the comment section!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Do Something! 3/19-3/25

I've decided to start a weekly favorites blog posting for all the wonderful activities and articles I come across each day.  Each week I'll post no more then 10 for your review in the hopes that you will take your kids and "do something!"

This week, let's pretend and explore:

Pretend Play- Science Lab: No Time for Flash Cards

Making a Play Garden: The Imagination Tree

Casa Maria's Creative Learning Zone Facebook photo album

 Make Mud Prints: Go Explore Nature

Can You Come Outside to Play?: Can You come Outside to Play?

The Tinkering Table: Irresistible Ideas for Play Based Learning

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cooking with Kids: Naturally Green

Parties with my mom's group are always a challenge.  I love sweets.  I love to bake sweets.  But we always have too many.  As St. Patrick's Day approached, I found myself torn between the sweet, unnatural cake I stared at on my Betty Crocker Calendar, and something on the healthy side which was naturally green and free of chemicals and preservatives.  Undecided, I took the high road and posted a vote on Facebook: Grasshopper Fudge Cake or pasta with pesto.  Unbelievably, the pesto won.  Moms really do want healthy foods!  Silently relieved, as the pesto was not only healthier, but cheaper and easier to make, I went about enlisting my son to be my helper.  He loves assisting me in the kitchen and this project was no exception.

 First, he helped me brake the basil leaves from the stems.

The recipe called for chopping in bits; a few bail leaves and a bit of garlic.  Chop.  A few more leaves and garlic and chop.  We repeated this step several times until the leaves and garlic were gone.  My son loves turning the blender on and off!

Next, he added the pine nuts.  We did the same as before; a few pine nuts, chop.  A few more, chop.  Etc.  The parmesan cheese and olive oil were also added in the same fashion.

Next we added the pesto to the pasta, a little at a time. 

 He did a great job stirring!

          The finished product was delicious and well received at our party.  The best part was seeing my son eat his creation and ask for more later in the day.  He wouldn't let me take a picture of him eating but the fact he asked for more, made me proud.  

Cooking healthy not only promotes healthy eating but also teaches kids basic math and science skills.  My son is learning about measuring and change (heat changes things and so does blenders).  He is also learning about following directions.  I constantly remind him of this when he tries to get ahead and do his own thing (like dumping salt in our food without measuring!)  Many parents are afraid to let allow their kids in the kitchen (including my husband), after all, it can be a dangerous place!  But they won't learn if we don't teach.  Let them be involved with you.  You just may have the next Rachael Ray or Gordon Ramsay standing next to you.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Hands On: as We Grow- High 5

I Ain't Gonna Paint No More!

I am a big believer in messy play.  I was the teacher who gave the kids a bunch of stuff to glue and paint without a smock or put flour in the sensory table for exploration.  The bigger the mess, the more fun kids are having, right?!  Well, a few years ago I purchased a set of books with audio CDs from Scholastic, with no knowledge of the titles they sent me.  In that set I found the book that fits me most, I Ain't Gonna Paint No More! (Ala Notable Children's Books. Younger Readers (Awards)).  I always wanted to create a lesson around it, so now I've got my own blog, that's exactly what I'm going to do!

Although you can purchase the book on it's own, I recommend the set with the audio CD.  The author, Karen Beaumont, has taken the song, "Ain't Gonna Rain No More" and has written a fabulous story to match the tune.  A childish voice sings the story on the CD.   

The synopsis of this story is a child who enjoys painting...just a little too much.  Through the use of rhyme the child paints each part of his body more colorfully then the last.  David Catrow illustrates this book with fun and flare.

Lesson Ideas    

Literacy: While reading (or listening) to the story, see if the children can guess what the next part of the body is by simply listening to the rhyme (i.e. "Well there ain't no harm if I paint my......arm...").  The audio CD does pause slightly before naming the body part to allow for this.  If your children are a bit older, see if they can think of other words to rhyme with the body parts.

Art: Provide the children with a set of face paints.  Let them paint their arms and legs (or the arms and legs of their friends).  If you are uncomfortable with this, trace their hand and arm on paper and let them decorate it how they choose.

Science: Rainbow Milk

Outdoor: Provide the children with large paint brushes, rollers, and water so they can "paint" outdoors.  Allow them to "paint" the sidewalk, building, play structure, bikes, etc.  Give them freedom to explore.

Math: Patterns One illustration in the book is of the child's leg painted like an "Easter Egg".
  •  Cut and laminate a "leg" shape (or an egg).  Design pattern pieces the children can place on the "leg" in the pattern of their choice.
  •  Provide pipe cleaners and beads for patterning.  Make a loop on one end of the pipe cleaner to prevent the beads from falling off.   
  • Make Fruit Loop Necklaces 
I hope you and your children enjoy this book as much as my preschoolers and I did.  Now that I am home, my son and I listen to this story on a regular basis.  It has become one of his favorites too.  

What lesson ideas do you have for this story?  Feel free to link and share!

Shared on:

5 a day books

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Rainy Day Activity Course

Stuck inside on a rainy day?  Try making an activity course from items you have lying around the house.  Boxes?  Tubes?  Laundry baskets?  Anything can be used if you just know how to include it.  Here is what I created to keep my kids from going stir crazy.

I am blessed with a long hallway perfect for activities like this one.  I started the course with a ring toss.

After the ring toss, I hung a balloon from the ceiling.  The kids had to jump off the stool and hit the balloon.  I placed pillows on the floor just in case.  

Then the crawling tunnel.

After the tunnel, another balloon.  This one a little lower so it could be reached without a stool.  My daughter added the pillows.  I guess falling onto pillows was more fun then I thought.  

Then I placed "stepping stones" which led to some poppy paper (I'd saved from a package).  

The kids had to hop unto each "stepping stone" then jump onto the poppy paper.

The course ended with a rocking horse.  

Sure, you may not have a ring toss or a tunnel lying around, but think of what you do have.  The idea is to use your imagination and have fun.  Ask your kids what they want to add.  My daughter came home from school and immediately made changes of her own.  My son decided the balloons and the tunnel were the best part and only played in those areas.  When he was finished with one game he moved onto the next: 
  Shooting the balloons with his Nerf gun!

Some basic ideas:
  • Construction or printer paper makes great "stepping stones".  Just watch out for the hot lava below!  For an educational twist, write numbers or letters on them.  
  • Don't have a tunnel?  What about a card table?  Drape a cloth over the top and you have yourself a "tunnel" or "cave."
  • Laundry baskets have all sorts of uses.  If you have two kids, they can take turns pushing each other around.  Or get yourself involved and push your child across "the moat."  Turn over a laundry basket and it is great for jumping from or hiding under.  
  • Balloons are great to keep on hand.  They can be hung, tossed, and drawn upon.  When our balloons fell down, they became puppies on leashes (my daughter's idea).    
What items could you use for an activity course?  Do you have anything unusual?  Do you teach preschool?  What could you use in a school setting?  Feel free to share your ideas; I'd love to hear them!  

Shared with:

featured at hands on : as we grow  

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day

 St. Patrick's Day is fast approaching, so I decided to compile a list of ideas, some my own, the rest from other fantastic bloggers, to share with those around me.  Think of it as a one stop shop for ideas from around the net!

  • Shamrock Crystals from Housing a Forest  
  • Green Carnations: Purchase several white carnations.  Fill a clear vase (or several) with water and add several drops of green food coloring to the water.  Trim the stems of the carnations and place them in the vase(s).  Within several hours the carnations begin to show a green coloring.  Over several days they should turn a nice shade of green (or at least the edges of the petals will turn green).  Explain to the children that plants drink water to stay alive.  The water moves from the root system up the stem and into the blooms.  The technical term is transpiration. Don't be afraid to use this term.  You'd be surprised what the kids will retain!  
  •  Read The Night Before St. Patrick's Day (Reading Railroad) by Natasha Wing and The Luckiest St. Patrick's Day Ever by Teddy Slater.  After wards talk to the kids about Leprechauns.  Ask them questions and write down the answers.  Then have them help you design a Leprechaun trap.  Ask them what they think they will need, what it should look like, and anything else you can think of.  Older kids can try to draw a picture of their trap.  Then over several days, build a trap so it will be ready for the big day (don't forget to take pictures!).  After that, what you do with it, is up to you.  I suggest pretending the Leprechaun got away but maybe he left something for the kids? 
  • How to Catch a Leprechaun from Happy Home Fairy: Directions, ideas, and several different Leprechaun traps to share with your class or child.    
  • Head over to Teaching 2 Mommies and print out the Clover Letter Match, Leprechaun Beginning Writing, and Clover Spelling Puzzle.  
Art/Fine Motor:
  • Leprechaun Feet: This is my favorite!  I wrote this article for Shoe Painting over at eHow.  Follow the directions but use green paint, yellow or white paper, and gold glitter.  So much fun but you will have a mess!
  • Color mixing coffee filter shamrocks:  Cut out clovers shapes from coffee filters, enough for each child.  Give participating children a cup of blue water and a cup of green with a dropper in each (if at home, medicine droppers work nicely).  If using food coloring, the water should have a higher concentration of drops so the color will be more vibrant.  Test it out first.   Have the children drop the colored waters onto the coffee filter shamrock and watch as the two colors blend.  Some may be more blue or yellow then green, but that's OK.  This is their project, not yours!  Let the shamrocks dry in the sun then hang in the window for display.  
    • Variations:
      • Use a paint brush to drip the colored water onto the shamrock.
      • Let the kids color the shamrocks with blue and yellow markers.  Give the children water and a brush and let them "paint" over the marker.  Watch as the colors blend!
  •  "Magic" Crayon Rubbing Shamrocks: Using index cards or posterboard cut out several shamrock shapes of varying size.  With hot glue, outline each shamrock with a thick layer of glue.  Allow to dry.  Once glue is hard, tape the shamrocks to the table (to prevent movement).  Give the children copy paper and crayons with the wrapper peeled off (which you could let them do; they'd love it!) and show them that if they place the paper over the shamrocks and rub the crayon over the bumps, the shamrock will magically appear.  This is a project that is both frustrating and rewarding for the children.  Crayon rubbing is a practiced skill and depending on the age, the child may find it difficult.  Simply be encouraging and what ever they come up with on their project, just let it be. Some may decide to just scribble on their paper in the end, and that's OK too
  • Shamrock Splatter Paint: Over at Amazing Moms they created a St. Patrick's Day Shamrock Card using a splatter paint technique involving toothbrushes.  
  • Cookie cutter prints:  Using paint (green, yellow, and/or white) allow children to stamp shamrock shaped cookie cutters onto paper.  Sprinkle with glitter for added fun.   
  • St. Patrick's Windsock: Decorate construction paper using the cookie cutter prints (above).  Along the bottom of the sheet of paper, have the children glue strips of green or rainbow colored streamers so they are hanging down.  When glue is dry, roll construction paper into a cylinder shape and staple.  Tie string or yarn at the top so the wind sock can be hung or the children can run with it in the wind.
  • Handprint Leprechauns from Meet the Dubiens.
  • Rainbow Hangers: Cut out cloud shapes from white construction paper.  Supply children with streamers in rainbow colors and have them glue the streamers to the cloud so the streamers are hanging down.  Hang clouds around the classroom.  
  • Green Shaving Creme: add some green food coloring or liquid watercolors to shaving cream and let the children play.  If you add a bit of glue and give them construction paper it can be an art project too!
  • Place Easter grass or shredded green paper in the sensory table.  Add some fake gold coins and let the children go on a treasure hunt.  
  • Green and Gold Sensory Tub from No Time For Flash Cards
  • Green Goo: mix 1 cup cornstarch with 1/2 cup water and a few drops of green color.  Let the children explore the goo with spoons and their fingers. 
I hope you will find use for all of these projects.  And please feel free to add more in the comment section.  I'd love to hear from you!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Evolution of Water Exploration

While searching for my blog posting this week, my posting found me.  While enjoying time with some other mom's and my son, I unknowingly documented the evolution of curiosity and exploration; science in it's most basic form.  It went a little something like this:

First, we start by observing the water using objects.  Touching with a stick, tossing in leaves or rocks are all early stages of exploration.  It's about what will happen to those objects.  Do they get wet?  Do they float or sink?  Would the same happen to me? 

 The next stage is testing the boundaries.  "Will mom/teacher mind if I stick my hands or feet in?"  If it's a nice day, why not?  This is science after all!  

Since further exploration has been okayed, the next stage is discovering what the water will do to them and how it feels.  Usually hands go in first, but in this situation, it was the feet.  

He's discovered that his pants are soaking up the water causing more of him to be wet then what's emerged. 

Now let's see how it feels on our bare skin.  Also, what's down there?  Anything interesting? 

Now we test movement in water.  What happens when I run in it?  What happens if I jump?  Will I splash anybody?  How big of a splash will I make?  

Finally, all inhibitions are lost.  Our discovery is water is wet and fun.  Some items float, some items sink.  When I jump into the water, I make a bigger splash then simply running in the water.  If I jump from a higher place, my splash is bigger then if I stand in the water and jump.  Water makes my clothes and shoes wet.  Water makes me wet!   

Sometimes we forget to let our children explore and experiment.  We can get so caught-up in the what-ifs that we forget what it was like to discover new things as a child.  Sometimes we just need to sit back and let our kids be kids.  You'll be surprised by what they learn if you do.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...