Thursday, January 28, 2010

Boat creations

We make a lot of things out of "beautiful junk" or so I call it! Anything that is trash, but can be made into something GREAT is nothing like trash.
So today we made our own little boats out of my old plastic baby food containers. A few of the kids wanted to try the glass ones too, which I'm sure would float also! We went to work gluing on straws and cutting out triangles and of course decorating our "boats" with stickers and markers. I do let my kids use permanent markers often, but we discuss them every time and how important it is to be careful with them. So far, we've had minor accidents on the skin with them but nothing else - kids are so willing to listen when we explain it to them!!
Now, take these boats home and see if they'll float!! FYI: foam sails would work best so they can actually go in water. We happened to use construction paper today.
Happy sailing!

Wagon, Cars, and Boats Snack

For our snack today we made our own transportation vehicles. YUMMY!!
For these boats.....just cut your hard-boiled egg in half lengthwise. Remove the yolk and mix with mayonnise and parmesian cheese. Fill the egg cavity with yolk mixture. You can use toothpicks or celery strips to help the cheese stand up as the sail. VOILA - you've got yourself the cutest edible boat that the kids go crazy for!!
I realize I'm not the best picture taker, but these will have to do!! These wagon/cars are pretty self explanatory. Basically you can fill your celery with ranch or peanut butter, stick toothpicks in for the axels and stick on your carrots and raisins. If you want a wagon, stick the toothpick out the front with a raisin on the end for the handle. If you want a car stick the toothpick standing up tall with a carrot for the steering wheel. OR you can let the kids explore for themselves how or what they would like to make!!
Happy car making!!


Since many things that are "transportation" have wheels, we like to make something I call "Color Wheels". The kids are always amazed at how these turn out and are so excited to see a crayon take on a different shape - oooooo!!
I put a bucket of crayons in the middle of the table and invite the children to remove the papers and break the crayons into pieces. When they are finished preparing their crayons, give them paper cupcake liners and put their crayon pieces in their liners. Put them in a muffin tin and then put the crayons in a warm oven. When they are melted or squishy, remove them and let them cool.
When we did this I didn't have muffin liners and it almost worked better......To get them out, I just sat the muffin tin in hot water to loosen the wheels from the sides and they came right out.

Sink or Float?

Today we discussed how a boat and different objects are able to float! Floating and sinking depends on an objects density. If an object is more dense than water, it sinks. If it is less dense than water, it floats. An object is more dense than water if it weighs more than the same amount (volume) of water! WOW - what great new vocabulary words we learned today!!
One of the experiments we did was we rolled a lump of clay into a ball and put it in the water? What happens? Then, we molded the clay into the shape of a boat, and put it back in the water. What happens? AWESOME!!
Why does a ship float? Steel has a higher density than water, so why does a steel shop float? (same idea as the clay experiment). The inside of the ship is hollow and contains air which is less dense than water.

Transportation brush painting

For this activity, you'll need different sized brushes and about 4 or 5 different colors of paint and paper!
Simply put the materials out and let the children paint pictures of anything they want. We have obviously been talking about transportation and it seems what we are learning about is where a lot of the children's interests lead. I like to sit with them and discuss what they are painting, what they know about it, why the like it, and I add in little bits of information that they will help their interest's called teacher guidance and it's wonderful!!!
Brush painting is one of the most child centered, open ended, creative activities you can offer a group of preschoolers. In my classroom, whenever we have brush painting, the children can paint zero or ten pictures a day. I leave it up to them and I don't try and dictate a theme, but it often goes toward what we are learning about. The children may extend our "theme" into the experience for themselves. Or, they may just want to paint a picture of something that happened to them at home and that's great too!!
Happy painting!!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Transportation Time

In the block area for our transportation theme today we had these mini plastic vehicles and the transportation mat. I LOVE these little vehicles! They are so durable and the kids love to explore with them. You can get them from any of the major child development companies like Lake Shore, Discount School Supplies, etc.
At the time I took this picture the mat was a little kiddie wompus (is that a word?)....but the kids absolutley loved the mat today and driving, flying, boating, their way from the hospital to the police station to the school, etc. What a great way to explore transportion!!

Transportation magazine collages

Hello to all - FINALLY again! We've had quite a week around 9 month old got RSV and was in the hospital for about 5 days. Thank goodness that is over and now I am BACK!! Hurray!
This week we are moving on with our themes to Transportation! At the art table we made collages by cutting out pictures from magazines that were "transportation" pictures. I save my kids magazines I get and catalogs for cutting up in preschool.
There was so much discussion about what is or is not a transportation picture. Some of the kids were laughing up a storm, "A banana is NOT transportation - that is so silly!" What cuties.
We also talked about all of the different types of transportation we each had and ones we wish we could try. We had a lot in common with bikes, our own legs, cars or trucks, scooters, roller skates, etc. It also seemed that we had a lot in common on what we WISHED we could air balloons, trains, tractors, BIG boats, etc.

The cutting that happens in this activity is so great for small motor development and the children really get to start using their thinking skills to look for a "specific" picture throughout the magazines!!

happy transporting!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Pinecone birdfeeders

I'm sure these are pretty self explanatory and have been being done (is that how you say that?) for years. But, nonetheless, I thought it was a great activity to do for our winter unit. We just got done talking about animals in winter last week, so we talked more about how many birds fly or migrate to warmer climates to survive the winter. But there are still many birds that stay where it is cold and eat what they need to survive. Sometimes snow can get very deep and it's hard for them to find food, so that is why these niftly little bird feeders come in handy!!
I let my kids go at this in the messy table, because after IS a mess! But they were so excited to "feed the birdies"!! Let each child have a popsicle stick and they can plop as much peanut butter as possible onto their pinecone.
As soon as it is covered with peanut butter (and believe me, this takes these little ones a little bit of time), they get to roll it in wild bird seed. I just got crushed sunflower seeds for birds from Walmart. I'm sorry about the above picture, it's kind of blurry.
Then I tie a string onto them so they can be hung from a tree for the birds to easily get at. For easy take home, I just put them in plastic ziplocks and put their names on them. Most of the kids made about 3 or 4 of these.....what a blast!!

Snowman Snack

What a better snack to eat with our "Brrr, It's Cold" unit then these cute litte snowmen!!
And, they couldn't get any easier!! I just barely saw this on someone's blog and I can't remember where I saw if it's yours please give me a shout out and I'll put your link on here!
All you need are some bananas, raisins (or mini chocolate chips), mandarin oranges (you could use apple wedges instead if you wanted), pretzel sticks, and a kabob stick.
I'm sure you could make this work with a variety of fruits and things. I'm sure you could use grated up carrots for the nose, a grape for the ball of a winter hat....etc. Get creative and let your kids get creative with these! That's the fun of it anyway - right?!!
Happy snowman making!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Salty Snow Prints

I got this idea from Blissfully Domestic, and the children ABSOLUTLEY loved this activity. Many of the children didn't want to do anything else BUT this during our choice time today!!
Have the children draw a simple picture of their choice and then trace that picture with white glue. Make sure the paper is on some type of tray to catch the excess salt. The children can then spoon the salt onto their glue. Then simply dump the excess salt back into the bowl and VOILA - you've got yourself a beautiful Salty Snow Print!
The greatest thing about this project is that you probably have these simple ingredients on hand, HURRAY!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sparkling Winter Collages

I sat a variety of materials out at the art table today.....cotton balls, sequins, googly eyes, glittler, styrofoam, etc. The children enjoyed making winter scenes and collages of all sorts.
What a great way to use imaginations and also self expression!!

Colored Snow

Snow in the messy table today with bowls of colored water and eye droppers!! The children absolutley LOVED changing the snow colors. It was fun to see the primary colors make new colors. Since we have learned about colors earlier in the year, this was a great reminding concept for them. We talked more about snow today, how the clouds make it, where it comes from, etc. It is always so much fun to see how interested the kids are in snow and how it is made!!
Happy snow coloring!!

Monday, January 11, 2010


Since we are learning about Winter and how cold it is outside at our art table today we made our own snowflakes!! No two snowflakes are alike. They are all hexagonal (have 6 sides). The designs formed depend on the weather patterns in the atmosphere at the time. Snow that falls through warmer air builds up more elaborate patterns.
We used paper today, but you can also use coffee filters (easier for the younger kids) and scissors. Sit with them and let them watch as you fold a coffee filter and cut holes along the sides and from the middle. Unfold the filter slowly to reveal the "snowflake". Then, encourage them to try.
If you don't have coffee filters, here is a link on how to fold paper to make a perfect snowflake, they give some great examples. When you use paper, be prepared to fold the snowflakes for some of the children, many children will just want to experiment on their own, but others will really want it to be like a snowflake. The cutting is great motor development for these little ones and also eye-hand coordination!!

Melting Ice

This week we are learning all about Winter and how cold it is outside!! In the messy table today we had ice cubes (it would also be fun to use large blocks of ice) and turkey basters and eye droppers. We had a hot bowl of water also so the children could drip warm water onto the ice. Watch them as the ice begins to melt. What kinds of interesting shapes begin to form as the ice melts? Does "steam" rise from the ice as the water is poured over it? Encourage the children to touch the ice and put their fingers in the holes that are formed!!
Happy Ice Playing!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Passing on the Sunshine Award......

I am so very excited to be a recipient of "The Sunshine Award" from an excellent fellow blogger at Excellence in Early Childhood Education. Be sure to pop over to her site for some great ideas!! The Sunshine Award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspire others in the blog world. The rules for accepting this award are....

  • Put the logo on your blog
  • Pass the award onto 10 bloggers
  • Link the nominees within your post
  • Let the nominees know that they have received this award by commenting on their blog
  • Share the love, and link to the person from whom you received this award

I would love to pass a little sunshine on to the following blogs in hopes to brighten their day!!

All of these blogs have such great ideas and wonderful inspiration!! Be sure to check them out!!

Let's Explore - Creative Activities for Preschoolers

My Montessori Journey

Make and Takes

Simply Home and Family

The Moveable Alphabet

The Artful Parent

Blissfully Domestic

Itty Bitty Love

Handmade Hodgepodge

Nap Scrappin'

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Animals in Snow

In the messy table today we filled it with snow, frozen snow (that acted as icebergs) and all sorts of animals that survive in the winter. I saw so much interaction going on and discussion of what we have learned this week about animals. I love it when an activity just enhances the learning I want to happen dramatically!!

Animals in Winter Song

This is such a contagious song..... I find myself singing it all day once I sing it in preschool.

I have a bunch of animal puppets that I use, I pick one puppet at a time and hide it until the song says, "what does this animal do?" Then out comes the puppet and he talks and tells the kids a little bit about himself, how he survives during the winter and then he lets the kids ask some questions about him. Sometimes they are silly questions, but it makes for a fun time!! We could do this all day and the kids would be happy and entertained. What is it about puppets that kids love so much? Happy Singing!!

Animals in Winter Song

Some animals in winter sleep, sleep, sleep.

Some animals in winter eat, eat, eat.

Some animals in winter fly away...

What does this animal do?

Use winter animals puppets and pull out a different animal each time you sing it.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Animals in Winter

So right now in preschool we are learning about Animals in Winter.....I don't know why I always have so much fun with this theme!! Anyway, today for a science experiment, we discovered what it would feel like to be a Polar Bear swimming in the icy water (kind of). First, have each child put their bare hands in a bowl of freezing ice water. We like to count and see how long they can hold it in there (great counting practice). Every class I always get at least a couple of brave souls who leave their hand in there as long as they possibly can - I always stop them at 30!! Who knows how long they would actually leave it in there - crazy kids!!

Then, take a rubber glove and have one child make a fist and have them put there hand in the glove (obviously you aren't going to have them put their fingers in the finger places :). I like to wear a rubber glove also, basically for less clean up.

and cover that child's hand with shortening.

I just plop it on until the whole fist is covered....I use quite a bit. I take my glove off and then I cover the child's fat covered hand with plastic wrap (this is for easier clean up also).

Now just have the child put their hand in the icy water now.......the kids think it is the coolest thing that they now can't feel the icy cold water. I don't count this time because we would be there all day.....I just let them see how a Polar Bear (or a penguin or a seal or any other freezing Arctic animal) might feel. Once you are done with the first child, I carefully slip the fat covered glove off and have the next child slip in their fist. It works pretty smoothly.

You can do this as a large group, small group, or even work it in to your choice centers at the messy table or something for less down time for the kids. We did it as a group at the end of the day. How fun!! Now.....go experiment!!