The children started school last week (which is the perfect explanation as to why I have not blogged in over a month!). It was a fabulous week! Here is a peek into our first week of school:
During Work Time the children practiced using letter stencils at the language table,
played with (very old) cameras in the home center,
prepared meals for each other,
examined bugs and leaves at the science counter,
created tall towers with the tree slivers,
and shared stories with their teachers.
In the Studio
the children created wooden sculptures,
worked with clay,
painted at the easel,
and created at the Beautiful Things counter.
During Outdoor Adventure time the children LOVED working in the new sand area,
working at the Water Works station,
and sharing books.
And these are just some of the great things we did in
Wonderful Week One at Marvelously Made Preschool!
Learning through play...EVERY Day!
When I was a child I loved Jell-O. I loved the smell of it when my mother was cooking it. I loved slurping it into my mouth and smooshing it between the roof of my mouth and my tongue. I loved the commercials with Bill Cosby. "J-E-L-L-O!"; makes me happy just remembering the song!
One of the greatest things we do during science explorations has to do with gelatin (not Jell-O). But it has nothing to do with eating it!
We mix up gelatin (the unflavored kind; we use Knox brand) and we pour it into a variety of molds. We make some big and some smaller. Once the gelatin is set we remove it from the containers and place the pieces on trays or plates, etc. We provide the children with cups of colored water and eye droppers. The children push the color into the molds and watch it fill the tunnels the eye droppers create. As more colors are added they blend together in places where the tunnels cross and the results are so wonderful.
Take a look...
Isn't that amazing?!!!
Here are some more...
Here is how you can make some at home and Try-It for yourself:
16 envelopes of gelatin 10 cups of water
First...Sprinkle the gelatin over the water and mix.
Next...Heat until gelatin is totally dissolved and
pour mixture into containers.
Then...Chill in refrigerator until firm.
Finally...Remove gelatin from molds onto a tray. Provide colored water and eye droppers.
Last - let the children explore!
The children in our school love to hunt for things. They play games like "I Spy" on the playground and in the classroom. They like to hide from each other (and Ms. Shem) so that they can be hunted. They enjoy hunting for hidden treasures in bottles and sensory tubs and play dough.
As teachers, we challenge ourselves to create opportunities for the children to hunt things throughout the year. Here is an easy letter hunt challenge you can give your children at home for this Try-It...
Looking for Letters
Give your preschooler a box from anything in your pantry (the box in the photo is from a boxed lunch from the grocery store), hand him a permanent marker, and encourage him to HUNT for letters.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
- The most important letter to a child is the one that starts his/her name - have your child hunt that one first.
- Have your child see if she can find every letter from her name on the same box (not always easy).
- What about counting how many "Js" (or whatever letter) can be found on a box?
- Be creative and have fun!! The list can go on and on....
I am posting a bit late today, but it is still Tuesday so here we go...
Today's "Try-It" is Growing Crystals.
This is a very cool science activity that is super easy to do.
The magic ingredient for crystal growing in Mrs. Stewart's Bluing. We followed the directions which were attached to the bluing. you can follow our directions below or check our Mrs. Stewart's Bluing website at: http://www.mrsstewart.com/pages/scginstructions.htmMaterials You Need:
A glass or plastic bowl or a deep tray
Charcoal briquettes and/or a sponge and/or a porous stone and/or a brick
Mrs. Stewart's Liquid Bluing (I found ours at the feed store)
On the FIRST DAY:
Mix together 2 T water, 2T salt and 2T of bluing
Pour it over the base of the material you chose for growing your
crystals. Place your tray or bowl in a well-ventilated area and
out of the reach of children. It is wonderful if you have a place that the children can see the experiment but the bluing is not something
you want them to be able to touch.
On the SECOND DAY:
Add 2T salt
On the THIRD DAY:
Pour into the bottom of the bowl (not directly on the base material)
two tablespoons each of salt, water, and Mrs. Stewart’s Bluing.
By the fourth day you should see some pretty impressive crystals forming. If you would like to amp it up a bit you can add two tablespoons of household ammonia.
If you want your crystals to continue to grow you can repeat step three every few days. Crystals should continue to grow for as long as you keep adding to the tray.
There are a few variations to this experiment and there are a variety of things you can use as your base to grow them - our wonderful Ms. April set up this experiment using charcoal, clay (with pipe cleaners stuck in it) and a sponge. Once the tray was prepared the tray was set in the window of the science area. The children and Ms. April also made a second tray (identical set-up) and placed it in the refrigerator. Each day the children would check to see how the Crystals were progressing and they could record their findings in their Science Journals.
We would love for you to post and let us know how your garden grew!!
At our End-of-the-Year Celebrations, each of the children have a turn to share their favorite things about school. This past spring, one of the children shared that her favorite things was "making sculptures".
We are a small school, and we know our children pretty well, so I was not surprised that this child named sculpting as her favorite activity. I did, however, begin to think back over the year and wonder if we are offering enough opportunities for sculpting. After all, when it is a child's favorite thing to do; I want to be sure there are as many ways possible to participate in sculpting at school! I realized that the children do sculpt quite a bit and now I am inspired to research some new ways we can offer sculpting activities in the year ahead.
Here are some sculpting activities we did at school last year that you can try at home this summer...
Freeze ice in a variety of containers
(be sure to have big and little pieces).
Place all of the ice on a tray with some salt,
spoons, and colored water.
The ice can be used to "attach" the ice pieces together;
add color as desired.
Provide your child with a box of toothpicks and
a bowl of small marshmallows.
Encourage him/her to create freely with them.
After some free exploration and creating, you may want to
create shapes, patterns and designs and
challenge your child to copy them.
Be sure to build together!
Toilet Paper Sculptures
Yep! Toilet Paper!!
During our "toilet paper days" some
of the children decided to use their
rolls to create a sculpture.
I advise adhering the rolls with glue
(the children spent a lot of time restacking them before they decided
to enlist the help of glue).
And, of course, painting the
TP Sculpture was a natural thing to do once it was created.
Provide the children with a variety of colored wire pieces
and a piece of styrofoam.
We cut the wires in different lengths.
As the children worked with the wire they discoverd ways
to manipulate it into squiggles and zig-zags which pleased them.
As ALWAYS - trust them to create!
Salt Dough and Pipe Cleaner Sculptures
Mix together a basic salt dough recipe.
Provide the children with pipe cleaners in a variety of colors and lengths.
Here is a salt dough recipe that we have used:
2 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup salt 1 cup cold water
In a large bowl, mix table salt and flour together.
Gradually add 1/2 cup of water and mix to desired consistency.
Knead the dough on a flat surface, adding a few more drops of water as needed (but not making it too moist).
While these are only a few of the sculpting experiences the children participated in this past year, I do hope that you will try one or two of them with your children at home. Who knows? Maybe sculpting will be your favorite summer activity this year.
As a preschool director, summer is a time for me to reflect on the school year we just completed and to look toward the year to come. As a mother, summer is a time when I have the opportunity to spend more time with my chidren: lazy days at the pool, playing games, reading and just "hanging out" together.
I know that for most families, summer offers time to experience new things together. Since we do so many wonderful things with the children here at Marvelously Made Preschool, I thought I would post some of them for you to try at home. So, if you have a bit of time this summer,and are itching for some interesting things to do with your children, check out our blog on TUESDAYS from now until the end of August and "TRY-IT" at home.
Now for your first "Try-It Tuesdays" post...
Now You See It; Then You Won't
In spring we have an Egg-Dying Extravaganza at the preschool. Every child brings two dozen, hard-boiled eggs, and the children spend oodles of time dying them during Outdoor Adventures.
Children love to dye eggs! Sadly, this is an activity usually restriced to the Easter season. Egg-dying is inexpensive, fun, and a great thing to do outside ~ a perfect summer activity!!
After the children dye the eggs, they hide and hunt them and hide and hunt them again (and again, and again, and again!). Once they have hidden and hunted to their hearts' content, here is what we do...
Step 1: Gather several clear containers and fill them about 2/3 full of water. I like to use two-liter bottles with the top parts cut off, but any similar container will work.
Step 2: Have the children fill the remaining space in each container with shaving cream. Be sure to allow them to heap it as much as they'd like!
Step 3: Gently place one egg (or two or three) on top of the shaving cream in each container.
Step 4: Watch and wait.
Where does that color go?
One of the things I enjoy most about the yard leading up to the school building is the promise that it will be filled with dandelions come spring and that, as a result, the children will be delighted to pick them and make wishes and pick "one more". I see these simple pleasures as acts of worship. Anytime we take time to stop, notice and enjoy God’s creation, we are worshiping. Children know how to do this in a way that adults tend to forget. In the hustle and bustle of our daily "to-do lists", we often move through our days without stopping to delight in the beauty around us; we forget to take the time to make wishes.
As I have been watching the children enjoy the dandelions over the past few months, I remembered a poem I shared with the teachers as we began the school year and wanted to share it with you, also...
Mud Puddles and Dandelions
~ author unknown ~
When I look at a patch of dandelions, I see a bunch of weeds that are going to take over my yard. My kids see flowers for Mom and blowing white fluff you can wish on.
When I look at an old drunk and he smiles at me,
I see a smelly, dirty person who probably wants money
and I look away. My kids see someone smiling at them
and they smile back.
When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I sit self-consciously and listen.
My kids feel the beat and move to it. They sing out the words. If they don't know them, they make up their own.
When I feel wind on my face, I brace myself against it.
I feel it messing up my hair and pulling me back when I walk.
My kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it, until they fall to the ground laughing.
When I pray, I say "Thee and Thou", and "grant me this",
"give me that". My kids say, "Hi God! Thanks for my toys and my friends. Please keep the bad dreams away tonight.
Sorry, I don't want to go to Heaven yet.
I would miss my Mommy and Daddy."
When I see a mud puddle I step around it.
I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets.
My kids sit in it. They see dams to build, rivers
to cross and worms to play with.
I wonder if we are given children to teach or to learn from? No wonder God loves the little children!!
"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may
look back and realize they were the big things."
Just a reminder about the important things in life.
I wish you mud puddles and dandelions!
In March one of our wonderful grandmothers (Nee Nee) took on the task of putting in a raised-bed garden in front of the school. She brought in some stone bricks for edging, filled the plot with soil and got a variety of plants for the children to plant. The children planted herbs, flowers, tomatoes, strawberries and shrubs.
Every child had a plant to plant and they each take pride in stopping at the garden on the way into school in the morning or as they head to and from the playground to see what how the garden has grown and changed.
Recently, we picked our very first fruits from our garden!
Beautiful, red, ripe tomatoes!
(Some of the children even dared to taste them!!)
How wonderful it is for the children to be part of the process of nurturing plants and seeing, first hand,
how food and flowers grow!
Thank you, Nee Nee, for helping us plant a
wonderful garden at school - we LOVE it!
We “do science” everyday here at Marvelously Made Preschool, in fact, science seems to be imbedded in most of what we do here! Our goal is to challenge the children at school to wonder, to try out lots of new ideas and to see what happens. Preschoolers are mesmerized by all of the miracles around them and we make sure to provide them with the materials and time to explore those miracles.
One of our favorite experiments to do is with Ivory Soap. Do you know what happens if you take a piece of Ivory soap and place in on a paper plate or bowl in the microwave for 45 seconds?
(If you have not done this before then don't scroll down! Go to the store and buy a bar of Ivory soap and try it THEN come back here and read the rest of this post - I am serious! You will love it and I would hate to spoil it for you)
Ok, back to the post...
The soap will do this:
Can you believe it?!!
Here are some of the comments from the children in our school when we they saw this happen:
"Wow!! How could that happen? SO amazing! It’s a cloud!!"
“Ew, gosh, oh! It’s going to explode! Oooh-who-who! Oh! Dude! It’s kinda like a monster! Dude!, look! It’s a mountain! It’s kinda like tissue.”
“Whoa! Cool! It looks different! It looks like shaving cream. This is so totally cool!”
“First it was a little piece, then it grew into a big giant thing. It’s just so - - I don’t know what it is! In the inside it feels soapy & soft. That’s all I want to say. Can it clean off people?”
“I think it is going to turn into water. It’s getting bigger! It’s going to crush the microwave.”
“Whoa! It’s getting BIG! It looks like a big popcorn. And we can break it apart!”
“Whoa, the soap exploded. It feels like cotton. It makes lots of soap. It smells good! Let’s have some tonight in the bath. It was shrinking…”
So why does soap expand in the microwave?
Ivory soap is known for being “the soap that floats”. It floats because (unlike other soaps) it has a large amount of whipped air in it. The air bubbles actually contain water and when the water is heated in the microwave; it expands! There is a law of science which explains this called “Charles’ Law”. Charles’ Law states that as the temperature of gas increases, so does it’s volume.
So there you have it! As early childhood educators we are able to expose children to dozens of higher-level science concepts through the experiences and experiments we share with the each day.
Like we always say at our school,
“Here we are Learning through PLAY; every day!”
After a very busy and exciting weekend we ended up with five precious baby chicks! On Saturday afternoon some of the children stopped by the school to see our chicks and by Monday morning all five of the fuzzy, yellow chicks were in the brooder waiting for their fans.
The children have been so excited to see their chicks each day and I am loving all of the visits to my office as children, parents, grandparents, siblings, (and other random visitors) stop in to see the gang of chicks. We are planning to keep them for two to three weeks but we may have to keep them a bit longer so that I keep having such great company in here!
This having been my first time to be responsible for
hatching chicks, I am calling five healthy, happy chicks
a successful hatch!
Here are some photos of our chicks today: