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Thursday, January 31, 2013

For the Birds

We read a support book today called No Two Alike by Keith Baker. It goes along with our focus book Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and continues our discussion of what animals do in the winter. The kids have seen some squirrels and birds out on our playground and one child asked "what do they eat if they are not hibernating?" Good question! Since there is not much for them to eat right now we thought we would feed them! So this week we filled the sensory table with birdseed. We made seed pockets (see directions below) and put them in the sensory table as well.  We charged the kids with the task of filling the seed pockets with the birdseed so we could hang them outside on the playground for the squirrels and birds to eat.This was a great fine motor activity and the kids are excited for the weather to get warm enough for us to have outdoor recess so we can hang them up!

Directions to make seed pockets:
Cut rectangle pieces of felt or other durable fabric
Hot glue the sides of the rectangles
Fold fabric over to secure the pocket with the glue
Punch a hole in the top of the seed pocket
Add a pipe cleaner or string to hang with.  
Have kids fill the pockets with birdseed and voila! - 
a feast for the squirrels and birds! Get those binoculars ready!

Here are some of our favorite books about hibernation. 
Click on the book to purchase from Amazon!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

May The Force Be With You!

In science at the Kindergarten this month we are learning about "things that move." Last week we learned about force. We read Forces Make Things Move by Kimberly Brubaker. After we read the book we did a little experiment on the rug. We sat in the circle and rolled a tennis ball to each other. They observed what happened when more or less force was placed on the ball. Then we showed that force makes things travel straight unless another force changes its path (one child would poke the ball as it rolled by!)
This week we started learning about gravity. We read Gravity is a Mystery by Franklyn Mansfield. We had  learned about the Earth, Moon and Sun back in November so we had touched on the topic then. Since gravity truly is a mystery and kind of an intangible topic, I wanted to do a hands-on experiment that was fun as well as demonstrated gravity. So I went down to the pool and got all the foam pool noodles from the summer out of storage. I cut them in half longways and explained to the kids that we were going to make a marble run out of the pool noodles. With the help of a little colored duct tape, we taped all the pieces of the noodle together to make one long piece. I asked what gravity would do to the marble and they said "make it go down."

Then we set out to prove our hypothesis! They wanted the marble run to start up high so we taped one end to the wall. From there they twisted and turned the noodle to make it into the desired marble run. They brought in chairs for support and to make tunnels for the marble run to go through.We would test the creation and make adjustments once we saw where the marble ran off the track. They made changes and we tried again! Everyone was very excited about the marble run and wanted to keep trying to get the marble to go all the way to the end. We didn't get there today, but the kids were so excited they asked if we could leave the noodles out for free play so they could continue to try new  formations. The science experiment that keeps on giving! I love it!
Here are some fun books about things that move! Click on the book to purchase from Amazon.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

We LOVE Snowmen!

Today in my art class at the Kindergarten, we read Sneezy the Snowman by Maureen Wright. This is a cute little story with repeating verse so the kids helped me read the repeating parts after a few pages! This led up to our 3D snowman project!
First, I combined shaving cream with regular school glue. Be sure to get the Lemon/Lime scented shaving cream - it actually smells quite good!
Then I put three globs of the mixture on each child's paper. We used very thick watercolor paper so it would hold all the goodies we were about to put on the paper!
The kids used their paintbrushes to paint the shaving cream/glue mixture into the desired shaped snowman.
Then I put bowls of buttons, foam shapes, pom poms and craft sticks on the table for them to use as embellishments for their snowmen.
As you can imagine, no two snowmen were remotely the same! We had fat, skinny, short and tall snowmen. I didn't give them any direction, just let them create as they see fit!
Some kids put just a few things on their snowmen and others practically covered the entire snowman! Since the "snow" mixture has glue in it, they could just press the decorations directly into the snowman and they stuck. No extra glue needed! As long as the kids didn't spread the snow mixture too thin, the snowmen stayed puffy even when dry!
This week I will be bringing these fabulous creations to the Wenham Museum to be displayed in the children's gallery for the month of February! Each child also receives complimentary admission for them and their family to go and view their artwork! We have a vacation week in February so it will be the perfect time to go and check out the museum!

Here are some of the finished snowmen:

Sneezy the Snowman and other fun snowmen books (click on picture to purchase from Amazon):