We’ve had another week of wintry exploration and it’s been so much fun! With the weather warming up, we aren’t getting as much snowy activity as we would like, but we’ve filled in with some ice experiments and some sensory materials that mimic snow in a fun way!
Glitter Snowflakes: Glitter is one of the best materials available to give children practice with moderation, control of materials, and hand-eye coordination. At each table, the children received their own paper snowflakes and they shared cups of glue and glitter. Carla and Nora showed them how to apply glue wherever they wanted the glitter to stick, and they used popsicle sticks to do this. Next, they gently sprinkled bits of glitter over the glue. Again, the teachers demonstrated how to sprinkle just a small amount of glue and how they could build up the shiny, sparkly factor over time, as opposed to just dumping large amounts of glue right away. Once their snowflakes are dry, we’ll display them around the classroom to bring the outside in!
Paper Mittens: Each child was given two mittens cut from card stock and with holes punched around the perimeter. They used crayons, glue sticks, and fabric scraps to uniquely decorate their mittens. Once they were happy with their decorations, they used yarn to sew their two mitten sides together. They laced the yarn in and out of the holes, “stitching” their mitten halves into one mitten. Finally, they stuffed their mittens with cotton balls, sewed up the bottoms and had their very own soft mittens to keep! This activity allowed each child to express their personal style individually through coloring and the addition of scrap fabric. At the same time, it required them to practice listening to, and following, a sequence of directions. Some children were able to lace their mittens together with a bit of trouble-shooting, others needed guidance and assistance from a grown-up, while others still managed it very independently and then helped their friends and neighbors.
Melting Ice: We’ve noticed a lot of ice outside this week, which prompted discussions about how the ice “goes away,” as well as the use of salt to remove ice from the roads. To study this concept, each table shared a small bowl of Kosher salt and each child used a bowl for his or her own ice cube. Before we began, they each drew pictures of their ice cubes. The children took pinches of salt and added them to their individual ice cubes, then watched to see what happened. At first, it seemed like the salt made little impact. Soon, however, they noticed little pools of water forming. But where had the water come from? The melting ice! After a few more minutes and a few more pinches of salt, the Tugboats drew yet another picture, this time showing how their ice cubes had changed. We stapled their pictures together to make a book about their science experiments that they could take home. Later in the week, we used brute force to eliminate ice with wooden hammers! The children took turns hammering ice cubes with our play dough hammers. It was super noisy and super fun!
Sensory Snow: We gave each child a piece of wax paper and taped it to the table for security. We added a large pile of shaving cream and let them explore! The children loved squishing the cream between their fingers, gathering it up in their fists and squeezing it all out. Many of them noticed that they could smell the cream, which led to a short discussion about our senses. We agreed that we could feel, see, and smell the cream, but we couldn’t hear it and we definitely shouldn’t taste it! Carla asked the Tugboats to consider how the shaving cream may be similar to snow. It was white like snow, and some children felt like it was as cold as snow. Others noticed that it wasn’t melting like snow would if you brought it inside. It also did not make very good snowballs–they fell apart! Exploring new and different sensory materials is an important preschool activity for all of the children. They are developing their understanding of how different materials feel to their hands and skin, and understanding how different materials “behave” differently than others. Some children loved using their fingers to write in the shaving cream or to draw pictures. If they didn’t like what they created, they could smear the cream to erase it and start all over again! All of today’s kids loved this activity, but if children are less interested in having their hands messy, a creative solution is to put sensory materials into a plastic baggie, zip the top and have them work away. Of course, it keeps the mess down as well!