Sunday, November 17, 2013

Preschool Turkey Activity

Friday morning I decided that I wanted to do an activity with my daughter and the little boys I was taking care of that day. I thought it would be nice to use the homemade playdough I had sitting around and something with fall colors.

I decided that I could easily make colored pasta and then shape the playdough into the shape of a turkey's body. The kids could then use the pasta to decorate the turkeys. I also added in some long pieces of dried spaghetti so the kids would be able to make longer "feathers" by putting the penne pasta over the spaghetti pasta.

While the kids were making their turkeys we talked about the colors, what the playdough felt like, if the noodles stayed in well, what patterns they could make, how they could make the noodles look like feathers on a turkey, and how the colors of the noodles and turkey looked a lot like fall leaves.

They enjoyed this activity a lot and after finishing their turkeys moved on to making their own shapes with the playdough and decorating those. It is great for fine motor skills, sensory play, creative play, learning about patterns, and colors.
To make the pasta all you do is get dried pasta, fill a bowl half way with white vinegar and add food coloring of you choice (I used probably at least 10 drops of color per bowl) then add pasta so that it is covered by the vinegar. Let it sit for about 5 minutes, maybe a little more, stirring a couple times while it sits. Then dump out the liquid and lay the pasta flat on a cookie sheet to dry. It took about two hours maybe three for ours to dry completely.

Now you are ready, just set out the materials for the kids to get to work.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Fall Fun: Pumpkins, and Apples, and Squirrels Oh My!

We take a weekly trip to the library for story time and to check out books. Usually I let the kids check a few out and I choose a couple to check out as well. I try and find books that fit into a weekly theme that I have in mind or that are seasonally appropriate. So a few weeks ago I spotted this cute book about a squirrel who is busy finding food for the winter (called The Busy Little Squirrel by Nancy Tafuri).
Buy it by clicking this link:

The little squirrel picks up various fall foods and takes them back to his nest. At the end of the book you see him asleep with all of his food. It is a cute book that teaches about what a squirrel does to get ready for the winter and shows some of what they eat.

I immediately started thinking of ways I could create activities surrounding this book, so I checked it out. We read it several times before ever getting to the activities, but finally I set things up and we did some writing, math, and science exploring some of the things that squirrel might have picked up to eat.

I got out a large bowl of water for a float or sink test, a measuring tape to measure each item, and some fall vegetables (a sweet dumpling squash and a bright orange squash), an apple, grapes, and dried fruit and nuts.

The plan was to read the book and then talk about why the squirrel was saving for food and if we had any of the same things. Then we put the things in order from largest to smallest.

I had written out a list of what each thing was before hand so then we measured each thing with the measuring tape and I wrote how big it was in yellow and then my daughter traced the number with a black marker.
Next, for each item, we predicted which items would sink and which would float. Then we put each on into the bowl of water to test our predictions. We then put a mark in a column for each one that sank and one in another column for each that floated.
This was my daughter's favorite part of the activity and she wanted to do it several times. We then drew a picture of one of the items as an added art activity. It would also be great fun to use the items to paint or make prints into play-dough.