Fill In The Blank Life Cycles – Preschool Science

fill in the blank life cycles for kidsChildren are natural sorters. They like order and understand steps very early on if we present them in a fun hands-on way. Nothing beats seeing a lifecycle in action. I encourage all of you to get a Butterfly Garden ( affiliate link), or find a frog pond where you can visit multiple times to see the changing stages first hand. If you can NOT do either of those this hands-on activity is a great alternative and what I love about these life cycle manipulatives is that kids will play with them over and over again. As I type this our frog and tadpoles you see in this post have just been relocated to our swampy sensory table.Of course, if you don’t have access to these models or the budget to spend on them you can always hand draw the stages, cut out, color and laminate them. I am often asked if I read then do the activities or the other way around. In this case, if you are introducing the life cycles for the first time read the books first and do these fill in the blank life cycles after.

fill in the blank life cycles 1

To create these super simple fill in the blank life cycles you will need some life cycle manipulatives like these ones I got at Michael’s ( or draw your own), some good quality paper, markers, and a tray or two.

frog life cycle

Trace around each step in the life cycle. If your child is a reader add the stage with a word but if not skip it. I added it at first and my daughter was so intent on sounding it out that when she couldn’t ( chrysalis ) it frustrated her. The shape of the item will be an effective prompt. If you are drawing your own make sure the shapes are distinct after you cut them out. life cycle fill in the blank sheetsMy helper took this picture of me tracing I think it’s the first picture of me prepping an activity in 7 years. butterfly life cycle activity

Add arrows to show the direction of the transformation. I had help with this step. Too bad my order was off ( this friends is what happens when you blog on too little sleep… please note the correct order is egg, caterpillar, chrysalis, butterfly…. ) fill in the blank life cycle of frog

Label the life cycle in the middle so your child can identify which mat they need. My daughter can recognize these words so I didn’t include a picture but for a classroom with all different levels I would include a picture of a frog, butterfly, or turtle in the middle and laminate.

Pop the manipulatives on a second tray or in a shallow dish.turtle life cycle activity

Start matching them up.life cycles for preschool

If you are doing this in a free choice setting for a class I’d suggest doing it at circle time first and then either later that day or the next time you meet having it out for individuals to use their prior knowledge. Don’t forget that you can place as many or as few of the pieces on the sheet to start with to help your child be successful

life cycles

 

As she placed the pieces of the life cycles we talked about each of them.

Books About Life Cycles

all book lists contain affiliate links.

very hungry caterpillar

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle is a classic, that most preschool teachers like myself can recite from memory. It really is a fantastic book, not only does it explain the life cycle of a butterfly it also is useful for a the lesson about the days of the week and healthy eating. Children love relating to the caterpillar who eats too many treats and ends up with a belly ache before eating one more healthy leaf and spinning a chrysalis.

fish

Fish is Fish by Leo Lionni is a cute book that not only talks about friendship but it also explains the transformation of a tadpole into a frog in an entertaining way. I have used this book in classrooms while doing animal life cycles and kids always love how the fish in the book imagines humans as fish with legs! The story of the friendship between the little tadpole and minnow can’t be ignored either, it’s a great message about change and the way friendships if true can withstand change.from tadpole to frog

From Tadpole to Frog by Wendy Pfeffer is another gem from the “Let’s- Read-And-Find-Out” series. It goes into great detail without offering too much for young readers. When I was reading it to my 2-year-old, I skipped some pages, it’s a little long for him still, but 3-5-year-olds are the perfect age for this nonfiction book. The illustrations are interesting and kept my wiggly man into the book when the text went above his head.

 

Need a song to help teach about the butterfly life cycle? Try this one! 

How To Make A Cloud In A Jar – Kitchen Science

how to make a cloud in a jar We are studying weather in my classroom right now and my own kids get to be the guinea pigs for all activities that I am not certain will go smoothly with my preschool class. I posted this Instagram of our first attempt and immediately people were asking for more information. I asked my kids to help me re-do the experiment with step by step photos so we did a little more kitchen science to show you how to make a cloud in a jar.

Gather your materials. You will need a glass jar with a lid ( although a snug dish will work), hot water ( boiling works even better), an aerosol spray ( we used hairspray), and ice cubes. If you have a child capable of handling boiling water a pyrex measuring cup is great to have on hand as well.how to make a cloud in a jar

Start by boiling the water then pouring it in the jar. We used about 1/3 of a cup.how to make a cloud in a jar

Quickly spray the hairspray into the jar. The spray gives the water vapor a surface to condense into tiny cloud droplets. Some experiments use a match instead. Both work but boiling water was enough of a risk for one experiment.how to make a cloud in a jar

Pop the lid on with the ice and watch the cloud form. how to make a cloud science experiment This was our 4th time overall doing this and my 4 year old was still amazed.how to make a cloud in a jar

When you are ready lift the lid and let the vapor out!how to make a cloud in a jar

For more science ideas check out our list of 15 Fun Science Experiments For Kids

15 easy science activities for kids

Freeze & Free – Preschool Science Experiment

preschool scienceHave I mentioned we are getting super excited for our upcoming trip to Disneyland? Well we are. I am not sure who is more excited me or the kids but one thing is for sure is that we are using this excitement to drive our activities. This preschool science experiment was also driven by a fun day at school. I work upstairs in then 2-3 class while my daughter is downstairs in PreK and last week the older kids were melting ice to free objects under the ice. She had so much fun I decided to adopt the idea for even more fun at home the next day. Of course using our Anna Magiclip Doll just added to the fun. Fun isn’t all my daughter was working on either between squeezing the pipettes, and digging the beads out of the ice she managed to work on a bunch of fine motor skills too.

Gather your materials. You will need a plastic container, some fun beads ( these ended up being so important, you’ll see), some eye droppers or pipettes, an Anna doll ( or any big item you want to freeze), water, a container for the warm water, a tray, and some paper towel.science forpreschool

Start by pouring a little water into your container. Add most of the beads. Let freeze.freeze anna from frozen scicence experiment

Add the Anna doll face down more water and the rest of the beads. The reason I did this in two stages is so her body wouldn’t all be at the very top. I wanted to make my daughter work to free her!

Let freeze ( this took hours).freeze anna in ice science experiment for kids

Get some warm water, the pipettes, some paper towel, and an eager excavator ready.freeze and thaw science experiment for kids

Pop the ice out of the plastic, turn it over and place it on the paper towel so it doesn’t slide everywhere.

Start squirting it with warm water.frreze and thaw anna frozen science experiment for preschool

My daughter was determined to free Anna as Elsa and Olaf watched.thawing anna scicence for preschool

She got some beads first. Then part way through she stopped and looked at me seriously saying ” Mom this is the amazing part of life!” I took that to mean the activity was a major success.freeze and free science frozen

There was a hold made by a air bubble under Anna so my 4 year old started shooting the hot water into it!frozen science idea for kids

We refilled the water and kept going. freeze anna science experiment for kidsShe caught a bead on the end of a pipette!fine motor frozen activity science

Finally we freed Anna and Elsa gave her a hug but that wasn’t the end of the fun. anna frozen science

 

hug frozenShe informed me that she had to free the rest of the beads.

Magnetic Sensory Bottles – Christmas Activities For Preschool

how to make sensory bottles My daughter helped me make these magnetic sensory bottles for my 2 & 3 year old preschool class. I took them in today and the kids had fun exploring with them. I sat with small groups and demonstrated then we  investigated the bottles letting them each make the magnets move and grove. The coolest discover was that we could make the bells jingle without shaking the bottle, just by moving the magnetic wand. That made my day, little discoveries like these are huge for young kids and tells me their little minds are engaged.

Here is how we made them.

Gather your materials. You will need some empty water bottles with lids, filler like pom poms, beads, colored beans, foil wrapping paper cut into small squares etc… You will also need some filler that is magnetic like pipe cleaners, jingle bells, and magnetic disks, hot glue gun, washi tape, and a magnetic wand. how to make sensory bottles

Start by filling your bottles with the regular filler. I had some help! holiday sensory bottles for preschool

If you are using pipe cleaners in your bottles cut them into small pieces. A tip for doing this without bits flying everywhere- bend the pipe cleaners around the scissors and hold both ends. sensory bottles for preschool with magnets

Add the magnetic filler. magnetic sensory bottles for toddlers

Glue the tops on. I add just a little hot glue on the inside of the caps then screw them on. Then I add a little more on the outside. christmas sensory bottles with magnets

Wrap a few layers of tape on top to make it pretty and add a little extra protection from the bottles being opened. Please remember that even with the glue kids can find ways into things we never expect them to get into. These like all our activities require close adult supervision. christmas sensory play

Time to test them out. christmas science for kidsShe loved making the pipe cleaners dance through the foil wrap but her big discovery was that she could lift one of the bottles up with just the magnetic wand!magnetic sensory bottles for christmas

 

Color Lab Science For Kids

color science for kids What would happen if we put watercolors in shaving cream? What about vinegar ? Or oil? Great hands on science always begins with ” I wonder…” and this color lab science activity was no exception. We wondered what would happen if we mixed water colors and different household liquids. After we explored our set questions it was time for completely kid directed play. We used liquid watercolors made with plain old paint instead of food color to avoid staining. Food color will make much more vivid colors.

Gather your materials. We used water, vinegar, shaving cream and oil for our liquids, liquid watercolors, some jars, an eye dropper, a cookie sheet, and goggles! color lab for preschool

Start by making liquid watercolors. Pop the disks out of the watercolor tray and add a little water. Sit for a few minutes and stir. liquid water color lab

Now you are ready to set up your color lab! Pour the liquids in ( I did the shaving cream) . color lab science for preschoolers

Time make a few predictions.

Grab your eye dropper and start adding colors. The eye dropper is important because it gives this activity an element of fine motor development as well, it takes a lot of coordination to make eye droppers work and works out the pincer grasp too. color lab water

She noted how slowly the colors floated down through the water.

The colors seems the same in the vinegar. I asked her if anything was different and she said the smell! Observing is a huge part of science!

The shaving cream was interesting because the color spread over it but didn’t mix much. She also discovered that if she pinched the eye dropper really hard the watercolor made a hole in the shaving cream. color lab shaving cream

The oil was rad. She had no previous experience with water in oil.  color lab oil wowShe was amazed when they turned into little dots of color and slowly sank down to the bottom. I loved seeing her experience this for the first time. color lab oil

Time to play. After going through each liquid it was time to mix them all together. mxing  color lab science

The shaving cream didn’t pour as well as the water did. color lab science pretend play

Want more science ideas for little ones? Check out our Science for Kids Pinterest board.