Leaf Scrapbook

Leaf Scrapbook

Today’s post is from contributing writer Katy Bird, who reminds us just how simple it can be to explore science and  the natural world around us.  Get some fresh air, and explore with your child, even if your adventure goes no further than your own backyard.
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We were recently studying plants and so we decided to make a leaf scrapbook.  This activity was a huge hit and I think it could be adapted for children of almost any ability level.
First you take a walk–we just went around the yard, but you could go further if you need/want to.
Leaf Craft
Collect leaves–try to collect leaves from plants that you recognize.  This was pretty easy for us since my husband is a gardening nut, but you can always do a little online research if you needed.
Leaf Craft
Create a Leaf Scrapbook.  Paste a leaf on each page of your scrapbook and then label each with its name.
Leaf Scrapbook
Allow your child to do as much of the creating as they are capable. Take time to go over your scrapbook with your child–talk about color, size, and texture.
I ended up laminating Charlie’s cards because he LOVES to put things in his mouth and I was afraid he might eat one of the leaves!  This could work just as well with note cards or heavy paper.  I especially like this activity because it gets kids started on the basics of science in a way that is fun and interactive.

You could do this activity with flowers as well.

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Katy is a mom of one who loves art, mystery novels, and anything involving peanut butter–she blogs about raising her little miracle at Bird on the Street.

DIY Water Table

DIY Water Table

Water tables are not cheap, a pain to store if like up you have short warm months, and for people in smaller houses, condos and apartments bulky even if they are being used. So this is an easy and fun way to play with water with simple toys and tools that can be used for other things as well. The bike helmet is optional.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic bin ( I got this one in the dish rack aisle at Walmart for under $3, some fun beach type toys like this water mill which I love because it is so dynamic and was bought at Target for $1.99, then a turkey baster, a silly funnel and measuring cups from my kitchen. Also water !DIY Water Table
  2. There aren’t many steps other than play outside, or place some towels down around it as well as have some handy if you are playing inside. DIY Water Table
  3. For more fun add ice cubes and/or bath toys.
  4. If you are doing this outside after your child has had enough , water your plants, grass and flowers!

Books About Water

Who sank the boat

Who Sank the Boat? by Pamela Allen is a funny little story about a group of animals trying to get into a little rowboat without capsizing. The reader is asked time and time again who they think sank the boat was it the big cow? The fat pig? you’ll have to read to find out. This would be a fun book to read while exploring a Sink and Float activity.

Big Red Tub

Big Red Tub by Julia Jarman is a silly tale with really great little subtle details. A brother and sister are in the tub splashing about when their dog jumps in. The fun continues with more and more animals jumping in the big red tub. Finally the tub breaks free from the bathroom and eventually ends up in space! It’s a fantasy but they come back down to reality when mom walks through the door , complete with briefcase while dad is in the background with the shampoo. I loved that detail, nothing is overt but for families with stay at home dads it’s a great shout out I think. Also if you look closely you will see some of the animals that jumped in the bath as toys, slippers and more strewn about the bathroom.

Water_Cover_book

Water by Tara McClintick  a preview can be read online here on memetales.  The book is a wordless collection of photos of water proceeded by a poem about water.  The photos include water in many different forms, a water fountain , pool, shower, glass of water and more. I love that it shows how water is used for so many purposes, delivered in so many different ways but are is always wet. Great basic book!

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Preschool Science – Sink or Float?

preschool science lesson sink or floatI have done many times with my son but now that he is 3 and has starting asking more complex questions, able to use information to make solid predictions it was way more fun! Using Easter eggs doesn’t simply add novelty, it add another dimension of learning, as we added more items to the eggs to see if the amount would change the result.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a plastic tub, some plastic Easter egg, tape to cover the holes they have, and a range of items to pack inside. We chose a lego, some feathers, coins, rocks and dry pasta. You will also need some crayons in the same colors as the eggs, a marker and paper to make a prediction and results chart. Preschool Science Lesson
  2. Start by filling your eggs with the contents. Don’t forget to add tape to the holes so water doesn’t get in.Preschool Science Lesson
  3. Make your easy peasy chart. Draw the egg, write what’s in them and have your child decide if they think it will sink or float. Talk about how when they decide they are making a prediction. Ask them why they think each will sink or float.Preschool Science Lesson
  4. Do your experiment. Pop the eggs in the water and discover if it sinks or floats. Preschool Science Lesson
  5. Was the result what you expected? All of ours floated so we opened up the one with rocks in it added more and then it sunk. This was the best part of the whole lesson because my son figured out why it sunk the 2nd time but not the first! Since doing this last week we have “tested” many other things from a match box car ( it sunk) to a sock!  Preschool Science Lesson
  6. We also opened some of the eggs up to see what would happen, and blew air on them too. Some moved some didn’t can you guess why?;) Love that one experiment leads straight to another!  Preschool Science Lesson

What I love about teaching through experiments is that kids grasp things on their own, the true pleasure of making a discovery is obvious on their faces and it makes a mark. They remember and understand  this experience much better than if we simply told them why things sink and float.

Sun Melted Recycled Crayons

recycled crayons

I have made recycled crayons before – and I got a little addicted to doing them and made a million for Christmas presents but yesterday was the first time I did it without using an oven. The heatwave on the west coast was in full swing and I decided to try something new… and it worked!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some crayons, aluminum foil, cookie cutters, a paper plate and a very hot sunny spot.
  2. Start by peeling and breaking your crayons into small pieces. I left some chunky bits because it was well over 100 and figured it would be fine, if the day was cooler I’d used shavings to melt faster.
  3. Cover the plate in aluminum foil
  4. Place the plate with the cookie cutters in a sunny spot
  5. Add the broken crayons
  6. Wait- in 100+ heat this took an hour to melt, but I had lots of really big pieces.
  7. Yay they melted!
  8. Let cool inside, then pop out of the cookie cutters. Mine slid right out, I just broke off the little bit of extra that slipped out on the bottom.
  9. Color on scrap paper for a truly eco friendly activity!
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Magnetic Weather Station

weather activity for preschool

This was an instant hit. Even though he didn’t help me make it , it has been played with a ton. I think I may have a young Willard Scott on my hands. As a teacher I included checking the weather in my daily circle time, even with kids as young as 2 this sparks interest in science in a way that is relevant to their daily lives.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need a magnetic surface ( or cookie sheet), some magnetic letters, 4-5 sheets of foam, 4 magnets , a marker, scissors and glue.
  2. Start by drawing a sun, wind, cloud and a rain drop or umbrella on the foam. Had it been winter when we made this I’d add in snow.
  3. Add the magnets to the back with glue and let dry. Please remember if you are doing this with little ones that are still putting things in their mouths, use long flat magnets not ones that could be swallowed, or pose a chocking hazard. Adhesive magnetic sheets are a great option too.
  4. Add your signage, we only had one E, so a backwards 3 works in a pinch.
  5. Have your little meteorologist check the weather at the window
  6. And choose the appropriate magnet to put up.
Books!

” Weather”by Pamela Chanko and Daniel Moreton is the perfect little non fiction book about weather for toddlers and young preschoolers. It’s short and has big interesting photos depicting different weather. Don’t be fooled, it looks like nothing, but trust me little guys will ask you to read it again and again. It’s important that children get read a variety of things, not simply fiction, so don’t be afraid to get your child a simple little non fiction book like this one!
“What Will the Weather Be Like Today?” by Paul Rodgers is another wonderful weather book. It takes readers to all different environments from desserts to deep in the ocean and talks about the weather or lack of weather in each. I like the illustrations and the rhyming text, as well as the special section at the end of the book that uses photographs of children in different weather and asks the readers to answer questions about the photographs. Great teaching tool for preschoolers.