Five Senses : Yummmmmmy!

Chocolate Covered
Frozen Bananas

To end our week of “Five Senses” I decided to make my son a fun and not too full of crap treat. We had theses at our friends house a few weeks ago and loved them, so thank you Mandy for the inspiration! For taste and smell ideas for preschoolers scroll down past the bananas, these two senses are tricky for really little ones so a cooking activity where you can give your child lots of chances to taste is a great option for both smell and taste!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need bananas, baking chocolate ( for 4 treats I used .25 lbs) , butter , popsicle sticks, wax paper, a dish and a freezer!
  2. Start by peeling your bananas , cutting them in half and insert the popsicle sticks.
  3. For every .25 pound of chocolate or chocolate chips, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter to make it easier to spread. Melt . I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds, stirred it and then another 20.
  4. Ooops have we been learning anything? If you want you can have your little one “taste” the bowl, ask them how it tastes, I think my son liked it!
  5. Spread over bananas and put them in the freezer.
  6. Let set

Preschool
Taste & Smell Activity

In years past I have done taste tests in my classrooms. They were always a hit and made big impressions, always a plus in a learning environment. Here is what I did:

  1. Make a chart- simple or big depending if you are doing this for one child or a class. On the chart list ( pictures for preschoolers, written words for school agers) 3-5 flavors of food ice cream, yogurt, and jelly bellies have all worked well for me. Make sure the flavors are simple like strawberry, lemon, vanilla etc…
  2. In identical cups put the food to taste.
  3. Have your child smell the first cup, ask them to predict the flavor- choosing from the chart’s list. Make a note of their prediction.
  4. Have them taste it. Ask them if they want to switch the prediction or keep it as is.
  5. Reveal the flavor.
  6. Repeat.

On paper this seems very simple but it’s fun and a fun way to learn about taste and smell as well as introducing young children to the process of a real science experiment !

Parent’s Corner : Quick Note

Learning Through Play !

I just wanted to make a quick note about how young children learn. I am often asked about how I structure my day and all the learning my son is doing. The reality is yes I have a general routine / schedule but it’s for me, I need that , not for him. Most of his day is play, we do a sit down art or learning activity that is parent directed 3-4 times a week for 10- 30 minutes depending on if he wants to continue. Other than that I let him lead , because at this age ( almost 2 ) he needs the freedom to explore, learn through play and the world around him.

If your child doesn’t sit for activities find active ones they like but even then remember that anything we “make ” them do should be a very very small part of their day. I am not advocating ignoring your child or plopping them in front of tv all day, but a strict structure of many activities is contrary to the imaginative play toddlers and preschoolers need.

Anyway I have had many emails lately asking about what activities I do when during the day – and reality is we don’t do things all day at all, mostly we play. However the one thing I do think we should all be doing as parents from day one is reading to our kids.

Five Senses: Sound Safari

five senses activity sound
I had no clue how well this sound safari would work with my 23 month old, I have done it with 3- 5 year olds in the past but never with toddlers. It was a huge hit. He understood the chart and that we were listening to for the things listed and got very excited to earn each star. We chose to go for a walk in our neighborhood but you can do this inside or in your backyard as well.

  1. Gather your materials. You will need some construction paper, plain paper, markers, a ruler, scissors, stickers and glue or double stick tape.sound map edit
  2. Make a simple chart , one space for the sound you are searching for and a small box for a sticker or a check mark.
  3. Add things you hear often around your neighborhood or where ever you will be listening. We did sirens, dogs barking, birds, cars, etc…sound
  4. Tape or glue the paper on the construction paper and head off on your walk.
  5. I gave the chart to my son and told him we were looking for all those sounds, we talked about hearing things, and although he was quite convinced we hear with our eyes, he still got it.sound activity for kids
  6. I helped start things off my closing the garage door and asking him what he heard. when he said the garage door , I asked him to look on his chart to see if that was on it. When it was we got a sticker and put it in the box.sound safari

The next up was our neighbor’s barking dogs! sound lesson for kidsThen birds… we were only a few hundred feet from our door and we already had half the items on our safari.As we kept walking we found more and my son pointed out ones we didn’t have like the lawnmowers the gardeners were using. That tickled me because that was the point of this whole exercise to learn about using our ears to hear and identify sounds. These were our final safari findings:

sound safari for toddlers

Sent In By You!

Egg Carton Birds


I thought these were the most adorable and funky birds I’d ever seen when Astrid from
The Lopsided House
sent in this wonderful craft. So simple but so elegant. I love crafts that use up something extra like egg cartons and can also be used to decorate. They remind me of the tiki room at Disneyland! So much character in such a simple craft, love it!


For the how to and more pictures of these crafty creations
check out

The Lopsided House

If you have a craft you did and want to share email me a link to your blog, or send me the pictures and directions , I will happily feature it on in an upcoming ” Sent In By You” . Next week will be a compilation of all the Halloween crafts that have been filling up my inbox, so if you want to get in on that – send it in !

Five Senses – Touch and Learn

 

 farm animal activity for preschool

Our bedtime stories lately have all had one thing in common, a sheep! So I decided for our lesson that we make a super soft sheep. For older children, you can add smooth grass made out of foam or plastic and hard fence made from popsicle sticks. If your child is younger though don’t overload them, one texture to focus on is perfect!

  1. Gather your materials. You will need 2 pieces of construction paper, one a lighter color and the other black. Scissors, cotton balls, glue, markers and googly eyes.
  2. Have your child draw the farm background, ask them what sheep eat, even my 23 month old could do this and drew grass. If you are doing multiple textures have them glue on the grass and fence here, make sure there is enough space for your sheep!
  3. While they work on the farm, draw a sheep body and head out of the black paper and cut out.
  4. Glue the body on and add glue and cotton balls, we ripped our apart to spread them out.
  5. Glue on the head.
  6. Add the eyes!
  7. All done!

Books!

” How Big Is A Pig”by Claire Beaton has fast become a favorite in our house around bedtime. I love the felt illustrations, the detail amazes me and helps distract me from noticing that I have read it 20 times in as many minutes. The story itself is great too, it focuses on opposites in the farm yard with a zippy rhyming text.“Brown Bear Brown Bear”by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle is a classic, it is genius in it’s simplicity. So often we think things have to have fancy bells and whistles to keep toddlers and preschoolers interested and this book proves us wrong yet again. I haven’t met a child who hasn’t responded well to this book about colors and animals!” Duck on a Bike” by David Shannon tickles my funny bone. I love this book, the message is awesome too. Just because it’s never been done before doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t try! Also how cute is a duck riding a bike? The illustrations are amazing and your child will love the farm animals .

~Additional Activities~

Touch Bowl

This is a fun activity that anyone can do. Older children should be encouraged to close their eyes and try to identify the objects while describing the way they feel. Toddlers can just explore with you labeling the textures, and if they are able you can play a little game of “Find the Texture”. Simple games like this are so valuable even if they seem bland to us on paper your child will love it. So try and see! My son loved the sticky tape and bumpy gourd.

Gentle Touch

What a perfect time to talk about gentle touches. Having been both a teacher and the dreaded director of a childcare center sometimes I felt like all I did all day was talk about gentle touches, remind little people that we use gentle hands and words with our friends. So this is my plea for all of us parents to practice this with our kids, it doesn’t come naturally to most but with lots of reminders and praise we can help teach them how to be gentle even when it’s so hard to , basically from ages 1-5 !