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Saturday, August 1, 2015

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10+ Hands-on Space Activities!

Today I'm sharing 10+ fantastic hands-on Space-themed Activities!



You can use them with a space theme, to go with space books, or just for fun!  I love that they are hands-on and involve a lot of discovery for your children!

So, without any more ado here is a fantastic set of space activities:


Mousetronaut Sensory Bin Game (based on a true story!):



First Moon Landing Unit:



Parachute Landing Module Experiment:



30+ Space Activities Based on Storybooks:



Glow in the Dark Space Slime:



Space Unit:



LEGO Solar System:



Solar System Mobile Model:



Magnetic Moon & Stars:



Space Meal:



Outer Space Play Dough

Moon Science

Space Sand

8 Planets Preschool Science



Perhaps you noticed that quite a few of the activities are from the Enchanted Homeschooling Mom.  Her website is full of learning activities that she has been sharing for the last four years.  Recently, she has had some health challenges, so a group of us thought it would be fun to share some of our favorite posts from her site!  Feel free to click through the following links for more learning fun!

Not Back-to-School Picnic Ideas - Stir the Wonder
10 Fun Gross Motor Ideas - 3 Dinosaurs
Sensory Bins - Brain Power Boy
Space Activities - Preschool Powol Packets
Storybook Activities - Growing Book by Book
Spring Crafts for Preschool - Kidz Activities
Around the USA - Trillium Montessori
Disney Themed Crafts - Life with Moore Babies
10 Free Coloring Packs - Sunny Day Family
Disney Printables - In The Playroom
10 Simple Science Printables for Kids - Look! We're Learning!
Pray Species - Fall Crafts and Activities
Superhero Activity Sheets - Crafts on Sea
Kids Activities to Prepare for a Disney World Trip - Mess for Less
Enchanted Preschool Printables - Itsy Bitsy Fun
Literature-Based Dinosaur Activities for Preschoolers - Living Montessori Now
Sensory Bins Based on Children's Books - Mom Inspired Life
Science Ideas to Start The School Year - Capri +3
Family Friendly Recipes - ABC Creative Learning 







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Wednesday, July 29, 2015

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Dry Ice Rockets!

These dry ice rockets are incredibly fun and perfectly safe for young children!  Today I'm over at FSPDT sharing a complete how-to and explanation of how it works!



Click here for all the details!

And while you're over at FSPDT, be sure to check out her sensory play posts, science experiments, and book crafts!

And if you want more rocket activities, check out our DIY stomp rockets, straw rockets, and pumpkin rockets (that work great any time of the year!).  Also be sure to stop by our science collection with over 100 science activities!




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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

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Back to School Science Books for Preschoolers!





One of my favorite Back-to-School supplies to get each year are a few new science books for our preschoolers and other children!  These science books need to be informative, accurate, exciting, have great pictures, and be accessible to kids.  That doesn't mean that young children need to be able to read every word, but what they can't read needs to be illustrated well enough to capture their attention...and make them want me to read it to them!

We still visit the library all the time and frequently buy books in the middle of the year, but the new set of science books at the start of each year makes the upcoming school time feel a little like Christmas in July!

This year, I am happy to recommend these Back-to-School Science Books!  They are all fantastic for young kids...preschoolers included!  Even my toddler grabbed the First Animal Encyclopedia today and asked to read about the elephants!  They also work great for elementary kids--my 8-year old can easily read any of them to herself or the younger kids around her, and they love sharing them together.



DK First Animal Encyclopedia walks you through the Animal Kingdom by sharing fun facts about popular, and some not-so-popular, animals and animal groups!



All About Scabs by Genichiro Yagyu teaches you about scabs and how and why they form while still asking classic questions that young children can relate to, like "Can I pick this scab," and "What is a scab made of?"



My Body is a very child-friendly introduction to your body systems and would work great in an "All About Me" type of unit.  Of course, it also works great just as a fun book to read and talk about how our bodies work!



Bugs is a marvelous introduction to the world of insects and other small (and some not-so-small!) critters!  My daughter loves to take this book with us on short drives and read as many pages as she can fit in before we reach our destination!



Are You a Grasshopper? by Judy Allen takes you through the life cycle and unique characteristics of grasshoppers and many other insects.  In fact, the entire "Are you a..." series is fantastic!



Penguins is the most adorable book all about penguins!  It introduces you to the the different species of penguins and teaches basic penguin-life information.  And, it is full of real photographs of these remarkable birds!



How the Universe Works is a slightly older book that ties our planet into the bigger picture of space, our galaxy, and the universe.  Normally, I would not recommend an astronomy book more than five years old, but this is an exception!  It is full of over a hundred hands-on demonstrations and experiments you can do with your children to model and learn about different aspects of our universe!  My kids love flipping through this, and other books like it, choosing an experiment, and then doing the experiment.  Usually, the actual doing takes a little more supervision, but I love having a collection of hands-on activities they can choose from to learn more about space!  Some of the activities are definitely geared toward older elementary children, but the vast majority can be easily adapted for preschoolers and other young children.




I'm also super excited to recommend ThriftBooks.com as a fantastic place to get a set of new-to-you science books too!  I first discovered them almost two years ago and have been telling everyone I know about them ever since!  Their books are all used, and they have a HUGE inventory...over 7 million books!  It is the only place I've ever seen where I can get seven amazing science books (like the set I listed above!) for under $30!!  Last year, I bought seven science books that fit an electronics and robots theme from them for under $30 too!  Almost all of the books I have looked at (including the entire set above, most of which are hard cover) are priced between $3.50 and $4.50 each. They also have a great referral program to save even more money!

My shopping experience at ThriftBooks.com is always a pleasure!  As you look at each book on their website, you can see a description of the book, details like how many pages the book has and how big it is, its format (paperback or hardcover), additional books by the same author or similar titles, and a description of the quality of the book (very good, good, or acceptable).  I have only bought "very good" or "good" books and have been very, very pleased with the results.  If the book you want is out of print or off the shelves, you can place it on a "wish list" and get an email as soon as it is in stock!  The only thing I wish the site had were pictures of the inside pages of the book, but most of the books I've looked for are very well known, so I haven't needed to actually see inside first.

Once you order from them, you get an email that confirms your order, another email telling when your order is shipping and where it is shipping from, and a link to track the order.  AND...if you spend $10 or more, you get {FREE} shipping!!  Their policy is to ship within 24 hours.  Most of our books arrived within a week, and all of them arrived within 10 days.  They also have a reward program where you can earn a coupon to use on the website as you spend money there.  Obviously, we've been using it to get children's books (especially science books!), but they sell everything from board books to novels!  There is definitely something for everyone, and at an amazing price!  You can visit ThriftBooks.com and see all their awesomeness for yourself!

Do you have any favorite Back-to-School books?  What are your kiddos' favorite science books?  I'd love to know!  Feel free to leave a comment or stop by on Facebook and tell us!




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I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



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Monday, July 27, 2015

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Sound Science Experiments: Vibrations & Violins!

Sound science is SO fun!  Today we're sharing activities, science experiments, and a book to talk about how vibrations create the sound in violins, guitars, and other stringed instruments!



This month's theme for Poppins Book Nook is Composers.  My daughter has a favorite composer.  This composer is pretty young, and incredibly fun to watch perform because she creates captivating videos where she plays the violin while dancing.  Each video tells its own kind of story and many of them are a collaborative effort with other musicians.  She also studied filmography in college.  And, we've used her as an example of someone who keeps trying: when she first proposed her violin and dance ideas, she was told there was no market for it.  A few short years later, she is an amazingly successful composer and performer!  Do you know her?  Her name is Lindsey Stirling.  Click here for one of our favorite videos from her (with a Skyrim them)!

Since Lindsey plays a violin, we decided to learn more about how stringed instruments (like violins) work, how the vibrations make sound, and you can change the sound that violins (or other stringed instruments) make by changing their length, thickness, and tension.  Unfortunately we do not actually have a violin, but we have several guitars, so we used those for our little experiments.

Here are  10 short experiments  to use to talk about vibrations and sound and how you can change vibrations to create and change sound!

Experiment #1: Vibrations Create Sound


Hold a plastic ruler on the edge of a counter and press down quickly.  (I know we used wood.  That works fine.  Plastic works better!)  The ruler will vibrate up and down, creating sound waves that travel to your ear.  Try to create slower or faster vibrations.  What happens to the sounds pitch?  (Slower vibrations create a lower pitch.)


Experiment #2: Your Ear Collects Sound Waves




Vibrations travel through the air (and other mediums) as sound waves.  Your ear collects those sound waves.  Try cupping your hand around your ear as someone else talks or sings.  You should be able to hear more (louder) sounds because your hand helps funnel the sound waves into your ear.  Your ear drum and the little bones in your ear send those vibrations into your ear canal, where they are picked up by tiny hairs inside your ear and transferred into an electrical signal that is sent to your brain.


Experiment #3:  Violin and Guitar Strings Create Vibrations




Pluck a string on the violin or guitar!  Watch how it vibrates and talk about how that vibration sends sound waves into the air.  The sound is also amplified as it vibrates inside the guitar or violin.




Experiment #4:  String Length Changes Sound



Pluck one of the strings on your violin or guitar.  Then use a finger to press down on the string about half way down the string.  How does the sound change?  (The shorter string creates a higher pitch.)


Experiment #5:  String Tension Changes Sound



Pluck one of the strings on your violin or guitar.  Most violins have four strings and most guitars have six strings.  Follow the string up to the peg head.  Turn the corresponding peg.  Does it make the string tighter or looser?  Is the pitch higher or lower?  (Tighter strings make a higher pitch.  Looser strings make a lower pitch.)


Experiment #6: String Thickness Changes Sound

Pluck a thin string on your violin or guitar.  Then pluck a thick string.  Which makes a higher pitch?  (the thin string)


Experiment #7:  Change the Tension, thickness, and Length in Your Voice Box

You can change the tension, thickness, and length of the "strings" (or vocal folds) in your larynx (voice box) too!  Try singing a note, and then singing a higher pitch note.  As you make the note a higher pitch, you shorten and tighten the folds in your larynx.


Experiments #8-10:  Air in Your Voice Box and Mouth

You moved the strings on the violin and guitar with your fingers.  What moves the vocal folds in your larynx?  You move air across your vocal cords by pushing your diaphragm against your lungs.  Air leaves your lungs and travels across your larynx, up your throat, and out your mouth.  You can change the sound again by changing the shape of your mouth and tongue.  Try singing a note and feeling your voice box vibrate as the air moves through your vocal folds.  Just put your fingers on your throat!  Then try tapping the top of your chest as you sing a note and see what happens to the sound!  Finally, continue to sing a note while covering and uncovering your mouth.  Both tapping your chest and covering your mouth interrupt the sounds coming out from your lungs, across your vocal cords, and through your mouth!

Since we've had such a love lately for violins, we have also really enjoyed reading Frederico, the Mouse Violinist.  It's an adorable story about a mouse who sneaks into the lab of one of the great Italian luthiers, Stradivari.  It also spends a lot of time teaching the parts of the violin and (at least our version!) has large print for young readers!

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As you read the story, you can find the same parts on your own violin...if you have one!  If our obsession with violins lasts much longer, we may have to buy one (instead of just comparing to guitars!) and start lessons for my daughter!

Anyways, as I mentioned, this month's theme for Poppins Book Nook is Composers!

Be sure to stop by these other blogs for more great ideas for play, education, and more all about composers:




And be sure to visit these other awesome Poppins Book Nook hosts!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom – 3 Dinosaurs – ABC Creative Learning – As We Walk Along the Road – Brain Power Boy – Chestnut Grove Academy – Embracing Destiny –Every Bed of Roses – Farm Fresh Adventures – Growing in God’s Grace – Kathys Cluttered Mind – My Bright Firefly – Peakle Pie – Preschool Powol Packets – Pray Species– SAHM I am – Stir The Wonder – Sunny Day Family – Sweet Silly Sara – Teach Beside Me – To the Moon and Back – Tots and Me – Tree Valley Academy – Witty Hoots



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Friday, July 24, 2015

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{FREE} Ladybug Life Cycle Packet!

Ladybugs are a year-round favorite here--we see them all spring, summer, fall, and even during warm weeks in the winter!  Most children are familiar with butterfly life cycles, so teaching them about ladybugs reinforces the life cycle concept and lets them expand their definitions of words like larva and chrysalis to more general, appropriate meanings!



You can download a ladybug life cycle packet for your own family or classroom here!  Make as many copies as you need, but please do not host or share the file.  Encourage other teachers and parents to download their own file by linking to this blog post, so I can continue creating {FREE} resources!  Thank you!!

  Inside the packet, you will find life 4 life cycle cards showing eggs, larva, pupa, and an adult.  You will also find matching label cards.  These are great for learning about the life cycle, labeling, and matching.  You can even play memory- or go fish- style games!  You will also find a life cycle chart with labels at the bottom.  You can cut out the labels and match them to the chart.  You can also glue the chart into a file folder and match the life cycle cards (or labels) to them!  There are a ton of possibilities with this little set!  We even used them outside during our Nature Club on our Bug Day!  There is also a coloring book style life cycle chart to color, paint, or play with.  Remember, not all ladybugs are red or have spots!


Ladybug Life Cycle Details:

Eggs:  10-15 tiny, yellowish, oval, eggs are laid in a group under a leaf.  They take about a week to hatch.

Larva:  Ladybug larva look like miniature alligators, eat tiny mites and aphids, and shed their "skin" as they grow.  Ladybug are often in the larva stage for 2-4 weeks before transforming into a pupa.

Pupa:  The pupa grows, attached to a leaf, for several days.  It looks like a funny yellow or orange shrimp.  The pupa shell splits open when the adult is fully formed, usually after 3-12 days.

Adult:  When the adult hatches, it has a soft shell that hardens and turns red (or other colors) within a few hours.  Adults can hibernate and live for a couple years.


I hope you love the ladybug life cycle packet!!

And if you like ladybugs, you'll totally want to check out a few of our other ladybug posts: egg carton ladybugs, ladybug pinata, {FREE} ladybug math, and {FREE} count and clip cards!


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