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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

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Preschool STEM Camp Day 2: Reactions, Light, Shadows, & STEAM

Day 2 in our Preschool STEM Camp was all about reactions and light! We used the ocean, art, flashlights, shadows, science, STEAM, and more to explore how light works and some physical and chemical reactions! And naturally, I am sharing the lesson plan here for you so you can host your own too!



To see the rest of the themes, supply list, and lesson plans (5 days, with one and a half hours of STEM activities planned each day), click HERE!

Today is 

Preschool STEM Camp

DAY 2: Reactions, Light, Shadows, & Painting


Supplies: black construction paper, pencil or white chalk, a lamp, tape, small flashlights, watercolor paints, a thin canvas (or watercolor paper placed on top of cardboard), vinegar, baking soda, pipettes, blue and green food coloring, pan, salt, scissors, glue, and (Amazon affiliate link): I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean!,
Optional: small, hard ocean animal toys

Gathering Activity: As children arrive, direct them to a table with flashlights and toys to experiment with shining light through. I used magnatiles and flashlights.


They built, they shined lights through the tiles, they even tried shining light through more than two tiles at one time! Eventually they started building structures and "lighting" them with the flashlights!



Group Circle Time: Collect the flashlights, and gather your preschoolers into a circle time. Let everyone introduce themselves again and tell something they're good at! Explain that we're starting with a project this week so the paint has time to dry...we'll look at a book next!

Science Project #1: Color mixing, diluting, & absorption (physical reactions): Give each child a canvas, a set of water color paints, and water. Tell them we are making oceans on our canvasses. They can be any color because there are lots of colorful things in the ocean. Invite them to mix colors to make new colors. Also invite them to see what happens if they paint parts of the canvass in water and then add color to the "wash." Finally, let them sprinkle salt on the water. The salt will absorb water (a physical reaction), but leave behind most of the paint color or pigment. (Extension: what happens when you eat salty chips? The salt absorbs water in your body!!) This makes a really cool effect throughout the "ocean."


These turned out soooo cool! It was the beginning of the perfect STEM or STEAM activity. I loved how the kids discovered the processes of wet on wet painting, salt absorption, and diffusion! And their oceans looked amazing!!



Story Time: This is one of my favorite ocean themed STEM books! There are so many activities and lessons you can do with it, and yet the story is delightfully simple. Read it and discuss any topics that the kids bring up. (Image is an Amazon Affiliate Link:)


Shadows & Science Project #2: Look at one of the pictures of the ocean in the book, and ask your kids how easy it is to see under water. Is there light under water? Where does light come from? (This was a really great topic for our group...it took a lot of thought before they decided that the sun makes the light you can see under water!) Do you have shadows under water? What makes a shadow? Plug in the lamp and use it to make shadows on a wall. Explain that we're going to be tracing a shadow profile of each child by tracing their shadow onto a piece of construction paper and cutting it out! While the kids wait to take turns making shadows (and you and any helpers cut them out), let your preschoolers work on Reactions Project #3.



Reactions Project #3: Place a large pan (I like to use a 9x13 inch baking dish) in the middle of the table. Sprinkle baking soda across the bottom. Explain that we're going to be making a fizzy ocean! Add some drops of blue and green food coloring to the baking soda. Ask the kids what might make bubbles in the ocean (gas from inside the Earth, underwater volcanoes, whales farting, etc.). Explain that we're going to make bubbles with a reaction between vinegar and baking soda. (Optionally, you can add a squiggly line of dishsoap through the pan so parts of it are really foamy!) Give each child a pipette and let them take turns making a bubbly, fizzy ocean! Let an assistant supervise this while you make shadow profiles of everyone.



Bringing it together: Give your preschoolers the option of glueing their shadow cut out onto their ocean painting. We had some kiddos that were so in love with their oceans that they didn't want to cover them up, so they took their shadows and oceans home separately.  ;)



Free Play & Wrap-Up: Regroup, thank everyone for coming, have a snack, and let your preschoolers play with the flashlights again before they leave! Free play is important for kids because it gives their brains a chance to process what they've learned. It also lets them create their own environment (to a degree!) for interacting and socializing with other children. I still supervise young children closely! 

 If you need more than 90 minutes of activities, try some of these reactions and light projects for preschoolers:


And if you want to see a huge collection of STEM projects we've done with preschoolers, click on over HERE!


I'm so glad you're joining us for this Preschool STEM Camp, and I hope to see you again next week!! I would be delighted if you shared this post on Pinterest or Facebook! Be sure to see the whole camp layout HERE!!




Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!





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Saturday, June 10, 2017

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Fishbowl Preschool Craft & Mother Goose Time Curriculum Review

I love this fishbowl craft because it has so much room for personalization, and no matter how you put it together it comes out adorable!


I was recently contacted by Mother Goose Time about reviewing their preschool curriculum, so today I'm sharing some crafts and activities from them, as well as what I think about their preschool program!


They sent us a complete month long set, as well as the classroom items you would get if you ordered from them. The first craft we did was the Fishbowl from the Fish Day Lesson Plan:



The lessons include fun ideas to integrate arts and crafts, science, literacy, STEM, STEAM, sensory learning, letters, numbers, and more.

Let's take a look at some of the crafts.

Even before we pulled the supplies out, my kids were ready to get started! (Those bright sticks are just irresistable!)


For the fishbowl, you need a paper plate, craft sticks, red sand, wiggly eyes, orange paper, glue, paint, and scissors.

Mother Goose Time provided all the craft supplies you see in the picture above and the "Invitation to Create" instructions card (also in the picture). I used our own glue, paint, and paint dot markers. 

I like to encourage my kiddos to create their own projects, so after we talked about fish and did a fish experiment or two I showed them the supplies, a "fish bowl" picture, and let them get to work! I loved that Mother Goose Time also encourages children to create their own masterpieces and not try to just duplicate the example product.




We had a couple that ended up actually looking like a fishbowl, and several that were obviously done with their own style! One 4-year old decided to make a fish puppet with her supplies and another child decided to make his an aquarium with a lid (he wanted to staple another plate to the one he painted to make the lid):


Everyone had a wonderful time, and even played with their fish and fishbowls when we finished!


The second craft we did from Mother Goose Time was just as popular: paper cup birds:


Once they had their supplies (a cup, feathers, eyes, pipecleaners, and glue) the kids each designed their own little pet bird.

These were super simple (you can figure out how to make them from the picture), but it was so convenient to have the cups, feathers, eyes, and pipecleaners all come in a plastic baggie marked for use on the Pet Day. Here are the rest of the Pet Day Supplies:


Each day in the month comes with its own baggie, theme card, and props for crafts and learning fun!

I especially loved the "What is it?" books that came with the Pet Day set...here's one 4-year old drawing her own pet unicorn:


These interactive readers also come with the curriculum--there are enough supplies for each child in your class, co-op, or home...your order is based on the number of kiddos you teach, and works great for all sizes!

I really enjoyed working with the Mother Goose Time preschool curriculum! They are some of the most responsive and friendly people I have ever worked with. (And let's be honest here...I have worked with a lot of companies!) They also provide email support, which is perfect for my schedule!

So, what exactly is Mother Goose Time?

Mother Goose Time is a research-based preschool curriculum organized around a monthly theme! If you've followed me at all, you know that I love preschool themes. I love exploration. And I love investigation. This system actually includes all of that! It is so flexible, and would work really well for homeschool, a classroom, or co-ops. Each month, your kit comes with music and learning props -- the kit we got included a puzzle, magnet toys, and a set of stamps (all of which have been *super* popular):



There is a set of 20 preschool-friendly songs (some familiar, some original) and a CD!


I love that their curriculum includes lots of science and STEM activities in the lessons, a physical shipment of everything you might not have handy, and all the copies that you need pre-made! Many of the lessons highlight activities that encourage child-led learning and investigation. And the whole program works for your schedule...you could follow the suggested lessons for a full day of activities or pick and choose what component would work for a homeschool lesson, a supplemental theme, or a shorter day for your class. I would honestly be happy to use and recommend Mother Goose Time to anyone, especially if you want a structured lesson and don't want to spend the time planning your own curriculum. 

In addition to the written lessons, teaching ideas, teacher planner, and daily lesson bags, your set includes letters to send home to parents and loads of classroom props, like the following:





And this map!!! Geography and animals are some of my favorite things in the world, so I cannot even tell you how much I love this map! My kiddos love it too...you can see the narwhal getting pointed out!


I am happy to answer any questions you have about the our experience with the curriculum! You can also learn more by hopping over to the Mother Goose Time website or Facebook page!

Truly, our experience with the program was wonderful. It makes me so happy to discover companies that are encouraging parents and teachers to let their kids do so many of the things that I think are so important. 

Here are a few of my favorite things about the curriculum:
* It encourages children to explore and investigate.
* It provides opportunities for children to ask questions.
* It includes open-ended art and child-designed crafts.
* Numbers, letters, and Spanish are integrated into different activities.
* Science, STEM, and STEAM projects are frequently suggested in the lesson plans.
* It makes everything soooo easy by including copies and supplies separated into daily bags.
* The lesson plans are easy to read, interpret, and adapt for individual needs.

I could only find one possible drawback for the program: It seems best for "older" preschoolers, or children at least 3 1/2 or 4. However, they have a "Little Goose" lesson book for infants and toddlers! It seems perfect for 1-2 year olds! The Little Goose program aligns with the Mother Goose program, so if you have kids of both ages, they will follow along with the same theme and similar lessons...but with different learning activities that are more suited to their age! 

There are several add-ons that you can order besides Little Goose--for example, the "Experience God" teacher and child packs may be appropriate if you work in a church-based preschool or want a Christian-based homeschool.

I hope you've enjoyed meeting the Mother Goose Time program--I know I have! Feel free to send me any questions you have...and have fun making your own fishbowls!!

Disclaimer: This post was sponsored by Mother Goose Time. All opinions are mine. I only recommend products I love and would be happy to use myself!

Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




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Friday, June 9, 2017

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Preschool STEM Camp Day 1: Engineering & Building

This week we hosted the first day of our Preschool STEM Creation Camp! The theme was all about engineering and building, and I am sharing the lesson plan here for you so you can host your own too!


To see the rest of the themes, supply list, and lesson plans (5 days, with one and a half hours of STEM activities planned each day), click HERE!

Today is 

Preschool STEM Camp

DAY 1: Engineering & Building


Supplies: building blocks, cardboard square (cut out to about a 7" square) sugar cubes, paper plates, glue, apples, toothpicks, crackers, and (Amazon affiliate link): Iggy Peck, Architect. Optional: butcher paper

Gathering Activity: As children arrive, direct them to a building block station. We often build on the floor, but today I put the blocks on a table for everybody since we have a child in a wheelchair. This also gives everyone a chance to get to know each other while they build next to one another and, if they choose, together.



Group Circle Time: Gather everyone in a circle. I introduced myself and told the kids that I love space--stars, planets, rockets--everything in space! Then we moved around the circle and let each child tell their name and something they love. Then I announced that we were going to begin today by reading a book.

Story Time: I had everyone stand up and form a new semi-circle in another room for the story, mostly because I wanted everyone to have a chance to move and stretch between introductions and a story that takes at least five minutes to read. I chose Iggy Peck, Architect for today's book because it is all about a kid who builds all. the. time. He builds out of a huge assortment of supplies too, from actual blocks to food! Unfortunately, he meets a teacher who does not allow building...until little Iggy finds a way to save the entire class from certain doom with his unique skills! Sidenote: As I read, I skipped about 2 pages of "backstory" about why the teacher doesn't like building...my class's average age is 4 and they just don't care. ;)   (Image is an Amazon Affiliate Link:)


As you read, pause occasionally to talk about your kiddos' reactions to some of Iggy's creations...and supplies!

Engineering Project #1: Ice Castles & More. Give each child a cardboard square, a box of sugar cubes, and a squirt of glue. I also covered our work area with butcher paper and set out a paper plate to hold the kids' glue.  Show them how to dip their sugar cube in glue and set it on the cardboard. This is a pretty simple process...occasionally, someone soaked their sugar in the glue and it dissolved too much to work with, but that was okay because there were *so* many in each box.





We had a huge range of projects! The girls all thought the sugar cubes looked like sparkly snow, so there were a lot of ice palaces. There were a couple bridges, and a couple cities. There may have been a skyscraper or two that toppled, but that is part of the STEM experience...kids learn things about balance, support, physics, and gravity as they experiment with their designs. It is wonderful to watch!

Engineering Project #2 & Snack: A couple years ago I came up with this apple toothpick building activity to replace the popular marshmallow and toothpick building project because I had a child who couldn't eat marshmallows. I totally fell in love with it, and thought it fit this engineering & building theme perfectly! I share a hint for chopping the apples here. Then just serve the apples, toothpicks, and crackers to the kids on a paper plate. They can build, eat, and play!



Free Play & Wrap-Up: Regroup, thank everyone for coming, and let them play with the blocks again before they leave! Free play is important for kids because it gives their brains a chance to process what they've learned. It also lets them create their own environment (to a degree!) for interacting and socializing with other children. I still supervise young children closely! 

We only had about 15 minutes left at this point, which is long enough to let kids play, but not so long that they get into trouble!

 If you need more than 90 minutes of activities, try some of these engineering & building projects for preschoolers:





And if you want to see a huge collection of STEM projects we've done with preschoolers, click on over HERE!


I'm so glad you're joining us for this Preschool STEM Camp, and I hope to see you again next week!! I would be delighted if you shared this post on Pinterest or Facebook! Be sure to see the whole camp layout HERE!!




Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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Monday, June 5, 2017

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{FREE} Preschool Ocean Themed Printable Activities

We love oceans soooo much that we usually spend a week or two doing preschool ocean themed activities 3-4 times a year! As the years have gone by we've created a lot of ocean themed resources, so I'm linking them all here. Welcome to my "bookshelf" for Ocean Themed Printable Activities!


There are some games, manipulatives, worksheets, and more!

To help organize the ocean themed preschool printables, I'm going to sort them into the following categories:

Ocean Themed Preschool MATH Printables
Ocean Themed Preschool LITERACY Printables
Ocean Themed Preschool SCIENCE Printables

Just scroll down to whichever heading you're looking for! And remember, CLICK ON THE TEXT below the images (not the images) to go to each activity!


Ocean Themed Preschool MATH Printables












(also includes a set of fractions and decimals for older kids!)



Ocean Themed Preschool LITERACY Printables







 





Ocean Themed Preschool SCIENCE Printables




I hope you have lots of fun with these free printables!!

If you're doing an ocean theme for preschoolers, be sure to check out our collection of ocean activities!! It includes these free printables, and fun experiments, crafts, and more!!



I also have an Ocean Preschool Packet for sale! Learn more about it HERE (or by clicking the picture below)!




Have a wonderful summer, and 


Happy Educating,
Carla


I may share at any of these parties!




Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!




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