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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Color Mixing Lab

Over the past couple of weeks we have been enjoying our Color Mixing Lab at school.
It started when I set up an invitation to explore with test tubes, pipettes, water, and food coloring for my afternoon kids.  Right away the questions started coming..
"What is that?"
"What are we doing?"
"Can I use the food coloring?"

A good sign to see the children so excited.  I had wanted to start this with a small group so that when I did it with our larger morning group, I would have an idea of what to expect.

Each child got to choose a color to add to the small containers of water.

Using pipettes the children added a little water to their test tubes to begin.

Then the color mixing began and the exclamations of joy and wonder.

I could tell right away everyone, both afternoon and morning groups were going to enjoy this exploration, and I was not wrong. 

When they would make a new color the thrill of it was hard for them to contain.  I could not move my head fast enough in order to catch all the exclamations of "look at my color!!!"

Showing off "root beer" as they were calling this color which started everyone making
 "root beer."

Some of the many colors mixed.

Next part of the exploration was looking at the colors on the light box, which really showed off the colors they mixed in Color Mixing Lab.

I can tell we will be doing different variations of this for many more times to come, I will keep you posted ;)

Here is an example of our color mixing conversations:

"Mine looks like root beer."-E
"I like all the colors, even pink."-T
"I love pink." -E
"I wonder if you can mix all the colors and a lot of water?"-T
"What do you think will happen?"-Me
"I don't know?"-T
"Would you like to give it a try?"- Me
"Yeah...a little water, a little yellow, a little more yellow, and a little more, ooh a little more red...aha, nice color."-T
"I did all of mine, look at my colors."-E
"I want to do this everyday!"-M

Friday, October 26, 2012


This summer a local farmer gave us some squash plants.  We weren't sure what type of squash it was until we had about 16 of these little decorative squash hanging from a vine.  They are also sometimes considered a gourd.  I do not know their name, but they are very pretty and plentiful!
So, what were we going to do with all these gems?  Last year we had carved out little pumpkins and made them into candle holders, and talking with a parent one day, she suggested we do that with these little ones.  A perfect plan.
My assistant cut the tops, and the kids got to scooping.

It actually was a great lesson for hand coordination, because although there was not a lot of pulp or seeds, because they were small, the children really had to dig at them to get them clean.
This is my group of three year olds, and while some could only do half their little gourd, others really cleaned out the whole gourd smooth enough to put the candle right in.

The children with their candle holders lit in front of them awaiting their snack.
You can tell some of these little ones are pining away for their bread baking in the oven.
The timing of this project couldn't have been better because this week we were discussing fire safety, and yes I let them have a candle lit before them, but for me, it shows that they are capable and that we could have a real discussion of what to do around candles, matches, and fire.  I believe that talking about these things is very important, but also having them experience things they come in contact with, and teaching them how to be around it, and how to be careful and respectful of different dangers.
In addition to the candle holders I wanted to do a project for my four year olds.
We had all the tops left over from the gourds, and after doing the felted acorns this group really enjoys playing with felt, so I thought it would be cute to make felted pumpkins and use the stems from the gourds.

We started with wool roven which the children rolled into a ball.

Then lots of dunking and wringing out in warm soapy water.
The trick is to keep rolling it in your hands, but also as we discovered that day, rolling the ball on a dish rags also really helps firm the ball up. 

One of our difficulties was that we had two different qualities of felt, so the balls were separating a little.  When we hot glued the stems on, we had to hot glue the pumpkins a little as well to keep them together, but the children had fun making them and I think they came out adorable.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

A Festive Fall

Felted Acorn Necklaces

One of my favorite projects to do with the children this time a year is our felted acorns.
They look lovely as necklaces, but I also love the tactile nature of the project.  It is very calming to
submerge wool in warm soapy water and roll it in a ball over and over again in your hands.
Another aspect of thus project that I love, is that we look at real acorns and oak leaves and talk about how acorns come from oak tree, we also discuss pine cones coming from pine trees, and of course maple syrup coming from maple leaves.  In addition to this I like to show different leaves and identify them with the children.
I have more detailed instruction for this project under felting projects or you can click below.

 Here is E showing us her felt that she has been slowly rolling into a ball
before we add water

dunking the ball of felt into warm, soapy water

wringing out the extra water and soap

 Rolling and... 

  Two proud artists

the lovely finished product.

Apple Prints

Take an apple round and red
Don't slice it down
Slice it through instead
Right inside it you will see
A star as pretty as can be!

We did a lot with apples in September, it is a well loved fruit.
Here are some pictures from this years apple printing, but for stories and songs we do at school, as well as a low sugar apple cake recipe, click on last years post below.

Leaf Printing

There are two things that I think make wonderful leaf prints.
#1 a print making brayer for rolling out the paint and then rolling it onto the leaves.
#2 bright fall colors on black paper.
 The results are always beautiful!

Autumnal Light Table Fun

We love our light table at school, it is a popular place for play and exploration.
I try to add new elements to continue to engage the kids.
I found these wonderful leaves, acorns and pumpkins at Target, and they have been a
fun and engaging Autumnal provocation.

At first we just had pumpkins, and the pumpkin soup and juice that the children were making was very tasty.

I then introduced the leaves and acorns.
we have been playing a lot with real acorns and made our felted acorns, so it was no surprise that the children had an automatic magnetism towards the acorns.
They were like little squirrels hiding and storing away little cups of acorns everywhere.
I would be cleaning up after school and find two or three little piles of acorns in different areas of the school.  The acorns inspired a game where the children would pretend they were squirrels and hide, when the person who was seeking would find them, they then would make a trails of acorns for the the squirrel's to follow and come out of their hiding spot.  It has become a great game a school.

One of our favorite circle time finger plays is:

Whisky frisky hippety hop
There goes squirrel nut-kin up the tree top!
Whirly, twirly, round and round
here he comes back again down to the ground.
Furly, curly what a fine tail
As tall as a feather, broad as a sail.
Where is his supper?
It's still in his shell.
Snappity, crackity, out it fell!

Spin Art Leaves

The kids love using our salad spinner to create art work.  The whole process from start
to finish is a lot of fun.  For our Fall fun, I cut out maple and oak leaves and the kids loved giving them their Autumn colors.

Adding the paint

Out beautiful Fall leaves.

Magical Autumn Leaf Crowns

I have always loved leaf crowns, and the way I have enjoyed doing it is by
connecting the leaves  using the stems of the leaves and weaving them into the other leaves, however they do not hold up for that long.  This is something that I actually appreciate, a project
being in the moment and when it is done, it is left to be a part of Mother Nature.  As much as I love that, preschoolers sometimes have a hard time making something that doesn't last that long for them.
This season we decided to try to make one that lasts a little longer.
For the weaving method check out Twig and Toadstolls Blog, she has a great tutorial:

Below is how we made ours

The children first picked out their leaves which we gathered on a nature walk.

Instead of weaving the stems, we stapled the leaves together with orange staples.

We then Mod Podged the leaves front and back to help them to last longer, it also makes them more pliable.

Our crowns with ribbons attached for an easy tie on. 

Our Autumn Fairy Court, three Princesses and their Prince.