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Friday, April 11, 2014

Nesting Egg Geodes

For the past three years we have made egg geodes at school, and I love this project, especially how they came out this year.  We somehow always make them a little different each year, and I think this time we had the most success growing larger crystals on the eggs, but aside from the eggs, I really adore the nest the children made for the eggs.

Look at all those pretty colors!  Some of our eggs hanging out on in the art room.
I think one of the reasons the crystals came out larger is because we used less water and smaller containers.  These pint size canning jars worked great.

Here is the link for the recipe and the egg geodes we created last year and the year before.  The alum to water proportions are different this year.  We used a pint of boiling water, one egg dye tablet, and 1/8 cup of alum.  The rest of the directions on how to grow an egg geode are the same.  Here is the link:

Whenever we begin this project we look at geode slices and marvel at their beauty.
Many of the children visit these geodes regularly because we have spent a lot of time this year growing and exploring crystals.  

 I also placed the geodes out when we went to see how the egg geodes did.  It was nice watching them examine their own crystals with the same intensity.

Such pretty Alum Crystals

In Addition to the magnifying glasses, I also have these really neat prism lenses.  This one in particular split the viewing object up into five fragments.

Prior to the excitement of seeing their crystals, we had talked about how birds are busy building their nests so that they have a home for their eggs.  I expressed to the children that they are growing their crystals on an egg, so they need to be the mamas and daddies of those eggs and build their own nest.  
To do this they needed to go outside and gather the materials they felt would make a good nest. 

So out we went into the field that is next to the school.  This is a wonderful place for finding materials, as well as letting the children run.  

 One of the things I love about this field at this time of year is that you can see
 The Rip Van Winkle Bridge and the Hudson River from it.  Many of the children cross the bridge to come to school so it must be neat to see it so close from their school.  Bald Eagles nest under it, and I have seen an Eagle soaring above the school a couple times, but no such luck today.  However we did see several Robins and Sparrows, A Bluebird, and a Pileated Woodpecker.

I was told "These sunglasses make it so I can see bird nests." We did manage to see a nest high up in a tree, it must have been the sunglasses helping us.

When we got back into the classroom we had an assortment of items to use for our nests.
We started with a play-dough base and the rest was left up to the children, I was there to run around trying to find the items they requested to add to their nests.

It was a busy, messy time, and of course we all loved it, and the results were beautiful!

We had one little one who was not at school the day before to grow a geode, so she painted this lovely little egg for her nest.

I managed to get a couple pictures of some of the nests before they went home in the sweet fairy house the children have been working on.

Later that day during the Kindergarten class I began to drain out the colored water into a strainer to see if we could salvage some of the alum crystals at the bottom of the mason jars.
We managed to get quite a lot of crystals.  So, what to do with them?  They reminded me of a shell my great grandmother had made when she was young, she had taken several little shells she found on the beach and glued them into a large shell.  We had shells, so why not glue the crystals into some of these shells.  The children loved it.

Here they are adding glue to the shells and then adding their precious crystals.

It was a nice way to end the day and to save the little bits of crystals they were so proud of.

Springing to Life

The weather is warm, the world around us is becoming green, and the children are electric and seem to be moving and growing faster than the speed of light. I have noticed many of the children have grown taller, their conversations are becoming more dynamic and clear, they are more confident and capable in their movements, and they are trying out new things.  It really is an exciting time.  
In the midst of all this growth and change, we have been having our usual fun at school.  Many new songs have emerged from our new Co-Teacher Ms. Tricia, she is the music anthology of children songs.  We have been playing new games like "Mr. Raindrop what time is it?" The guessing egg nest game, where the children sit on a nest and have to guess how many eggs are in the nest.  Egg hunts and dance parties galore.  Coffee shop has been a new favorite dramatic play game as well as playing "Frozen."  We planted some snap peas, gone on some nature walks, talked about birds building nests, and have even gotten a couple visits from our ground hog friend, who is looking very skinny after his long rest.

The art-room has also been a very place.  Check out the carrot pens we made this week.

This was a fun project for the kids.

We started off by taping a sprig of leafy greens to the end of a pen.

After they taped the sprig to the top, they then wrapped aluminum foil around their pen, "Easy Peasy" as one of the children declared. 

Perhaps the trickiest part was wrapping masking tape around the Aluminum Foil, but they persevered.  


 The final step was for the children to mix the shade of orange they wanted their carrots to be and get to painting.

They of course had to test out the pens as well.

This is also the time of year that we get out the salad spinner and make spin-art eggs.
This is a much loved activity for the kids, and I have to admit, I love it as well.  It is just so cool to see how the colors mix with each other each time.

It is so cute how the children were encouraging each other, here they are checking out the paints after one of the children had their turn pouring, and then caught in a moment of being proud of the end result.  Too cute!
It was also a wonderful activity for practicing patience because only one person could go at a time.  So, as the children waited, they encouraged their friends by chanting "go, go, go, spin, spin spin!"

I loved watching the moment just before they unveiled their projects and the excitement they all had at looking at each others artwork.