A place to share cool science ideas for storytime!

Wild Turkeys

Little Tom Turkey by Frances Bloxam.

This is a wonderful rhyming picture book that describes the life of a wild turkey. Young turkeys, called poults, leave the nest right after hatching. They follow their mother the hen who shows them how to scratch for food.  They learn how to fly and there is a suspenseful scene as they escape from a fox. The illustrations depict the beautiful colors of  wild turkeys and their natural habitat and predators.  Following the story are questions and answers about wild turkeys including where they live, eat, sleep and the difference between wild turkeys and farm turkeys. There is also an illustration of a full grown male turkey, called a gobbler or tom, labeled with the body parts.

Wild Turkeys by Dorothy Patent Hinshaw is a nonfiction book for children with easy to read facts.

Gobble-Gobble Crash!: A Barnyard Counting Bash by Julie Stiegemeyer is a fun read. The preschoolers enjoyed  counting all the barnyard animals,  saying, “Gobble, Gobble, Crash!” and finding the hidden turkeys later in the story.

I Want Your Moo: a story for children about self-esteem by Marcella Bakur Weiner. Lots of fun animal sounds as a turkey named Toodles goes from farm animal to farm animal asking if she can have their “moo,” “baa,” “neigh,” etc.

 

Wild turkey facts:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/w/wild-turkey/

http://eekwi.org/critter/bird/wildturkey.htm

A variety of turkey sounds including gobbles, cackles, purrs and hissing can be heard here.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Wild_Turkey/sounds

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Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice by Ellen Jackson, illustrated by Jan Davey Ellis.

This book explains how the winter solstice is celebrated in different parts of the world, and during different eras of history.  It presents facts and folklore about the shortest day of the year.

The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer, illustrated by Jesse Reisch.

This book describes how and why daylight grows shorter as winter approaches, the effect of shorter days on animals and people, and how the winter solstice has been celebrated throughout history. Includes solstice facts, instructions for making a winter sunrise/sunset chart, how to measure shadows on the shortest day, experiment to show how the tilt of the earth makes the seasons and fun party ideas.

A lovely story of a cold winter night when the resident farm Tomten says goodnight to all of the farm animals and they all think of the summer to come.

Artic Lights, Artic Nights by Debbie Miller.

Imagine a land where the sun rises at 1:58 a.m. in the summer and shines for less than four hours on a winter’s day. The animals in the wilderness near Fairbanks, Alaska, witness some of the world’s greatest temperature extremes and light variations ever year. At an average low of -16 degrees Fahrenheit, the winters may be unpleasantly frigid, but the light shows are always glorious!

Check here to find out when the winter solstice occurs in your area:

https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/december-solstice.html

Find out out to create Yule Sun Ice Catchers here:

http://www.raisingfairiesandknights.com/yule-sun-ice-catchers/?utm_medium=social&utm_source=pinterest&utm_campaign=tailwind_tribes&utm_content=tribes

 

All About Horses

I began our horse themed preschool storytime with the True or False Book of Horses by Patricia Lauber. The children really engaged with the true-or-false question-and-answer format with questions such as do horses walk on their tiptoes, do horses need to move their heads to see behind them, or do horses have a better sense of smell than we do. I used a Breyer toy horse to show the children the hooves and eyes and ears. I asked them to show me how they turned to see behind them. Then I asked them to show me their eyes, and then demonstrated how horses’ eyes are more wide set and closer to the sides of their heads than human eyes. This was a fun introduction to get the children excited about horses!

Are you a horse? by Andy Rash is a very humorous book. The children learned the differences between the various objects, plants, and animals to determine what makes a horse a horse. Categories included living and nonliving, plant versus animal, animals with no legs, and animals that lay eggs. The preschoolers enjoyed answering “No!” when the main character would ask each thing or animal if they were a horse, and chiming in with explanations of why it could not be a horse.

Other books the children enjoyed:

Horseplay by Karma Wilson

Clip-Clop by Nicola Smee

Noni the Pony by Alison Lester

Big Horse Small Mouse: a Book of Barnyard Opposites by Liesbet Slegers

“Play Giddy-up” from Miss Carole’s Polka Dots music cd was the perfect way for the children to walk, gallop and whoa to a stop.

https://lcl.ent.sirsi.net/client/en_US/default/search/results?qu=miss+carole%27s&te=&lm=MUSICCDS&rt=false%7C%7C%7CTITLE%7C%7C%7CTitle#

Here’s a link to a printable worksheet with the parts of a horse. http://homeschoolhelperonline.com/2015/07/18/label-the-horse-worksheet/#

 

Apples, Apples, Apples!

Apples, Apples, Apples by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace is an easy to read nonfiction book with a useful information chart of different varieties and their uses to planting, grafting and picking technique. There are wonderful illustrations of the parts of an apple and the growing cycle as well as an applesauce recipe.

The children really enjoyed our apple themed storytime. I introduced the theme by inviting them to tell me what they knew about apples and drew them on a dry erase board. They knew that apples were different colors and grew on trees. They learned more facts as I read From Apple Trees to Cider, Please by Felicia Sanzari Chernesky.

As I read What’s an Apple by Marilyn singer the preschoolers enjoyed doing the actions in the book such as washing it or squashing it.

I had a counting strip with apples to use with the book Ten Apples Up On Top by Dr. Seuss. The children were excited to count with me and loved the rhyming.

Another fun book was Bad Apple: A Tale of Friendship. It’s a story of acceptance, friendship, bravery and tolerance in which an apple befriends a worm.

Other great picture books about apples:

The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall

The Apple Orchard Riddle by Margaret McNamara and G. Brian Karas

Apple by Nikki McClure

I am an Apple by Jean Marzollo

Ducking for Apples by Lynne Berry

Amazing Apples by Consie Powell

Johnny Appleseed by Rosemary Benet

The Apple King by Francesca Bosca

Applesauce Season by Eden Ross Lipson

Apple Cider Making Days by Ann Purmell

An apple preschool science experiment on how different liquids affect apples can be found here:

https://www.pre-kpages.com/apple-science-experiment/

Here are some STEM activities for preschoolers:

https://littlebinsforlittlehands.com/real-apple-stem-activities-ten-apples-top/

Here’s an easy apple craft using paper plates:

http://blog.landofnod.com/honest-to-nod/2013/06/easy-apple-craft.html

Trees are Terrific!

Trees were the storytime theme this week!

I began by asking the children what a tree has. They said leaves, so I asked what color and they said green.  I drew some green leaves on a dry erase board. I asked what else and a couple of children said branches and I drew those. I waited while they looked at what I had drawn. They realized something was missing but did not have the vocabulary to say trunk so they described what it was with words like big and brown. I drew the trunk and we talked about the word trunk.

(As we read the other books and the children noticed trees had different leaf colors, roots, flowers, apples and coconuts, I drew those on the board as well.)

I read a few pages of the nonfiction book It Could Still be a Tree which starts with the question: how do you know it’s a tree? The children enjoyed sharing the facts they knew and were interested in the ones they didn’t.

Acorn to Oak Tree by Lisa M. Herrington is another nonfiction book suitable for preschoolers. Easy to read and illustrated with photos, this nonfiction book tell the story of an oak tree and how it begins and ends with acorns.

Tap the Magic Tree, written and illustrated by Christie Matheson begins with a bare brown tree.  The readers are invited to tap the tree and turn the page to find that one green leaf has sprouted! The preschoolers really enjoyed patting, clapping, wiggling and shaking to see blossoms bloom, apples grow, and the leaves blow away with the wind.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr was another fun book.  The children were excited to place the magnetic letters on the board.

Other books we read: Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid.

The Tree: A Fable by Neal Layton.

A Tree is Nice by Janice May Udry.

Solar Eclipse

I recently presented a space theme family storytime and began with an introduction to the upcoming solar eclipse with Looking Up: The Science of Stargazing. There was an easy to understand explanation of the solar eclipse beginning on page 34.

Another nonfiction book with easy to understand concepts is Experiments with the Sun and the Moon.

The Sun and the Moon by Lisa Desimini

Beautifully illustrated story of giants following the moon and sun in search of their soulmates who finally meet each other during an eclipse.

The children really enjoyed answering the questions about the book I want to be an Astronaut, and explaining why they did, or did not want to be an astronaut!

Sun and Moon by Lindsey Yankey

The book begins with the moon begging the sun to trade places with him, for just one day, as his nights were dark and lonely. He believed that the sun was able to see all the beautiful things in the world had during the day. The sun agreed, but upon two conditions: the moon must trade with her forever, and before she was willing to trade, he had to look at the world closer than he ever had before. The moon was excited to look at the world in a way he never had before. He was expecting to see the same things he saw night after night, darkness but he was surprised when he looked just a little bit closer.

We finished with Zoom! Zoom! Zoom! and the action rhyme of the same name.

https://www.todaysparent.com/lullaby_lyrics/zoom-zoom-zoom-lyrics/

Here’s some great activities from NASA:

https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/activities

Here’s a coloring sheet and activity for the solar eclipse dragon.

https://sunearthday.gsfc.nasa.gov/2008eclipse/materials/Coloring_Dragon.pdf

Here’s a fun craft with coffee filters:

http://www.lookwerelearning.com/coffee-filter-solar-eclipse-craft/

Preschool Inventors

Here are several books to inspire creativity for your preschoolers!

Tinkerlab: a Hands-on Guide for Little Inventors by Rachelle Doorley

The book has 55 activities for children to explore their world with creative experiments with easy to find materials. There are ideas for everything from making marks with crayons and markers to simple machines, robotics, electronics and unique hands on art experiences.

Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children by Lisa Daly

Loose parts can be acorns, hardware, stones, aluminum foil, or fabric scraps.  Loose parts can be natural or synthetic, found, bought, or upcycled. Free reign to play and manipulate with these materials inspire creativity in children.

With more than 550 color photographs of many kinds of loose parts in real early childhood settings, this book provides information about the variety of ways everyday materials can support open-ended learning, enhance play, and empower children.

50 Fantastic Things to Do With Preschoolers by Sally Featherstone

This book offers a wide range of suggestions for purposeful play activities including:

Sort it Out; sorting natural objects

Five Little Peas; popping and placing

Jelly on the Plate; playing with familiar substances

Playful Learning: Develop Your Child’s Sense of Joy and Wonder by Mariah Bruehl

This book is full of hands-on reading, science, and social activities for children.

The author includes stages of development and activities for writing, reading, math, science, art, and more that include supply lists, instructions, and ways to expand the activity.

More resources available at https://home.playfullearning.net/free-resources/

150+ Screen-Free Activities for Kids by Asia Citro

Each chapter begins with an introduction and the author’s experience and tips. The chapters are: slimes, doughs, paints, small worlds, simple sensory activities, and do it yourself toys. Each activity lists prep time, ages, ingredients and supplies, detailed instructions as well as variations, troubleshooting and budget tips. The last part of the book has information on the science behind the activities, where to find supplies, and additional resources.

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