A favorite October storytime theme is fall and leaves. This week I started my storytime by sharing a leaf identification guide that showed a few different leaves. You can download it here: http://www.imom.com/printable/leaf-identification-game/#.V_QXq6Knyso
Tap The Magic Tree by Christie Matheson is a fun interactive book that invites the reader to invites the children to tap, rub, touch, and wiggle illustrations to make an apple tree bloom, produce fruit, and lose its leaves.
The preschoolers really enjoyed this book. I asked them questions as I read to see if the children noticed what was happening to the tree. They were excited to share their knowledge!
Another book the children enjoyed was A Leaf Can Be… by Laura Purdie Salas. This book showed a variety of jobs leaves can do. I asked the children if they knew leaves had jobs. They were surprised and ready to hear what these jobs were. At the end of the story there are several pages that explain the jobs in depth as well as a glossary of terms. This book is beautifully illustrated by Violeta Dabija.
Here are a few links to leaf related science experiments and activities.
This site shares a fun activity called Jumping Leaves. Rubbing the balloon on your sweater or hair charges it with static electricity which attracts the tissue paper. This makes the tissue jump up to the balloon where it will stick until the charge wears off. http://www.science-sparks.com/2015/11/09/jumping-leaves-static-electricity/
When the weather is dry pinecones open up and when it’s going to rain they close down. It’s a really fun way for children to start to think about the future and what the weather will be doing.
Observing leaves, learning about leaf structure and how they breathe are explored here:
Here you’ll find an easy fall leaf science experiment: Exploring Colors & Chlorophyll with Kids
Recently I attended a workshop at the UNL extension office in Lincoln titled STEAM* in Early Childhood. STEAM stands for *Science, Technology, Engineering, Agriculture and Math.
The training included several hands-on activities including taking an ice ball formed in a balloon and adding salt and food coloring to it. The food coloring showed the patterns made by the salt melting the ice. This activity was really fun! Here’s a photo:
We also built structures out of newspaper and made a birdseed feeder with cookie cutters.
The training informed us about the inquiry process and how to facilitate it for preschooolers by encouraging inquiry, giving them time, fostering questions and helping them to reflect.
I included this process in my boat themed storytime. I had the children make rafts of popsicle sticks and colored duct tape. We took the rafts down to the courtyard to a small wading pool with a couple of inches of water. The children were able to see if the rafts actually floated. We provided small plastic animals for them to experiment with as well. Incorporating STEAM activities is easy and fun!
Here is a link to water themed activities. http://handsonaswegrow.com/water-experiments-for-kids/
Here are some titles for encouraging water experimentation for children.
Noodle & Lou by Liz Garton Scanlon
Ned’s New Home by Kevin Tseng
Yucky Worms by Vivian French
Worms for Lunch by Leonid Gore
Look under science activities on this link:
Find more worm science here:
Hide & Seek by Il Sung Na
I Broke My Trunk by Mo Willems
Tweak Tweak by Eve Bunting
Find some great elephant facts and some more helpful ideas at:
Wee Little Bunny/ Lamb/ Chick by Lauren Thompson
A Book of Babies by Il Sung Na
Find some preschool science activities for the baby animal theme below: