A place to share cool science ideas for storytime!

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.

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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.

Germs!

I recently presented a storytime at Morrill Hall, The State Museum at the University of Nebraska. The theme was All Things Tiny to highlight their Guts & Glory: A Parasite Story exhibit.

I began with TINY CREATURES: The World of Microbes. The author gives examples of their sizes and numbers, their varied shapes, their habitats, appetites and how they eat. Microorganisms slowly change food into compost, milk into yogurt and rocks into soil. They reproduce by dividing, and they’re very good at it. Happily only a few can make us sick; most are busily with other vital tasks.

You wouldn’t want to live without bacteria! By Roger Canavan is another nonfiction book that addresses the subject.

Inside Your Germs

Another fun book that is illustrated with cartoon style germs and short amount of text is Germs by Judy Oetting.

Another is Achoo!

The second book we read was Germs! Germs! Germs!

followed by Wash Your Hands.

Each time the princess is told to wash her hands, she asks why, and each circumstance is briefly explained. After Little Princess plays outside, the Queen instructs her to wash because she got dirty outside. She plays with her dog and the cook makes her wash and dry them again. She uses her potty and the King has her wash even though she’s washed them twice before.  Lastly, the maid has her wash after she sneezes and with much humor gives her a overview of dealing with `germs and nasties’ to avoid getting sick.

The children really enjoyed the story along with naming all the animals in Felicity Floo Visits the Zoo.

They also enjoyed Germs Are Not for Sharing with its simple text and easy to understand information.

Just for fun I read Solomon Sneezes.

I passed out paper circles to the children to show how quickly bacteria can multiply. I put one down and explained that it created two more and invited the children to add their circles, then showed them that each of the two created two more and so on. They enjoyed watching the bacteria multiply!

Some links to activities:

Watch Germs Spread; use flour or glitter to show how easy it is to spread germs.

http://www.scholastic.com/browse/lessonplan.jsp?id=258

http://www.consumered.org/teach/germ-lessons-and-activities

More in depth information and activities.

http://sciencenetlinks.com/esheets/germs-and-the-body/

Germ coloring sheets.

http://crystalandcomp.com/kid-color-pages-a-sick-day-and-spreading-germs/

More information at Biology4Kids.

http://www.biology4kids.com/files/micro_main.html

Mr. Tate’s class travels to Sunnyside Beach to help clean up trash. Captain Ned encourages the students to listen to the sea and they hear the many creatures that count on clean ocean water to survive. Captain Ned teaches the students that healthy oceans are important to all earth’s creatures.
The kids see how all of the wild life at the beach counts, with counting pages such as one whale, two seas turtles and all the way to ten bottlenose dolphins.

Breathe by Scott Magoon

This sweet story follows a young whale on a journey of discovery as he experiences his first day at sea on his own! He swims, explores, and makes friends in his marine habitat, and then returns home to his mother.

Fabulous Fishes by Susan Stockdale

Fabulous Fishes is a rhyming picture book that is wonderfully illustrated with brightly colored fish. The book describes different types of fish with simple rhymes. The last two pages describe each fish and the oceans in which they are found.

This is a really fun book about a squid who thinks he’s the biggest thing in the ocean. He compares himself to all the animals in the ocean that are smaller than him, like the crab, octopus and turtles. Little does he know that there is an animal bigger than him that eats him!

Here is a link to some storytime ideas for this book. https://www.kidssoup.com/craft-and-resource/story-time-im-the-biggest-thing-in-the-ocean-crafts-and-activities

Here’s a link to NOAA Fisheries’ Education Resources which are compiled from NOAA experts and partner organizations to provide high quality, science-based materials and activities for students and teachers interested in exploring the science behind marine resource management and conservation.

http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/educators_students/education.html

Here’s a guide to Greater Atlantic Fish Species.

https://www.greateratlantic.fisheries.noaa.gov/educational_resources/seafood/fish/

Here’s an Itsy Bitsy ocean book children can create.

http://www.kidzone.ws/kindergarten/learning-letters/ib-book-ocean.htm

Here’s a fun activity featuring oceans zones and layers of the sea with a hands-on science project.

http://www.kcedventures.com/blog/layers-of-the-ocean-under-the-sea-science-activities

 

Birds, birds, birds!

The theme for this week’s storytime was birds!

Early Bird by Toni Yuly

With simple geometric shapes and vibrant colors, this fun story follows Early Bird as she gets an early start to her day. Directional words such as “across,” “through,” “under,” “up,” “around,” and “over” are used as she finally finds the early worm.

Peck, Peck, Peck by Lucy Cousins

On the first page, a little woodpecker has just learned to peck. He continues to peck everything he comes across! He peck-peck-pecks right through a door and then through a hat, a mat, tennis rackets, and a jacket and continues through the entire house! The preschoolers loved seeing him peck his way through the book, with actual holes in the book.

Here are some great science activities including a beak activity and how to create a bird seed buffet.

http://toddlertalesfun.blogspot.com/2012/11/week-four-woodpeckers-and-beaks.html

Here’s a printable woodpecker craft.

http://madebyjoel.com/2010/10/woodpecker.html

Froodle by Antoinette Portis

The birds in the neighborhood know what sound to make but one day little brown bird decides he wants to try something new. Crow is not amused but some of the other birds are intrigued. The birds begin to make some fun sounds that made the preschoolers laugh! The book reminds children that it’s okay to be different and sing your own tune.

I was able to share some delightful toy birds that sang their song when squeezed. The children enjoyed guessing what each bird was and imitated their song.

This site at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology offers many bird calls that you can listen to online.

https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/search.aspx

The children also enjoyed the story of a baby owl titled “I’m Not Cute!”

as well as a counting book called Big Fat Hen.

Here’s a free printable of a life cycle of a bird that you can color and cut apart and put in order.

https://education.scholastic.co.uk/resources/27504

Here’s a free printable bird anatomy worksheet for learning the external parts of a bird to help identify birds.

http://layers-of-learning.com/bird-anatomy-worksheet/?platform=hootsuite

Earth Day

With Todd Parr’s colorful illustrations and simple text, The Earth Book includes easy ideas for working together to take good care of the earth, from planting a tree and using both sides of the paper to saving energy and reusing old things in new ways.

Printable coloring pages from the book can be found here. http://www.toddparr.com/imgs/fun/earthbook_coloring.pdf

Teachers share their many ideas for Earth Day activities on the Scholastic books site. https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/articles/2017/earth-day-activities/

As the round hole through the pages of this book grows larger, children will enjoy  guessing the identity of the object that’s round like a ball, hot and cold, every color, always moving, and home to us all. Lisa Campbell Ernst has written and illustrated a colorful and fun introductory book to science and our earth.

Two young families in two very different parts of the world each plant a tree. As the trees flourish, so do the families. The eye-catching illustrations show how trees help clean the air, enrich the soil, and give fruit and shade. I used a flannel board with this book during storytime and the preschoolers really enjoyed adding felt flowers, leaves and fruit to the tree.

The preschoolers enjoyed this simple and fun story about a little boy and his grandma gardening; beginning with deciding what to plant all the way to eating what was planted during a year of gardening from tilling the soil to harvest time.

This enchanting book invites children to imagine that they are the Earth, beginning with space, spinning and dancing around the sun, larger than the moon. Forests, seas, and deserts form a brightly colored quilt which is home to many creatures. The book invites the readers to “Wiggle your shoulders/ and mountains tremble and quake./ Shake your hair and feel windswept grasses tickle your face.”

The Earth and I is beautifully illustrated with vibrant rainbow colors and tells the tale of the adventures of a child in nature as he rides the back of a tortoise, plants vegetables, sings with the birds, and dances in the wind.

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