A place to share cool science ideas for storytime!

Wind Science

The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins is a wonderful rhyming tale of the wind that is blowing everyone’s things away. The Scholastic site has extension activities geared to the book.

https://www.scholastic.com/teachers/lesson-plans/teaching-content/wind-blew-extension-activities/

Windblown is an entertaining book that shows ways that different colored shapes can be combined to make different pictures and characters. The narrative is short and simple and the colorful illustrations show a variety of creative creations.

 Former U.S. Poet Laureate Ted Kooser authored this wonderfully illustrated picture book that tells of the journey of a lone, yellow plastic bag that escaped from a landfill and the environmental consequences as well as the ways unwanted items can be reused.

In this wind experiment at the link below, children can build simple devices to collect things blowing in the wind.  They’ll need a few plastic lids, petroleum jelly, a magnifying glass, a paper punch to punch a hole in each lid, yarn and a windy day.  After hanging them outside on a windy day for a while, children can examine what the wind has blown into their lid.

http://stem-works.com/external/activity/20

Activities at the link below include the key science concepts that wind can move things and that wind is moving air.

Ideas include discussions that the wind can move things such as clouds in the sky, and sailboats on the water. Have children, think and demonstrate different ways they can make the air move and create a breeze (blowing, waving the hands, using a fan, etc.). Ask if they know of any tools or machines that move air (hair dryers, fans, etc.).

Wind experimentation and prediction as well as directions for a simple windsock made from a paper bowl, tissue paper, crepe paper streamers and pipe cleaners.

http://www.ready-set-read.com/2013/04/preschool-theme-wind.html

In this experiment children blow on objects to simulate the wind (a wooden block, paper cup, metal spoon, piece of construction paper, craft pom pom, feather, and rock).

http://www.prekinders.com/can-the-wind-move-it/

Other wind themed activities can be found at https://www.kidssoup.com/activity/wind-and-air-activities-crafts-games-and-printables and http://sciencing.com/science-activities-air-preschool-ages-6468647.html.

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Teach Me to do it Myself by Maja Pitamic

This practical book is filled with fun, simple and inexpensive activities that you can do with your preschooler. Each activity has a picture next to its description, a numbered list of directions, a list of what you will need and similar activities to try. The book is divided into sections:

  • Life Skills
  • Developing the Senses
  • Language Development (including letters, word building, and first sentences)
  • Numeracy Skills (learning numerals, learning quantities, adding and subtracting numbers and quantities, and shopping number and numeral vocabulary)
  • Science Skills

Some examples of the activities are:

  • Distinguishing sounds with objects such as 2 pan lids or a jar of coffee to shake
  • Musical scales using 5 glass bottles with varying levels of water.
  • Discovering colors using paint color sample strips
  • Understanding volume and estimation with water in different glass sizes
  • Making land models with disposable dishes, paint and play dough

The book How to raise an Amazing Child the Montessori Way has a chapter on exploring the wider world with the key idea that children are little scientists, with a drive for discovery. It includes ideas for working in the family garden, taking a walk in the forest, and making your own nature museum. Another chapter includes ways to build sensory awareness and sensory activities that help children learn such as texture matching.

Learning about all the colorful animals, insects, and plants in a rainforest make for a fun storytime theme!

The children really enjoyed The Frog With the Big Mouth by Teresa Bateman.  It’s a humorous tale about a little Argentine wide mouthed frog that goes around the rainforest to brag about his fly-eating abilities. At the end of the book there are notes about the Toco Toucans, Coatis, Capybaras, Jaguars and Argentine wide-mouthed frogs, also known as Argentine horned frogs.

The Parrot Tico Tango by Anna Witte is a wonderful cumulative rhyme in which a greedy parrot snatches delicious fruit from his animal friends in the rainforest until he can hold no more.

I used the book Rain Forests by Nancy Smiler Levison with a flannel board activity for the preschoolers.

I handed out animals, insects and plants mentioned in the book and read the pages about the four layers of the rainforest: emergent, canopy, understory and the forest floor.

As I read about each layer, I invited the children to put the corresponding trees, plants, and animals on the flannel board. The preschoolers really enjoyed learning about the animals in each layer and helping to create a rainforest.

Here are two more nonfiction books about the rainforests:

Wow! Rain Forest Animals by Carolyn Franklin

Rain Forest Revealed by Jen Green

Other great rainforest picture books to read to preschoolers are:

Way Up High in a Tall Green Tree by Jan Peck

If You’re Happy and You Know it Jungle Edition by James Warhola

Slowly Slowly said the Sloth by Eric Carle

If I were a Jungle Animal by Tom and Amanda Ellery

We’re Roaming in the Rainforest: An Amazon Adventure by Laurie Krebs and Anne Wilson

Jungle Drum by Deanna Wundrow

The Umbrella by Jan Brett

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynn Cherry

The Rainforest Grew All Around by Susan K. Mitchell

Winter Hibernation

When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan, illustrated by Susan Gaber. This beautifully illustrated book explains where the leaves, flowers, caterpillars, songbirds, field mice, deer, and fish go in winter.

Another wonderful picture book that describes what happens in winter is Dear Rebecca, Winter is Here, by Jean Craighead George with pictures by Loretta Krupinski.  The author’s note contains a wonderful explanation of the summer and winter solstice.

Ridiculous is a funny tale of a tortoise that decides not to hibernate and instead goes to explore winter. A dog, cat, duck and bird ask how the tortoise can keep warm like they do with humorous results.

There are some great hibernation activities for preschoolers at http://trilliummontessori.org/animals-in-winter/ including making animal tracks in Play-Doh, a bear in a cave craft, and a bird migration game.

Big science for little people: 52 activities to help you and your child discover the wonders of science written by Lynn Brunelle is filled with great activities including making a crystal snowflake; perfect for winter!

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Science experiments : shiny, slimy, stinky, shocking by Steve Parker.

Many fun and easy to create experiments for younger children are included in this book including light and color, slimy science, shocking science (static electricity) and lots and lots of stinky science using the sense of smell.

100 science experiments with paper by Steven W. Moje.

Lots of fun activities with paper, including a popping paper bag, a paper bull-roarer and a paper cup telephone!

Science in seconds with toys : over 100 experiments you can do in ten minutes or less by Jean Potter.

This book contains easy to do science experiments including some that are safe to use with preschoolers.  The categories are:

Reflecting, Refracting, and Glowing.
Mixing, Molding, and Stretching.
Rolling, Sliding, and Sticking.
Balancing, Swinging, and Spinning.
Throwing, Flying, and Falling.
Floating, Bouncing, and Pushing.
Plucking, Banging, and Blowing.

One example from the book is Friction Flurry, Why Will a Toy Car Roll Farther Than a Lump of Clay? Use a toy car, and a lump of clay to roll down a flat board to determine which rolls faster to explore the science of friction.

A great recipe for Play Plubber helps explain polymers to children and something the preschoolers would really enjoy playing with!

How Come by Kathy Wollard  answers many questions that preschoolers might have.

A few examples are:

Why does rain fall in drops?

Is it true no two snowflakes are exactly alike?

How come flowers have scents?

Why do some animals hibernate in winter?

How do birds sleep?

The answers are technical, but can be adapted for a preschooler’s understanding.

Super Science Concoctions by Jill Frankel Hauser is wonderfully illustrated and easy to follow.

Learn about water tension with water robots made from aluminum foil and a pan of water, try starched designs with string and starch or make spicy art with spices, paper and a bowl of water.

Moose Tracks

Moose was a recent storytime theme. A great introduction to this theme is with a nonfiction book with a few facts to share with the children.  Moose by Grace Hansen works well for preschoolers with its brief text and wonderful color photographs.

A picture book that helped describe the size of a moose was Ernest, The Moose Who Doesn’t Fit by Catherine Rayner. The book ends with a foldout page that shows how big Ernest really is.

The children really enjoyed the humorous book Moose Tracks which led into our science activity with animal tracks.

I began with a brief overview of the book Wild Tracks by by Jim Arnosky. This book features fold out, life size drawings of a variety of animal tracks, including moose. There are  details on how to interpret the footprints as well.

 

 

For visuals I used animal track identification sheets from the State of Minnesota Department of Natural Resources.  These printable sheets include ten images of common Minnesota animals and the life sized tracks they make.

I printed out color images of a moose, bear, wolf, raccoon, squirrel and wild turkey to display and handed out a variety of laminated footprints: one per child. The children enjoyed figuring out which tracks to match to each animal.

They compared the footprint they had to the others and determined if it was the smallest, next smallest, largest or not quite as large or looked different such as the turkey footprint. They noticed the difference between the moose hooves and the bear claws to determine which tracks belonged to each animal.

Here is a link to the animal tracks pdf:  http://files.dnr.state.mn.us/education_safety/education/project_wild/animal-tracks.pdf

For more information about animal tracks:

Animal Tracks & Signs by Jinny Johnson.

 

Best Foot Forward: Exploring Feet, Flippers and Claws by Ingo Arndt.

The Color Brown

 

 

This week’s storytime theme was the color brown.

The children enjoyed the book Brown: Seeing Brown All Around Us by Michael Dahl.  The children looked at each other’s eyes and talked about their eye colors as we read the page featuring brown eyes. Here’s a link to exploring eye colors in families.

http://thepreschooltoolboxblog.com/preschool-science-exploring-eye-colors-in-families/

The book featured several delicious brown foods.  A great science activity to pair with the color brown would be to create sensory containers with a variety of brown spices and flavors such as cinnamon and cloves, or coffee and cocoa. Here is a link to instructions and other sensory ideas.

http://www.saps.org.uk/attachments/article/194/SAPS%20-%20Using%20Your%20Nose%20-%20smell%20activities.pdf

This book also included a fun recipe for peanut butter clay.

Other books featuring the color brown:

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