Saturday, May 18, 2013

4 Seasons Review

This was a really fun 2 weeks, reviewing the seasons. If I can say they really learned anything all year, it's about the seasons! We talked and sang about them every day, plus already had a week in depth about each one. We took these 4 days, and each day was about 1 of the seasons. They had fun seeing old things come back too.

Dramatic play all week was camping, because it's the only way I could think to change all 4 seasons and show it each day. So we started with a tent covered in orange leaves, and other fall leaves scattered all over the ground. I didn't take pictures any of the days, but it's a repeat from our fall week here.
And if you looked there, you'll see the other fun things I brought back, like the fall pattern cards and apple tree counting cards.

The leaves were gone around the tent, and instead there were white sheets for snow, plus reindeer and polar bears. Similar to here. I also brought back the fake snow with the polar animals in it and that was the favorite for the day. Did I ever mention I found some at Dollar Tree this winter? Mine is from Steve Spangler's site, but for a small amount, the dollar store would be the way to go.

The tent was now surrounded by spring flowers. I brought out the road mat in the blocks area with the cars, and that was the hit of the day. Just starting Favorites week a little early. We also did spring sponge painting in art with flower and bug sponges. We learned about the water cycle too and watched boiling water turn to steam, and also filled cotton balls with water, then watched them "rain." We sang the water cycle song and learned the big words evaporation, condensation, and precipitation.

We totally lucked out with a hot day in the 90s this day! I planned the water party to be this day, knowing it may change with the weather, and I'm thrilled we had the only hot day of the whole month! We weren't inside long, since they were so excited to get outside. We cleaned up early, ate snack fast, then whizzed through large group to get ourselves outside and enjoying the sunshine! I had 2 small wading pools, plus the sensory table filled with water. There was a sprinkler going, plus I made some big batches of bubbles. There were fish toys and rubber ducks in the pools too. The sensory table had cups and scoops and bottles to play with. We had a great time, running around crazy from thing to thing, and I'm so glad for the warm weather!

4 Seasons book
Each day in large group we did a page in our 4 Seasons book. The words are from the song, Round and Round the Seasons Go that we sang each day (that way, they can go home and read it to their families). Here's each page:
Fall: tissue paper painted with liquid starch
Winter: glue and glitter for snow (could have done on darker paper, but I like them to all be the same)

Spring: split peas glued on like leaf buds (one girl was so precise and exact and it looks awesome)
Summer: green paint for full leaves. Their favorite one. They could not stop painting.

I always offered crayons first if they wanted to color the trees brown, or add a scene. Many added flowers in the spring and a sun for the winter and they sometimes colored their trees, but they were all more into the new thing we were going to add.

 Want to make a book for your preschoolers or kiddos? There are so many possibilities for each season, and here's your pages to download and print, easy peasy!
Click here to download.
I also printed out a cover and then stapled the books together. I bound them in Kinder because I had access to the equipment and supplies for free, and that's another great option.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Releasing the butterflies

With pouring rain yesterday, I was really hoping for a good day today to release our butterflies! I can keep them longer, but I seriously lose sleep at night, and have since the caterpillars arrived, worrying about how I'd tell the kids one died. So, I wanted them out of my house!
We were lucky to have such a beautiful morning, and with rain in the forcast, we didn't wait until the end of the day, like I had planned, for the release. We took them outside with us for outside time instead. It was pretty warm, and as soon as the sun hit them, all 5 opened their wings and soaked it in. It took them awhile to notice I had opened their enclosure, so the release wasn't too exciting at first. The kids crowded around at first, then took off to play. I stayed near it, promising I'd let them know if anything happened.
Finally, one started flying around so I called them over and it took off. It flew circles around our grassy area and the kids chased it, squealing and giggling. It landed several times and they were able to all gather and watch it open and close its wings. Then another one flew out and did the same thing, then they both flew up and out of the yard.
The last 3 came out at the same time, and sent the kids in all directions. One was chasing them through the grapes, while others took off towards another in the garden, and the other landed on the grass. Within a few minutes, they had all left too. The kids just had the best time, chasing them and watching them, and being so close to them. It's rare (at least has been for me) to get up close to a butterfly outside and have it stay long enough for you to watch it, but each of these did just that. So each child got to watch them for awhile before they were gone. What a fun day!

Saturday, May 4, 2013


The instructions said 7-10 days, so I've been anxiously waiting since Thursday to see if they'd hatch, and I even started to get a little nervous that they might not hatch. Then, this morning, they had finally changed! 3 of them had turned dark. When I looked closer, I could see the butterfly wings through the chrysalis, so it had changed to clear. I was going to try to get a picture, then got busy with my day. I had checked on them before going downstairs to prep preschool for Monday and no change. About 15 minutes later, my bro in law who was here, noticed a butterfly at the top! We all came running in to see our first butterfly.

We all decided to watch closely for the other 3 and call to each other at any sign of movement so we could watch them hatch. I ate lunch where I could see them, and as I was cleaning up dishes, the kids were watching them. I walk in to see 2 butterflies! We somehow missed it hatching too!

So we tried to watch for number 3, but finally had to move on with our day, and when we came back in after yard work, we had 3 butterflies.


We gave them some oranges, but they didn't touch them, so I added flowers with sugar water and they immediately flew down to them to eat.
Your kids are going to love them! It's so fun to watch them fly, watch them eat, and just see them up close.

Friday, May 3, 2013


We only had 1 week for plants, but we got a lot of learning in!

Dramatic Play
Flower store. As girly as it sounds, the boys loved it too! I was super impressed. Dollar Tree was again my destination of choice, and filled up all my vases and foam blocks with beautiful arrangements. I used my ever-so-popular cardboard box with a hole for the store entrance, and another box for the cash register. I've said it before, but these kids love the cash register and playing store! We do it a lot, but with just slight changes, and it's a huge hit every time. Makes my job easy. :)

 I like to bring Math and Literacy into dramatic play, so I always add signs to label things, and always add prices in stores. This one was priced by small, medium, and large bouquets, which brought in more math vocabulary about sizes. They won't always pick up on these things without me joining in on their play and helping them tell the customer the cost and referring to the chart. Once introduced, they then bring that into their own play.

Seed/bean collages. You're welcome. I know you have to love seeing these globs of glue and seeds coming home, but it's such a great small motor activity with picking up and placing the beans, and a great finger strengthening activity for the rest of them who just squeeze out a whole bottle of glue onto their paper and dump everything on it. It's art!
Plant sponge painting. Sponge painting always turns into finger painting, so it's a huge hit too!

We also played with the chalk boards, gardening puzzles, the ABC lacing beads they love, and Lincoln Logs.

I have 2 small flower beds out back, and since they're in shade 99% of the time, I bought some impatients that should grow in shade. We planted them during outside time and they did a great job! They weren't real keen on digging deep, and so I was helping dig holes, but not fast enough. Many were planted in very shallow holes with dirt just thrown on them. I let them pick where to place them and everything and I just love these little flower beds they planted for me. I got them all put in deeper after school, and it's so pretty and colorful! (I'm writing this a month later, so I can sya they are gorgeous now!) I have watering cans made out of gallon milk jugs with holes in the lid that they can now water the garden with each day of preschool during outside time. Loving this.

Large Group
We planted beans in plastic bags with a wet paper towel and hung them in a window. What could go wrong? Apparently, everything. I did this 3 years in Kindergarten and had awesome results. Out of the 25 each year, maybe 1 grew mold instead of a sprout. Well, out of our 8, only 1 sprouted, and the rest grew mold. I guess they were too wet? I don't know. So, I tried again with different paper towels and the same result: mold. Some had sprouts and mold though. I was super disappointed at this big fail, but at least one grew a sprout and they all got to see it. Maybe the brown public school paper towels are just more mold resistant. Who knows.
Day 2 we planted marigold seeds in a cup to take home. My girl's sprouted and we planted them out front and I hope you all had the same luck with yours!
We also did some sequencing activities, and journaling about the growth of our caterpillars.