Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Five Senses

Dramatic Play
I used my favorite sense (taste) and chose to do an ice cream store. I have play ice cream cones, popsicles, and Dilly bars, plus recycled ice cream cartons and cone boxes. The ice cream cartons are filled with styrofoam balls, plus there are bowls, spoons, and fruits for toppings.
I set it up with the cash register and a table for customers, and they were set. They loved it and it was busy for all 2 weeks.

I got out the small legos, having no idea what a hit they'd be. We've always stuck to Duplos, but apparently small legos is where it's at. This center was constantly busy and there was so much great building and imaginary play going on. I love Legos!

Play dough textures. I got out the play dough, and also had a basket with random items they could put in the play dough to see what textures it made. They were excited when I told them they could try anything in the room. Soon the table was full of objects and they made all sorts of cool textures.

 We used our sense of smell by doing Jello art. I put Jello in our graciously donated spice bottles that I store in beautiful junk, and they sprinkled and poured like crazy on their glue deisgns. The room smelled so delicious and fruity all day! I underestimated how much they'd love this, but it was busy all day and we had pictures drying all over the room. I was so busy, I didn't get a pic :)

I found fun dot paint markers on clearance at Wal Mart, so we painted with those and they loved them.

We had a fun sensory experience with Magic Sand. I bought it from Steve Spangler's site. It's basically waterproofed sand. You can play with it under water, but when you pull it out, it's dry! You can build with it under water, and make water droplets on it. This was another big hit.
Small Manips
We played with:
bristle blocks
shape and color links
musical instruments
people floor puzzles

We made 1 fun snack this week to explore a new taste, homemade smoothies. I found the recipe here.
I would say half of them liked it, but at least they all tried it.

Large Group
Day 1, We read the best book about texture (of course I forgot the title and already returned it to the library), but it had tons of awesome texture words and we really worked on our vocabulary. It was really interactive and they were adding lots of their own words too to describe the textures. We then went on a texture hunt with rubbing crayons and made rubbings of textures all throughout the room. I didn't expect them to really love this activity, but they were so excited and running all over to find new things!
Day 2, we explored our sense of taste. We examined sugar and salt and couldn't determine what it was with sight, touch, or smell, so they had to taste it. Their faces were awesome. We then talked about 4 different tastes (salty, sweet, spicy, sour) and tasted many different foods, then sorted them by how they tasted. We tried chips, pretzels, sour candy, lemons, cinnamon bears, marshmallows, and chocolate. I was surprised by how many ate their whole lemon slices, yet immediately spit out their cinnamon bears.
Day 3, we made sensory bottles. They filled them with glitter and sequins, and we added water, food color of their choice, and oil. It was so much fun and they loved it!
Day 4, we went on a 5 senses scavenger hunt. There were 5 clues that led us inside and outside, searching with our senses, then they had to fill out a page in a book for each one.

We'll be exploring more with our senses on our field trip next week!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Butterfly release take 2

This was our best butterfly release yet! It was warm and sunny and they were ready to go! The flew right out, and the best part was, they stayed in the yard! Previous ones have done a few laps, then flown off, but these guys stuck around forever! They flew away a few times, but always came back. The kids were in 2 groups, each following one. It was a glorious 20 minutes of running and squealing and calling each other over each time one landed. All the pictures I have are full of the kids, and you'll be getting copies at our BBQ. This was just so much fun and I'm so glad the kids got to really watch them fly and play with them.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Releasing the butterflies

This was such a fun day. We got to see a butterfly moments after it hatched Tuesday, and today we got to watch the last one hatch! It was amazing!! We were making smoothies and our favorite preschool Grandma had stayed to help and noticed an antenna. She called us over, and they all got to go over and watch the butterfly hatch. I was so excited, and so were the kids!

We had planned on releasing the butterflies that day, because by next Tuesday, 2 of them would be a week old and they only live a week in captivity. I knew the new one couldn't fly out, but we took the others out anyway. My phone said it was only 53 degrees, so I wasn't sure what they'd do. We took them out and there were two right by the top zipper. When I opened it, the one crawled out and just stayed there. The other 2 opened their wings, but stayed put. I moved them over by the flowers thinking they'd like them, and one flew out. The kids got to chase it all over the yard before it took off and they loved that.

The others never left, so we took them all back inside with us.

I was worried they wouldn't survive until the next week, so that afternoon when the sun came out, I tried again and one flew immediately away, but the other stayed in, and of course the newest one couldn't leave.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A new butterfly, and releasing ladybugs!

The kids were so excited today to see the butterflies. They each got to drop in an orange slice to feed them and all thought it was a bit scary and exciting. We noticed one chrysalis was really dark and I told them it would hatch today. They asked what they look like after they hatch, so I showed them in one of our books. A few minutes later, one of our girls yelled out that it hatched! It had just come out and was all wrinkled up, and I was so glad all the kids were there to see it.

We released the ladybugs during recess and I was so glad it was sunny! None of them flew, they just started crawling onto the grass. I scooped them up and each kid got to hold at least one, some more if they wanted. We then put them in our flowers and bushes.

They were in a bug type mood and as they searched under rocks for bugs, discovered a whole ant colony! They were so excited because we could see the eggs. We watched the ants carry their eggs into the tunnels. We went inside late because they were having such a great time watching them. It's so fun to watch their excitement and learning in spontaneous activities like this!

Picture 2 shows all the eggs gone. Within a few minutes, they had hidden them all in their tunnels.

Monday, May 5, 2014


Sorry I didn't update much over the weekend. Not much happened :) The ladybugs hatched about 1 a day, and as of Sunday afternoon, all 8 had hatched. It's interesting that none of them are red. I'm really excited to release them with the kids tomorrow, except it's supposed to rain. We're going to release them either way, because their "watering hole" is growing mold (gross) and they can only live a week in captivity anyway, and the first is almost a week old. They survive rain in the wild, they'll just have to deal :)

This morning, we checked on the chrysalides again and nothing! It was day 11 for the first one (they hatch between 7-10 days). So I emailed Insect Lore to ask about a refill since their guarantee promises 3 to hatch. Then, a few hours later, McKynlee went to check on them before we ran some errands and we had 2 butterflies! I snapped these pics on my phone real quick.

The red stuff is something that leaks out of them after they hatch. It's gross, but normal.

We had a crazy day of running around, so we didn't really get to check on them again until this evening. We fed them (sugar water dripped on flowers) and they went crazy! They were flying all over and the kids were just squealing. I tried to get pictures, but they're so fast, and it's hard to see them with the butterfly pictures all over the bottom. So the pics aren't great. But, tomorrow the kids get to see butterflies! I'll let them feed them oranges tomorrow and I hope we get some more flying! I'm hoping the other 2 will still hatch.

Friday, May 2, 2014


First off, fun theme, but I forgot to take pictures!

Dramatic Play
They had a great time with the castle from Easter week, so I left that out another week.
Week 2, I just turned on a projector, darkened the window, and let them make shadows on the wall. One of my simplest, and one of their favorites! They discovered if they used the magnifying glasses from the bug table, they made weird light on the wall and they loved that!

Shaving cream. They love this stuff!
Watercolor painting. Just fun.
Shadow puppets. I gave them faces, sticks, feathers, markers, glue, and scissors. My idea was for them to make shadow puppets for the projector (and some did), but they mostly just created crazy things. This was popular and busy all day and they came up with some interesting creations.
Stamp painting. I got out our shape stamps, and used black paint since it's like shadows.

Small Manips
I found these great shadow matching printables that I used to make file folder games. They fought over the Frozen one. Seriously, right?
 They're from here and here.
 Outside, we got to release our bugs and search for other bugs!

Large Group
Day 1 was cloudy, so I had to bag our plans and wait for another sunny day. Instead, we read about how to make shadows, then put that to work with a flashlight and wall. They took turns making shadows bigger and smaller. We also used the flashlight to show how the sun moves and makes an object's shadow change. They were pretty fascinated by such a simple lesson. I then turned on the projector and let them make shadow puppets.

Day 2, we got outside as soon as the kids got to school and traced each other's shadows in the driveway. For large group, we went back out and stood in those same spots and retraced them to see how they moved. Inside, we used the flashlight again to show how the sun is moving (I know it's really the earth moving, but I'm trying to keep it simple) and why our shadows changed size and position.
Day 3, we made sun dials. I talked a little about how people used to use them to tell time. They put stickers all around their paper plates, then put a straw in the middle. We watched the shadow move and change as I moved the flashlight over them.
Thursday, when they got to school, we took them outside and marked with a rock where the shadow was. We checked them again when we went outside and marked again. Before going home, we checked them and they had moved again. I was kinda surprised how excited they were by them. I found the idea here.

Day 4, we experimented with shadow colors and took colored tissue paper outside. We put hands underneath them and watched our shadows change from pink to blue to purple. We talked about how shadows are made by blocked light, and some things (such as this tissue paper) let some light through and that makes a lighter shadow, and in this case, a colored shadow.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Ladybug #2

About 2:00, we headed downstairs and found another surprise, a yellow ladybug! Since it was still yellow (not so yellow in the pics), it means it was fairly newly hatched.
 So, he or she hatched from a different pupa on the side of this habitat, but for some reason, he was attacking this one over here. He was biting it and pulling it and it was the weirdest thing I've ever watched, and yes, I did sit and watch for almost 20 minutes. I was totally fascinated...

 He finally left him alone, and as he darkened, you can see spots appearing. This is about 30 minutes later.
 Then his wing got stuck and I watched him struggle to get free for awhile. I was worried he was going to stay stuck, but he eventually pulled hard enough and got away. Seriously, I'm sitting her worrying about and photographing bugs.

 And, about 5pm, here they are! I've been feeding them raisins like the instructions say, but have yet to see them eat anything. They're also not red, but at least they're still alive. I'm hoping they're all hatched by Tuesday so we can release them and I don't have to worry anymore! And still no butterflies.