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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

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Build Your Own Wormery!

We had a great time learning about worms, worm anatomy, and building our own little wormeries (or worm habitats) this week!


A wormery is a place where worms can grow, compost, and (hopefully) make more worms.  Our little wormeries are unique because their main purpose is to allow the worms to grow while letting our kiddos watch them work.  After a few days/weeks, we intend to put the worms in our garden.

Building a wormery is pretty simple...worms have very basic needs:

* Worms eat microbes found in dirt and rotting material.
* Worms use sand or very small rocks to grind up their food in their gizzard (much like birds).
* Worms need a moist, but not wet, environment because they breathe through their skin (much like frogs).  
* Worms need air.

Fun Fact: Worms have a mouth, but do not breathe through it!  It is just for eating!

To create your own observable wormery, you will need the following

Simple Supplies:

* transparent container (we used plastic jars because we were working with young children)
* something to poke holes in your container
* soil
* sand
* rocks or gravel


Easy How To:

1- Poke holes in the top and bottom of your container.  The bottom holes let any extra water drain and the top holes let air in.  Alternatively, you could just leave your lid off...

2-  Put a small layer of rocks or gravel at the bottom of your container.  Again, this helps with drainage, especially in Houston where it is so humid!

3- Layer small layers of sand with larger layers of dirt.  I wish I had more pictures of this process, but everyone was so involved that my camera didn't have a chance to make it out during the action!  Most of our wormeries had two layers of each.

We used bins to let everyone reach the sand and dirt easier:



4.  Finish by putting some dead leaves or vegetable scraps on top of the soil.  If your dirt and sand were all dry, add a little water to your container as well.


We might have had some preschoolers feel the need to place a rock on top also.

5.  Finally, add your worms!  Here are a couple of our completed wormeries / worm habitats:


The one below clearly put more sand in than necessary, but it doesn't really hurt anything.  The worm will only eat as much as it needs.


And that's it!  Earthworms prefer cool temperatures, so you may want to observe it indoors for a few days, and then carefully dump it outside in a shady spot in the early morning.  Your garden will love them because they aerate the soil and worm castings (or poop) is great fertilizer!

Have you ever made a wormery?  I'd love to see it!  Feel free to leave me a comment, send an email, or pop by our PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page and share a picture!  And be sure to check out all the information about worm anatomy here!



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Monday, July 6, 2015

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Worm Anatomy Science for Preschoolers!

Worm anatomy is a fantastic science subject for preschoolers!  It is hands on, safe, and something you can talk about as they discover it!



Our kids absolutely love worms!  They love finding them and finding new homes for them.  They love holding them, watching them move, feeding them, and learning about them.  So when they wanted to host a Nature Club, it only made sense that worms would be our first week's topic!

Today I'm going to share a lot about worm anatomy...join us tomorrow to learn how to make your own wormery (worm habitat)!

Let's start out with a diagram...



The first thing you want to find on your worm is its clitellum.  This looks like a patch near one end of the worm, and it tells you where the head (or anterior) end of the worm is!  The clitellum is used to make baby worms.

The clitellum is on the anterior (or head) end of the worm, but worms do not have eyes, ears, or a nose!  They do have cells that can detect light--worms prefer the dark.  You won't be able to see those, but you will be able to see the very first segment on the worm: its mouth!  The mouth is covered by a flap of skin so the worm doesn't swallow everything it bumps into.

Inside the worm, between its mouth and clitellum, the worm has 5 simple hearts, a crop (like a stomach), and a gizzard.  The gizzard contains tiny rocks and sand that mash up the worms food, because worms don't have teeth to chew it up.

An earthworm can have over 100 segments between it's two ends!  Each segment can have tiny little bristles that help the worm move and hold on to things.  Worms also have two sets of muscles: long muscles stretch along the length of the worm, and round muscles go in circles around each segment.  A worm moves by tightening and relaxing its muscles while holding onto the substrate with its bristles!

Your preschoolers may interrupt worm anatomy lesson to ask a very important question: "Is my worm a boy or girl?"  The answer is...neither!  Each worm has a complete set of both male and female organs on the inside...and there is no difference from the outside!

I hope you've enjoyed this tour of worm anatomy science!  Be sure to join us tomorrow to find out how to make your own little wormeries!


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Thursday, July 2, 2015

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Super Fun Dinosaur Science Activity!

Today I'm over at Rainy Day Mum sharing a very popular dinosaur science experiment and dinosaur book -- both are fantastic for preschoolers, and even engaged our toddlers and school-aged kiddos!  Click here for all the details!!



While you're there, be sure to check out her other Book-Based Activities and Arts & Crafts for Kids!  I also love her list of 101 Rainy Day Ideas!





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Wednesday, July 1, 2015

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Patriotic Lanterns--a Great 4th of July Kid's Craft!

The 4th of July is coming up and I wanted to do a patriotic craft with my kiddos to celebrate!  These adorable lanterns were the perfect fit!



They take very little preparation, and are *so* cute hanging up everywhere!  And while my preschoolers loved making them, my 8-year old had a blast with the project too!

So, here are the Simple Supplies for your own patriotic lanterns:

* construction paper
* glue
* scissors
* ruler and pencil
* stapler
* embellishments (glitter, stars, etc.)

And, the easy How To:

1. Gather your supplies and prepare any embellishments.  I actually thought we had star stickers, but discovered that my kiddos had used them for another project!  Luckily, I had seen this idea for making your own super-easy paper stars, and it only took a few minutes to put together a pile of them!



2.  Make the lantern!  First, fold a paper lengthwise (hot dog style) and mark a "stop line" about 1" from the not-folded edge of the paper:


Next, mark "cutting lines" about an inch apart going in the opposite direction:


Let your kiddos cut on the "cutting lines," reminding them to stop when they get to the "stopping line."




Unfold the paper:


And re-fold it to look like a lantern:


Staple it in place!



3.  Add the embellishments!  We used paper stars, colored paper strips, and glitter!



Ta da!  Super easy!  Your patriotic lantern is done!  Now you can hang it on a door, tree, or chandelier to decorate for the 4th of July!  

Have you been busy decorating?  What are your plans for this weekend?  I'd love to know!  And if you're still looking for more patriotic crafts and activities, check out our Patriotic Straw Rockets and my Patriotic Kids Pinterest board:


Follow Carla @ Preschol Powol Packets's board Patriotic Kids on Pinterest.


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Monday, June 29, 2015

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{FREE} Forest Animals Coloring Pages with Traceable Fun Facts!

You can use this {FREE} Forest Animals Coloring Pages with Traceable Fun Facts Packet in so many ways!



I made this packet to go with our Forest Animals Poppins Book Nook theme.  Forests are one of our absolute favorite places to explore!  Normally our kids play in the southern humid forests of southeast Texas, but this summer they got to check out some higher mountain forests too!  They had a blast camping, boating, and hiking... which go right along with the book we want to share this month: Just Me and My Dad by Mercer Mayer.

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In the story, they encounter a mischievious bear, and a few other animals.  While we didn't see any bears in our forests on this trip, we did see deer, squirrels, birds, rabbits, and we even smelled a skunk!  I was very excited to put together this {FREE} packet that showcases eleven forest animals and some fun facts about them!

These coloring pages can be just coloring pages...or they can be so much more!  You can glue sand, torn construction paper, feathers, or yarn to the pictures to give them a cool texture.  It gives your kiddos great fine motor practice too!  Older children can read and trace the fun facts at the bottom of each page!  Even older kiddos can research the animal and learn more about the fun fact...for example, why do owls have three eyelids?  Here is a picture of the owl page:


In addition to the owl page, the ten other animals include a bear, squirrel, skunk, deer, bird, hedgehog, fox, mouse, raccoon, and rabbit!

Click  here to download a {FREE} set of Forest Animals Coloring Pages with Traceable Fun Facts for your kiddos!!  Please feel free to share this post with your friends and colleagues...encouraging others to come to this page and download their own copy of the file lets me continue to offer free printables!  Thank you for sharing!!

This post is part of the Poppins Book Nook!  


Every month a group of bloggers share activities and books based on a particular theme.  This month, the theme is Forest Animals.  Be sure to check out these other blogs for more ideas and link up any "forest animal" activities you have below!









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Saturday, June 27, 2015

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Patriotic Straw Rockets!

These patriotic straw rockets are perfect for a 4th of July craft or science activity...they're also super fun to make any time of year!



You and your kids can make straw rockets to celebrate holidays, as part of a science lesson about force and motion, or just for fun!

All you need are straws, paper, tape, crayons, and scissors!

Cut the paper into rectangles about 2" x 3", and let your kiddos decorate them.


They will get rolled up in a moment, so you really only need to decorate half the paper.

Roll the paper around a straw and tape it in place.  Make sure it is loose enough to move up and down the straw easily.


Finally, fold the top down and tape it in place.  Make sure it is air tight!


Ta da!  That's it!  Now fire your rockets by blowing into the straw!

All our kids loved this, and even the 2-year old was able to figure out how to make the rockets work.  My preschooler wanted fire on his rocket, and we had one girl who just made hers pink...I love letting everyone design their own rockets!

Do you want more great patriotic ideas?  Be sure to check out my Pinterest board for Patriotic Kids Ideas:

Follow Carla @ Preschol Powol Packets's board Patriotic Kids on Pinterest.


PS.  The super cute star background clip art on my very first picture comes from Moms & Crafters...you can get some free too!




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