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Thursday, May 28, 2015

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{FREE} Backyard Bird Cards

These {free} backyard bird cards are so much fun, and can be used in so many ways!!

Try printing two copies of the cards, laminating them, and playing memory or go-fish style games!  You can take them on a walk, put them in a Montessori bin, or match them to images on the mini-poster!  They are perfect for a bird theme, spring theme, summer theme, nature group, homeschool, preschool, and so much more!

I had a ton of fun putting these backyard bird cards together, and I hope you enjoy using them just as much!

Click here to download a {FREE} copy of the Backyard Bird Cards AND a {FREE} mini poster with the same birds all on one page!

I love it when you share my {FREE} printables...please remember to share the "right" way by linking to this page and not the actual file, and please encourage other teachers and parents to download their own free copy.  This lets me continue to offer printables for {FREE}.   Thanks so much!!

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Are you looking for more bird activities?  Be sure to check out these bird feeder instructions, this fun bird science activity, and this bird bingo game!

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Monday, May 25, 2015

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Poppins Book Nook: Caldecott Books

Hi friends!  Today is the last Monday of the month, and Poppins Book Nook!  The theme this month is Caldecott Books, and there are loads of great learning and fun ideas that tie into Caldecott award winning books!  Because of some schedule complications, I will not be sharing a new activity today, but I will be linking to the other bloggers who have Caldecott-themed posts going up today!  Be sure to check them out:

Also, be sure to stop over at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom for a fun printable and a great giveaway!

Do you have a post that relates to a Caldecott award book?  If so, link it up below!

I may share at any of these parties!

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Saturday, May 23, 2015

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Amazing Banana Bread Waffles Recipe (No sugar or eggs added!)

These banana bread waffles are my new favorite food!  They mix up super fast, and are perfect for a meal or snack.  Preschoolers love them, and they are full of wonderful ingredients!

We have now had these waffles for three occasions: a meal, a side dish, and a snack.  Every time, everybody loved them...even though they had no added sugar!  We have eaten them plain, with butter, and with a little maple syrup.  We even have friends that do not normally eat sugar-free food who thought they are delicious!

Last time I made this recipe, I actually tripled it!  It made plenty for our family of 5 for breakfast and a snack later with friends.  (Side note: my kids have big appetites!)

To make your own yummy banana bread waffles, you will need these...


2 1/2 bananas
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups white flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 ounces (or about 1/2 cup) apple juice


1.  Preheat your waffle irons!

2.  Place the bananas and oil in your kitchen mixer (we use a Kitchen Aid), and beat them on a low setting until the bananas are mashed thoroughly.  Add the rest of the ingredients and mix until well blended.

3.  Grease your waffle irons and add the dough according to the directions that came with your waffle iron.

4.  Serve plain, with fruit, with butter, with maple syrup...or however else you want!  They are absolutely amazing!!

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Monday, May 18, 2015

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Salt Dough Coprolites

Making Salt Dough Coprolites is the perfect homemade dough activity for any dinosaur unit!  Preschoolers (and older kids!) love it!

It may be that my kids are the only ones who are fascinated with the idea of dinosaur poop...but it may be that your kiddos will love talking about it too!

Coprolite:  fossilized feces

The cool thing about dinosaur coprolites is that you are not just holding dinosaur poop...you are holding dinosaur poop that has turned into a rock!

Scientists can learn all kinds of information from coprolites...everything from the health of the dinosaur or animal to what their diet typically included.

Here is a picture of a real coprolite made by a meat-eating (carnivorous) dinosaur in Canada:

The scale bar in the picture is 15 centimeters (or about 6 inches) long.  You can also find and/or buy coprolites that are much smaller.

Today, we're talking about making your own!  You can even use the process to simulate what happens in real life!

You'll need a simple salt dough recipe.  We used 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of water, and 2 cups of flour.  Just knead it together for about 5 minutes, and pass out chunks to your kiddos!

After they have designed their "poop," you can let it dry out (or place it in a warm oven for an hour or so) to mimic years of hardening and mineralization.  Finally, let your children paint it!  As a real coprolite is formed, the poop absorbs minerals from the environment until it hardens into a rock.  Those minerals can be colored, or not!

Some of the other things we had fun with was making poop like what deer, bears, and rabbits would make.  Each animal has a distinctive shape, and kids are fascinated by the idea of professionals who spend their entire careers studying animal poop!  This website has great information about identifying what kind of animal makes what kind of poop (also called scat).

If you want to learn more about dinosaur poop and coprolites, I love this book (it's a lot of fun for kids too!):

(Amazon Affiliate Link):

Also, if you'd like to buy your own authentic, certified dinosaur coprolites, I would love to recommend using Paleo Poop.  They are a small company that is delightful to work with who collects the coprolites from Canada and sells them at very reasonable prices.

Are you guys making salt dough coprolites?  I'd love to know!

And, today is this month's edition of the Best Sensory Dough Recipes!  

Be sure to check out these fun salt dough ideas and recipes:  

Galaxy Salt Dough | Lemon Lime Adventures
Salt Dough Memories | Study at Home Mama
Scented Salt Dough Pendants | Raising Lifelong Learners
Salt Dough Seashells | Creative World of Varya
Salt Dough Flowers | Wildflower Ramblings
Salt Dough Coprolites | Preschool Powol Packets
Watermelon salt dough recipe| Frogs and Snails and Puppy Dog Tail
Microwave Salt Dough | In The Playroom
Nature Printing with Salt Dough | Squiggles and Bubbles

LEGO Salt Dough Paperweights | The Pleasantest Thing

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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

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{FREE} Honey Bee Life Cycle Cards!

Spring, summer, insects, and flowers all have one amazing ingredient in common...bees!

Okay, they might have a few other things in common too, but we love bees!  We love to watch them work during the spring and summer, we love to talk about how they make honey, and we love to talk about how they grow.  Earlier this spring we even had a field trip to a friend's home to see the inside of her bee hives.  Bees are amazing!!

Today I am sharing a set of free honey bee life cycle cards!

These {FREE} honey bee life cycle cards can be printed on cardstock and laminated for repeated use.  They work wonderfully in a Montessori bin, as a "memory" game, or just to teach insect metamorphosis!  The printable set also includes small "reference" cards with the complete cycle on it and a reference mini-poster as well!

I hope you love them!!  I always enjoy hearing from you when you use them too!

Click here to download the {FREE} file!

Feel free to share this post with friends and other teachers...please remember to link to this post and not the actual file.  This allows me to continue to offer free printables.  :)  Also, please note all files are copyright © 2015 Preschool Powol Packets.  The clip art is copyrighted by Glitter Meets Glue Designs and used with permission.

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Monday, May 11, 2015

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Preschool Botany Class: Day 2: Plants Need Water

Today I am sharing the second day in our online Preschool Botany Class!  You can see the first day (where we learned about the parts of plants and started growing the perfect plant for preschoolers) here.

This online botany class is totally free!  You can join in as we go, or wait until all the lessons are up and choose your favorites!  They would work great for a spring/summer weekly camp, a week-long preschool unit, or just as a fun way to introduce your kiddos into the exciting world of plants!  The lessons are all targeted to a preschool (2-6 year old) audience, but can easily be adapted for elementary students too.  I actually have a 2nd grader doing the lessons with us, and I will include a few notes for older kids.

So, let's get started!

Topics & Skills Covered in Day 2:

* Plants need water
* Function of roots and stem
* Colors
* Color Mixing
* Fine Motor Skills
* Prediction
* Measuring

Supplies for Day 2:

* White flowers (carnations work wonderfully)
* Hand clippers
* Food coloring 
* Plastic Cups or Mason Jars
* Ruler
* Straws and cups with drinking water

Preschool Botany Class:Day 1 Lesson:

1.  Spread the white flowers out on a table.  Ask your kiddos where the stem is and what they think it does.  Snip a piece of stem and ask them what they see inside.  Explain that there are several different tunnels inside a flower stem.  Ask what they think the tunnels are for.  Different tunnels transport (or more) different things for the flowers.  Xylem moves water and dissolved minerals, usually from the roots to the leaves.  Phloem moves sugar (or plant food!), usually from the leaves to the rest of the plant.

Optional: Let your kiddos suck water up a straw to mimic water moving up xylem in a flower.  Tell them that even tall trees use xylem to move water, though they have lots of "straws" bundled together!

Look at the ends of the flowers that have not been in water.  Compare them to the freshly cut end.  Ask your kiddos what they think happened.  (The plant seals off the exposed tissue so it doesn't lose water and food.)  This is why you cut the ends of flowers right before you put them in water--it's easier for the plant to soak up water through stems that are open, not sealed up!  Ask your children what they think would happen if the flower were to soak up colored water.  This is today's experiment!

2.  Let your children pour about 10 drops of food coloring into each cup of water.  Be sure to use some combinations so you can talk about colors mixing (like yellow and blue to make green, red and blue to make purple, etc.). 

3.  Snip each flower's stem and place it in a cup.  Predict how long it will take before you see colors in the flowers.  Put the flowers in a safe location.  (We might have lost a cup at one point to a very inquisitive 2-year old!)  I'll show you how long ours took below.

4.  You may want to provide some extra paper for finger painting...just beware that food coloring stains!  You can also let your kiddos "paint" with the stems.

5.  Measure the growth of the onion plant you started growing in the first lesson.  Did it surprise your children or was it what they expected?

6.  Sing and act out The Stem song to review!  If you're really lucky, I'll try to make a video too, but for right now, you just get words!  :D

The Stem  (Tune: Row, Row, Row Your Boat)
by Carla at Preschool Powol Packets

Grow, grow, grow your stem
Up into the sky;
It will carry water from 
The roots to flowers high!

That's it!  Answer any questions and let your kiddos play!  

AND...here are the results from our flower experiment:

after 4 hours the freshest flowers were starting to show a little color:

after 12 hours most of the flowers that were going to change colors had already changed significantly (this was a lot sooner than my kiddos expected!):

After 24 hours, there were no more big changes...they looked essentially the same at 24 hours as at 72 or more:

This was one of my favorites...everyone had different theories about why only half of the petals colored...even after several days (I suspect the xylem tissue was damaged on half the stem):

There were two flowers that stayed white the entire time...we decided they were simply not as fresh as the others and did not "drink up" as much water.

Did you try this lesson?  I'd love to see pictures!  You're welcome to share them here as a comment or on our PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page!  Be sure to join us in our next preschool botany lesson too!!

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