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Thursday, October 27, 2016

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Preschool Pumpkin Water Science Experiment/STEM

My favorite experiments are the ones my preschoolers and other kids engineer themselves...like this pumpkin water science experiment. When they create the experience, it often ends up being a STEM exploration too!

In this case, my son carved a pumpkin (with supervision, of course!). The next thing I knew, he was in the sink, filling his pumpkin up with water! This is when I decided we should move outside.

As I watched him fill the pumpkin up...over and over and over...I realized he was learning tons of science concepts!

First of all, the water always came out the mouth before the eyes.

He tried to block it, but it took my adult-sized hand to stop the water from pouring out the mouth. Then it came out the eyes...until I moved my hand.

After I moved my hand, water came out the eyes and mouth again, but it came out of the mouth with more force than the eyes.

This demonstrates basic principles of pressure, force, and distance, and has loads of extension options...next time we're going to add a squirt of dish soap!

And the best part is that it was entirely child-led and fits in so well with pumpkin carving! 

It also can be used as a Halloween STEM project!

Science: parts of a pumpkin, pressure, force, water flow

Technology: carving tools, hose/sink

Engineering: creating a jack-o-lantern
(We actually had an engineering mishap as a bit of pumpkin was cut out of a corner that my son did not intend to cut! We almost had a crisis but, happily, he was able to adjust his plans and carry on.)

Math: qualitative discovery of how water flows out of different parts of the pumpkin

You could also consider jack-o-lantern creation an art, which would make this little project a STEAM activity too!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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Preschool Pumpkin Math/Science Experiments: What Weighs More?

Do you find your kiddos more interested in pumpkins lately than school? We do!! I am trying to harness some of that love-of-pumpkins into pumpkin play and pumpkin learning...plus, I really like pumpkins too! This set of pumpkin math/science experiments is fun and engaging, and it goes great with fall, Halloween, and Thanksgiving themes too!

I began this project by asking my preschoolers the question: "Which weighs more?" I started by holding up a small pumpkin and an ear of corn. They made their guesses, we talked about their hypotheses, and then we used this DIY balance scale inspired by this project. Unlike Sarah, we didn't have a set of PVC pipes, but... we did have a hanger.

We hung a set of cups from each side of a hanger, and I asked my preschoolers what would happen if we put something heavy in one cup and light in the other cup. Creating the "scale" ourselves let them see how it worked...and invited them to extend the activity.

Pretty soon we were comparing all sorts of things! Different pumpkins, corn, toys, and many other fall items all made their way into the cups on the hanger!

We experimented with hanging the hanger from different objects, but found we had the least interference with our experiments when we hung the hanger from a lamp. This let it hang freely so we could compare the weights of what was in the cups!

I know Halloween is coming right up, but pumpkins go great with Thanksgiving too, so you may still see more pumpkin activities on here this week!

Do you do math/science with pumpkins? If so, you will love this pumpkin measurement activity!  You will also want to check out our Pumpkin Preschool Theme (I have lots of experiments there too)!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Monday, October 24, 2016

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Why We Have Night ~ Preschool Science Activity

This little science activity combines whole body motion and a super easy set up to teach why we have night and the concept of the earth rotating.

You will need a ball and a lamp or flashlight. Actually, the ball is optional, but it helps the kids feel like a big Earth more!

Ask your kiddos if the know why the moon and stars look like they go away each day and come back at night.

Tell your preschoolers that they are going to  be the Earth while we watch the sun come and go!  

Turn on the lamp and have everyone face the sun while they hold a ball. Tell them it's day time! They can see the sun!

Now turn everyone to face you, away from the lamp.

Tell them it's night time! They cannot see the sun, but it's still there!

Earth is always turning. When we face the sun it's daytime; when we face away, it's nighttime.  Older preschoolers enjoy this challenge question: When it is nighttime for us, is it also nighttime for kids who live on the other side of the Earth?

Practice making day and night a few more times! Repeat this chant a few times in a sing-song voice while you do:

Daytime, daytime, face the sun!
Nighttime, nighttime, turn and run!

We are sharing this nighttime preschool science activity to go with Time for Bed by Mem Fox for the Virtual Book Club! (Image is an Amazon Affiliate Link:)

The Virtual Book Club brings you new activities every single week focused around a children's book! Learn more about the Virtual Book Club (and see this month's books) here and join in the weekly fun at the Virtual Book Club Facebook Page HERE!

In the meantime, be sure to check out these other nighttime activities from the Virtual Book Club hosts:

Alphabet Activities
Beginning Sounds Rhyming Night Puzzles by Rainy Day Mum
Discover My Name in the Night Sky - Powerful Mothering

Number Activities
Star Counting Activity - Inspiration Laboratories

Sensory Activities
Sleepy Time Sensory Playdough Big Owl Little Owl at Witty Hoots

Cooking Activities
 Farm-Animal Bedtime Snacks that Toddlers & Preschoolers Can Make — Chickadee Lit

Science Activities
Surprising Animal Sleep Facts - Mama Smiles
Why We Have Night Preschool Science Activity - Preschool Powol Packets

Color Activities
How to Make a Star Garland - The Educators' Spin On It

Pre-Writing Activities
Starlit Night in a Cup! A Fine-Motor Craft for Kids - To be a Kid Again
Puffy Paint Night Sky - Views From a Step Stool
Star Pre-Writing Activities for Preschoolers- Toddler Approved

Movement Activities
Bedtime Relaxation Stretches-Sugar Aunts
Night Time Glow In The Dark Bowling - Adventures of Adam

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Friday, October 21, 2016

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S is for Spider Preschool Dot Page {FREE}

I have an adorable "S is for Spider" dot page for you and your preschoolers this weekend!

I absolutely love dot pages! Your preschooler can fill in the dots with dot paint markers, crayons, paint, chalk, magnets, buttons, beads, felt, or any other manipulative you choose!

You can use the page to practice tracing letters, counting dots, talking about colors, making "sssss" sounds, discussing spider diets, and more! You can use this free page as a center, a table activity while you cook, a quiet time activity, or just a simple no-prep spider themed preschool page!

Click HERE to download a {FREE} S is for Spider Dot Page!!

We like to do a spider theme every October...it fits in wonderfully with Halloween and fall, and our kids all love spiders!

If you're working on a spider theme or unit, you may want to check out our spider catapulting color game! Our preschoolers loved it...and so did our older kids! And check back again next week--I'm combining all our spider posts into a preschool spider theme for you soon!

Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

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Monday, October 17, 2016

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Feed the Spider Color Catapulting ~ Preschool Spider Activity

I will never forget the biggest spider I ever saw, even though I only saw it for a few seconds. I love spiders, but this guy (or girl?!) made even me nervous! Luckily, this preschool spider activity is completely harmless!

We're starting our spider week, and I am super excited to bring you some spider learning activities during the next few days! This one was a lot of fun because we were able to easily adapt it for our preschoolers, toddlers, and "older" elementary kiddos.

As we fed the "spider," we practiced matching colored "flies" into the corresponding part of the "web."

This gave our youngest preschoolers and toddlers a chance to talk about and match colors, exercise coordination, and talk about spiders, diet, predation, and the purpose of webs! Our older kids talked about the parts of a web, how spiders manage to not get stuck, and how spiders eat and digest bugs and insects! I might have told them about the biggest spider I ever saw: it was on a trip when I was in college. We were visiting Thailand as part of a study abroad program. Our small group had trekked up a mountain, ridden on elephants, and was preparing to head back down into town when we spotted it: a spider so big it could take up an entire dinner plate!

I told our preschoolers that some spiders build webs to catch flies and other bugs while some (like the giant spider I saw in Thailand) jump out and grab their prey! For our activity, we were going to focus on the web-building spiders like the spider in The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle. I made a "color web" and we were going to try to get the colored flies into the right spot on the web. Where do you think a blue "fly" should go? It was pretty obvious...in the blue part of the web. :)

We placed the web on the floor and drew a line about one foot away from it. Everyone had to stand behind the line. The youngest kids tried tossing the flies onto the web, and the older ones used spoons to "catapult" the flies onto the web. (Just place the fly on a plastic spoon and bend the spoon backward a teeny tiny bit to fling the fly away!) Everyone celebrated each time the flies landed in the right spot!  When the flies were all used up, we gathered all the pompoms that weren't in the right spot and tried again! All the kiddos here (from 1-9 years old!) had a blast playing with the colorful flying "flies!"

To make your own Feed the Spider Color Catapulting preschool game, just tape 4 different colored pieces of paper together. You can always use more colors and build a bigger board, but four worked great for us! Flip the "board" over and draw a web on it with a permanent marker. Then pull out a pile of pompoms to use as colorful flies!

We did this spider activity to go along with the Virtual Book Club's book this week: The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle. (Amazon Affiliate Link below:)

We also talked about spider behaviors, and how most spiders will run away from you...including the giant spider I saw in Thailand! That spider was so big that I would have run away from it in an instant, but I never had the chance--as soon as it saw us, it ran and hid inside a hollow piece of bamboo!

To finish up the game, my kids took our big play spider, and had it "eat" up all the flies!

Do you love spider activities? We like to do a Spider Theme or unit every October...you might enjoy our pipecleaner spiders, {FREE} spider counting playdough mats{FREE} Spider Lapbook, our taste-safe Spider Slime, glow-in-the dark spider web artBubble Spider Web art, making a spider pinata, or instructions on how to "catch" a real spider web!

This week the Virtual Book Club for Kids is reading The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle and doing all kinds of preschool spider activities too! Be sure to visit these other hosts and let us know what spider-y fun you get up to:

Name activities

Numbers activities

Science activities

Colors activities

Shape activities

Amazon Affiliate links: 


Happy Educating,

I may share at any of these parties!

Never miss another post again!  Sign up for our weekly updates newsletter and get links to all our posts once a week in your inbox!  Sign up here!!

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