Frog Life Cycle

The rainy season brought us tadpoles and now we are releasing tiny frogs and toads back into the “wild”. The students watch each day for new developments in the tiny creatures that look like fish. I often hear the cry, “It’s got legs!” Watching the frog life cycle makes it a real fact in the minds of young children. This has lead to the creation of frog playdough.

Frog Playdough
I use my favorite uncooked playdough recipe. This can also be done as a class project. If you want, you can just use store bought green playdough.

Uncooked Dough Recipe
What you need:
1 cup flour
2 cups salt
1 tbs. cream of tartar
2 tbs. oil
1 cup water
Food coloring or liquid watercolors
Mixing bowl and spoon

What you do:
1. Measure flour, salt and cream of tartar into bowl and stir together
until mixed well.
2. Mix oil, water and coloring together in a cup.
3. Pour liquids into dry ingredients and mix.
4. Knead and store in airtight containers.
5. Dough is soft and can be used again or allowed to dry.

I used leftover scraps of foam and a hole puncher to create the spots on the dough.
Frog Spots
The result is creativity at the Discovery Table.
Frog Dough
Some students were not too sure if they would like Frog Playdough. It might feel like a …frog!
Lumpy Frog
Several braver ones found it was just playdough with spots and soon there were many species of “frogs” popping or should I say, hopping up!
Not Slimy

Pack a Healthy Lunch!

With summer coming to an end, school clothes and supplies are on everyone’s mind. Stores know this and are ready with weeks of pre-sales and sales to catch the parent’s eye. There is one form of advertisement that is aimed directly at the child: all the faddish and cool items that could go into a lunch box. Many preschools allow students to bring their home packed lunches. Care should be taken to stay away from all the prefab foods that are loaded with salts and sugars. What will be in your child’s lunch box the first week of school? The basic formula for a preschool lunch contains:

½ cup of juice or milk
½ cup of fruit
½ cup of a vegetable
½ cup of dairy
1 Oz protein
2 Oz grain

Preschool Lunchbox

-Extra water is a must in schools where children cannot freely get drinks of water.
-Days when you send milk, yogurt or cheese are not needed.
-Days when you send juice, a fruit is not needed.
-Watch even “good for you” types of food for added salts, sugars and artificial sweeteners.
-Be conscience of foods that have packages which read low-fat, fruit, veggie, or sugar (sodium) free. They may have ingredients that are less than healthy and contain little fruit or vegetable.
-Never send a food that the child will not eat at home.
-Never send soda or other 12 Oz canned drinks.
-Never send more that one serving of cookies or other “sometimes” foods.

Take the time to do a few practice lunches at home. Maybe you can pack a lunch and go to a park or the beach. Watch your child handle the items you pack. Are the containers easy to open? Is all of the food consumed? Can the child save the cookie until after other foods are eaten? Discuss the importance of the foods that are packed in a daily lunch with your child. Certainly ask the child for suggestions and note likes and dislikes. A pleasant lunch experience will help your child, classmates, and the teacher have a better school afternoon!

Fire Safety

“With a Ranger’s hat and shovel and a pair of dungarees” *, Smokey Bear became a national icon as well as the longest running public service advertising campaign in U.S. History. Most adults will complete the sentence “Only you…” with “…can prevent a forest(wild)fire.” He is a part of my lessons plans that I like to refer to as Americana. These lessons expose children to the experiences of a child in the history of the United States.

We talk about campfires and bonfires in the summer and how fires are an adult’s responsibility to maintain. Extreme emergencies should mean a call to 911, but we always ask an adult for help when possible and we NEVER play with fire. It could destroy the homes of many people and animals as well as cause burn injuries, just like it did for the small cub who later became Smokey Bear. The chorus of the song is easy to learn and leads to conversation with adults at home:

“Smokey the Bear, Smokey the Bear.
Prowlin’ and a growlin’ and a sniffin’ the air.
He can find a fire before it starts to flame.
That’s why they call him Smokey,
That was how he got his name.” *

More information about Smokey’s journey in fire prevention can be found at Smokey Bear – Only You Can Prevent Wildfires.

* Smokey the Bear
By: Steve Nelson and Jack Rollins

Theme for July: Summer Fun!

July is a great month in the summer. Families vacation and visit each other. Our nation celebrates its beginnings. During the sunny days children off from school have more time to be with their parents and visit parks, zoos, museums and be outdoors. Some families take trips to specifically go fishing, camping or horseback riding. Others relax at home and grill out by the pool.

Making homemade ice cream is one of my family’s favorite summertime activities. We have tried recipes using fruit, flavorings or yogurt. It is a nice way to spend a hot day after supper. Hot summer nights also bring back memories of a circus and carnivals. Adults may see these things as cheap entertainment or even a waste of money, but for the child they are places of adventure.

A chart can be made in the classroom about what students do over the summer. Charts help teach children to count, recognize numbers and letters, develop one to one correspondence, and even help develop basic skills in addition and subtraction. Open ended questions help them remember the fun things they have experienced. What did you do while on vacation? Who did you go see while you were away? What is your favorite thing to do in the summer? What would you like to do next time you are on vacation? Poll the classroom to see what activities are the favorites. Post the chart in the classroom.

Encourage children to write stories and draw pictures about their summer favorites. Drawing and writing (dictation) help children to learn how to express their feelings. They will also develop their imagination and pay attention to the details of things around them. They will learn how to make comparisons between different shapes, textures, and sizes. The product can be sent home to be posted on the refrigerator or send to a grandparent. Their skills in communication will become better through all of this, too.

Hope you are enjoying the summer. Whatever your favorite activity, be sure to share it!