Insect Life

Butterflies and Moths are insects, a spider is not. Spiders has eight legs and eyes which quickly take them out of the insect family.

Butterflies and moths are special insects because they have wings and bodies that are very much alike and yet, very different.

BUTTERFLIES:
Are be colourful.
Are diurnal and the daylight makes their colors showy.
Pupate in a hard chrysalis.
Rest with their wings closed and directly over their backs
Have thinner bodies and antenna.

MOTHS:
Are be drably colored pale colours.
Are be nocturnal and low light levels will show pale colors.
Pupate inside a cocoon, spun out of silk and sometimes nearby materials like leaves
Rest with their wings closed and directly over their backs.
Have fuzzy, stockier bodies and antenna.

While waiting for butterflies and moths in the Science Lab to hatch out, students learn insect body parts by singing a fingerplay with a familiar tune:

Insect Body Parts
(Sung to the tune Head and Shoulder, Knees, and Toes)

Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!
Six legs, two antennae, with eyes and sometimes wings.
Head, thorax, abdomen, abdomen!

insect playdough

They also create insects with playdough.

All of this can be used when the students write in their journals. They can draw pictures about what they see and teachers can take story dictation about what they are thinking as they draw. This hands on with song and actual insects to watch helps students remember what they have learned about the insect’s life.

Everyday Crystals Are Amazing

Children love to watch crystals form. They are most interested in the natural crystals we see every day (salt, sugar and ice). The first unit in the new year involves taking a look at the common crystals and their properties. The first area to see a change is the Discovery Area. Make or buy white play dough and add opal glitter. Provide dough tools and this simple activity will add strength to the fine motor skills and inspire creativity.

snowdough

Snow Playdough

Ingredients
½ cup salt
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil (coconut oil works great)
White liquid water color

What you do
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan.
Add liquid water color to the water to get a white color.
Add colored water and coconut oil to dry ingredients.
Stir over heat until dough is pliable.

Once playdough is cool enough, kneed in some opal glitter.

Allow to cool and store in a well sealed plastic bag or container.

Theme for December – Traditions

Theme for December- Traditions

Traditions play a major role in every family. Traditions tell stories about a family, help individuals discover where they come from, and help them to remember their culture. The family bond is strengthened through traditions by providing a chance to do something that is special. Children love traditions because they offer comfort and security when other things change around them. December is a month of traditional activity. There are many holidays, family gatherings, and time off from regular schedules to lend to having time to do special activities that will long remain in the memory of a child!

Cookie baking is a winter activity I remember as a child. I turned the sensory area into a cookie making area using gingerbread playdough, cookie cutters and rolling pins.

Gingerbread Playdough

Ingredients
½ cup salt
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil (coconut oil works great)
Food coloring

What you do
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan.
Add food coloring to the water to get a tan color.
Add colored water and coconut oil to dry ingredients.
Stir over heat until dough is pliable.

Once playdough is cool enough, kneed in:
2 teaspoon of ginger
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of allspice

gingerbplaydough

Pumpkin Playdough

Pumpkins are one of the items you will see during harvest time. The playdough at the sensory table has the smell of pumpkin pie. Students make their own pumpkins and pies or use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. I add alphabet shapes because everyone knows P is for pumpkin! The recipe is easy and uses ingredients found in most every kitchen.

pumpkindoh

Pumpkin Playdough

Ingredients
½ cup salt
1 cup plain flour
2 tablespoons cream of tartar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon oil (coconut oil works great)
Food coloring

What you do
Mix dry ingredients together in a medium sized saucepan.
Add food coloring to the water to get a pumpkin color.
Add colored water and coconut oil to dry ingredients.
Stir over heat until dough is pliable.

Once playdough is cool enough, kneed in:
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of cloves
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon of ginger

Allow to cool and store in a well sealed plastic bag or container.

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