Welcome to Paula's Preschool and Kindergarten! My class blog is the place I share information about some of the fun learning activities we are doing at school. I hope to provide parents with insight into what we are doing, and why, and to share ideas with other early childhood educators. Please don't use the photos or text of this blog without permission, but please do use any ideas you find useful. Thank you for stopping by!

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Hearts for Valentine's Day

For our STEAM story time this week, we focused on Valentines day and hearts.  Yes, the cutesy pink and purple ones to glue on paper and to give to our beloved family members, but also the blood pumping, hard working muscular kind!

Ms. Debbie chose stories for both kinds of hearts, and we did some serious dancing and singing in between them to get our hearts beating hard.  It's so much easier to sit still for a story when you've had a chance to get your wiggles out!

The only difficulty we had with this theme, was limiting the number of activities we had to follow up!

One of our stories was My Heart Is Like a Zoo, by Michael Hall.   All the illustrations were of animals made exclusively with heart shapes - so we offered lots and lots of heart shapes, glue, paper and crayons for the children to create with.
Here are a couple of their creations:

There were also crowns, cards, and a few animals, as well as a whole lot of little fingers working hard at spreading glue and placing hearts - great fine motor skills for our preschool crowd to work on, and a lot of special 1-1 time with our caregivers.

I mentioned last week that a lot of our friends seem to crave sensory experiences, immersing themselves in whatever medium they can (quite literally) get their hands on!  This week we offered sensory slime to meet that need.  I added directions and links to the recipe so that parents and kiddos could easily recreate the experience at home.  Want to make slime?  I found the recipe here.

 I offered 3 different slimes to start with.  Two were made with Elmer's glue and liquid starch - one bright pink, the other white, and a third was made with clear glue and liquid starch, and included heart confetti pieces.  The texture of the one made with clear glue was much lumpier, and the children didn't use it nearly as much as the others.  As you can see, mixing colors with them was almost as much fun as feeling the cold, slimy mess running through our fingers.
 This was probably the most popular of our activities, with not only children playing with the slime, but more than one adult caregiver joining in on the fun.  (And why not?!  I am happy to admit that I work with little children because I get to cut and paste and play and learn along with them.)

We added a math element with this counting activity that I created.  The colorful pompons were a hit with the children, but as you can see below, one of our friends improvised with the marshmallows too! 

Here's what we thought the marshmallows were for:
 - a see-your-pulse activity from http://whattheteacherwants.blogspot.com/2011/02/science-experiments-for-elementary.html
- and a stethoscope experience with both homemade and real stethoscopes.  Unfortunately, with over 100 people enjoying our story time, we couldn't hear our hearts with the home made stethoscopes - but we did see children enjoying them and pretending to be doctors!

For an engineering element, we had recycled heart building blocks.  I found the idea here. This was a lot of fun, but more popular with the few older siblings than the preschoolers. 
To prepare this activity, I cut hearts from all kinds of food packaging that we had at home this week.  Into each heart I cut several small slits - the instructions suggested 1/4 - 1/2".  I double cut the slits, making them slightly wider, and added bright lights to the table so the children could check out the shadows their creations made.  (We didn't do a Groundhog Day activity as such, but Ms. Debbie mentioned the groundhog and shadows as we introduced this activity.)

I mentioned that we did a lot, and had trouble limiting the activities, right?  Yes, there were more!
This was my absolute favorite!  We turned the light table on it's side and put it up on another table, then taped on a set of animal x-rays.  On the table we put normal pictures of the animals, and the children came up and matched pictures and x-rays.  No, not hearts, but bones are pretty cool too!

Outside the door to our story time room we added a graphing activity, which I'm hoping to make a regular part of our routine.  It asked, "Which activity did you enjoy the most today?"  and gave 4 options.  I forgot all about the pompon counting and x-ray activities as I was preparing the day before, so those weren't on the graph this time.  Still, a lot of our families stopped on the way out and talked about which activities the children enjoyed most, and helped them contribute to the graph.  We'll look at it together next time, and talk about what has the most, least, fewest, more than, less than, etc.
Our STEAM program absolutely rocks!

No comments:

Post a Comment