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!

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Polar learning fun

This week at the library we read and learned about polar animals.  We talked about how some arctic animals change from brown fur to white fur in the winter - for camouflage.  We learned that polar bears have black skin and that the hairs in their fur are hollow to help keep them warm on land.  We learned that they have a layer of blubber to keep them warm in the water.  We even pretended to be daddy emperor penguins with eggs and then chicks on our feet! (Check out the cute chicks we all got to use - no, they're not penguin chicks for real, but we sure had fun pretending to waddle with one balanced on our feet.)

After all our singing and dancing and reading was done, we had some awesome follow up activities to learn from play with!

You may have seen the "blubber" glove experiment: the one where a child puts their hand inside a rubber glove that has been covered with a layer of lard to insulate it.  They put their gloved hand in ice water, and the blubber glove stops them from feeling the cold, much as many polar animals have a thick layer of fat to insulate them.  We have big groups come to story time, 45-50 children, so we needed a quick and easy (and not too messy) way to do this activity.  Here's the solution:
I put one zippered plastic baggy inside of another, then spooned in a thick layer of lard between the baggies.  I taped the bags together, so little hands wouldn't end up in the lard (ew!).  The result was a clean, dry plastic bag nested inside a bag of lard, and it worked beautifully!
The children were fascinated, many of them coming back to this experience over and again, amazed that they couldn't feel the ice water.  Of course, there were also friends who wanted to stick their hands in the ice water and just enjoy that sensation - and that's okay too.

Another fun activity we offered this week was ice painting.  Ms. Kathleen made frozen paintsicles (yes, I can too make up words) and the children ran them over their papers to create beautiful masterpieces.  I noticed that a lot of the children looked off into space as they rubbed the paintsicles around, apparently enjoying the movement and the smooth feeling of the frozen paint gliding over their papers.  This little guy painted two handed!
... and some of our friends painted their two hands!

Watching this, we know that it's important for us to continue to provide sensory play experiences!

We also had out some shallow trays of water, which were mostly frozen.  Some of the children enjoyed the sensory experience of the ice and ice water, while others used them as we had envisioned, by propping one end, and seeing which objects would slide down the ice.  The children are constantly showing us that there are indeed many "right" ways to do things in this world!

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