One of our books today was the classic, It Looked Like Spilt Milk, by Charles G. Shaw. I knew it was a classic, but as we prepped for story time today, Ms. Debbie pointed out that this was first published in 1947. Wow!
The format is super simple: blue pages with white shapes on them, and a catchy, repetitive refrain: "Sometimes it looked like a ___, but it wasn't a ____." The last page reveals that all those white shapes were clouds in the sky.
This book inspired our first follow up activity, cloudy finger painting. This little girl was really getting in to it!
The second demonstration involved very hot water in a clear glass bowl, topped with a pie tin full of ice cubes. The water vapor (steam) rises, then hits the cold pie tin, just as water vapor in our atmosphere rises until it cools in the atmosphere. When it cools enough, it turns from steam/gas into rain/ liquid, and precipitates down. You can see the condensation on the sides of the bowl. Do you see the little fingers in the pie plate? This little guy noticed that a lot of the ice was melted, and wondered if it was the condensation or rain? I had to explain that all that hot steam had melted some of our ice cubes.
You can't talk about rainy weather with children without offering a chance to play in water!
Our next activity was a science experiment (scaled down for the 3-5 year old bunch), about things that might blow in the wind.
As usual, I couldn't limit myself to creating just 3 stations... I get so excited by all the fun things we can explore and play with and learn about... so I brought out the vortexes!
A quick note for anyone who might want to do this activity - water bottles and smaller soda bottles didn't work as well as the 2 liters. We could not get a really nice seal with the other bottles, and had some drips from them. Also, this is so neat to watch, you are going to want to have enough water that the process lasts that bit longer than it would with a smaller bottle.
For all the fun those other activities provided, this one was clearly the winner: a vortex to spin coins down.
There are 5 children sharing a single toy in this picture. Let me repeat that. There are five children sharing a single toy. There were at least five children playing with it the entire time it was available, and they all shared. Any toy that can achieve that kind of preschool nirvana is a winner in my book!
As our families were finishing up, we had out a graph for the children to contribute to. Today I asked which weather they preferred, rainy, snowy or sunny.
A short time later the results were very different, and a clear choice was established. I noticed several children who made their choice, went back to our activities, and then returned to check the graph! They were looking at it, counting the pictures, and interpreting data! I know, I know, interpreting data sounds a whole lot more complex than checking to see which weather had the most votes - but it is indeed a very early way of analysing data.