Wednesday, February 29, 2012

March Dates

Messy Fingers is moving to a new format. Preschoolers (age 3-5) and their parents will sign up for a set of classes for a month. Preschoolers and their parents will only need to sign up once and attend each session. All sessions will be at the Millbury Public Library from 10:30 until approximately 11:30am.  Parents will need to participate.

The dates are: 
March 6 - states of matter (solid, liquid, gas)
March 13 - rainbows
March 20 - sink and float
March 27 - frogs 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Five Senses

Our five senses are the tools we carry around with us all the time. Taking time to make those tools sharper and providing a vocabulary for different observations will help children express their discoveries clearly.

Sense of Touch: Try finger painting with food. Finger paint has a lovely squashy texture and so do some foods. Try using pudding to paint with.  Or try using finger paints with your feet! Make footprints with finger paint. How does it feel on your feet?

Another fun texture to play with is shaving cream. You can pull it out in the tub if for less mess but watch out for sensitive skin. Try floating things in the shaving cream.  What happens if you put food coloring in shaving cream?

Sense of Taste: Try the old fashion test of holding your nose and try biting into a small cube of apple or potato. Without your sense of smell, can you tell the difference?

Sense of Touch:  Go on a texture hunt in the house.  Can you group items into textures such as smooth, hard, rough, or bumpy?  What else can you find that fits in these groups?

Sense of Smell: What are your favorite smells?  Most smells also have a deep emotional connection and can create lasting memories faster than most other senses. Close your eyes at dinner and take turns trying to identify parts of your meal with just you sense of smell. It can be harder than you realize to put words to smells. Is it spicy or sweet or savory or buttery…?

Sense of Hearing: Play Marco – Polo without the water. One person is Marco and closes their eyes. When they say “Marco” everyone else says “Polo” and stands still for a few seconds. The idea is to make yourself hard to find. Can you say “Polo” and duck or turn around so you sound far away?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Five Fun things to do with Feathers

I was going to post this earlier in the week but with Valentine's Day, I thought I'd better wait!

1. Check out the barbs and barbules - the tiny feathers that come from the shaft or stem of the feather are called barbs. Off the barbs are barbules which have hooks like velcro. If you smooth a feather the wrong way (top down) they get all scraggly. Then clean them up by can pretending to preen  and smooth your feathers the right way. The barbules will re-hook and the feather will be smooth again.

2. Dip them in water.  What might happen?  Older feathers, or those that are dyed, might just get wet, but on fresher feathers the water will bead up. Birds have oil glands that they use to keep their feathers water resistant.

3. Paint - paint with the feathers using slightly runny paint or water color paint. Different feathers will make different patterns.

4. Make a game. Tie up a bundle of feathers to make a shuttle cock game played by native American children. Here is a description.

5. See how long you can keep a feather in the air with your breath. Blow the feather up in the air and you can count or use a stop watch to see who can keep a feather in the air the longest.

I collected these feathers just from my backyard. I can remember as a kid hearing that I shouldn't pick up feathers in case they had germs. Well "germs" that affect birds don't usually affect humans. Yes, there is an avian flu but it isn't going to be carried by your average backyard bird or their dropped feathers.

One thing to note is that you cannot pick up feathers from migratory or endangered birds. Just don't even think about it. What you see above are Turkey, Blue Jay and Mourning Dove feathers.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Tools: Magnifying Glasses

Magnifying glasses are tricky tools to use at first. Where do you hold it? How much should it magnify something?  These are some of the questions you can help your child answer as they learn to use this valuable and fun tool.

Try holding the magnifying glass just above an object. This is a good place to keep a magnifying glass but it can be quite tricky for little kids.

Put the magnifying glass close to their eye and have them move close to the object. Often this is an easier place to begin using magnifying glasses.

Try looking a some familar objects first then move to even more fun things like leaves, bugs, and your body.  Hair up close is wild!

Monday, February 6, 2012

Starting tomorrow...

we will start the new session of Messy Fingers!

Sign up at the Millbury Public Library - (508) 865-1181.