Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Corny Ideas

Go on a Seed Walk – put an old pair of socks on over your shoes or put on bracelets of tape with the sticky side out. Take a walk thru a meadow or meadow-like area. What seeds attached themselves to you?

Plant a seed together. You can plant some of the Indian Corn seeds or bean seeds on damp paper towels. This is a fun way to watch a plant grow. What different parts of a plant to you observe?

Make a seed mosaic. Grab some glue and a few beans, rice, grains, and even pasta to make a picture with the seeds. What is different about the seeds? What is similar? 

Have a corny dinner. What foods can you eat that come from corn? Polenta, corn bread, Johnny cakes, corn chowder, and more can be made into a corny meal. Try Indian pudding for dessert!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Yesterday we explored color science with preschoolers. We learned the primary colors (red, blue, yellow), mixed them to create secondary colors, (orange, green, purple) and made some art. We used some science tools: medicine droppers, egg cartons, and bath tub color tabs. Here are some other great ways to explore rainbow science

Make a rainbow book – take seven sheets of white paper and staple the edges to make a book. You can add construction paper for a cover if you like. On the first page draw the red line for the rainbow, on the second page draw the orange arc, on the third page draw the yellow arc, etc. Now cut out pictures from magazine and paste them on the correct color page.

Eat a rainbow – you can talk about how we should eat all the colors of the rainbow each day to be healthy. What are some of the colors you all like to eat? Can you make a rainbow meal with something from each color?

Jello Rainbow – you can make a rainbow snack with layers of jello. You can get just the primary colors and mix them, but remember that you have to let each layer fully set before adding the next one.

Rainbow Streamer – cut the center out of a paper plate. Add construction paper streamers off of one side in the colors of the rainbow. You can staple or glue them on. Hold it like a tambourine or turn it into a windsock by putting a string thru the hole and hanging it up.

Color Scavenger Hunt – take crayons or small pieces of paper on your next walk. See if you can find something that matches each color. Are primary colors easier to find?

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, what do you see? By Eric Carle
Planting a Rainbow by Lois Elhert

Friday, March 15, 2013

Paper Gliders

This week in our preschool science program, we played with gliders at the library. Most of the parents first thought of paper airplanes when they read the topic but we didn't make a single plane, we made gliders.

Paper airplanes are fairly tricky to fold and most preschoolers have not developed the skills to make a nice sharp crease or to fold symmetrically. Honestly I know many older kids and some adults who can't do those things either. Yet both are really important to paper airplanes.

But gliders, now that is different story.
One of the gliders we made is called a ring-wing or annular glider. It is a super easy glider to make and a tough one to fly.

Here is a short YouTube video on how to make and fly this. It takes about a minute and a half to watch and he makes the glider and shows you how to fly it. For those of you who were at Messy Fingers, you will recognize how he makes it curved.

Give this a try with different kinds of paper and see what flies best!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Five Signs of Spring

With a gorgeous day like today, there is no question that spring is really coming. I am going to challenge everyone to find their own Five Signs of spring but here are mine - in no particular order....

1. Male Black-capped Chickadees are singing - listen for their "phe bee" song. Their "chick-a-dee-dee" is their call and both males and females call.

2. Pussy Willows are almost out. I saw fuzz stick out of a bud on the Blackstone River Bike Trail only a few days ago. Red maples are starting to look red now but I haven't seen any open flowers yet.

3. Chipmunks are out of hibernation.  These guys are one of the few true hibernators in New England and the one under my porch is out and trying to eat my bird seed. They make really great tracks in spring snow.

4.Turkey Vultures are flying. Now this isn't that new, they have been flying for a couple of weeks but it is always one of the best signs to me.

5. Ladybugs are everywhere! The ladybugs in our house are awake and all want to get out at the same time. Ladybugs that live in our houses in the winter like to cuddle but are fairly inactive in the winter. They are carnivores so they live all winter on their fat stores from the fall.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Experiments: Liquids

These are some fun ways to explore liquids. Liquids are a fun, and messy, way to explore states of matter.

What liquid is this? Try putting sugar water, plain water and white vinegar into small jars or bottles that can be capped. Can you look at the liquids and tell what they are? If you shake them, are they different? If you open them, can you tell what they are?  What senses did you use?

Compare and contrast different juice. Pour orange juice, tomato or V8 juice, and apple juice into clear glasses. What do you notice about them? How are they different. If you close your eyes, can you use your sense of touch to figure out which juice is which?

Solid versus liquid. What would happen if you put an ice cube in a container? Does it take the shape of the container or stay as a cube? What happens if you let it melt – does it take the shape of the container now?

Play with volume. Grab some containers and head to the tub. How many of the smallest containers of water does it take to fill the largest container? If you pour the water out of a container, does it have a shape? Are bubbles liquid? Do they act like water?

Solid, liquid or gas? By Sally Hewett
Solids, liquids, and gases by Carol Lindeen
Solids, liquids, and gases by John Farden
Liquids by Jim Mezzanote