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Thursday, April 16, 2015

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Preschool Botany Class: Day 1

Today I am very excited to bring you the first day in our online Preschool Botany Class!

This online botany class is totally free!  You can join in as we go, or wait until all the lessons are up and choose your favorites!  They would work great for a spring/summer weekly camp, a week-long preschool unit, or just as a fun way to introduce your kiddos into the exciting world of plants!  The lessons are all targeted to a preschool (2-6 year old) audience, but can easily be adapted for elementary students too.  I actually have a 2nd grader doing the lessons with us, and I will include a few notes for older kids.

So, let's get started!

Topics & Skills Covered in Day 1:

* Parts of a plant
* Sorting
* Art
* Fine Motor Skills
* Colors
* First Sound Discrimination

Supplies for Day 1:

* An outdoor path with flowers OR cut flowers from a store OR pictures of flowers
* A large area for sorting (optional: trays)
* Construction Paper 
* Glue
* Scissors
* Green Onions
* Small cup

Preschool Botany Class:Day 1 Lesson:

1.  Take your children on a walk to an area where they can pick wildflowers.  Let them gather a collection of flowers, roots, stems, and leaves.

This is definitely the best choice, but if it is not an option, pull out a collection of store-bought flowers, flowers you picked from a roadside, or pictures of flowers.  Try to get a collection of flowers, stems, leaves, and roots.

2.  Spread your collection out in an area where everyone can see and reach it easily.  I used a huge piece of butcher paper outside.

3.  Find out what your kiddos know about the parts of flowers already and teach them any new parts.  Pick up a root and ask "What is this?"  If no one knows, explain that it is a root.  Roots collect water from the ground for the plant.  See if your children can find little tiny hairs that pull water out from the soil.  (At your next snack, use a straw with your water and pretend you are roots drinking water for the plants!)  What does "root" start with?  R!  Place the root in its own pile or in a sorting tray.

Leaves make food (sugar) for the plant.  Older children can discuss how the leaves need carbon dioxide from the air, water from the soil, and sunlight to make sugar (glucose).  Oxygen is a by-product...that we love!  :)  What does "leaf" start with?  L!  Place the leaves in their own pile or sorting tray.

Flowers grow seeds!  Older children can identify the petals, stamen (holds pollen), and pistil (holds an egg).  They also attract bees and other pollinators to spread pollen so the flowers can grow seeds.  Older children can learn that in order for a seed to grow, the pollen must enter the egg.  What does "flower" start with?  F!  Place the flower in its own pile or sorting tray.

4.  Sort all the flowers, leaves, and roots!  Let your kiddos cut the flowers off of the roots as they go.  As your children sort (or after, if they don't like distractions!), talk about the colors of the flowers, which pile they go in, and review the first letter of "roots," "flowers," and "leaves" by exaggerating the words (ie. say "rrrrrrrroots," "f- f- f- flowers," and "llllllleaves").

After you've sorted, depending on your children's attention spans, you can practice comparing by talking about the biggest flower, the shortest root, etc.

5.  Provide your children with a piece of construction paper and glue, and let them make a Flower Collage.  Nature art is super fun, very pretty, and let's your children create and express themselves as part of the learning process!

6.  Finally, begin this onion growing experiment with your children.  It is incredibly easy, but very rewarding to measure the growth every day.  As you begin, find the roots on the onions.  If possible, make something like spaghetti for lunch and let your children cut the onion tops into small pieces to put in your sauce.  

That's it!  Answer any questions and let your kiddos play with their flowers!  Have you ever made a daisy crown?  Today might be the perfect time to try!  

Did you try this lesson?  I'd love to see pictures!  You're welcome to share them here as a comment or on our PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page!  Be sure to join us in our next preschool botany lesson too!!

I may share at any of these parties!

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Saturday, April 11, 2015

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19 Name Recognition & Writing Activities!

This month we are hosting the Name Recognition & Writing series!

Today I am excited to share a quick re-cap from the first week...with 19 name recognition & writing activities!!  If you missed any of these, you will definitely want to pop over and see their ideas and grab the freebies!

Remember to check the schedule for the rest of the posts this month--it will be updated with links as the month goes by!

Do you have a favorite way to teach children to read and write their names?  We'd love to hear!  You're welcome to share it in a comment or on our PreschoolPowolPackets Facebook page!

I may share at any of these parties!

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

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Preschool Service Project: Blankets for Children

This blanket service project is the perfect way for preschoolers to work together to serve other children!

We did this when we had a "service" theme and were talking about the letter S, but you could tie it into so many different themes or units...or just do it as a project to help to give your children a chance to serve, practice empathy and kindness, strengthen team work, and develop those fine motor skills!

You need about 1 1/2 yards of fleece.

To prepare for your kiddos, cut the "fringe" 4 inches long on two or four of the sides of the blanket.  Then use a seam ripper to poke a small hole at the top of each fringe.

Show your children how to poke the fringe through the back of each little hole to make a nice little "knot" that lies mostly flat.

Our kids had a wonderful time tying the knots.

They were super excited to make a blanket for a hospitalized child!

If you would like to make a blanket for a hospitalized child (and you don't know anyone personally!), there are lots of organizations that collect blankets and donate them to children in hospitals or other facilities.  You may want to check Project Linus, Operation Smile, or Nationwide Childrens.  I'm not affiliated with any of these...just trying to share some useful information!

Have you done a service project with your children?  I'd love to hear about it!

I may share at any of these parties!

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

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Sparkly Eggs Process Art

If you need a quick and easy last-minute craft for toddlers or preschoolers, this Sparkly Eggs Process Art is for you!

The set up takes just seconds, the process is super easy, but the results are wonderful!  All my kiddos (2-8 years old) loved the project!  It also provides a chance to experiment with mixing colors, exercise the fine muscles in the hands and fingers, and create something festive!

You only need these Simple Supplies:

* watercolor paints & paintbrushes
* paper
* black marker
* glitter
* optional: construction paper & scissors

Easy How To:

1.  Use the black marker to draw a giant egg on the paper. Older children and preschoolers may want to do this themselves. We also used this time to review the sounds that the letter "e" makes.

2.  Let your children paint the eggs with the watercolors!

3.  When they finish painting, but before the water dries, let them add glitter to their eggs.  If the water has dried, you can drizzle glue on it or give it a very light spritz of water from a squirt bottle (just be careful if you use water because it will mix the colors together).

Ta da!  Gorgeous sparkly eggs!

Optionally, you can cut out the egg and paste it on construction paper for a sturdier background.  

I may share at any of these parties!

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

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Beaded Name Hearts

Beaded name hearts are wonderful for name recognition and learning the sequence of letters in your name!

Today is the first day in the Name Recognition and Writing Series!!  I have been looking forward to this for over two months, and am so happy to get it started!  During the next few weeks, bloggers with young children will be sharing fun tips, ideas, activities, and strategies for helping your preschoolers learn to recognize and write their name!  I am SUPER excited to share it all with you!  These bloggers are passionate about early childhood!  Many of them are very experienced teachers and experts in their field!  Click here to see the current schedule!

Today's activity (Beaded Name Hearts) is a great name activity that also promotes fine motor and reasoning skills.  You will need these

Simple Supplies:

* wooden letter beads
(Ours were provided by Craft Project Ideas)

* pipe cleaners or other fuzzy sticks

Easy How To:

1- Let your children choose a color for their pipe cleaner and find the beads with the letters in their name.  If they can't find their own letters, provide the letters in their name with their name printed on a small piece of paper.

2- Encourage them to "write" their name on the pipe cleaner with the beads.  About half of my kiddos accidentally did it backwards...if this happens, show them how to "read" it and double check if it is correct.  They may need to redo it.  :)

3- When they're done, help them fold it into a heart...or any other shape they like!

Do you have a favorite name-learning activity?  I'd love to share it if you do!!

And be sure to join in the rest of the series here!!

I may share at any of these parties!

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

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Creative Weather Play & Poppins Book Nook

Would you believe a couple simple props can open up a world of creative play?  Check out these simple weather activities!

Sometimes I really believe we work too hard to entertain our children!  They have such brilliant little minds that sometimes need exercising more than entertaining, and when their little brains are allowed to work, they end up entertaining each other.  At the same time, they develop cognitive skills like problem solving and inventing, social skills, patience, and more!

This umbrella occasion was actually created by my 4-year old.  (Umbrellas may have been on his brain...check out the book below!)  He decided to build a campsite out of umbrellas.  Eventually, they added a "fire," bench, and table!

You can "invite" your children to create their own umbrella-based creative play world simply by placing an umbrella near them while they play.  If they don't notice it, try opening it up, closing it, and setting down.  Give them a smile if they aren't normally allowed to play with umbrellas!  I would love to see what your kiddos come up with!!

Umbrellas are loads of fun!  They can inspire all kinds of creative play, and opening and closing them is excellent fine motor exercise!  Just make sure your children are safe with them--they do have sharp and pointy edges.  If your kiddos won't be safe with them, use another prop to inspire play.

Spring is such a delightful time for umbrellas!  Be sure to check out The Umbrella by Jan Brett...it is full of rainforest animals, a little Spanish, and lots of umbrella fun!  {Amazon Affiliate Link below!}

And if you'd like some fun weather science activities, be sure to check out our hurricane model, rain gauge, and catch a cloud in a jar experiments!  Also this amazing preschool science experiment looks a lot like a colorful rain storm coming through clouds!

Every month Poppins Book Nook brings you books and activities focused around a theme!  This month the theme is weather!  You will want to see all the great weather ideas from these bloggers and enter the fantastic meteorologist giveaway at Enchanted Homeschooling Mom!!

Enchanted Homeschooling Mom – 3 Dinosaurs – ABC Creative Learning – As We Walk Along the Road – Brain Power Boy – Chestnut Grove Academy – Embracing Destiny – Every Bed of Roses – Farm Fresh Adventures –Growing in God’s Grace – Kathys Cluttered Mind – My Bright Firefly – Peakle Pie – Preschool Powol Packets –Pray Species – SAHM I am – Stir The Wonder – Sunny Day Family – Sweet Silly Sara – Teach Beside Me – To the Moon and Back – Tots and Me – Tree Valley Academy – Witty Hoots 

I may share at any of these parties!

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Wednesday, March 25, 2015


Gardening With Kids: Edible Flowers

Gardening with kids is both fun and educational, but it can be a little nerve-wracking if you have a child that likes to pop the flowers off of plants and eat them!

I've been through this stage with two of my own kiddos and decided the best solution is to plant flowers that are edible!  I now have a yard full of edible flowers!  I thought I'd share this collection of some of my favorites so you can grow them and not stress when your little one decides to eat the newest blossom!

A few quick precautionary notes: make sure you have the real plant and not a similar-looking, but toxic, imitation.  I like to buy the plants from our hardware store so I know exactly what they are.

Also, I am no doctor or even herbologist...just a mom and teacher trying to share something helpful. If you're concerned about something your child has eaten call a doctor or poison control.  Anything your child is allergic to can be deadly if eaten.

And, while many of these flowers actually have a pleasant flavor (especially if you remove the white, bitter base), some of them do not taste good at all.  If you plan to make a deliberate salad, sample the flowers first!  I've found that some of my toddlers have been much less picky about flavor than I am!

And now (without any more preamble!) here are 7 of my favorite edible flowers:








Once you have a healthy flower garden, I love to have a lesson with my children on the parts of a flower.  It's also loads of fun to make bouquets for neighbors, relatives, and the kitchen table!

I may share at any of these parties!

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