After magnetic rocks were found in the desert centuries ago, people have tinkered around with them and found all sorts of inventive ways to use the push and pull of polarized materials. You’ll find magnets everywhere these days, even colorful magnetic alphabet letters.
For this activity, your little ones learned about what magnetism is and how it works.
First, it was explained that when magnetism was first documented, the Greek philosopher Thales of Milletus (585 BC) noticed that a certain stone (called lodestone) stuck to metals made with iron. Other materials, such as rubber and wood, didn’t have that effect. Your little one would soon discover why! They were then handed a magnetic wand. Next, it was explained that some things would stick to the magnet, while others would not.
Following this, students were given a variety of different materials, noting how some stuck to the wand, while others fell off. Lastly, your budding magnetic masters were given a plastic bottle filled with pipe cleaners in the shape of hearts, watching with glee as they stuck to their wands!
This activity allowed all of us to become scientists! Using baking soda, vinegar, water, and conversation hearts, we learned how to make candy dance!
Students first added a tablespoon of baking soda to their bowls, stirring, and watching it dissolve with the water. Then they carefully picked out a conversation heart and dropped them into the solution. Holding a ramekin, your little ones slowly poured in about 1/4 cup of vinegar.
Then we sat back and watched with super excitement as the hearts began bobbing up, down and all around the cup. When baking soda is added to the solution, carbon dioxide gas bubbles begin forming. These gas bubbles stick to the conversation hearts, pulling them up as they rise to the surface. When the gas bubbles burst, the hearts fall back down until enough bubbles form to pull it back up again. The up and down movement makes it appear as though the hearts are wriggling and dancing.
Manipulative play is great for young children eager to learn how the environment around them works.
As children play with manipulatives, they grow an understanding of spacial recognition, concepts of size, shape, and weight, hand-eye coordination, and fine motor skills.
We use manipulatives to teach a variety of different things in our classroom.
For this activity, we used plastic and paper hearts to create the letter H.
Writing can be especially frustrating for the young child, as they are still strengthening the small muscles in their hands.
Manipulatives allow them to create letters without the frustration.
Young children are naturally curious.
They wonder what things are called, how they work, and why things happen.
The foundations of scientific learning lie in inquiry and exploration — these are the tools of active learning.
Fostering young children’s sense of curiosity about the natural world around them can promote a lifelong interest in it.
To do so, children need to observe things first-hand as much as possible.
The younger the children, the simpler and more concrete the activities need to be.
For this activity, we used gummy hearts and toothpicks to create structures. This enabled your little ones to become engineers!
Though engineering may seem like a daunting task for the preschooler, we use problem-based learning to introduce such concepts.
Problem-based learning allows students to control the direction and pace of their learning by means of problems that are centered around an open-ended challenge.
Activities that promote investigation, creative critical thinking, and hands-on subject matter are central to problem-based learning.
Using candy hearts, we learned about measurement, counting, and numbers! To begin with, each child was given five paper hearts with various numbers written on them.
They then placed a number of candy hearts onto each paper, counting as they did so. After this, we talked about what the various numbers look like. Lastly, we recounted our hearts to double check our answers!
By counting, young children gain an understanding of concrete relationships.
Students also learn that each object gets one number. In gaining insight of these relationships, they acquire a basic understanding of the abstract.
Children at this age also need such experiences to relay abstract concepts.
They may look at a number on a piece of paper, but not make the association between that number and an amount.
Children (and adults) learn best and retain the most information when they engage their senses.
By giving children the opportunity to investigate materials with no preconceived knowledge, they develop and refine their cognitive, social and emotional, physical, creative and linguistic skillsets.
For this activity, we searched for hearts and letter Hs in bins of red tinsel.
Once these items were located, your little ones were directed to place their Hs onto Hs that were drawn on the sidewalk, and their hearts into heart-shaped bowls.
The primary cognitive skills sharpened by this sensory play were problem solving and decision making; students were presented with a problem and various materials with which to find a solution.
This activity also allowed your budding writers to be in complete control of their actions and experiences, which boosted their confidence in decision making and inspired their eagerness to learn and experiment.
This kind of sensory play also teaches kids about cooperation and collaboration.
As the children work together or side by side, they learn to understand someone else’s viewpoint.
Prewriting activities for preschool children below are a great way to build essential, foundational fine motor skills.
These skills will include hand strength, directional movement patterns, and effective hand position, which will then facilitate making lines, letters, and shapes.
All development comes in predictable stages. Before a child can write, he must have the prerequisite fine motor skills necessary to use his wrist and hands properly and effectively. For this activity, we used shaving cream, food coloring, and our fingers to trace the letter V, for valentine! Students initially combined the shaving cream with their food coloring, and then added this mixture to their trays. Using their fingers, they traced the letter V, going from up to down and left to right.