Fizzy Caterpillars

For our featured activity of our week of caterpillars, your little one participated in a simple science activity that combined five our our favorite items….baking soda, vinegar, playdough, food coloring, and googly eyes! Before we got started with our science activity, we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.

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Each student was given a card that had a picture of an item from the story. During the reading of the story, each child was selected to place their “card” onto a large leaf made of felt. Once we read the book, we talked about what caterpillars looked like and made our own using some playdough.

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We love finding ways to connect books we read with simple science activities, so we decided to make our playdough caterpillars fizz! We used a lot of different materials, including a large plastic tray, playdough, vinegar, baking soda, food coloring, an eye dropper, googly eyes, and scissors.

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First we made caterpillars with playdough and added pipe cleaner antennae and googly eyes. While we made our caterpillar we counted each ball and talked about the simple color patterns we were creating with them.  Next, your budding entomologist made a good sized thumbprint in each caterpillar segment. While we made our thumbprints we counted our playdough balls again. Then, we filled the thumbprint sized hole with baking soda and added one drop of food coloring to each hole. Then, the students were asked about what was going to happen.

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Each child vocalized  some predictions. Some predicted which side of the playdough balls the liquid was going to run off of as it exploded. They also predicted which colors they thought they would see as the eruptions happened.

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Once they made their predictions, each child filled up an eye dropper and dropped some vinegar on top of each caterpillar segment.

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The colored fizzing explosions were a hit with your little ones. They were content to do this activity again and again and again.

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Caterpillars on a Branch

Caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies.

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They feed almost exclusively on plants. The plants that caterpillars eat are called host plants.

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A caterpillar may spend its entire lifetime on one host plant, as he consumes the leaves needed to sustain him within his cocoon. To help foster your little one’s understanding of the caterpillar diet, we constructed our very own habitats!

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Using clothespins with pictures of caterpillar cocoons on them, and branches that were fastened to the trees in our front play yard, we helped our creatures find a spot for their metamorphosis.

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Collaborative learning projects enable your little one to develop valuable social skills as they grasp new vocabulary. Through hands-on experimenting with natural materials, your little one was able to exchange ideas with their friends, working together to better understand the world around them. The squeezing of the clothespins also helped your little one with their fine motor skills as it strengthened the tiny muscles in their hands.

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Making Nectar

Butterflies do not obtain their nutritional needs through traditional means.
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They possess a long, narrow tube in their mouth called a proboscis that acts as a straw for drinking.
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The most common form of acquiring nutrients is by gathering nectar from flowers.
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Using their proboscis, they suck the nectar out of the flower.
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To help you little one understand how this works, we created our very own nectar with sugar and water.
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We then used straws to enjoy to our delicious treat!
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Young children are able to grasp new information more readily when they are able to recreate what they are learning.

Cocoon Wrapping Game

Group games involve two or more individuals and are one of the most exhilarating, exciting and fulfilling interactive experiences for children.

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These games are memorable because they are shared with friends, and are irreplaceable gems that provide a foundation for the development of social skills.

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This activity involved wrapping our friends up into “cocoons.”

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Each child was given a long piece of light blue fabric that they were to “wrap” around their partner. This helped your little one understand a little bit about how metamorphosis works. Learning about the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly can be a very rewarding experience for young children.  Their open and vivid imaginations enable them to watch in awe as these critters transform before their very eyes. As they regard what these creatures are doing at each stage in their life cycle, they gain a greater understanding of the changes we all experience, and a deeper appreciation for nature.

Colors of the Wind

Color and shape are two very noticeable attributes of the world around us. When you look out your window, you may not be saying it … but your mind is noticing and identifying the green trees, brown rectangle buildings, square windows, and blue sky. Color and shape are ways children observe and categorize what they see. These very recognizable characteristics encourage children to define and organize the diverse world around them. For this activity, we used rainbow ribbons, and the song Colors of the Wind (from Pocahontas) to talk about colors!

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We also looked at a variety of bug pictures to describe the variations in color among the different critters. Students first played a memory game, where they were told to memorize a variety of disappearing items of same and differing colors. They than sang a song about the color yellow. Following this, they listened to the song Colors of the Wind as they danced around the room with rainbow streamers. After that, they looked at a variety of bug pictures. Lastly, they drew a picture of a rainbow! Developmentally appropriate music activities (such as music and movement) involve the whole child-the child’s desire for language, the body’s urge to move, the brain’s attention to patterns, the ear’s lead in initiating communication, the voice’s response to sounds, as well.

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