During our week of polar bears, we learned all about these creatures and where they live.
We made them (and their habitats) with a variety of materials, we played gross motor games aimed at teaching their behaviors, and finally, we used play dough!
For this activity, students added plastic icicles and glitter to white play dough.
They then used polar bears to create habitats for them.
Finally, students created stories about their creatures with their friends!
From birth through to early childhood, children use their senses to explore and try to make sense of the world around them. They do this by touching, tasting, smelling, seeing, moving and hearing.
Providing opportunities for children to actively use their senses as they explore their world through ‘sensory play’ is crucial to brain development – it helps to build nerve connections in the brain’s pathways.
This leads to a child’s ability to complete more complex learning tasks and supports cognitive growth, language development, gross motor skills, social interaction and problem solving skills.
For this activity, we used a few different materials to create snowman slime. We first combined corn starch and water to create the “slime”. This is a malleable substance that appears as a solid when placed on a hard surface and liquid when it is picked up.
Following this, students added black rocks, foam sheets, and black cardboard. These materials made up the eyes, nose, and hat of the snowman. Lastly, we explored the substance, watching it ooze through our hands as we played with it!
Play dough activities are a great way to help young children develop fine motor skills as well as bilateral coordination skills!
There are many other benefits as well. For one, play dough provides a great sensory medium, which can be used to help children who struggle with sensory processing.
Play dough play can also help develop coordination skills.
For example, young children will use hand-eye coordination to cut, poke and prod play dough and when using cookie cutters in the dough.
Lastly, manipulating play dough helps to strengthen hand muscles and develop control over the fingers.
For our week of snowman-themed activities, we utilized this medium to create our very snowmen.
We did this by combining play dough, googly eyes, pipe cleaners and rocks. We had so much for creating and then tearing down our creations!
Play dough can be found in almost any preschool classroom.
The most important benefit of play dough is the word “play”.
When teachers introduce play dough, children are simply given opportunity to play and learn at the same time.
There are several benefits to using this malleable substance.
One involves fine motor control. An important aspect of exploring play dough is the use of those fine muscles in the child’s hands.
Young children NEED to build their fine motor strength and control and time exploring play dough helps give those small hands a good workout.
Play dough also offers opportunities to increase vocabulary.
Time at a table with play dough is a terrific opportunity to naturally emphasize words like soft, squishy, roll, flatten, cut, squeeze, as well as just having simple conversation about what the children are doing with their hands.
For some children, play dough is about making something but for most, it is simply about exploring the process and talking about whatever comes to mind during the process.
For this activity, we created evergreen trees out of artificial pine boughs and green play dough. Everyone enjoyed creating their own trees, manipulating the play dough and having fun while doing so!
Parietal art is the archaeological term for artwork done on cave walls or large blocks of stone.
Also called “cave art”, it refers to cave paintings, drawings, etchings, carvings, and pecked artwork on the interior of rock shelters and caves.
The purpose of these remains of the Paleolithic and other periods of prehistoric art is not known.
However, some theories suggest that these paintings were not solely for decoration as many of them were located in parts of caves that were not easily accessed.
To delve into the Paleolithic world, we created our very own cave drawings!
Using butcher paper, water and fabric softener, we made the paper we would need for these drawings.
We did this by mixing the materials together.
After placing out to dry, we retrieved them and added oil pastels to create a story.
Lastly, we enjoyed talking about our pictures and what they represented!
Dramatic play enables young children to reconcile their world and its information to their own reality.
As a primary means of symbolic play, it plays a key role in your little ones’ intellectual development.
Symbolic play provides the forum for your little one to hone their language and social skills, as they practice new vocabulary and collaborate with one another in mutual story making.
For this activity, we played in a bear cave!
Using brown butcher paper, stuffed animals, and our imaginations, we pretended to be bears living in a cave with our friends!
Stalactites and stalagmites are formed by water dripping or flowing from fractures on the ceiling of a cave.
They are the most common types of speleothems in caves. In caves, stalagcites grow rather slowly while in artificial tunnels and basements they grow much faster.
When some stalactites touch each other they form a drapery with a curtain-like appearance.
To demonstrate this phenomena, we created our very own stalagcite gardens!
Using epsom salt and blue water, we watched their transformation before our eyes! We did this by mixing the materials together and then waited twenty-four hours to see the results!