Paint Bag Comets

Color has been an intense topic of interest for thousands of years. Mathematicians, philosophers, physicists, and poets have all contributed to our understanding of color.

To tie in an artistic element within our comet theme, we spelled the word comet using paint bags. These colorful packets contain paint, stars, and the word comet written on a laminated sheet of paper.

Using their fine motor skills, students manipulated the bags until they could see the letters C-O-M-E-T in the bags!

Comet Spelling

Gross and fine motor skills help foster language development from infancy to early childhood.

For these two activities, we combined these skills to spell the word COMET!

Our three and four year olds spelled this word using chalk and glass beads, while our two year olds did so using q-tips and paint.

Rocket Ship Dramatic Play

Dramatic play benefits are numerous. In addition to supporting creativity and self-expression, dramatic play can help children learn real life skills and social skills that can serve them throughout their lives.

The benefits of dramatic play include learning conflict resolution, helping children to learn creative problem-solving skills alongside their peers.

Dramatic play also allows children to explore self-empowerment, allowing kids the opportunity to make choices, act out their feelings, and find a new connection to themselves.

For this activity, students participated in a dramatic play activity where they (along with their friends) “flew” to the Kuiper Belt! Different students played different roles. Some were the passengers, some steered the rocket, some were the engineers, and some were the engine or “fire”.

Students counted down from 10 to 1 and “flew” to the music of Star Wars. Along their adventure, students faced asteroids, interference, and black holes!

Astronaut Food

Living and working in a microgravity environment requires culinary ingenuity and creativity. In the early days of space flight, Mercury astronauts would consume puree squeezed from tubes and cubes of dry goods.

Currently, NASA uses freeze-dried food to create nutrient dense food for astronauts. For this activity, students used a few simple materials to create their very own astronaut food.

This activity was so great because it accessed a host of development skills!

By manipulating the different tools, students practiced their fine motor skills. By figuring out food amounts, they practiced measuring: an essential math skill. By following directions, they practiced their listening skills.

Paper Moon Rock Walk

Small group time is a meaningful and important part of any preschooler’s day. It’s a time when teachers work with a small group of students and individualize instruction based on student needs.

For this group project, we explored the surface of the moon!

Using rocks and shredded paper “moon dust”, your little ones went on an adventure!

They used their hands to search for rocks, often teaming up with their friends to complete the task.

It was so exciting! Not only learning about what was on the surface of the moon, but the tactile feel of the paper “dust” sliding through our fingers!

Jasper is cute. I like his cheeks.

Star Manipulatives

Manipulatives are an invaluable tool in any preschool classroom. They help students learn by allowing them to move from concrete experiences to abstract ones. Experts in education posit that this learning takes place in different stages.

For preschool children, the first stage involves symbolic thought. This refers to recognizing and labeling symbols that take on different meanings. Two examples of these are letters and numbers.

Seeing a letter, understanding that it is a symbol for something else (a sound), and then being able to create that letter is a difficult feat for any young learner. It is our goal to break up this reasoning into small steps that can be readily accessed by the young learner.

Manipulatives can also be important tools in helping students think and reason in more meaningful ways. By giving students concrete ways to compare and operate on such quantities, symbols, and other features can contribute to the development of well-grounded, interconnected understandings of different ideas.

For this activity, students used manipulatives to create the word STAR. They placed the manipulatives onto different points of the letters and then saw the final product!

Alla Seltzer Rockets

Your little ones love to explore with the many science activities that we do throughout the week.

These activities not only engage your child, but explain the physical properties of objects, teach cause and effect, and provide the necessary hands-on experience most conducive to learnng.

For this activity, w used alka seltzer tablets and film canisters to make rockets.

To do this, we mixed the ingredients, and poured them into film canisters.

These film canisters were decorated like rockets.

Upon mixing the ingredients, we squealed as we watched our rockets soar to the sky!

Sensory Play on Mars

Sensory Play includes any activity that stimulates your young child’s senses: touch, smell, taste, movement, balance, sight and hearing.

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Sensory activities facilitate exploration and naturally encourage children to use scientific processes while they play, create, investigate and explore.

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The sensory activities allow children to refine their thresholds for different sensory information helping their brain to create stronger connections to process and respond to sensory information.

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As part of our Planet’s week, we decided to create the surface of Mars.

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With some pasta, red sand, and kidney beans, we learned about the composition of the soil on Mars, and then we made it!

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Neptune: Planet of Diamonds

Scientists have long thought that massive planets like Neptune and Uranus which contain relatively tiny rocky cores covered with a mantle of slurried water, ammonia, and methane ices and surrounded by a thick atmosphere—are subject to rain made with literal diamonds.

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Now researchers have synthesized the process in a lab, showing how such conditions might occur. Their results support this idea.

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To recreate this process in our class, we created our very own Neptune s with glass beads and play dough. In our classroom, we love to play with play dough because it has so many developmental benefits!

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For one, improves fine motor skills as students manipulate the dough. Secondly, it encourages divergent thinking as students build their own creations. Lastly, it builds creativity, as students use their imaginations!

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Dissolving Neptune

Dark, cold and whipped by supersonic winds, ice giant Neptune is the eighth and most distant planet in our solar system.

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More than 30 times as far from the Sun as Earth, Neptune is the only planet in our solar system not visible to the naked eye. Neptune’s atmosphere is made from about 80 percent hydrogen and 19 percent helium.

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It also contains a small amount water and methane, which give rise to the green-bluish color. The dark blue and bright white features of the atmosphere help distinguish Neptune from Uranus.

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The thin cirrus-like white clouds contain methane ice. When hydrocarbon snowflakes form in Neptune’s atmosphere they melt before reaching the surface because of the high pressure. The fastest winds in the Solar System blow on Neptune.

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With speeds of about 1,240 mph, they are five times faster than the strongest winds on Earth! To help your little ones understand the vast gases of Neptune, we created our very own!

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Using baking soda and lotion as our play dough, we constructed spheres that resembled the planet. We then used eye droppers to add vinegar to the dough, laughing as we watched.

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