Monday, February 9, 2015

Preschool Science: Snow

Last week, we had a blizzard that wasn't (and we were all disappointed), but this week we actually had a snow day (though it wasn't the worst snow storm ever) so there was a lot of snow on the ground. I decided to capitalize on that fact to learn more about it.

I started with reading "Red Sled" by Lita Judge and then read some of the text from "The Story of Snow" by Mark Cassino. The snowflake pictures in this book are quite beautiful and the text lends itself to reading it at different levels (there is one large sentence and then supporting information in smaller font).

Before heading off to the stations, we created a "Snowstorm in a Jar" together based on this idea.

Relatively calm between alkaseltzer drops.
Snowstorm! Blizzard! Flurries!
I didn't want to waste baby oil, so I didn't try it first (GASP! I live so dangerously!!), but thank GOD it worked out great. I didn't have a jar, so I just cut the top off of a water bottle and that was a fine substitute, especially since the kids didn't touch this experiment.

Once the kids were having fun at the stations, I sat down nearby and let them drop alkaseltzer one by one in the bottle a little piece at a time. We would watch the resulting storm and then wait for everything to settle before having someone else drop alkaseltzer in. It worked very well and it kept working for each child who wanted to play with it.

Here's a video I took:

Now: the stations! I have been seeing lots of fun stations for snow-related things, so this group of stations was relatively simple to plan.

1 - Matching Snowflakes

I printed Snowflake Bentley original photos (found here) then cut them in half and laminated them. I thought the kids might find this boring (especially with the other possibilities) but they had a great time here and were quite proud of themselves when they matched the snowflakes correctly.

2 - Design a Snowflake

I got this idea from here. In the intro part, I showed the kids photos of the snowflakes, so at this station they were encouraged to create snowflakes on black felt using the sparkly materials provided. These were only to see, not to keep. There was no glue or anything provided to make these permanent. My sign says "snowflakes were meant to be beautiful, not to last forever!".

3 - Snow Painting

I got this idea from the amazing Storytime Katie (I urge you to check the link for more snow stuff, too!). I put out paper, watercolors, paintbrushes, and a plastic tub with snow. The children used the snow to paint with the watercolors and also enjoyed just plain painting the snow. The adults got in to this one, too. 

4 - Snow Dough

I know most people make snow dough with cornstarch and baby oil, but I didn't want to spend so much money on so much baby oil, so instead I tried this recipe. I was surprised at how quickly the adults dove in while some of the children were uneasy about getting their hands dirty. In the end, it smelled really good and the kids enjoyed playing with it, too, once their parents started having fun.

This Preschool Lab was relatively easy to plan and execute and cost me only in baby oil, baking soda, and shaving cream. I'll be doing this one again next year.

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