Tuesday, February 10, 2009

January: Snow

We had two days in a row (due to snow and holidays) for preschool this week, and I think it was better for it because it provided some continuity. We focused on the physical properties of snow and conducted a few experiments with transforming water into ice and snow into water.
We also talked about how people and animals acclimate to winter and snow. We learned about igloos (Henry knew what the picture of the igloo was before we talked about it.) and then made igloos out of sugar cubes and frosting. Only a few of the kids were interested in doing that craft, and since it required my supervision, I didn't force the unwilling. We also made snowmen from marshmellows.
We made a life-size fort-style igloo with a sheet. The kids loved this and went back to it during free-play. They brought chairs in, which they fought over.
On day one, we went on a snow walk, which Andrew loved, Sadie enjoyed and which horrified Ella and Peekaboo. The girls were very afraid to walk in the icy conditions. We stayed out long enough to collect our ziplock bag of snow. We put the baggies on the counter while we read Snow Day (Ezra Keats) and Animals in Winter. Afterwards we went to see how our snow was doing. We talked about the melting process. We also filled plastic containers with water and a plastic toy. We then put the water in the freezer overnight to see what would happen the next day.
On day two, the kids used tools to excavate the toys from the ice. We talked about the freezing process.
I would highly recommend buying the book Animals in Winter. It was written in the 1960s, so it was hard to track down at the library (only Centreville had it). It was all about what animals do to survive the winter, including migration, hibernation, food storage and hunting.
The book ends with a discussion of things people can do to help animals in wintertime. We made bird-feeders from pinecones and peanut butter rolled in birdseed. Peekaboo was hilarious about this part, saying that she did not want to help the birds. I think she was just hungry for the popcorn we were eating.

Playdough was a big hit.