Monday, April 29, 2013

By the Pond for Preschoolers - Part 1

"By the Pond" is a wonderful theme to explore. Have you held a week on the topic yet? If not, I truly hope this will inspire you to do so; especially if you live...by a pond! :)


Polka Dots Mushrooms
Math & Outdoor Play : Polka Dot Mushroom Hunting

Well the polka dot mushrooms are out again. When I take time to make something like this, I make sure to use it over and over again as you can see! :) These polka dot mushrooms were originally purchased on Etsy.com from a seller who sold them as natural unpainted drawer pull knobs. They were already sanded and ready for painting so I simply painted them red with white polka dots. I numbered them 0-10 because back when I first made them, Adrian was only 3 years old but they are still fun to have around. Every time he sees them, it's the first thing he goes for. I usually hide them in the yard for him to find with a basket. Gives us a reason to get outdoors and do math at the same time. Sometimes I let him find them in whichever order, sometimes I "spy" a certain number, other times, he must find them in order from 0 to 10. When Adrian is ready, I'll set them out to practice oral addition and subtraction. He could then find the mushroom corresponding to the sum of 2 + 2 and so forth.

Snail in the yard
One of our snails in the front yard; we have at least a dozen roaming about in the morning

Play Dough Snails
The afternoon snails: made with play dough! :)

Adrian loves watching the snails in the grass in the morning. He knows they'll be gone by the time he is back from German school. He's picked some up before too but has since been told he probably shouldn't as snails prefer to go their own way...As such, I thought we'd make some play dough snails. There are plenty of snails by our local pond so it fitted our theme perfectly. We used colorful play dough, goggly eyes and small nails for antennae. Since the weather was nice, we made them outside and sat them in the grass for a quick picture when we were done. Adrian loved the activity so much that he asked for many colors of dough. I kind of wish he would have rolled his dough as well as he usually does instead of running to get more colors but the excitement got to him I guess! :)

Sink or Float Pond Edition
Sink or Float: Pond Edition

Having gathered some natural objects we once again did a "sink or float?" activity. This time, prior to having the items put into the water, I asked Adrian to separated them into two groups: the ones he thought would float and the ones he thought would sink. He actually thought pretty much everything would sink so it was fun to see his reaction when they were put in the water bowl. Later, Adrian went around the yard and tried to found more objects to try out. He tried very hard to find other items that would sink since we had only one (the river rock).

Life Cycle of a Frog
Life Cycle of a Frog

I actually wanted to use one of those little kits they sell to illustrate the life cycle of the frog but it would not have been here on time so I settled with the cards. I got mine for free at The Helpful Garden. If you haven't visited that blog yet, it's a great resource with lots of free materials for Montessori educators. You'll also find the 3-part cards of the life cycle there.

Theraputty Frog Spawn Exercise
Frog Spawn (goggly eyes) Stuck in a bed of Mud (Theraputty)

After having studied the frog's life cycle, Adrian remarked that the spawn looked like eyes. I had to agree, especially knowing I had prepared a little bowl filled with goggly eyes and Theraputty to represent frog spawn stuck in the mud! The idea was the strengthen Adrian's fine motor with the theraputty whilst linking it in with our pond theme. Besides, Adrian had been asking for weeks whether we'd be using the Theraputty in school again soon. He just loves working with it. Theraputty is a bit like Silly Putty but it comes in different strengths and is used by occupational therapists to strengthened fingers and hands. For this activity, I hid the goggly eyes in the putty and Adrian simply had to pull them out which seems very easy but isn't since the putty sticks to the eyes and surrounds them. Adrian loved the activity. We also did the variants below.

Theraputty Frog Spawn
Another version of the spawn in the mud

This time, I spread the theraputty on the table and hid the goggly eyes in it, pushing in and almost completely covering half of them in the theraputty. It was a lot more challenging to get them out this time but Adrian still managed to pull them out and loved the extra challenge. His fine motors most definitely got a work out on that one.

Theraputty Frogspawn Self
Adrian hiding and finding the frog spawn in the mud by himself

Eventually, I let Adrian hide the goggly eyes himself and pull them out himself as well. This activity was thus a progressive one that completely involved him.


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Your comments make my day ! 

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If you would like me to link up with you, please don't hesitate to ask, it might take me a week or two, but I generally do!

26 comments:

  1. I love your frog spawn activity. What an awesome way to incorporate scientific learning and fine motor practice in one!

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    1. Thank you Shaunna! It turned out rather nice considering I was simply looking for a way to include Theraputty into the week's activities! :) What to do next is the question...Adrian is asking for more Theraputty exercises...LOL

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  2. Thank so much for linking this to Look What We Did. I have featured this in a unit study, today.

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    1. Thank you Savannah! That is so nice of you. I'm glad my units happen to mesh with yours! Great minds think alike if what they say! :) I'm truly honored to be featured on Hammock Tracks's Look What We Did! :)

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  3. I love both of your pond unit posts! Thanks for sharing these great ideas!

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    1. And thank you for checking them out! I'm glad they are appreciated by others as well! :)

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  4. What a super idea for the frog spawn. I wish I would have seen this before our frog study. I definitely will use that idea when we revisit frogs at another time. Thanks for sharing!

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    1. Glad you like my twist on the frog spawn. I hope you'll get to try this one out with your little ones.

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  5. love love love the googly eyes spawn!

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    1. Thank you. Would you know the idea was simply born from me trying to involve Theraputty into our theme? Funny how such a fun and educational activity gets thrown into a theme sometimes! LOL

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  6. We're having a Butterfly unit this week and also found our cards at the The Helpful Garden, they have such great material!

    I really love your idea of using drawer pulls as mushrooms and numbering them with the polka dots. Simply ingenious. So ingenious in fact that I feel the urge to go out and look for some drawer pulls today.

    I found you through the Preschool and Kindergarten Community.

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    1. Tell me about it! I wish I was this good at making my own materials! :) Love the Helpful Garden. We'll be exploring bugs in two weeks so I'll keep the butterfly cards in mind! Thanks for the tip! ;) Go and get some drawer pulls; you won't regret it. When my son sees them out, it's the first thing he goes for each time and they have so many uses it's worth making them.

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    1. Thank you for taking the time to comment on the post Megan! Made my day! Glad you enjoyed the post! :)

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  8. I love the use of the googly eyes as tadpoles, so clever!

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    1. Thank you! Feel free to try it! It was tons of fun!

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  9. I love how you made the frog spawn

    Natasha @ Serenity You

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    1. Thank you Natasha! Adrian and I had lots of fun with the spawn! :) It was one of his favorite part during the week.

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  10. What fabulous fun! I love all of the hands on activities. Thank you so much for sharing. You can check out what we're doing at http://everystarisdifferent.blogspot.com. I can't wait to try out some of your ideas!

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    1. I will most definitely take a look at what you've been doing! Thank you for leaving a link and thank you for your kind words. This blog was a simple journal at first but it took a life of its own now so I'm just going with the flow and enjoying sharing with everyone! :)

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  11. Pinned them to my Pond Board :)
    Love the whole unit, although the snails are my favorite!
    You might like this Frog Sensory bin we did a while back:
    http://enchantedschoolroom.blogspot.com/2013/04/frog-sensory-bin-and-pond-unit.html
    I should have done a whole pond unit around it, lol!

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    1. Thank you! I did like the snails too. Adrian loved making them and putting them in the yard since we see the real ones there all the time. I will most definitely check out the Frog Sensory Bin. We don't do bins as often as we used to since they are time-consuming to make and Adrian seems to have outgrown them but my toddler will most likely love them when we start this fall and I found some pretty neat bins that are more "grown up" as well. I'll hop on your blog! Thanks for the link!

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  12. I have been having so much fun reading over your Pond unit! I've already pinned this as a resource for the future. I have to admit that the frog spawn activity is definitely my favorite! I know I want to do it, not just the kids. :) Thanks for sharing at Stress-Free Sunday at Fun-a-Day! I hope your week is going well.

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    1. Ha! I must say it was fun to prepare the frog spawn. I understood why Adrian wanted to do it over and over again! :) Theraputty is so addictive! :) I'm glad you found lots of activities to pin and try. We had a good week over here working on Pirates. Should be posting about it sometime next week...

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  13. This is such a fun idea! We are featuring your post tomorrow on Share It Saturday! Thanks for linking up, we love your ideas!
    Colleen at www.sugaraunts.com

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    1. Thank you so much! I'm happy I get to share and gather ideas at the same time. It's a great system! I grabbed my featured button with pride! Thanks again!

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