Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet

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Melting Ice


We have had a lot of stops and starts in the past two weeks!  After a long winter holiday break the children were just settling back into a school routine….then it snowed!  We had a long weekend with school closings and delays.  I thought it would be fun to talk about ice and how it melts.  First we had a big discussion of ice and snow and where it comes from.  Then we talked about why were haven’t been able to come to school these past few days.  Lastly the children hypothesized what they could do to melt the huge ice blocks in the art studio.  They got right to work exploring the materials and seeing how they could free the animals from the ice!


I set up a large table with two blocks of ice, salt, and a variety of watercolors.  They could use small or large water droppers to put the watercolors on the ice.




While the children were working on the ice they discussed a number of different learning topics:

  • how to squeeze the dropper was a BIG topic of discussion!  The dropper takes a lot of coordination, fine motor ability, and hand/eye coordination.  Many children struggled with the droppers, but they were so interested in the ice that they kept with it until they mastered the skill!
  • why was there water on the tray
  • why was the ice changing color
  • how come they could get the animals out of the ice that used to be stuck
  • what was the salt doing to the ice
  • how come the ice started to get holes inside of it
  • and many, many other thoughtful questions and ideas were posed while they were working

You can hear the children discussing some of these ideas in the videos:

For this science experiment, the children then came back to the carpet and drew pictures in their learning journals of the changes to the ice!  I will share some of their drawings next post.

By Friday morning we had melted and refroze our ice all week long, but it still wasn’t completely melted.  So we took the ice outside to see what the warmer temps and some hammers would do to the ice!


Here is the video of the kids with the ice outside:

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Quadrilla Marble Run



Lucky for us Santa brought this amazing new Quadrilla marble run!  The marble run is made by Hape, and their wooden toys are top notch.  The possibilities are endless for set up and use of this marble run.  Most of these pictures are taken on the same morning, but we have set it up multiple ways the first week of school.  The only downfall is that it can fall down fairly easily.  I tried to pick the marble runs with the sturdiest set-up, but it has toppled over a few times.  We just get right to work building a different one when it falls!  It also has taught them to be careful when they are playing with it if they want it to stay in one piece!


If you are reading this through the email browser, the video will not show up.  You will have to visit to view the full videos!


playing with the marble run



more videos from our marble run!





The children are slowly starting to learn how all of the parts of the marble run work.  They have even built back parts of it if they knocked it over by Friday.  I can’t wait until they are building their own marble runs in the future!

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New Snack Routines




In some of my earlier blog posts I talked about lots of changes in our classroom routines this year.  One of the biggest changes we made was about our snack routine.  Last year the class learned how to serve themselves snack, set the table and wash their dishes. 


This was such a great learning process for them, but I wanted snack to be more of a part of our morning choice time, than a designated time for everyone to eat.  My thinking behind these changes were a few reasons:

  1. 1.  To empower the students to choose when they were hungry and wanted to eat
  2. 2. Allow them to learn how to serve themselves different snack items (this is a lot of fine motor work, pouring water, scooping food, and the feeding process)
  3. 3. Snack isn’t as big because they are just eating the designated amounts of food (last year they often ate quite a bit because it was more of a social event)




Learning how to “serve” themselves has proven quite challenging at times.  Yogurt, peanut butter, and other snacks can be tricky to scoop and pour.  I often find them helping each other if one child is more confident with the snack preparation.



There are cards are placed on the table with the ingredients.  After I took these pictures I re-did the cards with picture clues as well so they knew what was written.  Ms. Lori thought to draw dots under the numbers as well to help them count “how many” of each item they should take.





It is amazing how much learning takes place while they are eating:

1. fine motor work

2. communication skills

3. cooperation skills (working together and helping each other)

4. math skills (counting the items to serve themselves)



Another aspect I love is seeing the children eating with different people each day!  Last year they always wanted to sit next to their buddy for snack time.  Now they end up eating when they are hungry and visit with new friends.  It has proven to be such a great set-up.  I truly think the children feel very empowered too!