Crozet Play School

Kids at Play in Crozet


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Melting Ice

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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!

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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.

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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!

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


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Snowy Fun

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In between all of our letter fun, we have been playing with lots of snowy items or making wintry art in the classroom.  I started a little penguin exploration on the light table.  We talked a lot about penguins last year, their habits, and types of penguins.  They are always such a fun animal for children to use in imaginative play.  I place the penguins on the light table with shades of blue ice cubes.  They made little houses and igloos and homes for the penguins.

 

Sensory Play:

 

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The following week I made a batch of snow dough using cornstarch and hair conditioner.  It is soft flaky dough, and the children really seemed to enjoy it.  It doesn’t bode well for cookie cutters, but it is perfect for shaping and squishing little penguin down inside of it.  I placed the dough and some wax paper on the light table to extend their interest in the penguins.  These are just a few of the photos of the different penguin set ups the children made.

 

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I thought it would be fun to juxtapose our snowy activities with some sand in the sensory tables.  It has been a long time since our sand box was opened up too!  I pulled both of the tables together to make a sand slide to connect them.  I also added a funnel holder by cutting apart a box to make a ledge and shoving the funnels down inside.  They enjoyed the funnels the most, and loved to watch the sand fill up under the funnels.

 

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Next to the sand tables I laid out something new on the art tables….Kinetic sand!  It is a very thick sand that is moldable, squishy, and just plain fun to get your hands on!  I also discovered these tiny castle molds at the craft store that were perfect for the kinetic sand.

 

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This is how many of the children have spent their mornings in January.  They have been collecting all of the paper supplies they can find and punching, coloring, cutting, taping, and making lots and lots of things for each other and their homes.  I love giving them a variety of materials and seeing what they come up with!  Their play sure is evolving right before our eyes!

 

Process Art:

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The children uncovered some patterned mittens with our watercolors.

 

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Then the watercolors were used for creating our own photos.

 

 

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We dripped acrylic paints inside of a box filled with marbles.  Then we got busy rolling them around to create some beautiful snowflakes.

 

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I put some different snowflake materials on the table one morning, and they got busy making lots and lots of snowflakes.  The biggest hit was the squeezable glitter glue! 

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I finally purchased a giant container of white paint.  I added white paint to different shades of blue and purple, to create this lovely paint invitation.  They painted the remainder of Brittany’s snowflakes and poured some glitter on top for good measure.

 

 

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Block Play:

 

 

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Block play continues to be a vital part of our morning play time.  These three buddies were proud of this enormous tower they put together using all sorts of blocks and chairs for standing on their tippy toes.

 

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We have continued to explore our marble run and make new marble paths to explore.

 

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D built this unique block house with a mixture of our unit blocks and smaller block pieces.

 

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The Magnatiles continue to be used again and again.  L lined up the magnatiles on the floor to create “Pizza Planet.”

 

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Our new dollhouse was untouched the first week back to school, but then I added some Lalaloopsys to the table and it was soon a popular spot in the room.

 

 

Even in the coldest of weather we continue to go outside everyday.  We usually stick to a brisk walk if the weather is really cold and windy.  But, one morning we had a break from the cold and made our way to the play ground.  What a treat!!

 

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The Snowy Day or should I say Snowy Days….

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We have missed a lot of school this year due to ice, snow, or a combination of the two!  I decided to embrace all of this winter weather by doing a few more snowy and icy activities mixed in our Valentine’s Day fun.  The first science experiment we did was an Ice Experiment.  We started by talking about ice and what happens to it when it starts to warm up.  We also discussed all of the plow and snow trucks and why they sprinkle salt on our roads. 

 

After our discussion I told the children that we were going to see what happens when we add lots of salt and water colors to large blocks of ice.  Here is a picture of the hypothesis the children had when we added salt to our ice blocks:

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Some of their thoughts were the salt:

was not going to stick

it was going to melt the ice

turn the ice into water

dissolve it

 

Some of the new words we discussed as a class were:

DISSOLVE

HYPOTHESIS

MELT

 

The M/W/F group also put their learning down on paper.  In the picture above of our hypothesis there are all of the learning journals from the students.  I drew the shapes of the ice for them, and they drew the colors and spots of the cracks in the ice.  I recorded their thoughts in their journal too.

 

After that great discussion we got to work! I set up our station with three different ice blocks, cups of salt, water colors and pipettes. 

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Both groups thoroughly enjoyed this activity.  I am always pleasantly surprised when you present children with engaging “invitations” the amount of time they will spend exploring, talking, and playing in them.  The T/TH group below actually made their ice crack open quickly because they spent a lot of time pouring salt on their ice.  They asked me for salt refills a number of times. 

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After they salted and painted their ice over and over again we carried the ice blocks outside in the snow.  We looked through the ice and studied the grooves and cracks the salt created.  Once the ice was dumped outside the last step was stomping on the ice to break it down into small bits.

 

 

 

children at work!

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One morning after snow I created a snow ice cream station for the kids.  I pulled out the scoops and ice cream dishes I found at the dollar store, and scooped some snow onto a large tray.  They spent a ton of time making snow ice cream for each other.

 

I am somewhat of a Pinterest fanatic.  I use it for almost all of my planning and a way to organize my ideas for school.  You can follow me on Pinterest here if you are looking for fun things to do with your kids.  Even if you aren’t on Pinterest you can still flip through my boards to see lots and lots of goodies. 

 

I found this art idea on Pinterest for The Snowy Day under my Winter Wonder boardThe Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats is a famous children’s book and a Caldecott Winner.  If you click on the title it will direct to amazon.com to purchase the book.  In the book Peter sets off to explore the new fallen snow.  When he returns home he wants to save some of the snow, so he packs it into a snowball and puts it in his pocket for later.  He is sad when he later looks inside his jacket to find the snowball is gone. 

 

As you can see this was the perfect book to read to go along with our “snowy” theme!

After we read the book children got to use a variety of paint brushes and sponges to make snow on their art work.  Then they glued an outline of Peter onto their paper.  This was a great follow up activity to The Snowy Day.

 

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I hope we are at the end of all of our snow and ice adventures!  I am ready to move on to all things spring!