January 2009



Skills: experimenting; observing

Materials: construction paper, scissors, paper clips

Directions: Cut out the attached whirly bird (click to download). Fold over the bottom sections and attach a paper clip at the bottom. Fold down the top flaps in opposite directions. Hold the whirly bird high in the air and then let it go. Whee! Go out on the playground and drop whirly birds from a climber.

 Whirly Birds

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Adaptations: Fold the flaps in the same directions and let it go. Will it fly? Why not? Will it work without the paper clip? Make whirly birds out of different types of paper (newsprint, tissue paper, card stock, etc.) and predict which one will fly best. Experiment and compare results.


Skills: observing; communicating

Materials: sand, shovel or large spoon, plastic container, magnifying glass, tweezers, newspaper or large flat pan

Directions: Go outside and dig up some dirt from under a bush or tree. Spread the dirt out on the newspaper or a large pan. Use the magnifying glass to look at the dirt. What do you see? Can you tell a story from the bits of things you find in the dirt? Use the tweezers to separate the objects you find.

Adaptations: Collect soil samples from different areas of your playground and place in a plastic bag and label. How are the soil samples different? Why? Ask grandparents, friends, and relatives to send your class soil samples from where they live. Compare the different types of soil found in different areas of our country.


Skills: sense of touch

Materials: old socks, common objects such as a ball, block, crayon, spoon, shell, sponge, coin, magnetic letter, etc.

Directions: Place a different item in the toe of each sock. Tie a knot in the top the sock. Have children feel the sock and then try to guess what it is. You could also number the socks and ask the children to write or draw pictures of what they think is in each sock.

 Feely Socks

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Adaptations: Put unusual items in the socks, such as Styrofoam packing, a scouring pad, or items from nature. Let the children reach in the sock and identify different objects.


Skills: sense of smell

Materials: film canisters, objects with a distinguishing smell, such as cinnamon, cocoa, baby powder, coffee grounds, lemon slice, bubblegum, etc., cotton balls

Directions: Place a different object in each film canister. Put 3 cotton balls on the top so you can’t see the object. Put on the lids. Have children open, smell, and identify what is in each.


Skills: sense of taste

Materials: paper plates and napkins

Directions: Ask each child to bring in a snack to share with their friends. Discuss the importance of bringing in fresh, healthy foods such as fruits, vegetables, cheese, etc. Ask parents to prepare the food in bite size pieces so everyone in the room can have a taste. Encourage the children to sample all of the items. Which foods were sweet? Salty? Do a graph of their favorite foods.


Skills: classifying

Materials: shoe box, tape, scissors, cardboard, magazines, catalogs

Directions: Cut a piece of cardboard to fit down the middle of the shoe box and tape it in place. Label one side of the box “inside” and draw a picture clue of a house. Label the other side “outside” and draw a picture clue of a sun. Let the child cut out magazine pictures and sort them according to where they would find them.

 Sorting Box

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      Sort pictures of objects that are real and pretend.
      Sort pictures of living and nonliving objects.
      Sort pictures of healthy foods and junk foods.
      Sort pictures of objects that are big and little.
      Sort pictures of objects that are found on the land or water.
      Sort pictures of items that can be recycled and cannot be recycled.


Skills: observing; recording

Materials: blue sky with fluffy clouds, blue paper, white chalk

Directions: Take children outside on a day when there are cumulus (white, fluffy) clouds. Ask the children if they can find clouds that look like animals or other objects. Explain that clouds that look like cotton are called cumulus clouds. Let the children sketch pictures of the clouds with chalk on the blue paper.

Adaptations: Draw illustrations of clouds on other days when there are stratus, nimbus, or cirrus cloud formations. Read IT LOOKED LIKE SPILT MILK.


Materials: paper towel roll, tape, hole punch, string or yarn

Directions: Cut the paper towel roll in half. Tape the two halves together. Punch a hole in the top of each roll and tie a piece of string through the holes. (Make sure the string is long enough to go easily over the head.) Let the children decorate the binoculars with markers or crayons. Take a nature walk and then have the children draw what they saw through their binoculars.


Click for larger image

Adaptations: Have children look out the window and then describe, write, or draw what they saw.

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