March 10, 2014

Preschool STEAM: Windy Days @ the Library

The weather is finally starting to look up a little, but with that comes the windy days of March! Last week our 4 and 5 year olds enjoyed stories and activities about wind. Here are 2 of the books we enjoyed:

Huff & puff Huff & puff  by Claudia Rueda
Children play the part of the Big, Bad Wolf in this fun book. They enjoy the surprise ending!

The wind blew. The wind blew by Pat Hutchins
The wind creates a mess as it blows away all sorts of items!

Instead of our normal movie and craft, the children were able to choose from several STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math) activities.

This was probably the most popular station. We had 2 buckets set up, one with icy water and one with hot tap water. The children placed a small plastic pop bottle with a balloon on top into the cold water and then into the hot water to see what would happen. They were amazed when the balloon would stand up in the hot water and collapse in the cold. I think they would have stayed at this one the whole time if we hadn't encouraged them to try the other activities.

A couple of thoughts if you want to do this at home: The more extreme the hot and cold are, the better it seems to work.

If you blow up the balloon, or really stretch it out, before you put it on the bottle, it seems to work better.
 A simple one: We had a bowl full of water and some foam cut out shapes for the children to float like little boats. Then we had them blow with straws to create wind on their "lake." It didn't take long before they were blowing into the water as hard as they could. But then, that's just more experimenting with wind, right?

We did have a garbage can right next to this one so that they could throw away the straws as soon as they were finished.

We made pinwheels for our art activity. I had a fan set up on one of the tables that the children could use to test out the pinwheels. We also had streamer sticks, feathers and scarves that they could use. Again we saw amazement when the children watched the pinwheels spin wildly.

It took a little experimenting to find the spots that would blow best and how far to stand from the fan. There were some spots that didn't blow at all, where some would go crazy. And yes, I did tell the children not to touch the fan. I also had it set back far enough on the table that they couldn't touch it easily.

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