We collected many of the fallen crab apples and then used the wooden play-doh hammers to smash them. It was quite satisfying!
Last week, two students had the idea to build a volcano. This week we followed up on that plan by making one out of paper mâché and wire, painting it red “like lava”. It then became a prop for dramatic play—this is the dinosaur’s birthday cake volcano!
After building the volcano, some of the kids wanted to make lava come out of it. We watched a video on volcanoes, and learned that the force of rocks pushing together can make melted rocks deep inside the earth (lava) push through cracks and tunnels in the earth to form mountain-like volcanoes. We’ve done the baking soda and vinegar experiment a few times and still many of the kids often call it water, so this time we decided to let them decide what to use to make the pretend lava. They decided on soap and water, adding things like rocks and sand to build pressure and make the volcano erupt. They did eventually fill it so full that the water overflowed, turning red as it went down the painted sides. On the whole the experiment seemed very satisfying for all involved, none of whom mentioned that it looked any different from the baking soda and vinegar. It was interesting to see that the kids really applied what they had learned from the video to “build pressure” and ultimately even took over the project themselves, which wouldn’t have happened had we simply started with baking soda and vinegar.
A sensory extravaganza! We smelled and tasted the herbs, we smooshed them into the play-doh, we rolled the play-doh flat and made “pizzas,” we stuck the herbs into the play- doh and made “trees.”
“It’s so goopy!”
“We are making a slime puddle See all this slime?”
“And there are diamonds in there.”
- Ratio of 1 Tablespoon of fiber supplement with Psyllium Husk to 1 cup of water and 1/3 cup black paint.
- Mix together these ingredients and heat on the stove or microwave until goopy consistency is reached.
- Add glitter, marbles and jewels
We harvested two of the pumpkins, which we planted from seed last Spring. We cut them open, smelled them, touched them, and scooped out the seeds.
We experimented with several strategies for opening up the pumpkins…
Last week, we started a real life recycle project, cutting up scrap paper into tiny pieces in order to eventually turn it into new, whole paper.
This week, we moved on to the next steps of paper making: turning it to mush. After ensuring all the pieces of paper were small enough, we added water, stirred it all up, and then put batches of the water and paper mixture into the blender. This made a smooth pulp, which was fascinating. The kids really enjoyed the sensory experience of squeezing the paper pulp, running their hands through it, and transferring it from container to container. This also inspired some sculpting with the paper pulp, and an experiment to see if we could make other things besides new paper from it. We have a few items drying, and will see next week how they turn out!
Children are constantly exploring and testing how their bodies, strength, and actions relate with the world around them. This is called proprioception, and is still being developed in young children (hence all the trips, falls, and no fear type craziness children sometimes exhibit). This also contributes to why children hit and push: combine lack of communication skills with low proprioception, and you get someone who may not know their own strength or the exact consequences of their actions. Pushing and hitting an inanimate object as a game can actually help develop proprioception, along with being a great tool for redirecting big emotions. We have worked a lot with this the last two weeks, coming up with agreements and even playing group games trying to use our strength to knock the heavy punching bag over.
We discovered a walnut tree in our newly expanded backyard! Brian showed us how to safely use the hammer to smash open the walnuts, revealing the hard shell and nut meat inside.
E incorporated the plane into the animal family play, using the semi truck to haul it to the mechanic. Pretend play offers a unique platform for everyone to bring their strengths and interests: different roles and plans can be carried out without one specific person necessarily having to lead or organize the play, and it can constantly change to reflect the needs and interests of those involved. In this way, the children are empowered to co-create, imagine, and work together to build plans that work for everyone.
The kids start by experimenting with different things they find near the ramp: Legos, blocks, balls, cars. Some go slow but stay on, some go fast but often slide right off. After figuring out that the cars/trains go fast and often stay on, a pretend play game emerges around taking turns using the railroad crossing as the turn taking device, which had been a challenging point of conflict previously.