Sunday, December 22, 2013

Sensory Snow Play

Today was a cold and rainy Sunday, and we needed something fun to do indoors. Living in the southeast, we don't often get snow so I thought it might be fun to allow the girls to enjoy some sensory snow. Making and playing with the snow was a great measuring, exploring and building activity. I allowed Bug to measure out the ingredients (baking soda and hair conditioner) and mix them all together. We all got into the mixing part.



We used white hair conditioner from the dollar store so our snow had a distinct coconut scent which made us feel more like a tropical vacation than the cold winter snow. 

The great thing about this sensory snow recipe is that it made moldable snow.  This provided for great building opportunities.  We made balls of different sizes and sorted them to build a snowman.


We also made balls of the same size and figured out how many balls we needed to make a pyramid.  Overall, some great spatial reasoning activities all while having fun and not even realizing we are learning.



I will warn you that our snow got everywhere - mostly due to Little Bear, but it vacuumed up right away!



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Sensory Snow

Supplies:

  • 3 cups baking soda
  • 0.5 cups hair conditioner

Instructions:
  1. Mix the baking soda and hair conditioner in a container.  We doubled the amount of ingredients for our play.
  2. Make, mold, explore!


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Ice, Blubber, and Artic Animals

We started the day talking about our trips to Iowa, Ohio, and New York and how cold it is during the winter.  It is really cold when we go sledding, but luckily, our Grandmas always have warm jackets, hats, mittens, and boots for us to wear.  Jumping Bean and Jelly Bean, my twin girls, then started to ask how Roxy, our dog, was going to stay warm.  After all, dogs don't wear clothes Jumping Bean reminded me.  This was the perfect opportunity for us to talk about how animals stay warm out in the cold.

First, we looked through the books Arctic Babies, by Kathy Darling and Polar Mammals, by Larry Dane Brimmer.  We looked at the pictures with all the ice and snow, and then realized how big some of the animals are or how much fur they had on their bodies.  Keeping it simple, I read a few captions from the books about how blubber, or fat, keeps animals warm in the Arctic.  Next, our conversion went in a whole new direction - Santa.  "Santa lives in the North Pole too,"  Jelly Bean expresses.   "Is that why he has a big tummy?  Too keep him warm?"  Well, how can you respond to a 3 year old?  I just giggled.

To help Jumping Bean and Jelly Bean understand blubber and insulation, we did a little experiment.  "YAY,"  along with little feet running to the closet is all I hear when experiment is mentioned.  We grab two big bowls and rubber gloves out of the closet.  Next, I fill each bowl with ice and water.  I ask the girls how long they think they can keep their hands in the ice, cold water.  Jelly Bean says for 181 23,000 minutes (I think we need to work on numbers and time).  Jumping Bean is a little more realistic and predicts 100 seconds.  They both submerge their hands in the water, and Jumping Bean immediately takes her hands out.  "The water is too cold.  I don't have blubber like Santa."  Again, I just have to giggle.  Jelly Bean kept her hands in for a bit longer, but not much.


After submerging our hands in the ice, cold water, I asked the girls how animals stay warm in the arctic.  "Blubber," they shouted in unison.  To imitate blubber, the girls put rubber gloves on, and then we coated the gloves with shortening.  To help with the mess, we wrapped plastic wrap on top of the shortening.  Then, the girls played in the water.  They cold not feel the cold and all.  Both were amazed.  For only being able to withstand the cold for seconds, the "blubber" allowed them to play in the ice water for at least 15 minutes. 

Then the fun really started, the girls were curious about shortening - how it tasted, if it would stick to their noses, or if it was squishy like butter. 

And somehow, what they took away from all of this, is that whales eat baby seals.  But, I couldn't get the camera quick enough before the baby seal was gone.


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Blubber Experiment

Supplies:
  • bowl with cold water and ice cubes
  • shortening
  • rubber gloves
  • plastic wrap

Instructions:
  1. Fill the bowl with ice and water. Allow the child to experiment with how comfortable it is to put their hands in the water.
  2. Dry hands and put the rubber gloves on the child. Then coat the gloves in shortening and cover in plastic wrap.
  3. Prompt the child to predict if the water will feel colder/the same/warmer.
  4. Allow the child to experiment again with how comfortable it is to have their hands in the cold water.
  5. Have fun!

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Go to www.littleblast.com for more fun, hands-on ice activities for your preschoolers!


Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Looking Forward to a New Format

littleBLAST blog has really enjoyed sharing fun science activities and researching studies to understand the math and science principles our preschoolers should be learning. However, something has been missing - us, our family, our mishaps, our challenges, our victories.  littleBLAST blog will continue to share fun science activities for all to enjoy, but now, you will learn about the activities and us.  We hope you enjoy reading about our experimental adventures.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Deductive Reasoning Skills and Worksheets for Preschoolers

It has been shown that preschoolers are logical and able to demonstrate deductive reasoning. One deductive reasoning task is understanding the order of steps to create to final picture.

Here are some fun deductive reasoning activities to do with your preschooler as a free worksheet download.




Click HERE to download the worksheets.

For each activity ask your child to tell you the order of the pictures to make a completed picture.   There are a number of ways you can do this: cut out and glue the numbers in the corresponding place, write the numbers in the correct location or cut out each picture and allow the child to line them up in order.   You could even do all three!

We hope you enjoy them and look forward to your comments and feedback.

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Music, Patterns and Spatial Reasoning

Spatial reasoning is an important skill for children to develop at an early age. As seen in the Construction BLAST, block play, structure building, and pattern formations are necessary activities to help promote these skills. Studies have shown that music is another key component to improve skills in spatial reasoning. Studies show that music training helps preschoolers form mental images in their mind, and then use physical objects to create this image. Patterns in math, science, and music are both concrete and abstract. To read more about how spatial reasoning and music, click on the following link.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Using Blocks to Develop Pattern Recognition


Pattern recognition and completion is an important skill and activity for young children, as well as an important part of early childhood education.



Use any blocks at home to make patterns and ask the child to add the next piece.  Blocks are great as they allow you to build vertically in addition to the regular left to right pattern.



If you are using connecting blocks, you can also encourage counting by offsetting the blocks.  This encourages thinking beyond a straight line.




Please let us know how you enjoyed this activity in the comments below or share your pictures of patterns on facebook.  We look forward to hearing from you.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Developing Spatial Reasoning with Gum Drops and Pretzel Sticks

In this month’s BLAST we explore construction of two- and three-dimensional shapes.  You can expand upon the spatial reasoning activities included in this lesson by building geometrical figures with gum drops and pretzel sticks. Here are some fun shapes we made while playing:




These are some suggestions of shapes to start with but let your child’s imagination be the guide!

* square
* pentagon
* cube
* pyramid
* house

We can’t wait to hear what figures you made! Leave a comment below or post a picture to our facebook page to show us your child’s creativity. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Blocks - A Time to Play and Learn

Children at a young age have a difficult time seeing where blocks go in relationship to each other.  To help teach this spatial reasoning, or envisioning block placement, parents and caregivers should provide time to play with blocks.<  Preschoolers who build with blocks and play with puzzles improve their spatial reason skills.  These skills are a direct correlation to math readiness from counting to adding and subtracting as well as basic geometry.  LittleBLASTS, provides hands-on activities that engage preschoolers in spatial construction and puzzle play.
To read more about spatial reasoning and block play, go here.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Free Shipping Coupon for littleBLAST for November

littleBLAST is offering FREE SHIPPING on any BLAST ordered through December 1st.  Use the coupon code FREESHIP at checkout.  So click on over and check out the latest Construction BLAST and get it shipped to you for free.


The Importance of Spatial Reasoning Development in Young Children

Spatial reasoning is the ability to deal with objects in 2-D or 3-D, for example, to look at a building blueprint and visualize the completed building.  Spatial reasoning skill development in young children, such as understanding how to reconstruct recognizable objects from shapes, has been shown to improve a child’s geometry and arithmetic ability, particularly number line knowledge.  Furthermore, spatial reasoning also improves skills such as reading maps, graphs, and diagrams later in life.  Our construction BLAST, includes activities to develop spatial reasoning in several creative ways.

To learn more about the advantages of developing spatial reasoning and its relation to numbers go here

Friday, November 8, 2013

Welcome to the little BLAST blog

Welcome to the littleBLAST blog. On this site, we will provide parents and caregivers fun ideas and activities to do with their preschool aged child. In addition, we will provide links to interesting articles related to and supporting preschool math and science learning. We hope you will enjoy this blog!