Saturday, February 2, 2013

Preschool Theme of the Week - Weather

I am so excited this week to be teaching my preschooler about weather. We've been doing our new homeschool preschool for a few weeks now and we've finally settled into a nice routine.

One of the very first parts of our day is getting big brothers on the bus. I've been able to use this time outside to get everyone to make observations about the weather. Once Little Man and I head inside, we talk about the weather again and how it will affect our day. If it's cold, we'll need jackets to play outside later. If it's rainy, we can put on boots and stomp in the puddles after lunch. We already love observing the weather, I know that my little man will enjoy exploring this basic concept more.

We're focusing on the letter W this week, so after coming in from the bus stop, we do a few reading, writing, and letter recognition exercises.
  • There are lots of printables out there intended to be used with Bingo dot markers. These are great to use with manipulatives too. Cotton ball clouds can be placed on the letter W to practice letter recognition and fine motor control. Little Man loved this activity so much that he also put cotton balls on a Letter W tracing page I made for him.
  • We love sensory trays, so I filled up a shallow plate with shaving cream and used my son's finger to trace the letter W. Then I encouraged him to trace the letter again without my help. After the letter tracing I "rained" a few drops of food coloring into the shaving cream and let him play. Fun!
  •  Another sensory activity, I filled a Baggie with hair gel and some glitter then placed the bag over our letter W tracing page. My son traced the letter in the gel making a "storm" of glitter.

After our morning routine, I let my son enjoy some less structured activities to reinforce our theme. Our weather activities for the week include:
  • Painting with wind: I gave my son a straw and three small blobs of paint on a piece of paper. Then I asked him to make a painting by blowing the paint with his straw. This is definitely an outside activity unless your preschooler has the self control to stop blowing the paint at the end of their paper.
  • Shaving cream clouds in the bath: add a few drops of blue food coloring to the bath water and then shaving cream clouds for counting practice. 
  • Homemade snow: mix just enough water into a bowl of baking soda to make it moldable. Put the mixture in the fridge until cold. Kids can play with this outside with gloves on or in the bath. Make snowballs or trace letters and shapes in the "snow". (This activity was inspired by this post over at Growing a Jeweled Rose.  However, I didn't have the right ingredients so we winged it and it worked just fine.  Phew!)
  • Weather dress up: provide a dress-up bin filled with seasonal clothes including jackets, hats, and gloves, a rain jacket and hat, sun glasses and a sun hat. Encourage your child to dress up and talk about the weather they're prepared for.  Try the online version of this game over at PBS Kids.  Little Man really enjoyed Sid the Science Kid's Weather Wheel.  You spin the wheel and dress Sid for the weather that's shown when it stops.
  • Make sun prints: search for interesting shapes in nature such as leaves and flowers. Lay these objects on a sheet of dark construction paper in a sunny spot. Check back in a few hours to see the power of the sun. This art project will take more time in the winter when the sun's rays are not as direct.
  • Wind chime craft: make wind chimes by stringing painted terracotta pots and beads onto heavy twine. Hang them outside and listen for the wind.

How do you explore different types of weather with your preschooler?

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