Friday, November 21, 2014

Fun at the Literacy Festival

     We had so much fun at the Festival of Books, that we decided to try out another event dedicated to literacy, The Santa Clarita Literacy & Arts Festival.  We had just done a holiday photo shoot with the Sugar Snaps and so they were dressed in holiday attire.  This event was so well organized!  We were very impressed.  They had so many booths set up with learning activities related to books and even had a section where children could read books to therapy dogs.

Photos in the collage above provided by Jennifer Fischer

     One section, organized by Jennifer Fischer, of the Good Long Road, had the theme of Stone Soup.  She set up cauldrons so children could 'shop' at the produce stand and put vegetables in the cauldron to make pretend soup as they listened to the story.  There was also an area set up where families could donate canned food to the local food pantry.  Another section had a craft in the same theme which is pictured below.  The Sugar Snaps colored vegetables and fire and pasted them into and around a black cauldron that was pre-cut for them.  If you have not had a chance to check out The Good Long Road, I suggest starting with Jennifer Fischer's post on Stone Soup.  Then, stay a while. There are so many great educational activities to do with your children as well as ways to get involved in the fight against hunger in your community. 

     We ran into Captain Hook who was walking around interacting with the children.  Grayson was especially excited to make his acquaintance.

     I was excited to meet this amazing artist, Pablo.  He painted the picture of Martin Luther King, Jr. on the right and recreated it using toast on the left.  He was still working on it when he paused so I could take his picture and ask him some questions.  He had never done a picture in toast before!  They asked him to try a new medium and he agreed.  He said he might make the background black next time or cut perfect squares so there is no space between the toast if he were to try it again.  I was in complete awe of his talent!

     They had lots of different story times and the Sugar Snaps loved to sit in and listen.  Capri was excited to see Snow white in her pretty dress.

     In addition to having characters read books, they also had books that were read by the author.  This is Shannon Okahara, reading her book Tooth on the Loose.

     I was excited that they had FREE face painting.  All three boys opted to be tigers.  Grayson giggled when the paint brush tickled his face.

     Since Capri was dressed for the holidays, she was a 'Christmas princess.'

     The library provided free books that were out of circulation for children of all ages. There were stations where the children could do activities and collect stickers and win a prize when they collected them all.  They each took home a reusable bag with a coloring book and crayons.  If you are ever in the Los Angeles area at this time of the year, I recommend checking out the Literacy and Arts Festival.  Have you been to any book or literacy festivals?  Which ones have you attended? 

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Nutty Science--A Lesson in Buoyancy #playfulpreschool

     It is time for Playful Preschool.  I love being a contributor as well as a participant.  In addition, to contributing our post each week, we also try out some of the activities presented by other Playful Preschool team members.    If you try the activities, please let me know how they go in the comments.  This week, the theme is nuts and seeds.

     I decided to do another science activity related to buoyancy.  If you missed it, we did a 'corny science' experiment using different types of corn in carbonated and still water.  This time, we used various nuts and seeds and a combination of salty and plain water.

Nutty Science Experiment:

You will need:
  • A combination of unsalted nuts and seeds
  • two glasses
  • warm water
  • table salt
  • spoon or knife to mix in the salt

    Have your children or students arrange the nuts and seeds by size.  We used almonds, peanuts, pine nuts and sesame seeds. Then, fill two glasses with warm water. Add salt to one glass and stir to dissolve as much as you can.  I used 1/4 cup of salt to one cup of water.  I discovered this was probably about twice as much as I needed.  I suggest that you use about 1/8 of a cup to one cup of water. Have your children predict what will happen when they drop the nuts and seeds into the two types of water.  Next, have your preschoolers drop one each of the same kind of nut or seed into the water and discover if the nut or seed sinks or floats in the salted vs. plain water.  They can keep a simple chart or tally to see if their predictions are correct. 

    The Sugar Snaps loved dropping the nuts and seeds into the water and, for the most part, were accurate in their predictions as to what would happen with each test.  They were eager to do nut and seed taste tests after the experiment.   The only unsalted peanuts I could find were in the shell.  They had a great time cracking open the peanut shells for a post-experiment snack. It turned out to be a nice hidden fine motor skill building activity.  They made little finger puppets, at my suggestion, with the empty shells using funny voices to make their peanut shells talk.  Just for fun, I also cracked open a few peanut shells, unbeknownst to them and took out the peanuts.  I hid gummy fruit snacks inside the shells and had them break them open to find something other than the peanuts.  I acted very surprised at their discovery.  They were pretty sure I was the culprit behind the mystery nuts, but I think there was a part of them that wondered if these 'special fruity nuts' really existed.  Have you done buoyancy experiments with your children or students?  Have you tried any activities with the nut and seed theme?  I would love to hear from you in the comments.


Plan Your Nut and Seeds Learning Week With Activities from the #PlayfulPreschool Team

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