Spring Science

During my spring unit I have placed mud in the sensory table. After a few days of mud play I add a couple dozen live earthworms. The children love it! To keep them alive and well I cover the table when not in use and add water nightly.

Let the children decorate a face onto a Styrofoam cup (except hair). Fill a knee hi with potting soil and then with grass seeds on top of the soil. Tie a know in the knee hi and turn upside down…with the knot in the cup. Water and watch the “grass hair” grow. Once at a desired length, let the children give their happy face its first haircut.

Here is a recipe for making rainbow stew! Get a small pot and mix about 1 cup of cornstarch with some water. Heat the mixture up until very thick. Remove the “stew” from the heat and place in a sturdy Ziploc bag. Add several drops of different colored food coloring and duct tape the top to help prevent inquisitive fingers. Place on science table and allow children to manipulate the stew and observe the changes in color.

For an activity to go with spring and birds returning, try this. Make bird nesting balls. Collect mesh vegetable bags, such as what grapes, oranges, potatoes come in. You may cut them to the size you need. Also collect such items as the following: leftover thread (I sew and save all my thread clippings), yarn pieces, tiny fabric scraps or strips. Also you can add Kleenex, cotton balls. Have the children take a bit of each of the materials and place them in the mesh. Pull the mesh together around the items they have placed in the mesh. Take a rubber band and secure the ends together. Using a yarn needle, thread in a piece of yarn and tie ends together to make a hanger. Place these nesting balls outside in trees or areas high enough that the birds feel safe. They will come and pull these materials out thru the mess and take them to make their nests. Have the children observe every so often to see if any of the materials have been removed from the nesting balls or if they see any nests with familiar materials in them.

This idea is great for both art and science. Start by talking to the children about the caterpillars they are finding this time of year. Talk to them about the metamorphism that the caterpillars will undergo soon to beautiful butterflies. The project is to show the different phases the caterpillar will undergo.

Supplies: Pudding Cup (or clear plastic cup), 2 pipe cleaners, play-dough, yarn, construction paper for each child.

In pudding cup have the kids put a small piece of play-dough in the bottom to anchor a green or brown pipe cleaner. After helping them anchor the pipe cleaner, fill the cup with green Easter grass. Have the children make caterpillars using play-dough to place on top of the grass. Cut the other pipe cleaner into three pieces, 1/2 & 2 quarters. Wind the half around the larger pipe cleaner “tree” with some sticking out to create a small branch. Wind the yarn around the end of the “branch” to create a cocoon. Have the kids create a construction paper butterfly by folding the paper in half and cutting a butterfly shape. Have them decorate the butterfly using dots and the other 2 pipe cleaner pieces for antennas and attach at the top of the tree.

This craft can be expanded by showing the butterfly emerging from the cocoon using tissue paper for the rolled shape they have when they first emerge.

P.S. My kids also love to make the Play-Dough. So if you have time and the inclination let them have 2 science experiments that day and let them make dough.

Share an idea you have used in your classroom or at home that pertains to this theme.