This science activity involves buying dried corn on the cob, often sold as squirrel feed in stores like Wal-Mart. Allow the children to pick the kernels off the cob, a wonderful fine motor activity and use the resulting corn kernels in your texture table. The children will also enjoy painting with the leftover cobs in your art area. Extend this activity by saving a corn cob to grow in your science area. Fill a container (large enough to accommodate the corn cob) with 1 inch of water and allow the cob to soak for approximately 1 1/2 – 2 weeks (a clear, see-through container allows the greatest observation of growth and make sure to keep watering the corn cob). The cob will soon sprout plants that will grow very tall and can be planted in soil.
Have several pre-cut farm animals, chickens, sheep, horses etc. Lay out feathers, cotton balls, yarn, and any other materials that would feel like the outside of an animal. The children cover the animal they have chosen with the appropriate covering. Graph the animal results, talk about touch and need for certain types of covering.
Milk the Cow
When studying “Farm”, I introduce the children the different animals and what products we get from each. For instance, we get milk from a cow. I fill a latex glove with milk, and poke holes in the fingers (representing the utters). The children then squeeze and pull the fingers of the gloves as if they were milking the cow. The milk does come out. The children love this project.
For a sensory activity I put Indian corn, ornamental gourds and mini pumpkins in a tub along with magnifying lenses. Children looked at the objects with the lenses and felt the different textures. One of the gourds dried out and the children could hear the seeds when it was shaken. This can be extended to include any fruits or vegetables which can later be part of a tasting party.
Corn Sensory Experience
In your science center place different tubs with:
Allow children to merely experience the different texture of each type of corn. Extend this activity later in the day by making cornstarch goop. Making cornmeal play dough. Popping popcorn. Make a math activity grow from this…Put out small paper cups and count how many spoonfuls of each type of corn it takes to fill one cup. Make a graph. Grow some corn in ziplock baggies ( don’t zip them up! Plants need oxygen.) When the seedlings have grown plant a crop outside. Corn does not self fertilize and so it is best to use real corn seeds rather than popcorn kernels.
Help the children to understand how plants “drink water through their root. Fill a jar half full of water and add a few drops of red food coloring. Cut the bottom off a stalk of celery with leaves. Put the celery into the water, and have the children watch throughout the day and the next as the celery turns red.
We have incubated eggs in the past, but this year one of the father’s from my Kindergarten class brought in one day old chicks. We have watched them grow in the brooder. We fed them and are their “Moms and Dads”. The children love this activity and it is a great way to discuss the life cycle.
Place hay in sand table along with farm animals and magnifying glasses. Discuss importance of hay with children as food, source of warmth and system to keep barn clean.