There are children playing in the streets who could solve some of my top problems in physics, because they have modes of sensory perception that I lost long ago.
J. Robert Oppenheimer
Flubber is nothing new, but I have not found a child (or adult) that doesn't love to play with it. I was reminded of this today as my twins (age 9) "researched" how we were going to spend our day. You see, their older sister was at a sleep over, and feeling as if they were missing out on something, they decided to capitalize on my full attention. I'm very familiar with the recipe, but I was surprised by how long the girls played with it at their age. The flubber turned into a runway for Polly Pockets, a pile of fake vomit (yes, that came from my little one with a bit of a twisted sense of humor), a bunny, and even the letters in their name. There is just something about this stuff that makes you want to touch it. It's squishy. It snaps. It feels wet. But it isn't wet...go figure. It changes shape soooo quickly! When big sister got home, she felt like she had missed out on something and she sat for a half hour playing. No wonder preschoolers love this stuff. In case you haven't made flubber before , here is the recipe:
3/4 cup cold water
1 cup Elmer’s glue
liquid food coloring
1/2 cup hot water
1 teaspoon borax (you can find this in a box in the laundry aisle)
Step 1: In bowl 1 – mix together the cold water, glue, and food coloring. Set aside.
Step 2: In bowl 2 – mix together the hot water and borax, until the borax is completely dissolved.
Step 3: Slowly add glue mixture to borax mixture. Mix well. Pour off excess water.
Ok, so Flubber isn't new, but what IS new, is that Flubber doesn't have to be about science or a sensory experience. Of course, I wanted to tie this amazing flubber to language (no surprise). I have been working on ways for teachers to teach/practice sequencing skills. This past school year I had a teacher say to me "I can't stand teaching sequencing." I knew she just needed a different way to teach it and some ideas for what to do when children weren't understanding the concept. The boxed sets of sequencing cards we can buy are great, but if kids don't understand these, what then? You can keep practicing these over and over, but in my experience, this doesn't get you anywhere. At least not quickly...or without pulling out a few, okay, a lot of hair! I like to use my iPad or camera to take pictures of everyday experiences which the kids can relate and we can practice while completing an activity. So, if you haven't made flubber, make it! It's science. It's sensory. It's fun. And it's language. Make the flubber. Talk about the steps of making the flubber. Talk about what happens first, next, last. Make sure you revisit the steps involved in making the flubber. Kids love this stuff, so capitalize on their interest. Here are some pictures that you can use to to practice sequencing while you have fun playing with this oooshy goooshy stuff!
"Everyone's Story Matters." William Joyce
Morris Lessmore loved words. He loved stories. He loved books. But every story has its upsets. Based on the Oscar winning short film by William Joyce, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a charming story about the power of books, and the importance of every story being told. The illustrations are rich, and give you the feeling of watching a movie while reading. I have to admit, I still haven't watched the short film, mostly because I have trouble believing that it could be any better than the book. Having bestowed my love of books AND technology on my daughters, they quickly jumped from the book to the movie, and tell me that it's just as good! I love that depending on the age of the child (or adult:), this story can be interpreted differently. Initially, I wondered if preschoolers would be interested in or understand this book, but I was pleasantly surprised at how engaged they were. It was a good reminder, that through books we use our imaginations which makes each of our experiences with the book quite different. The little one's don't have to go to philosophical depths to enjoy this book, and it's okay if a 12 year old is sad thinking that Mr. Lessmore passes away, and a 4 year old is amazed at the flying books. That's the true definition of a book for all ages.
"Children see magic because they look for it." Christopher Moore
The weather has finally gotten nice in our neck of the woods, and our classrooms have been able to spend some much needed time outside. I like to keep the kiddos engaged to help prevent some of the "spring fever" behaviors as well as allow the kids to spend extra time outside without missing out on learning time. One of my favorites has been to combine a few of my passions...language, technology, and hands-on activities. I do this with a variety of scavenger hunts. Some have said "iPads on the playground...NO WAY!", but with the right iPad case, and some structure, this can be a great way to integrate technology in the early childhood classroom, and create an engaged learning environment. After you've completed the scavenger hunt, extend the learning by having the children share their "finds" during large group. This is a great way to work on their oral language skills. To download a copy of this scavenger hunt, including instructions, click here. Have Fun!
When children are engaged, they are ready to learn!