Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Science Storytimes Week #4: Fizz, Boom, Construct!

We've been busy little scientists this summer! During the past three weeks the preschoolers and toddlers at my library have learned about movement, water, and growth. Our topic this week is a perennial storytime favorite: Construction!

Create your own construction sign here.

For a listing of songs and book used in the first half of this storytime see my storytime blog.

Our centers included:

Building with Legos: I love to incorporate Legos into my programs whenever possible because they are just so darn awesome.They keep kids occupied like nothing else I have ever seen. For this age group I have a small collection of Duplos we received awhile back through the "Read Build Play" program. I put these out our our table for the kids to explore and provided instruction about the benefits of playing with Legos.

Constructing with boxes: We all know how much kids love boxes right? I've honestly done a whole hour long program just letting kids decorate and play with boxes. For the preschoolers and toddlers I saved a stack of boxes and challenged them to see how high they could stack them. When their tower of boxes falls they got to learn a valuable lesson about forces!

Vehicle matching: I set out pairs of construction vehicle pictures and asked the kids to match the pairs. This is practice with the scientific skills of observation. When they identify each vehicle they are using another scientific practice: classification. Unfortunately this center got overshadowed by the boxes and Legos and was passed over by many kids.

Decorate a truck:  To add the A in STEAM the kids used bingo daubers to decorate construction vehicle pictures. Bingo dauber crafts are one of my favorites and I try to use them for our crafts at least once each during each series of storytimes.

How it went:
Compared to last week the kids were a little quieter and shyer during the stories and songs. I broke out the parachute with the preschool group to get the kids a bit more excited. They seemed to love the centers, especially the Legos and boxes. One little girl in particular was having so much fun she got upset when it was time to leave :)

I'd love to hear any questions, feedback or ideas you have to contribute! Thanks for reading :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Science Storytimes Week #3: Fizz, Boom, Grow!

So far at our science themed storytimes for toddlers and preschoolers we have learned about movement and water. The theme of this week's science storytime was growing.  I was definitely inspired by Abby's the Librarian's preschool lab on the same topic! We learned about living things and how, like this baby panda, they all grow and change.

For the preschoolers this week I chose "Do you know which ones will grow?" by Susan Shea. I love how this book provides many examples of living and non living things and asks children to participate in deciding which will grow.

After our story we did a variety of songs and crafts related to living and nonliving things. I even created a new flannel board to use. For a listing of the exact songs and activities please head over to my storytime blog.

Our centers this week included:

Painting with plants: I've been trying to include at least one craft related to our theme each week. For this theme I thought "What could be more fun than painting with vegetables?" I bought a variety of vegetables that might make neat impressions when dipped in paint, cut them up and let the kids have fun.

Living or Non-Living: I had my wonderful volunteers and pages cut out pictures of various objects for the kids to sort and glue onto a worksheet.

Plant a Flower Bulb: I bought a small bag of potting soil, pots and flower bulbs for the kids to plant. I saw this in Abby's preschool lab post and figured this would be a fun and messy way for the kids to learn about how a plant grows. Plus, the supplies were all on sale this time of year, so it worked out perfectly.

Baby Animal Matchup: To focus specifically on animals, I had the kids matchup pictures of animal parents and babies.

Measure yourself: I hung up a few of the "measure yourself" handouts that have been hanging around the library for quite awhile. I encouraged parents and kids to measure themselves, because people are growing things too! I also included a sheet for the kids to record their measurements and make a handprint.

This storytime went very well. Both groups had a good turn out and seemed to have lots of fun. More than one parent has told me how much their child is enjoying the storytimes this summer, which of course makes it all worthwhile.

Would love to hear any feedback you have or ideas for additional science based storytimes! In addition to the comments section you can reach me on Twitter and Pinterest.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Flannel Friday: Five Spring Flowers

For my contribution to Flannel Friday this week I am sharing flowers I made to use at our upcoming "Fizz, Boom, Grow!" storytime. They were cut out of felt and glued together with Tacky Glue.

Here is the accompanying rhyme:

Five Spring Flowers
Five spring flowers, all in a row.
The first one said: "We need rain to grow!"
The second one said: "Oh, my we need water!"
The third one said: "Yes it is getting hotter!"
The fourth one said: "I see clouds in the sky!"
The fifth one said: "I wonder why?"

Then BOOM went the thunder,
And ZAP went the lightning,
That springtime storm was really frightening!
But the flowers weren't worried-no, no, no
The rain helped them to grow, grow, grow!

I originally found this rhyme at Preschool Education. One of the things I really like about this rhyme is how it emphasizes that flowers need water to grow. I thought this was an important science concept to include in a science storytime about living and growing things. You could even decide to reinforce this point by having the kids place felt rain drops on the flannelboard by the flowers.

This week's Flannel Friday Roundup is hosted by Lisa at Libraryland. To participate in upcoming roundups, or get more information head over to the Flannel Friday Blog or Pinterest page. You can also follow #flannelstorytime on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Science Storytimes Week #2: Fizz, Boom, Splash!

In case you missed last week's post, I am doing science storytimes this summer. These storytimes will consist my typical storytime activities followed by science based centers. This week's theme is water.

As usual, we started out in our storytime room. We enjoyed a book together and did music and movement activities related to rain and oceans. For a list of these activities see my storytime blog.

After about 25 minutes of songs and books we went into one of our meeting rooms to enjoy our science centers. We have been doing our centers in there many because of space issues. I love my storytime room but it is a little small to run centers.

The ideas for these centers came from Amy Koester and Katie Salo.

Our centers were:

A sink or float station: This was one I found in both Amy's and Katie's posts on preschool water science. The basic idea is a variety of objects were put out and the kids got to test if they sank or floated. Some of the objects I put out included sponges, pennies, rocks, and pieces of a pool noodle.

Porosity station: The idea of this center came from Amy's post. The purpose is for kids to explore how water interacts with a variety of objects. I included sponges, dish scrubbing rings, cups with and without holes and a piece of pool noodle.

Mirror reflection station: At this station kids got a chance to see how water influences reflection. I set out of plastic bins of water with mirrors placed inside. I also provided cups for pouring water on the mirrors. The kids were able see how their reflection changed with the disturbance of the water. I got the idea for this station from this post.

Coffee Filter Art: The kids colored on coffee filters which were then sprayed with water to spread and blend the color. This is a project I've read about many different places and have done with older kids in the past. I figured that it would fit perfectly as our water themed craft.

All in all I think this storytime went very well. Both storytime groups enjoyed the centers and I think they learned a little too.

The centers also seemed to do a good job of promoting parent/child interaction. I heard many parents asking their children questions at each center.

Next week's science storytime theme is "Fizz, Boom, Grow". Let me know if you have any suggestions for science activities for that theme or any other!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Fizz, Boom, Read!: The Science of Force

Our second program for Grades 3-6 for the summer was all about forces. There are a lot of cool activities out there related to forces, and I figured that the kids would not be able to resist the fun of balloon rockets and paper airplanes.

I, on the other hand, cannot resist the fun of a Star Wars gif:

Definitely heard this a few times during this program.

After a quick discussion on what a force is we started out by learning about the idea of thrust with balloon rockets. The idea behind these is super simple. The first thing you do is tie a string to a support. Next you blow up a balloon and tape a straw on it. The string goes through the straw. When you let the air out of the balloon it shoots up the string.

I also added an element of friction to this activity by using both yarn and fishing line instead of string. The idea was that the balloons would travel more quickly up the fishing line than the yarn, and this seemed to be the case for most that tried it.

The kids enjoyed doing this, but it was a little more time intensive then I anticipated.

For the majority of the second half of the program we learned about gravity and wind resistance with paper airplanes. I had set out supplies such as construction paper, regular paper and paper airplane directions. During the program I allowed the kids time to create their airplanes and test them for distance/accuracy.

Here are some kids hard at work practicing their accuracy.:

Our last activity was Freeze Tag. This ties into forces because an "An object in motion must stay in motion, and an object at rest must stay at rest, unless acted upon by a force." The tagging was the force that caused the players to rest or move. In case you haven't realized by now, I will use any excuse to let kids run around and burn off energy.

Overall I think this program went well and both groups that participated enjoyed it. I still did learn a few things I would do differently if I did this program again.

Tips and Tricks:
  • The website suggested for paper airplane directions in the SRP manual has designs that were way to complicated for this age group. I would definitely find some more simple design suggestions if I were to do paper airplanes with this age again.
  • Balloon rockets were fun, but definitely require several helpers to string, tape and possibly blow up balloons. The more kids who can launch their rockets at one time the better.
  • For balloon rockets the shorter you cut the straw the easier it is to get the string through it. 
  • You definitely need a relatively big space to fly paper airplanes. Some will fly much farther than anticipated.
As usual, let me know if you have any questions or comments about this program. Next week's programming is all about water, so I'd definitely appreciate any suggestions about that topic as well.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Science Storytimes Week #1: Fizz, Boom, Move!

I decided to change my toddler and preschool storytime format a bit this summer in honor of our science based SRP theme. Inspired by some great preschool science programs done by Abby Johnson and Amy Koester I decided to replace my typical craft with science based centers.

For our first theme I choose movement. Because as they say in Madagascar...

We started out in our storytime room with a movement based picture book and songs. We also used a movement cube that I've been meaning to incorporate into storytime.

We had a decent sized group for a rainy day, and the kids clearly enjoyed getting to move around! After the typical "storytime" portion was over we moved into our large meeting room for our science centers.

Our centers included:

Move vs. Doesn't Move: Kids sorted clip art pictures into two categories: things that move and things that don't. This helps teach sorting, as well as helps children begin the early stages of identifying between living and nonliving things.

Car Painting: We did used vehicles (toy cars purchased at the dollar store) to paint tracks. I've seen this all over Pinterest and have been wanting to do it for a while. This was the most popular center by far.

Friction Ramps: I cut up some small boxes and covered some pieces of the cardboard with bumpy aluminum foil. Both covered and plain pieces of cardboard were used as ramps for kids to run cars down. The difference between the speed and smoothness of the car's ride is meant to illustrate the idea of friction.

Movement Signs: I hung up movement prompting signs throughout the meeting room. Parents were instructed to go throughout the room doing the movements suggested at each sign.

Overall, I think this storytime went pretty well. The kids enjoyed the centers, especially the car painting. I'm very glad I decided to use this format for the summer.

Next week's theme is "Fizz, Boom, Splash!" and I look forward to updating you about how it goes!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Fizz Boom Read!: Science Crafts for School Age Kids

A staple of my summer reading program every year is a program that consists solely of crafts based on the year's theme. This year due to popular demand I did two sessions of crafts for Grades K-2 and two sessions for Grades 3-6. The kids at my library always love to do crafts, but I have to admit I was a little shocked how popular they were this year.

Out of the several crafts we did, here are my favorites.
  • Magnet painting: The K-2nd graders loved this one. I had a set of magnetic balls and bar magnets which we used to mix colors on paper plates. After the colors were mixed the kids turned the plates over to create a design on a piece of construction paper. You could pretty much create the same effect by using magnets and metal washers.

  • Skeleton Hand Anatomy: I also did this one with the K-2nd graders. The kids traced their hands on black paper and used Q-Tips to fill in bones. Some kids even started to break up the Q-Tips to make smaller "bones". Paint could also be incorporated or you could have kids do their feet instead.
  • Candy Chromatography: This was one that I saved for the 3rd-6th graders. They had a blast with it. They didn't even complain that there wasn't much extra candy to eat! To do this project all you do is place Nerds candy on coffee filters and use a straw or dropper to drop water on the candy. This creates cool designs on the coffee filters. Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of this one. For an idea of how it turns out head here.
  • Salt painting: Of all the crafts the 3rd-6th graders did the salt painting was the messiest. They drew a picture with glue on black paper and sprinkled it with salt. They then added a drop of water mixed with food coloring and watched it spread. I have to say it worked pretty well. I especially loved that one of the kids' project said "I love science!"

This post is part of Thrive Thursday, a blog hop in which librarians share school age program ideas. This month's roundup is hosted by Sara at Bryce Don't Play. Head over and check it out for more great ideas!