"In this classroom, relationships are fostered, families are respected, and children are honored.
In this classroom, nature's gifts are valued and children's thoughts are captured.
In this classroom, learning is alive and aesthetic beauty is appreciated." -Unknown

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Preschool Explorers




We love exploring at preschool, inside and outside. Last week I shared how we use our nature packs: magnifying glasses, clipboard and paper, colored pencils, and clear backpacks. The kiddos grab a nature pack and take off on adventures. Love seeing the things they discover and sketch.


We also have a very cool magnifier that was gifted to us by a preschool family. One friend brought some roly polys AKA pill-bugs to share with the other kiddos. After we observed them for awhile, we released them into the flower garden. 

On another day a friend brought in a millipede. It was amazing looking at it through the viewer. With it, you have a magnified view from above and one from below. With the one from below we were able to view the movement of the many, many legs of the millipede, a rare perspective we wouldn't have been able to see without the viewer. 


After doing some research, I recently purchased four pairs of binoculars for use by the kiddos. I placed them out on the picnic table as a provocation and it wasn't long before they drew a crowd. 


The basket included the binoculars, field guides for insects, hummingbirds, western United States birds, bugs and slugs, and reptiles and amphibians. I also added Spring I Spy cards from spelloutloud.com. I also placed paper, clipboards, and colored pencils on the table. 


The kids were eager to take off exploring and looking around to see what they could spy. They were encouraged to find something, see if they could find it in one of the guides, and sketch an image of it, if they chose to do so. 



The guides were a great reference and they often would spend time browsing them looking for things they had seen before.



We recently did a unit called Eggs, Eggs Everywhere! We were able to explore a large variety of eggs and learn about all the different animals that come from eggs. 


We set up a sensory bin of "fish eggs". We placed rocks and a variety of aqua balls in yellow, orange, and clear in a tub of water. We later added some plants and a few plastic fish. 


We also had a "frog egg" habitat. We used rocks, aqua balls in green, clear, and blue, foam lily pads, and the frog life cycle pieces. 


Lots of opportunities for exploring and learning about the world around us.


35 comments:

  1. I like the binocular setup as an outdoor invitation! My toddler would love that. Adding the field books and sketch paper is nice too!

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    1. Thanks, Laura Lynn. The kids are having a blast with the binoculars! I encourage them to sketch something they "see". One little girl took a different approach and found a pheasant in the bird guide and decided to sketch it. LOVE it!!

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  2. I love this idea...especially the sketching! I have four kids I watch all week so I will be pinning this and using these ideas!

    www.domesticblisssquared.com

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    1. Thanks so much! The kids have been really enjoying it.

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  3. How fun! Thanks so much for linking up to Tot School Tuesday!

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    1. Thanks, Vanessa. Thank you for providing a venue for sharing!

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  4. One of my kids is reading this with me and now want binoculars!

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    1. I agree!! Binoculars have been a HUGE hit with my kiddos. They first explored with magnifying glasses and realized they needed an up-close object to observe it, so transitioning to binoculars, was a little adjustment. I had several little ones wanting to bend down low and look up-close with the binoculars. I had to demonstrate to them how to look far away and how the binoculars would bring those things closer.

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  5. I love everything about this post! You are a wonderful teacher!! :) And I love that large magnifier. Thanks for linking this up at Tender Moments!

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    1. Thanks so much, Angela!! What kind words! The kids are loving using the tools to check out the natural world around them.

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  6. This is such an awesome way to let the kiddos be real explorers! What fun to encourage their natural curiosity about the world around them. I love how science, movement, and literacy are combined here, as well. Thanks for sharing at Stress-Free Sunday at Fun-a-Day! Off to pin this now.

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    1. And who doesn't want to be a little explorer, right, Mary Catherine? Thanks for the kind words. The kiddos are loving their explorations.

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  7. What a great lesson!! Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

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  9. Sorry to delete...big typo!! LOL!
    Hi! We are stopping by to let you know that we are featuring your post, "Pre-School Explorers" tomorrow at Share It Saturday on Sugar Aunts. Thank you so much for joining us in sharing your fun and creative ideas! WE love your blog!!
    Colleen at www.sugaraunts.com

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  10. I love this! I'm definitely saving this one to do with my grandchildren. I live in the woods, so this would be a great activity for them. Thank you so much for sharing this tutorial with Saturday Spotlight. Hope to see you at this weeks party!

    April
    Angels Homestead

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    1. Thanks, April. The kiddos were definitely getting into it.

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  11. Your units of work always look such fun!

    Thanks for joining in The Sunday Showcase. I've pinned to our board.

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    1. Thank you, Rebecca. They are lots of fun...lots of work, but lots of fun.

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  12. Very nice activities! We will be staeling a few this summer! Thanks for sharing with us at Eco-Kids Tuesday! I featured your post today. Hope you stop by again! http://likemamalikedaughter.blogspot.com/2013/05/eco-kids-tuesday_21.html

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    1. Thanks so much, Hannah! I shared on my blog's Facebook page about being featured. Hopefully that will send a few new people to your page, as well.

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  13. Thanks for the great ideas to indulge preschool kids in these wonderful activities so that they can learn with fun.

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  14. So cute picture gallery, i am showing your post to my kids they are madly laughing and enjoying to see these babies. Thanks for the post.

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  17. Hey! Nice pictures of children of Phoenix Pre-k school and their activities but It's really very tough to believe that these little children can make these kind of things. I want to know about its secret.

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  20. Kids love to explore. Another fun idea is to grow a pet TickleMe Plant and watch how the leaves fold and the branches fall down when you Tickle It! http://www.ticklemeplant.com

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