Wednesday, November 12, 2014

           Baking Soda & Vinegar

                                 On-going Activity Started October 2014
        In this activity, the children were given a tub with a tall cylinder labeled by inches, one small bottle of colored vinegar, and a pipette. Extra materials provided around the table were multiple glasses filled with baking soda, spoons, extra pipettes, and extra small bottles of baking soda. 

        Before the children were dismissed from group, I told the children what was set up for them at the table. I mentioned that there were 5 tubs available and if the table was full, they can ask a friend to share with them or write their name on the waiting list. By talking about the available spots and offering other options if the table was full, the children are prepared to communicate their wants and problem solve independently. The provided “waiting list” was intended to support the children in developing their prewriting/writing skills.

    Once at the table, children were encouraged to notice the reaction of mixing the baking soda and vinegar. The group quickly noticed the “bubbles” that were made when combining the ingredients and began exploring techniques (add vinegar then baking soda or baking soda first). My intention for the measurements on the side of the cylinders was to encourage number recognition. Some children used the measurements to set goals for how high they could make the bubbles reach. Another purpose for this activity was for children to develop their expressive language by verbalizing what they are doing, what they are noticing, and what they expect to happen (form hypothesis).

      Research states “Experiences within the aesthetic realm can evoke feelings of wonder, curiosity, surprise, humor, awe, inspiration, and a sense of peace and tranquility. Because they (children) are in the process of exploring and constructing an understanding of the world, they notice the details and try out everything they encounter.”
Curtis and Carter, Deb and Maggie. Learning Together with Young Children(2008): Pg 60 and 69.Print.
                                                                                                        --Stephanie V.

                    Experimenting with Ramps                                                

                             October 20-24,2014

This week in the block area the children started to explore ramps using blocks, Magna-tiles, and cardboard boxes.  They added cars, trains, and balls to slide down the ramps.  Through this play they learned angles that would result in faster and slower speeds.  They practiced problem-solving skills to find the right angles and choose objects that would slide down the ramps.

  The children worked individually as well as together to create the ramps and introduce different objects to add to their play.  Once they became more interested, they examined pictures of various types of ramps and talked about why we use them.  We are continuing to explore ramps and share ideas as a group to learn more.

In the exploration of ramps, the children are developing various skills such as fine motor skills, social skills, language development, and cognitive development.  It has been studied that through block play, children develop writing and literacy skills.  Judith Stroud studied this relationship and examines in her work how children create structures based on what they have seen.  “Block building becomes representational and serves as introduction to symbolism; the blocks themselves become symbols for other objects, just as printed letters and words are symbols for objects and ideas”.  This introduces the method to the children to learn to read and write.  Continuing to enhance their fine motor skills, “children grasp, carry, and stack blocks, developing fine-motor and coordination, which enables the children to manipulate the tools of writing with increased control and precision”.  

The block area provides a wide array of learning, and through the current focus on ramps the children are excited to learn more about them.  Our intentions, as teachers, is to see what they know about ramps and discover more about them together.  As a group they can teach each other through sharing ideas, showing each other how to build, and introducing new options to classmates for what we can use in the process.

Stroud, Judith. "Block Play: Building a Foundation for Literacy." Early Childhood Education Journal 23.1 (1995): Pp. 9-13. Print.
                                                                                   --Nicole P.

       Playdough Making and Play

                          October 14, 2014

 According to the National Association for the Education of Young Children, children can learn a variety of skills from the making and play of playdough:
 “Squishing, rolling, sculpting, molding . . . young children love to play with playdough. Add some props from around the home and playdough play becomes a powerful way to support your child’s learning. This simple preschool staple lets children use their imaginations and strengthen the small muscles in their fingers—the same muscles they will one day use to hold a pencil and write. Using playdough with you, a friend, or siblings supports your child’s social skills such as sharing, taking turns, and enjoying being with other people. Playdough also encourages children’s language and literacy, science, and math skills—all at the same time! Homemade or out of a can, playdough  can provide hours of fun and learning at home. Besides the playdough, all you need are a clear surface, a few household items, and lots of time for fun.” (

  On October 14th, some children participated in the playdough making invitational activity. Each child was apart of the process of making the playdough. Each child waited their turn to add the playdough ingredients together. They practiced pouring while using measuring cups and measuring spoons. Then all children had the chance to stir the ingredients together. When it was time to cook the playdough, we took our activity to the kitchen where each child saw the cause and effect of how the heat on the stove changed the liquid like mixture to a more solid substance. After the playdough cooled the children were able to add in glitter to the playdough and then they were able to play with playdough by using props, cookie cutters, tools, etc.; to enhance the learning experiences that go along with playdough play. This activity supports a lot of early childhood development such as: sensory play, fine-motor, math, social emotional, and language skills. Playdough play helps build strong muscles in the hands that can later support a child holding a pencil to write. While making the playdough children practiced taking turns and listening and communicating to each other about what they observed was happening to all the ingredients. They also practiced certain math skills of measuring and counting when they stirred and counted the amount of times they stirred before letting another peer have their turn. And finally this activity is fun and imaginative as children are able to create and enjoy the texture, look, and smell of the playdough we created.

    My intention for this activity was to expand upon a child’s knowledge of cooking by following a recipe (set of steps), i.e. cause and effect and to support the development of children’s fine-motor and hand dexterity.
                                                                                --Brittany K.