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Our favorite Spring transformation… butterflies!

Our school received our caterpillars for one of the most exciting class projects of the year. Our students will care for the caterpillars and watch as they build their cocoons and eventually turn into beautiful butterflies!

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The students have been talking a lot about the symmetry of a butterfly and used a folded piece of paper to create their own symmetrical butterfly paintings.

They also read Eric Carle’s The Very Hungry Caterpillar to talk about how the caterpillar needs to grow and eat nutrients before it can spin it’s cocoon and transform.

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We love watching our caterpillars grow and transform, just like our blossoming children!

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…Bring May Flowers

May is upon us and we are so excited to watch our newest sprouts break through the dirt!

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Our 3’s read “The Tiny Seed” by Eric Carle and arranged plants in order from seed to sprouts and root growth all the way through to a full grown plant. They talked about things plants and flowers need to grow, like dirt or soil (a new word for some of them), water and air.

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Then they got to plant their own seeds and put their new knowledge to the test.

Our 3’s planted a mixed seed of microgreens that will grow very quickly. They’re hoping to see sprouts in one short week!

Our 4’s decorated their own potato head planters. They planted grass seed so their potatoes will eventually grow hair! Too fun!

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Now they’ll be caring for their plants in class until they’re sprouted and ready to go home.

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Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

We celebrated Dr. Seuss’ 113th birthday in our classes last week and the kiddos had so much fun with all of the silly science projects, art work and stories all inspired by the author and illustrator. They even had their own helpings of green eggs and ham for snack, courtesy of master chef Mrs. Cartee, which was really entertaining to see who was brave enough to try it!

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The children made red and blue hand prints which we’re then turned into fish for a Red Fish, Blue Fish display. They also decorated their own hats for the Cat in the Hat. Bold colors and fun accessories we’re a must for celebrating such an eccentric story teller!

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Using just 3 ingredients and some help from the adults, they also made silly slime as part of a little science experiment. I think it was the biggest hit of the day, with lots of happy faces and curiosity about this strange, slippery substance.

CNS-dr-seuss-silly-slime-stirringCNS-silly-slime-fun To make your own silly slime, mix 4oz school glue with 1/2 cup of water and a few drops of food coloring. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of Borax in 1/4 cup of warm water. Make sure to stir until the Borax is completely dissolved in the water. Then pour the borax + water mixture into the glue mixture.

Stir in the bowl until it starts to become solid and then knead it together with your hands. If you have lots of little hands eager to play like we did, pour a bit into small ziplock bags and have the children knead it through the bag until it becomes more firm. Then remove and play!

CNS-green-eggs-and-ham-dr-seuss-birthdayI couldn’t believe how many of the kids we’re willing to try the green eggs and ham!

CNS-Mrs-Cartee-reading-green-eggs-ham-dr-seuss-dayThank you for your wonderful and wacky stories and illustrations, Dr. Seuss!

 

 

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Playdoh fun

What’s better than play-dough? If you ask any 3-5 year old, you will know there is nothing better than playing and building with play-dough! The kids here at CNS have been loving the homemade play-dough we make ourselves. It is easier to work with than store bought play-dough, it is all natural and toxic free. Making it with our child turns into a fun science experiment to do as a family. I have included the recipe below so you all can enjoy this wonderful play-dough at home.

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CNS Playdough

* Combine in saucepan:

2 cups of flour

1 cup of salt

4 teaspoons of cream of tarter

* Stir in:

2 cups of cold water mixed with 4 tablespoons of oil and several drops of food coloring

* Cook over medium heat stirring constantly until ball forms.

* Place on wax paper to cool.

* Knead dough until soft and pliable.

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Ripping up paper – on purpose!

While using scissors is definitely an important skill for 3 and 4 year olds to start to tackle, scissors are not the only way to cut paper and make fun crafts.

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Tearing the paper into bits, or trying more complicated projects like trying to tear specific shapes, creates an interesting effect. The kids think it looks cool… but the adults know that it’s especially great at practicing the coordination of those tiny fingers.

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Groundhog’s Day Fun

Will it be 6 more weeks of winter or any early Spring? Our 3’s and 4’s classes enjoyed learning about Groundhog’s Day and how Phil the very special groundhog from Pennsylvania predicts how much longer our winter will be.We read a book about a tricksy groundhog who didn’t take his job quite as seriously as the real Phil, and then we got to make our own groundhog puppets! Both classes loved predicting the weather based on his shadow.

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In goes the groundhog…

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And up he pops!

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Authors and Illustrators

Children love books, they love to be read to and they love to look at the pictures and follow along. But do they know how a book is made or who draws the pictures and writes the words? At CNS we have been learning what authors and illustrators are and how they help to create the magical world we explore through books. We have been enjoying some well loved classic books by Jan Brett.

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The 3’s classes created their very own Hedgie the Hedgehog.

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And the 4’s classes acted out “The Mitten” with their own tiny woodland creatures squeezing inside the hat as they read along with Mrs. Scott-Kem.

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The children also practiced their scissor skills, cutting out the animals for their very own mitten and used their fine motor skills to sew the mitten together with yarn.

 

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Later that week the 4s made their own winter storms covered with snow, just like in the book:

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The kids got to learn about mixing dark colors with white to make different shades of blue, then sprinkled sparkling salts onto the paint for snow. Using a paintbrush is great for working on that hand-eye coordination!

 

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Nature + Art

Preschoolers love to paint.  Without fail, each time I mention that we will be needing our smocks because it is a painting day, the children’s eyes light up with excitement.  Not only do they get to create, but let’s face it, it’s also fun to get just a little messy. :)

During the winter months I like to read The Penguin and the Pinecone, a wonderful story about friendship.  Not only do we then create our own pinecone friends, but we also explore a new way of painting:  pine needle paint brushes!

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Before we painted we compared the pine needles to traditional paintbrushes.  Then, to make it a bit easier, we taped them to popsicle sticks.  This was an open-ended project, so we weren’t painting anything specific.  Instead we had a wonderful time observing what new colors we could create by mixing the ones I’d provided.   I absolutely love the finished projects, and how unique they each are!

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~ Mrs. Cartee

 

 

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Ginger and spice and everything nice

Hi all!

Gosh, it’s been quite a while since this blog has been updated, huh? Where has the time gone? How is it already winter???

Well I don’t know about the rest of you, but the winter holidays are my favorite time of year. Maybe it’s the music (I sing along with every song), the guilt-free cookie indulgence (my downfall), or the wonderful smells I associate with holiday time. Apple cider, ginger, cinnamon… mmmm!

With that in mind, I’ll offer you a cool idea – gingerbread playdough!

Y’all might already be familiar with it, but this is the first time I’ve stumbled across it and I think it’s absolutely brilliant. It smells fantastic, so it brings the sense of smell into a very tactile experience. Plus, the kids can then play with “cookie dough” all they want without a million dishes in the sink. And I believe that any ornaments they make with it (as long as they’re at least 1/4″ thick), once dried should be not only still be fragrant but also sturdy enough to hang!

This first recipe is from mamapapabubba. It’s a no-cook recipe that relies on hot water and a little bit of resting time to bring the dough together.

I also found a recipe over at housingaforest.com. It’s a cooked recipe, so while it uses the stove and a saucepan, it is ready to play with faster.

Have fun!

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