Sunday, June 18, 2017

Ideas For Summertime Fun



FOR SOME SUMMERTIME NATURE FUN TRY SOME OF THESE IDEAS-

- Observe an anthill for 15 minutes. Draw what you observed.

- Grow a garden in a jar
- Start a rock or a seashell collection.
- Visit a nature center with your family.
- Go on a bird hike. See how many different kinds of birds you can observe. Can you make their calls?
- Take a survey of the wildlife in your neighborhood or around your house. Look closely and note what plants are growing on walls, guttering, window ledges, and on the bark of trees. Look amongst foliage for animal life, and put out traps and sticky jam jars half full of water to sample the insect life. Enter your findings in a notebook.
-Grow a sweet potato vine by taking a sweet potato, inserting 4 toothpicks into each side of it about half way round its middle, then put the bottom part of the potato in a jar of water and keep it filled. Soon your sweet potato will put on fine hair-like roots, and then it will be begin growing a lovely vine plant for your mother's
kitchen window.
-Collect fireflies in a jar, observe them for a short time, and then release them.
-Cut a flower in half and observe its parts. Can you name them?
-Visit a beekeeper and find out how honey is made.
-Start a nature journal. Record all of the lovely things that you observe in God's creation.
-On warm summer evenings look for bats flying around your neighborhood.
-Observe insects hovering around a light at night. Record three different kinds of insects observed by drawing them in your nature journal or notebook.
-If you live near the beach explore a tide pool and see how many plants and animals you can find living in it. Can you identify them?


Until Next Time...
~Rebecca

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Life Cycle Preschool Program


Our preschool program in April at Prairie State Park was about life cycles. We talked about many animals, but our focus was on the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.

  

With the help of myself, parents, and siblings, and using a variety of craft materials, each preschooler created their very own butterfly life cycle wheel. 





Until next time...
~Rebecca

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Animal Tracks And A Homemade Playdough Recipe

Making Animal Tracks In Homemade Playdough

Last Friday I conducted a program about animal tracks for preschoolers where I work at Prairie State Park. One of the things that we did was to make animal tracks in homemade playdough using plastic North American Wildlife animals. The children had fun and the playdough was a great medium in which to make our tracks. I thought I'd share the recipe with those of you here.

Homemade Playdough

1 cup flour
1/2 cup salt
1 tablespoon cream of tarter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 cup boiling water

optional: glitter (I did not add this)

Mix flour, salt, and cream of tarter together. Add oil and water and mix until combined. Roll out onto a lightly floured surface and knead. If the playdough is sticky knead in additional flour. Test the temperature of the dough before allowing children to handle.

This dough had a very nice feel to it and was easy for children manipulate. As an extension, I suggest making a double batch, dividing it into four or more equal parts, and adding food coloring to each to make several different colors. By sealing in airtight containers this dough will keep for a long time and can be used for a variety of activities making for many happy hours of playtime for little ones.

Until Next Time...
~Rebecca

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Edible Owl Pellets


In preparation for a preschool program at work this week I made a batch of edible owl pellets this morning. I thought I'd share the recipe and process for making them with those of you here.

Please note that I was making for a large group so I used a larger amount of ingredients in this recipe than you might want or need to use at home or less than you might want or need if using with a co-op or some sort of organizational meeting. Don't be afraid to adjust ingredients or amounts used to suit your  own individual need.
Ingredients Used To Make Edible Owl Pellets
Ingredients:

- crunchy peanut butter
- honey
- coconut flakes
- mini chocolate chips
- raisins

Aluminum Foil
You will also need:

- a roll of aluminum foil (this will be cut and used to individually wrap edible owl pellets)

In fact, before you begin, you might want to pre-cut several pieces of aluminum foil into squares or rectangles (approximately 5" x 5") and have them stacked and ready to go. This will make things easier for you later on.

To make:

1. Mix equal parts crunchy peanut butter and honey. Stir well.
Equal Parts Crunchy Peanut Butter And Honey
2. Add 1 cup mini chocolate chips, 1 cup coconut flakes, and 1 cup raisins. Stir well.
Mini Chocolate Chips
Coconut Flakes

Raisins
Peanut Butter/Honey Base With Chocolate Chips,
Coconut, And Raisins Added
3. Using a spatula, roll a small amount of mixture into a pellet. (Individual pellets will measure approximately 3/4" in diameter x 2" long.)
An Edible Owl Pellet In The Making
4. Place pellet on pre-cut square of foil.
Edible Owl Pellet
5. Fold foil over pellet and wrap tightly (like a burrito).
Wrapped Edible Owl Pellet
6. Chill in fridge until solid (preferably overnight) and keep chilled until ready to use.
Edible Owl Pellet
Edible owl pellets are delicious! They can be used as a novelty treat at an owl birthday party, as a special treat following an in-depth owl study, or they can be used as part of an owl study and dissected before eating!

If dissected the following chart can help children identify bird or rodent parts represented by recipe ingredients.

peanuts (in peanut butter) = vertebrate
mini chocolate chips = bones
coconut flakes = fur
raisins = skulls

In the near future I hope to post more about owls. As I get posts up, I will cross reference links making it easier to aid in individual and unit studies. I will also add links to some other really cool and informative sites about owls. 

Until then...
~Rebecca





Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Peanut Butter Pine Cone Bird Feeders

Making Peanut Butter Pine Cone Feeders At Our Local Library
I recently read the book Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder to preschoolers at our local library.

One of the things the book talked about was ways to help animals in winter and one of the ways mentioned was putting up different kinds of bird feeders at home. I decided that helping the preschoolers and their families make peanut butter pine cone bird feeders would be a great activity to end the program with.

Bird watching is fun for the whole family and making a winter bird feeding station in your back yard is a great way to entice our fine feathered friends into your yard for up-close viewing.
Making peanut butter pine cone feeders is simple and it doesn't require a lot of supplies. For each one you will need:

- a pipe cleaner or chenille stem
- pine cone (large or small...it doesn't matter)
- peanut butter (creamy or chunky...your choice...either one will work just fine)
- a table knife, plastic knife, tongue depresser, or craft stick for spreading the peanut butter
- a small amount of mixed birdseed

To make:

1. Wrap the pipe cleaner or chenille stem around the upper edge of the pine cone, twisting it to secure and create a loop for hanging.
2. Holding the upper edge of the pine cone, pointy end down and working from the bottom up, using the knife or craft stick spread peanut butter upwards into the open bracts of the pine cone. (The cone can be filled as full or as sparse as you like with the peanut butter. It's totally up to you.)
3. After peanut butter has been spread into the bracts of the pine cone, roll the pine cone in birdseed until the outside is coated.
4. Hang in a prominent area where the cone can easily be observed from a window.
5. Enjoy watching to see who comes to visit your feeder. (Note that it might take a day or two for the birds to discover their tasty, new treat, so don't be disappointed if they don't flock to it right away. They'll find it soon enough.)
Peanut Butter Pine Cone Bird Feeders Hanging In A Tree In The Backyard
As an added extension to this activity, this might be the perfect time for you and your family to invest in a good bird identification book and start a lifelong bird list or nature journal.

Have fun and, whatever you do, enjoy the time that you have with your little ones!

Making Each Day An Adventure
~Rebecca

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder

Monday, January 30, 2017

Welcome!

Hello! And welcome to Preschool, Homeschool, and Early Education!

My name is Rebecca. I am a 26-year veteran, homeschooling mom of six and grandmother to fourteen. I am a year-round seasonal naturalist at Prairie State Park in southwest Missouri and am in charge of the homeschool and preschool programs at the park. I take preschool programs into the local library once a month, as well.

Over the past, nearly three, decades I have done a multitude of projects working with children of all ages. I've decided that it's time to share some of those projects and educational ideas with others, so...here I am!

I hope you enjoy the things that I have to share and can use some of them in your own educational endeavors in the days ahead!

Until Next Time...
~Rebecca