If March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb, and vice versa, so the saying goes. I have a turn to host our co-op preschool group next week. Although our theme is spring, when I look out my window at the dreary apartment complex parking lot, and the bare trees, I can’t help but think it’s a little too early to bust out the tulips and baby animals. Instead of full blown spring, I think I am going to focus the preschool day around the transition into spring.
The idea of using a lion and a lamb to describe the weather is appealing to me. Most kids are familiar with these animals. They know that lions growl and can be fierce, while lambs are soft and mild. And asking them questions like “What would make the weather ferocious like a lion? (rain, cold wind, storms, sleet, etc)” and “What would make the weather gentle like a lamb? (sunshine, warm breezes, etc.)” seems like a good way to transition from lamb and lion to talking about the weather. In preparation for my preschool day, I’ve gathered a few ideas that I think the kids would have fun with. Although I am not sure which of these I’ll use, here are some of my favorites:
-A calendar with lion and lamb stickers to keep track of which days are lion/lamb days. Every day the kids can decide whether that day’s weather is more like a lion or a lamb and put the appropriate sticker on the calendar, and at the end of the month they will be able to look back and see if March was mostly a lion or a lamb this year.
-Wind experiments from the book I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb. This book is really well done. It uses simple experiments to teach kids that wind is moving air. You can catch air in a plastic grocery sack, twist the top closed, and then push the air out of the bag to make wind. It teaches you how to use two balloons and a coat hanger to weigh air (but that might be a little bit over a preschooler’s head). And it has several other ways to make your own wind, as well as a very clear and basic explanation about air molecules and what they are.
-Lion/Lamb snacks. To make a lion snack use a rice cake for the base, spread peanut butter over the top, stick chow mien noodles around the outside edge for a mane, and use raisins for the eyes and nose. To make a lamb snack , slice an apple in half and remove the seeds. Spread peanut butter over the rounded side with the skin, then stick cereal (Kix, Cheerios, anything round would work) all over in the peanut butter to create wool. For the legs use four tooth picks, sticking two mini marshmallows onto each one before putting them in to the apple. For the head use a large marshmallow and stick it on with peanut butter. You can use half a raisin for each eye if you want, or leave it without eyes.
-Crafts: DLTK has some really cute lion and lamb paper plate crafts as well as some fun sounding ideas for other activities.
-Dressing a paper person, in weather appropriate clothing. Laminate the paper person and then use masking tape to stick on different clothing. Hold up pictures of different kinds of weather and let the children take turns dressing the paper person accordingly.
-Songs: Leo the Lion, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Mr. Golden Sun, It’s Raining, It’s Pouring , Once There Was a Snowman.
-Activities from the What Can the Wind Do? section of the book Science is Simple by Peggy Ashbrook (pg 83-86). This was a book written for use in a classroom, but it’s a fantastic resource, and the activities can be easily adapted for homeschoolers. The section on wind has a lot of great activities to help preschool aged children notice and understand the wind. Some of the activities include observing how the wind moves things outside, ways to make your own wind like blowing a cotton ball with a straw or making Styrofoam boats with paper sails and racing them by blowing on them, ideas for crafts to hang outside that will blow in the wind, and acting out a poem about the wind. This section also has a list of books to read, and some follow-up activities.
-Weather Magnet Pages. Print out these weather picture pages and put them on a metal cookie sheet. Then have the kids place a round magnet (you can get packs of 50 at Walmart for a couple bucks) in each circle. My kids love magnets, and this helps children with one-to-one correspondence.
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