Baby it’s cold outside

I sure hope this message finds you safe and warm because I know many of you are in the middle of currently preparing for or dealing with blizzard or other stormy conditions. Here in Indiana, the blizzard has missed us so I can’t really complain about the freezing cold weather or the small amount of snow we currently have on the ground.

Baby Its Cold Outside

Running my own preschool means that I have to keep an eye on the weather and make that somewhat difficult decision as to whether we should keep the preschool open on a snowy day, delay school start-up time, or just close for the day…

Baby it's cold outside by Teach Preschool

So far this school year, I haven’t had to close or delay preschool. Although it has been bitter cold on some days and snowy on others, it hasn’t affected our local public school system which I use as a guide for what to do…

Baby it's cold outside by Teach Preschool

When we do have preschool, I still have to decide whether or not the children should go outside to play in the snow. As a general rule, we will go outside in almost all reasonable (or what would be considered normal) weather conditions here, even if it means spending 30 minutes getting on coats, hats, scarves, gloves and boots for just five minutes of play in the snow…

Baby it's cold outside by Teach Preschool

My students are just so happy when they get to go outside. If I based the decision of whether or not we would go outside to play on how I feel about cold weather and snow, I can assure you – I prefer to stay warm and we would stay inside. So I have to remind myself almost daily that going outside isn’t just about giving kids something to do but it is an essential part of healthy growth and development.

Baby it's cold outside by Teach Preschool

I can see a clear difference in my students after they spend even five minutes outside…

http://www.letthechildrenplay.net/2012/04/play-outside.html

After playing outside, the children are always more relaxed, happier, and are able to focus better on whatever comes up next once we get back inside…

Baby it's cold outside by Teach Preschool

I have learned to dress for the weather on these cold and snowy days so I can enjoy the outdoor experience too…

http://www.letthechildrenplay.net/2012/04/play-outside.html

For those of you who are experiencing this crazy blizzard that I am watching on the news, please know that I am thinking and hoping that all is well with you and your family.

In the News

NBC News report on Blizzard

Weather Safety Tips

Winter Storm Safety from Weather Wiz Kids

Things to Do

10 Indoor large motor activities for preschoolers by Teach Preschool

10 Indoor activities for toddlers by Hands on: As we Grow!

Winter Play Days by Fantastic Fun and Learning

Available on Amazon

Who cares about the weather?

In just one short week of preschool, we had all kinds of weather from very cold and icy to a wonderfully warm day filled with rain and thunderstorms then right back to cold weather again…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

With so many types of weather it was a good week to promote lots of conversations and explorations about the weather in our classroom. We started our days by reading all kinds of books about the weather that promote conversation like this big book (that I have had for years) titled “Who Cares about the Weather?”…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

We discovered that people need warm weather for sailing in the ocean or playing at the beach and cold weather is fun for things like skiing or ice skating. We also discovered that farmers need rainy weather for their crops…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

We discovered that there are so many reasons the weather is important for plants, animals, and people too. And because the winter Olympics are currently going on, we especially noticed how the weather was important because without snow and ice, the athletes wouldn’t be able to compete for a medal…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

Talking about the weather and reading books about the weather led us to many different things throughout the week including the winter Olympics…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

One of our little girls wore her homemade Olympic crown to school and of course we all had to make one too!

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

Our crowns were just a little different but the children loved using our gold and silver glitter paint to glue on leaves and decorate their crowns…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

Talking about the weather led to talking about the winter Olympics which led one of our students to also bring in a pair of skis for the children to check out…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

Everyone took a turn to try on the snow skis to “ski” across our red winter carpet!  One tip from our experienced little skier was that it is important not to let your skis crisscross or you will fall over…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

Keeping our skis straight was a big challenge but the children did a remarkable job and everyone loved getting a chance to try the skis out and once again, we learned that skiers care about the weather and to really ski, we would need real snow…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

Our adventure in weather went on all throughout the week but one thing that I made sure we did was gather up as many icicles as we could before the warm-up set in and they would all melt. Good thing too because the day after we explored our icicles, the temperature jumped up and all the remaining icicles that were outside hanging from around the school all melted away…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

We had big icicles and little icicles to explore. We held the smaller icicles in our hands to see if we could use our warm hands to make the icicles melt and drip water…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

The very big icicles (which are rare for us to find) were too big to hold so we explored them in a tub…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

The children thought it would be fun to see what would happen if we painted the big icicles. Some of the children guessed it would make the icicles melt but instead, our paint just dripped right over the top and down into the tub leaving us with muddy looking and very cold icicle water…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

And of course, everyday we went outdoors to experience the weather too. One of our favorite things to do is to climb our snow mountain (which is now slowly starting to melt)…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

Of course, our weather may be different than your weather but regardless of the type of weather you are experiencing where you live, giving students a chance to explore the weather through real and meaningful hands on explorations and drawing connections to events such as the winter Olympics or vacations the children have been on is always a great learning experience…

Exploring the weather in preschool by Teach Preschool

We spent time creating and exploring the weather all week. Some of our experiences were more abstract and some were more real but all of them were fun and engaging.  More about the weather coming to you soon!

Available on Amazon

Who Cares About the Weather (Macmillan Early Science Big Books)

By | February 21st, 2014|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |3 Comments

Ice gems

Like most of the country, it has been cold here!  We’ve missed several days of school due to snow, ice, and extreme cold temperatures.  Last week, we were fortunate enough to have two back to back school days to explore this awesome process that I am going to share with you today.  Yesterday I showed you how we used pipettes to fill egg cartons with colored water.  Well, what I didn’t tell you was that we left the filled egg cartons outside over night and what we found the next morning was pretty spectacular…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

The children were thrilled to open their egg cartons to discover these gorgeous little ice gems…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

We set out a large metal tray on our table, along with some tweezers so that the children could explore their icy little treasures.  The tray helped to contain the water as the ice cubes melted…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

The children used their tweezers and their fingers to pluck their ice gems out of the egg cartons.  Keeping the slippery little gems in the tweezers was quite a feat…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

For some of our children, this was a test of focus and determination.  They were going to get each and every one of those gems out of that tray, no matter what…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

Once the children had their gems out of their tray, they were free to explore them however they chose.  For many, just getting the gems out of the trays was rewarding enough.  But one little guy didn’t stop there.  He stayed with the gems for the longest time!  He was fascinated by the way the melting gems formed rainbows all over the tray…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

He continued to play long after all the other children lost interest.  We got out paintbrushes for him so he could continue to mix and swirls the colors together…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

He gathered all of the gems into a large pile in the middle of the tray and then began sorting them by colors into cups…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

When he ran out of cups he said, “Mrs. Stewart, we need more cups!”  So we gave him more cups!  The gems were melting, of course, but he didn’t care.  There is just something magical about watching a child so invested in his play.  At the end of the day, he was still so enthralled with those gems that he ended up taking all of the leftovers, that hadn’t yet melted, home with him…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

This was a wonderful process for all of the children, but it’s so exciting to see even just one child who finds the process exceptionally meaningful…

Ice gems by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | February 8th, 2014|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , |5 Comments

Waking up our bears

Over the past few days, I’ve shared activities in our hibernation unit.  First we built our bears.  And then we made caves for our bears and tucked them in for a long winter’s sleep.  Today I would like to share the last installment of our hibernation unit: waking up our bears…

Waking up our bears by Teach Preschool

It was a long winter and spring had finally arrived!  We diligently marked off the days till the first day of spring when our bears would awaken and we could play with them…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

When the first day of spring arrived,  the children were anxious to be reunited with their bears.  First thing in the morning, just before our circle time, we invited the children go and wake their bears…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

We’d spent several long weeks tiptoeing around our bears as they slept quietly in our stairwell.  The children were ecstatic to have the bears join us again in the classroom!  We celebrated by dedicating a whole day to spending time with our bears.  We started out by inviting our bears to circle time.  They listened intently to our story as the children hugged them close…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

The children and their bears listened as Deborah read “Children Make Terrible Pets” by Peter Brown…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

This book is super cute.  It is about a bear named Lucy who happens upon a little boy in the wild.  Not understanding the boy’s language, Lucy decides to call him Squeaker.  After lots of good times and adventures together, Squeaker begins to miss his family and begins acting in a way that makes Lucy come to understand that children do not make the best pets…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

After reading our book, we gathered up our bears for a little lesson in patterning.  Together we laid the bears out on our picnic blanket, alternating bears up and down, and then reviewed our pattern aloud...

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

We discussed a few more patterns and then set off with our bears in tow to explore our centers for the day.  At our first center, the children worked on creating their own patterns with colorful bears…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

Our art table held simple materials for children to draw pictures of their bears so that they could record their memories of the times they spent together.  First the children worked on making teddy bear self-portraits by tracing around their bears…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

Then the children drew faces on their bears and adorned them with clothing…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

There was also a sticky board playhouse for the children to enjoy with their bears…

Sticky board playhouse by Teach Preschool

Together as a large group, we also did some gummy bear science.  Don’t worry, no bears were harmed in this experiment…

Waking up bears by Teach Preschool

After a long winter’s hibernation and a full day of play, the children were ready to take their bears to their forever homes.

Available on Amazon

By | January 10th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books, Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |1 Comment

Tucking our bears in for a long winter’s sleep

Yesterday, I shared with you how we built our own bears as a part of our unit on hibernation.  After all the stuffing, drawing, and building of our bears, the children thought they might be tired.  We all decided that our bears would need a nice, cozy place to take a nap.  Today, I would like to share how we made caves for our bears and then tucked them in for a long winter’s sleep…

Tucking our bears in by Teach Preschool

To make caves for our bears, we used heavy duty cardboard tubes that Deborah and I hot glued to the lid of a shoe box. We also used a brown paint in a variety of colors, along with some brown tissue paper to give our caves some texture…

Tucking in our bears by Teach Preschool

The children began by painting their cardboard tubes and boxes…

Tucking in our bears by Teach Preschool

The children could choose to paint as much or as little of their “caves” as they wanted.  We also had tissue paper that could be scrunched up and added to the the caves for texture.  We added just a little bit of glue to the paint to ensure that the tissue paper would stick…

Tucking in our bears by Teach Preschool

We had a variety of caves, some with tissue and some without.  Some that were painted completely and some that were not.  Because just like our own homes, bears’ caves are not all similar and can be quite unique…

Tucking our bears in by Teach Preschool

When the children were finished painting their caves, they were ready to tuck their bears in to sleep.  Because we were painting on cardboard, it didn’t take long at all for the paint to dry.  This was a good thing because the children were eager to get their bears into their caves so that their bears could rest.  Our bears fit quite snuggly in their caves, so Deborah and I helped a few of the children gently squeeze their bears into their cave…

Tucking in our bears by Teach Preschool

When their bears were tucked nicely into their caves, the children placed their newly hibernating friends in a quiet area of our classroom.  This happened to be in our dimly lit stairwell.  It was just out of the way enough that we wouldn’t bother our bears too much as they slept the winter away…

Tucking in our bears by Teach Preschool

You can be sure that every time our children passed the bears on the stairway, they said “Shhh…the bears are sleeping…”

ice, jewelrey, bears, jars, buildings 281

We also created a our own calendar to mark off the days till spring so that we would know when to wake our bears.  Please join us here tomorrow as we wake up our bears and share how we played with our bears all around the classroom!

Available on Amazon

By | January 9th, 2014|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |0 Comments

Time to hibernate

Winter is here!  It’s so very cold outside right now, making this the ideal time to share our unit on hibernation…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

To begin our study on hibernation, we read the book “Time to Sleep” by Denise Fleming.  This sweet book begins with a bear who smells winter in the air.  He acknowledges that it is time for him to curl up in his cave, but first he must go and tell all of his friends that it is time to sleep.  This was the perfect book to read before creating our own hibernating bears…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

We used our direction board and the table below it as our “build-a-bear” workshop and as a visual guide to help the children create their own bears…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

Deborah and I pre-cut bear shaped patterns out of heavy brown construction paper.  We also stapled the outer edges of each bear, leaving just the tops of their heads open so that they could be stuffed later.  The first step was for the children to decorate their bear.  Most of the children just decided to give their bears faces.  And, oh, they were darling little faces…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

Then it was time for the children to stuff their bears.  We had some cotton balls leftover from our cotton ball blizzard so we used those as stuffing for our bears.  We encouraged the children to use their fine motor skills to pull and stretch the cotton balls so that their bears would be fluffy, rather than lumpy…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

When their little fingers couldn’t quite reach the small spaces near the bear’s hands and feet, the children used pencils to gently push the stuffing into place…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

The last step in making our bears was to finish stapling up the edges.  Some of the children were eager to try the stapler and some preferred to let us grown-ups do the stapling…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

Our bears sure were tired after all that drawing and stuffing.  They needed a nice warm cave to snuggle in and rest for the winter.  Be sure to come back tomorrow to see how we tucked our bears in for their long winter hibernation…

Time to hibernate by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

By | January 8th, 2014|Categories: Children's Books, Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |5 Comments

Two second snow science

If you are experiencing the freezing, bitter cold weather then welcome to my world. School has been cancelled and kids are stuck at home. We have had so much snow that I can’t get out of my garage and my grandsons are at home with mommy and daddy…

Simple Snow Science by Teach Preschool

But to make the most of this -12 degree cold winter weather, lots of folks are at home doing fun and very scientific experiments like this two second snow my grandson and his daddy tried. First you need some boiling water…

Simple Snow Science by Teach Preschool

Now pour your boiling water into a cup or bowl (handle with care and only adults should do this part in case you are wondering)…

Simple Snow Science by Teach Preschool

Now ask your kids to tell you what they think will happen when you toss the water in the freezing cold air (remember, it is -12 degrees Fahrenheit here so its really got to be freezing cold for this to work). And bundle up and head out for a quick second outside and give mom a cheesy grin before you go…

Simple Snow Science by Teach Preschool

Get ready for the wow effect! Toss the water into the air and watch it burst into snow!! So cool that my grandson asked to do it again. (make sure you toss it far away from you so the wind won’t blow that hot water back on you!”)…

Simple Snow Science by Teach Preschool

And yes, you know it is a real snow day when everyone stays dressed in their jammies all day to run outside for a two second simple science experiment…

Simple Snow Science by Teach Preschool

Simple but so much scientific information and language and predicting and hypothesizing going on in that two second science experiment. So while I stay stuck at home painting on the easel with my little snowman, I get to at least enjoy the photos being sent over by my daughter…

Simple Snow Science by Teach Preschool

See more great science ideas

Now if you are stuck at home then you should really take the time to hop over to Housing a Forest and check out this dad’s really cool simple science videos he did at home.  This dad (Nathan) happens to be a school principle as well so he is all about kids and cool ideas!

Winter in Indiana

And just for my own documentation of the record breaking midwest winter, I have added a couple of winter collages of things we see and do around my home below…

2014 Winter Storm by Teach Preschool

Winter Play Collage

Outside snow play

By | January 7th, 2014|Categories: Science and Nature|Tags: , , , |9 Comments

Let’s play color ice hockey

The weather here is like one giant deep freeze outside which means it is a good time to explore ice. I like to find things I can fill with water and set outside to freeze overnight so we can somehow explore or play with ice like this super cool color ice hockey game…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

To make our snazzy little ice hockey game, I pulled out my big white tub and put tape lines on the bottom of it to make sections. You need to know that I really didn’t have a specific idea in mind, I just started putting tape down and this is how it all turned out…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

Then I set the big pan outside and filled it with water. The water froze overnight and what you see here is now our hockey rink!  We added some plastic hockey pucks (plastic lids) to play with…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

There really aren’t any “rules” to this game. The children started by seeing if they could slide their hockey pucks either into the space that matched the color of their hockey pucks or keep the other hockey pucks from coming into their hockey color space…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

The bigger plastic lids were just a bit large for our hockey rink so I also added the small plastic applesauce lids for the children to use as their hockey pucks too…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

We have had the hockey rink for a couple of weeks now. We set it outside when not in play and some days it melts and on other days it freezes again. With a new freeze wave headed our way, we should be able to get lots more time for play with it…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

The children can make up their own ice hockey games to play along the way and with the winter Olympics coming soon, we may even be able to tie the hockey game into the Olymics…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

It is a very open ended kind of game so we will see where it leads over the next few icy days or weeks…

Color Ice Hockey by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow on

Rainbow Snow Sensory Play from Blog Me Mom

Making our Mark in the Snow from Teach Preschool

Ice Play in Preschool from Teach Preschool

By | January 5th, 2014|Categories: Snow|Tags: , , , |11 Comments

Making our mark in the snow

We have had a lot of snow already this season and we are always looking for new and interesting ways to play with it!  This activity is quick and easy to set up and a really interesting way to explore snow in the classroom…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach PreschoolFor this activity, we gathered up two trays full of snow and set out some markers.  Now, these markers don’t have to be the best markers.  They could be old ones that are on the verge of  being thrown away.  The wetness of the snow helps to pull the old ink out of the marker.  This activity is a great way to get one last use out of an old set of markers…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

In preschool, we often refer to very early attempts at name writing as “making your mark.”  For some children, it may just be a line on the paper, but for others it may be the beginning of letter formation.  Our children weren’t limited to just writing their name for this activity.  They could explore the snow and markers however they wished.  And as you can see, our children were eager to give it a try…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

The children sat down to explore this activity and quickly discovered that the markers do not write the same on snow as they do on paper.  The snow is bumpy, and gritty and not at all like the smooth texture of paper…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

The children were challenged to figure out the best way to use the markers because the texture of the snow created such a different type of writing surface.  Some children simply made dots in the snow by dabbing their marker…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

Other children were more determined to cover their snow in marker, trying to figure out how to best adapt to their new coloring surface…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

It was interesting to see how each child approached this process differently…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

Whenever you use color to explore snow, whether it be with water color paints or with markers, the color mixing process is always so beautiful…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

For some children, the sensory experience of using their fingers to draw in the snow was more exciting than using the actual markers and that’s okay too…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

A gingerbread man even joined in on the fun…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

Using markers in the snow was a great multi-sensory way to explore color and pre-writing skills…

Making our mark in the snow by Teach Preschool

Available on Amazon

Links to Grow On

Kool-aid Snow Paint from Growing a Jeweled Rose

Painting with Snow from The Seeds Network

Exploring snow all around the classroom from Teach Preschool

By | January 4th, 2014|Categories: Around the Classroom, Creative Art|Tags: , , , , , , , |3 Comments

More ways to celebrate winter

On the last Discover and Explore linky, we shared our favorite ways to play in the snow. and then asked our blogger friends to share their winter activities with us.  We had an excellent response!  Today I would like to highlight some of the really fun and unique activities that were shared…

Discover and Explore

My Nearest and Dearest shared a wonderful snow cooking activity

More ways to celebrate winter: Fun Friday features

Life with Moore Babies created these beautiful ice jewels that can be played with outside in the snow or inside in a sensory bin…

More ways to celebrate winter: Fun Friday features

Gift of Curiosity shared some great activities for learning about arctic animals.  I especially liked the animal blubber experiment…

Arctic-animals-9-learning-activities-Gift-of-Curiosity

What We Do All Day had some awesome creative winter activities , including blowing frozen bubbles…

More ways to celebrate winter: Fun Friday features by Teach Preschool

Living Montessori Now shared over 25 snow-themed sensory tubs

25+-Snow-Themed-Sensory-Tubs

And Fireflies and Mud Pies shared some great winter play tips, including a trick for keeping little hands warm and dry…

More ways to celebrate winter: Fun Friday features by Teach Preschool

I would like to thank all of our blogging friends for sharing their fun winter indoor activities with us!

Coming soon in to the Discover and Explore Linky Series…

Discover-and-Explore-Winter Themes

To follow along or join in, be sure to visit one of the following four cohosts of the new 2014 Discover and Explore Linky!!

Buggy and Buddy  *  Fantastic Fun & Learning

KC Edventures  * Fireflies & Mud Pies

By | December 31st, 2013|Categories: Around the Classroom|Tags: , , , |5 Comments