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Friday, May 27, 2016

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Dinosaur Nest Challenge (Outdoor STEM)

This is another dinosaur themed activity in my no-prep series this summer!  And, it also happens to be a super fun STEM challenge!


As I planned activities that would take "no-prep," I allowed for anything I could do while I maintained the attention of my kiddos.  This basically amounted to about 30 seconds of time to pull 1-3 supplies out of a cupboard or turn on a song!  None of these activities require advanced preparation of materials...and this activity requires nothing more than time for instructions!

So what are the instructions?  To build a Dinosaur Nest!  Let your kiddos choose their tools and the dinosaur they are building for--it could be a big one or a little one!  If you don't have a yard where they can grab grass, sticks, mud, and dig holes, take them to a forest, beach, or park and let them get to work!

Science concepts: dinosaurs, appropriate size, cohesion and adhesion of mud and other supplies, problem solving/scientific reasoning

Technology ideas: shovels, rulers, funnels

Engineering concepts:  building process, completing a project

Math concepts:  relative size, (optionally) quantitative size


And, of course, when your kids are done building their nest, take all your little "dinosaurs" and play in it!  Lots of evidence shows that some dinosaurs were great mothers!


What goes with a dinosaur nest?  Dinosaur eggs of course!  Check out our ice dinosaur eggs and fizzing dinosaur eggs!

This activity is part of my no-prep dinosaur series!  You can see the first one (Dinosaur Stomp) here!  Be sure to check back tomorrow for more!

I am also sharing this outdoor STEM project as part of the 31 Days of Outdoor STEM hosted by Little Bins for Little Hands!  There are TONS of great ideas in this project!!






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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

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W is for Whale {Measuring Activities!}

Did you know that the longest animal to ever live on the Earth (longer even than the dinosaurs!) is the blue whale?  Yep...today, W is for Whale!



I'm sharing some fun blue whale measuring activities that you can do with your kids!  These help reinforce math skills like counting and science processing skills (using a ruler or other measuring tool).  I used them with our Under the Sea theme, but you can do them whenever you feel like it.  They go great with an Ocean Theme or Summer Theme, but they are also fun on their own.

And, as an extra bonus:  these measuring activities take NO preparation!  Unless you count the 30 seconds it takes you to grab some rulers, a measuring tape, and/or sidewalk chalk...then it requires about 30 seconds of prep time.  :)

Activity #1:  How big is a blue whale?  The biggest blue whale ever recorded was about 108 feet long!  Mark a "starting spot" with your sidwalk chalk on the sidewalk and start measuring 108 feet.  Use either a 1-foot ruler and practice counting to 100 or use a tape measure and practice reading the numbers!  Mark the end of the tail with sidewalk chalk.  Place a person at each end and take a picture!



Activity #2:  How big is the blue whale's eye?  A blue whale's eye is about 5-6 inches in diameter.  Use a ruler to find out how big this is, and then find something close to this size to place in the whale's "head" area.  This may seem like small eyes for such a big animal, but whales do not use their sense of sight as much as their sense of hearing.  Their "small" eyes work just fine for their needs!



Activity #3:  How big is the blue whale's blow hole?  The blue whale's blow hole can be 20 inches in diameter.  The whale uses it like a nose.  Use a ruler to find out how big the blow hole is and draw it on the top of the whale "head" with sidewalk chalk.  Can you fit through it?

Activity #4:  How wide is the blue whale's tail?  The blue whale's tail is about 25 feet wide.  Measure 25 feet with your rulers!  If you have room, draw this with the chalk too!  (Or, if you have something like a soccer net that you could use to represent the tail, use it!)



Activity #5:  How big is a blue whale's heart?  A blue whale's heart is about the same size as a small car (like a VW beetle).  Go for a walk and see if you can find a "whale heart" car!

Activity #6:  How big are a blue whale's arteries?  Some of the arteries in a blue whale are 9 inches in diameter.  A baby could easily crawl through them!  Can you?  Draw a line 4-5 feet long in the middle of your whale representing an artery.  Measure 9 inches across in 3-4 spots and draw the other side of the artery, so you now have a tube drawn that is 9 inches across and about 4-5 feet long.  Can you fit through it?  Review that arteries carry blood throughout the body, and discuss why a whale would need such big arteries.  By comparison, the biggest arteries in a person are about the width of 1-2 fingers.

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For more fun measuring activities, check out these learning ideas:

W is for Whale {Measuring Activities} from Preschool Powol Packets 
Watermelon Seed Spitting Measurement from Schooling a Monkey 
  Measuring and Estimating with Ribbons from Mum in the Madhouse 
Just How Big Were the Dinosaurs? from Bambini Travel 
Measuring Toys from Play & Learn Every Day 
Grow a Duck Weighing Activity from Something 2 Offer



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Monday, May 23, 2016

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Dinosaur Watering Hole (No Prep Preschool Dinosaur Fun!)

Dinosaurs needed drinks too!  They also played in water and used it to cool down! This fun preschool dinosaur activity requires no preparation, and only takes a few seconds to pull your supplies out of the cupboard...or garage!



Grab a bucket or bowl and fill it about half way full with water!  If your weather is nice, take it outside.  Let your little "dinosaurs" dig in!!  To make it even more fun, give them a couple manipulative items like a washcloth or smaller bucket with holes in it (like in the picture above).  Odds are your kiddos will find an item or two to play with in the water too!

This activity is part of my huge series of 40+ preschool activities that require no preparation time!  While super easy to set up, these activities are wonderful experience and sensory builders for your preschoolers!  You can use them for a daily themed activity during the summer or as a hands-on part of a regular curriculum!  I'd love to know if you use it and what you and your kiddos do with it!

Be sure to check back soon for more no-prep dinosaur preschool activities!



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Friday, May 20, 2016

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Top 10 Sunflower Activities for Preschool

Sunflowers are definitely one of my top 10 favorite flowers!  Do you love them too?  Or are you scheduling a sunflower theme?  Then you will love this collection of the Top 10 Sunflower Activities for Preschool!



1- Learn about famous art as you make these Van Gogh inspired Sunflower Paintings!

2- Use bubbles, paint, and cut paper to make these Mixed Media Sunflowers!

3- Use a fork to make this brilliant sunflower! (pictured)

4- Grab an empty egg carton to make these super cute sunflowers! (pictured)

5- Use clothespins to make these big hands-on count & clip sunflowers! (pictured)

6- These handprint sunflowers have a fun twist: they sparkle!

7- These sunflower suncatchers use real sunflower seeds!

8- This recycled craft makes HUGE sunflowers! (pictured)

9- Grab some bubble wrap to make this unique sunflower!

10- Use doilies to make these adorable sunflowers! (pictured)


Here are more super FUN flower ideas:


Top 10 Flower Sensory Play Ideas from Sugar, Spice & Glitter
Top 10 Flower Activities for Preschoolers from Living Life and Learning
Top 10 Flower Wreaths from Witty Hoots
Top 10 Flower Recycle Crafts by Teach me Mommy
Top 10 Flower Petal Art Ideas from Our Whimsical Days
Top 10 Flower Sensory Bins from Adventures of Adam
Top 10 Flower Painting Ideas from Messy Little Monster
Top 10 Sunflower Activities for Preschool by Preschool Powol Packets
Top 10 Flower Math Activities from Play & Learn Every Day
Top 10 Flower Books for Kids from Sunny Day Family
Top 10 Flower Suncatchers from Rhythms of Play
Top 10 Magical Fairy Gardens from Crafty Kids at Home
Top 10 Ways to Study Flowers (with a giveaway!) by The Usual Mayhem
Top 10 Flower Projects to Eat Wear Decorate or Gift by Words ‘n’ Needles





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Thursday, May 19, 2016

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Dinosaur Preschool Activities: Dinosaur Stomp!

I'm starting a summer series of themed preschool activities that require very little or no preparation time!  The first preschool theme will be DINOSAURS!!  And today's no-prep activity: a Dinosaur Stomp!


As I planned activities that would take "no-prep," I allowed for anything I could do while I maintained the attention of my kiddos.  This basically amounted to about 30 seconds of time to pull 1-3 supplies out of a cupboard or turn on a song!  None of these activities require advanced preparation of materials!

For the Dinosaur Stomp, tell the kids that we are all going to be dinosaurs!  Ask them what they look like, and pretend to put on your "dinosaur claws" and "dinosaur tail."  Turn on an awesome dinosaur song, and stomp around the room like a parade!  I *love* We Are the Dinosaurs by Laurie Berkner because it is so fun to march around to:




We usually have to repeat this one about three times before everyone has had enough dinosaur stomping!!

Even though this is a super simple activity, it has a huge list of benefits for young children!  The rhyming music with a strong rhythm strengthens their pre-reading, rhyming, and decoding skills while the physical stomping improves gross motor coordination, balance, and core strength...all while releasing pent up energy and re-focusing your kiddos!  This is a wonderful ativity for kids who need proprioceptive and vestibular sensory input in the middle of the day too!

Be sure to come back on Saturday for another quick and easy, no-prep dinosaur themed activity!  Or, check out these super fun dinosaur learning activities from the Virtual Book Club in the mean time!




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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

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Dinosaur Activities from the Virtual Book Club

Dinosaurs, fairy tales, recipes, and more!  If you and your kiddos enjoy book-themed activities, you will *love* this month's Virtual Book Club!



Every month the Virtual Book Club  brings you over a dozen activities focused around one children's book.  This month's book is Goldilocks and the 3 Dinosaurs by Mo Willems, and the hosts' activities revolve around dinosaur and story themes.  Learn more and get fantastic ideas all month long at the Virtual Book Club's Facebook Page!!

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Goldilocks and the Three DInosaurs by Mo Willems is a fun dinosaur-themed twist on a classic fairy tale.  It is perfect for preschoolers who love dinosaurs, hilarious to children of all ages, and can be used for lots of learning activities for older kids (think fractured fairy tales, creative writing, writing prompts, and more)!

Here are the fairy tale and dinosaur activity ideas from the Virtual Book Club hosts:

Learn about states of matter and how dinosaurs (and other reptiles) laid eggs with this Ice Egg Dinosaur Science activity here at Preschool Powol Packets!

Have fun retelling and illustrating stories with this fun hands-on Sensory Re-telling activity at Growing Book by Book!

Go outside and try your hand at building a Dinosaur Trap like Inspiration Laboratories!

Make a colorful Dinosaur Alphabet Board Game to review letters with this idea from Mom Inspired Life!

Mix up your own Hot Chocolate Pudding like the dinosaurs in the story with this recipe from Sugar, Spice, and Glitter!

Try some of these Dinosaur Writing Ideas for handwriting practice and letter formation from the Pleasantest Thing!

Put together a LEGO Norweigen Flag to celebrate the dinosaurs' visiting friend...or make a flag from another country with Mama Miss!

Who loves chocolate?!!  Then you will love creating these Chocolate-filled Little Dinosaur Bon Bons with I Can Teach My Child!

Challenge your preschool and elementary kiddos' arithmetic skills with these Dinosaur Math Questions from Rainy Day Mum!

Get moving with your kiddos and these fun Goldilocks & the 3 Dinosaurs Gross Motor Activities from 3 Dinosaurs!

Practice name recognition and spelling with this Paper Plate Dinosaur Craft from Toddler Approved!

Play with shapes with your own Dinosaur Shapes Game from The Educator's Spin on It!


That's it!  If you have any favorite dinosaur activities please share them as a comment here, in an email, or on FB!!


And be sure to tune in to get fantastic ideas all month long at the Virtual Book Club's Facebook Page!!





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Friday, May 13, 2016

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STEM Challenge: Build a Catapult with Outdoor Materials

STEM, science, and outdoors are some of our favorite activity themes!  I'm putting together a series of STEM challenges for our kids to do this summer in a STEM Summer Camp, and this is the first challenge that I thought of!


The set up is SO easy!!  Simply write the following instructions on a slip of paper and place it inside a lunch baggie:

"Build a catapult using materials you find outside."

The rest of the project, the materials, the format, the building, and the final structure are all up to your kiddos!  You can answer questions or encourage them, but the challenge is to build a catapult themselves.  When they are done, they can try (carefully!) launching sticks, rocks, pinecones, or other small objects!

This projects requires your kiddos to use scientific reasoning, team work, language and discussion, creativity, problem solving, and more skills!  It integrates science (physics), technology (any tools they find or create), engineering (designing and building the catapult), and math (calculating and testing trajectory).  To adapt the project for older children, you can include more advanced technology and math tools in the baggie (like a calculator, tape measure, or other supplies).  We will be doing it with younger children and will just be using qualitative math.

Check back in a few weeks and I will add pictures of the process they went through and their final catapults!

I am also sharing this project as part of the 31 Days of Outdoor STEM hosted by Little Bins for Little Hands!  Be sure to click over to see LOADS of other great ideas for taking STEM learning outside!





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Thursday, May 12, 2016

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{FREE} Ocean Animals & Plants Cards

Summer is here, and everyone is talking about the ocean!  I thought you would love these {FREE} Ocean Animals & Plants cards to go with any ocean fun and learning you're doing!



You can use them for memory and matching games, put them in a Montesorri bin, or even quiz each other with the fun facts on them!  For example, did you know that yellow tangs will sometimes eat algae right off a sea turtle's back?!


What else can you learn?  Find out...

What the largest marine plant is!
The only fish in the world to have blue scales!
What sea creature has three hearts!
What sea creature likes to eat sting rays!
What fish can walk on its fins!
And so much more!!

Of course, there are thousands and thousands of sea creatures that I could not include in this set...there are probably still more mysteries in the ocean than there are in the rainforest!

But, I did include critters and plants from at least five different phyla and at least one representative from each zone in the ocean!

If you have older children I am including this short list for your reference.  Here are the ocean zones and at least one animal included in the card set that you can find in each.  It's important to note a couple things about this list.  Many animals move between the mesopelagic zone and the epipelagic zone depending on food availability.  For example, the hammerhead shark can be found anywhere from the surface of the ocean down to 300 meters (which is at the top of the mesopelagic zone).  And different species of an animal like the octopus live at different depths. For example, the blanket octopus lives in the epipelagic zone near coral reefs while the umbrella (or Dumbo) octopus ranges from 3,000 meters (bathypelagic) to 7,000 meters (abyss) deep.

Epipelagic / Sunlight Zone:  Sea Star
Mesopelagic / Twilight Zone:  Hammerhead Shark
Bathypelagic / Midnight Zone: Vampire Squid 
Abyssopelagic Zone / The Abyss:  Octopus
Trenches:  Sea Toad



So what can you do with your ocean animals & plants cards?  

The possibilities are endless!  And I love that they can be used by all different ages!  Here are a few ideas:

* Memory & Matching Games
* Montessori Bins
* Build food chains with them
* Match them with different zones in the ocean
* Sort them with similarities and differences
* Put them in Venn Diagrams
* Represent producers and consumers (and different levels of consumers!)
* Anything else you want!

They would go perfectly with ocean, coral reef, beach, or summer themes, but are also loads of fun just to play with by themselves!  We made them to go with our Marine Biology week--more details below!!

This packet includes animals AND plants that you would find in an ocean biome! 

Please note that all pages are copyrigh© 2016 Preschool Powol Packets.  Please share them by linking to this blog post and not the actual file.  Please encourage other teachers and parents to download their own set.  Please do NOT host the file on any other website or in file sharing groups on Facebook or other sites.  You're always welcome to share a link to this post!  This allows me to continue creating FREE resources.  Thank you!!


Are you learning about biomes?  Did you see my Tropical Rainforest Animals & Plants cards?  Check them out!!  And yes, more biomes are coming!!

Do you love ocean activities?  Why not check out my {FREE} Ocean Count & Clip Cards, {FREE} Ocean Animals Count to 10 Hidden Picture, or {FREE} Sharks Count to 10 Hidden Picture?  And keep checking back...more are coming!


AND...we are joining the Early Elementary Blogging Team today to bring you loads of Marine Biology learning activities and resources!  You will love these ideas!!  Be sure to visit...




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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

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Preschool Science: Flower Investigation

No set-up time? Check! Perfect for young kiddos? Check! Engaging, inquiry-filled science fun? Double check!



Okay, you might actually need a whole minute to pull out your magnifying glasses, paper, and crayons.  But that is all the set up you need!

There are so many things I love about this science activity!  Here are a few:

1- It's child-directed.  Your children aren't trying to find the answer you've decided is right.  They're leading the investigation!

2- Your kiddos are learning to use tools and manipulate objects that require fine motor skills.

3- You kiddos are learning about the natural world!

4- It provides a context for more factual information later OR you can teach about flower parts while you investigate the flowers!  (Just in case you're interested, I'm including a reference picture below!)

5- This activity includes science, large/gross motor movement, fine motor skills, inquiry, math, and more! Use it with adjustments for whatever spring or summer learning goals you have!



Here is a quick step-by-step, but you can easily make adjustments to target whatever learning goals you're working on!  (Click here to learn about planning a child-led curriculum!)


1- Go on a walk and let each child pick three (or any other number!) flowers.


2- Ask them what parts they see on the flowers.

3- Give them the magnifying glasses and ask how it makes the flowers look different.  Let them explore the flowers (and anything else they want) with the magnifying glasses!




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Today the Learning with Manipulatives bloggers are all talking about magnifying glasses!  Check out these other ideas:





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