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Naturally Educational » Senses

S is for Snow

S is for Snow

We haven’t done a lot of alphabet work because I believe in letting the kids’ interest and the rhythms of the season drive the activities we do together. My oldest seemed to just pluck the alphabet from the air–a puzzle, a few refrigerator magnets, and an alphabet book or two and she just knew all of her A,B,C’s. Since my son has shown a strong interest in letters recently, and we’ve had a great time playing in … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), Featured, Literacy, Touch, Weather, Winter

New Year’s Noisemaker

New Year’s Noisemaker

For most cultures, New Year’s is a time for new beginnings.  The traditions usually involve cleansing the home of bad energy and welcoming in luck and prosperity.  Most likely the origins of the use of noisemakers and firecrackers on New Year’s Eve is to frighten away “evil spirits”. We’ve made the “rain maker” style noisemakers using water bottles or toilet paper tubes in the past so I decided to try these simple paper plate noisemakers.  These … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Music, Musical, Sound, Winter

Edible Dreidel Dessert Craft

Edible Dreidel Dessert Craft

We actually first made this yummy craft last year with a friend who runs an awesome music program for kids on Long Island (Shake and Make Music). We had a lot of fun so we decided to do it again this year.  Although we are not Jewish, most of my heritage is so this is something I want to be able to share with my kids. Materials: Marshmallow Chocolate Hershey’s Kiss Pretzel stick Nutella (or honey or Marshmallow Fluff) and knife … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Home Arts, Taste

Cascading Leaf Spiral

Cascading Leaf Spiral

For those of you who live further north, your leaves have probably already fallen.  On Long Island, ours didn’t really hit their peak until the last week of October and the forests are still a riot of color here. One resourceful friend of mine in Texas has a friend in Vermont ship her a package of leaves so the children may experience the autumn hues.  Fall is one of my favorite parts of living in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Fall, Science, Sight, Visual-Spacial, Weather

Apple Tasting

Apple Tasting

My kids love the opportunity to taste different varieties of the foods they love at local farms and markets. I was lucky enough to participate in an apple tasting with my daughter on the day I volunteered at our preschool co-operative. Once the tasting was over, the teaching assistant, who has an amazing traveling science museum called Science on the Move, whipped up a delicious peanut-free dip for the apples! Creating an apple tasting for your … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Fall, Featured, Home Arts, Mathematics, Science, Taste

Are Picture Books Out of the Picture?

Are Picture Books Out of the Picture?

With great sadness, I read The New York Times’ (hopefully premature) obituary for the picture book: The picture book, a mainstay of children’s literature with its lavish illustrations, cheerful colors and large print wrapped in a glossy jacket, has been fading. It is not going away — perennials like the Sendaks and Seusses still sell well — but publishers have scaled back the number of titles they have released in the last several years, and booksellers … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), Academic Achievement, Literacy, Sight

Songs for Four Seasons

Songs for Four Seasons

We like to sing songs while our crafts dry. For our Four Seasons of the Apple Tree Craft, we used these songs. The lyrics for the first are of my own composition. If you use it, please attribute it to me and if you post it on the Internet, please link back here. The others I found without attribution (unless otherwise noted) on various listserves. If you are the author … Read entire article »

Filed under: 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), All Ages, Ecology, Fall, Musical, Science, Songs, Sound, Spring, Summer, Weather, Winter

Pancakes from Scratch

Pancakes from Scratch

At another Mommy & Me at Garden of Eve, Eve led us in picking wheat, threshing the wheat to separate the grain from the chaff, grinding the wheat (in a blender..though my kids have stone-ground grains at some local colonial-themed events), stirring in the eggs, sugar, baking powder, and milk, and frying up the pancakes. Unless you have a field of wheat growing in your backyard, you may need to take a few shortcuts–but making a … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), All Ages, Bodily-kinesthetic, Featured, Home Arts, Taste

Jam, Jelly, and Preserves

Jam, Jelly, and Preserves

We have the good fortune to live near an organic farm (Garden of Eve) owned by young parents. The mom runs a summertime “Mommy & Me” that includes a circle time and a farm “chore”. One week the children picked blackberries and turned them into jam! The process was fairly simple: Pick the berries Wash and dry the berries Meanwhile, sterilize glass jars in boiling water Crush the berries in a bowl Add mixture to a pot and pour … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), All Ages, Ecology, Featured, Home Arts, Science, Summer, Taste

She’s Like a Rainbow

She’s Like a Rainbow

March is a great time for learning about the weather, including rainbows!  Kids love rainbows with their bright colors and mystery–and there is plenty of opportunity for scientific exploration! With our preschoolers, we made dyed pasta rainbows.  We also gave the toddlers in our group the option of making the craft with fruity cereal o’s on paper–but this generally resulted in them just eating the cereal! Materials: Rotelle (Wagon Wheel) Pasta Food Dye Wax Paper Cotton Balls Glue Thread (for hanging) Dye the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Art, Science, Sight, Spring, Weather