Moon Sand: A Fun Sensory Experience

During their early years, children engage in a variety of sensory activities. It is through these activities that children’s fine motor skills, among many other areas of development, are enhanced. One type of sensory activity that children often enjoy and have fun with is sand play. Through sand play, children explore their sense of touch and discover new textures. Because it is open-ended, sand play can also be very soothing to children. Children can simply enjoy the texture of sand as they run their fingers through it and also have the freedom to make whatever it is they desire. From pouring sand into buckets to building castles and running cars or plastic animals through it, children gain the opportunity to explore their imagination and creativity.

Teachers and parents can encourage children’s involvement in sand play both at school and at home. There are different types of sand that children can play with. One very cool and fun type is homemade Moon Sand (also known as cloud dough). Although there are a variety of ways to make it, moon sand can be made with two simple ingredients: flour and baby oil. By mixing these two ingredients, moon sand not only has a great scent but is also moldable, safe, and fun! Getting children involved in helping make the sand can also be enjoyable for them. Moon sand is an easy activity that parents can do with their children at home and most importantly, it is exciting and lots of fun!

Moon Sand Recipe:

  • 8 cups of flour
  • 1 cup of baby oil
  • If desired, add powder-based colors (i.e. powdered tempera paint or powdered drink mix)

How to make it:

  1. Pour the flour into a large bowl.
  2. Add any powder-based color into the flour and mix it.
  3. Add the baby oil to the flour and mix all the ingredients together.
  4. When the sand feels soft and moldable, it is ready to be used.
  5. Store the moon sand in air-tight container and it should last up to a month (add more baby oil if it dries up.)

Children in Room 4 having fun while playing with homemade moon sand:

moonsand2Author: Adriana Gonzalez, CSULA Child Development Intern

Family Fun: Homemade Flubber

Children enjoy playing with their buddies at school, but when children are at school, they often talk about their families. Children crave time with their parents and siblings and enjoy quality time with them. Playing together creates a bond that will last forever and will create a childhood that will be filled with a lifetime memories.

Family activities are great for the whole family. A fun family activity to do with your child is to make your own homemade Flubber. Children love to be part of the process of making Flubber. Flubber is similar to prefabricated “slime”, but the texture is a little different. Making your own flubber gives the child the opportunity to increase their sensory skills by feeling the texture: molding, squishing, and squeezing it between their fingers. Playing with Flubber also increases finger strength and dexterity, which helps with future writing strength. Children can play with flubber for hours! Not only will it be fun for your child, but you’ll probably find yourself playing right along with them! To make this awesome homemade flubber recipe you will need:
• 1/3 cup water
• 3 tablespoons of borax
• 2 cups of water
• 2 cups of white school glue
• Food Coloring

WHAT TO DO

• Add 1/3 cup water to bowl, then add the borax and stir until dissolved
• Next add the food coloring or Kool-Aid and set aside (be careful…food coloring stains)
• In another bowl, add 2 cups of water and 2 cups of school glue and stir until thoroughly mixed
• Add borax mix to the glue mix
• Next you will knead with your hands for approximately 5 minutes until the water is completely adsorbed. You will be able to tell when it is done.
• Make sure to ask your child open-ended questions while playing with the Flubber. For example, ask about the texture, the color, smell, how does it feel, compare it to different textures, etc.
• But most importantly, HAVE FUN!
• You are able to save the Flubber in a zip bag

Author: Cristina Gomez, CSULA Child Development Intern

Clear Skies Ahead! 

Weather has been the focus of our discussions, experiments, and art projects for the month of January.

In our science small group and in our classroom library, we have been learning what clouds are made of.

To really understand these systems as a whole, we created our own demonstration of the water cycle.

  

We also graphed our favorite weather…

We checked out rain clouds…

…and experimented with rainbow rain clouds!

We created a cloud in a jar (using hot water, hairspray, and ice)…

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…and were AMAZED!

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We wove our clouds together…

and created our own storms!

           
Even in our very mild Los Angeles winter, we are so thankful for God’s sovereignty over the weather EVERYWHERE.

“When He gave to the wind its weight and apportioned the waters by measure, when He made a decree for the rain and a way for the lightning of the thunder, then He saw it and declared it; He established it…” Job 28:25-27

A Snowy Day!

The cold weather in January brought a discussion of snow!! In Room 2 we had fun reading the book The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats. This beloved Caldecott Award winning book is about a little boy Peter who goes out and has adventures in the snow. Our dramatic play was transformed into a snowy day scene so our children could reenact it. They even had snowball fights!IMG_0989

They also had fun making Snowmen in different forms: art, sensory, and food.

We had so many different sensory/science activities; we made snow men with shaving  cream and baking soda on trays. In the sensory bin we had fake insta-Snow.

They painted snowmen and snow girls (some children put long hair on their snow person) with white paint as well as puffy paint. We used paper collage and “bleach snow” and made snowmen as big as our name!

 

 

It’s Time For…Small Groups!

Our Green Elephants, Yellow Giraffes, Blue Ladybugs, and Purple Butterflies LOVE small group time! Each small group consists of six children who rotate to four different stations in our classroom.

First, we have our Language and Literacy group. At this teacher-directed station, we implement our Happily Ever After Curriculum. At our elementary school, the transitional kindergarten (TK) and kindergarten classes also integrate a version of this program, called Superkids.Therefore, this fun reading readiness program helps us bridge the gap between pre-k and kindergarten, for our PCS families.  Happily Ever After is centered on classic children’s literature. These activities aim to meet a wide range of student objectives in the areas of vocabulary/conceptual development; print and book awareness; letter recognition; auditory discrimination; phonological awareness; comprehension, emergent writing; listening and speaking; and fine motor skills.

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Our Math and Science group is also facilitated by one of the three teachers in our classroom. Primarily, we use games and manipulatives to build understanding of spacial relationships, classification, patterning, and cause and effect. A fun way we help children develop a sense of quantity is by learning to estimate. For example, our math and science table has become an Estimation Station! At The Estimation Station, each child estimated the quantity of various objects (pine cones, pastel cubes, and glass marbles). They wrote down their estimations and counted the objects together. We celebrated the closest estimations with a special clap we like to call a “Fire Style” (everyone wants their friends to give them a fire style!)

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We develop knowledge of the natural world by going on nature hunts. We count, classify, and compare objects like sticks, pinecones, and leaves. It’s always fun to integrate nature and science into art. Check out our Leaf Man Project!

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Our third small group is The Writing Center. The children use their Daily Writing Journals to creatively depict their thoughts, feelings, and the images of their imagination. The children are either given “free choice” or an exciting prompt pertaining to things they have experienced that day or stories they have heard. Our main objective is to help children develop emergent writing skills through dialogue and dictation.

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Lastly, our Independent group is our child-directed activity. We put self-regulation to work as we look at books, build with blocks, assemble manipulatives, line up dominoes, or work with play dough. Here are just a couple of the independent group activities we’ve done.
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Occasionally, we are blessed with a Cal State LA student intern, and on those days our independent group is facilitated by a teacher in training.

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Mixin’ It Up!

Who wants to sit and look at a boring ol’ color chart? No, thank you! We would much rather EXPERIENCE color mixing first-hand! During our morning free choice play, we had the opportunity to experiment with primary water colors at our science table.

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