Reading isn't the only way to learn. A child's understanding about the world depends a great deal on their sense of touch, smell, sound and taste.
Recycled Newspaper Pots
The benefit to making recycled newspaper pots is that you can transplant your seedlings right into the garden, pot and all, and the newspaper will decompose naturally in the soil.
You only need three basic materials: newspapers, scissors, and a small can or mason jar (or you can purchase a paper pot maker HERE). For seedlings, a six-ounce can (the kind that tomato paste usually comes in) is the perfect size. A soda can also works well, or even a drinking glass.
You will need two pages of newspaper (so you have a four-sheet stack).
Cut them into thirds lengthwise.
Place your can or jar on the newspaper and leave about an inch hanging off the end. Roll the can along the newspaper until it's loosely wrapped all the way around.
Fold the edge of the newspaper down over the can, and work your way around until all the edges are folded over firmly. They don't have to be perfect; you can just smash the paper down with your fingers. It's also fine if there is a small hole where the folds meet in the middle - that just provides extra drainage.
Flip the can or jar right side up. Press the can or jar down on the folds to really crease the edges for strength.
Slide the can or jar out and you've got a biodegradable seedling pot
We who live in So. Calif. don't have the experience of changing seasons as intensely as other parts of our country. This fun activity brings a little coldness and exposure to cold. It's fun to do on a gloomy day with scarfs and mittens. It also works as a great activity when you want to cool your body off in the summer heat. Beyond the physical fun of working with a really cold medium, it shares the science of changing properties. Changing liquid into sold, the interaction of the salt on ice and changing back from solid to liquid are great early science discoveries.
What You Need:
-An outside area
-Large blocks of Ice (available at most larger grocery stores like Ralphs) 4-6 is an OK number, but the more the better
-Small pieces of Ice...anything from ice cube tray size, paper cups of assorted sizes. molds or bowls, rubber gloves frozen.
Add food color or liquid water color to the shapes you freeze, add herbs, leaves, flowers for more interesting sculptures
-1 or 2 boxes of Rock Salt (sometimes called Ice Cream Salt)
-A few pitchers of water, eye droppers or small spoons
How to do it:
-Arrange the large ice blocks first. In a straight line or layered..build like you would with blocks
-Place all the un-molded small pieces in a plastic tub or dish pan
-Have the salt, spoons, water and eyedroppers in small containers
-The salt can be used in 2 ways: One to adhere ice surfaces together by placing salt of top of one piece of ice and adding another on top of salt.
Using the salt directly on the surface of the ice and adding water, a little at a time, eats away at the ice and creates holes and tunnels. Using colored water to flow through the salt made tunnels is a beautiful effect.
Sensory Surprise Box
How to Make:
Work with your child to decorate a sturdy box about shoebox size. Let your child lead with ideas of how to decorate- maybe using collage, crayon, markers or paint. Cut a hole in the top of the box just large enough for the child's hand to fit through.
How to Use:
Take turns finding interesting things to put inside the box and feel. Each time you use the box, place a different object or ingredient inside the box. It could be a rock, shell, weeds from the garden, a small car or truck, a plastic animal, a feather, a cup of bird seed, flax seed, salt....anything you can thing of. Be creative! Conversation flows as children feel and guess what it might be. Even before the little hand goes into that box, conversation can start with..."What do you think will be in the box today?" Think of things that will introduce descriptive words like soft, rough, hard, curvy, squishy, silky, bumpy. There might to items that are a specific shape, like a metal bracelet in a circle shape or an ice cube in a square shape. Besides the sensory experience, you are helping your child make connections and think abstractly to figure out what something is without seeing it and increasing their vocabulary.
How to Make:
This is a project best done outside. Get a large tub, like a dish pan and add 10 cups of cornstarch. Slowly pour, a little at a time, 4-6 cups of water into the cornstarch mixture and have your child mix it with her/his hands. You can add food color to the water if you choose. DO NOT
dump large amounts of water quickly into it, as you don't want it to be a soup consistency, more like a thick oatmeal.
How to Use:
This activity is a sensory delight because Ooleck is a suspenstion as it has the properties of a solid and a liquid at the same time. When squeezed and handled it forms a solid ball, but without hand movement it returns to a liquid state and dribbles through the fingers. This is great for small motor control and hand strength. You can keep it for up to a week in the tub and reconstitute it with the addition of a little water. Do not cover it, as it will mold.
Now go get messy!