Friday, July 29, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Aroma station

After having so much fun watching the children tune in to their sense of smell at our  aromatherapy center earlier this week, I had to create a follow-up sensory station with new materials.

Olfactory receptivity is a fast and lasting pathway to the brain.  Have you ever smelled an aroma that instantly triggered a memory from childhood?  I can still "smell" my cookie monster Halloween costume from kindergarten.  I personally smell everything, and have been teased for it.  My sense of smell is how I believe I categorize information in my brain.  Our program appeals to the "whole" child and therefore we keep in mind that a child's use of the sense of smell also promotes specialized brain activity. There are many ways to do this, and here is one:

Aroma tray

Items used:
Index cards
Essential oils of peppermint, lavendar, and orange
Vanilla extract

Apply aromas to index cards after labeling the card with the scent.  The cinnamon powder can be rubbed into the card, while the extracts and oils can be applied and allowed to soak through.  I labelled them before applying the smell so my hand wouldn't transfer the smells back and forth between cards.

Don't forget to add the awkward "smell station" sign that has what appears to be giant nose hairs sticking out of the nose (it's supposed to be aroma going into the nose...equally awkward!).

There are so many variations in the vehicle for delivering the aromas (cotton balls, drops in containers, scented dough, oils to paint with, in the paint itself) to where they are derived (e.g. the actual plant, the extract, the essential oil, manmade vs. natural).  I might also ask the children what aromas they would like at this center.  You could also make this a matching games by not labeling and making duplicate aroma cards.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Aromatherapy in the classroom


One day, every person who walked into preschool said, "It smells so good in here!".  Before they even saw the table, they could smell the rosemary.

I don't have much of a green thumb, but a couple of years ago I decided spontaneously to plant a scented herb garden.  Lavendar (both varieties), rosemary, spearmint, chocolate mint, sage, Italian parsley, cilantro, lemon thyme, and basil.  The hardiest half that survived are still there in the garden!

Last week, we used trimmings from the aroma garden at a sensory table that smelled wonderful.

Be was surprised when I responded to his question "What can we do with these?" with "Whatever you feel like doing!" He immediately got to pouring and grinding and letting me smell his herbal blend.

I won't tell you how to present it to your preschoolers.  My suggestion is to just see what they do.

Items needed:
Herb clippings
Sea salt (a nice medium for grinding the herbs 
and attracts those children who are all about pouring)
Rolling pins
Mortar and pestle
A table cover (optional, I used white butcher paper to see the prints after rolling)

add colorful flowers (non-poisonous of course)
add water in small glass jars with droppers and watercolor brushes
add oil in a small squeeze bottle 
Add tweezers and magnifiers


Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Matching game

We *might* overdo it with the matching games...but they are just so simple to make!  Our current theme is around lemons, lemonade stand, and surrounding concepts.  This work is an attempt to fit into that theme.

It's a simple laminated work for the kids who are interested in upper- and lower-case letters:

Stay tuned for more lemony works and activities!


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Bee Inspired

Beansprouts Preschool was all about the bees the past week.

  • Tasting honey
  • Dancing finger puppets to "Flight of the Bumble Bee"
  • Bee paper collages
  • Bee playdough props w/yellow playdough
  • Bug-making out of old CD's
The older children explored preliteracy and pre-writing concepts around the bee theme.

They each chose a word to write and draw about that had to do with bees.  Many of theme wanted to do more than one word.  The words to choose from were "dance" "colony" "pollinator" "bee" "buzz" "honey" and "hive", all words we have been exploring this week during our bee studies.  I was amazed at what they came up with in their art and also how excited they were to write the words.  

They practiced some fine-motor skills by tracing the bees' paths to the hive!

Another Simple Game

Items needed:
Container w/one dice and 6 objects (we used stackable rectangular blocks)

How to play:
Take turns rolling di and make block patterns with that number of blocks

Can be for one child or a pair/group. The older the kids, the more complex the little block towers can get.

A Simple Ladybug Game

Simple Lady Bug Game
Inspired by my friend Tanya of Tanya's Learning Garden who does lots of clothespin games with children!  Andrea brought in the ladybug chart and it was just the perfect thing to make a work out of.

Items needed:
Chart w/4 or more ladybugs with varying numbers of spots
Cards with numerals that correspond with number of spots on each ladybug
Laminator, if needed

Variations are endless depending on the theme:
Bee stripes
Pieces of fruit
Vehicles in groups of different sizes OR
Vehicles with different numbers of tires, passengers, etc.

Can also vary according to developmental abiltiies:
One clothespin per card
No clothespins, just match by placing card on top
Match correct number of dots rather than numerals

Wrestling is good for children.

Originally published Sept 2010 Many of our parents seemed shocked when they came to pick up their children from Beansprouts and found the...