Babies-Toddler Vivian | 03 Jan 2011 06:52 pm

Sunny & Shady Preschool Learning

Sun Fun

A day with bright sun is a perfect time to make sun prints. You will need a sheet of dark construction paper and small items with identifiable shapes, such as stencils, puzzle pieces or even an open puzzle frame with the pieces removed. Lay the paper on a flat surface in an area that will be sunny for a couple hours. Place the chosen shapes or stencils on the paper, leaving space between each item. Leave the project in the sun for two or more hours. Return with the child to remove the shapes to see how the sun has bleached some of the color from the paper. Where there was something shading the paper, the color remains dark.

Ask the children to tell you what they know about the sun. They might say that it is hot and warms the world; it is big and yellow, and gives light. This would be a good time to explain that the same sun that is strong enough to take color from paper is strong enough to burn our skin–a reminder of why we need to protect our skin with sunscreen.

Another fun sun project is to give the child a piece of white paper and a yellow crayon. Ask the child to draw a big round sun on the paper coloring it in with the yellow crayon. Then provide light blue watercolor paint for the child to paint the entire sheet of paper. The paint, of course, will not stick to the yellow crayon, and, when dry, the result is a picture of the beautiful blue sky with bright sunshine.

Clouds are bunches of small drops of water or ice. When that water falls to the ground we have rain, hail or in the cold winter, snow. A few clouds can be added to the above picture by mixing some Ivory Snow soap flakes and water to make a fluffy substance. Paint it into place in the sky.

Following a thunder storm, you might want to do a variation of the above picture. Make gray clouds by adding a small amount of black tempera paint to the Ivory Snow/water mixture. With a marker or with glitter glue, draw some zigzag lines coming down from the clouds for lightning. Have a discussion about lightning and hail storm safety.

Shady and Cool Fun

While in the sun help the children notice their shadows. “Can you make your shadow jump? Can you make it wave?” For older children, go to the same spot outside at two or three different times during one day to observe their shadows. Discuss what makes the shadow and why it is on a different side of them each time.

Shade is the shadow of a building, tree or other object. Remember the sun print paper? The objects on the paper shaded it from the direct rays of the sun and kept the paper color from being bleached. Go into a shady area. The shadow of our house or a tree is “shading” us from the sun’s hot rays. Clouds can also provide shade when they are between us and the sun.

A breeze helps to cool us off by moving the air around us. No breeze today? We can make a fan to move the air to help us feel cooler.

A sheet of paper is all that is needed, but the children may enjoy painting or coloring a picture on the paper before making it into a fan. When ready, help each child accordion-pleat the paper in about ? pleats starting from the short end. When all is pleated, fold up about 1″ of one end to hold onto when fanning.

Another type of fan can be made from heavy paper or the cardboard of a cereal box. Cut the cardboard/paper into a shape approximately 6″ x 6″. Encourage the child to decorate the shape with paints or crayons. For a handle tape it onto a stick or glue it onto a large-size craft (Popsicle) stick.

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