Weather Unit for Preschool
Who knew studying the weather could be so much fun? We always sing a little weather song and discuss the current weather during our Circle Time. Doing a whole unit though was way better than I could have imagined. There are so many great ideas for preschoolers and I wanted to do them all! Here is what we ended up doing.
Wind Painting: We used white paper, a bit of paint and straws to paint with the "wind." I squirted a bit of paint in two colors on each of their papers and then gave them each a straw to blow the paint around with. Emmett ended up using his hands a bit more than the straw, but Emerson got the hang of it really quick. We realized the paint was a bit thick so we ended up trying again with watered down paint and it worked a lot better. She had a blast blowing the paint around the paper. The end result was beautiful.
Weather Mobile: Both kids had a lot of fun making this cute weather mobile. We used our Target dollar section weather wheel (which Emmett ended up breaking) as our guide for which types of weather we wanted to display. Emerson did really well coming up with ideas on how we could create each one. I have a ton of craft supplies so we were able to make everything from what we already had on hand. We found a long stick to tie everything to on our walk that day.
She insisted on green for the snowflake. We also forgot to attach our umbrella for rain. Emmett worked on his fine motor skills by making a cloud with cotton balls.
Alphabet Puddle Jumping: Emerson put her rain boots on for this one. We pretended that our alphabet squares were rain puddles and they had to jump to the "puddle" that matched the letter I said. Emerson is really starting to know all her letters, both upper and lower case. Emmett had fun following Emerson around and running around the letters.
Cloud Dough: I think I have found a new favorite cloud dough recipe. Most cloud dough we have tried is pretty crumbly and takes some effort to keep together. This one was amazing! It held together great and was more like a play-dough. All you need is cornstarch and conditioner. Emmett loved this one too. He was literally squealing with delight when he put his hands on it. He loved taking it all apart and then watching me roll it back into a ball so he could do it again. Emerson liked that this one held its shape more when she used her play-dough toys with it. They were fully engaged for over 45 minutes!
Winter Sensory Bin: I dyed some rice blue and added some shovels, sparkly snowflakes from the dollar store and cotton balls to make this sensory bin. They both really enjoyed scooping the rice and playing with the snowflakes.
Painting Ice: I froze two blocks of ice and let the kids use watercolors to paint them. We had to use a bit of water to get the paint to go on at first, but as the ice melted we could just dip the brush in paint and then it would glide onto the ice and drip down the sides. It was actually really relaxing and I had to get on the action too. Emmett kept eating his paint brush. Emerson really enjoyed this project and practiced making rainbows on hers.
Frost Painting: I was skeptical when we first started this project because it didn't look like anything was happening. The real magic is when it dries! I boiled some water and mixed in some epsom salt and food coloring. I let the kids paint on white paper with the solution and then we set them outside to dry. Once they dried you could see the "frost" appear from the dried epsom salt. It was really beautiful and once Emerson saw it she wanted to do more!
Cloud in a Jar: This is an easy way to show how rain falls. I filled a mason jar with water almost to the top. Then squirted shaving cream to the top of the jar. I let Emerson add some blue food coloring to the top of the shaving cream. Then we used a plastic pipet to drop water on top of the food coloring. The water brought the food coloring through the "cloud" of shave cream and then into the water below. It was a great way to start the discussion on how clouds form and why it rains.
Rainy Day Sensory Bin: This was an easy sensory bin to put together and Emmett loved it! I poured the water and shaving cream from our Cloud in a Jar experiment into the water table. I added more water, cotton balls and paper cups with holes poked in the bottom. The shaving cream swirled in the water made it look like thin clouds. The kids had fun making raindrops with thepaper cups and squeezing the cotton ball clouds. Emmett spent a lot of time pouring water from one cup to another and really liked when I would make raindrops for him.
Snow Dough: This is another version of cloud dough, but I called it snow instead. I mixed cornstarch and shaving cream for this one. It was a bit crumbly, but when you squeeze it in your hand it will hold its shape for a bit. I laid out a plastic table cloth so we could use it outside and not get it all over. Both kids really enjoyed playing with the "snow." I ended up with white foot prints all over my floors, but it cleaned up easily with a bit of water.
Rainbow Math: I found this idea here. It was easy to put together and fun to play. We used our giant foam dice again to roll numbers for each color of the rainbow. We started with red and worked our way through. Emerson would roll the dice and I would write the numbers down on our dry erase paddle as an addition problem. She would add the two numbers together and then would write the answer on the paddle. This is a great way to start introducing addition to young children. It also gave her some extra writing practice. We would then place the same color and amount of fruit loops to the corresponding color of the rainbow. Once all colors had been rolled for I asked her questions about which color had the most, least or the same amount. Emmett enjoyed eating yummy fruit loops. I also tried to tell him each color as he ate them to introduce colors to him.
Homemade Thermometer: This was a really cool science experiment. We took an empty plastic bottle and filled with 1/4 full with water and then another 1/4 full of rubbing alcohol so the bottle was half full. We added a couple drops of blue food coloring so we could more easily see what was happening. I took one of our clear acrylic straws and placed it in the bottle so that it was emerged in the liquid but not touching the bottom of the bottle. I secured it with some play-dough and made sure the top of the bottle was fully sealed. Then we moved the bottle to a warm spot and watched the liquid rise up the straw. When we movedit to a cold place like the freezer we saw the liquid lower in the straw. Emerson had fun picking different spots throughout the house to see what would happen. When Steve got home I asked him why this worked and he said that since the bottle is sealed off with the play-dough that when the air molecules inside the bottle get hot and expand, it pushes the liquid up the straw. When it gets cold the air molecules contract, leaving more room for the liquid and it goes back down. Thank God for a scientist husband, right? I originally found this idea here.
Weather Sensory Bottles: We had a lot of fun making these weather sensory bottles. I got a pack of small water bottles and we filled them with various craft items and water to create replicas of weather. We made cloudy, rainy, windy, sunny, snowy and Emerson insisted on making a rainbow one too. Emmett really enjoyed picking up little things and putting them inside the bottles. It was great fine motor work for him. Emerson was really creative in coming up with different ways to represent each type of weather. If you want to make your own check out my post here.
Writing in Clouds: I always try to make our writing activities as fun as possible since Emerson is just starting to learn how to write. I often will have her write in different ways one of which is in different materials. We used shaving cream to create "clouds" on cookie sheets. She spread the shaving cream out and then wrote the letters she knew with her finger. Emmett enjoyed having some extra sensory play. He is finally outgrowing the "put everything in their mouth" stage so he did great with this activity.
It was a busy week studying weather. We all had a ton of fun and the kids learned so much. I hope you enjoyed reading about our weather unit. Try some of these activities with your kiddos and let me know how it goes.