I love cinnamon scented playdough, which I listed here, but I also love the fruity scent of Kool-Aid scented playdough! Adding an extra appeal to the senses could hardly be easier! Start with the Classic Playdough Recipe. Add a packet of Kool-Aid to the water before adding it to the pan. Ta-da! Simple, right? Now, if you already have a batch of playdough made up, you can also knead the powder right into the dough. It takes a bit of time to get it mixed through, but because it hasn’t been cooked, the scent may actually be stronger that way. Just be sure that the powder has been worked in completely. You may even want to let it sit overnight to be sure that the powder has been fully absorbed.
I recently kneaded some grape Kool-Aid (OK, it was Flavor-Aid, I’m a cheap skate!) into some leftover glitter playdough. The color intensified and the smell was fantastic! Some of the children even watched the transformation and were excited by it, asking for more Kool-Aid to mix into other playdough batches.
Adding a scent to your playdough takes a tactile sensory activity and adds another sense, making it multi-sensory. It is appealing to the children, literally inviting the children to come explore as the scent wafts across the room! It is also a great way to extend a familiar activity. In addition to sensory development, playdough play enhances creativity and fine motor strength.
More from the “Exploring the Arts through Our Senses” unit here!
For more food-themed activities, click here!
Preschoolers love it when you ask for their opinions! Tell them you have a dilemma. You’re trying to figure out which kind of apple tastes the best, but you’re not sure. Ask how you could figure that out? They may suggest (perhaps with some guidance) that you have a taste test!
There are so many different types of apples out there, you could have a different kind each day, and probably still not get through them all in a year! For simplicity’s sake, I use red (Red Delicious), green (Granny Smith), and yellow (Golden Delicious). Give each child a sample of each. Once they have tried them all. Have each child, one by one, come place a picture of their favorite apple, one on top of the other, on the graph you have prepared. You are essentially building a picture graph, which is probably the easiest one for young children to understand.
Once everyone has placed the picture of their favorite apple onto the graph, look at it together and discuss what you’ve found. Each child still has his/her own favorite, but we can easily see which kind of apple most people like the best. Discuss the graph using questions like: Which one do the most people like? How many people liked that one best? Which kind did the least number of people choose as their favorite? How many chose that one? If I wanted to give a whole apple to each person, how many of each kind do I need to buy?And on and on! Building and discussing this picture graph builds math and language skills.
You could use apple pictures you printed from the computer or cut out of construction paper. Somewhere, I’m sure, there are plenty of you lucky people with a die cut or cricut that could whip out several apples in a hurry. I cut mine from felt and used them on a flannel board for our graph. Whichever method you use, these apples can be used again for a patterning activity (red, yellow, red, yellow, etc.) as well as to illustrate the 10 Little Apples Song! I love multipurposing!
For more favorite fall activities, click here!
I love simple recipes that children can help with at snack time. Here’s another favorite to add to that stash: Fruit Dip!
Here are the players:
In a bowl, combine:
1 (8oz) block of cream cheese (or Neufchtel for lower fat)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla
(The original recipe also calls for another 1/4 cup granulated sugar, but 5 out of 6 kids had no complaints about the reduced sugar version. And I’m not so sure the extra sugar would have made the difference for the sixth one.)
Blend all ingredients together until smooth.
Serve a “dollop of dip” (fun alliteration as well as a new vocabulary word) on each plate with apples slices, banana segments, and pretzels. It’s a well-known fact that dip is its own food group for children! It’s nice to get a little fruit in along with it when you can!
Before or after having apples and bananas for snack, it’s great to tie it in with Raffi’s song, Apples and Bananas. Kids love this song! Apples and Bananas sounds like just another silly song, but substituting the different vowel sounds is a great way to build phonemic awareness, which is a huge part of being ready to read.
Again, I like the Raffi version of Apples and Bananas, and the kids love the silly things he throws in. (I stumbled on this YouTube sample of the version my kiddos prefer, set to pictures.) I’m sure there are a lot of other versions out there. If you want some respite from your usual preschool music artists, check out Keith Urban singing the song on the album “Country Goes Raffi”, here’s the YouTube sample.
Enjoy some fruit, some dip, and some song with your kiddos today!
For more Welcome Weeks activities, click here!
OK. That is, of course, a rhetorical question. Anyone who has ever worked with preschoolers knows that it is a rare thing to find a snack that every child likes. But it’s been hard to miss with this one! I like to have the children help me make this frosty treat at snack time. (Here’s how kids benefit from helping you out in the kitchen!)
1 (12 oz) can frozen orange juice concentrate
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1/3-1/2 cup sugar
12 ice cubes
1 tsp vanilla
(Berries or bananas taste great added in too, if you like!)
Add all the ingredients in a blender, and…well…blend!
(Now, whenever I make something with the children using a blender, I let them know that it’s going to be loud. That way, those with noise sensitivities can cover their ears or get some distance if they choose to.)
This recipe makes about 6 eight ounce servings. If you’re pouring it, and you notice it’s a little thick, you’ll want to either provide straws for everyone, or add some more milk. Otherwise, you run a high risk of “avalanche face”. You know, when it won’t come out, and then suddenly it all comes out at once. You’ve been there. Well, preschoolers are highly susceptible to this phenomenon, so take care! And Enjoy!
Blender photo by 4score.
While you’re exploring the topic of seeds, you might as well have yourself some fruit snacks. No, not the gummy imitation of fruit my children try to count as one of the four food groups, but actual fruit, for snacks. Instead of quickly doling out fruit slices on each child’s plate, turn snack time into science time. Take some time to examine and talk about a few fruits and their seeds.
Select a few fruits with different sized seeds: small (strawberries, kiwis), medium (apples, oranges, watermelon), large (peaches, nectarines, mangoes). Hold up each fruit, one at a time, and talk about the characteristics of the fruit, how the fruit grows and where the seeds might be. As you cut up the fruit, isolate the seeds and pass them around for the children to look at (include magnifiers if you like). Compare the sizes of the different seeds, even sort them into groups of small, medium, and large if you’ve used several samples.
You may wish to dry the seeds and tape them to a poster with pictures of your activity. Make it a matching poster by having pictures of each fruit at the top, and the dried seeds at the bottom with yarn or something else the children can use to connect the seed to the corresponding fruit. You could even try sprouting the seeds after they’ve dried. As a sweet reward, this science activity ends with a great fruit salad! This could also be a great literacy activity when combined with the book, A Fruit is a Suitcase for Seeds by Jean Richards.
Photo by sjur.