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Science

Product Reviews

Book Review: Benji & The 24 Pound Banana Squash

By Anitra

One or more of the products mentioned in this post were provided to facilitate a review.  This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

 

I’m here with another great book review!! I’m so excited about being able to review books from authors that I am not so familiar with, and that write amazing and interesting children’s books that have great content and story lines younger kids can relate to.  With that being said, this leads me to my next review of Benji & The 24 Pound Banana Squash.  It is written by entrepreneur and philanthropist Alan C. Fox.  Alan C. Fox is a successful New York Times bestselling author of numerous relationship books.  Benji & The 24 Pound Banana Squash is his first children’s book, and is based on a true story; his true story of how he grew a gigantic banana squash when he was younger!  Alan C. Fox is also the editor of a poetry journal called Rattle, and each year they publish a book of poems written by children.  For more information about Benji & The 24 Pound Banana Squash and Alan C. Fox, please click here.

 

Benji & The 24 Pound Squash

 

Benji & The 24 Pound Squash is about a boy that has been patiently ,(rather impatiently) waiting for the time to be right for him to plant his banana squash seeds.  When the time is finally right, Benji, with the help of his mom, go out and plant the seeds, water them, and cover them with dirt.  Poor Benji impatiently watches and waits for the seeds to sprout for weeks.  He goes to visit his garden daily until he sees a sprout, and in no time his seeds have grown into a giant banana squash…a 24 POUND squash!

 

 

 

 

I read this book to my class of preschoolers who range in age from three years old to six years old.  I read the book right before we talked about and carved our pumpkin.  After reading the book and then carving our pumpkin to examine and learn about the parts of the pumpkin, we discussed the seeds, and the process of growing a squash and a pumpkin.  This book tied in nicely with learning about pumpkins and the pumpkin life cycle theme we are doing!  It would also be great to tie in with spring time planting and growing of plants and vegetable as well.  I particularly enjoyed the ending of the book, where Benji and his family decided to cook and eat his giant banana squash.  The book does a great job tying in the concept of garden-to table.

 

       Here is our pumpkin and a small squash from my classroom.

 

Benji & The 24 Pound Banana Squash has bright, colorful illustrations and an overall great story.  I will definitely use this book in the future as part of many of my curriculum themes.  This book teaches children about the importance of care, patience, love, and perseverance!

 

I hope you enjoy this book as much as my class and I did!

Enjoy!

 

Anitra

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Montessori Extras

Birthday Celebrations-Montessori Style

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

 

Who doesn’t love celebrating their birthday?!  Kids and adults alike love celebrating their born day.  It is a very special occasion that is shared with family and friends in a variety of ways.  Children in a Montessori classroom have a very unique way that their birthdays are celebrated and shared with the classroom .  It is termed the Celebration of Life; in which we celebrate and share aspects of each year of their lives on Earth. Each child excitedly waits for their turn to do the Birthday Walk each year on their birthday.

 

 

 

Montessori Walk Around the Sun Activity

 

 

The Montessori Walk Around the Sun is composed of a painted wooden sun with twelve points on the ends.  It also comes with twelve wooden months of the year cards for each of the twelve months.  The sun has a space for a candle as well, which is not included. Add a birthday and the Montessori Walk Around the Sun is ready for use!  For the activity, I put out the sun on a work rug, and have the children repeat after me saying the months of the year as I place them around the sun.  They have learned and memorized the months of the year this way!!

 

 

 

 

 

The Celebration of Life…

In a Montessori classroom, birthday are a tradition.  During this special ceremony, the child stands next to their birth month and holds a globe; which represents the Earth. They (as the Earth) walk around the sun.  Each trip around the sun represents one year that the child has been o the planet.  I begin the Montessori Walk Around the Sun by explaining to the children that we are the Earth and that the Earth goes around the sun.  I tell them that it takes the Earth three hundred and sixty five days to go around the sun, and every time it does, you get one year older; I also add, (except for Ms. Anitra who is 21 forever!) Haha!!!

 

                                 

 

I also ask that the parents send in photos from each year of their life, either as single, individual photos, or as a prepared birthday poster.  I also send out a form for parents to fill out that documents any significant milestones, firsts, or trips that they would like shared during the birthday celebration.  I’ve had some parents get quite creative with the birthday boards they’ve prepared!!

 

Along with the birthday walk and the picture board, I have a special song that we sing as the child walks around the sun.

“The Earth goes round the sun, the sun

The Earth goes round the sun.

The Earth goes round the sun, the sun

And (Child’s Name) turned one!”

 

Continue until the child’s current age is reached.

The children love joining in to sing this song!  I’ve even gotten in on the fun of the Birthday Walk!!

 

 

 

 

Birthday’s are a special time in a child’s life, so why not make it a day to remember!  The Montessori Walk Around the Sun teaches science, months of the year, history, and traditions all in one  It is that amazing of a thing to celebrate your child’s birthday Montessori style!

 

Anitra

 

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Montessori Extras Themed Activities

Activities, books, & ideas for Apples/Fall unit study

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see disclosure policy for more information.

With the first day of Fall approaching on Friday, September 22nd, I am gearing up to begin a two week unit study of Fall and apples with my classroom.  Although here in sunny Southern California, it is far from feeling or looking like Fall.  The hotter Summer temperatures have slowly started to subside, and we’ve seen cooler temperatures this week, but we are from fro Fall weather.  Even though the Southern California weather is not fall friendly, I still am excited to start our Fall and apple unit study.

For the next two weeks; starting Monday; I will teach the young children in my class about how our environment changes for Fall, different leaves, the parts of an apple, how apples grow, and the different types of apples.  We will have apple tasting, and vote for our favorite apples, examine the insides of an apple, make leaf rubbings, and an apple blossom tree…just to name a few!

 

 

There are many books out there that could go with the study of Fall and apples, but I have chosen to share with you my favorite three books.  I have used each of these books over the years, and have found that these cover many of the topics and areas that I teach rather well.

 

Top 3 favorite books for Fall and apple unit

 

 

A Day at the Apple Orchard

 

By: Megan Faulkner & Adam Krawesky

A Day at the Apple Orchard follows a group of children through the apple orchard.  They pick apples, taste them, and make juice & cider.  The book also describes the life cycle of an apple blossom tree, and shows the growth through the different seasons.  This book is great when teaching how apples grow, the proper way to pick apples, and things that can be made from apples. It also discusses why it is important to protect apple blossom trees for continued blossoms.

 

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt

By: Steve Metzger

We’re Going on a Leaf Hunt is a twist on the classic We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.  The children go on a hunt over the mountain, through the forest, around the waterfall, and across the lake.  Along the way, they find red oak leaves, hickory leaves, birch leaves, and maple leaves; until they encounter an unwanted guest!  This book teaches about different leaves, and is fun and entertaining!

 

Apples for Everyone

By: Jill Esbaum

Apples for Everyone has beautiful pictures that detail how apples grow, the different kinds of apples, talks about Johnny Appleseed, and discusses the history of apple trees.  This National Geographic Kids book has colorful and amazing photography that makes this book a favorite of mine.

 

 

I can’t wait to start our unit study of Fall and apples.  I have so many science, fine motor, art, language, and math activities planned for the next two weeks!

 

Want to follow along as we learn about Fall and apples?  Interested to see how our unit study unfolds?   Be sure to follow me on Instagram or Twitter for pictures of all of our activities and fun!!  I hope to see you there!

 

Anitra

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Practical Life Product Reviews

Color Mixing Activity-a Montessori Services product review

By Anitra

I received a free product from Montessori Services valued under $50 to provide an honest review of this product.  All opinions expressed are my own.  This post may contain affiliate links, please see disclosure policy for more information.

Over the years, I have ordered various Montessori materials and supplies from Montessori Services for my classroom. They have a great selection of products for your classroom, and if you are a parent interested in implementing Montessori materials and Methods at home, For Small Hands has great products as well.  They have a large selection of Montessori materials and products, from the traditional areas of a Montessori classroom; like Practical Life, Language, and Math; to supplemental products such as books, music & movement and art.   I have in the past constructed a color mixing activity as a Practical Life work in my classroom, so I was more than excited when I received the Color Mixing Activity Set from Montessori Services!

 

The Work:

Color Mixing Activity Item # Y30The Color Mixing Activity Set Item# Y30

Includes: (everything is pictured below)

(Photo courtesy of Montessori Services, used by permission)

 

 

Set Up and Steps:

The setup:

Using the Presentation Suggestions, I prepared the work as instructed.  I filled the clear glass bottles with water up to the neck of the bottle.  I added a few drops of red, blue, and yellow food coloring into each glass bottle, put the caps on, and shook up.  Next, I set up the tray as instructed; following the Presentation Suggestions.

 

 

After I gave the initial lesson to the children in circle time, it was then available for them to use.  During the initial lesson, I reviewed how to use an eye dropper.  Here is one of my older friends completing the Color Mixing Activity step by step.

 

Get an apron.  I prefer to provide aprons for the children in my class to use when they do water works.  It is a personal preference, and it not mandatory.

 

Next, here she is using the eye dropper to mix red and yellow.  Using the tiny spoon, she mixed up both colors and got orange.

 

 

Next up, she used the eye droppers to mix red and blue together, getting purple.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lastly, she used the eyedroppers to mix yellow and blue, getting green

 

       

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fourth small bowl is used for experimenting.  She chose to make purple again, since it is her favorite color!

 

 

 

 

 The Clean Up:

Pour all of the contents from each of the small glass bowls into the larger glass bowl.

 

 

Use the sponge to wipe out each of the small glass bowls, and the tray, if needed.

 

 

Pour out contents of the larger glass bowl.  Using the sponge, wipe it clean.  The work is complete!

 

                   

 

This work was so fun!  I had fun introducing it, and the children had a blast using it.  It was SO popular, I had to limit the number of times they could do it today.  I had quite a few friends cry that they were not able to do this work today, as we ran out of time during Montessori Work Time!  I really liked how EVERYTHING that I needed came with the work.  I didn’t have to purchase anything else to go with it; (I already had the aprons), and the convenience of that is a huge time and money saver.  The work is durable, and I like that most of the items used in the work are glass.  If you’ve been following my other posts, you know how much of a fan I am of using glass in my classroom.  This complete Color Mixing Activity is a good work for use in a classroom, home school, or for a parent looking to incorporate Montessori materials in their home!

I hope that you enjoy this work as much as my class and I did!

Anitra

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Science

5 easy science experiments to try in a preschool classroom

By Anitra

This post may contain affiliate links.  Please see the disclosure policy for more information.

Science is an everyday part of our lives.  It is all around us, and it is important for young children to be given the opportunity to explore, test, and experiment with science.  When considering implementing science experiments into a preschool classroom, there are many things to consider.  Is it safe? Is there a way to get the children’s involvement? What are age appropriate experiments? It is important to consider the age of the children, their developmental levels, and their ability to follow directions and listen to instructions.  Early preparation and planning is a key factor in how successful implementing science experiments into a preschool classroom will be.  Depending on the ages and developmental levels of each of the young children in your classroom, that will determine how simple or complex each of the experiments are.  Examples could include simple machines, color mixing, making sugar crystals, and volcano making. I have compiled a list of science experiments that are age and developmentally appropriate; and were successful in their implementation.

 

5 science experiments for young children

1. Cleaning pennies

Materials:

pennies, salt, vinegar, water, towels

Procedure:

Children can put a spoonful of salt into the a bowl of vinegar and then mix well.  They then place in the pennies. Wait for about 15 seconds, take out pennies and set in bowl of water. Dry off  the “clean” pennies.

 

2.  Vortex

Materials:

2 empty 2 liter soda bottles, electrical tape, water, food coloring

Set-up:

Fill one of the 2 liter bottles with water and about 4 drops of food coloring.  Using the electrical tape, and tape the second 2 liter bottle to the top.

Procedure:

The children will learn how a vortex works by turning the apparatus upside down and twirling it around in their hands.

 

 

3. Static

Materials:

Balloons, rice cereal, tray

Procedure:

Using already blown up balloons, have the children rub the balloon onto a tray of rice cereal.  Then have  them see how the static electricity on the balloon to reacts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. Color absorption

Materials:

Clear cups, food coloring, water, white carnations

Procedure:

Have a cup for each flower and add water to each.  Put about 4 to 6  drops of food coloring in each cups.  Within a few hours, you will begin to see the color absorb through the stem of the flower and onto the petals.

 

 

5. Slime

Materials:

Elmer’s school glue, washable paint, and Liquid starch

Procedure:

Mix equal parts school glue, liquid starch, and about 2 ounces of washable paint. Mix well. Let sit for about an hour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Each of these science experiments were fun, easy, and encouraged the children to use their problem solving, observation, and abstract thinking skills. Use these activities as a way of a first introduction into the world of science, and open the children’s minds into a lifelong love of science!

Anitra

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