Sunday, June 30, 2013

Ice Age Fossils and Sensory Activity

During our Ice Age unit, we made some fossils. We did it the same way we made our dinosaur fossils last year. I bought an Ice Age nature tube from Amazon and it came with several animals.
We used white Model Magic and flattened it into a circle. I bought the ones that came in small pouches and each child got one pouch. It was the perfect size. Then the kids picked one animal and squished it into the Model Magic, leaving an imprint behind.
I put them in the windowsill to dry up for a few days, then the kids used watercolors to paint them.

Once painted, the imprint shows up much better.
I also used those same plastic animals for a sensory activity. I froze them in a bread pan! I crumbled up pieces of tin foil so the animals could stand up at different levels. You could just freeze several layers and add animals with each layer, but I kind of forgot about it until a few hours before bed. So I did it this way instead.
Don't pay any attention to the saran wrap. It didn't do what I wanted it to do. I added a drop of blue food coloring to some water and poured it in the pan. It was only about an inch of water. Then I added the animals. I made sure all the animals had some body part in water so they would be frozen in place for the second step.
Before going to bed, I added the rest of the water so it covered the animals completely. And because they were already frozen in a little bit of water, they all stayed standing. The next day at school, the kids used wooden sticks to chip away at the ice. (They were from those scratch art kits.) We sprinkled a bunch of salt on top to make it melt faster.
You could hear the ice crack! The kids thought it was very cool. (No pun intended.) Later we poured warm water over it.

If it hadn't been pouring rain outside, we would have done this activity out in the sun! But eventually the kids were able to get all the animals out. It was an all-day-long activity, which ended with an ice cream party! (Another "ice" thing to go along with the Ice Age theme!)

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Woolly Mammoths

Here is a very simple craft we did to go along with our Ice Age theme. I printed out a coloring page of a woolly mammoth (found here) and cut up a bunch of pieces of yarn. After learning about these extinct animals (and using measuring tape to show how long their tusks were -- 16 feet!), the kids used a brush to paint slightly watered-down glue onto the picture.
Then they put on the pieces of yarn.

That's it! They could put them on in strips, to look like the long hair on a mammoth.
But most of the kids just put the yarn on any which way.

Either way, these mammoths are woolly!

Fun Fact: The top hairs on a woolly mammoth were three feet long!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Painting with Ice Cubes

So last week we did an Ice Age theme. I was so excited for this because I've never done it before! I was looking forward to learning about a bunch of new animals and coming up with fun projects. I googled around to get some ideas and I hardly found anything Ice Age related. So I was kind of on my own. The first thing I came up with was painting with colored ice cubes. Ice Age -- ice. Get it? So I made some colored cubes with gel food coloring, put plastic wrap over them and added toothpicks.
The next day I took them to work and set them out for the kids to use.
First we used them on regular white construction paper. I LOVED how well they worked. I don't know if it was my food coloring or what, but the colors were so vibrant! I even got in on the action because the cubes were so fun to use! You could write with them, draw pictures or just make designs.

As they melted, the lines made by them were thicker. Very cool.

Then we decided to try painting on white paper towels. I thought the colors might bleed a little better.

They did somewhat, but not quite as much as I thought.
And then we moved on to coffee filters.

These would have made great suncatchers, but I just hung them on the wall with the others.

I would love to do this activity again, maybe outside on a warm day. And the kids got a kick out of painting with something other than paint and a brush!

Saturday, June 22, 2013


I have one last space craft to share with you. I mentioned it last year when we made marshmallow constellations, but I didn't show the process of making one. It's really very simple and the kids loved them. I started by taping two toilet paper rolls together. (A paper towel roll would be better because it's longer, but I didn't have any.) Then I took 4 layers of black tissue paper, cut out a square, and taped it tightly over one end of the tube.
Meanwhile, the kids used star, sun and moon stamps to decorate a white piece of construction paper. Our tubes were the perfect size for half of a sheet.
Then I rolled the paper around the tube and used tape to secure it.
I cut two strips of black construction paper, about a half inch wide or so, and wrapped them around the top and bottom.
Using a safety pin, I poked holes through the tissue paper to make stars.
In the past, I've always poked holes to make the big dipper,
but I thought this year I would just do a bunch of stars.
So what do I have in store for you next? An Ice Age unit!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Planets and Moons

I am slowly getting out my space crafts from last week. Sorry about that. These next three crafts were short and sweet, so I'm including them in one post.
First we made planets by using shaving cream and food coloring. I sprayed the shaving cream on a plate and the kids smoothed it out with a craft stick. Then they picked three colors of food coloring and I put a few drops of each on top of the shaving cream.
Then they used a toothpick to swirl it around, but not mixing it too much.

Then they placed a white piece of paper on top of the shaving cream and pressed down gently.
Finally, they lifted the paper off and used a craft stick to scrape off the shaving cream, leaving a beautiful design behind.
When they were dry, I cut circles from them and added a ring around each one so they would look like planets. I also added some things to orbit their planets. I found these years ago and don't know where I got them. Sorry! But I attached them to the middle of the planet with a brass fastener so they could go all the way around.

To make craters on our moons, we used soapy water and added food coloring. The kids used a straw to blow bubbles (very gently!) in a cup. When the bubbles climbed higher than the rim of the cup, the kids put white paper on top, popping the bubbles as they did so.

It left really cool designs. I cut circles out of them and added a toothpick flag.

One of my coworkers let me borrow her sticky ball (or whatever it's called) to make different moon craters. I put some gray paint on a paper plate and the kids dipped the ball into the paint and dabbed it on their paper a bunch of times. (I first had the paint on a plastic plate, but the sticky ball kept sticking to the plate and it was really hard to get off!!)

I cut crescent shapes from the paper and our moons were done. So simple!

I'm definitely going to buy some more sticky balls for painting. The kids had a lot of fun with it!