Today was a great day to play with anything cool so we got out some colored ice cubes that I had been saving.

The kids had fun laying them out on some of our tree rounds, watching the colors melt together, noticing how quickly they melted in the sun,

...burying them in the sand,

...and even adding them into their mud mixtures!

     I'm a little behind, but have been wanting to share what we did for Mother's Day this year!  I think the kids really had a lot of fun with it, and so did I!  Together as a group, we mixed up our own bath salts to give to mom...
in both lavender and chocolate scents!  I got the "recipe" here.   Whether making them or using them, bath salts are a great sensory activity for kids!  A great texture, and so many scent possibilities!
We also made our own soaps.  The kids loaded a bowl full of glycerin soap bars, and I melted them down in the microwave.  Then they added lavender scent and the colors of their choice.  After it had cooled and set, the really fun part started!  The kids used cookie cutters, a wood block, and a hammer to pound out flower and leaf shaped soaps!
      I hope the moms enjoy their gifts as much as we enjoyed the process of making them! :)
Preschool painting color mixing giant rainbow
     Color, color, color!  The two weeks leading up to St. Patrick's Day were filled with all the colors of the rainbow around here.  We did lots of painting and color mixing (I provided only the primary colors and we discovered what happens when they mix together!) to make a giant rainbow, in hopes that it might bring a leprechaun to hide his gold here!

And it worked!  :)  We had a mischievous leprechaun stop by and turn our milk green, and he even turned the toilet water green!  He also left us some fun surprises: a "pot of rainbow" and some green glow bracelets!  He left a note, so we learned that his name is Sneaky O'Malley!

Baking Soda and Vinegar with Jello and painting
We had lots of other color fun too, like our baking soda and vinegar play, with red jell-o powder added in.  An idea that came from Footsteps In Growing Daycare that we had a lot of fun with.  When the kids were all done playing with the bubbling reaction, we used the resulting mush to paint with.  It left an interesting textured product that smelled wonderful! :)

     We also had fun with flubber, and a new-to-us sensory material: Rainbow dough.  We have made cloud dough before -- it consists of flour and baby oil.  Since the only moisture comes from the oil, when we added colors one at a time, they didn't mix together but stayed separate as we played to become rainbow dough!  It is shown here after we had only added green, but Play Counts has some fun pictures of the dough with all colors added.

Preschool rainbows

     We had fun with rainbow strips of paper available in the art area all week,

...and our new rainbow sensory bottles!   We also learned a couple of new songs that you may have been hearing at home!  If not, ask the kids to sing you the Rainbow song, or the Leprechaun song that they learned!

We even got to EAT a rainbow with these colorful rainbow fruit kabobs and explore new and fun green foods, like avocado. 

We worked together to build a tape rainbow and then used it as the base for our rainbow color scavenger hunt!  Some of the kids are really getting good at ripping tape off the rolls....such HARD work for little fingers!  But they are very motivated to learn how, so they work, work, work at it!

     We had so much fun learning and playing with colors!
     We had so much fun last week celebrating Dr. Seuss's birthday!  For the past couple of years, I think it has been the favorite "holiday" around here!  This year I brought out some old favorites (like painting with our feet, and then reading the Foot Book) as well as some new activities, art projects, and fun foods.  The kids had fun using tissue paper scraps to fill in their Red fish & Blue fish,  and loved dipping cotton balls into colored water to make colorful Truffula tree-tops!
     In addition to the fun art projects, we enjoyed some great Dr. Seuss themed games and activities, too.  The kids did some impressive building and patterning with our new Cat In the Hat foam stacking blocks, sharpened their fine-motor skills with some Tuffula tree beading, and even got to Hop on Pop!
     Of course we can't celebrate Dr. Seuss without having some Green Eggs & Ham, but we also had fun with lots of other Dr. Seuss themed meals and snacks.  One of their favorites was the fish cracker graphing along with some Pink Ink Drink (also from One fish, Two fish, Red fish, Blue fish).  We had colorful Lorax pasta with broccoli and asparagus "trees" and a blue alfredo river, played with Brown Bar-ba-loot bears and built our own Truffula trees (from the Lorax) using pretzel sticks and mini colored marshmallows, and at the suggestion of one of the kids, we even had a birthday cake for Dr. Seuss!
     We enjoyed celebrating Dr. Seuss once again and are now looking forward to lots of rainbow fun in the next couple of weeks, building up to St. Patrick's Day!
Preschool color wheel
    The kids and I have had so much fun with our color wheel project over the past several weeks!  As we wrap it up this week, I had the kids help me sort out some purple objects to fill in the last section of the big color wheel.  They also each got to make their own color wheel to take home with them.  We started the individual color wheels out with a few dabs of paint for them to spread and mix together.

My favorite part was hearing the kids announce what was happening as they mixed the secondary colors, "I mixed blue and red and I made purple!"  :) Once the kids had finished painting, I set out a bowl of small colorful items for them to sort into each section of their color wheel.
    Since adding objects to our big color wheel has been an exciting part of our day for so many weeks, they are very excited to have their very own color wheels to take home with them!
    We have been having a lot of fun with the color green this week, including a couple of different ways to see how we can make green.  First, we started with a tub of blue and a tub of yellow water beads, and the kids mixed some of each together for us to observe.  Since the water beads absorb and release moisture, they all exchanged their colors and we ended up with a bowl of green water beads!
    Today, we played with some big clear bags of paint.  Each bag had both blue and yellow paint inside, so as the kids drew and wrote with their fingers on the bags, they mixed the two colors together to make green!
    On Friday we set up a science demonstration with these cups of colored water and a couple of paper towels.  The activity is similar to the Walking Water Science we did last fall and some of the older kids even remembered doing it the other way and asked if we could do that again, so we'll probably have to try that out again next week! :)  The ones who remembered our previous setup knew that the paper towels were going to soak up, or "absorb" the water and that they would carry it into the center cup.  They also "predicted" (we used lots of fun science words!) that the blue and yellow would combine to make green!
As we checked on our cups throughout the day, we "observed" the colors slowly start to travel into the center cup...
where they would indeed continue to mix together to make green!
    We dove into a fun sensory tub experience this morning that consisted of a tub full of shaving cream and frozen cubes of paint.  We took the tub outside, so as the cubes melted and the kids swirled them around, they colored the shaving cream.  There were a lot of opportunities for exploration in this activity, and it was fun to hear the kids talk about how it felt (squishy, soft, cold when they found a paint cube), and how it looked, what colors they were finding, and so on.
    If you are interested in learning more about why we do sensory activities (besides just FUN!) there are a couple of great articles explaining the benefits of sensory activities for children by Amanda Morgan of NotJustCute, and Angie Dorrell of Early Childhood News.  Basically, children are designed to receive and process information from all around them by using all of their senses.  From before they can verbalize any of their thoughts, they are gathering information at an amazing pace by seeing, hearing, smelling, touching, and tasting things around them.  So, the more opportunities we give children to experience new sensory information, the more opportunities they have to learn.  In this way, sensory play promotes cognitive development, and also aides in things like language development (as we talk about what they are experiencing), social and emotional development, physical development, and creative development.
    We had a lot of fun getting messy and we were learning a lot, too! :)
    I found these fun squishy balls in the dollar bins at Target a while ago and have been waiting for the perfect day to use them for a little "splat painting!"
It was hot enough early this morning that we could just get right into our swimming suits and not worry about getting messy!  So, I got out some paints and the kids dipped the balls into the colors,
  ...and started throwing them at our paper!  Splat!
It took a little cooperation to get in the rhythm of dipping and throwing without hitting a friend with a splat ball, but everyone was so excited that they didn't even mind if they accidentally got painted!
We had lots of fun getting a great large-motor workout,
...made some really cool artwork,
...and got good and messy!
And, when we were done getting messy, we were all ready to go clean up in the swimming pools!
    We worked hard today! :)
    We did a few fun projects to prepare for Father's Day last week.  On Wednesday, we used liquid water colors and droppers to mix our own unique colors.
We then dropped the colors onto some shaving cream, and pressed papers down on top of it all to make marbled art that we would later use in our Father's Day cards.
    On Thursday, we finished our cards by gluing our marbled artwork over the letter "D-A-D" cut-outs and cutting and gluing in a poem, and then writing our names.
Once the cards were done, we got to work making the gifts...sugar cookies! We had lots of fun taking turns measuring, counting, and pouring in the ingredients.  We made our cookies in the shape of the letters D-A-D and then the kids got to use lots of bright colored icing to decorate them.
I hope you all had as much fun on Father's Day as we had preparing for it! :)