Early Science Skills (Picture Book Preschool)

I grew up with the idea that science was a collection of facts I needed to memorize to get a decent grade.  Since it seemed that science facts were always changing, I always gave myself permission to forget everything after the class was over.

Little did I know that all these years later, I would get super excited for Science Friday every week and eagerly read books like Head Start on Science to share my new interest with my daughter.  I don’t want her to see science as a process of memorizing and forgetting like I did.  I want her to really get the dynamic nature of scientific research at a much younger age than I did.

Of course I think the answer lies in books.  :)

There are many, many great books for kids that introduce science topics, but even before you start looking at specific ideas, you can start with skills.  Head Start on Science outlines these skills for preschoolers and primary graders: Observation, Comparison, Classification, and Communication.

There are about a million picture books that fall under Observation, but Who’s Hiding? stands out an unusual book that asks kids to look closely at the animals in the illustrations to answer the questions about them.  Where’s Walrus? follows a walrus who has escaped from the zoo as he tries to hide from the zookeeper.  Little kids love a good seek and find, and the ability to pick out details will serve them well in science.

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray is a beautiful picture book perfect for encouraging kids to wonder at the natural world, but it’s also an example of Comparison.  Look around, what do you see that might be star-like?  That’s Not a Daffodil is the story of a young boy watching a plant grow.  At first it looks like one thing, then another.  In the end, it is a flower.

Let’s Count to 100 is an interactive picture book that will have kids counting and classifying the 100 objects on each spread. Observation and Classification at their best!

Blue Sky and Green are concept books that explore the great variety that we can observe in just one thing–and the many ways to describe it.   After observation, after all, comes Communication, and we need the vocabulary to be able to do it.  These books are great places to start.

See all the Picture Book Preschool posts here.

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Picture Book Preschool Link Round Up

For this month’s Picture Book Preschool post, I thought I’d highlight some of the cool activities I’ve seen around the web and the picture books I’d pair with them.

Here goes:

What are some of your favorite activities for preschoolers?  Have you found any books that complement the activity?

See more posts for Parents & Educators here or follow my Kids Activities & Education Board on Pinterest for more preschool fun.

Disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links. A portion of purchases made via these links earns a commission for this blog. Thanks for your support!

Window Watching (Picture Book Preschool)

I wrote some time ago about how living in the city means expecting things to get noisy now and then (okay, all the time), and like a good librarian I created a list of picture books to celebrate the sounds of city life.  For my daughter, it’s less about noise and more about our living room window.

 

Specifically, the constant stream of pedestrian and bicycle traffic that passes by our window.  She’s a regular neighborhood welcoming committee all by herself from her regular perch by the window.

When I came across Passing By by Yona Tepper, a picture book originally published in Israel, I had to share it with my girl.  In the book, a little girl named Yael observes life from her balcony.  She sees cars, trucks, bikes–even a tractor.  In the end, she sees her daddy who comes to take her for a walk.  It’s a cute story that I think city kids will get.  The repetitiveness of the text makes it most appropriate for preschoolers.

To go along with the book, I created a scavenger hunt with vehicles, animals, and other objects that we often see out our window.  Due to my lack of artistic talent, I improvised by cutting pictures out of magazines.  No tractors.  I can’t say I’ve ever seen a tractor driving around Uptown Minneapolis.

Uptown pedestrians, listen carefully as you walk down the street for a little voice saying “hi” to everyone who passes by.  That’s when you’ve found where I live. :)

See more posts for Parents & Educators here or follow my Kids Activities & Education Board on Pinterest for more preschool fun.

Disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links. A portion of purchases made via these links earns a commission for this blog. Thanks for your support! (Book reviewed from copy ILL’d from my library–as you can tell from the picture!)

Exploring Relative Size (Picture Book Preschool)

Whether you are a big kid or a little kid doesn’t really depend on your age or size.  It depends on who you compare yourself to.

With Emily Jenkins’ Small, Medium, Large as a jumping off point, we explored relative sizes in a way that included a vocabulary lesson, math skills, and art.  First a bit about the book: Jenkins and Bogacki’s collaboration brings odd little creatures–Ladybug decided that they were dogs, but they might be mice–of various sizes together as they compare their sizes as they generally illustrate the concept of S, M, L, and XL.  We follow “small” down to “minuscule” and “large” to “colossal” to the delight of my little word girl.The one-upsmanship  makes the book fun for little listeners when it otherwise might be a bit too “educational.”  The gatefold with the little creatures stacked up to equal one very large creature is pretty cool too.

I thought it might be fun for my girl to see how she compares to various things, and what better way to do that than to make a life-size drawing of herself? :)

And measure it:

Then compare:

7 of her own feet, 10 of her hands, a bunch of cars, and 42 paperclips.

My only regret is that we didn’t manage to get to the Walker Art Center’s Lifelike exhibit before it ended.  If you happen to be in New Orleans, San Diego, or Austin, you might be able to make that happen.  It’s great for kids!  You could re-create the scenes to explore scale like little girl in this post on the Walker Education blog.

See my Parents & Educators page for more Picture Book Preschool posts.
Disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links.   A portion of purchases made via these links earns a commission for this blog.  Thanks for your support!  (Book Reviewed from library copy.)

Seeing Symmetry (Picture Book Preschool)

I cheated on this month’s Picture Book Preschool post.  For one thing it’s a week late, but the bigger thing is that Seeing Symmetry by Loreen Leedy is hardly a preschool level book.  It actually says on the copyright page that it is based on 4th grade education standards for geometry. No, I’m not trying to say that my four-year-old is doing geometry on a 4th grade level.  I just thought that she would get a kick out the the idea of symmetry.  So we read the first couple of pages, looked at the illustrations, and skipped to the activities at the end of the book.

Here is Ladybug working on her “symmetree”:

And the result:

More experiments in symmetry:

We also found some examples of symmetry around the house:

For  more fun with symmetry:

See more Picture Book Preschool posts here or follow my Kids Activities & Education Board on Pinterest for more preschool fun.

Disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links.   A portion of purchases made via these links earns a commission for this blog.  Thanks for your support!  (Book Reviewed from library copy.)

Simple Addition (Picture Book Preschool)

One thing leads to another…

As we explored colors for last month’s Picture Book Preschool post, we kind of fell into a math activity while we were sorting beads by color.

It seemed the perfect opportunity to take advantage of a visual, and, of course, the next time we were at the library, I picked up a couple of simple math books:

I also came across a title at work that I’m excited for my local library to get: Help Me Learn Addition by Jean Marzollo and Chad Phillips.  This same team also created a visual introduction to numbers that is great for preschoolers, so I’m interested to see how my preschooler takes to their intro to addition.

Want more math activities for preschoolers & primary graders?  This pinboard curated by educator/blogger Tricia Stohr-Hunt focuses on Addition and Subtraction.  You can also try No Time for Flash Cards’ math section for ideas on starting early on number sense.

See more Picture Book Preschool posts here or follow my Kids Activities & Education Board on Pinterest for more preschool fun.

Disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links.   A portion of purchases made via these links earns a commission for this blog.  Thanks for your support!

Exploring Colors (Picture Book Preschool)

It’s been a while since my last Picture Book Preschool post, but Ladybug and I been busy with lots of fun books and activities.  My plan is to post Picture Book Preschool entries on the second Tuesday of each month.  Enough of the housekeeping, here’s the fun stuff:

Colors are everywhere, and, let’s face it, they are pretty basic to my four-year-old.  She’s been naming colors in English and Spanish (thanks to her Abuela) for at least a couple of years.  Now what?

One of my goals as a parent is to show my daughter that things don’t get boring once you know them.  I want to her know that they get more interesting as they get more complex.  In the spirit of delving deeper, I checked out Tana Hoban’s Colors Everywhere from my local library to explore the different shades of those familiar colors.  The concept book encourages kids to look closely at the photographs to find the colors graphed according their their appearance.  It’s more than a book–it’s a matching game that introduces colors as they appear in our world, all mixed up.

We paired it with Bill Martin Jr.’s A Beasty Story, which shows how dark colors can feel in a not-so-scary story of mice exploring a dimly lit house.  Then we sorted the various tints and hues from paint chips into color collages for a hands-on activity that gave us more of a chance to talk about how colors make us feel.

We also read Etienne Delessert’s Full Color, which talked about mixing colors, but I tend to be reluctant to try messy activities (though I recently found this mess-free finger painting actvitity via the Hippie Housewife that we will have to try).  If you are braver than I am when it comes to paint, you might want to check out this post on The Artful Parent that uses the book Color Dance.  I think our next project will be a color treasure hunt with a re-purposed egg carton via Create Studio.

For now, though, this music video via Sesame Street & OK Go is a must-watch for kids and their parents.

See more Picture Book Preschool posts here or follow my Kids Activities & Education Board on Pinterest for more preschool fun.

Disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links.   A portion of purchases made via these links earns a commission for this blog.  Thanks for your support! :)

Getting Past 10 (Picture Book Preschool)

Picture books that go from one to ten are everywhere, but we’ve been in search of eleven through twenty.  Here are a few of our favorites:

  • 1 is One by Tasha Tudor is a classic picture book perfect for introducing numbers and rhyme or to talk about spring.
  • So Many Bunnies by Rick Walton counts through the alphabet as the bunnies find a place to sleep.
  • Richard Scarry’s Best Counting Book Ever is easily Ladybug’s favorite, but she is biased to anything Busytown related. :)

But what better way to learn to count than through music?  The kid-friendly Minneapolis band, The Bazillions, has a new music video that tells the story of two friends with some counting along the way.

See more Picture Book Preschool posts here or follow my Kids Activities & Education Board on Pinterest for more preschool fun.

Disclosure: Amazon.com links are affiliate links.

Seasons Go ‘Round (Picture Book Preschool)

Leaves are falling from the trees outside my window as I type.  We have been watching summer turn to fall, and now fall will be winter soon.  It seems like a good time to talk about seasons with my little one.

It’s a great opportunity to share one of my favorite picture books: Red Sings From the Treetops by Joyce Sidman.  It was one of the first books I reviewed on this blog. I said,

“I loved the way this book pulled me into the details.  It reminded me to notice the things that I am often too busy to see.  It was a lovely invitation to see each season as something new to explore.  I can’t recommend it enough.”

We read it along with the sorting activity you see in the photograph and talked about the things we like to do in each season.  We focused on fall since that’s what we can see now.  Sidman’s fall gives way to spring like this,

“In FALL,

Green is tired,

dusty,

crisp around the edges.

Green sighs with relief:

I’ve ruled for so long.

Time for Brown to take over.”

Perhaps more important, to me, than exploring seasons is the opportunity to introduce my daughter to poetry and wonder.  The book Playful Learning is a great resource for parents who want simple activities and crafts to explore the wonder around them–including an activity that has kids observing a tree throughout the seasons.

There are, of course, many many good books about the seasons for kids, and I have a few of my favorites listed here.

Since it’s a favorite of Ladybug’s, I’m also including a video of Caillou’s seasons song.  Enjoy!

See my Parents & Educators page for more Picture Book Preschool posts.

Kite Day (Picture Book Preschool)

“It’s easy to learn about the force and physics of wind through the Internet or a book, but it is a completely different experience to feel to force and physics of wind for yourself with a kite in hand.” – Jennifer Ward in Let’s Go Outside

 

We started with kite in hand before we ever talked about wind or energy or physics with Ladybug.  The photograph to the right is from a beautiful spring day this past May.  My family picked me up from work to fly kites.  That we can never pass up a kite day is one of the things I love most about my family.

Later I wanted to connect the experience to science (as usual), so I went in search of a picture book to remind Ladybug of flying a kite.  Like a Windy Day by Frank Asch was perfect.  It follows a young girl as she imagines herself doing all the things wind can do.

 

From there, we moved on to I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb, which is part of the Science Play series.  The series is designed to get young children to engage with science and nature actively.  The books are full of activities and readers are encouraged to do the activities as they come upon them in the book.  Cobb says in the introduction: “This book is designed so that your child can make discoveries.”

We discovered that wind is made of air.  You can’t see it, but you can see what it does.  Considering Ladybug is only three, I think that’s a good start.

More activities for preschoolers learning about wind:

See my Parents & Educators page for more Picture Book Preschool posts.