Place Based Preschool Winter

Here are a few highlight pictures from our winter session. We met 5 times over the winter to think about the night and sky. We explored the reason for day and night, we had fun exploring aspects of each; stars, moon, constellations, shadows. We started our session by talking about the rotation of the earth.

“Does the earth make a shadow on the moon or just not shine on it? ”








This session, we were inspired by the stories around constellations. We made up some of our own constellations and stories to go with them. We loved the storytelling so much that we decided to do our own play with shadow puppets.


Place Based Preschool Winter: Bird

Birds in the Winter

This week, we ended our winter session.  Spring had essentially arrived; therefore, I thought we could think about a common symbol of spring and also think about them in winter…. birds!  We used the felt rug to build a bird body for the winter.  We talked about their fat content, scaled feet, and feathers.  We also talked about their behaviors to help them adapt to the cold.  The children were able to pretend to be a bird in the winter.  When we moved to our investigation, the children quickly made observations about birds staying warm in the winter.  Features of the feathers and nest were presented to them.

place based preschool winter 2013 033“That must be a small bird”  Emma

place based preschool winter 2013 032Carol showed the children how the feather have the “zip” feature that helps the strands lock together.

We invited them to become a bird and collect nest making materials outside.  After their investigation, they had a good idea of what they wanted to collect.  The art project was building their own nest.

place based preschool winter 2013 036We used clay for the mud ingredient of a nest.

place based preschool winter 2013 038I also wanted them to complete their imaginative bird play by creating their own egg.  First we observed pictures of wild bird eggs.  I asked the children:   “If you were a bird, what kind of egg would you have?”

I should also mention the fun the children had playing “Bluejays and Juncos”

They each used a container to hide in a designated area outdoors.  The container serves as their nest.  One child is the Bluejay that will want to take their food.  This child counts to 25 and then starts searching for the nest.  The Juncos can run to the food source (parents with beans) and collect 5 beans at a time.  They collect as many as they can in a session to put into their nest.  The whole time they are collecting, the Bluejay is stealing from them but can only take 3 beans at a time.  When the game is finished they count their beans.  Three beans is for one baby chick.  How many were they able to feed?

Place Based Preschool Winter: Life under the Ice

Life under the Ice

When I knew that I was going to do a winter session for the Place Based Preschool, I was immediately inspired by thinking about under the ice.  The safest way to do this investigation in late winter was with a local pond.  We gathered near a nature trail in our town and began our session with some fun games and some review from our woods visit last week.  We found more tracks and the children had some immediate thoughts about them because of our investigation last week.

“I think that animal might have a tail because of that long mark.”  Caleb

place based preschool winter 2013 001Although, the children didn’t always get it right.  Their comments and inquiry were what I was looking for at this stage.  I feel the purpose of this class is to get the kids outside and thinking about the world around them.  Their thinking can go in many ways and I love to see what some children find fascinating and others just want to move on.  As long as they are surrounded by that wonderful natural environment and they are curious, I am happy.

After playing with snowshoes and looking for tracks, I introduced the children to a classic game called “Fox and Geese.”  It is a great way for children to enjoy the snow.  The group worked together to make our playing field.

1.  We used a person in the center and a rope to make a circle with our own tracks.

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2.  We used the rope to divide the circle into 6 equal parts.

place based preschool winter 2013 004

When we finished, we invited parents to play this unique tag game.  The hub (center) is safe and all the children are geese except for one, the fox.  As soon as a goose is tagged by the fox, they turn into the fox.  All children must stay on the tracks made.

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place based preschool winter 2013 012place based preschool winter 2013 010

After the game, we were ready to take our walk to a local pond.  A friend was generous to let us visit her pond.  As we walked there, the children spotted some deer tracks.

place based preschool winter 2013 013When we arrived to the pond, we got wet feet on the edge, but the children successfully chopped through the ice and gathered some murky water.

place based preschool winter 2013 021place based preschool winter 2013 025place based preschool winter 2013 023If you decide to do this, the ice will be clear or a bit muddy and there will not be evidence of life immediately.  When the water is brought into a warm house, it feels like spring.  Tiny eggs will hatch and critters will appear.  I explained to the children that it is an experiment.  They may need to collect more than one time.  Luckily, my sample did produce a critter for the children to observe the following week.  Can you see it?place based preschool winter 2013 031I invited the children to think about their observations with an art project.

“How do I make so many legs?”  Nicholas

“I made a circle for the body.”  Ella

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“I hope my water gets one of those things.”  Calebplace based preschool winter 2013 030“Look at the head!”

Ice Crystals


Ice Crystals

Every winter I look forward to this activity. Recently, we have been having very cold weather. This activity is one way to keep it interesting. I have done this in my classroom and at home with my children. It can be a simple art project, but is easily turned into a science experiment.

How long does it take to freeze?

How many days will it last?

What is the temperature today and will it last?

Ice crystal

Using any container that is flat, fill and decorate with natural items. When it melts, all items will be left on the ground. Natural items will ensure that there is no litter left by the activity.

Circle the inside if the container with yarn or string and drape the ends over. The ends will be used to hang the crystal.

Ice crystals

Fill with water and let sit over night. In the morning, bring inside just long enough to loosen the ice. Then hang outdoors where you and your children can observe from a window. We have ours on the deck, but I love how they look on winter trees.