Friends it has been a crazy week here in East TN. The weather has been gorgeous with highs 10-20 degrees above normal. We have spent the bulk of the day outside enjoying our big backyard!
I LOVE home schooling preschool outside, because not only are we not trapped in a school room, but it leaves my wild and crazy toddlers free to roam and explore if they aren’t interested in the games, crafts, and invitations to play that are included for that day.
Our day goes a little like this: “Mom, what are we learning about today?”
“Well, kiddos, what do you want to learn about today?”
“Do we still have some desert stuff?”
“We do. Today is learning about the Sahara Desert.”
“Mom, what’s the Sahara desert?”
Enter Mother Goose Time!
Here are a few of the activities we did during our home school preschool today. We started out with Mother Goose Time coloring pages at the breakfast table.
What do you know about deserts?
The kids volunteered that deserts have lots of sand and are really hot! True, for the most part. We went over to our global map and took a look at the world map together. We talked about the continents being land and that all the blue in between is water. There are deserts on every continent. Some of these deserts are hot and some are actually cold. I had them guess which continents had deserts that were cold. Do you know? I didn’t. For our information: Cold deserts are found in the Antarctic, Greenland, Northern and Western China,Turkestan, Iran and the Nearctic area. Who knew?!?
Concept Introduction: World Map
Since we covered Africa in our Going on Safari unit, the kids are experts at finding Africa on the map. Since, I knew locating Africa wouldn’t challenge them too much, I asked them if they knew what parts of Africa contained the Sahara Desert. I showed them the equator line and presented them with the map you see in the lower right hand corner of this image. The green outline shows the borders of the Sahara Desert. We decided that this must be a hot desert since it’s so close to the equator.
Opening Song: “In the Desert”
(sung to the tune of Frere Jacques)
In the desert, in the desert
It is hot, it is hot.
_____ needs some water.
_____ needs some water.
It is hot, it is hot!
With each verse insert a different child’s name.
Sahara Blue Men
Discuss: What do you see that is blue?
Blueberries, crayons, police cars on Owl’s pajamas, sippy cups, a blanket, the top of the crayon box, states on the map, etc. Blue is Owl’s favorite color, so they both rocked this simple exercise!
We dug through our crayon box and found all the different shades of blue. The kids tried using several of the crayons and found different items in the house that matched the shade of blue the crayon made on the paper.
Then we read the included participation story: Sahara Blue Men Story
Every time the word “blue” was used, which was almost every line the kids chose a different blue crayon to use to add to their drawings. This was a great way to keep my youngest involved in the story, since he often wanders off during story time. Having something to hold and do helps him be able to enjoy story time along with his sister, AND gives me a few moments to finish nursing the baby and dream about my coffee before he’s off and running.
Once we got dressed and Mama finally got her coffee (Thank Jesus!), we finally headed into our big backyard!
In little snippets in between water play and digging up earthworms (that was super fun! – we made an earthworm jar) we had some more fun learning about the Sahara Desert!
Canteen Prop – Craft
Crafting with Mother Goose Time is never just making a craft. There are always suggestions for discussing and exploring materials and experiences.
Discuss: Where do you find water?
I loved the kids answers to this question. Ladybug (3 years old) said that water comes from rain. Sure thing girlfriend – I think it helps that we have rain barrels in our backyard. Owl (2 years old) volunteered that water comes from the faucet. Righto kiddo! We then very briefly discussed how water gets into our faucets.
So, I gave them this problem to consider:
“There are no faucets in the hot desert, so you have to carry water when you travel.”
Explore: Set out a tub of sand and small cups
I let the kids play with the water and the sand.
I asked Ladybug what happened to rain when it falls.
She said it turns into puddles.
I said yes, that’s true and some goes into the ground. What is on the ground in the desert?
She said sand.
I then had her pour some water onto the sand and the kids watched it “disappear.”
So, in the desert with the sand, rain water quickly gets absorbed into the sand on the ground. We had already covered there were no faucets, so we started to talk about how we could carry water with us when we went into the desert.
Enter the concept of a canteen.
My son then poured a ton of water on top of the sand; way more than could be absorbed.
Ah, more science, my happy place.
Somehow we ended up talking about how the floor of the ocean is made of sand and yet, the ocean still has enough water to let fish live there.Isn't it amazing how simple thematic play in the backyard can turn into an entire conversation about absorption and saturation? @mothergoosetime Click To Tweet
Hello my little scientists…..after all kids are natural experimenters when you give them room to experiment!
Using a couple paper plates and a string we made simple canteen props. Both kids were thrilled that we got to pull out some paint. I was thrilled that it was warm enough to do it outside. Hello easy clean up!
Ladybug enjoyed using a cup to stamp some different colors of paint onto her canteen. She’s very into mixing red and blue to make purple. Owl used his fingers and yes, he still ate some……..sigh. He also eats sand, dirt, and once part of a katydid shell……his diapers are like disgusting discovery zones.
We then played an easy game where the kids walk in a circle. Inside the recommendation is to use masking tape, but since we were outside, I just drew a circle with sidewalk chalk. The kids walked around the circle to the music included in our Mother Goose Time box for the month,”Dancing in the Desert” CD.
When the music stopped they hurried to their assigned color block and pretended to take a drink from their canteen props. Ladybug’s “assigned” color was purple and Owl was blue of course.
After a few rounds of this game, Owl decided to wander off and try to fill his canteen with water. It’s made of paper plates. We know what happened – and now, so does he! 😉
Race to the Oasis
After playing with the canteens, Ladybug was ready to go dig in the dirt and find some earthworms. She was successful and now, we have entire jar of earthworms in the kitchen…..but that’s a whole other post….and yes, they are still alive and doing well in their little makeshift compost heap. She feeds them every morning! Today they had oatmeal 🙂
Owl, started digging in my box of goodies that I had brought outside. He found one of the game boards and asked if he could play. Sure!
Since he’s still little and new to games, we threw the instructions to the wind and just let him explore. He loved rolling the dice and I helped him figure out what number he rolled. I had him pick up that many canteen cards or move the player that many spaces. He was thrilled that he was playing a “big kid” game. Whatever makes you happy kid, is totally worth it! We’ve got years of rules ahead of us!
Hot Desert Dunes
Discuss: What do you think is the difference between a hot and cold desert?
The kids answer – one is hot and one is cold.
Well, yes. LOL
I asked them whether they would like to live in a hot desert or a cold desert.
Ladybug said she wanted to live in the cold desert and Owl wanted to live in the hot desert. I told Owl that he would have a lot of company, since most of the desert animals we had been learning about lived in the desert. Ladybug changed her answer and decided the hot desert might be fun if it had all the animals.
I told them the cold desert had seasonal temperatures and glaciers.
“What are glaciers?” Giant slabs of ice.
Ladybug changed her mind back to the cold desert, because she “LOVES ICE!” It’s true, she does.
I set out containers of sand and ice for the kids to explore. I gave them straws and encouraged them to blow on the sand and the ice. We talked about how you might dress differently in a cold desert versus a hot desert. We reviewed some of the fun we had in week 1 of Discover the Desert talking about cowboy boots and hats.
Once they were done exploring the ice, Ladybug found her inflatable globe. She pointed out Africa. Work here is done for today 🙂
Ladybug created a small den in her desert. The pillow is a camel and her book is the Mother Goose Time book selection “Who Am I? Friendly and Not So Friendly Faces Of the Desert,” by Sue Hawkins.
Closing Reflection: Would you like to live in a desert? Why or why not?
Ladybug votes yes, because she likes to play in the sand. Owl votes no, because he’d rather play in the water. I vote “beach” since it has both and working faucets 🙂
After quiet time we played a song from our desert themed CD called “Oasis” and danced. Ladybug threw the scarf up in the air. The faster the tempo, the higher the throw.
How is preschool going in your house?
P.S. Enjoy this FREEBIE:
(a full day’s curriculum focused on seeds just in time for Spring!)