NUTS AND SEEDS THEME FOR PRESCHOOL!
Each Wednesday throughout the school year, we will continue offering learning activities along with the brilliant #playfulpreschool blogging team. This week’s activities are centered around a Nuts and Seeds Theme for Preschool. If you have missed the previous theme-based activities, they are linked for your convenience below. Also, please take a moment and visit links to additional Nuts and Seeds Theme resources from the Playful Preschool Team for learning inspiration at home or in the classroom!
The Sense of Hearing (Sound)
The Sense of Hearing is powerful learning for preschoolers! In order for the children to explore sounds, they must be able to locate the primary body parts that provide sensory sound information: the EARS!
Introductory (Circle Time) Games:
- Mirror Play – Invite the children to look for their own ears in a mirror. Note: hand held mirrors are durable, but supervision is necessary with young children if using real glass. The children can also partner with an adult or siblings/peers and use magnifying glasses for discoveries of other body parts that provide sensory information. Children will think it’s silly to look at each other, but they are gaining important information!
- Listening Chant – Invite the children to LISTEN by saying: “Close your eyes (NO PEEKING!) and open your ears, listen carefully to the sounds you can hear!” Some of the children will want to make sounds instead of listening. Remind the children that the goal is to listen for sounds coming from the environment, not the sounds they can make. It takes a little practice, but the children will love playing this game. After a few seconds of listening, have the children open their eyes and share what sounds they heard. The listening game can be played indoors or outside (weather permitting).
- Loud/Soft Sounds – Brainstorm with the children places where LOUD voices would be appropriate or where SOFTER voices should be used. Chart the answers the children give and add to the list as the children become familiar with loud and soft sounds.
Materials needed: assorted seeds or nuts, any container (we used glass salt/pepper shakers, but cardboard tubes sealed with waxed paper and a rubber bank will work great, too).
Note: when making sound shakers with children who still put objects in their mouths, supervise closely. Seeds and nuts are a choking hazard. Please also note any children who have allergies, especially peanut/nut allergies.
Prior to the sound activities we incorporated cross-over lessons by inviting the kids to shell or crack some of the varieties of nuts as part of our practical life center. Set the nuts and seeds out on a table or a tray and demonstrate for the children how to crack the shell of the nut open with a nut cracker. Most preschoolers will need to use both hands with a nut cracker or their hands/fingers to crack or open the shell. Nut cracking is a wonderful fine motor challenge for preschoolers! Note – leave some of the nuts/seeds in the shell to create a range of sounds for for the children to hear.
To make the Sound Shakers: for additional fine motor practice, set out various transfer tools that the children can use to move the seeds/nuts from a tray into the various sound containers (ex: spoon/melon scoop/tweezers/chop sticks/small tongs). Each container should only be filled half-way with nuts or seeds.
Sound Games to Try With Preschoolers
- Begin with just two of the sound shakers. Hold a hand towel over the sound shakers (one at a time) with one hand and shake the container with the other hand. See if the children can determine what KIND of seed/nut is placed inside the shaker using only their sense of hearing.
- One at a time, invite the children to shake the containers to determine which container makes the LOUDEST or SOFTEST sound. With younger children, limit the number of shakers until they gain confidence discriminating between the sounds.
- Make matching sound shakers and have the children locate the matching seed/nut containers by listening to the sound the container makes. Note: this activity works best using the cardboard tubes to hold the seeds/nuts as the children cannot SEE what is inside the container. The children then can only rely on listening skills to match the shakers.
- Invite the children to order the sound shakers from the softest to loudest (or loudest to softest) sounds (see below).
Come together after exploring the sound shakers for discussions about the sound discoveries. Some examples of questions to explore with the children: What seeds/nuts created the louder sounds? Did the shells on the nuts/seeds make a difference in the sound? Did the louder sounds bother any of the children? Sometimes loud sounds (sirens, thunder, workplace machinery), when heard repeatedly, can cause stress and anxiety for children, teachers, and parents. Softer sounds are usually more pleasant to hear for longer periods of time.
Playing with different sounds is not only fun for preschoolers, but it provides great opportunities for important sensory learning! For more playful learning with all 5 Senses, see the 5 Senses Thematic Unit here on the blog!
We gave our FB group a “sneak peak” of this activity and while they didn’t quite guess how the containers were used, many offered great extension activities for the nuts/seeds. Come join us and learn from other professionals in ECE on Facebook.
Plan Your Nut and Seeds Learning Week With Activities from the #PlayfulPreschool Team
Nuts to You!: Squirrel Feeder by Mom Inspired Life
Number Word Punch: Counting Nuts by Tiny Tots Adventures
Turkey Patterns with Pistashio Shells by Still Playing School
Seed and Letter Sensory Bin by Growing Book by Book
Growing Seeds by Learning 2 Walk
Exploring Chia Seeds by Powerful Mothering
Nutty Science–A Lesson in Buoyancy by Capri + 3
3 Fun Activities with Seeds for Preschoolers by Life Over C’s
Easy Sight Word Acorn Game by The Educators’ Spin On It
All Playful Preschool Themes
APPLES THEME ACTIVITIES, FAMILY and HERITAGE THEME ACTIVITIES, FARM THEME ACTIVITIES, HARVEST THEME ACTIVITIES, FALL COLORS, NIGHT SKY THEME, DINOSAUR THEME, COMMUNITY HELPERS THEME, CREEPY CRAWLIES THEME, SCARECROW THEME, FEATHERS THEME