(In case you're wondering, we don't really have any hens - although it would be great if we did! This activity was designed as an extension activity for the story we've been reading, "Farmer Blake and Sneaky Snake.")
When we got downstairs however, it appeared that all dirt areas in our yard were populated by ants of all sizes - teeny, tiny black ones, middle sized biting green ones, huge black ants and a few gigantic jumping ants. Who knew there could be so many ants!!!
Time for some modification. If there's one thing I've learnt when working with children is that you have to be flexible!
Solution ... mud pies made out of flour. Suppose they should know be called 'flour pies'!
Add some water, food colouring and several different shaped plastic containers, and we were ready to make food for the hens.
I love the way that children approach the same activity using different methods. There's the throw-it-all approach ....
... or the precisely-measure-and-carefully-mix-it approach.
When working with children, it's a privilege to be able to see the characteristics which make each child unique.
So what did the boys make for the hens to eat?
Um! Anyone hungry?
We also managed to get in some creative art. Daniel discovered his mixture was thick and sticky and ran slowly when tilted.
The result was the image of a princess walking a dog. Love the leaf details added for eyes, nose and mouth.
David also invented a new bug repellent. I'm not sure if it really is marketable though. Would you purchase this product?
I can understand why David wanted to spread this goop on his skin. It felt fantastic - slippery, slimey, irresistibly tactile. A fantastic sensory experience!
When I stuck my hands in the goop, I just wanted to sit down and play for hours as well!
How's this for self-help skills and an easy clean-up? Summer is great! So is getting messy.
We are fortunate enough to have a backyard we can do this ... but in winter, we have been known to spread a plastic sheet on the kitchen table and do a similar activity (i.e., playing with flour and water) inside ... just a little less 'wild' (i.e., no body painting).
Why is this activity educationally sound? It promotes:
- Sensory exploration
- Fine motor control - small muscles used to pour and mix
- Creativity - creating their own mixture
- Imagination - making pictures out of goop
- Problem solving - how can I make my mixture thicker/ thinner?
- Language and vocabulary - as we use descriptive words to talk about what we're doing and experiencing
- Maths - measuring out ingredients
- Science - how do different substances change when mixed (i.e., wet and dry ingredients)
- Emotional health - it was very soothing and relaxing
- Life - this was sooooo much fun!
There's probably a whole lot more that could be added to the list, but that's enough to go on.
Now, if anyone would like to order a new bug repellent, let us know!
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Return to the Articles List for other children's learning activities or children's book reviews.