Ice Beads- Lacing for Fine Motor

Have you ever seen one of these? Its a mold for making Ice Shot Glasses I bought mine at JoAnn Fabrics but I now can only find them at Walmart.
I filled the mold most of the way making sure I did not fill it completely. I wanted to leave the bottom open so that we could easily pass things through. It worked! Voila, Ice Beads!!!
I handed the kids pipe cleaners and let them get to it. They immediately started stringing the ice beads on the hanging planter rack I have above the water table.
Working the fine motor twisting and maneuvering.
Then they started to make ice bead chains.
Working hard.
I started asking them what they thought would happen when the ice started to melt.
It was a beautiful day and the sun was shining bright. The ice started melting very quickly.
They looked amazing hanging there.
I also froze some popsicle molds without putting the sticks in them. Kaia tied one to the bottom of her ice beads chain.
Watching the ice melt.

And the ice could not hold out against the sun. The first link melted.

I am going to make some Ice cups for another project. Stay tuned for that later…

Ice Cups and Water Bead- Fine Motor Exploration and Discovery

We have a mold for making ice shot glasses. I knew it would be perfect for water play in the summer. And I was right. So here is our fun water beads and ice shot fine motor tray. Liam played with this for over 20 minutes.

He worked hard at using the tongs to pinch and pick up the waterbeads and then place them into the colored ice cups.

I used what I had on hand and that was black water beads. When we do this again I think I will use a multi color pack and try and have the kids match the waterbead color to the ice glass color.
The older boys got a set as well to play with in the water table.

And eventually the ice shot glasses turned into ice beads. These are just awesome!

Funnels, Tubes, and Waterbeads- Explore and Discover

Mikey decided these were baby snake eggs. I thought they looked more like frog eggs. But to each his own. The kids played with this for over an hour!

Super simple play but it was awesome!
They worked with the funnels, tubes, and scoops.
They loves watching the waterbeads go through the funnel at the top of the tubing and come out at the bottom.
They made up elaborate stories about different kinds of animals and that these were their babies.
They worked together scooping, pouring and collecting all the waterbeads.
They started to figure out if they lifted the end of the tubing higher then the funnel that they could keep the beads inside.
They asked for longer tubing to be switched out so they could collect even more water beads inside.
Funnels attached to tubing inside a hanging planter flat. You get these at the Nursery when you buy a bunch of plants but  Ibet you could ask and they would just give you one.
Using measuring cups to pour.
Using the scoop to collect the waterbeads at the bottom of the tubing.
Looking at the “baby eggs” in his measuring cup.
Materials Needed:
Water Beads
funnels (Dollar Store)
tubing (found in plumbing department at Home Depot or other hardware stores)
Planter Flat (Nursery)
Hang your planter flat above your sensory table. Fill your sensory table with water and waterbeads. Add measuring cups and scoops. Attach funnels into plumbing tubing. Thread through the planter flat leading the tubing into your sensory table. Let the kids explore!

How to make a  Wind Tunnel

I made a new wind tunnel for the kids, and its awesome.  This Wind Tunnel is even easier to make then the first wind tunnel I made. And you can leave it on all day if you like!

They love it! That’s right we all love the new wind tunnel.

I made it out of some packaging material. Specifically this it made out of the packaging material to keep the corners of a refrigerator from getting bumped and dented. So make sure you check out your local appliance stores. I have a great one by me that will save boxes etc., f you just call and ask.

The kids will play with the wind tunnel for an hour plus. Taking turns stuffing scarves, balloons and more into the tube while the others ran around trying to catch whatever came flying out of the tube!

Liam’s favorite were the balloons. I used small water balloons that I blew up with just a little bit of air.

You can see it flying up at the top of the shower curtain. Yes I hung a shower curtain in my garage. Behind it is our garage food storage. The garage is another play area for the kids as well as our functional garage. I wanted the space to be for them though. So I try and make it look as inviting to them as possible. The curtain also works as a curtain for the plays they put on. But I digress, we are here to talk about a wind tunnel.

Ages: 3-4years

Materials Needed:

The cardboard packing material from a fridge (just one needed)

Clear projector paper (10 pieces)

Clear packing tape

A fan

Zip ties

Scarves, balloons, tissue paper, paper cups, paper umbrellas

  • This experience is best in the indoor classroom


  • Procedure:
  • The set up attach projector sheet paper two side by side with clear packing tape. continue to do this until you have enough to cover your packing material which will be your backing. now attach all your sheets of clear projector sheet 2X1 together. Once they are all connected in a long row attach them with clear packing tape to the packing material backing. Punch holes in the backing with a screw driver so that you can slide zipties through. Use the zip ties to secure your wind tunnel to your desired post.
  • You can initiate the activity during the morning meeting by asking  how can we explore ways wind can be used as “force”. The provocation will be the setup and the invitation to explore. “How can they use air to make these items move?”
  • The children might participate by sending the items provided through the wind tunnel and then by trying to catch the items as they fall down.
  • The open-ended questions may be as follows: “I wonder what is happening here?” “How have you seen the wind move things outside?” “What do you think makes the wind move the items?” “How might we slow items down?” “I wonder how might we measure how fast items are moving?” “What might sink what might float in the wind tunnel?”
  • The language introduced will include the following FIVE words: Velocity, aerodynamics (air flow), air current, air Drag and Force.
  • To support the children’s learning further I would explore wind with them outside if there is any that day. I would also create another wind tunnel that works differently with this wind tunnel it has an open top and children will explore balancing materials in mid air. Here is a link to when I did this with my son.
  • Simplify- To meet the needs of a new “explorer” I would allow them to explore the materials and test them out to see how they move in the air current.
  • Extension- To meet the needs of a child who needs a more complex level. I would challenge them to think of new items that they think might move in the wind tunnel. Items I have not provided. I would then have the child test there hypothesis by using the item in the wind tunnel.
  • California Preschool Foundation Areas that might be covered
  • Developmental Experiences:Number Sense: 1.5  Math:

Use the number name of the last object counted to answer the question, “How many …?”

We will pass scarves and balloons in the air stream of the wind tunnel.

You ca assess by asking questions about how many balloons/ scarves they were able to pass through and observing and recording their answer as they attempt the experience.


Manipulative Skills: 3.2

Begin to show fine motor manipulative skills using hands and arms such as in-hand manipulation, writing, cutting, and dressing.


Placing the scarves and items into the wind tunnel takes fine motor manipulation. Especially for scarves they need to be bunched into a ball to pass through. I will assess by observing how the children use the materials.



Observation and Investigation 1.5

Make predictions and check them, with adult support, through concrete experiences.

Have the children making predictions before testing out each item for the first time though the wind tunnels.

Assess by asking open ended questions and observing the answers given.

Documenting Learning:

Document the learning by recording anecdotal observations and by taking pictures.


Just incase you are wondering where I got my scarves I bought them from Lakeshore Learning here is a link to them.
lakeshore scarves
The fan I used is this one I bought it at Walmart.
honeywell fan

And if you want to check out my other wind tunnel follow this link.
Wind Tunnel

Traveling Colors- An Experiment in Absorption, Dispersion, and Color Mixing

The paper towel absorption was such an interesting science experiment we decided to try another paper towel experiment

We filled 3 glasses equally with 1/2 cup of water and liquid water colors

We then put our paper towels in folded several times over to create strips.

We watched as the liquid moved up the paper towels

And into the empty cups between each glass with liquid

The empty glasses started to fill with liquid from both glasses next to it

Kaia tried keeping track of which colors moved the fastest

By the next day the glasses that were empty were now even with the ones that were full

We now had a green cup, orange cup, and purple cup.