Seeds! Seeds! Seeds!
by Nancy Elizabeth Wallace
This ended up being the most requested book of our Garden Theme/Unit. Buddy Bear receives a package of five bags from his gramps that contain garden related activities, all of which we did in some capacity.
THE THIRD PACKAGE Buddy receives a bird feeder, birdseed and some sunflower seeds for him to eat. We made a milk jug bird feeder as a group and for snack we had shelled sunflower seeds.
There was already an embossed circle on the side of the milk jug. The almost-4 year old was able to trace it very well. I tried to let her cut it out after I got it started, but she was unable to keep the scissors straight and apply enough pressure to cut the plastic. So I ended up doing it.
By utilizing the freedom of process art, i.e. I don't have to "supervise" every step, I can concentrate on other learning goals.
I purposefully chose to do this as a group project, rather than have each child do an individual one. This would only work with a maximum of three children per container. With limited resources, it forces the children to negotiate, share, and request. Things they normal do not HAVE to do here, especially during an art project. There was no turning to another activity, leading the activity, or other direction or redirection available. They just had to work together.
For a few minutes after drawing, to ensure the ink was dry on the plastic, I sent them off in search of sticks to make a perch for the front.
I had bought a 10 pound bag of birdseed for around $5.00 with the intention of having enough for the sensory table.
The children filled up the bird feeder...again and again, along with just playing in the seed. I really like the little scoops from baby formula for sensory bin activities. They are small enough that it takes a LOT of scooping and pouring to fill containers, working those fine and gross motor skills, building those muscles so important for writing.
When they were through playing with it, I cut an X about an inch below the hole and poked the chosen stick through from the inside to the outside, ensuring that a natural knob on the stick would act as a stop and help hold it in. Then I applied a glob of high-strength glue to the four edges of the X and around the base of the stick.
I let the glue dry overnight.
I tied a piece of string around the top and made a loop large enough to easily slip over a leafy branch and long enough that the feeder would hang down some.
The bird feeder hangs fairly level, but by placing the knot to the side away from the opening, it provides just a smidge of a slant to help keep rain water out.
Social: sharing, negoitating
Fine Motor: pincer grasp, writing, scooping, pouring,
Sensory: different textures
Art: creative expression, colors, unusual canvas, drawing
Tags: bird feeder, garden, farm, unit, theme, birds, milk jug, art, craft, fine motor, sensory, childcare, daycare, preschool, pre-k, prek