On a very blustery spring day, we explored the wind in preschool STEM storytime. We talked about using our senses to experience the wind: to feel the wind, to see the wind (even though you can’t see air, you can see wind blow flags, kites, ribbons, streamers), to hear the wind (what sound does it make? a howl, a whoosh), and even to smell the wind (salty, like an ocean breeze; sweet, like cinnamon or chocolate baking – mmmmm.) I used a wind cannon to show how they feel the wind and wind chimes to hear the wind.
Books read included The Wind Blew by Pat Hutchins and I Face the Wind by Vicki Cobb. The latter has experiments to do as you read, so we did some of these, like catching the wind in a plastic bag (simple, but it works!)
We talked a little about wind energy and windmills. Next, we danced with scarves so they could make the air move and see it moving to Fred Penner’s song I am the Wind.
For our last group activity, we used the always popular parachute to demonstrate making wind and watching and feeling the air move. We started by sitting around the parachute, creating a gentle breeze with a slow up and down motion. Then it got windier and the breeze picked up! To end the children lay down on the floor under the parachute while parents made a swirling windstorm overhead.
There were several activity stations to explore the wind, including:
- Cotton ball soccer, where one used a straw to blow the “soccer balls” toward the goals.
- Pinwheels that children could blow or put in front of a fan to make them blow. They experimented with holding the pinwheel at different angles and closer and farther from the fan.
- A hot and cold air experiment with a balloon and a soda bottle, to demonstrate how air expands when heated to make wind (and shown by the balloon inflating!) We had two large bowls, one with hot water and one with ice water to move the soda bottle between. When the bottle is moved to the ice, the balloon deflates rapidly. This experiment is from Vicki Cobb’s book mentioned above. Thanks to the LibraryMakers blog for suggesting really hot water and ice to make the experiment work better.
- Making wind socks from construction paper and streamers.