This lesson is part of a weekly series of home preschool lessons I do for 2 and 3 year olds. Click to see all of the other Letter of the Week lessons we’ve done.
We always start our lessons by watching the clip from Leapfrog Letter Factory DVD for the featured letter and then making a letter craft.
This week’s letter craft idea came from here.
Usually my lessons include quite a few books, but I had a hard time finding volcano books that were at a preschool level.
Eruption! The Story of Volcanoes by Anita Ganeri is the best fit that I found. We read the first several pages together and then just looked at pictures as we talked about volcanoes.
Then we watched some youtube videos of actual volcanic explosions. I had chosen which videos to show ahead of time to make sure I found some good ones.
Next we did a couple worksheets.
Afterwards we played an Escape the Volcano game that was a highlight of the lesson. Reading this blog post is what sparked the idea, but I used very different tasks because I wanted to focus more on letter skills. I printed out directions for different tasks they had to complete on orange construction paper and then laminated them for reuse.
I had a volcano picture that showed where the eruption was happening and then they had to run away as they found the orange clues and completed the task it listed. The pathway took them both inside and outside since we had nice weather.
They had a lot of fun with it and got to practice some skills along the way!
The reward for surviving was snack time! For our snack we ate Scrabble Junior Cheeze-its. The kids had to say the name and/or sound of the letter on the cracker before eating it.
We also had milk volcanoes! I put some red food coloring in their milk, gave them a straw, and told them they could blow bubbles to make an eruption! (With a tray underneath to catch the mess). I got the idea from here and wasn’t sure whether I wanted to try it or not, but I’m glad I did! It looked pretty cool, was a lot of fun, and really wasn’t hard to clean up at all since the overflow was all on the tray.
Afterward the kids built volcanoes out of play dough or kinetic sand. I make homemade play dough and it lasts really well as long as you keep it in a closed container. If you haven’t heard of kinetic sand it is really neat and definitely worth checking out! It is moldable sand that has the consistency of wet sand and will stay how you form it. I’ve had my same batch for over 4 years and it’s still going strong! The kids build volcano forms and I gave them some TOOB animals that they could have running away from the eruption. Playdough/kinetic sand with the toy animals always entertains them so well as they make up all kinds of stories. I planned to the activity at this time so it would give me a chance to set up the next part of the lesson while they were entertained.
Using this guide we set up some volcanic eruptions. The most fun for them was the volcano tray because they got to help with it and it lasted longer. I lined a dish with baking soda, the kids chose colors of food coloring to drop into it, and then they got to put drops of vinegar on the tray to see all the mini explosions.
When I’ve done it before I used a dropper so the kids could do it totally on their own. But I didn’t have one on hand and used a medical syringe instead, and so they needed a little bit of help to squeeze it out.
To add some music into the lesson we watched the “Lava” Pixar short, which is a really cute song about two volcanoes who want to be together.
And we sang “I’m a Little Volcano” (to tune of I’m a Little Teapot”) while doing the gestures.
We always end the lesson with reading Chicka Chicka Boom Boom and adding the letter to our coconut tree. I also like to quiz the kids on past letters by asking them to point to certain letters and telling me what sound they make.
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