Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Our Latest Obsession: Earthworms

My pink and purple wearing, tiara sporting princess has a new obsession - EARTHWORMS! I might have expected this from my youngest, a truck obsessed, dirt loving tomboy (amusingly also dressed in a tiara!), but from my 3 year old who runs for cover at the sight of a solitary ant? Never!

This fascination is the result of their most recent preschool unit. The girls eagerly start their morning sifting through newspaper ribbons, old coffee grounds and table scraps to wake up their beloved earthworms and to study them with magnifying glasses. And, under the direction of their teachers, have spent time observing the worms, making compost, playing in the garden and even creating earthworm inspired paintings.

How do I show my support for this new found interest? Head to the library for books on my daughters' favorite annelidas, of course! After a morning browsing through a surprising number of books on the topic, I found these three charming books worthy of reading together:

Yucky Worms! by Vivian French
A grandmother introduces her grandson to her helpful "friend," the earthworm.

Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
An amusing and informative series of diary entries from the point of view of a school-age worm.

Compost Stew: An A to Z Recipe for the Earth by Mary McKenna Siddals
A rhyming recipe for making a batch of Compost Stew from scratch. Great illustrations!

After your interest in piqued by these great books, enjoy these ideas for indulging in earthworm inspired exploration and fun:
  • Draw a picture of an earthworm and label its parts. See Yucky Worms (p. 4) for help.

  • Go exploring! Look for worms in your garden, under rocks, or on the sidewalk after it rains. Has it been dry? Make it rain using a hose or watering can, and then sit back and watch the worms come to the surface. (Yucky Worms, p.20)

  • Place a worm on a piece of paper and hold it to you ear. The faint scratching sound you are hearing is the noise made by the bristles on the earthworm's belly as it moves. (Yucky Worms, p.25)

  • Start a compost pile of your own. Refer to the last page of Compost Stew for more information about what you can and can't put into your compost.

  • Create art! Dip string or yarn into brown paint and drag it across a piece of green construction paper, emulating the way a worm moves. Label your art work "Worms in the Grass". (Idea compliments of Smart Start Learning Center, Sherborn, MA)

I hope next month's unit focuses on something a little less slimy. Butterflies, perhaps?!


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