After Christmas, it’s a bit sad to take down the tree and usually, though it may have some learning that helps with kindergarten readiness, it can’t exactly be called fun. An early learning preschool blog that I love, along with thousands of other people, had a very interesting science/nature activity. Called Pine Needle Discovery Bottles, it seems like a wonderful way to keep a little bit of Christmas.
If you had a real tree this year, when it’s ready to be taken down and recycled, save a few small branches. Tuck one about the same length as the bottle in an empty bottle and then fill it almost to the top with water. Help your child shake in some sparkles. We chose white to look like real snow, but they looked much whiter in the package. A few drops of glycerin added to the water will slow down the flakes, but only use a little bit so the sparkles do not all lump together. (Found that out by experience!) Glue on the lid on or use wide, sticky tape.
The bottle and water magnify the branch and needles so it is easy to see the shape. When tipped upside down and back up, the sparkles do swirl like a snow storm. Have your child feel and smell any needles that didn’t make it into the bottle. Talk about the color and shape of the needles. Why are they called needles? Any guesses about what part of the tree they could be? Do you like the smell of pine?
Many children find changes, even small ones, difficult to accept. Helping children cope with change will support their development. Making a discovery bottle with a bit of the Christmas tree is one way to lessen the impact and keep it for a while longer. It also serves as a bridge for what is happening seasonally. In many places, Christmas is over but there’s lots of winter still to come! Does the winter where you live have snow like the one in this bottle or picture?
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