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Games and Activities
All Night and All Day
1. Collect pictures of children, families and animals involved in activities related to nighttime (sleeping, wearing pajamas, using flashlights, animals in the dark) and daytime (playing outside, hiking, animals in daylight).
2. Laminate or cover with clear self-adhesive paper for durability if desired.
3. Put the pictures out in a basket or shoe box for kids to look at on their own, during circle time talk with them about the activities in the pictures.
4. Divide a poster board or large sheet of paper into two sections. On one side draw a large sun, blue sky and on the other side draw a dark sky with moon and stars.
5. Encourage kids to place the pictures of daytime activities on the "sunny side" and the night pictures on the "dark side".
Basic Concepts to Teach:
-A whole day lasts 24 hours and consists of both day (light) and night (dark).
-The sun rises in the east, is high in the sky by noon, and sets in the west.
-The sun is a big star. It gives off light and heat all the time.
-It is lighter and warmer during the day because our part of the earth is turned toward the sun then.
-Daytime is from the times rises (sunrise) until the sun sets (sunset).
-Nightime is from the time the sun sets until the sun rises.
-Sometimes the daylight lasts longer than the darkness (in summer) and at other times the darkness lasts longer than the light (in winter).
-At night it is darker and colder because our part of the earth is turned away from the sun then.
-Night is nice (stress pleasant aspects of night.) It is a good time to sleep and rest.
-When it is day in our half of the work, it is night in the other part of the work.
-The time between sunrise and noon (midday) is called morning. The time between noon and the evening meal is called afternoon and the time after sunset is called night.
-People wear different clothes for the many things they do during the day and night such as work clothes, play clothes, party clothes, night clothes (pajamas).
-The stars shine all the time. We do not see the stars in the daytime because the sunlight is so bright that we cannot see them.
-Most stars are so far away that we see them as tiny dots of light at night.
-Some stars look like they are groups together. These groups are called constellations.
-The moon is an object (satellite) that orbits our earth.
-The moon shines at night because the sunshine is reflecting off of it. The light we see is called moonlight.
-Clouds may hide the sun and stars from our view.
-The sun may cause our skin to become tan or to burn.
Vocabulary to Introduce:
Call attention to the children's shadows and the shadows of other objects. Measure the children's shadows in the morning, at noon, and before they leave in the afternoon, all at the same spot. Pound a long stick in the ground in an open spot. Measure the length of its shadow at different times of the day. Discuss why this happens with the children.
Indoors, have the children look for their shadows. Use a flashlight as the sun and a stand up doll as a person. Let each child discover how to make long and short shadows on all sides of the doll. How do you make the shadow disappear? Use a bright light on a movie screen, sheet or a light colored wall and let the children make shadow pictures.
Heat of the Sun:
Discuss how the sun burns us. This can be a good time to introduce the use of sunblock and sunglasses to protect our eyes and skin. The children can stand in the sun and then in the shade to feel the difference in temperature. A teacher can demonstrate how the sun can burn by using a magnifying glass to burn a hole in a piece of paper.
Day and Night:
On a globe, place a small paper figure on the location of where you live. Stick a paper figure on the opposite side too. Darken the room and use a flashlight to represent the sun. Turn the globe slowly. The children can observe what causes day and night.
If possible darken an area of the room with drapes, sheets over a card table, turning off a light. You can set up the room in daytime areas and nighttime areas with appropriate dress-up clothing.
Plan a slumber party day, when the children can wear their pajamas, slippers, etc to school and bring a favorite blanket, sleeping bag or stuffed animal to cuddle. You can talk about any nighttime fears and read There's a Nightmare in My Closet or There's an Alligator Under My Bed by Mercer Mayer.
I See Something What Do You See?
I see something round like the moon; black like the night; yellow light the sun; pointed like a star.
Match Them: use cut outs of the sun, stars, and phases of the moon to match shapes. If you cut them out of wallpaper samples, you can match by patterns or colors.
Ready for bed:
Find out what each child does before going to bed. Ask questions like who takes a bath? Who listens to a story? Talk about the different ways everyone gets ready for bed. Have on hand some of the things children might use when getting ready for bed. Some suggestions are a toothbrush, toothpaste, washcloth, soap, book, glass of water and blanket. Ask the children to recall and share their bedtime routines. Use the props to act them out. This is a good activity for sequencing.
Read story, flannel board re-telling and then set up Goodnight Moon Room with all the objects set up like the book. Have children bring flashlights to school and as you re-tell the story have them shine flashlights on the objects.
Day and Night on the Globe
One good way to show why we have night and day is to take a globe that spins on its base and a flashlight (to be the Sun) into a dark room or hallway. Hold the flashlight far enough away that it will light up half the globe at once, and then have a helper spin the globe slowly. (Make sure it's spinning in the correct direction - from West to East!) Everywhere that is lit up is having day, and everywhere that is dark is having night. This is a nice visual way to explain the concept.