With sunny days in Spring and Summer why not explore our nearest star? If your children are interested in science or just enjoy running outside in the sun then this Theme Day will surely brighten their day.
Print out the Family Theme Day Planner and decide which activities you’d like to do and in what order.
One Children’s song that is perfect for this Theme Day is “Mister Sun.” Check here for lyrics: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/m036.html
Another song to sing is “You are My Sunshine.” Check here for the lyrics and to hear the tune: http://www.kididdles.com/lyrics/y001.html
There are a lot of songs about the sun. Here are a few: “Walking on Sunshine” by Katrina and the Waves, “Here Comes the Sun” by the Beatles, “You Are the Sunshine of my Life” by Stevie Wonder, “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” by Elton John, or “Brighter than Sunshine” by Aqualung.
You can find many free coloring pages online by using your favourite search engine and typing in “Sun coloring” or print out my “Have a Sun-Shiny Day” Coloring Page.
JOURNALING QUESTION PROMPT:
Write out one or more of the following questions in the family notebook or on a piece of paper to glue in your family scrapbook: What do you know about the sun? What would you like to learn about the sun? What is your favourite thing to do on a sunny day? What is your favourite way to cool off on a hot and sunny day?
Choose the level of your child:
¨ Toddler – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and have your child draw a picture of the answer
¨ Preschooler/Kindergartener – discuss the answer(s) out loud first and write the answer down for him/her leaving one word for him/her to write out himself/herself with your help. You could also encourage him/her to draw a picture as well.
¨ Early Grade School – have your child either write out the answer himself/herself (encourage phonetic spelling) without your help, or offer to help with spelling each word out loud one word at a time.
¨ Grade School – have your child write a sentence or two on his/her own and then read over and discuss the response. (You decide whether to correct the spelling or not)
¨ Older Child – have your child write a longer response (paragraph).
¨ As A Challenge – instead of a question ask your older child to write a poem or a story about the sun or a sunny day.
Raid your child’s bookshelves to find any books about the sun or a sunny day.
Go to the library with your child to find some books about the sun.
Go to the library on your own to find books about the sun from both fiction and nonfiction to have already on hand for your theme day. Many libraries allow you to go online and search for titles based on subject (search for “Sun” under “Children’s Books). Reserve them if you can to save time.
Here are some picture books about the sun:
· The Contest Between the Sun and the Wind, an Aesop’s Fable retold by Heather Forest and illustrated by Susan Gaber, August House LittleFolk, 2008 – There are great illustrations in this retelling of the Fable about how gentleness is more persuasive than force (something I wish my children would practice).
· Living Sunlight: How Plants Bring the Earth to Life, by Molly Bang & Penny Chisholm and illustrated by Molly Bang, The Blue Sky Press, 2009 – I love the illustrations in this book which is told by the Sun and explains how the sun is living inside all of us.
· What is the Sun?, by Reeve Lindbergh and illustrated by Stephen Lambert, Candlewick Press, 1994 – This gentle picture book is really a set of simple questions and answers in rhyming form about the sun, moon, wind, etc.
Here are some nonfiction books about the sun:
· Earth and the Sun, by Bobbie Kalman and Kelley MacAulay, Crabtree Publishing Companuy, 2008—Bright photographs and illustrations and easy to read text with enough detail make this a good book to learn about the sun.
· How Does the Sun Make Weather?, by Judith Williams, Enslow Elementary, 2005—Very easy to read text and bright illustrations and photos make this a good one for young children.
· The Sun, by Gregory L. Vogt, The Millbrook Press, 1996—This has medium sized text but more detail with less pictures making this shorter book a good choice for the young scientists in your family.
· What Do You Know About the Sun?, by Carmen Bredeson, Enslow Elementary, 2008—This book has a basic overall review of information about the sun with not a lot of text but lots of photos.
· Who Likes the Sun?, written by Etta Kaner and illustrated by Marie Lafrance, Kids Can Press, 2007 – This looks like a picture book and has a lift the flap element but it also answers great questions kids often ask relating to the sun (like how sunglasses work, where the water goes after the rain, where dew comes from, how shadows are made, how grapes are made...).
· Why Does the Sun Set?, by Terry Allan HicksMarshall Cavendish Benchmark, 2010—This has bright illustrations and easy to read text with good scientific detail.
If you want to do Solar Energy experiments with your children try this book:
· Super Cool Science Experiments: Solar Energy, by Christine Taylor-Butler, Cherry Lake Publishing, 2010—This is a great book with six different solar experiments, easy to follow instructions and bright illustrations.
For Something different try these myths about the sun:
· Why the Sun and the Moon Live in the Sky, by Elphinstone Dayrell and illustrations by Blair Lent, Houghton Mifflin Company, 1968 – This Caldecott Honor Book is an African folktale about what happens when the Sun invites Water and all his people to come over to his house.
· The Lizard and the Sun/ La Lagartija y el Sol, by Alma Flor Ada and illustrated by Felipe Dávalos, A Double day Book for Young Readers, 1997—This is a folktale in English and Spanish (one language on each page) about a lizard who finds the sun hiding in a rock.
Materials: Wax paper, glue stick, coloured tissue paper, child safe scissors, coloured construction paper, cutting board, ruler and Exacto knife (parent use only).
Step 1: Take a piece of wax paper and fold it in half. Cut to the size you want for the sun-catcher (keeping one edge folded over so that it will open for steps 2 and 6).
Step 2: Open the rectangular piece of wax paper and use it to measure the coloured construction paper. Cut the construction paper to frame the waxed paper (in other words the construction paper must be larger than the wax paper).
Step 3: Fold the construction paper in half (pressing firmly along the edge).
Step 4: (Parent step) Place the folded construction paper onto a cutting board and cut a square or a rectangle out of the centre using the exacto knife to make the construction paper into a frame. Make sure the folded wax paper will fit into the cut portion. Make sure there will be adequate space to apply glue along the sides of the wax paper to attach it to the paper.
Step 5: Help your child cut out small pieces of coloured tissue paper.
Step 6: Give your child the wax paper and open the fold. Have your child rub glue stick onto one half of the folded sheet.
Step 7: Let your child place the coloured tissue paper onto the glued half of the wax paper.
Step 8: Apply glue stick to the other half of the wax paper and then gently fold over to sandwich the coloured tissue paper between the two halves of wax paper.
Step 9: Open the construction paper frame and apply glue stick along the cut out portions (both sides) and then place the decorated wax paper on top of the opening ensuring the edges of the wax paper are glued to the construction paper. Fold the paper frame back together to glue together making a two sided picture.
Step 10: Tape to a sunny window.
PAPER PLATE SUN:
Materials: White paper plate or yellow paper plate, child safe scissors, yellow and orange crayons, (optional) permanent marker.
Step 1: If you are using a white paper plate have your chid colour the inside of the plate either yellow or orange and then colour the rim with the other crayon. If you are using a yellow paper plate proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Show your child how to cut out triangular shapes to make the sun’s rays along the edge of the paper plate OR have your younger child cut little slits along the edge of the paper plate (as shown in our yellow paper plate picture) and then fold every second tab down to make the rays.
Step 3: (Optional) Have your child draw the sun’s happy face in the middle of the paper plate.
SUNNY STRAW DECORATION:
Materials: a drinking straw, yellow or orange construction paper, an orange marker, child safe scissors, pencil, a large bottle lid for tracing, a quarter, and an Exacto knife (parent use only)
Step 1: Trace around the large bottle lid with a pencil to draw a circle on the construction paper.
Step 2: Help your child cut the circle out of the paper.
Step 3: Trace around a quarter to make a smaller circle in the center of the construction paper circle.
Step 4: Help your child cut out triangles around the small circle or cut slits (which is easier for younger children) to make the sun’s rays. This is basically the same thing as the Paper Plate Sun Craft above.
Step 5: (Parent step) Using an Exacto knife carefully make two slits in the center of the consturcion paper sun. Then slip a drinking straw through the holes.
GLITTER SUN PICTURE:
Materials: White Glue and coloured glitter or glitter glue pens (which we used), white paper, pencil crayons, crayons or markers.
Step 1: Have your child draw a sunny scene using pencil crayons, crayons or markers.
Step 2: Have your child add glittery detail to the picture (especially the sun) by using glitter glue pens or white glue with glitter sprinkled on top.
Make an egg sunny side up for breakfast!
Make your own lemonade (Check our Summer Theme Day for a recipe) and sip using the Sunny Straw Craft from above.
Ingredients: Canned pear halves, raisins (or almonds or grapes)
Step 1: Trim a canned pear half to make it more circular and place in the middle of your plate.
Step 2: Let your child use raisins (or almonds like my one son used since he does not like raisins) to make the sun’s rays.
Step 3: Enjoy!
Pack your favourite picnic lunch and enjoy it outside on a blanket.
Have a BBQ on a sunny evening with your favourite grilled foods!
Chocolate Sun Dip:
Put some pieces of a chocolate bar (squares) in a plastic container and let it melt, then dip strawberries in it.
Materials: Coloured paper, sunscreen
Step 1: Squirt some sunscreen onto a plate and let your child use it like finger paints on the coloured paper.
Step 2: Leave the paper out in the sun for an entire day and then take a look at the page. The spots with the sunscreen will be darker because the cream protected the paper from the sun’s rays just like it would protect your skin.
Remind your family of the importance of protecting your skin from the sun by having your children draw and colour their own Slip Slap Slop or Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide Poster based on the Australian Health Campaign: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slip-Slop-Slap
For more facts about sun protection check this site: http://sunsmart.org.uk/advice-and-prevention/
Materials: A copy of my Heat Absorption Worksheet, six pieces of craft foam (or paper) in six different colours (white, black, red, yellow, blue and green), scissors, six ice cubes.
Step 1: Cut the paper into squares of the same size so that there are six squares in total (one of each colour).
Step 2: Put one ice cube on each card and place them all in the sun. Make sure all the ice cubes are exposed to full sunlight.
Step 3: Make a prediction and write it on the worksheet.
Step 4: Observe the ice cubes to see which one melts the fastest, which melts the slowest.
NOTE: The ice cube on the white square should melt the slowest since it reflects the most light. The ice on the black card should melt the fastest because it absorbs the most light (black is an efficient Solar heat collector which is why you will feel hotter when you wear a black shirt in the sun). The other colours absorb all the light except the one colour they reflect (which is the colour they appear to us).
Many Toy Stores or Educational Stores sell science kits. If you can find one about solar energy use that kit as a fun project for this Theme Day.
PARTS OF THE SUN:
Print out my Parts of the Sun Worksheet and together as a family based on your reading and perhaps website searches try to label the diagram.
Research more about the sun here: http://imagine.gsfc.nasa.gov/docs/science/know_l1/sun.html
A special thanks to Science Club Member Danielle from Colorado for suggesting this site about the sun: http://www.mjjsales.com/articles/the-fun-facts-about-the-sun.html
Use a large paint brush and a bucket or cup of water and have your child “paint” water pictures of write words and then see how long it takes for the sun to evaporate the water.
Q: How does Mr. Sun tune into his favourite radio station?
A: He uses a sundial.
Sarah reason you’re not wearing sunscreen?
Q: What is the first thing a ghost does at the beach?
A: He applies Sun Scream!
Search through your child’s DVD/ video collection (or visit your local library before hand or the Video Store) to find your child’s favourite shows about the sun.
Try to find this non-fiction title at your local library:
· Bill Nye the Science Guy: The Sun, Disney Educational Productions, 2008 –this 26 minute show shows that science is fun and interesting as it looks at eclipses and solar energy among other things.
Go to the park or beach and enjoy a sunny day out. Don’t forget to wear sunscreen!
Spend some time in your backyard playing some outdoor games like tag or playing with a ball or other toys.
Go for a bike ride to enjoy a sunny outing.
The brilliant sun!