Recently, Henry came home with a note from school asking for a picture of one living thing and another of a nonliving object.
While we found one picture of each, we set out to find a bunch of pictures of living and nonliving things to make a collage of each and learn a little about classifying.
I’m going to start backwards this time, because I think you’d find this helpful to do beforehand, even though we didn’t think to research until afterwards.
After we made our living and nonliving things collages, the boys [Henry mostly] had a lot of questions to clarify what it meant to be living or nonliving. So I headed to the internet to find out. The most helpful site I found to explain to preschoolers and kindergartners is on Math/Science Nucleus. It lists the following as traits to distinguish between living and nonliving things. [I'm summarizing, so see the site to get it from them too!]
- Living thing grow. This is one that I mentioned in our classifications. It held true in our encounters, but there are exceptions.
- Most living can move on their own. Although plants do not. And cars and trucks move too. I found this not a great way to explain to little kids.
- Living things need food, water, and a place to live. This one seems obvious to me now, but I couldn’t think of it as we were classifying. The site also mentioned that almost all living things need air. We did mention air, but we were talking about a candle, so there are exceptions there too.
- Living things reproduce. Things that are not living cannot have “babies.” This I find to be a very definitive and if the kids were a bit older a very good way to explain it. But I don’t think they’d understand it at this age.
Now with a little clarification of what pictures to look for… go on a search through any catalogs, magazines, or newspapers you have. Cutting out pictures of whatever you find.
We sorted the pictures of living and nonliving things as we went. I labeled a baggy for each to sort into.
This was great cutting practice for George. While he has great control over a scissors and cuts very well, he never really has cut around something before. So this was a first for him to cut in a certain way instead of just whatever he likes.
The boys each had a magazine to flip through and find objects. George landed on one that had several lizard ads for a paint product and they loved them. They each cut out a couple [they were each an entire page ad].
I sat with them an flipped through a magazine too, pointing out an object every once in a while and asking if it was living or nonliving.
|You could also go on a scavenger hunt in nature and talk about living and nonliving things!|
It opened a lot of discussion about what made it a living thing. Though I realized I was stumped on the answer [which is why we researched it later and wish I would have started with that].
Once we had a bunch of pictures cut out, I gave the boys each a piece of scrapbook paper and wrote living on one and nonliving on the other.
The boys glued all the pictures to their paper to make a quick collage.
With the magazines I had [a home repair, and a home decor one] I thought we’d have a harder time finding living things, but we really came up short on the nonliving pictures!
I noticed George was severely short on pictures of nonliving things, so I kept cutting more out to fill up his paper a little bit more.
On the other hand, Henry had more than enough pictures of living things! He filled up both sides of his!
Henry is 5 years old. George is 3 years old.