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Click for Activity Central When you want to stir up excitement in a classroom of pre-k or kindergarten children, you're guaranteed success with these popcorn activities.
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The Great Popcorn Pop
Paulette W. shares this fun party game.

Materials: Popcorn popper (not the air kind), oil, popping corn and large sheet.

Description:  Everyone gets around the sheet in a large circle. The popper is 
put on a sheet of newspaper in the middle of the sheet without it's lid. Fill the popper and plug it in. Everyone gets to catch the popcorn and eat it. The kids think it's
super fun! Make sure your floor is clean and someone is attending the popper so kids won't get close.

Popcorn Color Grouping
Children sort popcorn by color during this fun activity from Mary-Pat G.

Materials and Ingredients:
Popcorn with colored kernels
Heat source
Hot Air Popper
Large bowl
Containers for grouping
Color tags for labels
Enough popped corn set aside so that after the activity a treat can be enjoyed.

Description: Your choice - either pop the popcorn with the children which will build 
a lot of excitement and is a great way to introduce the activity, or pop the corn in advance. Once popped, help children discover the colored hulls of the popcorn and the differences in colors of each hull.  Help the children see that there are several tints of each color. These can be grouped in their own bowl and labeled with a color tag made from a strip of construction paper.

Movie Week
Mary R. helps children create their own movies and encourages language skills while building on children's interests. Of course eating popcorn is part of the fun!

Empty cereal boxes (1 per child)
Paper towel tubes (2 per child)
Drawing paper (about 6 pieces per child)
Scotch tape

Description: This project was done during both small groups and free time and 
took most of the week.
The children drew pictures and dictated stories on 4 pages in the upright 
position. One other page is used as the introduction, name of the story, child's name 
and date. The pages are then taped together to form a long strip.

Cut off the front of the cereal box and cut a hole in the box sides at the top and bottom (both sides) the same size as the diameter of the paper towel tube. 
Insert one tube into the top and bottom holes. Then tape the bottom edge of the last page onto the bottom tube. Roll the story onto the bottom tube, then tape the top edge of the introduction page onto the top tube.

Enjoy the 'movie' by rolling the top tube to see the pictures and words. We display the movies for all to share. We also finish the week by having a movie day complete with tickets and popcorn.

Comments: The movies can be longer and the cereal boxes can be decorated.

Popcorn Balls
Debbie encourages children to use fine motor skills making these popcorn balls that can be eaten or used for classroom decoration.

Materials: Air popper, popping corn, melted butter, marshmallows or marshmallow 
cream, wax paper for decorations and glitter.

Description: For Treats. Pop corn and set aside. Melt butter and marshmallows in a
pan. You can also add food coloring for holiday times if wanted.
While still hot (this need 2 adults) pour hot cream over popcorn and stir till smooth. After the mixture has cooled enough for children to handle, spread extra butter over children's hands and let them roll into balls.

If making decorations just sprinkle with a little glitter. By the time you have stirred all the mixture well it is cooled plenty enough for the children to handled.

Comments: I use this activity every year and even the adults love it.

Popcorn Flowers and Movement
Combine color, art, motor control and movement in this easy activity by Lori.

Materials: Popcorn, parachute, koolaid and cut out paper trees.

Description: Pop popcorn with children and have them put the popcorn in baggies.  Shake with koolaid any color you would like to use. Let them glue on trees for blossoms.  Use extra popcorn with parachute by having children "pop" like the popcorn in the parachute.

Comments: Have children pretend they are popping like the popcorn ,slow and fast. They love this activity!

Popcorn Blossoms
Shannon and the preschool children in her class create a tree of spring blossoms during this activity.
Popcorn seeds, popcorn popper, pink powdered tempera paint, and tree without leaves cut from brown construction paper

Glue a pre-cut tree shape on to a piece of green construction  paper. Pop popcorn and pour into baggies, add pink powdered tempera paint seal and let the children shake.  Then have them glue onto the tree cut-out to create spring blossoms.

Pop Snacks
This healthy popcorn snack can be placed in plastic bags and saved for latter -- as if you can convince young children to save popcorn! 

4 cups unbuttered, unsalted popcorn  (take a peek at "Popcorn Treats" below),
1/2 cup dried apples, apricots or other dried fruit,
1 cup small unsalted pretzels
1/2 cup raisins
Yield:  6 cups of this delicious treat.

Encourage a few young children to cut the dried fruit into bite size pieces.  Next, place the dried fruit and popcorn into a large bowl.  Add the pretzels and raisins to the popcorn mixture.  The children can help mix the ingredients together.  They can also help serve the snack, in small bowls, to the entire group.  Enjoy!

Cooking Popcorn Treats
During this lesson plan preschool children will observe change and experience different smells and tastes.

You will need:
A hot air popcorn popper, popcorn kernels, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, a stick of margarine (melted in a bowl), peanut butter, spoons, plates/bowls, napkins/paper towels, a measuring cup and a large mixing bowl.

Teachers, it is important to keep the popper out of the  children's reach and at the same time within their sight. The popper becomes very hot and can burn.

Show a small group of preschool children the kernels and ask if anyone knows what they are.  Talk about how when the kernel are heated, they pop and make popcorn. Give youngsters the opportunity to feel the kernels (making certain that they do not eat them). Very young children should not hold the kernels - only feel them as teachers hold the kernels. 

After showing the popper to the preschoolers make certain that it is out of their reach, then turn it on so that children can listen to the sound.

Next, help a child measure 1/2 cup of kernels, the teacher pours it into the popper.  Place the large mixing bowl under the popper's spout. Ask another child to distribute the plates and while the youngsters wait for the kernels to pop, help them take some Parmesan cheese and use a spoon to scoop out some peanut butter and place it on their plates.

After the popcorn has finished popping and is a little cool children scoop popcorn onto their plates.  Encourage them to dip their popcorn into the cheese and peanut butter or use a spoon to pour a small amount of melted margarine onto their popcorn.

Watch for any unpopped kernels and remove them. Remind the preschoolers that unpopped kernels are not to be eaten.  Talk about the tastes, smells and textures.  Ask the children in the small group what tasted they (or their tongues) like the best.  Talk about how noses smell, tongues taste, eyes see and fingers touch the popcorn.

Thanks also to Teresa G. for sharing a simuliar activity!

Movement: Popcorn Rhyme
After the above lesson plan, children can pretend to popcorn popping as they say this rhyme.

                    Pop, pop, pop
                    Pour the popcorn in the pot
                    Pop, pop, pop
                    Shake and shake until it's hot
                    Pop, pop, pop
                    Out of the spout and what have
                       you got?
                    Pop, pop, pop ---POPCORN!

Planting Corn Experiment
This preschool science experiment encourages the development of language, literacy and observation skills. It's a wonderful extension or follow-up activity to  "Popcorn Treats"

You will need:
Several kernels of plain corn, kernels of uncooked popcorn and kernels of cooked popcorn, potting soil and small plastic cups, spoons, experience chart paper, a felt tip marker and labels  (office supply).

During this lesson plan encourage preschool children to discuss the different appearances of the 3 varieties of corn (make sure kernels are not eaten).  On experience chart paper write down the words that youngsters use to describe the look, feel and smell of the different kernels.

Next, help children plant kernels by dividing the small group into 3 smaller groups.  Each of the three small groups plant one of the types of corn kernels by scooping the soil into the cups with spoons and covering the kernels with soil.  Ask the children to predict which of the kernels will grow.  Also ask what we can do to help them grow (place in a sunny location, water them etc.). 

As you label each plastic cup -- plain corn, uncooked popcorn, and cooked popcorn, tell the children what you're writing.  Together observe which kernels grow and include the new plants in your classroom garden.

Art Activity:  Popcorn and Chalk Pictures
For this winter activity preschool children can use both white and light colored chalk with popcorn.

You will need:
Black construction paper, glue, white and light colored chalk, popcorn and silver or gold glitter (optional).

Teachers encourage youngsters to draw a "winter" picture with chalk on black construction paper.  Children may use their fingers to blend chalk colors together and develop interesting effects.

Next, children can glue popcorn onto their pictures making 3-D creations.  For a festive addition children can shake on a little gold or silver glitter.

Teacher hint: Recycle your small plastic spice containers from home and add small amounts of glitter for use in classroom art projects.

Related Themes:  Food and Nutrition
                                Circus & Clown Activities



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