Sheep, Wool, & Weaving Lesson
Looking for fun preschool and kindergarten ideas on sheep and wool? Make and eat edible sheep, card and dye wool, paint sheep paintings, and more in this fun lesson or "play date" activity! I created this "lesson" to do as a two hour "play date" with my children and some of their friends, ages 3-6. Use this fun lesson with your class, preschool, family, or homeschool co-op group!
The Good Shepherd and Flowers
1. Pray. Read & discuss Psalm 23. We used "The Lord is My Shepherd: The Twenty-Third Psalm ( Little Golden Books) by Tom LaPadula when reading the 23rd Psalm. It has only the words from the Bible and includes pictures of a shepherd taking care of his sheep.
2. Read a book about the parable of the Good Shepherd such as "Jon and the Little Lost Lamb" by Jane Latourette or "The Good Shepherd." Emphasize that Jesus is our good shepherd who takes care of us and we are his trusting sheep.
3. Prepare dye. Mention that we'll be dying wool today which will take some time, so we'll need to start now. one way to dye. We could go to the store and buy a box of dye mix, or we could use items from nature. Collect as many yellow wild flowers as we can in the back yard. Sit outside and try to remove as many flowers from the stems as we can, tossing the flowers into a pot. It's okay if some stems get in. Cover the flowers with water and 1/4 cup vinegar. Boil for 20 minutes. If you don't have access to wild flowers, let children toss into a pot 1 head of red cabbage that's been coarsely chopped. Then pour in about 1 quart of water and 1/4 cup of vinegar.
YOU WILL NEED: a pot, vinegar, and wildflowers or red cabbage
This book and "Jon and the Little Lost Lamb" are both picture books with sweet illustrations and are perfect for younger children.
Good books about shepherdsClick thumbnail to view full-size
4. While the flowers boil, read about shepherds: A Young Shepherd by Cat Urbigkit, The Shepherd Boy by Kim Lewis, and/or Red Berry Wool by Robyn Eversole. After reading, have the children each say one thing the shepherd did to help the sheep.
5. Use watercolors to paint sheep pictures. You can use this sheep coloring sheet. They can paint a blue river for the "still waters" & green grass for the "green pastures" mentioned in Psalm 23. While the paint is still wet, let children sprinkle salt on the painting for a fun affect.
YOU WILL NEED: watercolor paints, paper, salt, smocks or t-shirts (optional), & newspapers to cover the table
This is a neat book about a boy who is a shepherd in the Western United States. It has photographs rather than illustrations, but it still kept the attention of my preschoolers.
Card and Dye Wool
6. "Card" wool using old hairbrushes. Emphasize we're carding the wool after the sheep has been sheared. We're carding the wool to get out the hay and leaves and to make it soft. Next we'll dye the wool. It could then be spun into yarn and knitted into sweaters.
YOU WILL NEED: 2 clean hairbrushes per child and wool (or cotton if you can't get wool)
7. Strain the dye. Place a colander over a large glass mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup. Strain out the flowers from the dyed water. Point out how the water is yellow-ish. Our wool will be the same color. Put the "carded" wool into the dye, cover it, and let it sit for 30 minutes. Talk about other things we could have used (cranberries for pink, blueberries for lavender, coffee or walnut shells for brown).
YOU WILL NEED: large glass mixing bowl or liquid measuring cup
8. Read a book about shearing sheep such as Farmer Brown Shears His Sheep: A Yarn About Wool by Teri Sloat or Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaola (if you need a really short book).
9. While the wool is soaking, make edible sheep. In a mixing bowl, melt 2 T. butter and 10 large marshmallows in the microwave. (It will take about 1 minute.) Mix in 2 cups of Cheerios. Spray the children's hands with non-stick cooking spray so that the mixture will not stick to their hands. Give each child a spoonful of the cheerio mix and have them roll it into a ball, roll it into shredded coconut, and then drop it onto a piece of wax paper. These will be the bodies of the sheep. You'll have about 6 sheep. After child have washed their hands, give them each 2 toothpicks and have them break the toothpicks in half. They should then thread raisins onto the toothpick halves. These will be the legs. Push the "legs" into the body so that it can stand up. Give each child half of a toothpick and have them push it a little way into a grape and then attach it to the body. This is all that we did. If you would like to make the sheep look more realistic, melt some white chocolate and pipe it onto the grape to make 2 eyes. Place half a raisin on top of each of the white eyes. Also use it to attach 2 raisins to the top of the grape for ears. Eat the sheep.
YOU WILL NEED: mixing bowl, 2 T. butter, 10 large marshmallows, 2 cups of Cheerios, 1/2 cup shredded coconut, wax paper, 1/2 cup raisins, 15 toothpicks, 6 grapes (preferably black grapes), white chocolate (optional), napkins, & cups for water
This has fun, colorful illustrations and nice, rhyming text.
Charlie Needs a Cloak by Tomie dePaola follows a shepherd as he shears his sheep, cards and spins the wool, weaves and dyes the cloth, and sews a cloak. It does a wonderful job of reviewing what we have learned today. It is very brief in words and does most of the storytelling through the delightful pictures. It is perfect for if you need a really short book.
10. Read a book about weaving.
11. Weave paper strips to make a placemat.
YOU WILL NEED: construction pare & paper strips
12. Review what we learned today.
Looking for more books, free lapbooks, and YouTube video clips?
More Good Picture Books on Sheep and Wool
Other wonderful picture books we enjoyed include Weaving the Rainbow by George Ella Lyon, Warm as Wool by Scott Russell Sanders, A New Coat for Anna by Harriet Ziefert, The Goat in the Rug by Charles L. Blood (which is about a goat rather than a sheep but does a good job of describing the weaving process), The Pen That Pa Built by David Edwards, The Surpriseby Sylvia Van Ommen, Feeding the Sheep by Leda Schubert, and Pelle's New Suit by Elsa Beskow.
Good Sheep & Wool Video Clips
We only watched parts of each of these video clips.
Free Sheep & Weaving Lapbooks
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Would you like to teach this way every day?
I use Konos Curriculum as a springboard from which to plan my lessons. It's a wonderful Christian curriculum and was created by moms with active children!
If you're new to homeschooling or in need of some fresh guidance, I highly recommend Konos' HomeSchoolMentor.com program! Watch videos on-line of what to do each day and how to teach it in this great hands-on format!
© 2012 Shannon