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Teach Your Children about Hot and Cold!

With Winter upon us and a drop in temperature over the last number of weeks it is a great time to open a discussion with children on temperatures – hot and cold. Hot and cold can be taught very easily to children as hot and cold is all around us. An easy way to begin is by doing a hot and cold chart with the children. Ask the children what they should wear, where they can go and what they can do when it’s hot or cold. As the children are not at reading age, for the answers it would be best to use picture cards or allow the children to cut out from old magazines so that they have a visual of what cold and hot things are. Ask them what colours they think of for hot and cold (red and blue) and use them colours to represent hot and cold on the chart so that they know where each answer goes. The chart can be hung in the classroom and the children can add new items to it over time as they get more familiar with the difference between hot and cold. Your theme of hot and cold could be extended to a general weather theme (hot, cold, rain, snow, sun etc.) or an opposites theme (hot/cold, tall/short, big/small, long/short etc.).

Hot Cold
What should I wear when it’s hot?
Where can I go when it’s hot?
What can I do when it’s hot?
What should I wear when it’s cold?
Where can I go when it’s cold?
What can I do when it’s cold?
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The below video may be useful to show the children as an introduction to the theme also.

Hot and Cold: Child Safety

Learning about hot and cold temperatures is a great opportunity to discuss the safety around hot and cold. Talk about things around the home and classroom that are hot, cool, and sometimes hot. Ask the children if there are some objects that are hard to tell if they are hot or cold. Explain to children if unsure, they should stay away and ask a grown-up for help. When you are sending out your monthly newsletter you can inform the parents that you are learning about the safety of hot and cold and that they too should discuss it at home with the children. Here is an example of what you could include;

‘This week our class is learning about hot and cold temperatures. During our lesson we talked about things around us that are hot, cold and only sometimes hot. The children learned that they should stay away from hot things because hot things can cause a burn. The children learned that sometimes it is hard to tell if an object is hot or cool. If unsure, children should stay away from the object and ask a grown-up for help. For example, a pot on the cooker or bath water could be either hot or cool. The children also learned there are some things they should never touch, such as lighters and matches. It is very important to ensure lighters and matches are kept in a locked press and out of the reach of children. Please talk to your children about the importance of staying away from things that can get very hot. Burns are dangerous and they hurt.’

Aistear Weather Forecasters – Is it hot or cold outside? 

Allow the children to be mini weather forecasters by introducing them to an outside weather thermometer. Explain to the children that weather forecasters tell us what the outside temperature is and what it will be at different times of the day and night. Show the children that they can do some of the work that weather forecasters do. Talk about how the thermometer is read. You can show pictures of a thermometer registering different temperatures so the children see how the mercury moves. Young children may find it more difficult to read the exact number on the thermometer but they should understand that the higher the mercury level is the higher the temperature will be. Bring the children out to read the thermometer at different times of the day (morning, lunchtime, afternoon) so they can see how the mercury moves during a day. You can also explain to the children that the weather thermometer works very like those that doctors and nurses use to tell if children have a fever. 

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