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Don’t Sit on a Cactus Preschool Desert Activities

The song repeats over and over in my head “Don’t Sit on a Cactus…” Great advice! Enjoy these fun preschool desert activities from Experience Curriculum. Originally posted 2016 – resources vary from year to year.

Don't sit on a cactus preschool, cactus, quicksand and desert activities #Discoverthedesert #MGTblogger

Don’t Sit on a Cactus Preschool Desert Activities

Don't Sit on a Cactus

We received two warnings while learning about the desert:

  1. don’t sit on a cactus
  2. and don’t get stuck in the quicksand!

We loved this song on the CD:

Don’t sit on a cactus!
It will hurt you bad.
No, don’t sit on a cactus.
It will make you sad.
No, don’t sit on a cactus!

Good advice! One of my day care families brought a couple cacti in for us to check out.  If you’re really careful you can touch the cactus. Just don’t sit on it! No one was hurt investigating the cactus.

Don't Sit on a Cactus

Pokey Plant Painting

After looking at the cactus plants, we made cactus art with oval shapes. After gluing them on the paper, the kids used forks to paint to dip in gold paint to make the pokey spines on the cactus.

Cactus preschool art project #MGTblogger #discoverthedesert
cactus painting
cactus painting

Cactus Sculptures

Using cornstarch noodles, paper souffle cups, and toothpicks, we made cactus sculptures. They turned out so neat! We learned that cactus plants also bloom so you can also add tissue paper flowers if desired.

Cactus sculpture art #MGTblogger #discoverthedesert

Creating art with the cornstarch noodles takes patience and requires problem-solving. The children learned that getting the noodles too wet or squeezing them too much changes their shape.

Don't Sit on a Cactus Preschool Desert Activities #MGTblogger #discoverthedesert

Our cactus sculptures turned out adorable!

Don't Sit on a Cactus Preschool Desert Activities #MGTblogger #discoverthedesert

Sometimes they stick to their fingers and not to the other noodles. I glued one noodle into the cup with hot glue for them to start with. Then each child built their own up from there. I trimmed the toothpicks so they are just short pieces to stick into the cactus.

Don't Sit on a Cactus Preschool Desert Activities #MGTblogger #discoverthedesert

It’s important to include 3D art in preschool! Three-dimensional artwork is art that can be looked at from many different sides or angles. Lovely little desert displays!

Handprint Cactus

How fun is a handprint cactus! Just dip the hand in green paint (or brush on a with a brush). Paint on spines with a fork or glue on rice. Decorate page as desired. We glued on sand for the ground and made a warm sun.

handprint cactus

More Cactus Ideas

Pokey Play Dough: Set out toothpicks, number cards and play dough. Children can choose a card, count out the number of toothpicks and stick them in the dough.

Wet Cactus: Set out sponges, washcloths, and water. Observe as children explore how they hold and release water from the items.  Fold a paper towel accordion style, and play on a tray. Some cacti have please inside of them to store water. Place another towel flat on the tray. Predict and discuss which towel will hold more water. Pour an equal amount of water on each towel and see which holds the most water the longest. Lay in the sun to dry and see which dries out fastest.

Stuck in the Quicksand

We made quicksand with glue (clear or white), a few scoops of sand and liquid starch. Put the three ingredients in bowls. Children can explore the different containers and their textures.

quicksand sensory play
quicksand sensory play

Then mix together the quicksand. I didn’t measure. Just put some glue in a bowl. Stir in sand (a couple scoops or handfuls). Add liquid starch by 1/4 at a time until you get the desired consistency. I would say less starch so it’s goopy rather than dry.  You can always add more ingredients to get the texture you’d like.

Allow the children to play in the mixture with animals. We used small horse manipulatives. Pretend to rescue the animals from the quicksand.

quicksand sensory play
quicksand sensory play #discoverthedesert #MGTblogger

So much fun learning about the desert!

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I received curriculum from Experience Early Learning for honest and authentic stories resulting from my daily experiences using the curriculum. As a user of Experience Preschool for many years, I am pleased to share quality educational experiences. #sponsored #ExperienceEarlyLearning


Wednesday 20th of July 2016

Such cute ideas! But what is a "cornstarch noodle"? They look like packing peanuts but where do you find them in green?


Thursday 24th of March 2016

Great idea to glue one of the cornstarch noodles to the bottom of the cup/pot to get them started! I also love the tissue paper flowers - great idea :) I really enjoy seeing the different ways you use Mother Goose Time with your kids :)