I taught preschool for 5 years, and this activity is a real winner with all kids. It’s easy to do and couldn’t get any cheaper. And there are all kinds of cool nature questions and physics questions that pop up for teaching opportunities. So what is it? It’s called a SNIRCUS. Yeah, Snails + Circus= Snircus.
So how do you do it?
Round up at least 2 kids (or 1 kid and a goofy grownup); collect a couple of garden variety snails; find paper cups, legos, tinker toys, tape, yarn, sticks, lincoln logs or whatever you have laying around.
Have the children build a “Circus” with the materials on a table or on the floor. Let them go crazy with tall towers, tight ropes, etc. Let them tell you when they’re done building.
Then, put on the snails. Behold as your kids sit and stare at SNAILS for long periods of time, or cheer with them as they encourage their snails to crawl up a straw and down the other side, or go upside down on a yarn tightrope.
You can even toss in some magnifying glasses to see snails up close, or read a book about a snail, or do snail themed art or even paint WITH SNAILS. ( Just dip a snail in tempera, set them on paper, and let them go). Make it a whole learning experience. When finished, set the snails free in the garden, wipe any snail gook off your stuff and be done!