Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Units - Fish

Previous Summer Units:
Week 1 - Ice Cream
Week 2 - Monsters
Week 3 - Camping

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This week's theme was FISH! We have done beach and ocean themes several times as well. Take a look back at those fun weeks, or keep scrolling to see what we did this week.


Monday - Math

I took a connect-the-dot page from the Internet, and changed the letters to numbers. For Honey Pot, the numbers began at 2, and continued by 2's to refresh her memory on the skip-counting she learned in Kindergarten.

For Little M&M I started with 10, and counted by 1's until 30, to help reinforce those tricky numbers!

Then they colored in their fish. Honey Pot even drew a mermaid, octopus and alligator!

Next we played a roll and cover game that I created in Photoshop Elements, using the sweet Rainbow Fish clip-art that I found here. I included a third die for an extra challenge!

First Little M&M took his turn, covering numbers 2-12 with sequin "scales" and then numbers 13-18 with gems for "bubbles."

It was great for hands-on counting practice and number recognition. Plus, it's just plain fun rolling dice!

Then Honey Pot took her turn. For the bonus bubbles at the end, I allowed each of the kids to keep their first two dice on six before rolling their third. Otherwise this game may have taken a while!

Look like fun? Here's one for you!

Tuesday - Literacy

We borrowed a few fishy books from the library, and combined it with a few favorites from home. The kids really enjoyed Dear Fish and Fish is Fish. Very imaginative stories!

We also went "fishing" today for letters and sight words. I created a fishing pole out of a stick, yarn and a magnet. Then cut out a dozen paper fishes and added a paperclip to each. (This is similar to an activity we did years ago when Honey Pot learned the Letter F, except we just used pipe cleaners as fish, to practice color recognition.)

Honey Pot went first. Her fish each had sight words on them. Some as a review from what she learned at school, and a few tricky ones that she's had trouble with when reading books to me, like again and only.

Here she is casting her line into the pond.

And reading what she caught! She surprised me, and had no difficulties at all reading these. I better think of some more challenging ones for her!

Next it was Little M&M's turn. I wrote a few of his favorite letters in there, as well as a few I know he has trouble recognizing.

He had so much fun fishing for letters. And then later he even caught his sister!

Wednesday - Craft and Computer

The kids and I made puffer fish today, following a idea from this blog. We loved using forks to paint with, as that is something we had never tried before!

Isn't it cute?

 The kids also drew waves onto construction paper and practiced their scissor skills. Though this was completely their own idea!

And then they pulled out their workbooks to work on handwriting skills.

Thursday - Science or Sensory

We had been doing science experiments for each theme recently, so I knew I wanted to create a sensory bin for the kids this week. I came across this fun idea at Two-Daloo. I thought it was the cutest thing! And we already had a silicone fish mold from Honey Pot's Little Mermaid Birthday Party over three years ago. Remember? We made fish ice cubes and threw them in the "sea water" punch! Since I had just one mold, I started making gelatin fish first thing in the morning. I made 3 colors; and by the afternoon, we had plenty of fishies for their buckets of water.

They were so thrilled to play with their slippery fish! They each picked them up, and splashed around in their buckets for a while.

Then I provided each of them with a measuring cup for scooping and pouring. This went on for a while, even as the gelatin fish began to break apart into little pieces.

And as they did, the water started to turn green, which excited the kids.

Here is Little M&M toward the end of their play, scooping pieces and green ocean water from bucket to bucket. Super fun summer play.


Friday, July 8, 2016

Summer Units - Camping

We went camping last weekend, and so it became a perfect choice for this week's theme.

Previous Summer Themes:
Week 1 - Ice Cream
Week 2 - Monsters

Monday - Math

For our math activity this week, we reviewed shapes with an engineering twist. Marshmallows are a huge part of camping. So we used them with toothpicks to create some 2D shapes. I created this invitation, and left it for when the kids were ready.

I love how well they worked together!

They created a square, a triangle and a rectangle. Here they are, pretty pleased with themselves.

Then I asked them to create some 3D shapes as well. Honey Pot learned the names of them in Kindergarten (such as cube, rectangular prism and pyramid). I had expected the kids to go in that direction, but they interpreted my instructions to mean any 3D construction. I didn't fight it! I let them built as they wished. It started with a simple house.

Then it just exploded into this.

And finally...into this! They had a blast.

Tuesday - Literacy

This week we borrowed a few camping books from the library. We love Ladybug Girl so that was our favorite for this week; as well as the Curious George, which came from our home collection.

In addition to the books we'd been reading this week, I also offered a quick rhyming activity. I made "tents" out of scraps of paper, and provided the kids with pictures that they had to sort into the appropriate tent. First it was Honey Pot's turn. I asked her to create our Rhyme Time Campground by arranging the tents where she wished.  

Then I had her name the item in the picture, and place it inside its tent.

In the end, all of the items made it back to their own tents. Little M&M had a turn as well, though we played a little differently, to accommodate his reading level!

Wednesday - Computer and Craft

The kids each had a little time on the I-Pad today, unrelated to our theme. But we also created campfires! First we went outside to collect some sticks. Then I asked the kids to arrange them the way they wanted them; and I used a hot glue gun to adhere them to our cardboard. We scrunched up pieces of crepe paper for our fire. And even added a hand, skewer and marshmallow. Little M&M had been asking to do this craft for a while, since he didn't get to do it with Honey Pot during our previous camping unit in 2014. I think they came out cute!

Thursday - Sensory or Science

We did a quick science experiment today that sort of goes along with camping. On our camping trip we used a lot of sunscreen! Whether we were heading out on an adventure, or just relaxing at the beach at our campground, we applied plenty of sunscreen! I came across this neat idea from Playdough to Plato to show the harsh effects of the sun when sunscreen is not used. I sprayed each child's hand with sunscreen and allowed them to make a hand-print on one side of the paper. Then we left it out in the sun for 3-4 hours. We talked about why we use sunscreen, and I asked them to guess what might happen to the paper.

Later when we came to see if there was a difference, we brought with us an unused sheet of paper for comparison. We could clearly see that the sun had faded the color on the paper, even in such a short time. Though it stayed protected where there was a sunscreen hand-print. Imagine if we had left it out for even longer!


Monday, June 27, 2016

Summer Units - Monsters!

It's week two of our summer vacation, and the theme is Monsters! Scroll on to see what we did!

Previous Summer Themes:
Week 1 - Ice Cream

Monday - Math

We brought out our monster felt board activity from our 2013 Monster Unit! Honey Pot knows her shapes well, having already covered 3D shapes in Kindergarten. So this activity was more for Little M&M.

But she had fun too!

Even Daddy joined in later, and they made this together!

We also brought out a return activity from 2013 that we borrowed from No Time for Flashcards. Though instead of just number recognition, we used this activity for subtraction practice. First Honey Pot gave it a whirl. When she was finished, she wrote her own equations to solve, without googly eyes, which contained some pretty huge numbers!

And then even Little M&M wanted to do it.

When he finished, he asked me to create more equations for him, and he did a terrific job with them as well!

Tuesday - Literacy and Computer

For reading this week we borrowed a few monster books from the library, and mixed them with some classics from our own collection. The kids loved Maggie and the Monster as well as There Was An Old Monster.

I left this invitation out for the kids today:

I created the template in Photoshop Elements. For Honey Pot, I wrote some sight words in the circles as well as some made-up "Monster Words" for her to find. She had so much fun saying the words aloud, such as frow, thib and youp.

For Little M&M I wrote in each letter of the alphabet, as well as some "Monster letters" that he needed to find among them. Some were just backwards versions of real letters, which were tricky for him! A good, quick activity to refresh his memory on letters.

You're free to take one! Just right-click to grab the pictures below, and have fun filling them in with nonsense letters/words!

While researching reading and writing ideas on Pinterest I came across a computer game called "Teach Your Monster To Read." I have been trying to include some computer/I-Pad time into each week, because they enjoy it so much. This was a perfect fit for them! You can make a separate account for each child, based on their reading level. Then they create their own monsters and play reading games to help their monster repair his ship. Honey Pot started at level 2, and it was just perfect for a beginning reader! It focused on tricky sounds (like ch and igh) and sight words. She was having a blast.

Little M&M began on level 1, and it was perfect for him as it focused on simply letter recognition. Though he had trouble using the mouse, he still enjoyed it.

We returned to this game throughout the week. And Honey Pot was a terrific help for her brother.

Also on literacy day, we pull out their workbooks for some writing practice.

Wednesday - Craft

We did some squish art today, based on a tutorial from Picklebums! First we watered down some paint colors, chosen by the kids. Then we scooped it out onto just one half of a piece of cardstock, which we had pre-folded to create a crease.

Here is Honey Pot folding her paper in half again, and smoothing it out.

This is what it looked like when she opened it up. Of course she immediately thought it looked like a butterfly.

And Little M&M did the same to his paper, and it looked like this:

The kids each added more paint, and then some googly eyes to help them look more like monsters. I think they came out all right!

Thursday - Science

We did a science experiment today, following the tutorial from Artsymomma. First we poured some vinegar into a water/soda bottle, and then we placed a couple teaspoons of baking soda inside each balloon (using a funnel). Then I attached the balloons to the tops of the bottles for the kids. I asked them what they thought would happen when we dumped the baking soda into the vinegar. Neither hypothesized that it would inflate the balloon, so they were in for a surprise!

They each carefully lifted the balloon, to allow the baking soda to fall into the vinegar.

We had drawn monster faces onto them, to fit them into our theme this week.

They were amazed!

Each balloon only filled up about halfway, so we did the experiment again with more of each.

And although the balloons fully inflated that time, the kids wanted to try it again to see if we could get the balloon to pop. I used apple cider vinegar this time, as I was running out of distilled white.

It got pretty huge, but never popped. We'll have to try again to see if we can find the right ratio that will make it pop. We talked about how the baking soda and vinegar had a "chemical reaction" that created a gas called carbon dioxide, which filled up the balloon. Though we used the simplest of terms, I think it was a great introduction to the subject and they had a blast!