Friday, August 21, 2015

Z is for Zoo!


We borrowed these books from the library for our zoo day. Instead of the hundreds of books that focus on individual animals, I tried to stay with the zoo in general! The kids' favorites here were Edward the Emu and Good Night, Gorilla.

Letter Recognition Activity

For today's letter recognition activity we pulled out the playdough and cookie cutters and tools. We hadn't done it in a long time. First Honey Pot spelled the word "zoo" and cut it out with her cookie cutters. And Little M&M made a couple of Z's.

Then they both got to work creating some zoo animals!

Here is our final group for our zoo. We have a giraffe, elephant, bear, two turtles, two seals and a snake. What a collection of animals!

Then we brought out the craft sticks and started creating cages for them!

Then Honey Pot's favorite part, the pretend play. She created bowls of food for the cages, and we played with our animals until they fell apart. Fun activity!

Zoo Animals - Body Coverings

I found this printable from Natural Beach Living. I thought it would be fun to learn about the different body coverings that exist among animals. Honey Pot actually really enjoyed this, and did very well! First she'd pick up an animal, and she'd tell me what its body was covered in (feathers, shells, fur, skin or scales). Then I'd asked her which column to place it in, which also had her sounding out the words for some reading practice. It was a nice little lesson!

Zoo Animals - Counting and Number Recognition

I found another fun printable that was more at Little M&M's level from Pre-K Pages. In the future, I'd have him use pom poms instead of gems, as they're easier to grab with his tongs. But he had fun with this and counted out all the gems he needed.

And then Honey Pot had to give it a try too. :) This kept the two of them quite busy for a while.


And, feel free to take a peek at Honey Pot's Letter Z unit from last year,
where we sorted zoo animals based on their habitats!


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Y is for Yarn


I had discovered three books about yarn by searching the library's online catalog; however, I was only able to find one when I got there. After asking a librarian to help me find the others, it had turned out they were missing! But the one I did find actually turned out to be so, so good. The kids asked that we read it over and over. It's a cute story about a girl who lives in a grey world, and finds a magical box of never-ending colorful yarn, which she uses to knit sweaters for everyone and everything. The pictures are just beautiful and the story is so engaging.

Letter Recognition Activity

For today's letter recognition activity we tried the ol' salt + watercolors technique. The idea is that you create a design out of glue (in our case, the letter Y)...

then you sprinkle salt over it...

and finally, you use a pipette filled with watercolors (though we always substitute water with food coloring) and watch the color spread across the salt. Our results weren't as great as we'd done in the past (see that July 4th fireworks craft here), but still a fun project for them. And afterward, they really enjoyed continuing to use their pipettes, scooping the salt from bowl to bowl, and making a big mess on the craft table.

Yarn Painting

There are a lot of varieties of yarn painting going around Pinterest. I've seen yarn used to create a homemade paintbrush, I've seen people making them into stamps, and I've seen various weaving and gluing projects. We decided to go with a yarn version of splat painting. Remember how we painted our piggies in mud with this clementine box during our F is for Farm week, using a rubber ball? We brought the box out again, and taped some yarn across tightly. First Honey Pot took her turn. She chose a few paint colors, and painted the pieces of yarn with her brush.

Then she flicked the yarn, as if strumming a guitar.

Then she painted on more paint, and flicked the yarn some more. The results were pretty cool!

Then it was Little M&M's turn. He chose his own paint colors and got started in the same fashion. He painted the yarn...

then he flicked the yarn...

and then for some reason he just dipped his messy hand down there and started making all kinds of smudges and smears. LOL. Ah well. He obviously was enjoying himself!

 I left the two paintings out to dry in the sun, and here is what they looked like. Pretty awesome!


And if you enjoyed this, take a look at Honey Pot's Letter Y theme from last year!


Monday, August 17, 2015

X is for X-Ray!


I borrowed these books for today's x-ray theme. I wanted to extend the lesson to bones and parts of the body, so these were just perfect. And we love the Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot about That books by Tish Rabe. The rhymes make each of them so fun to read and keeps the kids' attention.

Letter Recognition Activity

For today's activity we did a classic, the x-ray X, using q-tips that I happen to have in multitude. First I drew an X onto black construction paper with a white crayon.

Then the kids each used their glue to make lines down each side of the X. Look at those hand muscles at work!

Then they carefully placed their "bones" onto the x-ray.

Here is what they look like when they're completed!

X-Ray Match-Up and Pretend Play

I found this incredible free printable from Tried and True. First I printed each of the x-rays onto vellum paper, and then I printed their matching drawings onto regular printer paper. I lined up the drawings on the floor for the kids.

Then they took turns picking up an x-ray and holding it up to the window. (The light box we made recently would have been a fun option too!)

After looking at the x-ray, they had to find its match among the body parts and animals. I love how perfectly they fit onto the drawings, giving the kids a great idea of what the bones really look like.

Here is Honey Pot observing an x-ray of a human skull.

And here it is after she matched it up. Awesome!

They had fun doing this game, and seeing what the bones look like.

After all the pictures had been matched up, we did a little doctor's office pretend play. We took turns being the doctors and patients. If there were any broken bones, we wrapped them up with crepe paper "bandages."

Here is Doctor Honey Pot, looking at an x-ray she took of Little M&M's hand.

It was broken, so she carefully wrapped it up in bandages.

Then it was her turn to be the patient, and Little M&M had to take an x-ray of her knee. I helped him wrap up her bandage.

They had such a great time, and their Dad even joined in later.


If you like this, take a look at Honey Pot's letter X theme from 2014!


Friday, August 14, 2015

W is for Weather


We could have found a number of books on rain, or sun, or snow; but I chose to round up a few books that discussed multiple weather conditions instead. Here is what I found, and they did go into quite a bit of detail. The great thing about each of these books though, is that you can read as much or as little on each page as you deem appropriate for your child. They have various text bubbles and blurbs that go into further detail, which you can just skip for young children. We're big fans of each of these authors for that reason.

Letter Recognition Activity

For today's letter recognition activity, I pulled out the kids' Lite Brite. Not wanting to waste the limited black sheets to slip in behind it, we simply created our design without, and allowed the extra light to shine through. The kids don't mind that kind of thing!

First it was Little M&M's turn. We talked about the sound the W makes, and how its shape goes "down, up, down, up." Which he knows is opposite of the letter M.

Here is the W he created (with a little help from me).

Then Honey Pot created a W as well.

Her's turned out a little smaller than ours, but still kept its proper shape.

Weather Craft

We actually stretched our weather theme into two days instead of one, and did two separate activities. First up, we created a simple thunderstorm art project. We were inspired by Buggy and Buddy's post here. I set them both up with a large piece of craft paper to share, and squeezed onto it some black and white paint. Instead of brushes, I had them use their hands for some sensory and finger painting fun. I asked them to guess what color black and white makes, and they guessed brown. 

As they started mixing they saw the grey, were very surprised, and said its name.

I asked them to spread it around the whole page as best as they could. Note: I realized Little M&M needed a smock by this point...

Even when the page was filled up nicely, they kept swirling it around in their fingers. They enjoy this.

Finally, before the paper became to wet and close to tearing, they added some lightning bolts that I had cut out of construction paper. The wet paint acted as its own glue.

And in the end, this bit of process art became something awesome. They were each so proud of their thunderstorm, and it's hanging up in the hallway for them to continue to enjoy.

Tornado in a Jar - Science Experiment

On the following W day, we did a little science experiment. The two of them have been very interested in and curious about tornadoes recently. So we created our own tornado in a jar. Just fill a jar or bottle with water and a squeeze of dish soap. Then swirl it around in a circular motion and voila!

We did this over and over again. After a few times the jar would become cloudy, so we'd empty its contents and start over again. The results were pretty awesome!

They loved it. 


If you enjoyed this, take a look at some of our weather-related posts of the past:

April Showers Theme, 2014 (one of our most popular posts!)