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!


Friday, June 17, 2016

Summer Units - Ice Cream!

It's summer vacation, and it is so wonderful to have both kids home every day again! This was our first year with one of the kiddos going to school full-time, and we sure missed her! We are going for an unbusy summer, full of lots of unstructured play and outside time. But we're squeezing in just about a half an hour each day to have some learning fun too. We kicked off our new routine with an ice cream theme, and here is how it went:

Monday - Math (and Music)

We started off with a fun I-Spy game from Gift of Curiosity. Both Little M&M and Honey Pot had fun counting up the ice cream cones while I prepared the main activity.

I began by cutting out four flavors of ice cream from felt. It looked so cute, I had to take a picture of it before I ruined it with my awful handwriting...

Here is the complete activity. Today's skill to practice was addition, which Honey Pot had learned a bit of in Kindergarten. I left this propped up against the window, and when the kids were done with their I-Spy, they got right to work!

First Honey Pot took her turn...

So proud of her work!

And then Little M&M gave it a whirl. During the school year he attended preschool part-time.

But he too is pretty great with Kindergarten math, and he was so pleased with himself!

He returned to this activity again and again throughout the day.

And so did Honey Pot. What a sweet, hands-on way to get in some learning!

Monday is also our music day, so this is also the day Honey Pot practices playing the piano!

Tuesday - Literacy and Library

Tuesday is our reading and writing day. Storytime begins next week at the library on this day, but we still went and picked out all the books about ice cream that we could find! As always, the Gail Gibbons book was very informative and a little above their comprehension level, so I paraphrased as we went along and we still learned quite a bit about the history of ice cream! The favorite of course was the Elephant and Piggie book, which Honey Pot read to us. I love these books by Mo Willems. Perfect beginner readers!

To get in some practice in pencil grip and tracing, we used these pages from KidSparkz.

After reading all of our ice cream books, it was time for Honey Pot to practice her writing. I printed a simple draw-and-write page from a website called Writing Templates, And then I asked Honey Pot to write about her favorite part of the Curious George book.

Super cute ice cream truck!

And Little M&M, our preschooler, practiced writing his name in his notebook!

Wednesday - Craft (and Computer)

We tried a puffy paint recipe today, using 1 part school glue and 1 part shaving cream. The kids and I had so much fun painting with it! We each chose an ice cream flavor, and shared the bowls of paint. We added green paint (food coloring would also work) to make mint chocolate chip, brown paint to make chocolate, and left one white for cookies-and-cream.

We were sure to glob it on thick so it would keep its texture! Then we added real sprinkles.

Here are the final works of art, before they dried:

And a couple close-ups so you could see how they dry nice and thick!

Looks good enough to eat!

On this day we also hop onto the computer or ipad to play a game or two. At school, computer lab was one of Honey Pot's favorite specials, so I wanted to let her continue that fun at home.

Thursday - Science or Sensory

Today we went into the kitchen to explore ice cream science! We followed the printable instructions from this blog, but used rock salt instead of regular. I had read that suggestion from multiple other sources. We mixed up the milk, vanilla extract and sugar in a quart-sized bag, and placed it inside a gallon-ziploc bag with ice and rock salt. Then we shook it up for several minutes!

After just a few minutes it started to get reeeally cold, so we placed a towel over it to continue shaking it.

Then, after just a few more minutes, we noticed the milk starting to solidify!

I carefully opened each bag, making sure not to let the rock salt touch the inside of our quart bag. And then I scooped the ice cream into three bowls (the recipe made 3 fair scoops). And it tasted perfect! It was regular vanilla, and we jazzed ours up with some chocolate syrup and sprinkles. We look forward to trying other variations of the recipe!