Friday, July 22, 2016

Summer Units - Jungle

Previous Summer Units:
Week 1: Ice Cream
Week 2: Monsters
Week 3: Camping
Week 4: Fish


This week's theme was the jungle! We had never done this before specifically, but do take a look back at our zoo themes and activities from 2014 and 2015.


Monday - Math and Craft

Today we did a simple math activity, which turned into an exciting craft for Honey Pot! First I printed out images of common jungle animals, their sizes dropped down from feet to inches, in scale. To save money on colored ink, I printed the large ones as coloring pages. We began by coloring them in!

Then I asked Little M&M and Honey Pot to place them in order from smallest to largest, and glue them to the paper.

Using the handy tape measurer from Little M&M's tool set, we measured each animal and wrote that number above them.

This was meant to be the extent of today's math project, but Honey Pot took it upon herself to extend the activity! She drew the jungle around these animals! First she put the parrot and monkey into a tree, and drew a berry and banana for them to eat. She also put a rabbit in the grass for the tiger. She drew a pond and a peanut for our dear elephant. And she also drew a great big tree for the giraffe to munch on. She did all of this by herself while I was in the next room. I was so impressed, because it shows she really has a good grasp of what a jungle is, and the animals in it!

Tuesday - Literacy and Sensory

We borrowed a few great books from the library this week in our theme. By far the favorites were Zoe's Jungle, in which two sisters at the playground pretend they are an explorer and a beast in the jungle, and Jumanji, which I didn't realize was a Chris Van Allsburg book! We read these books in particular over and over this week. Though Elmer was the runner up because it's just so cute!

I combined our sensory and literacy days together this week for this fun activity. We hadn't pulled our 3-bean bucket out in a long while. I decided to use it in conjunction with our new easel and magnetic letters. Though not in theme, I began our activity for Little M&M to review all of his letters. He was to find the letters in the beans and place them up on the easel where they belonged.

He loved using the scoopers!

If ever he had any trouble determining what a letter was, he'd sing his alphabet song to figure it out. He went through this whole activity two times in a row before we moved on!

And it included quite a lot of scooping and pouring. So much fun!

Later to pull it into theme, I placed some animal magnets up there, with a line beside each of them. Little M&M had to find a letter in the beans (this time I only included the few letters we needed) and figure out where to place it. We talked about what sound the letter makes, then worked together to find which animal's name began with that letter.  He did such a good job with this! The only one that was tricky for him was the L because, understandably, at first he thought it was the first letter in the word elephant.

Here is what it looked like when he finished.

Later, it was Honey Pot's turn. I set it up a little bit differently, to include handwriting practice.

And when she was finished, this is what her's looked like.

And the play continued beyond this. The two kids played with the beans and the letters on their own for a long time. Thankfully, the beans didn't get too out of hand!

Wednesday - Craft

Today we did a craft mainly for process, not product. We used our terrific plastic stencils to trace an image onto construction paper. Then we used liquid glue to trace over that image, and sprinkled salt over it. And finally, we painted the images with watercolors. The kids really love working with interesting materials like salt, so this was a fun one!

Here are the final products, but the picture was taken before they were dry. 

Thursday - Gross Motor Skills and Imaginative Play

This week instead of doing science on Thursday, we created a jungle for some gross motor development and imaginative play. I found the idea for this from Cutting Tiny Bites. I had a ton of leftover green streamers from a birthday party, so I used that to create jungle vines for the kids to climb through. We grabbed their safari hats and they became great explorers!

And remembering one of their favorite books from this week, they decided to act out Zoe's Jungle. One of them was the explorer, and the other was a rare beast to be captured. Looks like Little M&M captured the HoneyBeast!

The play went on for over an hour like this, until all the crepe paper had fallen to the floor in pieces. And well, even then the play continued. I'm not sure why pieces of crumpled crepe paper is fun, but it occupied them for even longer! A successful activity to end our week, for sure!


Friday, July 15, 2016

Summer Units - Fish

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

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

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.