Monday, June 28, 2010

Magnifying Lens Picture Match

We plan to use our magnifying glasses a lot this year on nature walks.  So I put together this activity as an introduction to the use of a magnifying glasses.  Not only did this activity help them gain use of a very useful exploration tool (their magnifying glass), it also helped them with some basic math concepts like comparison of size and matching.  AND (as if that wasn't enough!), we strengthened their vocabulary by naming some of the objects on the game board.

I have to tell you...this activity was a BIG hit in our house.  They had this acitivy out over and over again this past week.  So I hope your kids enjoy it as much as me.   

What you will need:
1)  A bamboo mat
2)  These printouts (available as a free download from Kelly's Kindergarten.) 
3)  A magnifying glass

1)  Print out the game cards and boards on thick card stock.
2)  Cut out the individual game cards (miniture pictures).  Do not cut the game board (large pictures).
3)  Laminate everything.  ;)

Present the game card on a tray.  I put the game cards in a nice glass dish and the magnifying glass in a small wooden box.

Roll out a bamboo place mat and lay the game card on the place mat.  The child will then use the magnifying glass to view the miniature pieces and then match them up to their larger sized pictures on the game board.

For more science, math, and montessori activities, check out:

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Learning and Playing: Our Week in Review

We practiced number identification and counting using a mama-made snake counting game.

Language Arts:
We practiced letter identification and phonics by making an "S is for Snake" craft to add to our alphabet books.

Gross Motor / Dramatic Play:
We went to the pool with our neighborhood friends.  All of the kids pretended to be pirates and sharks swimming in the ocean.  We packed a picnic lunch and had a fun time swimming and playing.
(Photo courtesy of our local pool.) 

Fine Motor Skills
We practiced cutting with safety scissors, painting, and drawing.
Fiskars 93907097 Pre-School Spring Action Scissors

The kids played with their fruits and vegetable cutting set from Plan Toys.  This is a very popular toy in our house.  The kids love to play restaurant and cut their food using the little wooden knives that comes with the tray. 
Fruits and Vegetables Cutting Set

We played with our magnetic fishing game puzzle.  This is another big hit over here.  I highly recomend these puzzles.  They are a great idea on making the standard wooden puzzle more interesting.  the kids use a magnetic fishing pole to catch the sea creature shaped puzzle pieces.  Then, in order to play again, they have to put all of the puzzle pieces back into place.  This toy taught the kids the names of some new sea creatures and it is a great fine motor activity. 
Practical Life:
We worked on learning how to wash and dry our hand properly and Sophia worked on learning to use the potty.  Marcus has also decided that he is ready to move on to using the big potty. 

Science / Nature Study 
We observed a robin sitting on her nest.  We also found several abandoned nests in some crab apple trees at my mama's house.

The kids also picked strawberries and blackberries. I couldn't believe how many strawberries little Sophia fit into her tiny belly!

 The kids helped me take care of our garden. We harvested our first bell pepper of the season and Doug made a delicious pasta recipe with it using fresh herbs from our kitchen garden. 

The kids dug for worms and went fishing too.

We also spent a lot of time reading some non-fiction children's books about snakes.
National Geographic Readers: Snakes!Find the Snake (Welcome Books)King Cobra (Welcome Books)Watching Cobras in Asia (Heinemann First Library)

We learned a lot about snakes this week from these books.  Here are some facts that Marcus and Sophia picked up:
  • Snakes are cold blooded reptiles.  They do not make milk for their babies and they do not have hair.
  • Some snakes give birth to live young, while other snakes hatch from eggs.
  • Snakes do not care for their young.
  • What venom is
  • A snake molts when it outgrows its skin.
  • Snakes are predators.  Most snakes eat mice, frogs, and lizards.  Large snakes sometimes hunt for large animals like crocodiles and antelope!
  • Some snakes use their noses to smell.  All snakes use their tongues to smell.  
  • You can't see a snakes ears.  However, snakes do have ears.  A snake's ears are deep inside its head.  Sound travels through a snake's bones to it's ears.  
  • Some snakes have heat pits below their nostrils that they use to assist in hunting for prey.  The heat pits can sense the body heat of other animals.  Heat pits help snakes hunt at night.
  • Most snakes live in warm places and stay active all year long.  Some snakes live in cool places and hibernate in the winter.  

We cuddled on the couch and read lots of great books this week.

For more ideas on fun things to do with your kids, check out:
Tot School

Friday, June 25, 2010

What my children are reading...

As usual, we read lots of great books this week.

Here are the books that Marcus and Sophia brought me to read this week.

George Shrinks by William Joyce
George Shrinks (Reading Rainbow)

This is one of the books on our Sonlight P3/P4 book list.  has been a favorite book here for quite some time.  Marcus and Sophia ask us to read this to them nearly every night.  It is the story about a little boy who has a dream that he has shrunk.  When he wakes up, he finds out that his dream has come true!  For some reason unknown to me, young George's parents have left him home alone to take care of his baby brother, make his own meals, do the dishes, get the mail, and his homework.  So he must do all of that in his shrunken state.  It doesn't make sense to me, but Marcus and Sophia love this story!  They think it is hilarious when miniature George and his brother scare the cat and then the cat chases George around the house.  The thing I love about this book is the illustrations.  They are vibrant and full of detail and color. 

Whose Mouse Are You?  by Robert Kraus
Whose Mouse Are You?
"Whose mouse are you?
Nobody's mouse.
Where is your mother?
Inside a cat,"

So begins Robert Klaus's classic children's tale.  The story starts off sadly, but soon a lonely mouse must be resourceful and reunite his family.  I like the story because it teaches perseverance despite your situation.   I love the rhyming and rhythmic text to the story.  I also love the ending. 

This is another Sonlight book that the kids have adored.  We have also been reading this book nightly for many, many nights in a row now.  (As soon as we are finished with George Shrinks, they ask for this book.)

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (If You Give...) This is a very popular children book...and another sonlight book.  The kids ask me to read them this book often.  Although I am not too sure they completely grasp the humor of the story. ;)  I think it is a cute story and it gives us all a chance to bake cookies. 

Lentil by Robert McCloskey
Lentil (Picture Puffins)This is yet another Sonlight book.  (What can I say?  Sonlight does a wonderful job choosing books that children ask for over and over again.) This book is illustrated in Robert McCloskey's classic style using pencil to depict a small town in Ohio.  It is a very cute story about a little boy who is not able to sing, so he learns to play the harmonica. 

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Harold and the Purple Crayon 50th Anniversary Edition (Purple Crayon Books)I am not sure if my kids totally grasp this book.  However, they think the baby is very funny and often ask me to read this to them.  

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snowy DayYou are probably thinking it is very funny that we are reading this book when the temperature is hovering in the mid 90's...but what can I say?  The kids brought it to me and asked me to read it.  (They must be longing for some snow!)

Baby Says by John Steptoe

This book can be hard to find--but it is worth the time spent searching for it.   Nearly every child I know thinks that book is HILARIOUS.   I originally didn't buy this book, however, we had it checked out of our library for nearly 6 months!  And when we finally brought it back the kids were very upset.  So I fianlly broke down and purchased an ex-library copy of the book last week.  (I will have to write another blog post on how we are building our home library on a budget.)

The book has very little text.  However, John Steptoe does a wonderful job telling a story using only a few words. I suggest using two different voices when reading it aloud.  One voice for the baby and one voice for the big brother.

Scruffy the Tugboat by Gertrude Crampton
Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures Down the RiverThis was one of my books when I was a little kid.  So I like it for nostalgic reasons.  The kids enjoy little golden books too and often bring them to me to read. 

We also spent a lot of time reading some non-fiction children's books about snakes.
National Geographic Readers: Snakes!Find the Snake (Welcome Books)King Cobra (Welcome Books)Watching Cobras in Asia (Heinemann First Library)
As I always say, life is too short to read crummy books! I hope you have read some good books too this week. 

To see what other children are reading this week, check out this blog hop:

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