Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Science: Tongue Mapping

Yesterday, we went to our friends'  house for a science experiment to map the salty, sweet, sour and bitter taste buds on your tongue.  The kids tasted each liquid on the front, back and sides of their tongues using a q-tip dipped in liquid, and then colored in the parts they felt tasted each sense. (You can see her full directions at Raising the Cameron Clan.)

M was not a fan of the bitter (vanilla) or sour (lemon juice) tastes, as you can see.

Baby B spent the time playing, and was particularly in love with their ball pit.  He spent much of the time rolling and swimming in the balls.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

An Afternoon Concert

J has been in the middle school band for about six months now.  Their band teacher recently gave the kids an assignment to hold a solo concert for their friends and neighbors.  The kids had to select their own songs, send out invites, create a program, and host the concert.  J did his today for an audience of family, friends and my parents who joined via Skype.

He was nervous but played well, and it was a fun event.

Friday, January 27, 2012

The Mitten

Yesterday, we hosted the book club for our home learner's group.  I had chosen to have the kids read The Mittenby Jan Brett as it is a favorite winter book around our house.  Since the kids range in age from 17 months to 4.5, we needed a craft that can be done fairly easily.  I pre-cut each child two mittens from construction paper, and then hole punched around the edges.

The kids decorated their mittens,

 and then sewed them up using yarn, being sure to leave the top open.  Everyone was able to do this step with a little help.

Then, they colored the animals from the book (printed from the author's website). I read the story, and the kids followed along by placing the appropriate animals into their mittens.  At the end, when the mitten bursts, we dumped our animals out.

Everyone seemed to enjoy the book, and Miss M and Baby B have been playing with theirs and retelling the story for the last two days.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Penguin Playdate

We had some friends over at the end of last week for a penguin-themed play date.  After reading the poems in Antarctic Antics, and practicing waddling around like Daddy penguins holding eggs, we made some of our own.  This was a simple craft using two paper plates - one you cut for the wings and head and the second forms the body.  Full directions can be found at Craft Jr.

Then we had penguin cupcakes.  I made these last year, also.

Miss M loved the penguin song we learned, and has been singing it ever since.

I'm A Little Penguin (to the tune of I'm a Little Teapot)
I'm a little penguin, black and white,
I waddle to the left and I waddle to the right,
I cannot fly but I can swim,
So I waddle to the water and I jump right in.

It was a little odd to be studying penguins in the 75 degree weather, but I guess it is technically winter so it counts!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Gung Hay Fat Choy!

We celebrated the Chinese New Year today with some friends from our home learners group.  After learning about the holiday, we made a dragon craft (found here)

and held our own mini-parade.

For snack time we had oranges, rice candy (thanks to my dear husband who went out late to find some) and everyone received coins in red envelopes for good luck.  The kids had a hard time with the idea that they could eat the rice paper wrapper on the candy, but I think they each finally tried it once.

Gung Hay Fat Choy!  Happy New Year!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

This baby doll was J's when he was about three, then it got passed down to Miss M a few years ago, and now Baby B has taken over the job of loving her.

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Crayon Box That Talked

In celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, I wanted to do something special with Miss M.  Originally, I had planned to do the brown and white egg experiment.  However, after giving it some thought I decided that this as too complex for her to truly grasp at four years old.

Instead, we simply talked about how MLK was a very special man who wanted peace and for everyone to love each other.  We read The Crayon Box that Talked by Shane DeRolf and Whoever You Are by Mem Fox.  Both books talk about appreciating the diversity in each of us in a way that is appropriate for a preschooler.

 Then, to go along with the peace aspect, we did the groovy peace sign craft from Frugal Family Fun.  We made a taped peace sign on a paper plate.  Then Miss M painted the plate with watercolors.

When it was dry, we removed the tape to leave the white sign showing through.

Baby B did his own color painting, as well.

Friday, January 13, 2012

"Salty" Snowglobes

Miss M did a quick snow globe art and writing project today.  First, I just cut a circle out of pale blue construction paper and a black base to go with it.  Miss M and I talked about all the different things that could be in a snow globe (she saw one recently so it was fresh in her mind).  Then, she drew a picture in her circle.  She actually went through four circles before finally getting a drawing she was happy with.  In the end, she drew herself.

After it was glued together, I started the writing prompt "Inside my snow globe is...." and she wrote the rest (with spelling help).  She wrote "M__ playing in the snow."  Then, we wanted to make it look like the snow was falling, so Miss M covered over her drawing with glue and sprinkled on the salt.

She went a little heavy (more is better when you are four), so it looks more like a blizzard, but she was very happy with the results.  

(The white strip of paper is just covering up the rest of her name for the photo.)

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Snowflake Measurements

Today we did some measuring and graphing using foam snowflakes.  We taped them to the wall in a straight line, and measured how many snowflakes tall Baby B, Miss M, Mommy and the American Girl doll were. 

Then, we graphed those heights on the dry erase board.  We talked about tallest and shortest and how many more snowflakes tall someone was. 

Baby B decided to play a little run-around-the-snowflakes game when we were all done.

Later, we will use paperclips to estimate how many paperclips wide a snowflake is, and then compare our estimate to the actual size.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Daddy's Little Helper

Miss M loves to help Daddy with his building projects, so we took her to her first Home Depot workshop this Saturday.  She got to hammer and paint and had a great time building a shed-shaped piggy bank.

Of course, Baby B can't wait to get in on the fun.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Weekly Wrap-Up: A New Year

We got back into our school routine this week, and had a very good week.  Miss M worked on her core subjects of reading, handwriting and math. We started All About Reading last month, and Miss M is doing great with it!

We also moved into Saxon Math 1 for the new year. The initial pages are review for her, but she is enjoying the program. She likes the mix of calendar time, hands-on and workbook pages, it fits her style very well. We are continuing to do story problems in our math journal, and she loves this best of all.

Early in the week I gave Baby B some of our winter animals to play with. He was making tracks in playdough and exploring the new animals. He loved it so much, that both he and Miss M have spent all of their free time playing with the animals in playdough.

Miss M made a foam snowman which we hung on the wall to replace the Christmas decorations we took down.

The weather has been sunny and in the 60s all week, so we didn't do most of the extras I had planned for our winter theme. I am saving them for the rainy days next week.

This is my favorite picture of the week.  I was taking a picture of Miss M and her American Girl Doll in their matching ballet outfits when Baby B decided he wanted into the picture.  He grabbed one of Miss M's other dolls and moved right next to her to be included, too!

J has semester exams next week, so this is how he has been all week.