Friday, June 20, 2014

Our Literary Summer: Week 3 - Summer Wonders

This week, we read Summer Wonders by Bob Raczka.  Summer Wonders is a simple, fun book that illustrates everything most of us remember about summers from our youth and everything we hope our children will experience from skipping rocks and swimming at the beach and pool to drippy ice cream cones and clear starry night skies.

Here is what we did this week:

Ice Cream Dough from Play Create Explore
The recipe calls for conditioner but in my rush to get errands done, I ended up with shampoo, but we gave it a go and it worked just as well and smelled super-yummy since I used coconut shampoo.

Shaving Cream Paint Ice Cream Cones
Mix shaving cream with some white glue and whatever color you like and when it dries it stays puffy!

Ice Cream in a Baggie
Be ready to do a lot of bag shaking, it tends to be a bit much for the little ones, though, as you can see, they really try hard!

We broke out our Alphabet Rocks and worked on spelling our names and letter matching.

Constellation Art
Bear didn't quite get the concept of connecting the stars, but it's cute anyway!

We also played with Kinetic Sand, which isn't exactly like beach sand, but it's totally awesome.  If you haven't tried it yet, I highly recommend it.

Our song this week was Down By the Sea by Red Grammer.  I love, love, love Red Grammer's music.  It is upbeat and fun with a great message, and it's adult-friendly, so you won't get sick of hearing it over and over in the classroom.

Next week is week 4 of our 'Summer and Sun' literary theme!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Our Literary Summer: Week 2 - Mama, Is It Summer Yet?

This week we read Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure.  This story takes us on a journey from Spring into Summer with a Mama and her Little One watching for signs up the upcoming season in nature; from migrating birds and nesting squirrels to trees flowering and berries ripening.

Here is a look at our activities for the week:

Arm Trees - trace or paint the children's hand and arm to create the tree, then decorate.

Pretend to be a squirrel and go on an Acorn Hunt around the classroom.

Bird Seed Sensory Bin

Strawberry Play Dough - made with strawberry Jello and flax seeds

Strawberry Seed Counting Game

Planting Seeds in a Bag (they are sprouting already!!)

DIY Trail Mix Bar

Hoot Owl Hoot Cooperative Game - these games are awesome!!


Memory Game - This one is great, it has 10 different game cards, one of them is fruit matching, so we did that one on our strawberry day!

Strawberry Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Textured Strawberry Painting - use poppy seeds and a touch of glue with the red paint.

This was a great book selection, there is quite a bit of repetition, so by the end of the week, the children were 'reading' the book right along with me!

I can't wait for next week's literary adventure!!!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Our Literary Summer: Week 1 - Mouse's First Summer

This summer, I decided to focus on something that is hugely popular in our family - books!  My husband and I are both avid readers and our children literally have books in every room.  If you sit down in my house, you will very soon find yourself with a child in your lap handing you book after book.

A couple of weeks ago, that child happened to be Monkey and that book happened to be Mouse's First Summer by Lauren Thompson.  As I was reading, activity ideas flooded my mind and I decided to throw out the old lesson plans and start fresh with a book per week and lots of fun to go along with each book!

Of course, we had to start with Mouse's First Summer since it was my original inspiration.  Here is a look at our week:

In the story, Mouse tastes some "drippy, sweet, wet, red watermelon" and enjoys a tasty glass of lemonade, so we started by exploring our very own watermelon.  The book uses excellent descriptive words, so we just talked about the watermelon and the kiddos decided it was smooth, hard, green, striped and round on the outside and pink, red, juicy and yummy on the inside.  We sliced the watermelon and whipped up some tasty dip to accompany it and then got to work juicing lemons.  Nope, we didn't use bottled lemon juice, we didn't even use the fancy-shmancy juicer, we did it by hand, the old fashioned way, and our lemonade was delicious!
We even made our own Watermelon Art with real watermelon seeds.

The children loved all of our watermelon-themed centers used throughout the week:  
Watermelon Play Dough
and with added seeds!

Watermelon Sensory Bag inspired by Teach Preschool

 Watermelon Water Bead Sensory Box
Even more fun on the light table!

We also sang and danced to The Watermelon Song by Billy Jonas.  The kiddos love this one, lots of movement and lots of sillies with some learning stuck in the middle.

Later in the story, Mouse is on a picnic and there are some munching ants happily moving about, so we created our own Fingerprint Ants along with some shredded 'grass' and we enjoyed a tasty snack of Ants on a Log.

We explored the sky right along with Mouse by letting the sun make a project for us using Sunprint paper.  Naturally, I neglected to get photos of this fun project, but you can read all about it HERE!!

We decorated some kites and one of my little guys made his all orange, just like in the story!!
Our last day of activities was all about fireworks!

 We started with Fireworks in a Bag.  We put about a tablespoon of baking soda in a little paper towel packet.  Next, we added some food coloring.  Then we added about 1/2 c. of vinegar and sealed the bag.  The last step is observe!

If you are lucky enough not to get a bag with a hole in it, you should end up with a satisfactory POP! and even some color spilling out of your bag.  We had a few trial runs before success, but hey, that's what science is all about, right?

We finished with Balloon Print Fireworks, which is pretty self-explanatory, they came out great and then I washed the balloons and the kiddos had a blast with them for the rest of the day!

Hooray for SUMMER!

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