Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Our 5 Senses

We have been working on learning our 5 senses: taste, smell, touch, hearing, and seeing.   I have been quizzing little one by asking questions like "What do we hear with?  What do we taste with?  What do we smell with?" etc.  It seems like a basic concept but it can be challenging for little ones to figure out.  

I am going to try to link it to religion and God as much as possible by asking questions like "Why did God give us eyes? (to see his beautiful creations - to see Jesus on the Cross); Why did God give us hands? (to do holy works - to make the Sign of the Cross); Why did God give us tongues? (to taste wonderful flavors that God made - to receive Jesus' body during Communion)" etc.   I have started to introduce those religious concepts to LO but it hasn't been the focus yet.  It's in my plans ;) 

Yesterday we did a small lesson on tasting and smelling.   We used the PBS Dinosaur Train Lesson found here.   I explained to LO how our sense of smell is stronger than our sense of taste.  I also explained to him how you have to focus on your senses to make a hypothesis of what things are.  I used an onion, some cheese, and some tomatoes (all things that were easily accessible in my fridge).  I put them in individual little plastic bowls.  I then blindfolded LO.  He did NOT like that at all!  It took a lot of convincing that he did not need his sense of sight to do the activity!  When he finally let me blindfold him, I then held each object up to his nose and told him to smell it.  I then put a small piece at a time in his mouth and had him taste it.  The whole time I was asking him what he tasted and smelled.   He didn't get the onion at all and he certainly was not a fan of tasting it.  He got the tomato almost immediately.  He has always LOVED tomatoes.   And the cheese he got by the sense of taste, but not by smell.   Overall I think he learned something and I plan to continue doing small experiments with him like this to work more on the skills.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Sensory bin - water beads

Little one and I went to the dollar store recently and picked up some water beads.  If you haven't used them yet for a sensory bin, you really should!  They are so much fun to play with :). Little one poured them and squished them and rolled them.  We used clear and green ones.  Green is little one's favorite color.  Check out the pictures below!

We experimented with the question "what if we add food coloring to the clear water beads?"  Interestingly, the food coloring DID change the color of the beads!  Pretty cool.

Little one had fun measuring and mixing the beads.  He then added water to his sensory bin so that his shark toys could take a swim.  Another interesting thing we discovered by adding water was that the clear beads totally disappeared in the water!  We couldn't see them at all . . . but they were still there!  We could feel them but not see them.  That made it hard to pour the water out in the sink without losing the beads.  

Anyway, it was a fun sensory bin and little one has continued to play with it.  I leave the sensory bins on his homeschooling bookshelves where he can reach them.  When he wants to play with them, he has to ask a parent first and then he is free to play.


Little one and I decided to make birdfeeders.  We used toilet paper rolls and a gallon milk carton.  We used peanut butter to make the rolls sticky and little one had fun rolling them in birdseed.  We then used yarn to hang them from the trees.

For the milk carton, we cut some square holes on each side.  Then little one decorated the plastic jug with stickers.  He wanted to use spongebob.  We also used some contact paper to stick feathers on the jug.  We then put some peanut butter on the inside bottom of the jug and filled it with birdseed.  We then placed the jug outside on the deck.

The squirels and birds have been enjoying their treat.


Today we focused our studies on our catholic curriculum and the season of lent.   We made a stained glass of mary, the holy spirit, and a roadmap for lent.

We use catholic icing preschool curriculum.

The mary stained glass was made using contact paper.  We drew an outline of mary and a grotto.  We cut up tissue paper.  We had red and white tissue paper so that is what we used.  We used the tissue paper to decorate mary's dress and the background.  We used some green paint and little one's thumb to make the grass around the grotto.  Then we used glitter to finish off the project.  When were done we placed another piece of contact paper on top.  We hung our completed mary on the door so the light will come through it.

Little one was asking about stained glass when we were at church on subday so this craft tied nicely into that curiosity.

A note on glitter - do not let your toddler pour out the glitter!  Little one begged for me to let him hold the glitter bottle himself.  I let him.  He poured out the entire bottle.  I then had glitter everywhere to clean up afterward.

The next craft we did was to make some holy spirit doves.  I didn't have white paint so little one used green.  We used his handprints to make the doves.  He then decorated the doves with feathers, googly eyes, and yellow construction paper beaks.

After our crafts we talked about lent.  My birthday, my grandfather's birthday, and little one's birthday are all during this lenten season so we added them to the calendar.  We also wrote "daddy's baptism" on the calendar because my husband had decided to be baptised and to become catholic during this season.

Enjoy the pictures!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The things you can do with clear plastic cups

Blogging today proves a couple of important things.  The first is that homeschooling is easy.  The second is that you can use your household items to do some pretty cool lessons.  The third is that you do not need to make it up yourselves.  The ideas in this lesson all came from other homeschool bloggers.  And the fourth thing is that you can homeschool even when life is rough. 

We started by labeling some clear plastic cups as "1 cup", "1/2 cup", "3/4 cup", and "1/4 cup".  We then poured water in the cups to see the different levels.  We compared them discussing which one was "most", "least", and "middle".  We got this idea from

Then we did another cup activity from Royal Baloo.  It's at

We first practiced counting to 5 by counting out 5 plastic cups.  We then practiced adding by grouping 3 cups together and then by pairing 2 cups.  And then I asked him what 3 cups plus 2 cups were and he said "FIVE!!!". Happy dance :)

We placed 3 cups on top of our Rainbow Resource book (that HUGE homeschooling materials book IS good for something!).  And we filled them to the top with water.  We then put blue food coloring in one, yellow food coloring in the middle one, and then red food coloring in the last one. 

We then put the other 2 cups below the 3 cups (hence the placing of the 3 cups on top of the Rainbow Resource book).  And to finish the experiment we put slips of paper towels going from the cups on top to the cups below.  The colored water moved from the cups on top along the paper towel slips into the empty cups below.  (There is a good discussion of gravity in this lesson.). The blue and yellow water mixed in the empty cup to make green.  The yellow and red water mixed to make orange. 

See the pictures below for our lesson.