Thursday, April 25, 2013

Insect video

Today we went to the public library.  Little one wanted to check out a video on insects.  I just love when he chooses to extend his learning on a topic :). The video turned out to be pretty good.  Only 23 minutes long and reviewed a lot of the concepts we have been talking about.  So make sure you utilize your public library :). Also the age on the video was grades 5 through 8, yet my preschooler loved it and understood it.  I didn't even look at the age recommendations for it until we got home.  So don't feel pressured to always stay at a certain age level for educational materials.  You might miss something good :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Bug exploration

Continueing on our bug theme from yesterday, today we explored the playground for bugs.  We took out our science exploration plastic bin.  Inside the bin are the following:  Gymboree balls, a rubber ball, three sets of binoculars (different sizes and styles), five purple plastic buckets with handles, a blue measuring, a magnifier, two plastic bug viewers, a net, tweezers, a watch with a bug themed compass on it, and a random science themed toy (there always ends up with something random in my boxes).  Little one had gun exploring the outdoors.  We caught an ant and continued our discussion of the parts of the body of an insect: head, thorax, abdomen, antennas, and six legs.  LO also had a lot of fun sorting the mulch and discovering what was inside.  It is a beautiful day outside and a great extension of our Amanda Bennett Incredible Insect unit.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Insect unit study

Today we read through little one's newest issue of National Geographic Little Kids.  Its a great magazine for little hands and LO is always excited when it comes in the mail.  He collects the animal cards in a small plastic container and reviews them often.  I love how the magazine tests his critical thinking skills by doing differences, matching, searching, sorting, and categorizing.  The subscription is only $15 for the entire year.  We subscribed for 2 years and saved even more money.

After enjoying the magazine together, we focused on an Amanda Bennett unit study called "Insects".  LO loves bugs!  It is meant to be a weeklong unit including lapbooking for kiddos ages K through 4th grade.  I purchased it for $5 from an email from Amanda Bennett deals.  I signed up for her email updates and deals.  Since LO is still young (just turned 4), I modify the unit appropriately.  We do everything together.  I did all the reading and he dictated to me his responses.  He did draw his own pictures for those activities.  He really enjoyed watching the videos in the unit and the online games.  He also pulled out his toy insects so that we could identify each and decide whether they were truly an insect.  We spent a long time discussing the differences between spiders and insects.  We also spent a lot of time discussing vertebrates and invertabrates.  And we pulled out LOs books about bugs and read through them.  We are only halfway through the first day of the unit plan and we have learned so much already.  I figure that if we keep going at this pace that the unit will take us a few weeks, which is fine with me.

Little one wanted to continue on the bug theme by playing Willy's Wiggly Web.  Its a great Discovery Toys game that practices the fine motor skill of cutting with scissors.  The goal is to free the bugs from the web without freeing the spider.  The game has playing cards and rules for various ages.  We play the easiest level and LO loves it!

Currently LO is resting on the couch watching The Magic Schoolbus.  Speaking of The Magic Schoolbus, we have joined The Young Scientist Club for a year. LO will get one Magic School Bus kit each month for only $10 a month!  I bought it via a 50% off advertisement on I highly recommend joining this free teacher resource website.  There have been many great deals offered since it started a few weeks ago.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Happy Scientist and Modeling Clay

Today we did some more activities out of our VaHomeschoolers Conference Raffle winnings :) Inside one of the baskets were two DVDs by "The Happy Scientist" Robert Krampf. One was on electricity and the other was on erosion and water. Little one loved watching the DVDs and really got into the science. One of the perks of being a member of VAHomeschoolers is a FREE membership to "The Happy Scientist". Yeah! :)

Here is a picture of the DVDs that we watched today.

Little one also pulled out a set of modeling clay from the raffle basket.  We had a lot of fun making all sorts of things out of the fun colored clay.  I made a flower and a lollipop.  :)  Little one made lots of snakes and various twisty pretzels. :)  Here is a picture:

Vahomeschoolers raffle

I attended the vahomeschoolers conference the other weekend and participated in the raffle.  I spent $10 in tickets and over 500 tickets were sold.  They had 10 baskets to give away which were donations from various homeschool vendors at the conference.  I won! :). Twice! :). I got to bring home two baskets full of random homeschooling materials :)

Yesterday we cracked open one of the baskets and did two of the activities.  

One was this letter game from a thinking company.  It had alphabet letter tiles and a storage bag.  Little one was too little to play the actual game but the tiles were great for practicing his letter recognition.  I randomly showed him each letter and asked him three things.  What was the letter?  What sound does the letter make?  And what do you know that starts with the letter?  He knew answers for all the letters besides "V" and "X".  Although he could not tell me what "X" was when I asked him for a word that uses "X" he immediatly.responded with "box" :). I was pretty impressed with my 4 year old.

The other activity we did yesterday was this scratch off picture thing.  It was a picture of an alien.  It used the same scratch off stuff that a lottery ticket has on it.  Little one had fun with this fine motor skill.  He liked being able to reveal the picture.  The scratching was a little hard for him and he got tired of doing it so we put it aside to finish later.

Today little one decided to pull another activity out of the basket.  It had two little plaster of paris monkeys to paint.   He painted one today and said he would finish the other later.  It turned into a really good activity on mixing colors.  The kit only came with the basic four primary colors: red, blue, yellow, and white.  But he wanted green, purple, and brown on the monkey.  So he had to experiment with mixing the colors.  Check out the picture below of his monkey :)

The other thing we did today was that we went to Home Depot for their monthly free kids workshop.  Today the kids made birdfeeders.  Little one had fun hammering, screwing, glueing, and painting.  Check out the picture below of his finished birdfeeder :). If you have not done a Home Depot workshop, I highly recommend that you do :)

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Mazes and matching

I picked up at the vahomeschoolers conference a cool wipe-off maze book from the usbourne vendor.  Another mom had recommended it to work on maze skills with preschoolers.  I pulled it out for the first time last night.  Little one LOVED it!  He completed it cover to cover in one sitting!  The grest thing is that it comes with a dry erase marker.  So when he was done last night I just wiped it clean with a paper towel so that he can do it again :). I had to model for him how to hold the marker and I had to read the directions to him for each maze.  Other than that, it was a very independent focused activity for my preschooler to do.  And I was glad to see that the book had many different types of mazes.  It used lots of different thinking skills.  I highly recommend this $7 little maze book from usbourne.

After doing the mazes, we worked with his Discovery Toys "Its a Match" activity.  Earlier this week I had purchased the level 3 reading and math books.  These are a great quiet learning activity.  We frequently take these with us to church and other places when we need little one to be quiet.  It requires him to match the appropriate colored squares and then to match the appropriate pictures.  There is a lot of thinking involved and fine motor skills.  Plus it teaches following directions.

Check out the pictures below.