Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekly Learning Theme: Spring

Before Elise was born I planned out a Spring Learning Theme and an Easter Learning Theme in hopes that I could continue to do at least a few themed learning activities in the weeks after she was born.  I'm so glad I did because it has been really nice to be able to pull out fun activities to do while Elise naps in her bouncer or hangs out in my arms watching Carter.  This week I had both my mom and Ty home helping which made it a lot easier to get things in because there was always someone around to grab the wash cloth I forgot to set out before giving Carter finger paint or pick up a last minute material at the store.  We'll see how it goes next week when it's just me and Ty and then the week after when I'm alone with both babes.  I may end up spreading some themes over multiple weeks or taking a few weeks off. 

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have updated our objectives from the original ones we focused on because Carter mastered those skills.  I plan to continue to implement activities to practice and reinforce our previous objectives while putting more emphasis on our new objectives.  Some of them won't necessarily be targeted with specific activities during our weeks, but I wanted to list them to help me remember to practice them continually.  The highlighted objectives are ones Carter received exposure to during our theme this week:
  1. Take turns in a simple game.
  2. Understand the meaning of mine, his, hers.
  3. Group objects based on a category (sort by defining feature).  
  4. String beads or other objects.
  5. Count to 3 and understand what the numbers mean.  
  • To create a spring sensory bin I left the beans from our St. Patrick's Day bin in the bottom and then just threw in a small craft nest I had from Ty's grandma, some small eggs, a few birds, and the flamingo feather Carter found during a trip to the zoo.  Carter loved to play with the bin and also enjoyed looking through his Hatched book to see what other animals hatch from eggs.
  • Carter and his Oma planted some flowers in a pot in the backyard.  Each morning Carter would use one of his little toy cups to water the seeds and they'd check on the seeds to see how they were doing.
Watering his seeds.

Playing with his shovel and pail.
  • We made wind streamers out of a toilet paper roll and crepe paper.  I planned for Carter to color the toilet paper roll and add stickers, but he saw me get out the finger paint for our robin footprint craft and wanted to paint it so we switched to paint.  Then as I was digging through a craft box looking for scissors to cut the crepe paper he saw some foam flowers and wanted to glue them onto his toilet paper roll so we also used those.  He had a blast gluing the flowers on and ended up covering the entire roll with them because he wanted to use the glue.  When the rolls were dry and the crepe paper was taped to them we took them outside to play with in the wind.  He and his Oma ran and laughed watching the crepe paper stream along behind them.  It was precious!
    Adding glue to foam flowers to decorate his wind streamer.
    Painting his toilet paper roll.
    Elise supervising craft time.
  • It rained one night so the next day Carter put on his rain boots to play outside.  He played in some puddles and observed worms.  His Oma even made him some puddles to play in using buckets and his swimming pool that were in the backyard.  After observing worms with Carter I really wanted to get out a worm farm I had used in class in an observation center, but I knew it would be a lot of work and Carter probably wouldn't be super interested so we decided I'd hold off on that activity until next year when he could enjoy it a bit more.
  • Another day I got out a few flower pots and seeds Carter's Gma had sent.  First I let Carter play in the flower pot with soil and gardening tools.  Then we planted the seeds and watered them.  Carter had so much fun playing in the soil and did a great job planting the seeds.  Before we planted the seeds I poured them out for Carter to look at.  I even mixed them up and had him sort them based on what they looked like. 
    Planting the special seeds from his Gma.
    Exploring and sorting the seeds from packets.
    Watering his newly planted seeds.
  • Using a toilet paper roll, peanut butter, and bird seed we made bird feeders for the tree in our backyard.  While Carter and I made our simple feeders, Ty made one using a bottle, dowel rods, and bird seed.  Carter enjoyed picking where the feeders went and talking about how birds would come to our tree to have a bird party.
    Rolling his toilet paper roll in bird seed.
    Smearing peanut butter on the toilet paper roll.
    Helping daddy pour bird seed in his fancy bird feeder.
    Watching Ty climb the tree to hang his bird feeder.
  • On a day that had a slight wind but wasn't too windy we went outside to blow bubbles.  Uncie J was over at our house and Carter had a blast blowing bubbles with him.  Then I showed Carter how he could wave the wand and allow the wind to blow the bubbles.  He did a great job blowing bubbles that way as well.
  • We have really been enjoying all the sunshine we've had lately!  This winter was very cloudy and overcast with hardly any sunny days.  One day while we were outside we played with our shadows.  I showed Carter that when I jumped my shadow also jumped.  He thought it was hilarious and would do different actions and laugh while his shadow also did what he had.  It was fun to see real shadows after playing with and talking about shadows during our winter week when we discussed Groundhog Day.
    Making his shadow jump.
    Pointing at his shadow.
  • I used our flower cookie cutters to trace and cut out 3 different kinds of flowers on construction paper.  Then Carter sorted the flowers based on their shape.  Once he had them sorted, we counted to see how many flowers were in each pile.
  • We took a magnifying glass outside and used it to observe nature.  We looked at flowers, dirt, and bugs.  Carter would use the magnifying glass to look at something, then drop it and run a lap around the yard, picking it back up to look at things and then starting the process all over again.
  • I saw an adorable idea for making a spring tissue paper wreath here.  I cut out the middle of a paper plate and showed Carter how to rip small pieces of tissue paper off and stick them in glue on the wreath.  I then sat back and let him add the glue, rip pieces of tissue paper off, and add the pieces to his wreath.  When he was finished and it had dried for hours because he used an absurd amount of glue, I added ribbon to hang it with and a little ribbon bow.  It is hanging on our back door and looks adorable!
  • I saw an adorable robin footprint craft here.  I just knew Carter had to make it and when Elise arrived before our spring themed week she got to get in on the action too.  I was so excited to add her footprint to the paper and Carter loved seeing the difference in the size of their feet.
    The finished product.
Special Snack:
  • I planned to use our flower cookie cutters to make special spring shaped foods to eat during the week, but it never happened.
Make Believe:
  • Using Carter's ball pit we pretended to be birds and built a nest with blankets.  While we built it we looked at the small bird's nest from his sensory bin to see what it should like look.  We also looked at books with bird nests in them.  Then we pretended to be birds in the nest and I pretended to lay 2 basketballs eggs which Carter was not impressed by.
Carter playing in our nest.
  • We sang "I See the Wind" to the tune of "Hush, Little Baby".  The song was written by Jean Warren and goes like this:
I see the wind, when the trees bend low.
I see the wind, when the leaves all blow.
I see the wind, when the kits fly high.
I see the wind, when the clouds float by.
I see the wind, when it blows my hair.
I see the wind, most everywhere.     
Field Trip/Interactive Experience:
  • We headed to a park by the Children's Museum where I knew there would be lots of ducks and geese.  Carter loved watching the ducks and geese and even got to feed them some corn he found on the ground.  We plan to go back again later in the season to see if there are any ducklings or goslings.
    Scooping up corn to feed the ducks and geese.
  • While on a walk we searched for new flowers and blooms.  We also pointed out birds and looked to see if they had or were building nests.
Elise with some daffodils we found on a walk.
Carter stomped through the daffodils, but didn't smash any of them.
Careful to walk through the flowers without stepping on them.
  • Throughout the week we talked a lot about wind.  We happened to go to the Children's Museum on a day when they were performing a science experiment.  The experiment was all about air and how air moves things.  They used fog so the kids could see how air moves.
    Trying to catch fog rings while Uncie J held him up.

  • Spring Joy by Liesbet Slegers
  • Me and the Seasons by Liesbet Slegers
  • Bunny Bunny Catkin by Cathy MacLennan
  • Sleepy Bee by Alice Schertle 
  • Pooh's Perfect Spring Day by Random House
  • Good Morning, Chick by Mirra Ginsburg
  • Puppies and Piggies by Cynthia Rylant
  • Spring Is Here by Will Hillenbrand
  • Spring Is Here by Taro Gomi
  • My Garden by Kevin Henkes
  • Birds by Kevin Henkes
  • Plant a Kiss by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
  • My Spring Robin by Anne Rockwell
  • Two Blue Jays by Anne Rockwell
  • Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert
  • It's Spring by Linda Glaser
  • Spring by Cynthia Amoroso
  • Finding Spring by Carin Berger
  • The Listening Walk by Paul Showers
  • Listen to the Rain by Bill Martin
  • Mouse's First Spring by Lauren Thompson
  • Spring: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steve Schmur
  • Who Likes Rain? by Wong Herbert Yee
  • Everything Spring by Jill Esbaum
  • What Will Hatch? by Jennifer Ward
  • And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano  
  • The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle

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