Monday, July 20, 2015

Weekly Learning Theme: Summer

It has officially been summer for a while now. As time went on I kept thinking of things I wanted to add to a summer themed learning week and was really looking forward to it. I planned for the theme to take 2 weeks especially since there was so much to do! It worked out great because we spent the first week at my parents' house since Ty was traveling for work and the second week at home. There were some things that worked better to do at my parents' house such as go to the swimming pool as they have a really great shallow kiddie pool in their town that is free all day 'er day! Then there were other things, like a trip to the splash pad, which we needed to be at home for. This learning theme was a blast!

Listed below are the objectives I am focusing on for the themed weeks.  I have updated our objectives a second time because I felt like we were ready to focus on something new.  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. Continue to improve fine motor skills and drawing (specifically I'm looking for him to be able to copy a circle and a square as well as draw a person with 2-4 body parts).
  2. Understand same and different.
  3. Accurately tell stories as well as retell the story from a book. 
  4. Use age appropriate scissors. 
  5. Develop a better understanding of time (for example, be able to describe when things happen using morning, afternoon, night)
  6. Group objects based on a category (sort by defining feature).
  7. Count and understand what the numbers mean.  
  • One of our first activities during summer week was a water balloon and water gun fight. Hayden came over to my parents' house to play with us. Carter sorted balloons by color. Then I'd tell him how many of which color to throw. It was cute because after a while he's go over to the bucket and look at me to see what to throw. I told him to go ahead and just do whatever he wanted. Neither of the boys understood to throw the balloons at each other's feet because they just kept bouncing off the person's body. It was pretty funny! The highlight for both of them was chasing and spraying the dogs.
    Sorting balloons.
    Hayden and Carter squirting Fezzik with water guns.
  • We spent a lot of time outside in the sun so I had Carter practice putting sunscreen on. While he put the sunscreen on we talked about what body part he was putting it on and then I'd tell him what body part to put it on next.
  • One morning I moved the van so we could use the whole drive way for sidewalk chalk. I drew a straight line, a zig zag line, and a squiggly line. I showed Carter how to walk on each line and he copied me. Then I'd give him directions on how to walk on the line. I'd tell him to jump, hop, slide, skip, march, tip toe, walk backward, take tiny steps, take giant steps, walk fast, and walk slow. It was a lot of fun and he really enjoyed trying the different ways to move on the line.
    Walking the squiggle line.

  • We also played a game outside where I'd say "1, 2 (an action word) to the (object)". For example: 1, 2 jump to the garage or 1, 2 skip to the bush. He loved doing it and then gave me directions on different actions to do and places to go.
  • We also took time for free draw with sidewalk chalk. I encouraged Carter to draw circles and squares. I drew lots of circles and squares myself, saying the steps for drawing them out loud as I made them. I also showed him how to draw a sun by making a circle and then straight lines for the rays.
    Walking off with some chalk.
  • My mom bought a special pool for Carter to have at their house. It blows up and has a slide along with a sprinkler and everything. Carter and Hayden spent the day playing in it on Sunday. There were some balls that came with it and a blow up alligator mouth to shoot into so we talked about what color the balls were and counted them as Carter shot.
    Carter on the slide connected to the pool.
  • We talked about the sun throughout the week. We talked about what time of day the sun is out and what time of day it goes down. Then I pulled Carter's sunshine stuffed animal back out and we played with her. I made up stories about her and told him adventures she had with the moon. We also played hide and seek with her taking turns hiding her for the other one to find. I talked about position words as we played saying things like, "You hid her beside the flower pot!"
    Using a stick to knock sunshine out of the tree where I hid her.
  • To practice telling stories I'd help Carter tell Ty some of the highlights of our day while we ate dinner.
  • For a little sensory fun I made Carter a miniature sand box in a tote. Who knew 40 pounds of sand costs less than $4?!! So worth it! We discussed putting sand in the bottom of his fort which is intended to be a sand box but I didn't want cats pooping in it and we have no way to cover it. Ty pointed out Harper would probably eat the poop (aren't dogs kinda gross?) but who wants to play in sand with poop remnants? Not me, Carter probably would but I won't let him! He had a blast playing in his sand tote. I showed him how to pack sand in cups and turn it over to make the shape of the container which he loved. He enjoyed stacking them to make "snowmen" and then smashing them. Elise even got in on the fun when I put her hand in so she could feel the sand and she grabbed a handful. Then I put her feet in and she didn't really react. After that Carter wanted to put his feet in so I buried them and had him wiggle his toes and then pull his feet out of the sand. Harper would sit and watch his feet emerge with what appeared to be amazement. Carter enjoyed that so much it was all he did the rest of the time we played. He also loved that his Uncie J had come over and was playing in the sand with us.
    Elise doing sand yoga, warrior pose!
  • On a day when it was really hot and we needed to stay inside during the afternoon I made a sticker trail on the floor and had sunshine hidden at the end of it for Carter to find. He really enjoyed it and wanted to make a trail for me. He had me sit in his room and he closed the door. When I came out to follow the trail it was maybe a foot long and didn't go anywhere. I was cracking up. He came up with the idea that when Uncie J came over we'd make a sticker trail for him and Carter would be in our laundry hamper at the end. When Carter heard him come in the room he'd pop out. Instead of getting in the basket Carter put sunshine in at the last minute but it was still neat.
    Following the sticker trail.
    Finding sunshine
    Creating a sticker trail for me.
  • I had a picnic matching game that came out of a Highlights magazine. We played the game just matching the cards not actually playing memory. There was an added challenge in that each picture of a certain object such as a picnic basket looked a little different and they were all different colors. Carter didn't let any of that trick him though!
  • I planned to make a sun using Carter's handprints. Then I decided to make more rays by adding Elise's handprints as well. Our yellow paint was really runny and adding Elise's handprints put a few too many rays on the sun so it didn't turn out all that great but I still like it!
Special Snack:
  • A couple different times throughout the weeks we had popsicles. Once we ate them outside and once we ate them inside. Carter isn't a big fan of really cold stuff so he preferred to let his melt a little bit before eating it. I took that as an opportunity to talk about what made it thaw. Then we talked about whether it melted faster inside or outside. Carter said it melted faster outside and I asked him to guess why. Then I explained it melts faster outside because it is hotter outside due to the sun. I got excited thinking of experiments we can do when he's older, putting one popsicle in the sun and one in the shade to observe as well as putting one on concrete and one on the grass to observe.
    Carter enjoying a popsicle outside with Hayden.
  • One day during our weeks we went to the zoo so we packed a picnic lunch and ate it at the zoo playground.
  • We took Carter to get his first sno cone and he picked cherry flavor. Then he took a bite and said it was too cold. He waited a while intermittently poking it with his finger until he said, "Oh, not too cold." Then he took a few bites before passing it off to me saying it was too cold. Maybe next summer!
Make Believe:
  • One day it was in the 100's and we just couldn't bear the thought of going out into the heat so we stayed inside. We pretended the kitchen was the beach. The linoleum flooring was the sand and our blue rug was the water. We had our beach towels laid out in the "sand" along with some seashells and a star fish Carter has. I got out a beach ball and a bucket for Carter to pretend to fill with sand. Carter had a blast playing with the beach ball and pretending to splash in the water. He even put on his swimsuit for the occasion!
    Carter and Elise at the "beach".

  • Going along with the sun part of the theme, we sang You Are My Sunshine.
Field Trip/Interactive Experience:

  • I took Carter to a couple different splash parks which he enjoyed just like usual. One of the days we took a picnic lunch to eat between playing.

  • Carter went to a swimming pool for the very first time! It worked out great because we went to one with Oma and Opa while we were staying at their house. That way we had them to help at the pool and I could spend some time playing with Carter rather than just sitting with Elise the whole time.
    Enjoying the kiddie pool.
  • Mouse's First Summer by Lauren Thompson
  • Summer Days and Nights by Wong Herbert Yee
  • Summer by Ann Herriges
  • Summer by Cynthia Amoroso
  • Clifford Keeps Cool by Norman Bridwell
  • Hot Days by Jennifer S. Burke
  • Sun Dance, Water Dance by Jonathan London
  • One Hot Summer Day by Nina Crews
  • Marshmallow Kisses by Linda Crotta Brennan
  • Hot City by Barbara M. Joosse
  • Ice Cream Summer by Peter Sis
  • Blackout by John Rocco
  • Night Lights by Susan Gal
  • Mama, Is It Summer Yet? by Nikki McClure
  • Summer: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur
  • Beach Day! by Anahid Hamparian
  • Beach Day by Karen Roosa
  • Summer Beach Day by Liesbet Slegers
  • 123 Beach by Puck
  • Maisy Makes Lemonade by Lucy Cousins
  • Toot and Puddle You are My Sunshine by Holly Hobbie
  • All In A Day by Cynthia Rylant
  • Heatwave by Eileen Spinelli
  • The Raft by Jim LaMarche
  • The Moon Jumpers by Janice May Udry
  • Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff
  • The Sun Is My Favorite Star by Frank Asch
  • Disney Frozen: A Day In the Sun by Frank Berrios
  • What the Sun Sees by Nancy Tafuri
  • Fireflies in the Night by Judy Hawes
  • Ten Flashing Fireflies by Philemon Sturges  


  1. Very cute! Elise looked like a surprised bathing beauty at your inside beach. And Harper laying in the all looked fun!

    1. Oh, silly Harper! She is not a friend of the sand.