Tuesday, December 30, 2008

For the Birds

Olivia's nature class for December was about making treats for wildlife. The class read a story by Eve Bunting called The Night Tree.

Afterward, the kids made some decorations like the ones in the story. Olivia made a peanut buttered pinecone dipped in seeds, and she strung some apple rings on yarn. The class went outside and picked out a tree that was accessible from all sides, and was close to a wooded area so the animals could feel safer. Then they decorated the tree with their creations, and some popcorn and cranberry garland as well.

Party for Wildlife

In mid-December we attended a Party for Wildlife at Brukner Nature Center. Everyone that attended brought donations for the animals. We brought various types of food items, such as seeds and vegetables.

We visited with some animals and learned more about them. The nature center is also a rehabilitation center, so the animals they have are ones that were rescued.

The girls learned about an owl, opossum, snake, and a very large and long-lived toad, which they got to touch.

Livy is touching the toad.
checking out "Hoot"
Olivia calls any owl "Hoot" after watching the movie.

The girls each made a treat for the birds to take home.

Olivia is putting peanut butter on a pinecone.
Georgia is, too.
Then they put it in a bag of seeds and shook it.

We also explored the nature center and visited with other animals downstairs.

Olivia can look up and see the turtles from underneath.
This is one of her favorite spots at this nature center.

Georgia and Olivia touching the turtles.

The girls measuring themselves against a very long snake skin.

Georgia is checking out Ohio's Endangered Species...

...and a geologic timeline.

Georgia is playing with a food chain activity

Producers, Primary Consumers, Secondary Consumers, Decomposers, and back to Producers.

We also visited the animals outside.

visiting the bald eagle
and a fox.

We started to take a hike but the rain came and we headed home instead.


This month the girls learned about the history and customs of winter holidays around the world, as well as the seasonal changes in the natural world. We read some library books and visited websites to learn more. Here are some of the places we visited...

Gingerbread Horses

Gingerbread Men

Christmas Cookies

Decorating the tree

Making Trees and Ornaments for a Countdown Poster

They added one of their ornaments each day until Christmas.
The end result...

Touring Daddy's work

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Georgia on the bars

The girls are still taking gymnastics. They love it and have fun with it.

Making a Compass

We made a compass with a pin, magnet, lettuce leaf, and a bowl of water.

Georgia also experimented with her magnets and figured out which ones were stronger, and which were weaker. She used paper clips, magnets of various shapes and sizes, and a pen and paper to make a chart and take notes.

The Art of Rock Balancing

We recently discovered a blog called Think! "A Program Designed to Encourage Kids to Think Outside of the Box." Our first challenge was to have the kids gather seven rocks, and then stack them as high as they can. Here's what the girls came up with...

The Think! site also shared a link to some beautiful photos of rock balancing.


The girls submitted some of their photos which have now been posted to the Think! site.


We have had so much fun trying to balance rocks in different ways. It has a zen quality to it, very relaxing and requires much patience, and very fun to do! We can't wait to see what the next challenge will be!

Fall Hike

We read more about the monkey brains here. We also found a picture at that site of what one looks like when it's sliced open.

Let's Say Thanks

I found this site that allows us to send a note of thanks to our troops serving overseas. It is free. You choose a card design, enter your personal message, then Xerox prints them and gives them to Give2TheTroops to be distributed along with their care packages. Just thought I'd share for anyone interested.



Thursday, November 20, 2008

Wilderness Survival and the Compass

I just love how creative the girls are. They are inspired by so many things in their play. Yesterday the girls played the Expedition Game from National Geographic. Afterwards they packed up some backpacks, made a passport like in the game, drew some maps, thought up some missions, and went on an expedition. They even created a cave using a blanket.

Today they watched the movie Bear With Me, one they've watched before and loved. Right now they packed up their backpacks again. They wrote a list of wilderness survival needs. They packed some bandages for first aid, a snack, compasses, etc. We talked about the compass and different ways to use it. We have one packed in our hiking backpack, but we use the GPS receiver instead. We'll have to use our compass now and then I think, so that we can be prepared. It's a surveyor's compass and I'm not sure how to use the extra parts. Something I think we'll be learning soon! We also talked about how to make our own compass if needed. We're going to try this later. Compasses also led us to a discussion about magnetic north versus true north.

Now I'm off to do some research....

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Thanksgiving Studies

We read some books from the library:

Thanksgiving Poems by Myra Cohn Livingston
Thanksgiving by Natalie M. Rosinsky
The Wampanoag Indians by Bill Lund
Massasoit, Friend of the Pilgrims by Virginia Voight (This is a biography that we started but have not yet finished.)

We still have some more to read another day.

We visited Scholastic's site on The First Thanksgiving. This is a great site!

At National Geographic, Georgia made a Thanksgiving themed Mad Lib, read about the first Thanksgiving, and of Thanksgiving traditions, and had fun with the Cartoon Factory Fill-In.

We also watched a neat video of an "exploding pumpkin." Not exactly Thanksgiving, but fun anyway!

And we played some Thanksgiving themed games at Funschool.com, such as Turkey Flibriks, and Thanksgiving Feast.

We still have lots more sites to check out another day!

Geography Awareness Week Day One

November 16-22, 2008 is Geography Awareness Week, as promoted by My Wonderful World.

Monday's topic is Human Geography and Culture.

Here's what we did:

We listened to music from around the world. We listened to traditional Irish, Arabic, Chinese, Aboriginal, Mexican, Moroccan, Egyptian, and Mongolian.

We even choreographed some dances with the help of Grover from Sesame Street. In the activity Global Grover Grooves we saw him dance on stilts as in Carnival from Trinidad, do a chinese acrobatic routine, perform the Mongolian Bowl Dance, and a Russian Cossack kick-dance.

We learned some folk games from around the world.

We learned some greetings from around the world. We used the site Say Hello to the World, as well as a library book titled Greetings of the World by Dwayne E. Pickels.

We learned about foods and ethnic cuisine from around the world. The girls played the game Mix & Mash at Disney's Pass the Plate site.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

This weekend...

We are all trying to rest up and feel better. This weekend we stayed home as much as we could. We were excited to see snow! But it melted as it hit the ground and eventually switched back to rain.

Georgia and I played a few games of Scrabble this weekend. She used her American Heritage Student Dictionary to look up the words I used that she didn't know.

Olivia looked in her insect book to learn more about her little insect toys.

And she played Boggle Jr a few times. She challenged herself this time. She spelled the word on the card with the cubes, then took the cubes off, covered the word and spelled it on her own.

And she baked some oatmeal raisin cookies with Dad. They were yummy!

Olivia is cracking the eggs.

Georgia watched some episodes on the Discovery Channel about the Iditarod. She is excited to watch some of next years' race, only 110 more days. She can keep updated here. She also watched the Survivorman show a few times. She loves that show.

Olivia played on Starfall. This site is great for young kids learning to read!

Georgia pretended to have her own horse stables. We printed out some pretend checks here. She learned about the parts of a check, and how to fill out a check ledger for keeping a balance. She wants to fill in deposits from her "paycheck", and debits from her "bills" as she manages her horse stables.

Livy's Nature Class ~Bears~

Thursday Olivia went to her nature class and learned about bears. Each child was asked ahead of time to bring in their favorite teddybear. Olivia brought in her polar bear named Snowflake. The naturalist was excited that she brought it in because it was the most realistic looking bear. She asked Olivia to come up and talk about it.

The kids learned about different types of bears, but mostly about the black bear since that is what is found in our state. They got to feel real fur and look at a skull from a black bear. They looked at hind and front pawprints on cards and measured them to their own feet and hands.
The kids went outside to play a bear game. They were each handed a basket to hold which would be the bear's stomach. And they stood in hula hoops which acted as their dens.
When the naturalist said "go" the kids ran to collect as much food in their baskets as they could before they heard "Snow!" Then they all had to run back to their dens. They did this a few times. The kids really enjoyed it.

Next, they went back inside to do an activity to learn about how a bear's fat layer keeps them warm. They each were given a bag of fat. (shortening) They put a bare hand in ice water, and then a hand wrapped with the fat. They could feel the difference in temperature.

Lastly, the kids fingerpainted a picture of a bear.
Olivia had a great time!