Sunday, May 25, 2008

Back to the Prairie

Today we went back to the prairie to check out the new growth, do some birdwatching, and release the snails we have been studying.

Here are our pictures from today...

This week we...

We watched the movie Hoot and really enjoyed it. The girls also learned about the burrowing owls and how one person can make a difference and help save wildlife.

We played some bingo games this week. One was about space, and the other had lower case consonants.

We went to the park a couple times, had fun on the playground, and saw how big the goslings are getting. We also visited a park in a neighboring county to do some geocaching.

We have been having fun with the new web cam we bought. We bought it to "visit" my dad, but we have also used it to make our own little movies. It's so much fun!

The girls had fun making pictures with glitter...and I had "fun" cleaning up afterwards. No matter how much I think I got it all, I'll still see glitter here and there for a while!

The girls both received their NWF magazines and have read them cover to cover.

We had fun making shadows with our hands. We figured out how to make a dog, bunny, and soaring bird pretty well.

We learned more about China and had a Chinese meal. Olivia and Georgia seem to use chopsticks better than I do...and I've used them quite a few times in my life! They picked up on it quick!

The girls played their geography game, put together puzzles, wrote stories, drew pictures, practiced gymnastics... all the usual fun stuff!

Georgia practiced writing in cursive some more, and practiced playing the recorder, too.

We read some more library books.

Georgia has taken some more pictures with the camera.

Tomorrow we'll be releasing the snails back to the wild. We've really enjoyed watching them but its time to let them go.

I'm sure the girls will also want to make some more movies tomorrow!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Letters and Writing

Georgia has been learning cursive writing. She is doing really well.

Olivia has been working in her alphabet book, practicing writing her letters and recognizing beginning sounds and the letters they start with.
Olivia has also been practicing counting past fifteen. She usually goes from thirteen to eighteen, then in the mid 20s ends up in the 70s somehow.

Forgot to mention when we were entering the playground last time we were at the park Olivia says, "No Dogs Allowed, I guess dogs can't come in here." I looked around and sure enough, there was a sign that said, "No Dogs Allowed." I love those moments. My heart just melts!! It's so exciting!!

She's also noticed the outline of our state on street signs when we are in the car. She points and says, "Hey, that sign has Ohio on it." Love it!

Tonight the girls have gymnastics. Olivia doesn't like her new coach as much as the first one she had. Sometimes she says she doesn't want to go if its going to be the same teacher. Her new teacher is nice, but her first one was really great with the little kids group. And they played fun games that the new teacher doesn't do, like "Scrambled Eggs." Two more classes until the end of this session. I'm not sure if Olivia will want to take gymnastics again next session. She says she doesn't and likes practicing at home, but I'm sure she'll miss it. But, it's her choice. We'll see....

Sunday, May 18, 2008

More Spring Hikes

At Winterrowd, we brought some buckets and collected some snails for studying. We've read about snails and slugs, learned of their anatomy, movement, diet, predators, and defenses. Our snails are fun to watch, crawling around their new home, eating lettuce, snuggling to sleep in groups...

We visited Routzong on Friday. We were surprised that there were not as many wildflowers as last year at this time. We took along our Nature Scavenger Hunt and checked off a lot of the items! Olivia was finding a lot of things that we overlooked. She found a robin's eggshell on the ground, a spider and web, and a snail.

Tree Identification

Had another picnic at the city park. We brought along the Tree Finder book and identified some of the trees around us.


Going along with current events, we talked about the recent earthquake in China. We also read an article about how the Pandas sensed something was about to happen and acted strangely before the quake hit.

On National Geographic we learned more about earthquakes on their interactive Forces of Nature center. We simulated an earthquake in different zones and intensities to see which caused the most damage. We also learned about seismographs, and triangulated an epicenter in one of the activities. We found the boundaries of the tectonic plates, found where we are on the map, and where the closest fault lines are to us.

We also watched some videos on National Geographic as well. Some were montages of home videos taken during an earthquake, others were documentary style.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Gaggles of fun

We went back to the city park last night with Mark. The peacocks must have settled down for the night, because none of them were performing their dance.

We were treated to a nice surprise though. We saw a bunch of goslings! Would that be a gaggle of goslings? We did not see them during the day. They must have been hidden away until it was safe to come out in the evening.

and a duckling going for a swim...

We also saw a mystery duck. Still trying to figure it out!

Earlier the girls worked with money. They emptied the National Wildlife Federation jar that we have been filling for a donation. The girls sorted the coins by denomination before counting them. Georgia figured out different combinations to make a dollar by adding or multiplying. Olivia practiced recognizing the coins by name and value. The jar totaled $42.75.

We also worked on creating a Nature Scavenger Hunt list for us to use on our next hike.

And we put together a little Poison Ivy identification sheet with pictures of the plant in spring and summer. We've already seen a lot of it on our hikes.

Right now the girls are working with playdough. Olivia is mixing colors, and trying to figure out the right combination to get the color she wants.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Armed Forces Day

This Saturday is Armed Forces Day in the United States. The girls watched a Brainpop video about the Armed Forces, and also the video below, from the Gratitude Campaign.

We also went to the city park for a picnic, playground fun, and walk. We saw lots of ducks, geese, robins, cardinals, woodpeckers, peacocks, and a swan. We saw some ducklings, really little ones, following in a row behind mama duck. We also got to witness the peacocks mating dance. He opened up his beautiful plumage and shook it in front of a female, trying to get her attention and affection. It made a rattling sound as well. We didn't bring the camera with us today, though. Next time we'll have to take some pictures of it.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


New Preserve

On Saturday we attended the grand opening of a new county park. The girls liked the ribbon cutting ceremony...and they'll probably be in the newspaper as they were standing right next to the oversized scissors.

Here are some pictures from our walk...

And the girls practiced taking pictures, too. Here's Georgia's pictures from today...

And here's Olivia's pictures from today...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Eggs and Feathers

The girls picked out an activity on inertia from their science experiments book. I gave them each a cooked egg, and an uncooked egg. They didn't know which was which, and had to figure it out for themselves.

They had fun smashing the one they guessed was uncooked! They were right!

Georgia asked Mark about some of her feathers she has found. Mark explained to her which part of the bird the feather came from, and what it is used for.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Rainy Days

The past couple days have been cool and rainy. We've been keeping busy finding things to do indoors, though. Georgia has worked more on the Rainforest lapbook. She's made minibooks on rainforests of the world, Brazil, South America, big cats of the rainforest, and on birds and reptiles of the rainforest.

We haven't been back out to check on the robin's nest. We were hoping to do that today, but there's more rain. We have read in some of their magazines about robins, though. One day, the girls decided to make their own magazine/book. Georgia made one titled "The Robin's Nest". Olivia made one titled "The Fennec Fox Magazine".

They are not finished with them, but when they are, they want me to scan them and put them on here. It's so cute....when they are doing something they'll say, "You want to take a picture and blog it?"

The girls have been learning how to use the camera and have practiced taking pictures. They both want their own camera. I was thinking that it would be a good birthday gift, but their birthdays aren't until September, and there will be so many great opportunities for pictures during the summer. So I need to do some research on the best ones for kids. Some have good reviews, some have bad....

While we can't go out birding, we can watch and identify the birds that come to the feeder. Whenever they see a bird come they get all excited! Today we took some pictures of them.

Georgia and Olivia took the last two photos.

One day this week the girls took out their magnets set and did some experimenting.

They've also looked through the travel magazines some more. Georgia told me about Utah's Salt Lake, and how things can float easier because of the salt. That prompted her to look through our science books and she found some good density activities and experiments to try.

They watched some Brain Pop videos.

They read a lot of books, some library and some of their own. We got a lot of books on China this time, and one of them, The Empty Pot by Demi, is one of Georgia's favorites. It really is a great story. The emperor, a gardening enthusiast, is getting older and decides to choose a successor. He gathers all the children of the village and gives them seeds. He tells them that in a year, the child who brings him the best flower grown from the seeds will be the next emperor. Ping, a child who is already an avid gardener, thinks he'll have no trouble. But the seeds won't sprout. He replants them in richer soil, but they still won't sprout. He tries all he can think of but the seeds will not sprout. After a year, the children are gathered again, bringing their flower pots. All the children have beautiful flowers. Ping has an empty pot. He does not want to go see the emperor but his father tells him that he has done the best he could, and that was good enough. Ping decides to go. The emperor looks at all the children and their flower pots. He frowns. Then he sees Ping and his empty pot and asks, "Why have you come with an empty pot." Ping tells him of all he did and how nothing wouuld sprout. It was then that the emperor told them that he had given them all cooked seeds; none of their flowers should have sprouted. Ping was the only one to be humble and honest, and he was named emperor.

I love that story!
You can read the entire text here.

The girls also had their gymnastics class on Tuesday. Saturday Georgia has a nature class called "Beginning Birders." Beginning? he he he Olivia's class is next Thursday and is called "Let's Get Growing." Saturday there is also a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony for a new county park!

Life of Birds and Mammals

We recently finished watching The Life of Birds series. The three disc series, totaling 600 minutes, was hosted by famed naturalist David Attenborough. The series was wonderful! We got it from Netflix and the girls really enjoyed watching it. The series explored 42 countries, and discussed over 300 species of birds! PBS has a featured webpage for The Life of Birds, which we still need to check out. You can find it here.

We are now starting on the series The Life of Mammals which is just as interesting and exciting! David Attenborough hosts this series, too. We've only watched the first chapter and we are amazed. We didn't realize there were so many marsupials in South America! The first chapter spoke mostly of marsupials, monotremes, and at the end started on placental mammals. We can't wait to watch another chapter! The BBC has a website for the series here.

If you have a Netflix membership I believe you can watch these two series online, as well. But we like to watch them all snuggled up together on the couch. My dad said there was a way to hook the computer to the tv, but I have no clue how to do that...and he's a thousand miles away so he can't help!

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Nature Sunday

Today we went to Winterrowd to check on the robin's nest. The girls also searched the little wetland area and found lots of snails!

We also went to Shawnee Preserve to check on the Mayapples and duck's nest.

Mayapple buds

Sadly, the duck's nest looked like a predator had gotten to it. Mark said the nest was dug up and uncovered, and some of the eggs were cracked and strewn around.

We also did some geocaching at Prairie Ridge, and then accross the way to Tecumseh Point along the creek where the girls had fun playing in the creek!