Monday, April 1, 2013

Spring Recap

The theme for this past month was Spring.  Here is a recap of all the books we read and things we did!

First we got all of our supplies together by following the supply list.

During week one we read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.  We sat outside to read the book and took a couple of nature walks.  Our plans got delayed by an unexpected snow storm but we turned it into a winter nature walk!  We finally got to go on our outing to the grocery store and then tried some of the foods that the caterpillar ate in the story.  (Lesson Plan / Recap)

In week two we read Who's in the Garden by Phillis Gershator and Baby Loves Spring by Karen Katz.  We made beautiful tissue paper art. While my daughter wasn't able to help a ton she did enjoy playing with the finished project.  Plus, they really brighten up the playroom.  Later we played in our new Spring sensory bin.  We had a ton of fun playing with "egg shakers" otherwise known as Easter eggs filled with popcorn kernels or rice.  (Lesson Plan / Recap)

Week three we read Planting a rainbow by Lois Ehlert.  We took the book with us on an outing to a local garden center.  There we found seeds, bulbs, saplings, flowers, and more.  We had tons of fun exploring the garden center and especially shaking seed packets like maracas!  (Lesson Plan / Recap)

Week four we read Split Splat by Amy Gibson.  We found materials from around the house that we could use to make rain sounds.  Did you know plastic necklaces in stainless steel pans sound like rain? We also used recycled materials and extra Easter eggs to make our own musical instruments! Check out the recap for directions on how to make formula can drums and egg shakers. (Lesson Plan / Recap)

BONUS:  You asked, I'm responding with my big brainstorm of plant/outdoor/Spring related activities!
  • Add dump trucks and rocks to your dirt sensory tub that I suggested in this lesson plan. The dump trucks can carry dirt, rocks, sticks, toys, whatever around the sensory tub. Can your kids make a road and mountains using the dump truck?  What are dump trucks used for in real life? 
  • Use the rocks mentioned above to make letters in the dirt.  
  • Read the book Rocket Learns to Read.  Go around and write in dirt, mud, with leaves, etc. like Rocket does in the book. (I LOVE this book.  It is a great addition to any home library)
  • Add fake flowers to your dirt sensory tub.  Plant the flowers, look at the colors, count them, "water" them, etc.  Remember to review the parts of a plant as you play with them like I mentioned in this lesson plan.
  • Add different color containers to outdoor play.  Have your child put dirt in the blue bucket, red bucket, etc. 
  • Add different size containers to outdoor play.  Put them in order from smallest to biggest, biggest to smallest.  
  • Collect things from around the yard or a park.  Help your child describe the attributes of the objects.  Are they big, little, hard, soft, green, brown, dirty, clean, smelly, etc.  Help your child come up with ways of categorizing the objects they found based on their attributes.  This is a GREAT beginning math and science and activity.  Plus it works on their vocabulary!
  • Play house outside.  Make a "meal" out of mud pies and leaves.  Would you like a side of flowers? A big leaf or a rock makes an excellent plate. A stick can be a fork.  Pretend play is a great way to work on vocabulary, imagination, and social skills.
  • Add props to the dirt play.  Dinosaurs, trucks, dolls, a shoe box for a house, are all great examples.  
  • Have a bunch of left over Easter eggs?  Bring them outside and use them in the dirt.
  • Bring toy food outside or print out pictures or hey bring out real food.  Plant the food in the dirt then harvest it, clean it, and eat it.
  • Add plant labels to the dirt.  Even if you don't actually plant something you can pretend that you did and label your garden.  A piece of paper, crayons, tape, and a popsicle stick or straw are all you need to make super cute plant markers.  This way they can add art to the outdoors.
  • Make a sculpture out of things you find outdoors.  Try to do it without using glue or tape.  String, grass, and long leaves are great ways to hold things together.
  • Have your kids wash your deck or porch (Thanks Amanda for posting this idea on the Facebook page!)
  • Create a car wash outside for all their toy cars.  Your kids will sterilize their toys and have fun at the same time!   
  • Go to a local berry farm and pick berries (you will need to wait for summer for this but it is lots of fun!)
  • Make hand prints, foot prints, elbow prints, etc. in the dirt.  Bring out a measuring tape and measure your prints.  Who has the biggest hand prints?  How has the smallest?  Have fun getting dirty!
  • Check out my kids outdoor Pinterest board
  • Don't forget all the extension activities I mentioned in each lesson plan!

What was your favorite book this month?  Which activity was your favorite?  Our favorite books were Who's in the Garden and Baby Loves Spring.  Both were a big hit.  Activity wise the trip to the garden center was our favorite activity.  Which of the bonus activities do you think you will try?  If you have any questions or what a more detailed explanation about any of the ideas just leave a comment on this post.  Let me know how they go!


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