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Me on the Map #SmartSummer

Me on the Map #SmartSummer

Although we finished up the Me on the Map theme last week, we had one more activity we wanted to do.  This is a nice transition into our theme for this week: government. The concept behind this activity is to show the child expanding zones.  We begin with the child and the family and then move to the community, the world, and beyond, giving the child a sense of her role in society and her place … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Geography, History and Culture, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Mapping a Nature Hike #SmartSummer

Mapping a Nature Hike #SmartSummer

Knowledge is supposed to enrich our lives, not just reside in dusty books (or hypnotic bits and bytes). So, we took our map skills on the road and used them to explore a “new to us” nature trail. Check out this map! Ain’t she a beaut? Most of the trail maps we encounter are faded, sad affairs. Not this one. This one has a lovely compass rose for finding directions, words for … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Bodily-kinesthetic, Ecology, Featured, Geography, Interpersonal, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Mapping Your Neighborhood for #SmartSummer

Mapping Your Neighborhood for #SmartSummer

Now that we’ve learned a little bit about maps, we are using maps to find our favorite places in our neighborhood. In advance, I printed out maps of our immediate area on Google Maps. Today, I asked both of my children what their favorite place in the neighborhood is. My son (who will be three at the end of August) responded with the name of the local homemade ice cream store. Then, he started scribbling … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Featured, Geography, Logical-Mathematical, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Picture Books About Maps

Picture Books About Maps

We usually turn to books for research and to reinforce themes. Since the children are already familiar with maps from our travels and nature hikes, we are ready to delve deeper into cartography and study up on maps. Here are a few picture books we’ve found that work well with our study of maps. What are your favorites? As the Crow Flies: A First Book of Maps: This is a clever introduction to the concept … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergartners), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Geography, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Life-Sized Self Portrait

Life-Sized Self Portrait

As we begin the Smart Summer Challenge, or any learning adventure, it is important to start with your child “where she is at”. Learning sticks better when children are able to relate knowledge to their own experiences.  This is the “Velcro” theory–new information hooks onto a foundation of earlier observations. One area in which we all have expertise is ourselves. So, a self-portrait is great place to begin a summer of learning. We decided to do life-sized … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Art, Featured, Science, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Weaving the Sun

Weaving the Sun

Today is the summer solstice, the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. We have the most hours of sunlight and the fewest of darkness. Today marks the first day of summer for the Western calendar. For ancient people, this was midsummer (as in A Midsummer Night’s Dream) and St. John’s Day and was celebrated on June 24th. Summer began on May Day. Today we welcome the sun as our hemisphere tilts … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Home Arts, Science, Summer, Visual-Spacial, Weather

Rain Stick

Rain Stick

Not that we need more rain… Since we are studying rain and the water cycle in April, we made rain sticks. This is a nice way to incorporate some culture and music and movement into our studies.  And it is also a simple and fun craft that is always a hit with the kids. Materials long cardboard (paper towel) tube rice soft, flexible plastic (like a sandwich bag or any leftover shrink wrap) construction paper markers, stickers, jewels, etc. for decoration Directions 1. Pour … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 6-8 (Early Elementary), 9-11 (Elementary), Bodily-kinesthetic, Featured, History and Culture, Music, Musical, Spring, Summer, Visual-Spacial, Weather

March Weather Bar Graph

March Weather Bar Graph

Just like we gradually introduce our children to the signs and sounds of language, mathematics pre-literacy is an important first step towards understanding operations and equations. A fun way to familiarize children with the vocabulary and tools of mathematics is to make a bar graph. We’ve done this before with Valentine’s Candy Hearts and for this activity we used our March Lion and Lamb calendar cut-outs. 1. Each day in March, determine whether it is a “lamb” … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Spring, Visual-Spacial, Weather

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss is a favorite at our house (and probably yours, too) for his fun language play and timeless messages. We put together a quick craft to go with The Cat in the Hat. Materials white posterboard red construction paper glue scissors Directions 1. Cut out a tall hat shape from the posterboard. 1b. Note: If you do not have enough posterboard for an entire hat shape, you can cut a band out separately (like we did). 2. Cut a second band for the hat … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Featured, Literacy, Visual-Spacial

Cascading Leaf Spiral

Cascading Leaf Spiral

For those of you who live further north, your leaves have probably already fallen.  On Long Island, ours didn’t really hit their peak until the last week of October and the forests are still a riot of color here. One resourceful friend of mine in Texas has a friend in Vermont ship her a package of leaves so the children may experience the autumn hues.  Fall is one of my favorite parts of living in the … Read entire article »

Filed under: 0-3 (Babies and Toddlers), 1-2 (Toddler), 1-2 (Toddlers), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergarten), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Fall, Science, Sight, Visual-Spacial, Weather