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The Butterfly Life Cycle

The Butterfly Life Cycle

We’ve visited our local vivarium and are fascinated by butterflies.  To get a closer look at the butterfly life cycle, we ordered the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden from Amazon and then went onto Insect Lore’s site to order the caterpillars (an extra $5 handling fee). The kids were thrilled to open the package and check out our five little larvae (i.e.: caterpillars). Our tiny caterpillars got bigger and fatter–just like The Very Hungry Caterpillar. And they spun … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Ecology, Featured, Science, Smart Summer Challenge, Summer

Apple Blossom to Zinnia: 3 Flower Alphabet Picture Books

Apple Blossom to Zinnia: 3 Flower Alphabet Picture Books

Flowers are such a lovely part of spring and summer. We’ve planted, pressed, dissected, drawn, and studied these beautiful blossoms and are ready, soon, to move onto pollinators. To enrich our knowledge base of flower types, we borrowed some alphabet books featuring flowers. Flower Alphabet Picture Books The Flower Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta’s Alphabet Books): We own a number of Pallotta’s alphabet books and this one does not disappoint. The marginalia illustrate interesting facts about each … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergartners), Ecology, Featured, Literacy, Smart Summer Challenge, Spring, Summer

F is for Flowers

F is for Flowers

Earlier in the spring, we learned about rain and the water cycle and about the plant life cycle.  Then, once our flowers bloomed, we explored our garden. We dissected flowers, pressed flowers, made daffodil flower crafts out of cardboard toilet paper tubes, and we also practiced writing using flower petals. As with most of our “letter of the week” crafts, I modify it to include writing the whole word for my daughter, who is in … 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), Ecology, Featured, Literacy, Science, Smart Summer Challenge, Smell, Spring, Summer, Taste

Backyard Science – #SmartSummer Challenge Week 3

Backyard Science – #SmartSummer Challenge Week 3

It is Backyard Science week here for the Smart Summer Challenge*. I have been so excited for Week 3 of the Smart Summer Challenge!  Science and art are just such natural parts of a young child’s play that it is just so easy to point out these opportunities for learning…right in our own backyard! I could have filled the entire summer with experiments, crafts and art projects, book lists, games, and more for this theme. Here … Read entire article »

Filed under: Ecology, Science, Smart Summer Challenge, Spring, Summer

#SmartSummer Week 2 Government Linky

#SmartSummer Week 2 Government Linky

Show us how you’re having a Smart Summer! I had highlighted posts from the previous week’s linky to but for clarity’s sake, I’ve moved the round-ups to their own posts: Me on the Map Round-Up Government, Patriotism, and Currency Round-Up I’ve been sharing my family’s Smart Summer activities this week for our Government theme: exercising our democratic right to vote for our favorite ice cream flavor, skip counting coins, We’re also planning on making statue of liberty headbands, finding out … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Featured, Geography, History and Culture, Smart Summer Challenge, Visual-Spacial

Skip Counting with Coins

Skip Counting with Coins

I have to make a conscious effort to ensure mathematics gets equal time in our house.  And, really, there are so many mathematics learning possibilities in play! Just spending ten minutes with dice or coins opens up a world of possibilities. We grabbed our jar of change and sorted our coins. Even toddlers (at least the ones past the mouthing stage) can participate in this step. Then, I printed out a sheet with 10 columns and labeled the top … Read entire article »

Filed under: 5-6 (Kindergarten), 6-8 (Early Elementary), Featured, History and Culture, Logical-Mathematical, Mathematics, Smart Summer Challenge

Delicious Democracy

Delicious Democracy

How do you communicate the basis of democracy to the under 5 crowd? With ice cream, of course! I checked in with my daughter to see if she knows who is president (she does) and how he got to be president (she did not). I explained that people vote for the president.  We skipped over the whole “electoral college” thing but I’ll explain later how you could make that a part of this activity for older kids. Then, … Read entire article »

Filed under: All Ages, Fall, Featured, History and Culture, Interpersonal, Smart Summer Challenge

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

#SmartSummer Challenge Week 2 – Government

#SmartSummer Challenge Week 2 – Government

The second Smart Summer Challenge theme is “Government”! What is the Smart Summer Challenge? Amy of teachmama.com, MaryLea of Pink and Green Mama, and I are challenging our community to beat the “summer slide” (the learning loss that can happen over the summer). We’ll be posting our activities daily, loosely following this calendar of educational summer ideas, and hosting a weekly linky (with PRIZES) for others to share their ideas and activities.  The Week 2 linky will … Read entire article »

Filed under: 3-5 (Preschool), 5-6 (Kindergarten), History and Culture, Smart Summer Challenge

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