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Must Read ’ Category
Sunday, May 19th, 2013
Did you know this week, May 19-25 is National Wildflower Week?
Okay, so only some of these flowers are actually wildflowers. It’s not a great idea to pick wildflowers if you don’t know the regulations of your region, but we found some gorgeous flowers around our yard and used them for the craft below.
Celebrating Wildflowers emphasizes:
The aesthetic value of plants – a field of wildflowers is a beautiful sight
The recreational value of plants – picking berries is fun for the whole family
The biological value of plants – native plants support other life
The medicinal value of plants – chemicals from plants help combat sickness
The economic value of plants – plant material such as floral greens are commercially valuable
The conservation of native plants – protecting and maintaining native plant habitat
You can download your own free Wildflower Poster (pictured below):
There’s another beautiful poster called Celebrating Wildflowers – Ethnobotany
Teacher Resources for Celebrating Wildflowers Week.
There are also hundreds of celebrating wildflower coloring pages you can print out for the kids:
It’s been a long time since we made pressed flower cards. We did this a lot when the kids were tots, but they still really enjoyed this project:
We spent quite a while looking all over our yard for flowers:
To make a pressed flower card, just arrange the flowers between two sheets of paper, cover with a towel (especially if your child is younger because the paper can tear if they hammer to over-zealously), open and remove the flower residue.
The girls loved making these cards and quickly ran in to write messages for their best friends!
Do you have a favorite flower craft you recommend to celebrate wildflower week?
Friday, May 17th, 2013
While my older kids were learning a lot about the location of the specific countries of Africa, my preschooler was working on world geography again. I thought I’d share some of the activities ED has been doing the past week or two.
As always, we started out by singing the continent song. It’s to the tune of Frère Jacques:
While we sing the song, the kids always point to the continents on a Montessori world map. (What makes it Montessori is the specific colors used for each continent.)
Then, they place the continent label onto the correct spots on the world map. If the child needs it, there’s a control map so she can compare the labels with the words on the map.
I made this pin map years ago and we have used it so, so much. But when I went to link to the website where I got our map, the link no longer worked. So… it’s not perfect, but I made a Montessori world map that you can download for free.
There are two to choose from… one has country borders, the other doesn’t. Also I included the continent song so you can print it out if you want it.
Click here to download the free Montessori World Pin Map Packet:
Early next week, I’ll share a couple more of her geography activities and another set of free Montessori printables.
Tuesday, May 14th, 2013
We have been playing a couple of wonderful geography games in our homeschool. We have the Africa version, but you can also buy these same games in a version of Europe, Asia, or the Americas.
The first is a card game called WorldWise Geography (Africa) I got for just a couple of dollars (it’s a different version that the one I linked to. It looks like the game has been updated a bit.) We didn’t play it quite like the rules indicate, but the kids loved it so much they asked to start school with it (and the other geography game) each day last week!
Each card has a country on one side and the neighboring countries or bodies of water that surround it on the other. We played with the map side face up and each person looked to see if they had one of the neighboring cards to place on top. If not they could place a wild card or super wild card or would draw from the pile.
The first couple of times, we played with are cards face up so we could all help one-another (to make it less competitive). This game was great for my kids (ages 7 and 9), but it is much too complicated at this point for my 5 year old.
The other game we played is a wonderful board game called 10 Days in Africa. In this board game, each player is give 10 cards. Each person has to take a trip across Africa by going from country to a bordering country. If you have a jeep, you can travel to any other country. And, if you get an airplane (let’s say a green plane), you can travel from one green country to another green country by plane. You cannot end your trip with a jeep or a plane ride.
There are three draw piles and three face up cards to choose from when it’s your turn. You can discard onto any pile. Each play should always have exactly 10 cards (you just can’t see all the cards in the picture below because we were trying to figure out how to make the trip work!)
Here is a winning trip:
I can’t recommend this game enough for your homeschool or for a family game night. It’s really fun and educational!
We also have this same game for Europe — 10 Days in Europe… and there is also 10 Days in Asia, 10 Days in the Americas, 10 Days in the USA. Just choose the geography you’re interested in learning and you’ll be building your dream trip too!
Monday, May 13th, 2013
We are winding down our school year and will be bringing our Africa unit to a close in the next week or so. The past couple of weeks we’ve been reading about East Africa. We’ve read about a number of countries and then learned a bit about the Maasai people. The Maasai are semi-nomadic people who live in Kenya and northern Tanzania. They have quite distinctive customs and dress and live quite close to the game parks. Here are a couple photos from wikimedia of a woman and children with beaded necklaces around their necks:
We read about the Maasai warriors and learned about the rite of passage boys undertake to become a warrior. The Maasai warrior’s shield is on the flag of Kenya:
Many years ago, my Mom went to a conference in Nairobi. While she was there she went on a safari and bought a Maasai beaded necklace. After my Mom has passed away my Dad gave the necklace to me. I took the necklace down from the wall and let the kids all try it on:
After spending quite a bit of time examining our necklace and the ones in the books we had on hand, the kids set about making their own… while I read aloud:
The kids have also worked quite a bit on the geography of East Africa with our pin map.
We used the flags of Africa from Montessori Materials to create country pins for our pin map (African Flags-page 1; African Flags-page 2). You can print out a map of Africa from our Africa Learning Packet:
I have a couple of wonderful geography games we’ve been playing, but I’ll save that post until tomorrow.
Friday, May 10th, 2013
It has been a while since we’ve done any lapbooks. I saw this free robin lapbook over at Dynamic 2 Moms and asked the girls if they would be interested in doing one on robins. ED and DD both said, “Yes!” So, I printed everything out and the girls set to work.
If you’ve never heard of a lapbook, it is a cute way to display small folded mini-books, flaps, pop-up books, and/or folded display material. The lapbook can include photos, drawings, or anything else that helps them learn about the topic at hand. Kids can add their own information, include questions to quiz themselves on or other interactive activities. They glue their finished pieces into a file folder (see the second photo below).
What I love about lapbooks is that the kids are drawn back to them again-and-again, showing them off to family and friends… even pulling them out to admire their work and repeat the activities.
Here’s a picture of ED as she was putting in the finishing touches… she glued in some extra photos of robins.
Here is a picture of the front so you’ll see how the file folder was folded (the front and back of the folder were folded to meet in the middle). I have to say that ED was horrified when I started to cut her drawing in half, but quickly saw why I was doing that! Whew… catastrophe averted!
By the way, ED signs everything “McKenna…” Her obsession with her American Girl Doll continues as strong as ever!!
In this particular lapbook, the girls learned what robins eat, what predators eat robins, where robins live in different seasons, the parts of the bird and the life cycle of the robin. If you look closely you can see how some of the parts unfold… that’s what makes the lapbooks so appealing and interactive!
ED has brought out the lapbook a number of times (to show Daddy and to look over her work). I love that! Here she is reading the words (egg, juvenile, adult) and matching them to the pictures:
In the picture below, ED is telling me what the colors mean in the map. Lapbooks are a great way to reinforce material and make it exciting!
Here’s another lapbook on bears I did with DD when she was 3 or 4:
As you can see, it was pretty interactive. Below she is feeding the bear (the mouth is open so she could slip the berries, fish or whatever into its mouth)
In this lapbook, I taped in another page in the middle so I could add a few more activities like the color matching activity below (she obviously colored the bears in!):
One last example is this bat lapbook that LD made when he was in preschool:
He was so intrigued by bats! I can’t remember exactly where I got the parts for this lapbook. It might have been from Hands of a Child. I used them quite a bit for a couple of years. They have a free lapbook you can download on Metals.
Here’s a glimpse at the inside of a butterfly lapbooks DD did. You can see more of our lapbook projects here:
Where to Find Free Lapbooks:
I absolutely adore all the free lapbooks shared by Dynamic 2 Moms (Thank you so much Kelley and Tina!). That’s one of the first places I head if we are itching to do a lapbook. I especially love all their free history lapbooks.
Another incredible resource for free lapbooks is Homeschool Share. I bet there’s two or three hundred different lapbooks to choose from there!
You’ll find some free science lapbooks based on the Magic School Bus series over at Yee Shall Know.
Just ask your child what he or she is interested in learning about and give it a try!
One more thing before I go, these days we still use a lot of these flaps, foldables and little envelope sleeves, but we often include them in our science or history notebooks, but the lapbooks themselves seem to have a satisfaction-factor that just can’t be beat. It’s a finished product that the kids can show off and review over and over. That’s why we did so many when the kids were 3-7 or so.
Categories: Lapbooks, Must Read, Nature, Preschool (Age 4), Preschool and Toddler Activities, Science, Useful Resources (websites books etc) | Tags: bat lapbook, bear lapbook, free lapbooks, free robin lapbook, lapbooking with preschoolers, what is lapbooking?