Saturday, January 19, 2013

P is for Pet week

This week I encouraged Mini Piwi to draw with the crayons blank paper rather than tracing anything. I left the printables for the week in her work boxes. After last week's dislike of all things printed I didn't want to push them. However, she did grab a couple by herself and trace some lines with Big Sis.
She really likes this sorting activity from our Mailbox Ocean theme kit. We sorted by colors, sizes, types of creatures or plants. The same evening we learnt about setting up a Fish Habitat. We used Jello for water, crushed cookies for gravel and added a few different kinds of 'fish'. The recipe is here
 It was a very popular lesson snack.
Our second Pet fish day, we made a Fish tank Purse.
 Mini Piwi filled it up with her fish bath toys and the shells she collected on our vacation

Mini Piwi wanted a folder like big sis's lapbook so we added her Fish is a Pet pages: Adding the letter P and Fish to the coloring page (Mini Piwi wanted to paste the 6 letters on top of each other) and counting fish stickers into the purple tank.

We planned to make a trip to the Pet store so we talked about the difference between turtles and tortoises. I surprised the kids with Tortoise lunches to show how they lived on the land most of the time. We had seen a turtle habitat last month visiting the aquarium at Moody. We hoped to see some Tortoises at the store.

 Mini Piwi played with her food and then the grilled cheese turtle was history
Cat day involved a hunt for the letter P in a pretend cat litter box. Nasty? Yes. But there was no doubt Mini Piwi new the letter P after multiple 'scooping sessions'. This was our gross sensory bin.
 A cat made from Shapes.

 The week of pets was wrapped up with a very fun trip to the Pet shop. We regularly visit the Pet shop. To make it different this time but we spent a lot more time looking at each animal and asked the ladies there lots of questions.
There was a tortoise and turtles there so we were able to compare their habitats. At the end of the visit we purchased some cat food and small toys and added it to the donation bin for our local Kitty rescue. Our kitty lived in a similar DFW Rescue center for two years before he chose us so we try to help out these hard working rescuers where we can. Here is a snapshot of some of the fun we had...

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Friday, January 18, 2013

P for Pet Sensory box -yes that one!

I came up with this idea for a sensory bin but I was hesitant to actually do it. This was not because I wondered if Mini Piwi would enjoy it. I knew she would. We talk about delight directed learning but does that involve indulging a 3 year old's sense of humor (about poop)?

This week I discovered two expired boxes of pasta in the back of the pantry and I noticed the cardboard tray from the mandarins was still in the recycling bin. Apologies to the inventor of the sensory bin!

I present to you the Cat Litter box letter hunt...(complete with real cat).

Inside this box was lots of letter p's made from different materials like bubble wrap, pipe cleaners, card, paper and Aluminum foil.
The pasta was supposed to be the 'cat litter'. The letters were buried the 'litter'. You can imagine what the Letters were supposed to represent. I bought Mini Piwi to the table and pretended I could smell a 'donation' from 'Fluffy'. Here is fluffy sitting waiting for us to clean her litter tray.
Mini Piwi put her gloves on and the went to work scooping

The gloves didn't last long bur Miss K was recruited to be the official trash bag holder

The Piwi's played did this together several times before we moved onto the slightly more appropriate Cat shape picture. Mini Piwi proudly showed Daddy her page and scooping skills when he came home. She was pointing out the letter P too so I think the poop scooping activity was a success. I did however remind her to leave the real litter scooping to me.
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Fish bowl dessert

This activity was part of our P is for Pet week theme.

Mini Piwi learnt about a goldfish habitat by making a fun dessert. In the morning we made up some blue jello with canned mandarins. The Piwi's didn't know what it was for, they were just happy I was letting them have Jello (mean mama lol!). I surprised them with this set up.
Blue Jello (water), Mandarins (fish), crushed cookies (gravel), goldfish (extra fish), mini choc. chips (fish food).

 First into the 'tank' went the 'gravel'(to filter the water and to look nice)

Next we added the 'water' and the fish.I explained we couldn't add a lot of goldfish because they needed room to swim around.
 Just a pinch of  'fish food' so the fish don't get sick

 Yummy Fish Tank!
I used this fish tank site for reference.
After our snack Mini Piwi finished up fish day with some sorting.

This is the from the Mail box Theme Kit: Beach & Community Helpers (Preschool). I got it on sale at the Mail box site and it continues to a favorite.

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Fish tank purse craft

The theme this week in Piwi Pre K is P is for Pets. The first kind of pet Mini Piwi explored were Fish. For each Pet this week we made a different page to add to Mini Piwi's Pet book. She glued the letter P onto this coloring page and counted fish stickers as she added them to the page.

To hold her little fish toy and shell collection we made a fish tank purse.

All you need to make this is:
Two Paper Plates
Colored paper
Crayons or paint

We made a 'fish' by from the outline of Mini Piwi's hand. She colored the 'water' in the tank with every shade of blue she could find in our crayon collection.

Big Sis cut the top of the paper plate to look like a fish bowl

The fish was glued to one of the plates and 'glitterized'

A ribbon handle was stapled to the top of one plate and the two plates were taped together.
Mini Piwi was very proud of her new purse!
There were a lot of fish themed books at the Library but the ones that we read about Fish for Pet week were:

A fish out of Water by Helen Palmer ( This was me reliving my childhood with a classic...oh and the Piwi's like it too lol!)

Mr Putter & Tabby feed the fish by Cynthia Rylant. A funny book about a cat with a fish problem. Tabby reminds me of most cats I know who treat fish tanks like their own HD TV. The Piwis thought Perry would be the same with his twitchy tale.


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Thursday, January 17, 2013

Coral reef unit and Make a Splash review

Our house has been full of sea creatures for the last two weeks. Miss K has been working on an Coral reef unit. Mini Piwi had her O is for Ocean theme last week and a P is for Pet (including fish) theme this week.

Miss K's unit centered around a Finding Nemo Science and literature pack from Engaging lessons. She was pretty happy to be watching a movie as part of a lesson. We also have a copy of a read a long version of Nemo. Miss K used this to refer to when she worked on her report on the movie.

To learn some more about the Great barrier reef (where Nemo lives) we also added some components from the Coral reef lapbook @ Homeschool share. It would be an amazing place to see!
Make A Splash (Free Sprit Publishing RRP $13.95)
We also had the opportunity to review a digital copy of 'Make a splash' by Cathryn Berger Kaye and Phillippe Cousteau (Environmental advocate and grandson of the one and only Jacques-Yves Cousteau). It is a guide for kids about how to protect the Oceans, lakes and wetlands. The suggested reading level is Grade 3+ but it appealed to Miss K who is all about animals. It begins by introducing us to the concept of 'service learning'. This involves extending learning with community service projects. Personally I though this was awesome. We have read books about the environment before and after learning about the animals and ecosystems Miss K often asks what we can do to help. This book explains about helping before you find out what needs to be done. I definitely think it would make an excellent resource to most libraries -at home or otherwise.

Disclaimer:I received a digital copy of  Make a Splash, in exchange for an honest review to be submitted to Free Spirit Publishing via Netgalley.Com. I will not receive any monetary compensation from nor Free Spirit publishing. The links to amazon do contain affiliate links where I do receive a small commission for any purchases made through this link.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Tiki tour to: the ducks

Tiki tour (New Zealand slang) 1. A sight-seeing journey with no particular destination in mind 2. Taking the scenic route to a destination 3. To wander aimlessly. source

I spent a good part of my childhood feeding the ducks at Virginia Lake. Like most people we took bread along for them. The ice cream shop across the road from the lake even sold 'duck bread'. When Miss K was 2, we visited the lake with my Dad and she and 'Poppa' fed the ducks together.

Virginia lake. NZ photo source
I discovered this weekend that over the years, we probably weren't doing the ducks any favors by feeding them bread.
The Piwi's wanted to feed the ducks at the nearby pond. Miss K was concerned that they would be hungrier because of the recent drop in temperature. I didn't have any old bread, so we searched google for alternative duck fodder.

The Piwi's hang out with the hungry ducks
I came across What Should I feeds the Ducks on my lake? by the Northern prairie wildlife research center. Apparently Bread is Duck junk food. While they enjoy it as much as we humans probably like donuts, it is not high enough in protein for them. Extra Protein is especially important for female ducks producing eggs and ducklings growing in the spring. If we really want to feed ducks in the wild then it should be high protein duck feed from a local bird store.

We were really intrigued by this caramel colored duck. He seemed to be the alpha duck
Another article by Melissa Mayntz points out also that feeding ducks can also change their behavior. THe ducks are likely to become more tame and too trusting of humans and vechiles. They may also become aggressive in their pursuit of carb loaded treats. This certainly rings true for the ducks at our local pond. These guys literally greet you at the front gate in the hope you have food. Ms. Mayntz had some other healthier suggestions such as cooked rice and thawed frozen peas. Thankfully we had some old rice in the fridge. I feel a bit guilty that I didn't think harder about this before. At least now we know to stop feeding bread. However, I suspect they won't be greeting us as the gate anymore. Rice wasn't that popular.

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