Saturday, July 30, 2011

Last week of July ~Trekking Across California

Where is the summer going???  It is by far my favorite time of the year... warm weather, my kids all home (well most of them have jobs and drive so that isn't true... but we don't have the school schedule), and being able to get outdoors most every day with the daycare children.  Why does it have to go so fast???

This week we spent learning all about "The Golden State"... California.  We had a lot of fun with this state and hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

The cover of our book looked like this.

We left Arkansas on US Airlines talking about all the different
places we could see out the windows... Little Rock the capital, the pine trees and
many forests, the white-tailed deer, raccoons, the diamond mine, the honey bee,
the apple trees, and of course we heard bluegrass music playing over
the speakers in the plane.  As we approached California we
saw very tall trees, a bear, some yellow flowers, a California Valley Quail, a big bridge,
the beach, a museum, and grape orchards.  Looks like a pretty fun state to explore!!!

The next two pages of our book looked like this.

As we always do... we found California on the US map, we talked about the capital
city being Sacramento, we discussed and colored the state flag, we spelled out
California, and we traced/printed the state name.  Below are some close-up pictures
of what we did.

The next two pages looked like this.

On these pages we learned about the Redwood Forest and how big the trees are.  We
measured some Redwood trees using Musings of Me activity that can be found
here.  My older children used rulers and the younger children used unifex blocks. 
Then we waterpainted some Redwood Trees.  You can find the printable here

Measuring trees


Waterpainting trees.

Finished trees.

We then talked about the state mammal... The Grizzly Bear.  We put together
a puzzle of the grizzly and then did a paper piecing of a bear (not really the
 best activity for this, but the children enjoyed it).

 Our next two pages looked like this.

We talked about the state flower... California Golden Poppy... and colored
a picture.  We also talked about the state bird... California Valley Quail...
and colored a picture.  We then made coffee filter flowers using the link
on Musings of Me page.  We used dot markers tocolor the filters,
brown chenille wire (since I had no green) and a yellow pom pom to complete
the flower. 

 Making our Golden Poppy's.

We also talked about the Golden Gate Bridge.  The children were fascinated
by this bridge and we talked about the many bridges they have been over
or under.  We used Musings of Me little bridge book to help us with
our study.  You can find it here. And the children
were just delighted to make there own bridge.

Here is the next two pages of our book.

We had to study the beach and ocean since California's coast is the
Pacific Ocean.  We talked about the oceans of the world and then did
several skills around the ocean theme.  We found
these skills at Homeschool Creations in which you can download here.

We used her pre-writing skills... tracing the dotted line.

Roll and graph... a favorite activity here.

Which one is different

   Sorting animals that live in the ocean vs. on the land.

  I also had plenty of fun art activities to follow... but it was a day of struggle
and not the best listening ears so I picked one.  We fingerpainted
Sea Horses.  You can find the the pattern here. The only reason I picked
this activity is because we haven't had any fingerpainting experiences in
a long while.  Maybe one day we will be able to do some of the others.

 Our last two pages looked like this.

I wasn't sure how these activities were going to go over
with the children... but theyfound it interesting and full of questions. 
We talked about the La Brea Tar Pits first. They learned how
the tar pits looked like lakes due to the rainwater being on top of
the tar.  We did an experiment with water, oil and syrup to show how
the tar pits were able to confuse the animals.  The children first guessed
what would happen when we poured these items into our jar.  We then
guessed what the layers would be.  We watched and
found out that syrup (the heavy liquid) went to the bottom, the oil went
into the middle, and the water stayed on top.  We then experiments
by stirring the mixture and seeing what happened.  They found this very
interesting and felt very sorry for all the animals that
got stuck in the tar pits.

 We then talked about California's grapes.  We did an experiment in which we
found out if we could rehydrate a raisin... a dried out grape.  We put a
raisin in water the day before and discovered what happened today.  Not a
very good picture... sorry!  We also talked about the gold rush in California and
did a letter matching activity with gold bags and coins.

You can download some of the pages and activities we did for California here.

Hope you enjoyed our trip to California.  Thanks for stopping by.

Friday, July 22, 2011


This week was my vacation week and although we didn't have plans to go anywhere special, I had big plans of getting a lot of things done.  Sad to say... not much has been done and today is Friday.  Where did the week go???
My family and some of my kids friends came along with us to Cedar Point (an amusement park close to our home) on Monday.  It was hot... very hot... it poured.... the parking lot had more than a foot of water in some parts... but still we rode just about all the rides and had a great time.
Tuesday and Thursday I worked with my family doing some shredding work for my hubby's former boss.  We had fun emptying about 22 pallets of banker boxes of paper into bins to be shred both days.
My sixteen year old got his temps. and is driving.  This made him very, very happy as I have been putting this off for way to long.
And today I have big plans of getting the house clean, grocery shopping, and getting the wash done.  We shall see how that goes as I'm still sitting here on my computer.
Hope everyone had a good week and is staying as cool as possible.  For the first time this summer I am glad to say we have AC and it is on.  I really dislike living in AC most of the time... but I'll take it with all this hot weather!
My little friends will be back next week and we will be learning all about California.  Hope you'll stop by and see what we did.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Trekking Across the US ~Arkansas

We finally finished up Arkansas.  Hopefully the children know a lot about Arkansas as we spent almost two weeks working on activities from this state.

As we have with the other states, and will continue this format as it is working for this group, we made Arkansas books.  Here is a picture of the cover.

We always start a new state by boarding our pretend US Airlines and taking off
from the state we just studied.  We look out the windows and pretend to see all
the things we learned about the state.  As we approach our new state we have pictures
the children can see of some of the things in the new state.  After landing we place the
state up on our map of the USA (I will take a picture with our California unit).  This
sets the stage for learning about the state.  We then trace the state name, color the state,
and talk about the state motto.

Here is a picture of the next two pages of our Arkansas book.

We talk about where the state is on the USA map and color it, we spell the state
name, we trace and write the state name (older children do cursive), and then we
talked about the state flag and why it was designed as it is and then we tried
to color it.  That was a challenge for my older children... so the younger ones just did
there best... although the book above was a 4 year old.  Below are close-ups of
a few of the activities.

We also made windsocks with the same concept of the state flag.

Here is a pictue of the next two pages.

We talked about the state tree on the page to the left.  The state tree is the pine tree.
We did two activities in which we counted pine tree (you can find here) and sorted
pine cones by size (you can find here).  We talked about how there is many forests in Arkansas
and why it is called "The Natural State".  
On the right side we talked about the state mammal being the white-tailed deer and
talked about another forest animal... the raccoon.  They were very interested in this animal
due to one slipping in my garage recently, causing havoc while we were sleeping and getting to
watch through the door, animal control come in to get him out.  The little bugger must have
liked our garage because no matter how hard we tried to get him out... he wouldn't leave!
Anyways, we did a matching of animal tracks (you can find here) and we sorted forest
plant and animals (you can find here).
All of the forest printables I used were from 2 Teaching Mommies and you can find
more forest ideas here.
My older children had forest math to do and a forest word search instead of these
easier activities.
Below you can see close-ups of the activities.

We waterpainted a white-tailed deer.

Here are the next two pages of our Arkansas book.

We talked about raccons using Musing of Me's poem and raccon page to learn more
about raccons (you can download here).  We also made a paper piecing raccoon (you can find pieces here). 
We talked about the "Crater of Diamonds State Park".  It is the only public diamond mine in which
a small fee will allow you to search for diamonds all day.  You get to keep what you find.  The
children were very excited about this and all decided they would like to visit this park.  We
colored the colors of diamonds you are most likely to find in Arkansas and we matched diamond
rings (older children had different activities).  We then pretended to visit the park and dig
for our own diamonds in our sandbox.  The children (older too) just enjoyed this activity and
are still looking for diamonds in the sandbox!  I just used small clear beads.
You can see close-ups of the two pages below, the raccoon paper piecing and our diamond
digging adventure in our sandbox.

Here is a picture of the next two pages.

We talked about the state insect... the honey bee.  We talked about how honey bees live in there
hives and the job each bee has (Queen, drone, and worker).  We were going to do a tanagram of
a bee but it didn't work out so we just colored it and we matched
bees to flowers by the colors on the bees and flowers (you can find here).  We also made
toilet paper tube honey bees.
You can see the bee/flower color match and the toilet tube bees below.

Here are the last two pages.

On these pages we talked about the state flower... the apple blossom and colored a picture of
an apple blossom. 
We talked about the state music... bluegrass... and the different instruments
used (book in the middle which you can find here).  They really enjoyed listening and dancing
to bluegrass music and seeing and hearing some of the different insturments.  We also blew
over a bottle (jug) and tried to play the spoons... how fun that was!!!!  We found a great deal
of links on "Montessori Tidbits" Arkansas Adventure for our bluegrass adventure.
And we talked about square dancing.  Viewed some square dancing and gave it a try
ourselves.  The children had a blast doing this... we kept it simple... very simple.  We used Oh,
Sussana and simply walked in 3 and clapped, walked out three and clapped (repeat the in and
out), joined hands and walked to the right and then to the left, hooked arms and swung our
partners, and repeated the whole dance again.  Sorry... I had to keep it together so I don't
have a picture of this.
Below is pictures of us playing a jug (bottle was as close as I could get... and spoons).

You can download my part of the book here.

Hope you enjoyed our Arkansas Adventure!