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.


  1. Wow! You really put a lot into your packs! I love the bridge!

  2. This is an absolutely awesome unit! Love all the thought that went into it. :) We will be doing something along these lines in 2nd grade when we start our American History.