Archive for August 2013

Picture Books About Camping

Here are some books about camping, hiking, fire safety, and fishing!

Click on the books for more information. This post contains affiliate links.

 

Here’s a few more that I had on a list but didn’t find myself:
A Camping Spree With Mr. Magee by Chris Van Heusen
S is for S’mores by Helen Foster James
Boris Goes Camping by Carrie Weston
Stanley Goes Fishing by Craig Frazier
Wishing I Was Fishing by Eva Wells
When Peter Was Lost in The Forest by Hans Peterson
Happy camping!

Camping Theme, Part 1

We’ve been doing camping activities for a couple of weeks. We were supposed to go to Glacier National Park on a camping trip this year, but our plans didn’t work out. So, we’ve been having fun at home instead.

This post may contain affiliate links.

We did a craft involving straw painting, where you blow paint across the paper using a straw. I provided yellow, orange, and red paint and showed Curly how to drop it onto the paper using the straw. Then I showed her how to use the straw. I had mixed the paint to be pretty runny so it wasn’t too hard for her to blow around. Next, I had her paint some popsicle sticks brown and set those aside to dry.

Then it was time to add stars - we used glitter glue in squeeze bottles. I had silver, blue, and gold.

Then it was time to add stars – we used glitter glue in squeeze bottles. I had silver, blue, and gold.

Once she was done adding the stars, I helped her glue the popsicle sticks underneath the ‘flames’ and ta-da! A campfire craft.

Curly was very proud of her campfire.

Curly was very proud of her starry-night campfire.

We did an unrelated art project too. Curly wanted to glue something, so we did an impromptu mosaic.

here she is putting glue down and placing random paper pieces she's cut up

Here she is putting glue down and placing random paper pieces she’s cut up.

The finished mosaic. She chose what color background she wanted to use and she chose all the paper scraps.

The finished mosaic. She chose what color background she wanted to use and she chose all the paper scraps.

 

We talked a lot about fire safety this week. We learned the Stop, Drop, and Roll, which we practiced. I would bring it up randomly throughout the week. Unsurprisingly, Curly found it super fun to suddenly drop to the floor and roll around. What kid wouldn’t?

You can’t have camping week without singing campfire songs. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star is the favorite around here.

We had to have some pretend play. My plan was to have a fire in the backyard, but it’s been so warm here that no one wanted to. Can’t say I blame them! So we just built a fort and made a pile of sticks that was the ‘fire’.

For science we did the next experiment in our science set. We soaked pennies in different liquids to see which liquid would clean pennies better. Lemon juice won out. We talked about how lemon juice has acid in it, and how acids will eat away at things, like grime on pennies.

Curly always enjoys using the tweezers and beakers.

Curly always enjoys using the tweezers and beakers.

 

We also spent some time vising family in Minnesota , and we went out to pick blueberries, something that Curly has been begging to do ever since we read Blueberries for Sal. She acted a lot like Sal – she plopped down in a patch and ate all she could. The ones that ended up in her pail didn’t stay there long!

Many people told us there probably wouldn't be many berries left, but in half and hour we picked quite a bit! The ground was covered with blueberry plants. It was a beautiful day for it too!

Many people told us there probably wouldn’t be many berries left, but in half an hour we picked quite a bit! The ground was covered with blueberry plants. It was a beautiful day for it too!

 

For fine motor skills we continued with the Kumon workbooks.

For literacy skills we continued working on the letters in her name, mostly tracing.

For math we continued on in her logic workbook, Beginning Thinking Skills. She is surprising me with how well she did on some things that I thought would be too hard!

I will post our book list as soon I can; for the 2 weeks we’ve been doing this camping theme we’ve had a lot of books! Also, stay tuned for Camping theme part 2. Part 2 will include fishing and hiking activities.

Picture Book Favorites

Since I’ve started weekly themes with Curly, I haven’t been posting our regular ‘favorite books’ discoveries. I have been keeping track of them, however. I have to say that I am falling in love with picture books. I don’t think I appreciated them as a child, or at least I appreciate them much more now. I love how so much can be told with simple words and simple illustrations, or how beautiful poetry and gorgeous illustrations meant for kids can move me, an adult. Kudos to children’s book writers! They accomplish something special.

Here are some recent favorites! Click on the book images to get more information. This post contains affiliate links.

I highlighted this book by Melanie Watt in our theme about friends and feelings. Curly really loves this book!

Red Sings From Treetops: A Year in Colors by Joyce Sidman would be one of MY picks. Curly sat and listened to it, but wasn’t too into it. I absolutely love the language in this book. The beautiful and descriptive poetry uses colors to describe the seasons in a way I had never read before. It may be that Curly would like it more if she was older; in any case, if your child (or yourself) digs poetry, this is a great pick. This is a Caldecott Honor Book. I noticed that one of her other books, Swirl by Swirl, is also one of our favorites. I’m going to have to check out her other books!

The Sleepy Little Alphabet by Judy Sierra had Curly giggling, which is always a good sign. The parent letters (the capitals) are trying to get the little letters to go to bed, but the little letters have baths to take, dollies to tuck in, and books to read before they are ready. I always appreciate alphabet books that integrate both the upper and lowercase letters. It’s done in a joyful way in this story!

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney is a mostly wordless book, but Aesop’s fable is told here with lush and detailed illustrations. I think I’m finally getting the appeal of wordless books – when I first was introduced to them I felt like I had been cheated out of a book! For a wordless book to really work, the illustrations have to really be something spectacular, in my opinion. Mr. Pinkney accomplishes the task with this book. Really, it can be fun to tell the story in your own words, or have your child tell the story based on the pictures. That’s when it gets really interesting. This one is a Caldecott Medal winner.

Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler is a fun one to read for the way it makes you feel; I dare you to read this book without swaying or dancing in your chair. If you accomplish that you need to read it again, because you didn’t get the feeling of the book! With words like “So they Toot-toot-toot and snap-snap-snap and the bouncin’ baby bebops with a clap-clap-clap!” it is a fun one to read to get everyone involved and moving; however I wouldn’t suggest it at bedtime. 🙂 This book received the Theodor Seuss Geisel Honor award.

The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco is one that has been on our list for a long time and we finally got to read it. Mary Ellen declares to her Grandfather that she is tired of reading, so he takes her to find a bee tree. Most of the village takes part in chasing bees back to their tree, and everyone shares the honey that is found. That in itself makes this a fun book, but the ending is especially good. Grandfather has a lesson for her.  You can find treasure in books, if you will just exert yourself to read them.

Theme About Germs and Dental Health

I’m a little behind on my blogging. Doh! Here is what we did for our last theme unit on germs and dental health.

Here is our book list.

I also found a couple of good videos. Sesame Street’s Healthy Teeth, Healthy Me is perfect for preschool age. I also found a Magic School Bus episode on Netflix that explained how germs make us sick – I believe it was Inside Ralphie. Crazy how those videos have been around so long – I remember that episode from when I was a kid!

For music and movement we sang this song to the tune of Row, Row, Row Your Boat:

Brush, brush, brush your teeth
Brush the germs away!
Happy healthy teeth you’ll have,
By brushing every day!

 
We did a really cool science experiment this week. We placed eggs in different liquids in jars overnight to see how the liquids would each affect the egg shell. First I explained to Curly that egg shells are similar to our teeth, so the same thing would happen to our teeth that happened to the egg shell. We did five different liquids – water (as the control), orange juice, white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and coca cola.

In the above picture there are only four, but I added the apple cider vinegar jar later as an afterthought. You will notice the eggs are brown – I didn’t have any white eggs in the house and I figured the experiment would work just as well with the brown ones.

We labeled each jar, and wrote down what time it was when the eggs were placed in their jars. I attempted to hypothesize with Curly – What do you think will happen to the eggs? She was very excited and just repeated that she didn’t know. So, we just said we will have to see in the morning. I was a bit excited to try this experiment just to see the vinegar-soaked eggs. I have seen pictures on Pinterest and it looked pretty cool!

The end result. Since the eggs are brown the effect wasn't as drastic as with white eggs, but the vinegar eggs were squishy (the white vinegar worked a tiny bit better that way)...and bouncy. We bounced them on a cookie sheet. The egg soaked in orange juice looked like some of the egg had been eaten away but it wasn't too bad. The egg soaked in coke was dark brown.

The end result. Since the eggs are brown the effect wasn’t as drastic as with white eggs, but the vinegar eggs were squishy (the white vinegar worked a tiny bit better that way)…and bouncy. We bounced them on a cookie sheet. The egg soaked in orange juice looked like some of the egg had been eaten away but it wasn’t too bad. The egg soaked in coke was dark brown. Of course, the one soaked in water was completely normal.

The next course of action was to see if we could repair any of the eggs with toothpaste. The only one that we were able to make a difference on was the coca cola egg- we brushed off quite a bit of the brown but it was still stained.

Overall, we had a lot of fun doing this experiment!

For art we did some toothbrush painting. I cut out a tooth shape out of yellow construction paper and had her ‘scrub’ the tooth with white paint. After it dried the yellow paper still showed through a bit but she was satisfied. Then she drew a ‘face’ on it and I helped her glue popsicle sticks to it for handles. It became a yellowish tooth puppet. Oh joy!

For math we did a few different things, like counting our teeth and sorting poms poms.

For a fun fine motor activity she strung beads and buttons on a pipe cleaner to make a ‘snake’. This is one we have done before. She enjoyed it much more this time. It kept her busy for a long time.

Notice the all-important princess dress up clothes. Hey, as long as she recognizes that that means I'm the queen.

Notice the all-important princess dress up clothes. Hey, as long as she recognizes that that means I’m the queen.

 

We have a fun little game from Smartgames called Day And Night that she pulled out. Smartgames produces toys and games for toddlers/preschoolers that are supposed to promote problem solving and logical thinking. I really like how they use wood and not plastic in their toys. I’m not sure what the actual difference it makes, but it’s just nicer for whatever reason.

The game works like this: It comes with a little booklet of several pictures of blocks arranged in different ways on wooden pegs, which you try to copy. You help your child at first until they understand the concept. As they figure out one picture without help, they progress to the next. Eventually the pictures are just dark shapes, and you try to figure out the correct placement of the pieces just by the shapes. I appreciated how it really did require Curly to think about what she was doing. A simple and very effective little game!

Books About Germs and Dental Health

We have been having a full week learning all about germs, specifically about hand washing and teeth brushing. I managed to find some fun picture books for this theme! They are as follows: (click on the images for more information about each book)

Germs by Ross Collins is a story about a poor little germ who does not want to infect anyone. He’s too nice to do something so mean! All his roommates at school tease him. He gets sent on a mission by the Germ Academy (where “minor infections are turned into real germs”)  to infect a girl with chicken pox. Curly listened seriously to this story, but my husband and I were giggling throughout the whole book. I was surprised how the author was able to construct a story around a nice little germ. It has a good ending!

Germs Make Me Sick! by Melvin Berger goes completely in a different direction than the above book; this is a nonfiction title with plenty of science in it. It describes the difference between germs and viruses, and how we can protect ourselves from them. It got a little long for Curly, but she retained a surprising amount of information from it.

Wash Your Hands! by Tony Ross is about a little princess who desperately wants some cake. Everyone who walks by tells her to wash her hands again and again, for various reasons (been playing outside, been petting the dog, just went on the potty) before she eat her cake. At the end she gets fed up with all the handwashing until someone finally explains to her that germs from these various activities can make her sick. She finally gets her cake at the end.

Taking Care of My Teeth by Terri DeGezelle is a picture book with real kids smiling, brushing and flossing their teeth. It includes children sitting nicely for the dentist and photos of dentists working on happy kids’ teeth. Hey, it’s all good exposure that may help for the dentist checkups to go smoother. That’s the hope, anyway.


Timothy Tiger’s Terrible Toothache by Jan Wahl is a good one to show that ignoring a toothache will not make it go away; that the good guy in this circumstance is definitely the dentist, who can fix your teeth and make that nasty toothache go away.

 

Here are a couple more books I found in lists but wasn’t able to locate myself:
The Berenstain Bears Visit the Dentist by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Crocodile and the Dentist by Taro Gomi
Body Buddies Say…”Wash Your Hands!” by Leeann Wenkman
Going to the Dentist by Anne Civardi
My Dentist by Harlow Rockwell