Tag Archive for outdoors

Catching Up…

Well, I am obviously behind on my posts. We have been keeping up with our ‘studies’ of the world by reading picture books, making ethnic food, and making art projects. I will try to bring out the highlights here.

We finished North America a while back. We made a sequoia tree out of cardboard :

Here she is attaching green paper to the branches to serve as leaves. This turned out pretty neat!

The ‘ethnic food’ we chose to make for North America included homemade lemonade and Canadian pancakes.  I’m not entirely sure what made the pancakes Canadian, as they were just like the pancakes we make here in the states, but they were delicious nonetheless.

Here are some books we read!

Desert Song by Tony Johnston to read about animals in the Southwest:

The Sugaring-Off Party by Jonathan London to read about making maple syrup (this story is set in a French Canadian family):

The Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews is a story about how Inuits in Canada chop holes in the sea ice and walk underneath it at low tide to harvest mussels. I was fascinated by this book:

We read many more about life in various areas of the North American continent. I think picture books are probably my favorite way to tap into another culture for a small child.

We finished reading about monarch caterpillars and watched a documentary from the library called The Butterfly King. It’s about a college student who collects monarch butterfly eggs from milkweed to raise them. It highlighted how many caterpillars are killed by pesticides and herbicides, and then provided close up video of them growing up.  Here’s a picture of Curly looking for more caterpillars.

Speaking of caterpillars, my husband found an incredible looking caterpillar in our garage and we brought it in. After consulting the internet and an entomologist friend, we concluded that it was a species of Sphinx moth caterpillar. It is currently in a pupa in our fridge, waiting for spring. Here is a not very good picture of it:

I didn’t know if it was poisonous or not at first, so I didn’t want to let it out of the bug case we had it in. It was the largest caterpillar I had ever seen. When it turns into a moth in the spring it should be enormous!

Coming back to North America activities, Curly did this coloring page:

She also did a lot of art not related to North America. Here is one painting in progress.

We continued Kinderbach, which is going well, and did lots and lots of coloring, pasting, and counting. Our K4 year is going well!

I noticed that the look of our backyard had changed dramatically since my last post. Here are a couple of pictures.

Our yard in autumn.

Our yard in autumn. My favorite time of the year!

Our yard right now. A frosty,  beautiful morning!

Our yard right now. A frosty, beautiful morning!

Next up is a post about our studies of South America!

Autumn Leaf Butterfly

I originally saw this over at No Time For Flashcards  and thought it would be a fun and easy craft for us to do. Here are the instructions!

This craft is super simple and fun - it took us maybe 10 minutes.

This craft is super simple and fun – it took us maybe 10 minutes.

First, go out and find leaves that still have the stems attached. Pick leaves that would look like good butterfly wings! I had to search a little bit through all the narrow leaves to find some nice broad ones.

Draw the body of the butterfly on a piece of cardboard. While your child decorates it, cut the stems off the leaves and save them, as they will become the antennae for your butterfly.

Once your child is done, cut the body out of the cardboard and flip it over. Attach the ‘antennae’ to the back with glue or tape. Do the same with the ‘wings’.

Flip back over and add googly eyes, a mouth, and other decorations if you wish. Curly added glitter glue to the body to add some necessary sparkle.

  And walla! A leaf butterfly.

Do you have any fun and easy autumn crafts you would like to share?

Camping Theme, Part 2

Part 2 of our camping theme centered around hiking and fishing. I have to say this was one of our most enjoyable weeks of preschool!

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Here is our book list.  The book We’re Going on a Bear Hunt is an old favorite of ours, so it was a perfect candidate for us to center activities around. First, we made binoculars to take along on our bear hunt. I used two used toilet paper rolls and had Curly decorate them.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

I provided markers and a variety of stickers.

Then we glued them together. It may have been easier to staple them together, but I couldn’t find the stapler. In any case, white school glue worked just fine. Then I used a hole punch to punch holes large enough for yarn to fit through, and we had a pair of binoculars.

Next we made a ‘bear hunt snack’. I showed Curly how to make trail mix. We used cashews, raisins, and chocolate chips. We were now ready for our bear hunt!

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck.

Curly is very excited about the trail mix in this picture. Her finished binoculars are around her neck. Sorry about the poor picture quality…someday I will get a real camera instead of always using my phone.

We headed out into the yard and pretty much just ran around pretending to go through tall grass, wade through a river, get through mucky mud, etc, all while quoting the book. We finally made it to the ‘bear cave’ , which was simply her fort made of sticks we made a couple weeks ago. We then ran like mad back through our make-believe obstacle course of mud and rivers, to finally make it back to our house and jump under blankets on the couch. By this time she was giggling like mad, and I have to admit I quite enjoyed myself. Now Curly asks to go on a bear hunt almost every day.

We did a fish craft that I’ve seen suggested many times. You have your child paint bubble wrap and stamp paper to create the effect of fish scales. It worked pretty well!

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

I taped the bubble wrap around her hand to make it easier to work with.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced a fish shape onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

She really enjoyed the stamping part! I had already traced fish shapes onto the paper to make it easy to cut out.

I did most of the cutting out of the fish, although she did do a little herself. Then she glued the fish onto some blue construction paper.



For a fish snack I made blue jello (for the first time EVER; we never have jello) with gummy worms in it. Lo and behold, my child thinks jello is disgusting. I had to feed it all the husband, who gleefully devoured it. At least it didn’t go to waste!

We did another fish snack that was much more of a hit. All you do is have your child dip pretzel sticks in peanut butter, and then use the sticky pretzel stick to pick up fish crackers. Fishing with crackers! I really wanted to take her on a real fishing trip, but we didn’t have any time to even plan it. We settled on eating fish snacks and reading books about fishing instead.

I grew up in a place where we went fishing almost every day near our house, all summer long, so I have really nostalgic feelings about fishing. I hope she can experience some of the same childhood that I did!

For a math activity I used a bunch of plastic cups we had on hand and wrote numbers on them. Then I had her count out marbles into each cup. I will be saving the cups for many other math activities.

This time of year the prairie is just bright with wildflowers, so I took Curly out to cut some with me to put on the kitchen table. We found mostly daisies and wild sunflowers.

We had a great week!

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!

Robin Eggs, ABC Cards, and (More) Painting

While out in the garden this past week I found part of a robin egg.  We talked about how the baby bird grew inside of it, and once it was big enough, hatched out. She was concerned where the baby bird was at this moment, and I had to reassure her that it was in one of the trees above us, growing big. Robin eggs are so pretty!

She's wearing a jacket because of the mosquitoes...it's nice outside but the mosquitoes this year are atrocious!

She’s wearing a jacket because of the mosquitoes…it’s nice outside but the mosquitoes this year are atrocious!


This week we did lots of activities, all initiated by Curly. (Makes my job easier, that’s for sure!) She wanted to play with an unopened packet of ABC Flashcards that came with the LeapFrog Letter Factory video we have. She went through and named them all, said their sounds, and then flipped them over and did it again. I was very impressed that when she ended she picked them all up, stacked them neatly and put them back on the shelf. I hadn’t brought them out because flashcards aren’t in my agenda of things to introduce her to at this time, but she LOVES them!

One side shows the letter from the Leapfrog Letter Factory video, and the flip side offers an activity.

One side shows the letter from the Leapfrog Letter Factory video, and the flip side offers an activity.


She also practiced tracing letters on this dry erase workbook. She was really into it – if I have a workbook loving child, it will make me so happy; I love workbooks too! I haven’t pushed workbooks at all. This is her first one.

And, of course, we painted. Would our week be complete without it?? I don’t think so! Here she is fingerpainting.

And here she is brush painting. I picked up a big bag of assorted brushes and let her pick which ones she wanted to use.


We had a good week!