math · story

Hummingbirds

I have a hummingbird feeder outside my kitchen window. Have you ever seen a hummingbird? They are really small compared to most other birds. Let’s listen to the story Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird’s Amazing Journey by Robert Burleigh.

Check out this live stream of hummingbirds visiting feeders in CA.

Check out All Things Animal TV’s Hummingbird video for more information about hummingbirds.

Hummingbirds are 3-4 inches in length with a wingspan of only 4-4.5 inches in length. Today let’s do some measuring! Can you find items in your house are that are longer, shorter and the same length as a hummingbird? You can use a ruler or a post-it note which is typically about 3″ square.

family activity

Go for a walk

Often times families need time to be quiet together. With the pandemic, children are not going and doing as much as typical. We are spending more time in front of screens and less time in nature, not just because of the pandemic, but because of changes in our world in general.

So, go for a walk! This is an opportunity for you and your child(ren) to get moving AND a chance to chat. Each time you go out for a walk, make it a little longer to build up the endurance. Also, make it fun for them. Here are some ways to do that!

  • search for items that begin with a specific letter/sound
  • search for letters
  • search for numbers
  • count the number of birds/animals/cars etc
  • create a graph to fill in on your walk (types of vehicles, items in nature, types of flowers, colors of houses etc)
  • create a pattern to walk in– step, step, hop or hop, hop, hop, touch your toes or so many other variations
  • march
  • have races
  • set a timer and walk without talking until the timer goes off
  • walk to a set location (playground, pond, the mailbox on the corner etc)
  • walk, stop and listen
  • jump over all the cracks
  • walk backwards, sideways, or spinning

The goal is to spend time together. I encourage you as the adult to do less talking and you might be surprised to see that conversations that can occur in the quiet.

story · topic · writing

Earth

Today we will listen to Todd Parr read his book The Earth Book. This book talks about the things that you can do to help the earth… and why! Remember a big part of what we need to do in taking care of the earth is taking care of the natural resources we learned about yesterday. Children look to take care of things. Today use the format of Todd Parr’s book to write about what you do to take care of the earth and why! It is important to talk about the whys with children. We want them to understand the reason we reduce, reuse and recycle. Just learning the words and doing the actions is great, but understanding the need to preserve and protect will motivate your child to continue these actions beyond Earth Day, this week, this month, this year, their childhood…

family activity · STEAM · topic

Natural Resources

April 22nd is Earth Day. This is day to celebrate the natural resources we find on the earth and how we can help take care of them. Today let’s look at what natural resources are and how we use them. Start by watching this video about natural resources.

Have your child brainstorm a list of natural resources you use every day. Think about what you can do to help protect and preserve these resources. Did you include air, water, soil, trees/plants, animals? Did you think about the fuels we use for our vehicles, to warm our houses and more?

Have your child draw a picture or two of things (s)he can do to help preserve and protect our natural resources. There are many simple things that your child can do even without your financial support, picking up trash, recycling, turning off electricity and water. As a family you can plant trees and plants, create a composting pile, use public transportation/bikes and walking to use your own vehicle less, and so much more.

STEAM · story · topic

Bumblebee

Are you enjoying learning about insects? Today let’s talk about BEEEEESSSSS! Bees! While often people are afraid of bees, honey bees or bumblebees are very important to our world. Let’s learn more. Today’s story is Give Bees a Chance by Bethany Barton.

Want to learn more? Check out these videos:

Are you willing to give bees a chance? What will you do to help the bees?

Children need to learn that they can help. Often times children want to help the environment and other causes, but can’t figure out what they can do. Help your child brainstorm ways that (s)he can help the bees. Can they help plant flowers? Can they make and hang a bee box? Eat local honey?

STEAM · story · writing

Dragonflies

Today we will learn about one type of insect, a dragonfly. Let’s listen to the story Are You a Dragonfly by Judy Allen and Tudor Humphries. Then head over to SciShow Kids (Super Strong Dragonfly) to learn some more dragonfly facts. Just for fun, listen to the song D-D-D-Dragonfly by Pinkfong.

Now… let’s draw a picture and write some facts!

Teaching your child to create a can, are, have chart will assist them in collecting facts. This also becomes the start of writing paragraphs about the topic. When learning to write, provide your child the sentence starter and have them complete the fact “Dragonflies are _____. Dragonflies can_____. Dragonflies have____.” As they get better at writing and understanding the format of writing, they will then begin to use this format in their own informative writing process.

STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic · writing

Head, Thorax, Abdomen…

This week we will learn about bugs! First let’s watch SciShow Kid’s Inspect an Insect. Think about bugs you know… are they insects? Remember an insect has an exoskeleton, 3 body parts (head, thorax and abdomen) and six legs. Here is Dr. Jean singing a song about insect body parts.

Now let’s draw and label an insect. Which type will you draw? An ant, a beetle, a walking stick, butterfly, dragonfly?? Make sure it has a head, thorax and abdomen, only six legs and an exoskeleton.

Children love learning about the world around them. Learning about items found in nature and discovering the fascinating facts about these items motivates children to learn more. This lesson taps into a child’s natural curiosity about why things are what they are. What fits into the category of an insect and why? Learning to draw detailed pictures and label them will help with later studies in science. The incorporation of music helps to connect to additional levels of learning, fun and so much more.

math · STEAM · teaching thoughts · topic

Eggs

Today let’s look at some animals who are hatched from eggs. Can you list some? Did you think of any that are not birds? Let’s read the book Chickens Aren’t the Only Ones by Ruth Heller.

After listening to the story, make a circle map of all the animals that lay eggs that you remember. So many things come from eggs. How many did you remember?

How to extend the learning…

  • hide small animal toys or pictures in eggs and then sort them by animals that come from eggs and not from eggs. Create a simple T chart for use of sorting.
  • Go on a walk and keep a tally chart or write on a T chart all the animals you see and if they come from eggs or not.
  • cook eggs for breakfast, lunch or even dinner!
  • looking to challenge your kiddo? write the names of all the animals they listed on the circle map on small sheets of paper (or just cut them off the chart from earlier). Now have your child put them in alphabetical order. Or, sort the words by beginning sounds. Or by the number of letters in the word. Or by animal type. Or….

Ok… so what is my child learning??? Not only is your child learning about the animals that are hatched from eggs, which in an of itself is a big topic, but they are also: classifying, counting, sorting, observing, discussing, debating, exploring, and more!

By having your child record the observations made you are having your child recall information and then organize the thoughts onto the chart, this is not only a science skill, but also a pre-writing skill (as in before you write, not just before you are able to write). Both the circle map and the T chart are graphic organizers. Sorting, counting, tally counting are all math skills.

By going on a nature walk and observing you are connecting the learning to the real world around you and helping extend the learning. Did you come across any animals that your child did not know where they should be classified?

The use of the plastic eggs and toys brings in an additional element of fun.

STEAM · story · teaching thoughts · writing

Robins

On your spring walk yesterday, did you see any birds? I know there are a lot of birds back in my yard. One bird that has come back from their winter migration is the robin. Robins are often considered a sign of spring’s return. Let’s listen to the story Robin, Songbirds of Spring by Mia Posada. Now, lets see some video about robins while we learn a bit more at FreeSchool’s All About Robins.

I hope you learned a little more about robins.

If today is a nice day where you live, go outside and count how many robins you can find. Or watch from a window. Maybe even put out bits of fruits for the robins to eat.

Maybe you want to do a loose parts project and build your own nest? Think about the items that a bird has access to and use those to construct your own nest. Can you manipulate the twigs, grasses and other natural items to form into a fit and sturdy nest?

Later when you go back inside, draw a picture of one of the robin activities you did outside.

Why do we encourage loose parts projects? Loose parts can be any materials that do not have to be used in a specific way. These can include natural items you find outside, building blocks (including Lego), bottle caps, chenille stems, clothes pins, paper clips, paper, and the list goes on and on and on. Ok… but why? Loose part play provides your child with open ended materials and an idea (the idea isn’t necessary) and then encourages them to use their imagination and creativity to manipulate the materials for play, crafts, creations and so much more. It gives the children the freedom to be open and think of items in different ways.

family activity · STEAM · story

It’s finally spring!

March 20th was the spring equinox. What does that mean? It means it is now spring. Let’s start by visiting SciShow for Kid’s and learning about the science of spring. Then we can listen to the read aloud Spring is Here by William Hillenbrand.

Now take a walk and search for signs of spring. Make it fun! Create a scavenger hunt sheet for your child to use on the walk. Have your child think about the colors he/she might see as signs of spring. Or, have your child think about items they might see. I have created two examples here: