Saturday, April 25, 2009

Field Trip

Today was an important landmark in our family; Aidyn witnessed his very first movie in a movie theater, popcorn and soda and all. We went to the local digital theater in the evening and saw the tremendously awe-inspiring Earth. Harking back to the days of True Life Adventures, Disney is now making more nature films. Aidyn behaved rather well despite his squirmy age. He watched the animals on the big screen with awe and wonder, and at other times, with boredom. Regardless, it was a lovely learning and life experience.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Field Trip

On Wednesday, Aidyn's grandmother took him to the beach in Pacifica and, notably, to the Taco Bell that nearly sits on the ocean's edge. From her report, he had a great time collecting rocks and shells and dipping his fingers and toes in the salty ocean water.

Monday, April 20, 2009

20 April 2009

Today Aidyn and I explored the rainforest cut-outs I recently purchased. We discussed different animals that live in the rainforest which led me to point out his "fun food," Froot Loops, with a toucan on the cover. Excited, he just had to devour a bowlful, so as we did, we talked about the toucans that live in the rainforest and all the fruits they eat in the trees. Later, Aidyn sat down to watch The Magic School Bus: In the Rainforest and afterwards we read three books on the similar subject, his favorite being Way Up High in a Tall, Green Tree by Jan Peck. This turned out to be such a fun living story. For each animal that we "encountered," Aidyn would say, "I love you, ____." When we read about the ocelot, he cooed, "Aw, I love you, ocelot!" It was adorable. After returning home from work, I learned that my husband experienced the same enthusiasm with Aidyn regarding that little book. I may just have to buy it for our collection!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Borneo Rainforest Unit

Theme: Borneo Rainforest
Subjects: bat caves, orangutans, sea turtles, rhinoceroses, toucans, rafflesia, layers of a rainforest, etc.
Vocabulary: island, borneo
Fun Foods: Rainforest sticks, Froot Loops
Practiced skill: counting, number recognition
Music: Music from Borneo

Rainforest Month


In keeping with our major themes suited for our apex adventure, the rainforest is our next exciting stop. For the duration of a month, we will be learning about the rainforest as presented in four different locations: Borneo, Madagascar, the Amazon, and Costa Rica. We will explore the rainforest environment, animals, and plant life. Through the mediums of books, videos, and music, we will submerge ourselves in the tropics. This is sure to be a dazzling month!

Mini-destination goal: The Rainforest Cafe

Week Eleven Synopsis

Reptile week gently re-introduced snakes, turtles, alligators, and crocodiles in a fun, non-threatening way. As it turned out, it became a crafty week as I made a Turtle Toss game, a rattlesnake tail shaker, and a Crocodile Clothespin for Aidyn to play with. We read books about reptiles and viewed online interactive stories such as Clyde's Smile. Aidyn wasn't keen on watching rattlesnake videos, so I decided a trip to the serpentarium would be too much. Regardless, we did go out on a little field trip to a nearby rural barn for local honey. Despite its brevity, we enjoyed this subject and will be sure to visit it again in the future.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Week Eleven, Day Three

This morning I made Aidyn a rattlesnake tail. Using Rattlesnake Dance as a guide, I covered a toilet paper roll with yellow construction paper and filled it with rice. Sealing all the edges, I gave it a shake to show Aidyn how a rattlesnake's tail sound when it rattles. He then pretended he was a snake by hissing and shaking his rattler.

We also watched Clyde's Smile, an animated story about a crocodile who loses his tooth and the friends that help him regain his toothy smile. ( http://www.storyplace.org/preschool/activities/clydesmile.asp?themeid=5) Afterward, we interactively viewed other stories and activities.

Then we headed over to www.mothergoose.com and Aidyn played Monkey Music, his new favorite game.

Also I made him a Crocodile Clothespin. I grabbed a clothespin from the line and colored the majority of it green. I used a white crayon to sketch on the teeth and a black crayon to create eyes. Now the crocodile can snap onto everything.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Week Eleven, Day Two

This morning, Aidyn and I enjoyed a game of Turtle Toss. Afterward, we employed the Play-Doh and made shapes which eventually led to the formation of three snakes named Golden Snake, Pink Snake, and Purple Snake and they proceeded to have amusing conversations together. While we were wrappped in interactive play, I talked with Aidyn about snakes and carefully stirred in our vocabulary words.

When the play time got our tummies rumbling, I made Aidyn two snake pancakes with blueberry eyes. Now it's free time, and Aidyn is running amok, as usual.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Week Eleven, Day One

I took advantage of the early morning hours while my son slept to create and paint a Turtle Toss game. I took a large piece of cardboard, drew a turtle from a bird's eye view, and painted it. Then I cut out shapes on its back. When the game is put up, small objects can be tossed into the holes. So now we have a Turtle Toss game.

We browsed through some of our snake-themed books but did not read them in great detail. Later, Aidyn watched a video called Tell Me Why which was all about reptiles. Sitting on the rocking chair, we interactively viewed Animal Alphabet.

While I was away at work, David and Aidyn read Rattlesnake Dance by Jim Arnosky "about a hundred times."

Today kicked off Reptile Week gently and amusingly.

Week Eleven

Weekly theme: reptiles
Vocabulary: rattle, slither, shed, cold-blooded, oviparous
Practiced skill: Letter recognition for third week, word recognition
Music: TBA
Mini-goal trip: local serpentarium
Audio book: Second half of Peter Pan

Friday, April 10, 2009

Week Ten Synopsis

Although this week was relatively relaxed, Aidyn learned and experienced new things. This was our second week focusing on the alphabet and Aidyn now identifies many letters. He can also sing a rustic version of the alphabet song. Additionally, he is working on common word recognition while I sprinkled words on ordinary objects in our home such as chair, couch, pillow, oven, bed, wall, pantry, sink, and toilet.

He spent some of his time this week at playgrounds playing with other children, watching a little league baseball game and swim meet, and interacting with other preschoolers at our library's storytime.

Also, we took a mini field trip to the local animal shelter and the town fair.

Overall, I enjoyed the relaxed environment of a delight-led "curriculum," but I think Aidyn learns more with a plan. I may draw out 20 activities and he only chooses to do two, but for us, that's still better than no plan at all.

Field Trip

Yesterday afternoon we visited the local animal shelter. Although it used to be the city pound, it has recently became a no-kill shelter. Aidyn, his dad, and I walked along the corridors of kennels and greeted all the dogs, cats, and chickens. I believe these field trips build empathy and social awareness of the plight of homeless animals. Responsibility for these animals start at home with proper care of our own pets. I hope that Aidyn continues to keep a special place in his heart for animals.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Week Ten, Day Two

Today was a surprisingly productive day. I created word cards for common objects in our home and applied them to each object. I took Aidyn on a Tour of Words, and he was able to identify all the words based on where they were placed. He surprised me with "wall" as it was just the word wall on stuck on a random piece of wall. We also did couch, door, window, pantry, bed, oven, chair, toilet, and sink.

Then, out of the blue, Aidyn sang a rustic version of the Alphabet Song over and over. I had no idea how much he knew and was able to perform.

Later, we played with his wooden puzzle boards, and he taught his stuffed duck all about shapes, letters, numbers, and colors. It was adorable to observe him being the teacher.

Overall, although the day was relaxing and unplanned, we accomplished much learning, teaching and imaginary play.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Week Ten

Weekly Theme: a convoluted assortment of delights as the appear (monkeys, firefighters, Easter, spring, puppets, etc.)
Music: Asheba: Soundtracks of Lullabies of Caribbean/Worldbeat style
Practiced skill: Letter recognition and phonics for the second week
Book on Tape: Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie

Week Nine Synopsis

During our first week in complete delight-led learning, Aidyn and I were free to explore themes as they presented themselves. Since he had recently fixated on monkeys, we adopted that theme and allowed it to lead us every which way. On a whim, we purchased a playful monkey suit for him that he has been wearing off and on. He rambles about in his best monkey impersonation. This imaginary play has encouraged him to eat "monkey sticks" and emboldened him to try kiwis, which he now loves. Additionally, we read several monkey books and perused a Zoobook about different kinds of Old World Monkeys (a nice throwback to anthropology for me!).

Also during the week on bike rides, we opened ourselves up to whatever lesson the world would present to us (with a little help from Mama). For instance, during our bike excursion, we hunted for letters and called them out on sight. When we passed the water tower, we both exclaimed our town name. On the way to the bike path, we frequently pass a fire station where the trucks and sometimes uniforms and firefighters can be easily seen, and we have conversations about the role of firefighters to the community.

Aidyn has become a fan of Meet the Letters and can identify several letters at random.

With Easter approaching, we have discussed rabbits and eggs. Aidyn painted some "eggs" (construction paper cut in the shape of eggs) and has learned to crack an egg all by himself (and clean the mess up afterwards!).

Throughout the week, Mozart filled our background with lovely, vivacious symphonies. Later, an animated singer/songwriter/folklorist musician from Trinidad colored our air waves with his beautiful children's songs.

We have a stack of assorted stories to enjoy this weekend that cover all the above subjects: monkeys, firefighters, the Easter bunny, and the letters.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Week Nine Activity

Yesterday, Aidyn's monkey suit finally arrived in the mail. We tore open the package and proceeded to dress him as a monkey that minute while his cousin, uncle, and aunt were here. In full monkey costume, he ran around making monkey noises. Requesting a banana to eat, he said, "monkeys love bananas!" He spent a good while parading around like a monkey. I think this interactive imaginary play is beneficial to his learning about monkeys and their habits, and the best part is: he doesn't even know he's learning!