Monday, May 25, 2009

Target Gardens

Today, Aidyn and I took a casual stroll to our local Target garden section and smelled the flowers, trees, and herbs. We examined and touched all sorts of colorful varieties, and Aidyn even repeated some of the flowers names I recited. He had a ball touring the garden furniture and children's garden gear sections.

Later he went for a nap while watching Microcosmos, a close-up documentary on the lives of insects.

Bugs to Read, Bugs to Eat

Over the past week, Aidyn and I have read several "bug books" such as Bugs, Bugs, Bugs by Bob Barner, Ten Little Sleepyheads by Elizabeth Provost, and The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle. Most of these insects were bugs that Aidyn was already familiar with except for the hilarious roly-poly. Due to his interest in the new bug, we may have to conduct a roly-poly hunt. Also, we took in some books related to gardening such as Zinnia's Flower Garden by Monica Wellington (excellent book!) and finally And the Good Brown Earth by Kathy Henderson.

We have been playing with these toy bugs I bought at the dollar store that "race" down the wall, and Aidyn helped me decorate our theme wall. He applied stickers of garden flowers, ladybugs, bees, worms, and caterpillars. Most of this was review for him, but I think it's worthwhile to spend time specifically on this project.

Yesterday, Aidyn and I enjoyed a bit of a treat. With the help of chocolate pudding, vanilla sandwich cookies and gummi worms, I made "worms in dirt," and Aidyn had a blast eating it and proclaiming, "I'm eating mud!" It may have not been the most nutritionally healthy thing in the world; nevertheless, I believe it forged an emotional attachment to our study in a fun, imaginative, and experimental way.

We also made an attempt to visit a local Japanese garden, but found it closed for a wedding. Instead, we visited the neighboring zoo and let Aidyn run around and inspect the wildlife. Indeed, at many points, he completely ignored the animals and asked about the greenery growing around the cages. We even spotted some strawberries struggling to grow in the late-May sunshine. So our unit somehow leaked itself in fittingly.

This week I plan to take him to some local department stores' garden sections until I can find another public garden in the area.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Bugs in the Garden Month

Theme: Bugs in the Garden

Music: The Four Seasons Springsongs

This month we will be looking more closely at the bugs that run amok in gardens. Along with reading stories about bugs, we will explore the neighborhood, local gardens, and nurseries and observe these insects in action. We may adopt a bucket of worms and add them to our mini-garden. Also, we will be checking out the local flora nearby. It's sure to be a summery, buggy month!

Rainforest Synopsis

Rainforest month was a blast! It's been ages since the last post, but we've been enjoying our learning adventures anyhow. This month, we read through some great books and watched equally interesting videos about the rainforests around the world. Aidyn has added some new words/concepts to his vocabulary: sloth, tree frog, rainforest (of course), ocelot, toucan, and blue morpho butterfly. Our experience at the Rainforest Cafe dazzled us and enlivened the study.

Other notable events this month include our small educational side-trip to the library to meet Firefighters. Aidyn, his dad, and I watched the transformation from ordinary man to firefighter (and with his breathing mask, sounded just like Darth Vader!), and Aidyn even sat in the driver's seat of a fire engine and pretended to speed off.

Additionally, we spent a few days at the Happiest Place on Earth. Watching Aidyn progress, take more risks on rides, show great enthusiasm and imagination, and generally enjoy his childhood warms my heart.

We are one month closer to our apex journey to the California Academy of Sciences and we're enjoying every step of the way!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Field Trip

During our vacation at Disneyland, we made a side venture to the Rainforest Cafe to bring to life all of our rainforest learning. We sat among trees, and vines, and leaves, and noises. Nearby a gorilla beat his chest and bellowed aloud while zillions of colorful fish floated by in a fish tank. Every twenty minutes, we were treated to a thunderstorm where all the animals of the rainforest came alive with hoots and hollers. This restaurant visit enlivened this unit study immensely!

Sunday, May 3, 2009