Posts Tagged ‘Chicken’

Christmas Trees!

December 1, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 7 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 5 months

2nd December 2010

With the problems I am having with my pregnancy, homeschooling is quite hard to execute at the moment.  I am taking advantage of little bits of time, instead of solid blocks which actually is starting to work quite nicely.

Today we did "Cafe Activities".  My DH loves going to cafes, and has managed to train the rest of us similarly.  We had a routine where we would drive him to work on Thursday mornings, and stop at a cafe on the way for breakfast.  As he is now working from home on Thursdays, this isn’t working quite the way it was!

So today we took a morning tea break, and out of my bag I produced this activity.  I was surprised at how much the boys loved it!  Bandicoot was really challenged by threading the beads on the pipe cleaners, but he loved doing it.

Once we had finished that, I had another dig around in the mystery bag and found these activities:

I had made this one last year for Possum, but Bandicoot loved it.  He sat on Daddy’s lap and said all the names of the shapes as he searched on the tree for where to put them.  We were astounded.  Being a child who won’t sit still, he hasn’t really been taught very much, although he has been exposed to all we do.  The only shape name he didn’t know was "oval".

While Bandicoot was occupied with that, Possum had fun with this one:

"Oh Christmas Tree" from Musings of Me

I had a number of colouring in activities, following the current tree theme as well, but we didn’t need those this morning.  I am sure we will get to them soon!


Some Other Garden Games

November 24, 2010

Possum is 4 years 6 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 4 months

Here are a few of the miscellaneous activities we have had with the garden unit.  They aren’t really tied to a particular book or week, but are some that the boys have enjoyed.

These are pasta flower math mats.   The idea is to take turns rolling the die and you get to put that many "flowers" on the stems on your mat.

I struck a few problems with this:

  • I couldn’t find fiori pasta anywhere!  What gives?  Eventually I found some wheel shaped pasta.
  • I forgot the pasta while I was tinting it, so it all went soft. (Oops.)
  • The timbales where a little big, making it a bit awkward for little fingers to place them on the mat, as there wasn’t much room in between the stems.

All those problems, of course, could be solved by using something else for the flowers (pictures, buttons etc).

  • There are a LOT of stems on a page for Possum, and ridiculously too many for Bandicoot’s attention span.  (Solved by having them complete a sheet together.)
  • Oh, and Bandicoot can’t count, but he still had fun.

These are flower attribute cards.  They can be sorted by colour or by flower size.  I found them here.

Or of course, you could plant them in playdough and make a beautiful flower garden.

Handa’s Surprise

November 17, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 6 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 4 months

The next book we read in our garden series was another Handa book.  It isn’t exactly a gardening book, but it is all about fruit.

In this book, Handa takes a basket of fruit as a gift to her friend Akeyo.  There are various goings-on around her on the way, involving many local animals, all told in the pictures.  Needless to say, when she reaches Akeyo’s village there is a surprise for both of them.

This got us talking about fruit.  We also went a little crazy in the fruit and vegetable department so that we could come home and try all sorts of different fruit.  It was delicious and the boys had a great time eating it all.

We also dug out the wooden fruit and veges to play with again.  It surprises me how much fun they continue to have with them.  They are also very impressed with the felt strawberrries I made.

And we revisited these books again:

"Flowers" "Vegetables" "Fruit"

I cannot praise them highly enough.  The boys love them and they have learnt so much from them.  They are definitely firm favourites here.

Now what could we possibly do for a craft activity?  Hmm.  Boys who love mess…  boys who love paint…  Ah!  I know!  Fruit stamping!

Bandicoot could not get enough of this.  He kept making more and more beautiful pictures.  Once he realised he could stamp and leave an impression on the paper he was hooked.  The colours completely appealed to him as well.  He just kept climbing back up to the (outside) table and doing more.

And as for Possum… well he really isn’t into stamping, but he loved the effect of the fruit juice mixing with the paint.  He really is a whole lot more into colour and texture than form.

We also worked on these dot painting sheets.  We didn’t get through them all, but the boys had fun with the ones that they did.  (They are not so keen on such prescribed activities, especially when it comes to artwork.)  Still, paint is paint!


November 6, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 6 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 4 months

We have some close friends who live in the Hunter Valley.  They are close enough that the menfolk have served in each other’s bridal parties and the kids call the respective parents, "Uncle" and "Aunty".

We were invited to spend the weekend at their place.  Unfortunately, this coincided with my pregnancy being at a rather taxing point, so I was unsure if I would be able to manage the trip, especially with the men planning to attend a local beer festival for about half a day.  However, L, my female friend, suggested taking all the kids (her son included) for a walk while I rested.  This sounded like bliss to me except for one minor glitch – my kids will not go to anyone.  ANYONE.

Somehow, L worked a bit of magic.  Another friend of hers was away, and she was looking after their chickens.  She said to the boys, "Come on, let’s go and feed the chickens" and off they went!  They were a little concerned at leaving me behind, but when we told them there was a hill and Mummy couldn’t walk up big hills anymore until after the baby came, they trotted off and had the time of their lives!  In fact, they had so much fun, that they couldn’t wait until the next day to go again.

Unfortunately, all the best footage is video, but this is them at the gate to the chicken pen.

They came back full of stories about chickens and eggs, and the colours of eggs and finding them, and chicken feed and filling water bowls…  An absolute wealth of information.  It is magic to see them so excited about something new.

So when we got home, it seemed like an appropriate time to dig out this book:

It had been lent to me, but we had not yet had the chance to read it.  It is a delightful counting book (not that you would realise it is a counting book) about a little African girl named Handa.  Every morning she feeds her grandmother’s hen, but one morning she cannot find her.  It is about the adventure of Handa and her friend Akeyo as they search for the hen with a nice surprise at the end.

The boys really, really loved this book.  It was great to read it while the chicken adventure was still fresh in their minds.

Pumpkin Day!

October 31, 2010

Possum is 4 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 3 months

This post is under construction

As so many of the blogs I enjoy following are American, there was a lot of talk about Hallowe’en.  This isn’t a festival that is celebrated very much in Australia, but I still thought it would be fun to mark it in some way.  We didn’t want to go down the path of ghouls and spooky bits, but we wanted to have some fun.

I had six little plastic pumpkins from previous years.  We hung these from the light over the dining table and in the front window.  I also found a bigger one in the same style that we used as a centrepiece on the dining table.  It was actually kind of fun for me, too, because I had filled this one with chocolates and lollies, but the boys were so taken with the pumpkin that they didn’t think to look inside it for a few days.  You should have seen the size of their eyes when they finally did peak inside!

I also found this activity, that I thought would be a nice thing to do, year after year.

Possum was quick to come and get involved.  He was a little disappointed that there was not a great deal more fingerpainting to do.  Fortunately I had some less exciting branches and some dot-paint-markers ready for him to do a variety of other vines, too.  He loved that.

After Possum and I had stamped ours, we managed to coralle DH.  (Who, once the activity was done, really liked it.  If only I could get him more involved in the early stages!)

Finally, Bandicoot had his turn, with some help from Daddy.  He was really proud of his efforts and loved doing it, too.  Of course, there was mess involved, so that always helps!

(Can you see the big pumpkin on the table, there?)

Then of course, with all the talk of American Thanksgiving approaching, and with the book, Eddie’s Garden, approaching in our lesson plans, I thought it was time to find a recipe for Pumpkin Pie.  I have never had pumpkin pie before, and DH only had it when he lived in the US when he was 14, so I was pretty curious.  This was my offering:

And inside, with maple cream on top:

We all enjoyed it, and I will  be making it again.

I had planned to talk about nocturnal animals with the boys as well, but we just ran out of time.

So is it any wonder, with all this talk about pumpkins, that the boys have decided to rename Hallowe’en "Pumpkin Day"?

Gratuitous holiday shots – pic heavy

October 20, 2010

Possum is 4 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 3 months

(Well the ice cream won’t carry, will it?)

Up, up, up….   and DOWN!!!

Some books that we used on holidays…

October 18, 2010

Possum is 4 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 3 months

It is always good to have some fresh books to read on holidays (especially ones that rain!), so I was pleased to borrow some books from sister.

"Imagine" by Alison Lester

I asked her to bring this one, although I had really meant to ask her to bring Magic Beach by the same author.  Never mind, Bandicoot was totally inthralled with this book (so much so that he is getting his own copy for Christmas).  AND he especially loved the page with all the undersea animals on it!

"Seashore" by Henry Pluckrose (Walkabout Books)

This book didn’t work so much for me, but gee, Possum loved it.  He got his Aunty to read it to him over and over again.  And when she wasn’t available, he would sit "reading" it to himself.  (Maybe he sensed I didn’t enjoy reading it so much!)

This book isn’t just about the beach, it includes ports and lighthouses etc, as well.  It certainly sparked a LOT of interesting conversations when we went out for walks.  I loved it for that!

This, however, was my favourite:

"Me and My Holiday" by Denise Burt

This one was published in 1974 so both my sisters and I had a nice giggle at the fashions, remembering our childhood holidays.

But more to the point, it is a really nicely told story of a boy and his sister going on holidays to the beach with their parents.  It starts from packing at home, goes through various activities – walks, playing on the sand, rockpools, fishing, swimming – and ends with him saying goodbye to the beach when it is time for the holiday to end.  I especially loved that at the end of the book, the waves licked his toes as the beach said goodbye to him, as well.

And that is how we said goodbye to the beach on the last day of our holidays, too.

My Naturalistes – pic heavy

October 17, 2010

Possum is 4 years 5 months

Bandicoot is 2 years 3 months

Now we didn’t spend the entire two weeks inside doing activities.  Despite the rain (and lack of rain-coats, but there you go), we did manage to get out and about quite a bit.  I always love exploring at the beach, and it is even more fun seeing it through the fresh eyes of a child to whom so much is new, or is just connecting with other bits of information locked in their heads.

(Actually, that is something I find really fascinating about Possum at the moment.  He loves learning knew things, but it is really special when he ponders it and then gets that spark as he connects something new with something he already knows and then can come up with his own theories and ideas.)

It is also great fun to delve back into the cobwebbed recesses of our brains when we find something that we knew as kids and haven’t thought about much, since.  There were plenty of opportunities for this, too.

For example – these funny things growing on the rocks.  (We can’t remember or find the name of them – if you know, please tell me!)  When the waves go over the rocks, they drink in the water.  Once they have passed they shoot it out again!

DH remembered these from his boyhood and enjoyed teaching the boys how to squeeze them to make them fire.

I was much more excited to find these:

These are where sandcrabs have dug to make their homes beneath the surface.  As a toddler I used to love sticking my toes down the holes and seeing if I could get a nip.  Bandicoot thought that was hilarious fun; Possum thought we were both a bit crazy.  Look at those perfectly rolled balls of sand.

Possum was far more intrigued with all the varieties of seaweed and seaplants that we found.  He hadn’t realised that there were multiple kinds.  He was less impressed that I wouldn’t let him keep all his samples.

Bandicoot surprised me by preferring to hunt for shells.  The prettier, the pinker or the purpler the better!

Sandpools and rockpools…

One day there were lots of jelly fish washed up on the beach…

Bloodworms or crabs…

Pine nuts, anyone?  This was the ground cover between the Norfolk Pines.  We collected some of the nuts and peeled back the layers to see where pine nuts come from.

A grevillia from the yard where we were staying.

Remember all that rain we mentioned?  Well the place we stayed during the second week was right on the river mouth.  When we arrived, the beaches were thick with foam from the mixture of fresh and sea water.

Patterns in the sand from the waves.  

Beachcombing with Daddy.

The Very Busy Spider

September 20, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 2 months

We love this book.  The boys love bugs and insects and creepy crawlies.  I love the way you can feel the spider’s web all the way through the book.  I have previously borrowed this book from the library and this time we borrowed it from a friend, but it is definitely on my wish list.

As I was setting up, Bandicoot discovered my basket…

Apparently I was taking too long to move on to the interesting stuff…

We made these little spiders – inspired by Mama Jenn.  Unfortunately, the legs didn’t stick on with the craft glue we had, so we added some tape “until the glue dried”.

That night I used a bit of Mummy Magic (also known as a hot glue gun in this case) and attached them more permanently.

And the other problem with using pipe-cleaners (er, sorry, chenille sticks as we are supposed to call them now)?  When you stand them on a hard surface and bump them, they make a rather skin crawling sound.  (Admittedly, they sound a good deal more like cockroaches than spiders, but even so…)

Did I mention how much I HATE spiders?  They really scare me.  Pictures, toys – any of them.  I justify myself because we live in a red-back and Sydney funnel-web area, but really they all give me the heeby-jeebies!

But I digress…

I prepared a magic painting for the boys before hand.  I used a white oil pastel to draw spider webs on a piece of white paper.  They then used watered down paint to make the webs show up.  This is possum working hard on his, with his little spider keeping him company.

And this is one of the finished webs:

I was a little disappointed with they way the web showed.  Maybe I should have used tempura paint instead.  However, when we held them against the window, they looked pretty good.

We had quite a discussion about HOW spiders build webs.  I had done a bit of research on this, which was scary business, because you just never knew when you were going to stumble on a picture of a spider.  I found it really fascinating, ‘though.  I was also pleased to see that the pictures in the book were pretty accurate – the drift thread first, then anchor threads, then the radials, (then there was supposed to be the spiral guide thread) and finally the (argh!  Can’t remember the correct name) the threads that go round and round.

Other interesting facts that we learnt:

The distance between the concentric circles is determined by the length of the spider’s legs.  That means that little spiders can catch little bugs and big spiders can catch big bugs.

A webbing spider has three spinerettes (the things that make web).  They have one type for the drift thread and anchor threads.  Another type to build the web and finally a third type for wrapping up their prey.  Cool, huh?

So, using our knowledge about how a spider’s web is built, we drew one in chalk on the driveway (wow, it used a lot of chalk!)

Can you see the blue cross on there?  Possum drew that, because he wanted the spider “to know all about Jesus and how He loves him and how He died to save him”.  I guess the Christian education is sinking in!

We then used the web to play spider and flies.  I thought we might take turns at this, but it is much more fun apparently if it is Mummy spider.

The boys buzzed around the yard and then “got caught” in the web.  Here you can see two little flies waiting to be eaten:

I then had to tip-toe carefully around the web to reach them, wrap them up and eat them.  They thought this was the best game ever!

A couple of days later, we had a lesson on the transience of spiders’ webs.  It rained and washed our web off the driveway, just like what happened to all the real spiders webs out there.

Given my, ahem, lack of affection for the subject matter, I really enjoyed this unit with the boys.

Christmas Paper

September 18, 2010

Possum is 4 years and 4 months

Bandicoot is 2 years and 2 months

The boys were helping Mummy get a head start on the Christmas season by decorating our Christmas paper.  We try to do something like this each year, but given the kid’s ages it is a little repetitive at the moment.  No one cares, ‘though – it is messy and lots of fun.

I use a roll of drawing paper and this year we got some Christmas stampers.  I usually find that the paint stamp pads are a great thing to use.

Of course, I wasn’t counting on Bandicoot and his special gift for making a mess.  There are quite a few multi coloured foot prints on that paper, too!  That boy can make a mess in anything – I have never met anyone like him.  He certainly leaves us in awe.

And if you are a male in my DH’s family for anywhere in the three living generations at least, some things are just more important.