Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Happy day-before-Thanksgiving!  :)  Here are a few pictures of things we did this month:
The little surprise my kids found on their desks the first school day in November.

I created a cranberry bog of sorts in my bathtub and the kids had a blast pretending to harvest cranberries.  Prior to this activity, they watched some short online videos about the process.

I made a featherless turkey and the kids had fun creating feathers for him out of pattern blocks.
We used the same turkey when I sent my son on a sight word hunt (inspired by this post).  His job was to collect the missing feathers, tell me the words, and add them to the turkey.
This was a picture my daughter drew by looking at a picture in a book.  We then glued goldfish to the paper showing how the Pilgrims learned about planting fish with their seeds (inspired by this post).
We also enjoyed hours of pretend play after reading about the Pilgrims.  Our Mayflower was made using two folding tables and a brown vinyl tablecloth.  The mast was a tall box wrapped in more brown vinyl and fitted with a makeshift PVC pipe frame to which we attached our white vinyl tablecloth sail.  We used a sound machine with "storm" and "ocean" sounds on it to make the journey seem more realistic as well.

Here is "Humility" mixing medicine made from real sage leaves, cornmeal, and lard (vegetable shortening was what we had on hand). 

This was our own little settlement complete with fence, fire, garden patch and house.  :)  Isn't it so fun looking?  If I had had more time, I probably would have tried to figure out how to add thatch to the roof.  Oh well.  The main thing is our little Pilgrims looooved playing in here with their babies, fixing leaks, hunting, etc.

I leave you now with a photo of the mini Thanksgiving feast that our kids and their little friend enjoyed together at their settlement.  Our homemade bread is spread with homemade butter!  Yes, I know there is controversy about popcorn and whether it was truly offered that first Thanksgiving - but we opted to have it.  :)

Side note:  Instead of plates, Pilgrims used trenchers.  I really wanted to find some trenchers but eventually had to settle for buying some mini cutting boards (see picture above) instead.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Pumpkins! Pumpkins! Pumpkins!

Happy November!  I am taking a break from building the Mayflower in our dining area.  :)  Actually, I think I can say it is ready to go for pretend play tomorrow - and it isn't that grand - just something rigged up with some plastic tablecloth and boxes, etc.  I have nothing to show you yet in that department via photos, but I DO have some things to share that we did in October this year.

By the way, I loooove October!  It is a "breathe"r month for me as we leave behind the craziness attached to the beginning of school and family events.  :)  Plus, fall is my favorite season so October gives us a chance to enjoy it before the holidays begin.

Here are some snippets from our month...

I apologize in advance for the poor quality of pictures - I am still having trouble figuring out our new computer.
 A pumpkin surprise on each child's desk to welcome the new month!   We carved these into mini jack-o-lanterns which the children kept on their desks until rot dictated otherwise.

Miss A practiced her square roots by building pumpkin patches with orange inch squares.

Then it was time for a real life application when I had the kids build their own pretend pumpkin patch.  Miss A practiced her problem-solving skills and area equation when planning how big we might want to make the patch if each pumpkin needed roughly one floor square to grow.

The green math problem post-it notes on the floor corresponded to "seeds" containing the answers.  To plant a seed, the kids would place the correct seed (answer) under the post-it note.  I tried to make sure there were age appropriate items for both Miss A and Mr. J during the week so each could enjoy preparing our patch.

At times I would have a math review involved with parts of the patch such as the seed activity and the one shown above where the kids had to remove the "weeds" (incorrect math problems) from the pumpkin sprouts (correct math problems).

Other times, they just had fun engaging in pretend play and using their wonderful imaginations!

At night I would "help" our pumpkin patch along so it changed almost every day that week.

These were some jack-o-lantern faces made with pattern blocks (I believe one has an eye patch).

Note:  we've also done something similar in the past with black paper pattern blocks - I just traced pattern blocks onto black paper and cut them out.  This gave more of the illusion of a true jack-o-lantern face, but it is more time consuming to prepare.  

These pumpkin gems (acrylic?) frequently come in handy when we study pumpkins!  This year we used them to practice more patterns.

Bingo is a game my children really enjoy.  Here we incorporated it using math (youngest would place a "pumpkin" pom pom on the number that was called out while the eldest would find the matching math fact on her corrugated cardboard patch).

We also played bingo using words associated with pumpkins (not shown).  I drew pictures to go along with the words for my youngest so he could play along.

Mr. J practiced making sight word pumpkin patches.  We then placed those patches in a pumpkin story that he read aloud to different people.  :)

We created a pumpkin field collage complete with clothespin people and typed stories/poems to go along with their pictures.  Notice my four year old found particular enjoyment in experimenting with the "shift" key.  :)  I helped him a little bit with his story - especially reminding him to add spaces between words.  I think he did an awesome job!  And I LOVE my daughter's cute poem!  :)

We also integrated a little statistics into our morning routine by seeing what kind of pumpkin we'd come up with each day for our calendar.

And speaking of pumpkins, I hope you are enjoying the beautiful season as you watch your own little "pumpkins" learn and grow this year!  :)