Monday, August 8, 2016

WILD About A New School Year!!!!

It's that time of year again - back to school!   We're a little WILD about starting a new year.   :)

I recruited a few of our stuffed friends to help celebrate the first day in an appropriate fashion.

The sign is available through my new TPT Wild About A New School Year (WANS) pack.  You'll notice as you read further that many other activities we worked on this past week also came from the WANS pack.  For those interested, there is a link to the pack near the bottom of this post along with some very exciting, special news AND a giveaway.  

The monkey sign is from Mardel.  The vines I made by twisting kraft paper.  

Breakfast was cereal that morning - an extra special treat for our family.  I was able to find some cereal boxes with wild creatures on them.  I also added some paper leaves, so it looked like they were hiding in a jungle.

I hesitated to spend any money on the safari hats, but they were on CLEARANCE (at Michaels).  I am so glad I bought them though, because the kids LOVED them and used them quite a bit.

As for the other items, I bought the sticky frogs in the party section at Walmart.  We had binoculars already, so I just pulled them out for my little safari kiddos.  The bookmarks and "Safari Adventure Journal" covers are a part of the Wild About A New School Year (WANS) pack.

Yum!  Jungle juice (actually just some healthy green juice I purchased at the store)!

This was the "bridge" leading into our learning jungle.  I used more kraft paper to make the "ropes".  I cut up unfolded cardboard boxes to make the "boards" for the bridge.  

You didn't think I would just let my kids hop across the boards without making them work to get over to the jungle, did you?  One color was for my son and the other for my daughter.

Once across the bridge, it was time to go exploring.   I used several vinyl tablecloths (about $1 each at Walmart) for this jungle.  

It is kind of hard to see, but a blue one is covering the door to our school room.  I cut it into strips to make it look like a waterfall.

I also bought a jungle (or rainforest?) sounds cd on Ebay and had that playing in the background.  I could not find the same one on Amazon but posted a link to one below that might be similar?

I hid creatures (like those in this picture) inside our little jungle which gave the kids an opportunity to use those trusty binoculars.  They loved pretending to find animals hiding out in the foliage.  The animal pictures I used are part of the Wild About A New School Year pack.

This was the tangled vine mess that greeted my delighted children when they walked through the waterfall (I used party crepe paper).  At first they tried to maneuver their way through it, but eventually they just joyfully crashed through the vines.  Come on, you know you'd do the same... ;)

After chopping through vines, they found that our homeschool elf had taken off with their school supplies once more this year, so they spent some time hunting him down via clues.   The homeschool elf pattern comes from my book "The First Day of Homeschool" (link at the bottom of this post).

I usually wrap some school supplies for the kids and throw in an extra little wrapped treat or some unexpected items.  It is definitely not necessary, but I think it makes our first day of school that much more exciting.  I think I bought this wrapping paper at Michaels.

Lunch time in the jungle!  I sent the kids on their merry way with safari packs.

Behold a teaching experiment for me this year!  I wanted a way to make it easier for the kids to find which activity we would be doing each day related to our week's theme (hopefully making it something they could do more on their own).   There is a shelf for each day, Monday through Friday.  

This set up gives me a spot to organize the items according to which day we plan to use them.  At the end of the week (or during the weekend), I just fill up the shelves with the items for the following week's theme.  When Monday rolls around, we are pretty much ready to go!  :)  

This is an IKEA cabinet with movable shelves.  I think it is BESTA?

We learned about rainforest layers, and the kids worked at building one on a tinier scale.  

This was the "Safari Peek-A-Boo" book (part of WANS pack) we made together.  The kids really enjoyed picking out just the right wiggly eyes for their creatures!  

This was a poem I created to go along with our first week of school and our theme.  The kids used highlighter tape to highlight rhyming words and subbed in jungle sounds of their own at one point.  

I know some parts are blurry, but sadly I had some concerns about other bloggers or teachers grabbing it and using it as their own without purchasing the WANS pack (it is a part of).

This was a cute craft idea that was inspired by this blogger's pirate theme.

Graphing animal crackers inspired by

We spent some time measuring "vines".

This blank "Monkey Match" worksheet is also part of the Wild About A New School Year pack.  I filled it in using math facts for my kids.  Others might want to use it for rhyming words, digraph words, etc.

Do your kids like magnets as much as mine?  If so, they might enjoy the "Bananagains" game (WANS pack).   

Tape a monkey to a magnetic wand or tape/glue magnets to the back of it and drop it on the paperclip pictures of bananas.  The number your monkey picks up (gains) is recorded on your goal sheet and added to the previous total (you have to remember to write the math sentence or you lose your bananas).  First player to reach the goal is the winner!

What would a jungle theme be without exploring some of the different items we get from a rainforest?  I created this punch board using some empty applesauce containers glued to a board.  I put different items (we get from a rainforest in some way) inside each and covered them with tissue paper.  The kids would poke, punch, or peel back the tissue to see what item was in the cup.

This is a picture of our morning board at the END of the first week of school.  As you can see - it was a busy one!

As promised, a lot of our activities were ones I created for my new Wild About A New School Year pack which can be purchased for $2.50 in my TPT store here.

Hope you all have a grrrrrrreat year of homeschooling!