"Our Backyard" Unit week 3 - Butterflies

Week three of "Our Backyard" unit was about butterflies, and full of so many fun activities!!  Here are some of the materials that we used:

We kicked off our week by reading The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle. and doing a coloring page.

Little Guy put the caterpillar life cycle cards (from a workbook page I just colored and cut out) in order, and then put our number caterpillar (made with card stock and markers) in numerical order.
Then we colored our own egg carton caterpillars with markers (kind of hard to see the marker in the pictures).

I found these butterfly bead necklaces in the Dollar Tree, and bought them because I knew we could use them during Butterfly Week.  Glad I did because I cut them up and we ended up using them for 2 different activities!
We used them as counters for this number matching activity that I made using stencils (also from the Dollar Tree) and paint:
And then again with this tweezing and sorting activity:
I made this butterfly patterns page using the same stencils with some markers:
Little Guy really liked this big, foam, butterfly puzzle you can find HERE! (But honestly, I found it at TJ Maxx for $2.50!)
We did a life cycle sequence cut and paste page:
Then, to finish off the week, we made our own coffee filter butterflies!
This week we read:


Wellness Wednesday

A captured moment from our lives, meant to inspire wellness of mind, body, or spirit.
Rain is grace; rain is the sky descending to the earth; without rain, there would be no life.
~ John Updike

"Our Backyard" Unit week 2 - Birds

During week 2 of "Our Backyard" unit, we focused on birds.  We did lots of fun, bird themed activities!

Here are some of the materials we used:

You can find the Dora the Explorer Coloring pages over at www.nickjr.com.  We've also been doing quite a few Connect the Dots pages lately from a workbook I bought.  The other worksheet pages and the 3 part cards, you can find over at Homeschool Creations.

The pages from the Printable Pack that require writing I put into a page protector and let Little Guy use a dry erase marker.  That way he can do them over and over again if he wants. 

I was impressed by how well Little Guy did with the 3 part cards.
First I had him match the pictures,
and then the words. 

We worked with our pattern blocks to make a bird.

We filled a humming bird feeder with nectar and placed it outside to observe this summer.

I also had Little Guy peel a hard boiled egg.  He really liked this! 

He did not however, love the taste test we performed afterwards.  He's never had the yellow of a hard boiled egg before, and by his reaction, I don't think he'll be eating it again anytime soon!

I made this bird board game that we played all week long.  Little Guy loved this.  The object is to help your bird get back to the nest with food before the babies hatch.   I just used images that I found from the internet for some of the spaces, and two birds from the Dollar Tree as pawns. 
This week we read:

We had so much fun!  Our theme for next week will be Butterflies!


Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park

This past weeked we decided to check out a local(ish) state park that's really more like a zoo.  Unlike your usual zoo, the Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park only has animals that are native to our state, which was pretty awesome.  There's only one exception (sort of), a hippo named Lu.  He's only sort of an exception because even though he is an African animal, a former governor named him a citizen of Florida, so he can technically be called a Floridian too! 
homosassa springs wildlife park

The trip started off with a 20 minute boat ride from the main gift shop/information center to the park.  The guide gave us lots of information about the park, and we saw some wildlife on the trip.

All Little Guy could think about was the hippo, so headed there first. Boy, was he huge!  6,000 pounds, which is twice as large as hippos usually get in the wild. 

We learned a lot in the information session, which took about 20 minutes or so,  and during which Little Guy listened attentively the whole time!  I was pretty amazed by that.  He was taking in (and sometimes repeating to me) all that was told to us.   

In case you're wondering about the splatter zone sign, hippos are very territorial (which we witnessed first hand as Lu snorted and chased a few ducks out of his pool), and they mark their territory by spinning their tail and "using the bathroom." 

From Lu the Hippo, we moved on to the manatee encounter, which was awesome!  The manatee is an endangered species and our state animal.  We got to see them from above,

and below.

Then, we headed off to take a look at the other animals.

Little Guy was pretty happy because the snake in the above picture completed his "roasted fox, owl ice cream, scrambled snake" list.  Can you tell he loves The Gruffalo?

We even came across some animals that weren't on our map.

It took us about 3 hours to visit the entire park.  We took the tram ride back to the main parking lot and checked out some of the displays they had in the information center. 

Homosassa Springs Wildlife State Park is open from 9:00 - 5:30pm 365 days a year. Admission is $13 for adults and $6 for kids 6-12.  Kids 5 and under are FREE!  You can find out more about the park at www.floridastateparks.org/homosassasprings


"Our Backyard" Unit week 1 - Garden

Schools in our area are all letting the kids out for summer, but not us.  School time has become part of our daily routine, and Little Guy really has fun with it, so we're just going to keep charging ahead.  We are beginning an Our Backyard unit.  In it, we will be covering Garden/Plants, Birds, Butterflies, and Backyard Critters (ie.  bugs, snails, worms, etc).   

This week we began learning about the Garden.  We started our week off by reading The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle. 

We talked about the life cycle of a plant, and put our story cards in order. 

*Can you tell Little Guy was involved in the set up of this pic?  Race cars galore!
I found a TON of really great printables over at Homeschool Creations.  I used quite a few pages of their Garden Preschool Pack this week.  Here's their sample of what's in the pack:

  Nick Jr. also had some great Dora coloring pages that went well with our theme.  You can find those HERE.

We did a flower color sort using a tray and a lei that I found at the Dollar Tree.  I just cut the lei and pulled all the flowers off.  They were perfect for Little Guy to pick up using his kiddie chopsticks.

I also found this butterfly plant kit for Little Guy.  He was pretty excited about it.  He's been checking it every day  hour to see if it has sprouted!
He added water to the disk to make the soil,
added the soil to the pot,
pressed in the seeds,
and placed the cup on top for a "greenhouse" effect.
We can't wait to observe how it grows!

My original plan for this bead sorting activitiy was to use the kiddie chopsticks, but the beads were just too bumpy for Little Guy to get a grip on them, so he ended up using his hands.  Afterward, he had a great time just pouring the beads from one pot to another. 

Little Guy's favorite activity this week was the Bead Balance.  We just used golf tees in a styrofoam cube for Little Guy to balance his bumpy beads on.  It was so fun!  He would try to do it as quickly as possible and then get frantic and they would fall off.
I love the look of concentration on his face in this pic:

We also worked with the 3 part cards from Homeschool Creation's Preschool Pack, and I made some cutting practice strips using flower stickers. 

Next week in Our Backyard themed unit, we will be focusing on Birds.

Here are the books we read this week:

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