Thursday, February 28, 2013

Letter J Sensory Bin

If I thought Letter I was hard I was mistaken, Letter J was definitely harder to find things that would fit in a small bin. Luckily we were able to find some things without going to the store! So for the Letter J we had a pair of Eli's Jeans, a Jaguar, a Jeep, a Jet, a Jump rope, and our usual J book, J magnet, and foam J's

As I expected, the first thing he went for was the Jet; he grabbed it quickly and flew it around the room, "ffssssshhhhh."

Then he noticed the Jump rope. He has never seen a jump rope in action other then being used as a cat toy, but today Bria figured out how to jump over it! Of course he wanted to try after that!

We finally settled down enough to look at the remaining things and read the book, but he went right back to the jump rope!  Too bad he is still too little to jump! 

For more sensory fun (including all previous letters) visit my Sensory Page!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I is for Illustrator

Our second Community helper for I is Illustrator!  We always read who a book is written by, but sometimes we skip the person who did the artwork. So I thought we would explore a few well known illustrators (who happen to be the authors as well) and see how the artwork adds to the book.

 I chose Dr. Suess, Jan Brett, and Eric Carle as our author/ illustrators. I chose these three because their pictures are very different from one another and they are all enjoyed by my children. 

Looking at the pictures in the books I asked the girls to describe the pictures.  I guess we need to practice describing because they had a hard time coming up with words that would explain what they were seeing.  In the end, this is what our lists looked like, and at the bottom of each list I wrote the feeling that the girls said they felt based on the pictures.

Then we talked about how if we took the very real looking fox out of The Mitten and stuck him in Fox in Socks it would change the entire book.  How the book really wouldn't make much sense with nonsense words and real pictures. Likewise The Mitten would not be nearly as good with a cartoony fox and other animals.  Instead it would just be silly. 

We also talked about how Eric Carle's pictures are made with paint and tissue paper rather then being drawn like most other illustrators. 

So we learned illustrations enhance the stories they are made for, and illustrations can be done in many different mediums.  Hopefully we will remember to look at our illustrator more often.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Mom's Library (#9 for me)

Welcome to Mom's Library!

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This week my featured posts are all about something dear to me......ANIMALS! 


Fantastic Fun and Learning put together a great Panda Small World Bin. It really looks quite realistic with the bamboo and cute little pandas.

Gift of Curiousity shares many fun penguin activities. I particularly love carrying the egg.

Fireflies and Mud Pies has a fun sensory idea for dinos! Might even make me buy coffee!

Prey Species put together a great group of books about real animals and the unlikely relationships between them. Maybe have to see if our library has some of these.

For more great features visit my fellow Librarians (Please follow them too!): True Aim Education, Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk, and Chicken Babies.

Want to see all the great posts added last week? Click HERE to see the whole collection!

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parents as teachers

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Texas Waterfowl

With the degradation and disappearance of the inland and coastal habitats that these birds depend upon, the natural history of these waterfowl species provides a vital reminder of the interconnectedness and crucial importance of all wetlands.

In their new book Texas Waterfowl, William P. Johnson and Mark W. Lockwood describe the life histories of 45 species of ducks, geese, and swans that occur in Texas.

Cinnamon Teal (male).
Photograph by Greg Lasley, March 2, 2009,
Austin, Travis County, Texas

One such remarkable species is the Cinnamon Teal. This waterfowl’s nonbreeding plumage is almost identical to the Blue-winged Teal. These beautiful birds can be found in the High Plains and in El Paso County. However, they have also been seen in Bexar and Colorado Counties. During the winter, Cinnamon Teal migrate to the western side of the state.

Typically Cinnamon Teal eat invertebrates, seeds and aquatic plants. They also breed anywhere from southwestern Canada into western Mexico with their greatest density being around Great Salt Lake, Utah. Breeding pairs can be found in freshwater wetlands, such as stock ponds, wetlands, and marshes. Their nests are usually on the ground near water, and in short, dense grasses.

During breeding seasons, adult male Cinnamon Teals have a cinnamon red body color, hence the name, while the crown and back of their heads are dark brown to black. Their bellies also range from reddish brown to black. Their bills are a glossy black. Adult females are a mottled brown in appearance and have a slaty bill with black spotting near the edges. However, during nonbreeding times, both closer resemble females with mottled brown feathers.

For more on these beautiful creatures, check out our website or pick up your copy of Texas Waterfowl today!

White Waltham C of E Primary School Meets Sgt Malone

White Waltham Primary School visited us this week to experience our World War 2 Experience.  After basic training the new recruits went on patrol to find parts of a German war plane sent to assassinate Winston Churchill at his country residence.  The place was carrying a new secret bomb which the recruits had to locate and diffuse.

Along the way, we discovered wreckage, evidence of a possible spy, decoded a message and safely diffused the bomb.  The children completed a detailed 'Battle Map' of the area and worked out what type of plane had been shot down.  We never did find the 'spy'. 

Through talking to Sgt Malone, rationing, the evacuation and the Blitz was discussed.  Experiences of seeing the glow of London at night during the raids were shared along with knowledge of what it was like at the time to live through the World War.

All the pupils were excited and happy, especially as they were braving the cold damp weather.  A welcome hot drink and a chance to warm themselves in the Lodge didn't go amiss.  Everyone had an amazing knowledge of the subject and willingly shared with the group.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Snow Castle

It snowed! A LOT! Luckily a couple days after the snow it was fairly warm out and the snow had melted slightly and refroze at night, and you know what that makes? Snow fort snow! The packable sturdy snow you can build with. I think this is my husband's favorite snow because he likes building snow forts. 

So out he went with a container and all the kids. He started with a sidewalk chalk container and decided it was too small, so he switched to a plastic shoe box which worked much better.  Start by packing your container with snow. Once it is good and packed, flip it over and build just like a sand castle.

This snow fort turned into a snow castle when I brought out spray bottles of colored water and a cup. I will say you need your water pretty dark to get it to show up, especially the yellow! The girls happily went to spraying the colored water on the snow castle and then Nathan made a moat with the blue. Eli couldn't help but want to be in the moat; fitting to have a monster in the moat anyhow I suppose.  

As they were coloring the snow, we used the cup to make little turrets for the top of our castle. I also found some "caterpillars" (what the girls call these fuzzy topped weeds) for flags. Nathan dug out an entrance and found a piece of wood for a drawbridge, and Bria used her scarf as a carpet.

The girls were excited when it was finished and their "hangers" (fingers) could play in it. 

That evening I put some colored ice cubes in the freezer to make some Ice Jewels. I figured the girls might want to decorate their castle with them.  I was wrong! They wanted to pretend they were slugs all going to a ball for the princess slug. Yeah, I have no idea how they came up with that. Poor Eli just kept getting told (by the girls) to stay away from their slugs.

Now I have heard we may be getting even more snow, so it will be interesting to see what happens to our castle and the little slugs.  Have you built anything cool out of snow this year?

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I is for Ice Cream Man

Our first Community Helper for I is Ice Cream Man! Ok this really wasn't on my original list, but after seeing this fun Ice Cream Dough at Momma's Fun World (and knowing my great love for the Ice Cream Man), I had to try it!  

Unfortunately for me, I couldn't get the recipe to work quite right.  So, I made my own! I started with the 3 cups of baking soda and added the 3 teaspoons of conditioner, but it wasn't enough, so I kept adding it.  Finally it started to hold together a bit, but now it wasn't as fluffy as I wanted. So I threw in some shaving cream too!

 I also added Kool-aid packets for the color and scent.  A word to the wise, NEVER use the grape flavor! It is not a pretty purple color like you would expect; instead it is a nasty gray with a weird grape-ish smell. Our other smells were strawberry, peach mango, blue raspberry, and vanilla (I used vanilla extract for that one).

I froze it a bit to make it colder for the girls and then turned them loose with ice cream scoops, bowls, and stale cones.

They took turns ordering and filling orders. I might have frozen the ice cream dough a little too long as it was hard for them to get out. It didn't stop them though. They kept right on playing.

Eventually they dumped it all together and asked for sprinkles (of course you need sprinkles on ice cream....what was I thinking). Now that it was thawed a bit they were able to mold it a bit more.

After about an hour we ended up with a weird brown colored concoction that smelled a bit like fruit punch.   Maybe not something I would order from the Ice Cream Man, but they had fun nonetheless.

Now I am really wishing we had a mobile Ice Cream Man around here; to the freezer I go!