Monday, June 3, 2013

Around the World: Africa

I filled our travel suitcase with African books, pictures, games and animals for the children to explore.


We read the Greedy Zebra and then the children used marbles and paint to make a white zebra with black   
                  stripes and a black zebra with white stripes. This was so much fun!!!                                         Check out Mama Jenn's blog for instructions.

We read 'Watering Hole' by the brilliant Graeme Base. I used plastic animals and put footprints in Crayola clay the night before. Aiden and Elle then matched the animals to the footprints by the watering hole.

Elle made the games Skisima and The Hyena from the, 'Math Games & Activities from Around the World' We played them throughout our Africa Unit.

We read, 'Safari in South Africa' and Aiden held up each animal as we read about it.

We studied these traditional African dwelling printables from St. Aidens Homeschool.

     Elle and Aiden then created their own using cardboard boxes. 
They used these throughout the unit for pretend play.       

We learned that Africa is approximately 3X the size of the size of the United States. There is a great curriculum guide at the  BU African Studies center.

We found lots of fun crafts in the, "Traditional Crafts from Africa" book like using an egg carton to create Mancala board.       

Aiden and Elle built a zoo. As the week went on it got bigger and bigger and bigger....

Aiden made stand-up African animals to practice his scissor skills (I did the more difficult cuts:)

I found the cute paper doll on the left at and the Egyptian one at Practical Pages.           Aiden wanted nothing to do with them, so Elle ended up making both of them.

The children played the South African game of Drie Blikkies from, "Sidewalk Games Around the World".
Think bowling meets baseball. They had a lot of fun playing it!

I cannot say enough good things about these Geopuzzles. Each country is its own piece. 
All of us have learned oodles about Geography using these.

That's it for Africa!

Happy travels!

Preschool Plant Unit

 “In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”  - Margaret Atwood

            First, we marveled over all the shapes and sizes seeds come in and then we planted them.                
Check out Bonsai Aphrodite to see how to make these newspaper seed pots.

Then we prepared our garden for the Spring while we waited for our seeds to grow. 

Once the Spring nights warmed up we planted our seedlings and watched them grow!We planted cucumbers, snap peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and lots of herbs.

Finally, we began to harvest our crops! This was so exciting for Elle and Aiden...and me!

We also planted a sunflower house this year. We dug an 8' X 8' trench and then planted three packets of mammoth sunflower seeds and watered them daily.

  They grew and grew and grew until eventually they were higher than the roof. 
The children and their friends have spent many hours playing in their sunflower house.

We made yummy sunflower seeds as the flowers faded!

We also studied the dirt from the garden. 

They were surprised at how 'busy' the soil was!

We found a great recipe for dirt paint at Fit Kids Clubhouse and made worm tunnels in it.

                  After playing in the mud the children drew all the things they discovered in the soil.                           

         As flowers from our garden died Elle and Aiden pressed them using a flower presser given to       
us by a gardening friend.

We talked a bit about erosion and how it powerful water is. To demonstrate we created a aluminum foil river and watched how it 'pushed' things along. Aiden spent several afternoons playing in the stream with his
Playmobil 'guys'.

The children learned so much during our 'Plant Unit'. Besides all the amazing science, they learned patience, delayed gratification and to appreciate the quiet beauty a garden provides. We also used the wonderful plant thematic unit shown above from  Teachers Pay Teachers.  I used the Intermediate unit with Elle and the Primary unit with Aiden to reinforce the hands on learning we did.

Happy gardening:)