Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Nature Week!


So I decided I needed to keep all our theme materials in some kind of order (and not all over the house), so I grabbed this old basket, that's missing one of it's handles, haha, and used it to store all of our materials for the week. So far it's working perfectly. The size is perfect - I can't put a TON of stuff in there, which means I can't set my goals for the week too high. Whatever I can fit into the basket, is what we'll do!

I'm slowly getting into a routine about these weeks and figuring out what works for us. I picked the last theme based on our visit to the museum, but we had no such adventure to pull from for last week. So instead, I took Monday to watch and listen to my children and take note of their interests that day. They spent the morning outside and after an hour or so it was obvious that they had taken an interest in nature! Bugs, flowers, plants, rocks - you name it, they were playing with it. So with that, I let them continue playing and rounded up our materials for the week - all nature themed of course. (Corbin, at this point, was still doing Farm Animals)

Here is what I collected from around the house (one of my "goals" is not to buy stuff each week, but to use what we have):


I chose two books for the week: Rocks & Minerals - which is an old book from my childhood - I can't even find this version online to link it for you, although it's similar to Smithsonian Handbooks: Rocks & Minerals (Smithsonian Handbooks) .


And The Bug Book, which I found at a used books store a few months back.

Hayden showed some interest in the Rock & Minerals book - especially if we were looking at things he was already familiar with like gold or the pages about sand, fossils, and other recognizable items. We were able to practice colors with the section that talked about using rocks for pigments. Although, really this was just a review - he knows his colors very well. I also had some toy magnifying glasses we used for various activities in the week, and he liked looking at the book with his magnifying glass. But overall, I wouldn't say it was a huge success.

The Bug Book was more on his level and it had some interesting new concepts in there that I think he is still taking in (like how ants talk to each other, etc) and he still seems interested in it.


I gathered a collection of shells, rocks, and coral from around the house (I like to save interesting items like these whenever we have the chance -a lot of these are from our recent trip to the beach), and let Hayden explore them with his magnifying glass. If you've never let them play with a magnifying glass before, it will take some time of "playing" before they are ready to listen to how they use it properly. Mostly Hayden just held it up to his eye and looked around for the first day or two, haha. He's slowly understanding how to use it.

We also did some outside activities as well. We hunted for rocks, then flowers, and Hayden made his own "garden" with a small basket, rocks, dirt, and a flower he had picked. It was really cute until Corbin ran off with it and dumped it all out on my porch - mess, mess, mess. Nothing a quick sweep couldn't fix, but Hayden was pretty sad about that.

I had a lot of activities we didn't get to this week because Hayden spends a good portion of the morning in school, so I am continuing this into a second week. We still have yet to play with the binoculars, or do the activities I picked out from the The Toddlers Busy Book.


The Toddlers Busy Book is a wonderful resource if you need ideas for games or activities. I chose two for the week, but we didn't get to them:

Nature Bracelet - You make a "bracelet" out of tape with the sticky side out and let them find things to stick to the tape to decorate their bracelet.

Picture Box - I cut out pictures of flowers, plants, and other nature items and glued them to 3x5 index cards and put them in a card box. I still haven't shown this to Hayden, but I think it will be a hit when I do. At the very least, Corbin will LOVE this once Hayden is through.


There are also some cute rhymes and songs (nature themed) I wanted to do with Corbin and maybe Hayden if he's interested.

I have a small stack of coloring pages and worksheets we never got to, so I'm thinking we'll finish up these activities this week in our continuation of the nature theme.

So that was our first week, and our plans for this week! I'll update in another 2 weeks on how things went and what we chose next.

If you do preschool-type stuff at home, do you pick themes for your activities or just whatever they're interested in? Or a curriculum? I'm always interested to hear what others are doing!


Anonymous said...

This is awesome! And I simply adored those Eyewitness books when I was growing up! I have all of them at Moms still! Happy learning!

Gail said...

Love the Picture box. I have no index cards or that many old magazines, haha, but I might be able to get a hold of those things cheap, and roland would love this.

A neat little thing I can do while watching TV, haha.

And Hayden's age, might even be able to make them, cutting and gluing.

Gail said...

I would write the word under the picture though, for a more print rich environment

Just Me said...

Actually, the activity called for 3x5 cards, but I just cut up paper into four squares.

Just Me said...

Oh and you don't need magazines for this - just cut up your junk mail! Sales flyers from stores are great.