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December 2017

January 2018

Pipe Cleaner ❤️️Heart ✏️Pencil Topper Valentine's Gift

Are you looking for a simple and inexpensive ❤️️ Valentine's Class gift? Julia needs to make 38 class gifts this year, and this super quick and easy Heart Pencil Topper DIY is a perfect fine-motor craft, which will keep those little fingers busy and classmates happy!  These Heart Pencil Toppers would also be great as last-minute Valentine’s Gifts to friends or as party favors! 

DSC_0038What you need: pencils and red pipe cleaners. 
DSC_0038Make a ❤️️ heart shape from a pipe cleaner.

DSC_0038Wrap a ❤️️ heart pipe cleaner over the top of the pencil. 

DSC_0045-2Vola! A simple yet practical Class Gift! 

Please note, that these toppers will stay on, but if mingled with, they may fall off. The solution? Glue them to stay put! 

A note on fine-motor stimulation: Children engage in a variety of fine motor activities such as drawing, tracing, cutting, bead threading, and writing from a very young age. By the age of four, they are expected to be able to write few letters, such as those in the child’s name, and cut with scissors in a straight line. By the time they turn five, a child’s fine motor skills are expected to progress to the point where s/he is able to accurately write all 26 letters, the 10 number symbols, and child's full name with all letters in the proper order as well as cut straight lines and simple curves. By the age of six, children are expected to be able to tie their own shoes, cut out complicated shapes and color “within the lines.” What we can do to meet those expectations is to create a sufficiently stimulating prepared environment where the child will be able to exercise those fine motor skills while carrying on the love of learning, and we can do so by setting up activities that spike an interest, such as themed activities, holiday-inspired activities, and unit studies, amongst the few. 

DSC_0066Read here a post about Classroom Valentine's Gifts (Julia made last year).

DSC_0003-2Julia & Adrian's feet Art Projects, along with 36 Classroom Valentine's Gifts last year.

Hearts from BeadsFor more on pipe cleaner DIY, see here Valentine's Inspired ❤️Hearts Pipe Cleaner Beading Craft.

For more on Valentine-Inspired activities, see here ❤️Valentine's Inspired Activities for Kids.


Frozen Juice ❄️Ice 👄Lips 😋Taste Matching • Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 101 🎥 Series 🎇

This is a very easy DIY sensorial exploration of the sense of TASTE. Tasting activities are my children's favorites, and I like to come up with variations of a traditional Montessori tasting activity. Also, since ❤️Valentine's Day is approaching, we are using 👄 lips shape ice tray, but you can use any ice tray or use holiday-themed ice trays (like a star ice tray for Independence Day, shells for summer inspired activity, etc. ... possibilities are endless).

DSC_0073Pour the juice into the ice tray and put it in a freezer.

DSC_0093Remove the ice tray once the juice is frozen. DSC_0093Offer to pair the food: orange, cranberry, carrots, and lemon to its juice.  

Exploring how our brain and senses work: Did you know that much of what we think of as 👅taste is actually 👃🏻smell❗️The back of your nose is linked to your mouth at the throat so that you can smell the food as you chew it. That is why when you have a 🤒cold, tiny hairs in your 👃🏻nose get clogged with mucus. This stops them from wafting smell particles deep into your nose and makes it hard to smell or taste things. That is exactly why you cannot "taste" anything when you have a stuffy nose!

DSC_0093Matching carrot juice to carrots.
DSC_0093Since I had frozen two of each type of the juice, you may also offer your child to match the two identical tasting ice cubes. But be swift as our ice lips were melting quickly.

See here our original lesson on 5 Basic 👅Tastes (Brain & Senses, Tongue Taste Map). These lessons are a part of the "💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study" -   read here.

For more on Valentine's activities see here "❤️Valentine's Inspired Activities for Kids" roundup. Or see here our last year's "Valentine's 💗 Inspired Shelfies." 


Colorful 🌈 Skittles Fun💧 Water Science Experiment for Kids •🔬⚗️⚖️  101 🎥 Series 🎇

This simple and fun ⚗️science experiment with Skittles is visually astonishing and scientifically intriguing! It is also very easy to conduct at home utilizing 🍭materials you probably have {Do you still have those unwanted 🎃👻Halloween candies?} but 🙅🏼refrain from giving to your 👦🏼child due to artificial coloring⁉️ So, what to do with those ❌not-too-healthy 🍭sweets? ⚗️Science experiment of course!

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What you will need:

  • a plate with a white middle part,
  • Skittles (or other coated sweets),
  • water.

DSC_0021Place your Skittles on a white plate, creating a circle. (You may offer an older child to create a pattern.) Carefully pour warm water, just enough to have the water touch the Skittles. Watch what happens!

Skittles dissolve quickly, so you have an awesome science unfold in front of you right away!
 

Science mystery revealed: The color and sugar dissolve into the water and then diffuse through it. Since Skittles are coated with food coloring and sugar (ingredients that are prone to dissolve in water), when you pour water over Skittles, the colored coating dissolves spreading through the water.

DSC_0029This low resource fun activity provides many opportunities for investigation and further extensions:

  • Make a rainbow! Arrange Skittles in a circle in rainbow order: red, orange, yellow, green, and purple on a white plate. (A perfect St. Patrick's Day activity!)
  • Try using different water temperature, or white vinegar or even lemonade to discover what happens. 
  • Try using other coated sweets: can you find one that works as well as Skittles? (Did you try spearmint?) Candy dissolving science is fun to test out with a variety of liquids and candies. Different candies dissolve at different rates.
  • Time how long does the color take to reach the center of the plate using cold and warm water? Which do you think will be faster? The reason sugar dissolves faster in hot water has to do with increased molecular motion. The added energy in the hot water causes water molecules to move faster and sucrose molecules to vibrate faster. This added movement tends to make the bonds between sucrose molecules easier to overcome.
  • Time how long does it take for Skittles to dissolve in water? After about two minutes in contact with water, Skittles lose its outer coating. After about 12 minutes, half of the Skittle have been dissolved, and after about 25 minutes of sitting in the water, all Skittles have completely dissolved. 

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More questions for the inquisitive mind:

  • Why do you think the colors do not mix, but rather gather like a rainbow in the center?
  • What can you do to hasten the process?
  • Can you detect the ‘S’ from the skittles? What happens to it?

For more on Science🔬⚗️⚖️:

  • See here 💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water). 

  • See here a video-post "🎨Painting with 🌈Colored Vinegar on Baking Soda Science Experiment."

  • See here a video post "🎶Musical 💦Water 🌈Glasses (Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇)."
  • See here "Paper Towel, Markers and 💦Water 🌈 Color Mixing ⚗️Experiment (🔬⚗️⚖️Science meets 🎨Art 101 🎥Series 🎇)."

For ❄️ Winter inspired activities, see here ☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study.

For🎅🏻Christmas inspired activities, see here  🎄Christmas Inspired Unit Study.


❄️Polar 🌎Regions Unit Study • 🎅🏻 🇦🇶Land 🌊Water 🌬Air

Today, we are learning about polar regions of the Earth, also known as the Earth's ❄️frigid zones that surround Earth's geographical North and South Poles. These regions are very cold, covered by snow and polar ice caps: the northern resting on the Arctic Ocean and the southern on the continent of Antarctica.

DSC_0166Adrian is using Montessori Sandpaper Continent 🌎Globe (read a detailed post here).

The differences between 🎅🏻 the Arctic and 🇦🇶Antarctica:

Antarctica, or the south pole region, is a continent which is covered with an immense ice cap. The Arctic, on the other hand, is a polar region surrounding the North Pole and consisting of the large Arctic Ocean, adjacent seas, and parts of Alaska, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Iceland, Norway, Russia, and Sweden. Polar habitats are too cold for trees to grow, so tundra, the only place where any vegetation grows, takes up a lot of the area. In tundra, during spring and summer time, the ground only thaws just enough for short grasses and moss to grow, but the tree's roots can not go as far down into the ground as they need to because deep down the ground is frozen. Animals who live in polar regions have adapted by having thick fur or feathers to keep warm, and hunting fish or each other rather than relying on plants and vegetation which are scarce to maintain their diet. Polar bears live solely in the Arctic, while penguins are found in the southern Antarctic regions, amongst others. So, since penguins reside only in the Southern Hemisphere, they had never crossed a path with a polar bear.

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As a first lesson, Adrian sorted animals by their habitat: 🎅🏻 🇦🇶LAND, 🌊WATER, 🌬AIR, rather than by the pole's geographical location. 

DSC_0039Parts of a Penguin Puzzle (buy here), Arctic/Antarctic animals set (here), Killer Whale (here).

 

🎅🏻 🇦🇶 LAND

DSC_0063  To represent LAND, I placed some soil in a glass jar.

We talked about Inuit people in the Arctic building igloos from snow as a shelter (also known as a snow houses or snow huts). Air pockets trapped in snow make it an excellent insulator, so the temperature inside the igloo when warmed by the body heat alone may range from −7 °C (19 °F) to 16 °C (61 °F) while on the outside, it can be frigid cold as low as −45 °C (−49 °F) - that is more than 100 °F difference!

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DSC_0058Caribou, also called reindeer (buy similar here), are native to the Arctic region. In the spring, herds of Caribou make a long journey north from the Arctic forest. It is the longest migration made by any land animal. On the way, they give birth to new calves. When they finally reach the tundra, caribou eat everything in sight. When winter comes and the food is scarce, the fat stored in their bodies gives them needed energy.

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Musk Ox (buy here) have inhabited the frozen Arctic for many thousands of years, and their long shaggy hair is well adapted to the frigid climate. The outer long furry hairs , called guard hairs, keep Musk Ox warm and cozy. Underneath all that hair is a layer of shorter wool undercoat, which provides additional insulation in winter. This undercoat falls out when temperatures climb at winter's end. Musk Ox roam the tundra in search of the roots, mosses, and lichens that sustain them. In winter, they use their hooves to dig through snow to graze on these plants. During the summer, they supplement their diet with Arctic flowers and grasses, often feeding near water. Musk Oxen are herd animals, and groups of two or three dozen animals are sometimes led by a single female. Herds use cooperation to deal with predators, such as wolves. When threatened and to protect the young calfs, they "circle the wagons" and array themselves with their young in the middle and their sharp horns facing outward toward their foes. A cornered musk-ox can be a fearsome enemy, charging with its massive bulk and attempting to use its horns to deadly effect.


🌊WATER

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Seals (buy here) live in the cold ocean waters of the Arctic or off the coasts of Antarctica. Some seals make caves in the snow to live in, while others never leave the ice pack and poke breathing holes in the ice. Fur seals and sea lions (buy here) live in the Northern Pacific between Asia and North America and off the coasts of South America, Antarctica, southwestern Africa and southern Australia. 


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A polar bear (buy here) was tricky for Adrian to sort, so he placed it in between the LAND and WATER. Polar bear is the only bear considered to be a marine mammal because it depends on the ocean for majority of his food, while spending a lot of time on ice hunting, mating and denning. Its fur is thicker than any other bears’ and covers even the feet for warmth and traction on ice. A thick layer of blubber beneath the fur provides warmth and insulation. The front feet are large, flat and oar-like, making a polar bear an excellent swimmer. Polar bear is the largest land carnivore in the world (rivaled only by the Kodiak brown bears of southwestern Alaska), thus sitting at the top of the food chain in the biologically rich Arctic. Polar bear feeds primarily on seals, the remains of which provide food for many other Arctic wildlife species, but it is also known to eat walrus, beluga whale, birds’ eggs, and (rarely) vegetation. 


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Orcas (buy here) are marine mammals, and although called killer whales, they are not actually whales, but are the largest members of the dolphin family, in the order Cetacea, which includes whales, dolphins, and porpoises. Some killer whales feed exclusively on fish, while others hunt marine mammals such as seals (known to grab them right off the ice), sea lions, seabirds, and even other adult whales, employing teeth that can be four inches long. Orcas were given the name “killer whale” by ancient sailors’ observations of groups of orcas hunting and preying on larger whale species.  They called orcas asesina ballenas, or “whale killer.”  Their Latin name, Orcinus orca, also reflects this observation as Orcinus translates to “of the kingdom of the dead,” and orca refers to a kind of whale. "Killer whales" are one of the world's most powerful predators, which can be found in each of the world's oceans in a variety of marine environments: from the Arctic to the Antarctic to tropical seas. Orcas are also an apex predators - meaning that there is no other animal that preys on them. For more on Orcas, read here.


🌬AIR

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A snowy owl (buy here) is a large species of owl, but due to a snowy habitat, it often has snow-white plumage that echoes its Arctic origins and protects it from chilly Arctic winds. A snowy owl has a thick feather coating even on its feet, protecting them from the frigid Arctic cold. The snowy owl is a patient hunter that perches and waits to identify its prey before soaring off in pursuit. Snowy owls have keen eyesight and great hearing, which can help them find prey, such as arctic hare, that is invisible under a thick snow-cover.

Atlantic puffins, (buy here) also known as dubbed “sea parrots” and “clowns of the sea,” have large brightly-colored beaks. Crisp black and white markings on their plumage, as well as superior diving capabilities, have led people to compare the northern seabirds to penguins. However, Atlantic puffins are actually not related to penguins at all. They are in fact small seabirds (about 25 cm, or 10 in., long). 


In continuing our Polar Regions of the 🌏 Earth unit study, Adrian enjoyed putting together Parts of a Penguin Puzzle (buy here). Having aesthetically pleasing wooden design, the puzzle stands faithful to the Montessori ideals of beauty, simplicity and realism, while teaching the child parts of the animal.

DSC_0037View a video of Adrian putting this puzzle together in this post


To learn the names of the 🐋🐇🐧 animals, Adrian is using Polar❄️️ Animals matching cards. 

In the process, he is practicing recognizing written words and matching a picture to an object. This video is featured in a post "🐋🐇🐧Polar Animals Matching 🔖Cards 📽️ Activity" - see here.


IMG_9745See here 🎅🏻 North vs 🇦🇶South 🌎Pole 🌬Frozen ❄️Sensorial🙌🏻Invitation to Explore.

I hope you enjoyed our Polar❄️️ Regions Unit Study. For more on Winter activities, see here ☃️ Winter Inspired Unit Study. 

You might also like to read here our "🌊 Ocean Unit Study."

Read here about matching stages for Montessori 3-Part-Matching 🔖cards.

If you have missed our Holiday Inspired unit, see here a roundup of December activities in 🎄Christmas Inspired Unit Study.


🌑Lunar Craters No-Cook 🏡Homemade Play Dough 🌙 Moon 🙌🏻Sensory Bin • 🌌COSMOS Unit Study

We are continuing our 🌌COSMOS Unit Study with this sensory invitation to learn about the Moon, Lunar Craters, Meteors and Meteorites. We are using National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Space book (buy here) as a reference. This book, with its colorful illustrations and simple text, introduces young children to the wonders of Space, explaining basic concepts of the universe, beginning with what is most familiar and expanding out into the cosmos. We learned that many chunks of rock float around in space. If the rock zooms into Earth's atmosphere towards the planet's surface, it is called a meteor. Usually, a meteor burns up before it reaches the ground. But sometimes, a meteor reaches Earth's surface, and if it hits the ground it is called a meteorite

DSC_0020 A crater is a big, bowl-shaped hole on the surface of a planet or moon. 

To learn about the asteroids and its impact on planets and moons hands-on, we made the Moon from home-made play dough and simulated the impact of asteroids with different colored marbles. We were inspired to create this invitation to explore and learn after working on KUMON Science Sticker Activity Book (buy here). "The moon has many holes on its surface. These holes are called craters." [A child is invited to draw more craters on the KUMON book's picture.]

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We made no-cook home-made play dough, which came out very different from the one we used to buy, being much softer and lasting much longer.

Recipe:

  • 1 cup of plain all-purpose flour,
  • 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil,
  • 1/2 cup salt (Ally suggests adding 2/3 cups of salt- read here, so you may experiment),
  • 2 tablespoons  of cream of tartar,
  • up to 3/4 cups of boiling water (adding in increments until it feels just right),
  • food coloring (optional),
  • few drops of glycerine for extra shine,
  • you may also add essential oils or spices like cinnamon to give your dough an olfactory dimension.

Method:

  • Mix flour, salt, cream of tartar and oil in a large mixing bowl,
  • Add food coloring to the boiling water and then pour into dry ingredients,
  • Keep stirring until the dough becomes a sticky integrated dough,
  • Add glycerine,
  • Allow the dough to cool and then knead it until all of the stickiness has gone - keep going until the dough is perfect consistency! (If the dough is still a little sticky, add a little flour until it feels just right).


DSC_0020Our black bean sensory bin has colored beads and pom poms to resemble stars.
DSC_0020Stars actually come in different colors depending on its temperature
DSC_0020Round Kids' Puzzle of the Solar System, 50 Piece, (buy here), features the Milky Way, galaxies, quasars, asteroids, and more. The color of each planet's elliptical orbit matches the color of the planet to enhance the educational experience. (Adrian was able to first assemble it at 3.5 yo). 

DSC_0010We love My First Discoveries Books. Buy The Moon Book here.
DSC_0010A hot glowing piece of space rock falling toward Earth is called a Shooting Star.
DSC_0012Transparent overlay pages add a new dimension to a traditional reading. 

DSC_0012The Moon book illustrates hands-on the Moon and its effect on the Earth and oceans.  

DSC_0024For more on Space Unit Study, see here 🌌COSMOS Unit Study.

DSC_0067See here a different recipe in a post "No-Cook Homemade 🌈 Play Dough."

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If in Holiday spirit, see here "🎄Holiday Inspired No-Cook 🏡Homemade 🍩Play Dough."

For more on Science, see here Science 🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥Series 🎇.