Julia 7 years Feed

🌐Earth Day Inspired 📚Books

🌐Earth Day is always celebrated on April 22. Although we pay tribute to this National Holiday by educating our children on the importance of conservation and caring for our environment, there is still so much that can be done in terms of reducing pollution, making sure we all live in harmony with every living creature and conserving our valuable resources. Below are some of the 🌐 Earth Day favorite 📚 books we enjoy reading. I hope you can utilize these books not just for this Holiday, but for the entire year, teaching children how to appreciate, respect and cherish our planet Earth.

The three books that have touched our hearts deeply are by Schim Schimmel, who is an internationally renowned professional artist/author with a great love of art as well as the environment. His artwork and books have been lovingly embraced world-wide for their beauty and environmental message.

In The Family of Earth Book (buy here), through surrealistic acrylic paintings of leopards, penguins, hippos, and gorillas, each in their appropriate landscape (or floating in space with the moon and stars and planet Earth hovering nearby), Schimmel expresses his beliefs about planetary interdependence of all of Earth's creatures. "The earth may look different to each of us, but we share only one earth." Lions live in a world of grassy plains. To dolphins, the world is water. Lush green trees make up gorillas' world. And yet, all these animals share the same world. 

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Flowing rivers, quiet ponds, and muddy banks are the only world hippo knows. We all live in our own worlds.

Schimmel describes his paintings as environmental visionary surrealism and hopes to change the way readers see the world. The text attempts to describe the perspectives experienced by a variety of animals. For example, snow leopards don't see the same environment as dolphins."Leopards do not swim with dolphins. They have never seen a penguin." Gorillas call the forest home, while lions live on grassy plains. The point of the narrative is that although all of the creatures live in different habitats, they all inhabit the same planet. 

DSC_0012"We share the canyons and the oceans. We share the same sky."

 

However, perhaps Schimmel's most famous book is Dear Children Of The Earth (buy here) which is a remarkable letter from Mother Earth asking for help from children everywhere. She (Mother Earth) writes to express her love for each and every child and asks for their love and appreciation in return.

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In her own words, and with all of her heart, Mother Earth swaddles children with love and entrusts them with her protection. She explains that we are all one big family~ her children: that we have to take care of our "brothers and sisters" who are not necessarily our kin but are indeed all living creatures. Mother Earth also asks to help keep our "home" clean.
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The message in Dear Children Of The Earth book is so simple and yet so moving! Through Schimmel's "eco-surreal" artwork, the book suggests the interdependence of all of Earth's creatures, asking for unity, humanity, peace, and respect - what a great message to celebrate the Earth Day!


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Lastly, Children Of The Earth...Remember book (by here) is a tender lesson on sharing and protecting the Earth, enhanced with Schimmel's stunning artwork.

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And all of these animals are children of this world. For this world is their Mother. And we call this world Mother Earth. The animals are not alone on Mother Earth. These are people living there, too. Billions of people. More people than all the twinkling stars in the night sky. And all of these people are the children of Mother Earth, too. So, the animals and the people and Mother Earth are all one big family.  

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We also enjoyed reading Help The Environment Series (on the right), which includes five books: Caring for Nature, Cleaning Up Litter, Reusing & Recycling, Saving Energy, and Saving Water.

Reusing and Recycling book (buy here) shows children simple, hands-on ways to reuse and recycle while explaining why it’s a good idea. Simple text and engaging photos of children and their families taking small conservation actions in their homes, classrooms, and communities make big conservation ideas accessible to beginning readers. “When we reuse boxes, we do not waste boxes. We help the environment.” 

Caring for Nature book (buy here) introduces very young children to the concept of caring for the environment in an attractive and accessible way. Based on children's real-life experiences, the books focus on things children can do to help the environment and keep the world around us clean. In this book, children learn what nature is, what lives in nature, and ways they can care for nature.

In Saving Water book (buy here), children will discover concrete ways to save water — and learn why it is important. “A hose uses lots of water. We save water when we use a watering can instead of a hose.

In Cleaning Up Litter book (buy here), children will discover simple ways to clean up the world — “Sometimes there are no trash cans. When we take litter with us, we clean up the world.


In Saving Energy book (buy here), children will learn ways to save energy. “We use energy to make cars work. When we walk or take the bus, we save energy.

Finally, Earth Day (Rookie Read-About Holidays) book in the middle (buy here) is very simple, straightforward book with controlled vocabulary, and a text of fewer than 400 words. The book also includes pronunciation guides to less familiar words.

Read here a post about another inspiring book that we love  I Cherish Planet Earth Book📘 with a Matching Game.

Also, see here the 🌐Earth Day 2017 Activities Roundup.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW

🎂Dr. Seuss ♻️Recycled Craft Skip Counting by 🔟s

Happy 🎂Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Theodor Seuss Geisel, born on March 2, 1904, in Springfield, MA, was an American author, political cartoonist, poet, animator, book publisher, and artist, best known for authoring more than 60 children's books under the pen name Doctor Seuss. Did you know that Dr. Seuss is the ninth-best-selling fiction author of all time (estimated 500 million copies sold)? (Read more here.)

Dr. Seuss could plant more meaning into a few short verses than most writers can manage to embed in an entire novel!

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”

So, today, we are thinking left and right and, inspired by The Cat in the Hat book, we are skip counting with this🍡DIY ♻️recycled Math 🎩Hat. 

DSC_0032How to make this skip counting DIY 🎩

  • paint six recycled popsicle sticks with this red tempera paint, which dries in 90 seconds and paints perfectly vivid over the wood,
  • *TIP: apply a thin coat of clear nail polish to the ends of unfinished popsicle sticks to prime the part where you will be writing numbers (otherwise, the numbers will "bleed" ~ color will spread),
  • write with a black Sharpie numbers one till one hundred, skip counting by fives (on the left, I wrote skip counting by 10s and on the right by 5s). Modification: with smaller children, just write numbers one through ten.
  • finally, top the🎩Hat with a hundred square!

DSC_0037I then offered Adrian to match number tiles from Montessori Hundred Board to the numbers on popsicle sticks. (For a detailed lesson on Hundred Board, read here Montessori 💯Hundred Board at 3 Yo). 
DSC_0037“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.” And indeed, at first, Adrian thought this was too complicated, but step by step, he assembled the 🎩hat and was able to skip count by 5s till one hundred!


DIY Thing 1 & Thing 2 🙌🏻Handprint♻️Craft with a 🔢Math Twist

"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~ Dr. Suess.

We also made handprints Thing 1 (Julia) and Thing 2 (Adrian) craft while incorporating math and skip counting by 10s. 

DSC_0020What you will need:

DSC_0020Roll strips of blue paper over the pencil to give hair a "curl."
DSC_0020Each hair strand represents 10, offering to practice skip counting by ten till one hundred.

DSC_0020I glued a red pom-pom to the top of the roll to support the handprint. 

DSC_0005Meet Thing 1 and Thing 2!

DSC_0005Julia's handprint was bigger, so I glued a popsicle stick to the back.
DSC_0005Julia also got a pink bow made out of a pom-pom and pink construction paper.
DSC_0005This craft will remain a keepsake to remember how big their hands were at 8 and 4 yo.
DSC_0005Lastly, offer your child to skip count using golden beads ten-bars.

How do you celebrate Dr. Seuss's Birthday?

DSC_0001See here books & puzzles we are loving on March 2nd 🎉Dr. Seuss's 🎂Birthday 📚.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW

🖌Markers ☕Coffee Filters 🌈Rainbow Walking 💦Water ⌛️Timelapse Kids ⚗️Science Capillary Action

Today, we are using materials you probably have at your home such as ☕️coffee filters and markers to conduct this amazing chromatography tie-dye color mixing walking 🌈 rainbow experiment! 

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What you will need:

  • white coffee filters,
  • little glass jars, shot glasses or small drinking cups,
  • markers in rainbow colors (do not use Sharpies, crayons, pencils, solid tempera paint ~ trust me, we tried it all! only these type worked for us),
  • water (see tips 👇🏻 below). 

DSC_0001Invite your child to draw a large circle at a base of a coffee filter. 
DSC_0001Do the tracing over scrap paper or a newspaper as the markers bleed through.
DSC_0001By tracing just the base-circle,  your marker will not bleed too fast otherwise turning the whole filter one color instead of tie-dye!   DSC_0017Fill glasses with a little bit of water (about an inch).
DSC_0017 The way you fold is important❗️Fold your coffee filters in half. 
DSC_0017Fold them in half again.
DSC_0017Fold each filter for the third time ~this will expose the white un-markered center at the point.DSC_0024Insert folded filters into jars/shot glasses.DSC_0028For tie-dye effect, make sure that only the tip of filters is touching the water ❗️DSC_0028
The water travels fast ~ within few minutes, you will be seeing the result of the process called capillary action!DSC_0028 
Capillary action is a process during which liquid, like water, moves up into a material with a lot of small holes (like paper ~ coffee filter).

DSC_0051Capillary action happens when three forces called cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension work together.

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In other words, capillary action occurs because water molecules bond together due to forces of cohesion and adhesion as well as stick to other substances such as paper (coffee filters). 

DSC_0051The surface tension acts to hold the surface intact. Capillary action occurs when the adhesion to the surface material is stronger than the cohesive forces between the water molecules.  DSC_0069 Adhesion of water to the surface of the material (coffee filters) will cause an upward force on the liquid (water). Notice, that the remaining (non-absorbed) water in glass jars remains clear! 

DSC_0074   A voila! A beautiful 🌈rainbow! DSC_0074  ⌛️30 minutes later ~ do you see the tie-dye effect!
DSC_0074Purple was Julia's favorite, while blue was Adrian's choice! DSC_0074

Once the capillary action is completed (30-40 minutes), take the filters out of the water and let them dry.
DSC_0074I suggest air drying filters first until the colors settle (clothespins do the trick!). Otherwise, the color from filters will transfer to the drying surface. After about ten minutes, we had rainbow coffee filters to create a craft with!

DSC_0097What to do with these beautiful rainbow filters? What about a rainbow flower! Just fold each filter from the center, crinkle it individually and hold all the filters together!

DSC_0074Or, insert a green pipe cleaner at the center of a filter, threading it through, then thread the next filter, till all filters are on a pipe cleaner ~ tie the tip of the pipe cleaner in the center and crinkle the filters up.
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Rainbow flower! This can make a perfect💐Mother's Day🎁Gift too!

DSC_0028 We did a similar flower craft when Adrian, as a tribute to Van Gogh's Birthday, made 12 🌻Sunflowers Tissue Paper Recycled Cardboard Roll Paper-Mache Craft (see 📽️ a video of him making it here).

For more on capillary action, see here 💛💙❤️Primary Colors, 💦Water & Paper Capillary Action ⌛️Timelapse ⚗️ Kids Science Experiment (🌈 Rainbow Walking Water).

For more on color-mixing, please see here "🎨Painting with 🌈Colored Vinegar on Baking Soda Science Experiment 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇," and here " 👔 Father's Day🎈Balloon Color-mixing DIY Craft (Sensorial 🖐️👀👂👅👃 Activities 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."

For more on science experiments, see here a video-post "Float or Sink❓Tangerine 🍊 Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."

Also, see here "Walnut Shell ⛵Sailboats 💦Water Science Experiment (Science 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)."

And here a video 🌋 Erupting Volcano Science Experiment 🔬 💡⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇.

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW

✂️🖍️DIY 📖 Reading Wheel (Middler Letter Recognition, Montessori 101 Language)

While Adrian has been able to correctly identify the first sound of the word for a while now; only a few months before his fourth birthday, he started to be able to isolate the ending and the middle sound. To practice the middle sound identification, Julia made this DIY Reading Wheel for Adrian to practice literacy as well as fine-motor skills, while he had to find and pinch the clothespins with the missing middle letter. 

DSC_0320Julia drew three-letter objects and wrote the corresponding words with the middle letter missing. 

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Adrian had to figure out the missing sound and find the corresponding letter among clothespins. 

DSC_0320"cAt, sUn, mAp, fLy, oNe, sKy, nUt, rUg."
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This DIY wheel is similar to CVC Word Cards and clothespins (buy here) where a child has to match the letter-clothespin to the corresponding letter on the cards. 

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You can read about Adrian using these cards and clothespins at 3 years-old here "Montessori CVC Picture Words & Clothespins (💗Pink Series 🎥 Early 📖 Reading 101)."

For more on our Language curriculum and phonetical order sets, read here the introductory post: "Montessori Phonetical Order of presenting ABCs Alphabet letters." For individual letters, read here our "🔠 Letter Series (Montessori Language)" post. For beginning blending, see here "💙 BLUE Series /St/ Blending (Montessori 101 Language)."

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🐛Bugs 🐜Insects and other 🐞🐝🕷️Arthropods

While most adults do not have a deep affection for bugs, children, on the other hand, spend hours in a backyard flipping over rocks and inspecting blades of grass in search of the coolest caterpillars and tiny crawlers. And little ones are smart to befriend bugs since without little creature our entire ecosystem would shut down. Animals such as fish, bats, and amphibians would have nothing to eat; rivers and lakes would be overrun with algae, and flowers would remain unpollinated. Teaching children about insects is a great way for them to learn about nature in general since everything in our world is interconnected. Also, bugs are the most accessible of all creatures since children can most closely approach them. So, suppress your squeamishness and delve into the wonderful world of bugs and other insects!

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To explore bugs and insects in a fun hands-on sensorial play, I set up an Autumn-Inspired sensory bin with fresh leaves and acorns children found during nature walks, shredded paper, this bug loupe and these insects. 

DSC_0426 An ant, besides being able to lift 50 times its weigh, has the biggest brain relative to its size amongst the insect kingdom!

DSC_0426Entomology is the study of insects, including their relationship with other animals, their environments, and human beings; making Adrian an entomologist for a time being.
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Insects are creatures with three body sections, six legs, and usually four wings and two antennae. Although some people use the words "bug" and "insect" interchangeably, a bug is a certain type of insect such as boxelder bug, milkweed bug, assassin bug, and stink bug. True bugs have a stylet (a mouth shaped like a straw) that they use to suck juices from plants. That is all bugs are insects, but not all insects are bugs. Scientists have discovered already over one million species of insects: also called arthropods, and every day they are discovering new species.

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Some insects have wings, and some do not, but there are few characteristics that all insects have in common:

  • Insects do not have bones or a backbone like humans do, and thus are invertebrates, meaning that they have a hard exoskeleton or shell on the outside of their bodies which protects them.
  • All insects have three parts: the head, the thorax (the middle part), and the abdomen (the end part).
  • Insects have two antennae and six legs.
  • All insects hatch from eggs, and the babies are called larva.
  • All insects go through the same lifecycle: beginning as an egg. The egg hatches and larva emerge. Larvae usually look nothing like the adult insect. The larvae enter a pupa, chrysalis or cocoon. An adult insect emerges from the pupa.
  • Note: spiders are not insects. Spiders have eight legs, and they are related to scorpions and belong to the arachnid family. 🐌 Snails, on the other hand, are gastropods. 

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Bugs A-Z book (in the middle) is a perfect book for any child fascinated with bugs! A simple text from A to Z provides interesting and concise buggy facts in addition to reinforcing the first letter association: A is for Ant, B is for Bee, C for Caterpillar etc. Larger than life full-color photographs of creepy crawlies include locusts, caterpillars, beetles, flies, grasshoppers, ants, praying mantis, and more! Also, the facts provided under each insect are fascinating and engaging enough even for a three-year-old. At the end of the book, there is a glossary review, which I use to reinforce the concepts learned. 

DSC_0003Scorpions are not insects! They are arachnid, with eight legs, instead of six.

Scorpions can be found on all continents except Alaska (and Antarctica). They are predatory animals of the class Arachnida (having eight legs) making them cousins to spiders, mites, and ticks. Insects, on the other hand, are Arthropods with six legs, two antennae, and three-parts segmented body.

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Tarantulas are the largest known arachnids (spider family) measuring seven to ten cm in length, capable, however, of exceeding 30 cm (that is twelve inches: the size of a regular laptop). Besides their size, tarantulas are known for their dense and hairy body. Also, they are night-time (nocturnal) hunters who will pounce on their prey, such as insects, beetles, and grasshoppers. Interestingly, although not spinning traditional webs, tarantulas are capable of producing silk and can use it for similar purposes, depending on species. Many of the arboreal tarantulas make silken homes in tree holes or other crevices. Even the burrowing terrestrial species use silk to line their burrows, and some use silk to create door-like entrances to their burrows. The tarantula’s silk acts as an alarm system, alerting the arachnid to the presence of threat or prey outside its home. If the intruder is potential prey, the tarantula will capture and subdue it.

DSC_0006The cladogram below shows the relationship between the arthropod's groups:

Arthropoda
 

Chelicerata (sea spiders, horseshoe crabs, and 🕷️arachnids: 8 legs)

 
Mandibulata
 

Pancrustacea (crustaceans and 🐞insects: 6 legs)

 
 

Myriapoda (centipedes, millipedes, and allies)

 

 

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To examine tiny creatures up close, children like to use this bug loupe, which provides a 5X view of what’s underneath! The above-shown Bugs collection (buy here) comes with twelve insects in clear acrylic blocks for up-close examination. A mini-guide that comes with it provides a concise description of the species included as well as interesting details. This set is a perfect starter collection of insects for any entomologist!  DSC_0003
Little Explorer Insects book (on the left - buy here) provides further insight into these buzzing, stinging, and creepy crawlers: where they live, what they eat, and why they are so important.

DSC_0074 bee copyDid you know that a bee has five eyes, none of which can see the color red!

Honey bees are very important pollinators of flowers, fruits, and vegetables, transferring pollen between the male and female parts of the plant, thus allowing plants to grow seeds and fruit. Honey bees live in hives (or colonies) everywhere except Antarctica. The members of the hive are divided into three types:

  •  Queen: One queen runs the whole hive. Her job is to lay the eggs which will spawn the hive’s next generation of bees. The queen also produces chemicals that guide the behavior of the other bees.
  • Workers are all sterile female and their roles are to forage for food (pollen and nectar from flowers), build and protect the hive, and clean and circulate air by beating their wings. Workers would be the only bees we ever see flying around outside the hive.
  • Drones are the male bees, and their purpose is to mate with the Queen. Several hundred live in each hive during the spring and summer. But come winter, when the hive goes into survival mode, the drones are kicked out! 

DSC_0003Lastly, National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Bugs (top right - buy here) explores backyard favorite bugs, such as ladybugs and lightning bugs, and also introduces more exotic species which inhabit rain forests and deserts around the world. Colorful photos are paired with profiles of each insect, along with facts about the creatures' sizes, diets, homes, and more. "Little Kids First BIG Book of" series is my children's favorite non-fiction series. 

To put all this knowledge to use, seek out ways together with your child to get to know just how amazing Earth's little inhabitants are! Parks, local playgrounds, and forests are great places to introduce children to the wonders of the local insect population. Go outside and explore by examining dead wood, banks of streams, and the underside of rocks and leaves. Backyard bugs can usually be found under potted plants, rocks or deck furniture. On forest trails, look for bugs in flowers, on trees or near water.

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During nature walks, explore the world of bugs, insects and other creatures, first hand by doing a scavenger hunt. (Do not forget a bug container, bug tweezers, and a magnifying glass.)

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Do not rush and stay close to the ground as bugs are easy to miss. Most are small and many camouflages, making them tough to spot at first glance. 

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Take it slow and let your eyes roam the area for anything that moves.

DSC_0394.JPGLook under moss, rocks, leaves or underturned trees. 

DSC_0038With close observation, you will find that local fauna is full of surprises!

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"There is no description, no image in any book that is capable of replacing the sight of real trees, and all the life to be found around them, in a real forest. Something emanates from those trees that speaks to the soul, something no book, no museum is capable of giving." Dr. Maria Montessori.

DSC_0038If you find a caterpillar feeding on a plant and wish to bring it home, be sure to include that exact plant it was eating since many insects can only digest one type of plant and will starve without it.

DSC_0394.JPGDr. Maria Montessori strongly believed that the intelligence was a result of joyful learning and not a mere memorization. So learning need not take place inside of a classroom: there is nothing more inviting than a forest school!

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Invite your child to be a naturalist! Zoos, botanical gardens and even local parks might offer classes which introduce children to the wonders of the local insect population.

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Having contact with nature will allow children to understand and appreciate its natural order, the harmony and the beauty in it. Such contact will allow them to be friends with animals: big and small, creeping and crawling, scary and beautiful. All Earth's inhabitants are necessary for the equilibrium of life: all life form is precious. So, let's explore, go outside and be with nature!

For more on Autumn-themed activities, read here a roundup of all our activities we have done during the month of 🍂September and 🎃October: over 20 of them! arranged by the area of study in a post "🍂Fall & 🎃Halloween Inspired Homeschooling 101 Unit Study."

I would love to hear what you think ... And, please, spread the 💖 love & SHARE our journey! CLICK one of those buttons 👇🏻below! 📍SAVE, 💌SUBSCRIBE & 📲FOLLOW