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🐦Birds 🌳Forest Habitat DIY ♻️Recycled 🚽Toilet Paper Craft with 🔢Math Twist

We are longing for Spring, so today, we are upcycling by making a DIY Bird forest habitat craft with recycled toilet and towel paper rolls. As a base, we are using a white iPad packing insert. 

DSC_0026We are also using marbles, stones, moss and other finds we have collected during our nature walks.

DSC_0031Use the exactor knife to cut the holes out.

To make our forest, we painted some trees with white poster paint to resemble birch trees. To make other types of deciduous trees, Adrian mixed the red and green washable finger paints to make the color brown. (He loved mixing colors ~ we ended up mixing many more others! Hooray to sensorial color exploration!)DSC_0039For our forest habitat, we are using backyard birds including a woodpecker, indigo bunting, red cardinal,  warbler, and a blue jay.DSC_0039 To finish the birch trees, I used a black Sharpie and then applied another coat of white paint to some parts.
DSC_0039Many birds migrate as the weather changes to access a greater variety of food and have an ideal habitat for nesting, but many backyard birds stay around all year long. They are often known as resident birds.DSC_0052We also talked about spring and birds' Nesting Cycle. More than 700 bird species breed in North America, and the variations in their behaviors are fascinatingly complex. Different species find mates, build nests, lay eggs, and raise their young chicks in incredibly different ways. Did you know that throughout the year, most birds use day length to tell what season it is? When the number of hours of daylight exceeds a certain critical level, physiological changes are triggered in birds which prepare them to breed. (Read more here.)DSC_0045  In forests, tree holes are created either by woodpeckers or more slowly as trees age and begin to decay. Birds like owls, songbirds, and parrots make homes in the holes of trees because they offer safe environments for sleeping, reproduction and raising young chicks.DSC_0035We commonly see red cardinals, blue jays, and woodpeckers in our backyard. We barely see Yellow Wabler though. Actually, Prothonotary Warbler, unlike other warblers, makes its nest in tree holes within the southern swamplands. This is probably because the normal warbler nesting spot of dense bushes is scarce.

DSC_0052Also, add a math twist and offer your child to add or subtract birds as they fly in or out the tree holes.
DSC_0052We also referred to these bird cards to discover the diversity of birds across North America.

For more on birds, see here our 🐦Bird Unit Study 📚Books and Materials.

❄️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.


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!


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.


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.



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. 


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. 


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.



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.

🐛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!


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.

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.


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. 


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.


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:


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


Pancrustacea (crustaceans and 🐞insects: 6 legs)


Myriapoda (centipedes, millipedes, and allies)




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.


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.)


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. 

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!


"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!


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.

DSC_0399 Fall Bokeh Printed
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."

DIY 💉 Blood Model (BODY Anatomy Unit Study, Science🔬⚗️⚖️ 101 🎥 Series 🎇)

We are continuing our BODY Anatomy unit study. Today, it is all about 💉blood! Recently, Adrian, after getting a scab, asked me: "What is blood made of?" 🤔The cells and particles that make up our blood are so minuscule! So I wanted to break the blood down into its components, examine each, discuss its functionality and then see what will happen when the components mix together. With this easy DIY Blood model, we will explore up close what is in just one drop of blood! We will also learn what the white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets really look like in comparison to one another.


What you will need to make this 💉 blood model:

🔴 Cheerios with red food coloring to make red blood cells;
⚪️ white marshmallows to resemble white blood cells; 
💜 purple beads for platelets;
💛 water with yellow food coloring to make plasma.

DSC_0041First, offer a child to make blood "plasma" by adding yellow food coloring to the water. 

DSC_0041Once the plasma is ready, make "red blood cells" by adding red coloring to Cheerios.

DSC_0041Mix Cheerios and let them soak up the red food coloring. 

 DSC_0041Red blood cells are ready! 

Observe what will happen once all the blood ingredients are mixed together.


Let your child explore the mixture and then discuss the parts of the blood and its functionality:

  • 🔴 Red blood cells carry oxygen.
  • ⚪️ White blood cells are our "soldiers" - they fight germs, bacteria, and viruses.
  • 💜 Platelets facilitate clotting and help heal cuts.
  • 💛 Plasma helps the blood move through veins and arteries.


Your 💉blood makes up 8% of your body weight. Did you know that there are 60,000 miles of blood vessels in your body, which is twice the circumference of our 🌎 planet Earth! Blood plays a very important role in your body’s everyday functions, such as carrying life-potent oxygen and nutrients from your ❤️️heart to other parts of the body. Blood also maintains the optimal body temperature, keeping you warm or cool day and night.


We are using First Human Body Encyclopedia (buy here) book as a reference. The book introduces inner workings of the human body with fascinating facts and full-color photos and illustrations, making anatomy accessible and fun for any age!

Our body contains a lot of various systems and organs, each performing an important specific function. I hope that this simple 💉DIY ⚗️science experiment will help your child better understand the amazing human BODY and how it works!

See here our entire "💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study."

Anatomy Puzzle & DIY Interactive Puppets 🎥 (Inside of the BODY Unit Study)

We are continuing our BODY Anatomy Unit Study by exploring how the amazing body mechanism works. It can be hard for a child to conceptualize what goes on the inside when most of the process remains unseen while taking place on a very small scale. So I try to make abstract concepts concrete with hands-on materials, puzzles and interactive fun so that the child gets a better understanding of how the body works.

To illustrate different body systems, I made "Organ System Puppets" using recycled ice-pop sticks and interactive LeapFrog stickers which work with Tag Reading System Pen (buy here). LeapFrog interactive human body discovery set (buy here ) includes a jumbo two-sided activity board, which offers a child a hands-on opportunity to learn human body facts, body systems, health nutrition and more. And to make human organs as concrete and tangible as possible, we are also using organs from a Human Torso model (buy here).

Adrian really enjoys assembling this Boy 5-Layer BODY Wooden Puzzle (buy here) which includes five puzzle systems that exist within the human body: skeletal, respiratory, digestive, muscular, and integumentary system.

By making the learning experience hands-on and interactive, unseen mysteries are being revealed, offering a child a glimpse of the inside of the body!

DSC_0009Muscles make up 40% of your total body weight. To take one step, you use 200 of them! Also, you can be using nearly 2,000 muscles when you wake up in the morning and go to brush your teeth! Muscles cannot push, they rather pull. So a perceived body "push" is actually another muscle's pull. Did you know that it takes triple the amount of muscles to frown than to smile? And, guess what is the strongest muscle in your body - the tongue! 

DSC_0009Our heart, the only muscle that never stops working, is relentlessly supplying our body with life-potent oxygen and nutrients, even when we are sleeping. However, in addition to functioning as a natural pump and producing blood full of oxygen, the heart also creates its own electrical impulse while producing electrical energy as well as blood. Carrying nutrients and oxygen from your heart to the other parts of your body, bloodplays an important part in your body’s function. Laid end to end, an adult’s blood vessels could circle Earth’s equator four times! 
DSC_0009The digestive system has two main functions: to convert food into nutrients the body needs and second, to rid the body of waste. To do so properly, the system requires the cooperation of a number of different organs throughout the body, including the mouth, stomach, intestines, liver, and gallbladder. 

Did you know?

  • The large intestine is actually shorter than the small intestine, only being about 5 feet long in an adult. The intestines are named for how wide they are, not how long they are.
  • 90% of what we eat is assimilated in the small intestine.
  • In your lifetime, the digestive system (mouth, esophagus, stomach, intestines, pancreas, liver) will handle over 50 tons of food and liquid! 

DSC_0029The liver is the largest and most metabolically complex internal organ in humans, performing over 500 various functions such as neutralizing toxins, fighting off infection, manufacturing proteins and hormones, controlling blood sugar and helping to clot the blood. Did you know that the liver is the only organ that can regenerate itself, making it possible for one person to donate part of their liver to another person? 
DSC_0029Humans cannot survive for a long time without oxygen. The longest period a person was ever able to hold the breath was six minutes. Lungs are responsible for receiving, filtering, and distributing that air throughout the entire body.  The surface area of the lungs is very big (up to 800 ft2!) because the inside of the lungs is covered in tiny bumps called alveoli, which help lungs absorb more oxygen all at once. Did you know that your left lung is about 10 percent smaller than your right one?DSC_0009 

Other fun facts about the BODY (for more read here):

  • Human bodies give off a tiny amount of light, which is too weak however for the eye to see.
  • Neuroscientists have found your brain is more active while you sleep than while you are awake.
  • Babies don’t shed tears until they are at least one month old.
  • Human bones are around 31% water.
  • When you listen to music, your heartbeat changes in response to the tempo of what you’re listening to.
  • Your pinky finger is responsible for 50% of your hand’s strength.
  • Our mouth produces about one liter of saliva each day (which equals to more than 2.5 cans of your favorite drink)!
  • The average person has 67 different species of bacteria in their belly button.
  • Scientists estimate that the nose can recognize a trillion different scents!
  • Sneezes regularly escape your nose at more than 100 mph, the speed which is excessive if driving in America.  Coughs often can get up to 60 mph. (That’s about how fast you can drive on most highways.)
  • You lose about 4kg of skin cells every year! (Not to mention losing 100-125 hairs per day, from a stack of about 100,000 hairs on one's head).
  • Human teeth are just as strong as shark teeth.
  • Humans are the only species known to blush - Horray to human humbleness :)

For more on inside of the body materials and activities, see here the "💉 Inside of the BODY Anatomy Unit Study" summary post.