Sunday, February 20, 2011

What We Did This Week

Pinky is 5 years, Chaos is 35 months, Wild One is 14 months

Recently, Pinky has been telling my husband and I that she wants to be a zookeeper when she grows up. So this week I decided to have a Zookeeper theme to (most) our activities!

Where We Went:
In addition to all of our regular activities (preschool, dance, playgroup, Spanish, etc) the older two were also invited to a birthday party at a local gymnastics center. It was SO great to see the kids running off some energy. I was impressed with the activities that both of them tried!

Artist Study: Eric Carle
I wanted to find an artist to study who painted lots of animals to keep with our theme. Who better for kids to study than Eric Carle? We have several of his books so we started by looking at them and talking about the pictures and what made them different from other drawings.

Next, we visited the Eric Carle website and watched the slide shows of how creates his pictures. You can find the slide shows here on his website.

We divided the art project up over several days. First, we painted our tissue paper. I used leftover tissue paper from gifts (being a hoarder of supplies pays off sometimes!) and watered down some Crayola Kids Paint. I offered the kids different sizes and types of paintbrushes and told them to go to work! The papers were very wet so we set them aside to dry (they were mostly dry after a few hours, but we let them sit overnight).

After seeing an idea of painting with qtips (here), I decided that the next step should be qtip painting the background papers. I asked the kids to think about what type of animal or insect they wanted to create (Pinky wanted a flamingo and Chaos chose a bear - I made a fish to show them what to do). We talked about their habitats and what the paper should look like.

After the backgrounds were dry (we used blank white cards as we were making these pictures as Thinking of You cards for their great grandma) we cut out and glued our painted tissue paper to them (idea from here).

Here are our final pictures:

It was a lot of work, but we really enjoyed doing something different! They didn't turn out exactly as I had planned, but really, it's more about the process than the finished product.

Ocean Waves in a Bottle:
For this week's sensory activity we made ocean waves in a bottle. The kids really loved it (especially the glitter) and played for quite awhile rolling it back and forth to each other to see the waves. You can find the instructions here on Ten Kids and a Dog.

Zoo Maps:
This was by far the kids' favorite activity this week and it was SO simple! After building their own zoo (info below), we decided to make our own zoo maps. We looked at a few maps online, talked about what a zoo map would contain (sidewalks, welcome center, animal pictures, etc), and got to work. We used construction paper, animal stickers and crayons. The kids were SO proud of their creations and asked to make more zoo maps all week long.

Chaos wanted my help with his map. He isn't big into coloring with crayons so he told me what he wanted (mostly copying what big sister did) and added the stickers himself

Pinky's zoo map. The smiley building is the welcome center. The circle with the lion, bats, snake and oyster is the "scary place." I love the way she added monkeys to the trees where the giraffes are eating and planted flowers along her sidewalks. My favorite though is the nest she drew for the Easter eggs. Her favorite part is the "zoo fairies."

Even Wild One took a turn making her own map. This was her first real art experience and she really loved putting all the stickers on the page. She was a bit more reluctant with the crayons (though maybe it was the type we used), but she tried them anyway.

What We Read:
I checked a few zookeeper books out from our local library to give the kids an idea of what it is zookeepers do each day. We read Jungle Jack Hanna's What Zookeepers Do and A Day in the Life of a Zookeeper together. Both books had a lot of great pictures and just the right amount of information for Pinky's age (the links are in the widget at the bottom of the post).

Wild One read her Dear Zoo book (all the kids have loved this book) and we played with our Baby Einstein animal flashcards (even the older kids had fun with these - they took turns answering the facts on the back of the cards).

What We Played With:
The plastic/rubber animals have always been a favorite around here. So it was no surprise that the kids wanted to build their own zoo with them. They even had a zookeeper and Chaos grabbed the toy camera to take some pictures of all the animals.

Gathering animals to build a zoo

Popsicle Stick Puzzles:
I saw a cute idea on Impress Your Kids that I adapted to fit our theme. I let the kids search through some old magazines and cut out pictures of animals. We then glued them to popsicle sticks and cut them apart to make our own puzzles. Another really easy craft! You can find the tutorial here at Impress Your Kids.

Computer Time:
Once again we played at Switcheroo Zoo, but this week we tried the habitat game. Pinky was shown an animal and had to pick the correct habitat to make the animals happy.

Family Time Activity:
Since winter returned in full force here (after a WONDERFUL warm up last week) we had a great family snowball fight.

When we were done, we headed inside to warm up and watch some movies! First the kids watched two movies that I borrowed from the library, What Do You Want to be When You Grow Up: Zoo Crew and Adventures with Wink & Blink: A Day in the Life of a Zoo. Then, on the weekend, we watched Disney Nature: Oceans together as a family. What a great movie!

Mom's Favorite:

Wild One doing one of her two most favorite things - stacking blocks!

These amazon links are NOT affiliate links. I just want to share some of the toys, books and crafts that we love.

Linking up to:
Tot School We Play abc button play academy


amy@flexibledreams said...

That is a REALLY smart puzzle idea! I think I'm going to have to try it. My daughter is a little obsessed with puzzles.

Kathy said...

What an amazing week, and I love the idea of theming learning, crafts, stories and activities the way you've done.

Alissa said...

What a fun week of activities. I think my kids would also love making zoo maps! said...

It's really a fun activity for kids. Love zoo maps.

htebazile said...

great week!

Erika said...

Love the popsicle stick puzzle idea! Cute!
Stopping in from Show and Tell at ABC and 123!

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