Early Explorers Habitats

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This month’s offering from our Early Explorers subscription was quite different than past kits. The booklet features many preschool readiness activities – mazes, matching, counting – but no suggested crafts or projects. As a result, we supplemented from Little Passport’s blog to add some additional fun.

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The booklet featured great information, though, introducing children to habitats such as mountains, deserts, forests, and more. Travis loved the usual finds like the flashlight page and affixing his sticker on his luggage.

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Habitats Art:

First up, we needed a craft! Papier-mâché mountains were perfect for the habitat theme – and so neat that they merited their own blog post!

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The craft turned into a great way to supplement the info in Travis’s booklet about animals that live in the Himalayas and other mountain ranges.

Habitat Science:

We also snagged the perfect science project off Little Passport’s blog – a rainforest in a jar! To recreate this warm, humid environment (one canopy tree can produce 200 gallons of water in a year!), we first added about 1/2 cup potting soil to a large mason jar, then filled with 1/4 cup water. I rather zealously added a little extra water, which may have been a mistake.

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Next we rubbed flower seeds with sandpaper to break them up slightly, then added to the jar.

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We also added some moss (I bought the moss at the craft store; I hate to disturb moss from nature).

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Seal the jar and set it some place sunny.

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Within a day or so you’ll see the condensation on the inside of the jar – neat! Keep a record of any changes you see, and make a note of how long it takes for your flowers to bud.

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Habitats Keepsake:

This month’s keepsake was an instant hit, and I think the highest quality one we’ve received: a sticker book with four different habitats and reusable animal stickers to go in each setting.

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As far as reusable stickers go, these are the best I’ve ever come across! Thick and durable, easy to peel off, and they match right back up on the sheets they came from when you’re done with play. Travis loved how floppy the stickers were!

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He had to put every animal in a home before he tired of the game.

Habitats Field Trip:

We decided to get as close to a tropical rainforest as we could here in the northeast – by visiting a butterfly exhibit! The humid room lives up to the name, and the butterflies are truly amazing, perching on fresh fruit…

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hovering on leaves right before you….

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and staying still enough to marvel at their curled tongues.

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Habitats Further Activities:

Further activity suggestions this month really were about sitting down, talking and thinking together. I worried I might lose a preschooler’s attention, but Travis was quite engaged. First, we made a list of possible habitats, and he did great remembering – arctic, mountains, rainforests, etc.

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I asked which was his favorite animal and he surprised me with polar bears, so we watched some online clips for kids about polar bears and their arctic habitat.

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He also said that this is where he’d like to live, and to be a polar bear. (Brr!)

Since Travis’s drawing is still a little, well, abstract, I also set out coloring book pages of various animals and habitats that he could color.

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Finally, we headed off to research and check out our local habitat. We take lots of nature walks anyway, so to capture what’s truly unique about our area, we went to where forest gives way immediately to the shore of Long Island Sound.

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The only animals we saw on this cold snowy morning though were geese!

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