Early Explorers Homes

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What a difference now when we receive our Early Explorers kit in the mail, versus when our subscription was new – Travis can’t wait to dive into the booklet of preschool-appropriate activities. He did the dot-to-dot without any help, eagerly hunted for mazes, and loved following the rules for coloring pages and tracing!

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There definitely seems to have been a leap in his skills lately, and I credit our monthly packages with helping propel the process.

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What was all the fuss about this month? Homes around the world!

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Travis found some of the interesting ones on his map, and his instant favorite was the yurt, so much so that we had to check out yurt videos online!

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Homes Craft:

The booklet suggested making a decoration to hang on your own home’s front door, so we pulled this cute option from Little Passport’s blog. Travis loved the way we needed to apply glue in a circle.

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Cover the glue in green and red buttons. He had fun deciding which buttons needed to go where.

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I tied a little bit of gingham ribbon on for the final touch. What a great way to adorn our home, as winter nears!

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Homes Science:

Okay, this probably counts more as math, but the task was to guess how many windows and doors were in our home. This was such a neat thought experiment for a 4-year-old. Originally Travis guessed only 1 door, thinking of the exterior. Imagine his surprise when there were 11!

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He was much closer on windows – a guess of 5 versus 8. He had a blast racing about and counting!

Homes Keepsake:

This month’s keepsake was a frame to slot together, with the caption “Home Sweet Home”. Ideally I would have used it for a picture of the outside of our apartment, but Travis wanted to put it together right away so we slipped in a pic of his new baby sister.

I will say, the frame was not very sturdy, and also didn’t seem like the best craft to exemplify homes around the world We might have enjoyed a little house to slot together from a kit, instead.

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Nonetheless, here is the finished product!

Homes Field Trip:

If you live near any historic homes, that would make a great field trip for this unit! We’re lucky enough to live near several old mansions that are now open to the public. To wit, Oheka Castle was once the second largest private residence in the entire United States. A bit of faded glory today, but Travis loved the grand entryway!

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Find a fun home near you – a famous architect? A home built in the style of another country? – and make an afternoon of it.

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Home Further Activities:

In the back of Travis’s booklet was a super practical suggestion – practice memorizing your home address. I was really proud of him every time he recited our address back to me, and of course this is an important safety tip that all kids should learn.

Next up, we drew a picture, both of Travis’s bedroom and then of our whole house. He’s  recently made great progress drawing objects truer to life, so we emphasized the shapes of the items: a rectangle for his bed and closet, a square for his bookshelf etc.

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We also headed out for library books to further our exploration, and found a great one called This is My House, featuring homes around the world. Although this topic might seem arcane, you’d be surprised what you can dig up in the non-fiction section (although a few might be meant for older kids).

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Next up, encourage your child to ask adults – grandparents, friends – about homes they grew up in, especially those that are different countries. I also dug up some pictures of my childhood home for Travis!

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We then found an idea on Little Passports blog to make a Native American longhouse, and thought it fit in perfectly with this unit. Starting with a cardboard base, we first added 4 craft sticks at the corners. The idea was to glue on additional craft sticks for the wall, but Travis suggested we use tape, both because it would be sturdier and ready faster.

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We made little rafts of 5 sticks, and taped them horizontally. Pretty soon our longhouse was complete.

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For the roof, we cut an old oatmeal carton in half, and poked a few “smoke holes” in the top. A few more pieces of tape and it was on.

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Travis insisted the house have a door that could swing, so a few more craft sticks and tape made that a reality. Pretty soon it was a home to Duplo figures! I loved seeing his imagination at play.

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Finally, I included the add-on option from the Homes package, a little plush treehouse full of 5 animals who make their home in a tree – a reminder that animals have homes, too!

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I thought the toy might be a bit young for Travis, but he absolutely loved it, especially fitting the animals into all the doors and windows.

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