Bird Watch

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Veronika adores birds right now, whether the tweets she hears on our walks or spotting them out the window. So as a follow-up to a few easy bird feeders we recently made, we thought about birds in a few other ways today.

First up: just listening to their sounds! I put a CD of bird song on Spotify as we sat down together to…

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…read a bird book! She has a great board book about birds, and right now we have to sit and go through it at least twice a day.

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We repeated a favorite bird feeder (pine cones rolled in peanut butter and sunflower seeds), and also made a string of unsalted circle pretzels on yarn. She loved hanging this one from our tree.

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Now when the birds come, we stop to watch through the window!

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A final fun idea is to leave a few pieces of yarn on your back patio. Birds use them this time of year for nests.


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Maybe we’ll even spot a colorful strand on a future walk around the neighborhood.

Rainbow in a Bag

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This is a neat, no-mess way for toddlers to paint a full rainbow!

To start, I needed to make a thick goopy paint. Based on a recipe I found online, I combined 1 cup flour, 2 cups water, and 1 tablespoon salt in a saucepan, then cooked over medium-low heat, stirring with a whisk. It didn’t get as thick as I hoped, but stirring in 1 tablespoon cornstarch did the trick.

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Once thick, I divided the mixture among 6 paper cups and added about 20 drops of liquid watercolor to each, one for each color of the rainbow. Note: If you are worried about staining, use food coloring instead of the watercolor. However, because I knew this project would be sealed in a bag, there would be no chance for Veronika to smear it on her clothes… Or taste it!

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I placed a piece of thick white paper in a gallon-sized zip-top bag, then arranged the colors in rainbow order across the paper. Because the paint was so sticky, it grew harder to work as I went, so the colors sort of ended up at a diagonal! But this still worked fine; I sealed the bag and handed to Veronika.

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At first she was frustrated she couldn’t touch the paint, looking at me with disappointment. Oh that toddler glare!

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But then she realized the paint blobs felt mushy and squishy beneath her hands, and she loved poking around at them.

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By the end she had smeared the paints in such a way that we had a full rainbow of stripes across the bag.

Rainbow in a Bag (8)It’s actually too bad that the paint was so goopy, or I would have pulled the white paper out to dry and hang on the fridge. Next time!

Engineer with Water

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Children’s museums are closed for coronavirus, so today we recreated one of Travis’s favorite exhibits here at home! The museum version involves a large base where kids can dam water with Duplo pieces. We recreated that on a smaller scale with Legos!

Ideally you’ll need one of the large Lego baseplates for this project. Technically it would work on any small Lego base, too, but your results will be in miniature.

First we built a high wall of interlocking bricks so our baseplate could stand upright. Attach this to your Lego base with any Lego hinges.

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Next Travis began adding paths for the water. On the first round, I gave him no guidance and he designed a very complicated set of Legos that were vertical and horizontal and all over the place. He thought he was being tricky leaving tall openings.

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We set the whole apparatus in a shallow tray and poured in a cup of water. Of course it pretty much ran straight down over everything.

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After we poured, he realized that he needed to be much more deliberate in his placement. We removed any vertical Legos except those on the very edges, and soon had horizontal walls. He loved the idea that we were “tricking” the water.

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To visualize our results, we added small red Lego pieces that could run through this “maze”. You could also use glitter or any other tiny object for this part. Now he could really see the flow of water. Check it out!

Then he wanted to try blocking the water entirely. It sort of worked, although his walls  needed to be higher to truly block any flow.

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There are so many ways to play with variations on this, and your child will be engineering all the while!

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Kindergarten Home School Week 10: Friday

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We ended the week on a strong note, and are heading into the weekend in a state that has slightly reopened. Wishing everyone a safe and healthy Memorial Day!

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9-9.30: Letter L. After completing a workbook page that focused on letter L (writing out L words, coloring in L pictures), we played “Last to the Lake”: our fish playing pieces moved from sight word to sight word in a race to the lake at the end. He loved it so much that he wanted to play longer after winning!

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9.30-10: Math. His workbook page involved combining numbers from the tens and ones column. This was new stuff and he tackled it well. We then got silly, thinking of other groups of 10. How many fingers live in our house, if 4 people each have 10? 40! How many fingers and toes were there? 80! We counted out tens with a pretzel snack, too.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess. (Little sister was getting good and messy on the patio, in the meantime!).

10.30-11: ELA. Travis 20 minutes on Lexia, proudly reaching a new level in the program.

11-11.30: Social studies. After learning a bit about the upcoming Memorial Day holiday, Travis made a simple craft: we cut the centers from paper plates, then glued on red and blue stars cut from construction paper.

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It was a simple but patriotic decoration for our door!

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We also talked about gallant actions we can take for the holiday, like laying flowers on veteran’s graves.

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Honestly, we began the long weekend early, thereafter. It was a gorgeous day to get outside to a local pond for some sand and water play, and he had a social hour with his high school buddy over Zoom.

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