Kindergarten Home School Week 12: Friday

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There are two weeks to go everybody! We ended on a high note, here in coronavirus home school week 12.

9-9.30: Maps. After a workbook page about directional words (behind, in front of, above), Travis wanted to recreate the campsite on the page! We quickly had a makeshift “teepee” and a fire made of craft sticks and torn construction paper. Mostly he just played in it, but I threw in a directional word or two as we built to keep up the theme.

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9.30-10: ELA. The “campsite” was the perfect place to finish ELA for the day, including a page in his Star Wars writing book, and a workbook page about letter U. He finished with Lexia in “camp”.

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10-10.30: Snack/recess. Because little sister was playing with monkeys, Travis soon had an inventive game going with them, too!

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10.30-11: Math. Travis did an addition page in his Star Wars workbook, and then we did a quick review of teen numbers, i.e. each teen is 10 plus X more.

11-11.30: STEM. We did a unit on the Sahara Desert today!

11.30-1.30: Lunch/free play.

1.30-2: Art. Travis’s assignment was to draw an animal in its habitat. He made a very inventive green ant, and got to share it on a Zoom with the art teacher.

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We wrapped up early after that, the home school equivalent of a summer Friday.

Saharan Desert

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As a follow-up to cooking his first Moroccan recipe from Raddish Kids, today Travis learned a bit about part of Morocco’s landscape: the Sahara Desert!

We started the lesson with guided imagery, a nicely different pause. I even had Travis close his eyes and put his head down on the table.

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I asked him to imagine he was in the desert: What did he see? At first he reported nothing, but then details started to emerge as I asked prompting questions. It was hot, the only plants he could see were cactus, etc. I asked him if it was hard to picture a desert and he said yes, unsurprisingly since he’s never been to one! So it was time to delve deeper.

I pulled up images of the Sahara online, and he marveled at them as we read more facts together. He also watched a video about animals and people who make deserts their home.

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He was fascinated by pictures of sand dunes when he learned that they weren’t fixed, that the wind could shift them at any point in time. From here, Raddish invites kids to draw, write a poem, choreograph a dance, or otherwise portray what they’ve learned about deserts. Travis chose to make a diorama!

We used kinetic sand as the base inside an empty shoe box, and then added some of his plastic toys, like snakes and scorpions.

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He was especially interested in the idea of an oasis, so added a few trees from a dinosaur set, and a little lid filled with water to be the pond. He loved playing with this, making a rather big-kid lesson approachable even for my kindergartner. Make sure to check out on a map together where the Sahara is!

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To finish the lesson, we watched a read-aloud of The Seed and the Giant Saguaro, by Jennifer Ward.

Five Little Monkeys

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I often affectionately call my kids “monkey” or “silly monkey” and it’s a moniker that fits giggling toddlers perfectly. Perhaps that’s why toddlers all seem to love the lyrics to Five Little Monkeys! In addition to learning numbers through this counting rhyme, there’s no doubt a thrill to the slightly naughty lyrics. Today, Veronika and I had fun with monkey games in a few ways.

We started out just saying this favorite rhyme:

Five little monkeys jumping on the bed.

One fell off and bumped her head.

Mama called the doctor and the doctor said,

“No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”

Repeat four times, counting down one monkey each time until no monkeys are jumping on the bed.

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To make the game tactile, I pulled out a set of stacking monkeys. Veronika is still too young to balance them with any dexterity, but she loved playing with them while I chanted the song.

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And knocking them down off the bed with each verse. “Bonk!” she said.

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I found another monkey rhyme with slightly strange lyrics, but a similar idea of teaching young kids to count down:

Five little monkeys walked along the shore.

One went a-sailing and then there were four.


Four little monkeys climbed up a tree.

One of them tumbled down and then there were three.


Three little monkeys found a pot of glue.

One got stuck in it and then there were two.


Two little monkeys found a currant bun.

One ran away with it and then there was one.


One little monkey cried all afternoon,

So they put him in a plane and flew him to the moon.

The lyrics to this were complicated, but Veronika continued playing with the stacking monkeys all the while, and loved making a monkey “ee ee, oo oo, aah aah” sound.

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We found cartoon versions of both to watch online to end the fun.

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Do you have a favorite rhyme about silly monkeys? Please share in the comments!

Arroz Verde con Frijoles Negro

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Rice and beans are a match made in heaven, with so many variations to keep kids from getting bored. This recipe gets its beautiful green color from fresh spinach sauce. Use brown rice in place of the white rice, if you prefer.


  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 and 1/2 cups water, divided
  • 2 cups uncooked white rice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 2 crushed garlic cloves
  • 1 (15-ounce) drained and rinsed can black beans
  1. To prepare the rice, combine the broth, 1 cup water, rice, and bay leaf in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat to low, and cook for 30 minutes, until the liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and remove the bay leaf.
  2. Meanwhile, prepare the spinach sauce: combine the spinach in a blender or food processor with the remaining 1/2 cup water, lemon juice, and garlic. Process until smooth.
  3. Add the spinach mixture and black beans to the rice, stirring to combine.

This is delicious on its own, but even better wrapped up in a tortilla!

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Pom Pom Drop + More Pom Pom Fun

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After recent fun playing with pom poms to develop fine motor skills, Veronika enjoyed a few variations on pom pom play today.

First up was a classic: a pom pom chute! I had a mix of empty toilet paper rolls and empty paper towel rolls, so taped these to the wall almost in a maze.

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Some of them were straight up and down and others I taped at an angle so she could experiment with the different ways this made the pom poms fall.

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Some were high, and some were low…

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…and all were a delight to watch a pom pom disappear and then fall through.

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For variation, we also tried pushing through cotton balls. These were fun because we could stuff a few into the tube before they all fell out the bottom, almost like puffy snowflakes.

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As she played with the pom poms, Veronika frequently named the color of the one she was holding, so I thought it might be time to see if she could sort!

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We played two variations on this. First, I gave her one size pom pom, but in all different colors. She named each color as she moved them into bins I had set out, although she didn’t always place like with like.

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Next, I gave her all one color (only blue) but in three sizes: big, medium, and small. I used a big deep voice when placing a big pom pom in a bin, and a tiny high voice for the small ones.

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I didn’t expect her to ace this, but the concept is coming along, little by little!

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As the day went on, I simplified the game so it qualified more as toddler busy play, leaving just one chute and a container at the bottom. I might leave this taped to the wall for several days, so she can return to it at her leisure.

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