Kindergarten Home School Week 13: Monday

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We hit the ground running for Travis’s second-to-last Monday of kindergarten, and what a fantastic day we had. Here’s a recap:

9-9.30: Travis did three pages in his summer workbook: a page about safety rules, a page on the letter V, and a geometry page identifying shapes. That last featured images of circus performers, so we watched Cirque du Soleil clips online to kick things off on a fun note.

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9.30-10: Author spotlight. After watching a read-aloud of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus, by Mo Willems, Travis wrote a sentence about the pigeon: Don’t let the pigeon watch Star Wars! He then colored in the pigeon with a thumbs up for a class vote on whether or not the pigeon can drive.

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He finished with a STEM extension, designing alternate vehicles for the pigeon and building one from Legos. (Where was little sister during all this? At a play dough construction site!).

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10-10.30: Snack/recess.

10.30-11: Art. We made monster straw paintings!

11-11.30: ELA. Travis did a protest-free stint on Lexia. His sight reading has come so far!

11.30-12: P.E. He chose to do about 20 minutes of Minecraft-themed yoga for some exercise.

12-1.30 – Lunch/free play.

1.30-2: Class Zoom. I was very proud of Travis sharing during show-and-tell.

2-2.30: Math: After one page in his Star Wars workbook, we played Uno. (Little sister got in her toddler math with tape shapes).

2.30-3.30: Outside. The state’s playgrounds have reopened! This meant Travis got to safely have a play date with a classmate. It made my heart do cartwheels to see children playing again. I hope you are finding a similar return to normalcy in your own hometown.

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Chocolate Beet Bundt Cake

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You’ll sneak a full two cups of vegetables into this cake but your kids will never notice – unless they help bake it of course! This cake is a dream: it requires only two mixing bowls, bakes up perfectly light and airy, and comes out in a fun circle shape that kids will love. (“How did you make a hole in the center?” my son asked).

For ease of preparation, I recommend making your beet puree the night before. Place 6 beets in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then continue to cook for 30 minutes, until very tender. Drain and let cool until cool enough to handle. Rub off the skins and transfer to a blender; process until very smooth. Refrigerate until ready to use.

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  • 3 cups flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups beet puree
  • 1 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup applesauce
  • 1/3 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  2. In a second bowl, whisk together the beet puree, water, applesauce, canola oil, and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, stirring just until combined.
  3. Spoon the batter into a 10-inch Bundt pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 50 minutes. Let cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

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Monster and Creature Straw Paintings

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Travis recently learned to make blobs of watercolor paints turn into art with nothing more than a straw, thanks to Kiwi Crate! He loved the activity so much that today we did a repeat, this time creating a set of silly monsters.

Travis chose three colors of liquid watercolor for the first piece of paper, and we dripped on a nice blob of each. Then he proudly blew through a straw.

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He loves that he can do this now, scattering the paint with no fear of inhaling it, which wasn’t the case at first.

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We soon had crazy wobbly waving shapes.

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We examined them carefully to see what monsters we could identify! Travis loved pointing out antennae, six-legged fiends, holes for their eyes and more.

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Of course we needed to repeat with a new set of colors. “I want to make lots!” Travis declared.

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For the final piece of paper, he combined two colors (blue and black) in one big blob in the center and huffed out a giant monster with his straw.

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Let the paint dry completely.

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Once dry, we could add details. I suggested gluing down wiggle eyes, but Travis preferred to add embellishments with a marker, including giant cyclops eyes.

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And fire for this one, that reminded us of a dragon!

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All in all, this was frightfully good fun.

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Tape Shapes

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Veronika loves shapes and she literally squealed with delight when I set up this easy learning activity on the floor this morning.

Using colored masking tape, I made four giant shapes on the floor: a triangle, square, star (her favorite!), and circle. Note that the circle is a little tough to make with tape, and shapes with straight sides will be easier.

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Not only was this great for shape recognition, but also counted as our gross motor play for the morning. First she hopped to the triangle!

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Then she ran to the square.

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Then she twirled in the star.

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You get the idea! For each shape, give your toddler a new action to perform, simultaneously testing their shape recognition and their listening skills.

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She’s off to the circle, folks! This was so easy, but she absolutely loved it. Definitely a game we’ll repeat soon.

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Play Dough Construction Site

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Veronika loves to play with her set of construction trucks, and I am all for any sort of gender-neutral play like this! Today I supplemented the fun by adding in a play dough “construction site”.

This really couldn’t have been easier to set up. I mashed some play dough flat on the bottom of a shallow tray to the be the dirt, then rolled some into balls to fill the dump truck like large ‘rocks’. Finally, I rolled some into ‘logs’ for the bulldozer to push.

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The rest was up to her! She loved saying “full” and “empty” as she took the ‘rocks’ in and out of her dump truck.

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She might not have understood that she was now the foreman at an important construction lot, but she sure loved squishing the play dough and driving the vehicles around!

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We also put the empty play dough containers upside down like construction cones, which she could then drive around – or bump into!

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This was an easy sensory tray that kept her busy for quite a while.

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