Saturday, July 30, 2011

Nature Club

Friday we met up with a wonderful group of fellow homeschoolers for Nature Club. Several children were learning about nature journaling and Holly was breaking hers out again for the new year, with new focus. Our host did a nice little talk about taking a walk in nature and how to use our journals. Then the kids hit the trail for a nature scavenger hunt using their journals. They had to look for various signs of life in nature such as trees, animals, signs of life and plants. The kids did a wonderful job of really slowing down their nature walk, stopping to observe and listen, finding the smallest of treasures to taking in the big picture.

A little highlight for the kids was when we were on the bridge over Snake Lake working on journaling and one of the kiddos heard a rustling sound in the greenery over the little lake. He waited to see what it was and out pops this little raccoon. The raccoon was rummaging through the greenery throughout the lake putting on quiet a show for us - the kids loved it! This was a great example for them to slow down, listen, observe and see what happens in the moments you are enjoying nature... because it is always changing! You can see the little raccoon's face below in the shot of greenery, such a cute little thing!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Moon Sand

This past week we enjoyed hosting a fun activity with some friends... making moon sand! I have been really wanting to do this with Holly but figured it might be a bit more fun with friends - it lends itself to a great group activity.

Moon sand is so simple and inexpensive to create. I was thrilled to find a recipe online (I have had this saved for a long time as a 'to do' with Holly). Here is the recipe:

Moon Sand

6 cups fine sand (we used Crayola colored sand)
3 cups powdered corn starch
1 1/2 cups water
a couple drops of vegetable oil

Mix your sand and corn starch well, then add the water and a couple drops of oil. Mix well by hand (part of the fun!). If it is dry add a few drops of water at a time, if it is to wet then add a bit of sand at a time. Enjoy!!!

Berry Smoothies

I try to include Holly in cooking at least a few times a week. Being that she is a young child I prefer not to do hot stove top cooking with her just yet or on vary rare occasion. Which means we typically end up doing baking for our cooking experiences -- it is summer, the house is warm so there is not much baking happening. I am trying to broaden our horizons a bit though and try other types of cooking/kitchen fun. This weekend she made fruit smoothies for the family.

Since it is summer we are usually well stocked with berries. I like to buy them in flats or 1/2 flats and freeze some... which make for fantastic smoothie goodness. Holly thought a smoothie was all ice cream or a shake - today she learned otherwise!

Berry Smoothie

1 cup frozen blue berries

1 cup frozen strawberries

1 cup frozen raspberries

1 cup strawberry yogurt

3/4 cup milk

about a cup of ice

about 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream (for Holly's sake - not needed)

Blend well, until smooth! Serve with spoon & straw. So good!!!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rainbow Shells

Holly chose some white shells from her collection of shells today to paint. She had a selection of paints to try and she opted for watercolor paints. Since the water color will wash off I plan to seal them with clean acrylic paint. These new rainbow shell treasures will be added to her sensory tub or nature collection - which ever she sees fit. Holly loved this rather quick and easy project - perfect for a nice drizzly afternoon!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Northwest Trek

Last week we enjoyed a really nice day with fellow homeschoolers over at Northwest Trek. The weather was perfect and the animals were all out for at least a quick viewing. The tram ride proved to be filled with much entertainment from bison, elk, babies of all sorts, deer, moose and more! In the park we enjoyed the coyote, wolves, bear and beaver. There are just too many critters to list or write about ~ instead I'll share some photos from our wonderful day!

Beach Bins

We have a few exploration bins we use throughout the year but a favorite of Holly's are her Beach Bins. These bins are filled with sand, various shells she has collected from local beaches, small plastic sea creatures and a few miscellaneous mini shells she purchased a while back. Each time I bring these out they are new again. She gets out a magnifying glass and inspects them over and over. She sorts shells, draws shells and plays with the little sea creatures. Our beach bins are fantastic entertainment and a fun chance to learn too!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Ocean Books & Films

With Summer as our main focus I have not posted as often as I'd like... I am going to try and do better on this! Schooling is still happening in between the homeschool activities, visits with friends and family, camping trips, day trips and more. Life is really - very busy!

I did want to share with you that we are still enjoying a theme of 'Oceans' for the summer. Some books that we have been really enjoying I am going to share. Some of these are geared towards children and others are just wonderful resource books we have borrowed from the library. As well as a wonderful book collection we have been enjoying a variety of documentary movies from Netflix. These have all been a lot of fun to enjoy!

Some films we are viewing are:

The Blue Planet : Seasonal Seas & Coral Seas
The Blue Planet: Tidal Seas & Coasts
The Blue Planet: Ocean World & Frozen Seas
Coral Reef Adventure
Under the Sea: Imax film

And, here are books we are enjoying: