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The Night Before Thanksgiving

Tomorrow is turkey day. So, it is a great day to read Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving by Dav Pilkey and The Night Before Thanksgiving by Natasha Wing. While the rhythm of the story is the same, they are two very different books.

This is a good opportunity to talk to your own children about what you are doing to get ready for the holiday. Are you cooking already? Will you set the table today?

Ask your child what they think needs to be done to get ready for the holiday. What can they do to help? Children at this age love to help, and if you give them the right tasks, they can do it! Check out Momable’s list of things children can do in the kitchen by age. Or if you don’t want your child helping in the kitchen… they can set the table. Make place cards/placemats or other table decorations.

Here are three levels of turkey drawings with Art for Kids Hub simple, cartoon, realistic… and don’t forget a cooked one too.

I am taking some time off to be with my family over the holidays. I will be back on December 1st… don’t ask what topic, I haven’t decided yet… oops!

art · story · topic

Thanksgiving Food

When people think about Thanksgiving it is usually the food that fills your mind. Let’s start by listening to Thanksgiving Rules by Laurie Freedman. Listen to the “rules” to getting the most out of Thanksgiving.

Have your child name things that they smell at Thanksgiving and put them into the poem’s blanks. Then cut pictures out of magazines or grocery store ads to create a Thanksgiving plate.

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Humans get ready for winter too

While some people might migrate to warmer climates, and others wish they could hibernate all winter… humans have to adapt. For us this means wearing winter clothes, turning the heat on in the house and eating warm foods.

Let’s listen to the story Sleep Tight Farm by Eugenie Doyle and learn about how a family prepares their farm for the long winter months.

Make a chart of the things you need/have/can to do to get ready for winter.

art · story · topic

What else do you need for winter?

I could not let this unit go by without sharing the story Fredrick by Leo Leonni. Fredrick is a mouse who should be helping his family gather items for the long winter. But, Fredrick is a dreamer and doesn’t want to gather nuts or other items for winter. Eventually the other mice come to realize that Fredrick did gather something for winter… he gathered memories.

I enjoy this story as it shows children that it isn’t always what you see and touch that is important to “gather”, but there is value in the colors, the textures, the sounds of life.

A fun activity to do with this is to draw to music. Put on instrumental music and have your child draw what he/she feels. What colors do you think of with the music? Do you feel flowing or more choppy? Does the picture maintain a constant feel or does it change as the music changes? This concept of drawing to music often takes a few attempts before children get good at just relaxing and drawing what you feel. It is the visualization of feelings. Some children will draw specific items, and other will draw more abstract. There is no right or wrong… there just is.

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Animals’ Winter Coats

Let’s listen to SciShow kids teach us about animals’ winter coats.

Animals with Winter Coats! by Sci Show Kids

How Do Whales, Penguins and Polar Bears Keep Warm? by Sci Show Kids?

Many animals adapt by changing in their coats, layers of blubber and or outer coverings to stay warm. Just as we put on winter jackets or wrap up in a warm blanket.

Want to learn to draw some animals with winter coats? Stop over at Art For Kids Hub: Artic Fox, Snowy Owl, An Autumn bird or a cat in a sweater. Wait those last two aren’t really how animals adapt their coats for the winter!

Today draw a picture of an animal wearing a winter coat. It can be a true image of an animal wearing their winter adaptation OR an animal wearing human clothes to add to their winter warmth.

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Snow Rabbit

In the winter, some animals fur change color. Not all animals with fur change color, but some do and scientist have some ideas as to why. One being that they blend better with the snow. They also believe it might be that the lack of melatonin with creates the color allows for air to be trapped in the hair creating a buffer from the elements.

Hares are one animal that changes color. Not all rabbits change but the Artic hare, mountain hare and snowshoe hare are among those who change. (other animals that change color include: artic fox, Siberian hamsters, Ptarmigans [a type of bird], collard lemmings, peary caribou, and weasels)

Let’s listen to the story Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na

Now, let’s create a picture of a snow rabbit.

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Winter Adaptation

Over the last two weeks, we have discussed how animals get ready for winter. We learned about migration and hibernation. Now lets talk about adaptation. Adaptation is when animals change or adapt to the cold of winter. This change my be a physical change such as the color of their coat or the thickness of their fur.

Let’s listen to the story: Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner. In this story we learn about how animals continue to move and live during the snows of winter. You hear about both animals that are hibernating and those that have adapted to the winter environment.

Today let’s create a chart about animals that migrate, hibernate and adapt to winter. You can either focus on a specific ecosystem of animals (a pond, the forest, your backyard etc…) or just list animals in general. I will list pond animals.

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Hibernation Station

I thought we would end our week on hibernation with a fun fiction story. Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows tells the story of many forest creatures getting on a hibernation train.

In the story, you learn about more animals that hibernate: bats, snakes, chipmunks, groundhogs, skunks and more. There is so much more to learn about animals that hibernate. I hope you pick your favorite hibernating animal and learn a bit more.

Let’s draw a picture of the hibernation station train. Where would you put all the animals? Would it be made of logs or something else? Get creative

STEAM · story · topic

Do Bees Buzz in the Winter?

Many animals who migrate or hibernate depend on insects for food… so what happens to insects in the winter? Well we know that butterflies migrate, so do dragonflies. What about everything else? Well the best answer to this is… it depends on the insect. Check out this information from the Smithsonian. You will see that some survive as larva, pupa, eggs and even some as adults hibernating. The key they have is by being able to create their own anti-freeze.

Let’s watch some videos

Scientific America What Do Honeybees Do in the Winter?

ScienceOnline Honeybees in Winter an Amazing Sound

So what do bees do? They huddle together and move their wings to stay warm. So while they are not hibernating in the sense of lowering their body functions, they still are not doing anything but staying warm. They put all their energy in keeping the queen warm. It’s almost like the other bees are trying to be a blanket around the queen. A queen bee quilt?

So… today make your own queen bee quilt. Will you use squares, rectangles, triangles or even hexagons, just like the bee hive? Will you draw it or make it out of cut paper? Will you have one pattern or a collection of patterns? It is up to you… it is your quilt

story · topic · writing

Frogs Hibernating

When you think about animals that hibernate, I bet frogs do not come to mind. But, did you ever wonder what happens to frogs during the winter? Think about it. They live near water, they are cold blooded, the eat insects, but they can’t migrate somewhere warm… that’s a long distance to hop!

Let’s listen to a few fiction stories about frogs dealing with winter.

Frog in Winter by Max Velthuijs

Froggy Gets Dressed by Jonathan London

Do you think that frogs really just get dressed in warmer clothes and try to stay warm in the winter? Do they snuggle down in their beds under layers of blankets? Nope…

Frogs hibernate, but when frogs hibernate it is very different from bears and other mammals that hibernate. Frogs don’t have fur. They can’t regulate their body temperature. So… frogs actually freeze. Yes, you read that right. Frogs ice over, but stay alive!

Watch this NatGeo video and learn about how frogs survive the winter.

What do you think other pond animals do for the winter? Do they migrate? Do they hibernate? Do they adapt in some other way? Draw a picture of what you think the pond looks like in the winter.