Today let’s read a fun holiday story: Mooseltoe by Margie Palatini. Moose wants everything to be “Perfectly perfect” for Christmas, but will he remember EVERYTHING?
Moose forgot the tree! Oh no… what would you do if you forgot to get a Christmas tree? Well you aren’t a moose, so you can’t decorate yourself. Today’s challenge…. create a tree for Moose!
You can use some of the same materials we had yesterday for the Christmas engineering projects or let your child get creative on his/her own. Encourage them to mix materials and think outside the box.
Some ideas: pipe cleaners, construction paper, Lego, popsicle sticks/tongue depressors, a pile of socks?, garland, toys… food…. your imagination is the limit!
Want to add more academics to this fun project? Pick a challenge to add to the creation. Here are some examples: Can you make a tree that stands without support? Can you make a tree that is taller than 10″? Can you make a tree that will hold ornaments? Can you make a symmetrical tree?
Also, have your child plan ahead. What do they think it will look like? What materials do they plan to use? Why?
Encourage multiple attempts, failure is part of the learning process… if that didn’t work, what else could you try?
Then at the end, if not totally exhausted from the process… have your child draw and write about the end result. Write a letter to Moose to go with the tree.
Today let’s do some engineering! (Engineering at this age means problem solving through design and exploration of an open ended quest) Provide your child with any of the materials listed below and then let them work. When we work on these projects at school, we typically start by letting the children explore their materials. After learning how the materials work together, then provide a challenge. Make the tallest Christmas tree. Make a gift box. Make a candy cane. Make a sleigh. Make an ornament for the tree. Whatever you want your child to create/engineer.
Pick any of these combinations:
jingle bells with pipe cleaners
jingle bells with playdough
gum drops (or other gummy candy) with toothpicks
beads and pipe cleaners or string
playdough and beads
marshmallows with toothpicks
toothpicks, straws, tape, string,
playdough and candy canes (this can be tough since candy canes aren’t as strong as you’d think)
Ok… here’s a different way to engineer
Build an ornament holder (that suspends an ornament up) using straws, tape, pipe cleaners, ornament holders
Design a new sleigh for Santa use paper, tape, glue, popsicle sticks, egg cartons, Lego blocks or whatever creative items your child wants to use
Remember! There is no right or wrong way to work on these STEM projects. Your roll is to ask questions. If you want to participate…. do your own version beside your child. Children often figure out how to do things by struggling through the steps of what not do it… failure is always an option, it is the first step on the way to success.
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.
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
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.
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!
When people talk about hibernation typically the first animal to come to mind is the bear. Bears actually do not truly hibernate, but do slow down their heart and lungs. When animals truly hibernate, they cannot be woken up, but bears brains stay alert enough to be aware of their surroundings. Bears go into a state called torpor.
I hope you enjoyed these facts about butterflies. So, lets have fun with butterflies. Butterflies as symmetrical, meaning they are the same on both sides. So, I thought it would be a good time to build some symmetrical butterflies!
I used Lego blocks and pattern blocks, but you can use any resources you have at home, even just crayons and paper. Notice in the last picture, I only made half a butterfly and used a mirror to create the line of symmetry.
Today listen to the stories “How to Catch a Monster” by Michael Yu and “How to Catch a Monster” by Adam Wallace. While both these stories have the same title they are actually very different. In the first book, the child is excited to play with his monster as he gets ready for bed. In the second, the child wants to overcome his fear of monsters. But I decided that thinking Thursday is a great day to design a monster trap!
This becomes a great STEAM project! You can use anything, yes anything in your house to build a monster trap. So… let your kiddo get creative. I would encourage him/her devise a plan. Let’s draw out what you think a monster trap should look like. What resources will you need? How will you lure the monster into the trap? Where will you set it up.
Now get working… let your child be creative and provide limited support in this adventure. Your roll is to be the scribe (lots of writing for this one), ask questions!, and encourage creativity. How does the monster…? What happens next? Why will that happen? How do you… ? How else can you…?
This is a great project to work on over a few days or at least a few chunks of time. In school we would probably devise the plan on one day and make the traps another. For younger children (3/4) I would have him/her make the trap and then draw the plan. For older children (kindergarten and up) I would have them make the plan and then make the trap. You are flipping the purpose of the plan in this case.
This week is all about MONSTERS! This is such a fun topic for children as they can be both fun and scary. But we will focus on the fun side! Today’s story Monster Math by Anne Miranda… read by Anne Miranda! This is a story about a Monster’s birthday and how many monsters join the fun!
So … it’s time for a favorite activity and character: Shape Monster! Shape Monster Shape Monster munch, munch, munch? How about about a (color) (shape) for your lunch! This is a common kindergarten shape activity, but can so easily be adapted!
I’ll share with you a few ideas on how you can use the shape monster today.
Create simple shape monsters (or complex if you want). Put them onto bags or onto empty boxes to make the shape monster’s lunch bag/box. Label each monster with a shape. (circle monster, square monster, rectangle monster etc…). Have your child find items around they can put into the shape monster’s lunch bag.
Provide your child with construction paper, either already cut into shapes or have your child cut his/her own shapes. Use the shapes to create a monster out of shapes… a shape monster! Or if you do not have construction paper, they can just draw a monster out of shapes!
Want more shape monster fun? I have two kits in my store that use Shape Monster!
Shape Monster’s 2D lunch time mini book ($2)… Help shape monster find the shapes he wants to for lunch. Each page focuses on one shape and provides a color for each shape. And, Shape Monster himself describes the shapes attributes.
Shape Graphing with Shape Monster ($1)… This kit has your child(ren) sorting and graphing shapes. The kit includes four different graphing pages (spin and graph, color and graph, grab and graph and find and graph)