Friday, February 14, 2014

J is for Japan Weekly Wrap-up

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We had a full week exploring the continent of Asia, celebrating Chinese New Year, and learning about the letter J. Here are some other things we did this week:


Tell Me a Story at the South Carolina Children's Theater
I love this program! Miss Traysie, the Principal Teaching Artist, reads a story to the kids, then gets the kids involved in acting out scenes from the story. She does a fantastic job! She dresses up and gives a high-energy reading that really keeps the kids' attention.

This week she read the story One by Kathryn Otoshi. Red, a hot-headed bully, liked to pick on Blue and the other colors. Along comes One, who teaches the colors to stand up for themselves and count. It just takes one voice to make everyone count! M got to play the part of One and stood up to Red. She stomped her foot and said "NO!" Then at the end she said "Everyone counts!" I was so proud of her for going out there by herself.

Playing Restaurant
M received this Melissa and Doug Felt Food Sandwich Set for Christmas. I love that it came with pictures of all of the contents - we use it as a menu! M set the table for me, then handed me the "menu" to choose what I would like to order for lunch. I ordered an egg sandwich, and she decided that would taste good with a little jelly added. Interesting...

Writing / Drawing
M has recently gotten really interested in drawing and coloring. She was never a big fan of coloring when she was younger (she always preferred painting or other types of crafts). She has been choosing to get out paper and markers to draw pictures, or drawing on the dry erase board on her easel. Her drawings are starting to look more realistic, and she is able to explain what she is drawing (rather than just a bunch of random shapes or lines). She still switches between her left and right hand, and appears to be equally comfortable with either. She is developing a nice grip, and I know all of this drawing practice will really help as she gets ready to write!

Practical Life

Balance Bike
M says she loves to ride bikes (she has a balance bike, a bike with training wheels, and a "stationary" bike), but she rarely rides for more than a few minutes at a time. To be fair, we live at the bottom of a big hill, which is a difficult place to learn to ride a bike. Nonetheless, we took M's bikes with us to meet up with some friends at the park. I was shocked, to say the least, when M rode her bike all around the park for most of the time we were there! She even started going a little faster and lifting up her feet a little. Yay for improved balance and progress!

Speaking of balance and grace, M started ballet lessons this week! She absolutely loves dancing and listening to music, so we've been looking into ballet classes for a while. I didn't want anything too structured at this point, and a lot of the classes around us were either a little too pricey, or involved a long-term commitment (like signing up for a full semester in advance). When I saw a post for a demo class for 3-5 year olds, I knew we had to try! The class is in a mom's home, and is a little more relaxed than a lot of the traditional programs would be. M was thrilled to go out and buy new clothes and shoes for her class, and the first class was a huge success. She had so much fun, and can't wait to go back!

When M wakes up in the morning, she typically amuses herself in her room for a while before she yells to wake me up. I'm a big fan of this arrangement because it lets me sleep in a little later, and gives M some time by herself to play with her toys and use her imagination. I'm always amazed to see what she has going on in her room in the morning! One morning, she had spread out blankets all over the room as little islands. She was jumping from island to island and transferring her dolls and stuffed animals from place to place. She had an elaborate story line to go along with it.


Mirror Play - Reflections, Shapes and Patterns
I saw this mirror box on The Imagination Tree a few months ago, and have been wanting to make one ever since. I finally got a set of mirror tiles at the store, and duct taped three of them together to make this fun sensorial tool. I set up the mirror box on the floor and gave M her box of pattern blocks. She immediately started putting the shapes along the edges of the mirror to see the reflections. 

In the future I'd like to switch out the materials she uses (including some more natural materials), and work on symmetry and patterns using the mirrors.

Nature Explorations
My mom and I took a photography class together that ended with a practice session at the park downtown. My husband, M and my dad met us at the park, and M graciously modeled for us. She sat on a wall breaking sticks for a long time, then explored all around the park. She ran back and forth over the bridge, looked at the flowers, and watched the ducks swimming in the river. She had a blast, tired out my husband, and gave all of the photography students plenty of practice with our new camera skills!


Bead Stair
M has still been sporadically working on the bead stair. I demonstrated this work last week, and have left it out on the shelf for her to take out when she is interested. She likes building the bead stair with the beads and matching the beads with the number tiles. She has also gone back and colored some more of the bead stair printable that I printed last week.

Counting, Graphing and Number Recognition
We're not typically big on worksheets, but every once in a while M wants to sit down at her table and do some of these workbook pages. M's Grandma gave her this Kindergarten workbook for Christmas, and she loves it. It has a combination of language and math pages, and M is able to do most of them with very little help from me (I just read the directions).

The page she is working on in the picture was a graphing page. She used the fruit "graph" to figure out how many of each type of fruit there was, then circled the corresponding numeral for each fruit at the bottom of the page.

Science / Cultural Studies

Creepy Crawlies
This week's Rainforest Fridays was all about bugs! M got to see and/or hold a millipede, hissing cockroach, stick bug, and tarantula.

What would I see if I had compound eyes like an insect?
They also learned about vanilla and cinnamon plants. M got to scratch and sniff the bark of the cinnamon tree, see and touch a vanilla plant and vanilla beans, smell vanilla extract and ground cinnamon, and taste vanilla cookies. 
They wrapped up class with a spider craft and story time.

This month's theme for Roper Mountain Science Center's Second Saturday program was STEMFest. They had a ton of activities, demonstrations, and displays set up! This month's topics were a little over M's head and definitely targeted an older audience, but she still found some activities that she enjoyed. We spent some time in the sound lab with BMW to learn about how they control sound quality in luxury vehicles.

We also watched a really cool demonstration from Milliken on Cryogenics! They used dry ice and a balloon to demonstrate the relationship between temperature, pressure and volume (again, the actual mathematics, which they explained briefly on the board, was over M's head, but she liked the demonstration and understood the basic concept). They also talked about polymers, and demonstrated how a rubber ball could be smashed into pieces when it was cooled down to very low temperature.

I hope you had a chance to check out our explorations of Asia and Letter J activities! Have a great week!

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1 comment:

  1. Can I come and do preschool with you guys? It looks like you did some really fun activities. :-) Rainforest Friday - really cool!