Preschool Penguin Unit

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We are continuing our lessons on cold climate animals with one of Big B’s favorites – Penguins.

Preschool Penguin Unit

Books: The library is always our first stop when we are starting a new unit. The following are a few fun, educational books that we found:

Movies: There are GREAT penguin movies for kids. I am sure you are familiar with them:

Science Projects:

  • The Cold Climate Animal Experiment that I did with my Hibernation Unit will work with the Penguin Unit as well.
  • The penguin’s feathers are made waterproof by an oily substance. This protects the penguin’s body from the frigid temperatures of the water. I found a great experiment that demonstrates how water is repealed from the penguin feathers on the Perpetual Preschool - Cut feather shapes or even a penguin shape (like we did) out of construction paper and have the child color the entire paper with black and/or white crayon, then drip water onto the paper. The paper will soak but the areas with the crayon will repeal the water. The waxier the crayon the better.
  • Preschool Penguin UnitPreschool Penguin Unit
  • Penguins also stay warm by huddling together. If you are teaching the unit to a group of children, and it is currently cold where you are located, you can show the kids how huddling helps provide warmth. Take the children outside and have them stand separate from each other. Talk to them about how even with their coats on it still feels cold. Then have the kids huddle together  in a tight group for a short time. Ask them if they are warmer huddled as a group. Explain to them that penguins huddle together in order to stay warm.

Physical Activities:

  • Waddle like a Penguin! Recently Big B has enjoyed pretending his is different animals. After reading our first penguin book my husband demonstrated the penguin waddle for our son and they had a great time waddling around the house.
  • Place a ball on top of child’s feet and have them waddle around like a daddy penguin protecting his egg. You can also set up races where kids waddle with the ball on top of their feet.Preschool Penguin Unit
  • Preschool Express has a version of the “Penguin Hookey Pookey.” It’s a really cute idea.

Art Projects:

Footprint Penguin – White paper, Construction Paper, Paint

  • Paint the bottom of your child’s foot and make a print on a piece of paper so that the toes are facing down. We didn’t have black paint so we used blue
  • Cut a circle shape out of white construction paper for the belly and a triangle out of orange construction paper for the beak. Once the paint is dry glue the shapes onto the penguin footprint
  • If you have goggly eyes glue them above the beak. We didn’t have goggly eyes, so I make eyes out of construction paper

Play:

  • A great way to reinforce the fact that penguins swim and can’t fly is by playing with penguin toys during bath time.

Snacks:

  • Penguins eat krill, squid, and fish. Give your child a chance to taste what it is like to be a penguin. If you have an adventurous eater attempt to cook a whole fish for your child to try. If not, make a tuna and mayo mixture for them to try on a cracker. This was not a great experience for Big B. He is not a fan of tuna however, Big B loves squid. We get calamari every time we go to a restaurant. Take your child out to try calamari at a local restaurant (unless you are talented enough to cook it at home).

I hope you and your children enjoy learning about penguins as much and Big B and I have!

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Hibernation Unit

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Our preschool science curriculum features both season and animal units, so with winter here it’s the perfect time to study the change in the season and animals who are either greatly effected by the winter weather or are cold climate animals. We started out this winter season with a hibernation unit.

Hibernation Unit

It’s amazing the things that I have learned while homeschooling my son. I was doing research and learned that bears don’t “technically” hibernate under the original definition of hibernation. Animals who truly hibernate go into a very deep sleep and cannot be disturbed. They can be moved without even being aware of it. Bears however sleep for weeks at a time and can be disturbed. Animals who hibernate include; badgers, bats, chipmunks, dormouse, ground squirrels, hamsters, groundhogs, hedgehogs, nighthawks, prairie dogs, raccoons, and skunks.

Books

I started by reading Big B lots of books about bears and hibernation. Our library has an entire section of science children books on animals. I got a few books that teach about bears and other animals who generally hibernate. I also got a few story books where the animals (mostly bears) are preparing to hibernate.

Snacks

Hibernating animals build up fat reserves (and in some cases store foods) to sustain themselves through the winter. They will eat things like berries, nuts and other vegetation. Offer some of these foods to your child as snack (considering allergies) and talk to them about how these foods help the hibernating animals make it through the winter.

Cave Building

We talked about how animals build or seek out shelter to protect themselves while they are hibernating. Big B and his dad built a cave for him play bear and act like he was hibernating.

Preschool Hibernation Unit

Fat Storing Experiment

I ran across this Animals in Winter science experiment from Preschool – What Fun We Have. I felt like it was the perfect way to show Big B how animals store fat to help them stay warm during the winter.

I started out with two bags, shortening, and ice.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

I covered Big B’s hand with one of the bags and then handed him a few pieces of ice

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

I then liberally covered his hand with the shortening and covered it with the second bag. I handed him the ice again.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

The shortening represents the additional fat that helps protects the animal from the cold weather.

Hibernation and Cold Climate Animal Activity

Big B now has a better idea of how and why animals hibernate.



My Family’s Love of Bob Shea

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There are a lot of children’s book writers that we love, but few as much as Bob Shea. There is something about his writing. Maybe it’s because he has the same dorky sense of humor as my husband and me. Maybe it’s because I feel like it’s a requirement that I read each book with extreme enthusiasm… which I love! Either way my whole family enjoys Bob Shea.

It all started with Oh, Daddy!. I purchased it when Borders was going out of business a few years ago. I knew nothing about Bob Shea at the time, but it looked like a cute book. It quickly became Big B’s favorite book. He asked for it at both nap time and bedtime every day for at least six months. He had it memorized, and I would hear him “reading” it to himself over the monitor when he was suppose to be sleeping. A short while later Big B was picking out books at the library and he found Dinosaur vs. Bedtime. It was the first book we read when we got home, and Big B was instantly in love. That night my husband pointed out that Dinosaur vs. Bedtime was written by the same person who wrote Oh, Daddy!, which made perfect sense, they shared the same cute illustrations and quirky sense of humor… and that is when our love for Bob Shea truly began. In our house he cannot go wrong.

If you want to check out Bob Shea, and we think you should, here is a list of his books (images will take you to Amazon)

 

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Great Children’s Books About Nutrition

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Big B and I have spent the last week checking out piles and piles of books from our local library. I have been on the hunt for books that I could read to him about nutrition. I searched our library’s site using terms like “food,” and “nutrition.” I even looked for other lists online… and I found there weren’t a lot of good options out there. Books that were touted as “good nutrition” books featured children who wouldn’t eat their veggies and that STILL wouldn’t by the end of the story. Some were even stories about how children hid or got rid of their veggies so their parents thought they were eating them, and while a lot of these books were cute it really wasn’t the message I was trying to send.

Big B loves reading, and loves having books that go with our lessons. So, I was on a mission to find good children’s books about nutrition. The following is list of the truly good nutrition books that I found. I promise by the end of each the kid eats their veggies!

(Click on the image to be taken to the book on Amazon)

This has been one of my favorites so far. It features a fruit or veggie for each letter in the alphabet. It’s beautifully illustrated and Big B has really enjoyed looking through it. One of the great benefits of this book has been that Big B has shown interest in trying the fruits and vegetables in the book that he hasn’t heard of… that might be a different story once they are in front of him, but it’s worth a try.

This book is a great example of why you should try something before saying you don’t like it. If you are having a hard time getting your child to try new foods read them this book and explain that if he never tried the green eggs and ham he wouldn’t have found out that he liked them!

This Eric Carle book is beautifully done. It takes your child through the entire process of making a pancake; from gathering wheat, eggs, milk, making butter and finally cooking. This is a great way to show your children where their food comes from!

This is a sweet book is about a little pea that doesn’t want to eat his dinner of candy but does in order to get his veggie dessert!

In “The Monster Who Ate My Peas” a little boy learns a lesson about making deals with monsters who offer to eat his peas.

A dramatic little boy tries to convince his parents that he can’t eat peas because they will turn him into a monster!

This Eric Carle book takes you through a week of food and is set to a song.

I hope your little one enjoys these books as much a Big B did!

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The Best Baby Books

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I have always wanted my kids to have access to books, even as infants, but that seemingly endless phase where they put everything in their mouths made it hard. When Big B was an baby I searched everywhere for baby books that he would not destroy with his drooling, because even board books fall apart when chewed on. At the time all I was able to find where cloth books, but they did the trick and both children have been able to enjoy them.

When I was pregnant with Little B I came across Indestructibles through a friend. Her son loved them. They have the look and feel of a book but cannot be destroyed. Indestructibles are wonderful and they explain why right on each cover… “They are chew proof, rip proof, non-toxic and 100% washable!” They are also filled with beautiful, brightly colored images. Little B loves them. They are her current “go to” toy.

So, if you want to surround your children with books that they can actually handle from a young age consider some of the following suggestions.

There are lots of Indestructibles to choose from and they are very reasonably priced. Here are a few of our favorites:

(Click on the image to be taken to the book on Amazon)

Indestructibles get Little B’s seal of approval!

Here are a few cloth books that I would recommend:

 

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