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At Home Distance Learning

Distance Learning 2

April 03, 2020
By Wendy Starnes
Welcome to Week Two: Backyard Theme

We really put our heads together this week for fun backyard ideas!  

Good Reads:
The Squiggle by C.L. Schaefer    
*As a follow-up activity, get a long piece of yarn, or a long ribbon, or a rope or string and see what you can do with it in your yard.  Hold it in your hand and dance, waiving it around.  "Draw" using your squiggle.  What else can it be? What else can you do with it? 

Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds (I found it a few places but this one shows the pages and the words, which I like  but this one shows close-ups of the pictures, so watch both maybe to decide which you like)
*As a follow-up activity, the kids can make outdoor drawings on a wooden fence or on a deck or pavement (or on paper) where they mix up the colors for things and use different colors for the sky/ground, etc.  Use sidewalk chalk for easy clean up.

The Itsy Bitsy Spider   By IZA TRAPANI

Six Backyard Adventures

 Backyard Hootenanny!

Simple birdfeeders

Laurie Berkner’s Under a Shady Tree 
Itsy Bitsy Spider

Art Ideas:

Bird Craft

Collect leaves, rocks, small twigs, or anything in your yard.  Organize them by category.  Count how many in each category.  Can you count them?  Can you organize each category from smallest to biggest?  What is the smallest thing you collected? The largest thing you found?  Can you create a pattern from some of the objects? (Ex: leaf, rock, stick, leaf, rock, stick, or maybe rock, rock, stick, rock, rock, stick, etc) 

Use items found in the yard (twigs, grass, picked flowers, rocks, seeds, acorns, etc) to spell out your name on a surface.  Can you make it big? Is it as long as you are? 
Collect items (acorns, twigs, leaves) and create a backyard person. Post pic on Facebook page
Build a "habitat" for creatures, bird friendly, bug friendly, etc.

Gather sticks in the backyard and maybe other things you find and in an area of the garden or in a corner of the yard, create a mini-forest or village with the objects you found. Stick sticks into the ground to create trees or towers.

Also...sorting! You can get a bunch of items from nature, and then sort into different colors, sizes, textures, etc. 

Painting with Nature 
Kids could also tape paper to different trees and use crayons or markers or chalk to color bark imprints. (or Leaf rubbings)

Crush up sidewalk chalk, add water  and mix, freezing it in small dixie cups, popsicle makers  or ice trays.  Use the ice/chalk for creating outdoor masterpieces.

Also fun is to crush up the sidewalk chalk and use it with wet hands to create a more tactile and interesting work of art. 

Mix water with large amounts of food coloring and freeze as detailed above to create ice/paint to be used outside.

Spider web painting: Yarn, black paper and white paint

This last one is teacher Cristina’s favorite. It is in the spirit of reflection and gratitude and grace that we need reminding of all the time and sometimes only do at thanksgiving.  This is a purposeful way for parents to maybe work this topic into their days with the kiddos and get them to reflect on what they DO HAVE and what they HAVE DONE and who they DO LOVE as opposed to focussing on the things they want, lack, or cannot do, which many are focused upon right now. Hopefully it resonates with children of all ages and parents alike:

Create a Thankful Tree:
Collect a few branches from outside and arrange in a vase on your table or where it is easily viewed.  Cut out leaves, or have the children cut out leaves. These can be in any color, or cut out in white and colored any color.  On each leave, take turns, maybe daily, writing one thing you are thankful for and have children dictate to you what they are thankful for.  Add to daily and watch your tree grow and become more beautiful as you add leaves. 

Science ideas:

How does a leaf or plant breathe?

Close Up Look at a Flower  Observe up close. Use a magnifying glass to observe small parts of nature.  For instance, try Dissecting a Flower  

Pick flowers and put in jars with food coloring. Watch flower color change as it drinks the food coloring 

Play in the wind! Fly kites, streamers, toss balloons and see how the wind affects these materials. On a rainy day, bring the wind inside using a small fan, 2 poster boards and tape. Lay the fan on the ground, or on blocks to allow air flow. Tape the poster boards around the edge of the fan like a cylinder leaving space for the air flow. Turn the fan on and float balloons in the above the cylinder.  Try different materials. Talk about how the objects get caught in the vortex. Interrupt the flow... what happens?

Take out ice (or your used up ice/paints) and observe it as time passes to see how it changes.  How long does it take to melt?  Does it melt faster as a whole piece or when you crush it up?

Make mud pies

Observe bugs in the yard.  Follow them and notice what they do and where they go.  What are they trying to accomplish? Where do they go? Can you draw a map of their adventures?

Blindfold your child  and explore outside under your supervision.  Use their senses to make observations, relying on their sense of smell, hearing, and touch.  What do you hear? What sounds are the loudest? How many sounds can you list? What smells are there? Does the ground smell different from the air? How? What other smells can they smell as they are led around?  What do you feel? Hand objects to them to see how they can be described. Does it feel hard? Rough? Heavy? Soft? Pointy? Challenge them to find new ways to describe things, without reusing the same few words.

Gross Motor Play:
Obstacle course

Toy Hunt: Choose some items (plastic eggs, dinosaurs, balls, duplos, etc.) and hide them around the backyard. Now it is time to go find them! You can take turns being the “hider” and the “seeker.” Tip: Count the items out before you hide them. That way you will know when you have found them all.
Parachute Man Alphabet Game. Attach a plastic bag to an action figure. Write letters on patio. Drop Parachute man and identify what letter he lands on. More importantly, identify objects that start with the same sound as the letter he landed on.
Quiet outside game-listening in nature bingo game where they had to mark off each item they hear in nature...until everything on the page is marked 

Backyard Scavenger Hunt: Thanks, Erin!

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More Fun from The Acorn Teachers and Staff; Keep checking for updates!

One of our music teachers, Ms. Lana, shares music time with the children. Please log in to our Updates for Current Parents page, scroll down to the links, and enjoy!

4/3/2020 Pamela shares Marbleized Art!

4/2/2020 Maria and Mary Ellen paint with ball moss!

3/30/2020 It's incubation time! Rich explains the process to us. What a wonderful Acorn tradition that even a quarantine can't stop!

3/30/2020 Edney talks about how a thermometer works! We have thermometers in our incubators!

3/27/20 Pamela and Lily share 50 Cool Things You can do with a Box, posted on a followup to reading Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

3/27/20 Sudie is in her garden sharing her Georgia O'Keeffe art lesson

3/26/2020 Lourdes reads Hi, Pizza Man!

3/25/2020 Carrie performs a Sink/Float experiment! Collect a few things at home and join in the fun!


3/23/2020  Lily at Home with her Piano!  Hummingbirds and Caterpillars, enjoy a visit with Lily!

                    Enjoy a musical reading of Five Little Ducks with Colleen!

3/21/2020 A list of fun from our Kinder teacher, Lizzie...

Fun things to do when you are at home

  • Create an obstacle course and complete it
  • Ask your family about a famous artist and look up their work
  • Make up a work out and complete it with a family member
  • Play a board game
  • Write a card to a friend
  • Make a musical instrument using items from around the house, (toilet paper rolls, rubber bands etc.) and play it! Make a video!
  • Draw a self-portrait while looking in the mirror
  • Bake something with a grown up!
  • Make up a new game.  Write down the rules and play
  • Have an indoor picnic/living room camp-out
  • Make a paper boat.  At bath time, test it out!
  • Draw a picture of how you are feeling
  • Put on a play.  You can even dress up with clothes around the house.  Take pictures or record it!
  • Take a virtual field trip of a famous museum- links online!
  • Start a family book club.  Discuss favorite characters and what parts you like best, and why.

3/20/2020 Blue Star teacher, Allyson, reads a class favorite, Dinosaurs Love Underpants!

3/19 2020  Hi, friends, Jo  reads the story Who Sank the Boat?  Can you make a boat?

3/19 2020  Our worm friends from Kindergarten and the upstairs classroom are happy in their new home in the playground garden! Take a look! Can you find any worms in your yard?

3/18/2020   Hi, Acorn Friends, Here is link a to our Kindergarten teacher, Leslie McCrary, reading her book, Shoo Wee Okapi. Enjoy!