Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Summer of Science and Nature

Over the next few months, I thought I'd do a casual science and nature unit with my kids (aged 3.5 and 1.5) to pass the long hot summer days. As with all my bright ideas ;) my initial plan is likely to evolve as we go on, and I still have to flesh it out a lot and finish the latter sections, but here's a rough outline, if anyone would like to follow along. I've tried to work with what we have resource-wise as we've got some travel coming up at the end of the summer that we're still saving for. We'll likely heavily add to the books mentioned with ones from the library too.

Dinosaurs: May 26-June 1
make and excavate dino rocks with plastic dino skeletons
dino sensory bin with erupting mud
visit nearby dinosaur museum
snack: boiled and dyed “dino eggs
books: My First Dinosaur Board Book, Oh My Oh My Oh Dinosaurs, My Big Dinosaur Book, Digging Up Dinosaurs, Dinosaur, Dinosaur’s Day, DK Guide to Dinosaurs
family movie night: Land Before Time

Insects and arachnids: June 2-8
giant yarn spider web (inspired by this)
spider web weaving
ant farm
small world play with plastic bugs
raise butterflies
make beeswax candles
play with beeswax modeling clay
snack: honey from honeycomb
books: The Very Hungry Caterpillar, The Very Busy Spider, The Grouchy Ladybug
family movie night: A Bug’s Life, The Very Hungry Caterpillar ($5 at Target), or Magic School Bus Creepy Crawly Fun

Plants and rocks: June 9-15
plant new flowers in playhouse window boxes
color tree trunks with chalk
make a fairy garden (another inspiration picture)
nature in water table
contact paper nature collage
painting with flowers
freeze nature in ice cubes
color walk
dandelion seed blow painting
visit nearby state park
display flower life cycle poster
books: A Tree is a Plant, A Tree is Nice, Eye on Nature minerals book, Red Leaf Yellow Leaf
family movie night: ?

Reptiles, amphibians, and birds: June 16-22
frog pond small world
display frog life cycle poster
search for lizards and toads in yard
books: Eye on Nature reptiles and snakes books, The Red Eyed Tree Frog, Frog and Toad series, Owl Babies
family movie night:

Underwater animals: June 23-29
blue Jell-O, green spaghetti, clear water beads in kiddie pool (similar to this)
ocean small world
go swimming at nearby pool
books: The Rainbow Fish, Eye on Nature sharks and whales books
family movie night: Finding Nemo or Disneynature Oceans

Farm animals: June 30-July 6
farm small world
visit nearby farm
visit farmer's market for fresh eggs, milk, and produce
make butter
books: Barnyard Dance
family movie night: Charlotte’s Web

The Arctic: July 7-13
arctic small world
frozen shaving cream "snow"
books: Eye on Nature penguins book
family movie night: March of the Penguins

The Rainforest: July 14-20
making rain experiment
plants grow upward experiment
books: Slowly Slowly Slowly Said the Sloth
family movie night: Fern Gulley

Humans: July 21-27
play doctor's office or hospital
doctor puzzle
land art self-portraits
books: I Like Me, Shades of People, My First Body Board Book
family movie night: Magic School Bus Human Body or Babies

Sun, Moon, Stars, Planets: July 28-August 3
alien sensory bin
books: Wow, we don't own a single book on the topic!
family movie night: Magic School Bus Space Adventures

Science Experiments
1. erupting paint bags
2. make clear slime
3. microwave Ivory soap
4. chemistry lab - This was a HUGE hit last year.
5. elephant toothpaste
6. mad scientist lab - I bought all the stuff to do this last year and never got around to it.
7. fizzy play
8. lava lamp sensory play
9. transparent and bouncing eggs
10. colored ice sculptures
11. Mentos and diet soda
12. color changing carnations

I could get permission and post some inspiration pictures, but, frankly, I'm too lazy to bother right now. I hope you'll forgive a boring, incomplete, pictureless list.