Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekly Review - Science

Raccoon is 36 months

Raccoon and I are just starting to feel healthy again, but we enjoyed resuming Tot School this week. I decided to loosely call this week's theme "Science" although many of our activities aren't theme-related. Raccoon is funny because sometimes it doesn't seem like he's that interested in what we're doing, then when I don't plan anything, he asks me for more "new games." 

I signed up for a free trial of Science A-Z and loved it. During the 7 days, you get a certain number of downloads from their website. My favorite ones were the Science diagrams since Raccoon is such a visual learner. Above is their "Forest Food Web," which we looked at by itself first, then we added in matching animals from Raccoon's large collection.

I made a food chain for him and we played a game of who-eats-who. Raccoon decided that the snake should eat chips instead of mice.

We acted out a simple water cycle after looking at a diagram (he calls them maps), also from Science A-Z. I shined the flashlight on the water to represent evaporation, then squeezed water out of the sponge for precipitation. He tapped his fingers on the tin foil to make the sound of rain.
Next we played a game where each food chain thing had to find its beginning letter. Raccoon wanted to make sure his water "map" was in the picture too.


I printed off this Treasure Chest Munch Mat and we used some paper letters as "treasure." We talked only briefly about letter names and sounds since Raccoon is not really interested in the alphabet yet.

 I saw this sticker idea on Learners in Bloom and decided to try it. Raccon is not usually into following directions, but he did really well.

He seemed a little overwhelmed by the whole sheet at once, so I folded it in half, also making it easier for him to have it on his lap. We have not done anything with stickers in a long time, so he surprised me by peeling off the stickers himself (without getting frustrated, woohoo!).

After we finished the 1-5, I asked if he wanted to do more and flipped the paper over when he - surprisingly - said yes. We ran out of smiley faces so used some other little ones we had, but those he needed help with. He got a little sidetracked doing 6-10, so we started playing that the little people were hungry and each one wanted to eat a dot.

We do a lot of things with play doh. This week he enjoyed cutting up different shapes with a plastic knife.
Then he prepared me a balanced meal - fish, a croissant, a salad, and pineapple.
I decided to try this ruler spider web, since I'm always on the lookout for pen/paper things that Raccoon will enjoy without having a meltdown.* It's hard to tell in the picture, but a few days before he had poked holes in the paper with a nail. Here we are connecting the holes using the ruler.
I got this idea from my mom, a preschool teacher. She recommended squishing Fruit Loops, but with Raccoon's corn allergy, I decided that chocolate chips were safer. With the Fruit Loops, you can sort them by color, pulverize them, then use them in an art project. We just ate the chocolate. :)
I mentioned Raccoon's love of plastic animals before, and an activity that keeps him busy for quite a while (15-20 min for us) is sorting them into "families," or we sometimes call them zoo exhibits. He knows all their individual names, so we've moved on to larger categories such as amphibians, arachnids, reptiles, insects, crustaceans, felines, canines, etc.
And of course, we had lots of costume fun, another one of his favorite activities. This week's new addition was the Viking, although when I finished the hat, he thought it looked more like a cow. Oh well.
We also read two mini-books on the acorn life cycle and the seasons from a Lift & Learn Science pdf from one of Scholastic's dollar deals. One of the new things we've discovered are the Magic School Bus videos on YouTube, so this week he watched ones about the rainforest, plants, rot, and our sense of smell. I didn't get our board put together for this week, so we'll pick up with our condensed version of Raising Rock Stars Preschool next week.
*Further explanation of our meltdown struggles...
Raccoon is keenly observant and gets easily frustrated when his work doesn't look "right" to him. When it comes to any type of drawing/coloring/painting, his perfectionism is definitely an obstacle that I don't know how to work around. Most of my pictures are taken in the first 30 seconds of an activity because after that, a meltdown, for one reason or another, often happens. I try to model messing up and trying again, along with praising him for hard work and persevering, but it's definitely an area where we are struggling. 

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