Friday, 4 March 2011

Educating the senses

I have been rather busy lately as this week was off for my kiddos. And since Dh was not able to take the week off at the same time they did, I spend the whole week with all 3 of them. It was exciting, busy, fun and yet tiring.
I had planned a week full of things to do. Since they are used to do loads of work at their Montessori school during the week, I knew that a whole week of just playing around would eventually get old. And it did. After a whole weekend of relaxing and playing to their heart's content, they were starting to show signs of being ready to DO stuff on tuesday morning. And I was ready for them :)

We started our week with a visit to a butterfly exposition.

The butterflies are free to fly around, and so it becomes really fun to be able to track them, search for them, and observe them from sometimes really up close.

We saw many types of butterflies from the beautiful blue morpho from the southern hemisphere to the really (impressively) big night butterflies :

These are newly hatched butterflies. They were hagning on the thread until their wings were dry and thus ready to fly. On the thread, you see other coccons

that are not hatched yet.

These butterflies were hard to track as they really melted with the plants and scenery. We even played the game "who will be able to find the most monster butterflies"

THis visit was great, because, well, it is awesome to walk amongst so many free butterflies, but also because we learned a lot about our kids.

Even though Dh and I are the type of person who enjoy handling any living creatures, however, our kids does not... We cannot wait for summer again to go camping with them, but I can see this being a problem after seeing Peanut not wanting to even be touched by the butteflies (eventhough she thought they were beautiful)

And so it became quite clear that our goal for the next few months is to get them to the nearest pond, and help them learn to enjoy nature further, i.e. be able to handle the slimiest thing in there. ;)
But the pond being unusable for the next few months as it is still uncovered with snow, I looked at my list of activity, and organized the ones that I saw as being useful in reaching our goal. Anything sensory was done!

To start off, something for the sense of vision:

So we started off with the baking soda volcano experience. I had done that when i was young, and reading The artful parent, reminded me of it.

We used plasticine, which is harder to work with then regular or homemade playdough. I felt it was a good exercice for those littles fingers that are about to start write. (there is a good explaination of that in the very good book the write start)
So we used a Mason jar, and green and brown plasticine. And much to the delight of my kids, the volcano really did erupt!

and thank god, I didn't use food coloring!

Then the sense of taste.

I organized a taste test. They loved it.

They were blindfolded, and were testing the same thing at the same time. They had a minute to think about it, and then they had to say out loud what they thought it was. They were GOOD!
I used: Honey, chamomille tea, ketchup, mustard, mayo, yogurt, oil, juice and tamari sauce.

The sense of hearing:

We did some sound quiz. It is something they are used to since they have sound boxes in school, but this time, I used a recording of nature sound. There was:
bird songs,
cricket, and
bee flying.
Yes, that was an easy activity, but they really enjoyed it, and it was so relaxing to hear all of these nature sound, and be concentrated on it. I really have to do this again with them some time.

Then we got the the sense of touch

swe started out with a sensory tub. I have started to see those everywhere in blogland, and knew they would love it. I was searching for a theme for it, and came out with the perfect one: The sugar shack! Being from the land of Maple syrup, this is something we celebrate (and enjoy) each year (and it is about to start YIPEE!)

Here is the tub with white sand (snow), amber plastic pellets that reminds me of taffy, wooden stick to eat the taffy off the snow, a metal tub (used to collect maple water) and a wooden spatula to work the maple water into syrup. I also used snowflakes confettis.

They LOVEd it. They just couldn't stop playing in it. So now it resides in our atelier, and will stay there for the entire month (and yes, will be changed for next month to their request)

We also tried the Water and cornstarch experience. Sorry no pics, it was impossible to control everything during that time LOL. The slimy texture got plasted all oveer our walls, but it was interesting nontheless...

And for the grand finaly, we did a Jell-0 excavation activity:

I prepared it the night before, and let it set in the fridge. I forgot to thaw it before they played, and so it was really cold. I was sure this was going to throw off the entire thing, but no, they loed playing with the "cold slimy thing"

even my 7 months old joined the fun!

let's not talk about the mess afterwards shall we?

So over all, plenty of fun, and a good need for cleaning the house this weekend...

But we could not finish the week without some fort building skills being practiced: (how useful are these for camping!!!)

and some improptu pretend play

brought to you in part by: my old Pay Day game (thanks Parker brother for fake money!)

Have a good weekend everyone!

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