At his “big kid” preschool the highlight was going on our first field trip! Z and his friends were invited to explore a local Goat farm which produces dehydrated goat milk products (including baby formula).
Z loved seeing the different barns, tractors, the grain hopper etc. He enjoyed petting the goats, especially the very friendly kids. By the third goat barn, Z was wondering what else we were doing? As he said it was dark, smelly, and loud and he wanted to see how the farm functioned-the machines that processed the milk, and the hydroponic system that helped to grow the barley they eat. He asked tons of questions and fortunately everyone answered them.
At home April’s preschool month was all about plants.
For week one we focused on seeds. Our sensory bin was a bird seed mix with added pumpkin and sunflower seeds. I added Z’s flower puzzle to the bin to play with as well.
For activities we took out a variety of seeds packets and played a game called “match the seed”. Z did really well matching seeds to packets. We then took those seeds and sorted; comparing and contrasting their size, color, and shape. Z enjoyed learning about the plant cycle, working on a garden ispy page, reading about seeds and how they help us grow food.
We also did counting with seeds and enjoyed watching them dance in baking soda and vinegar. For our craft we drew a picture of a flower in some grass with glue then pasted seeds all over the paper. When the paper was dry we shook it off and a picture of our flower in grass emerged made out of seeds-Z thought that was as cool trick.
At the end of the week we also stared germination of a Lima bean. We put water-soaked cotton balls in the bottom of a ziploc alongside several Lima beans. We taped the bag to the window and watched them over the next few weeks. It was awesome to see roots grow, the bean open, and watch leaves uncurl all in the ziploc bag!
Week two/three we focused on parts of a plant. (I had planned for only three weeks in April-expecting Z to be gone for one of them. When Z ended up home I was ready to add activities. Then we, L and myself, ended up sick so it was really just one week of content spread over two weeks.) For a sensory bin I put black beans in plastic flower pots alongside silk flower for play. Z enjoyed potting the flowers and raking the beans.
Z also enjoyed playing with his kinetic dirt inside with his flower puzzle.This week we did a scavenger hunt outside for different parts of a plant: leaves, stems, petals, roots.
We also made flowers out of play-dough, buttons, and pipe cleaners. Z enjoyed color by number, flower mazes, patterns, and parts of a flower puzzles.
He was very quick at spelling his name using letter flowers in a paper pot. We learned about some of the different names of flowers in one of our favorite Richard Scarry books. Near the end of this subject Z got a little bored as he had done quite a bit of plant learning at school (I found out later.) He brought home several awesome plant and flower crafts from school.
For our third/last week we focused on gardening and plants we eat. This gave us a chance to re-visit some of our concepts and books from our fall harvest unit: apple orchards, corn fields, and how busy tractors helps farmers grow and harvest crops. For our sensory bin I filled up a cardboard box with dirt and placed it our red wagon. I gave Z some gardening tools and “hid” in the dirt a variety of plastic fruits and vegetables.
Z enjoyed imaginary play: pretending to run a farmers market stand while I the customer came to buy fruits and veggies for my dinners and desserts.
Z also enjoyed playing a beginning sound game. I pulled letters from Z alphabet puzzle and put them in a bag. I put all the veggies and fruit in a bag. Then we had to match the beginning letter to the letter sound the fruit or vegetable started with.
Z also had fun exploring the parts of different fruits and vegetables and their seeds. He was even brave and taste-tested quite a few of the ones he doesn’t normally eat. Z was surprised to learn that fruits and vegetables can grow in trees, on the ground or under the ground.
We also discovered (in doing this) that we different parts of a plant: we eat roots, leaves, stems, and even petals along with fruit. Z did a pretty good job by the end of the week telling the difference between a fruit and vegetable. For our craft Z made pretend gardens signs for his vegetable/fruit garden, we colored them, wrapped them in tape, then used a skewer to place the in the garden for playtime.
April was a bit of a topsy turvey month in which most of our plans changed or went awry. However, I am so glad in the midst of it we were able to enjoy nice weather and Z was able to learn a little about how things grow.