Little Summer Explorers

I’m a mom that likes structure. While many families take the summer off to enjoy random playing, I still like to have some structure to my day. I started a few weeks ago looking for something that would be fun for the summer. I easily found it when I came across God’s Little Explorers by Stacie Nelson. Due to my restricted time, I won’t be doing daily posts, I’ll be giving the weekly highlights. If you want to check out the program for yourself please take a look at http://www.motherhoodonadime and you can also get detail instructions on most of the crafts that we do for this program. We’ll be taking two units per week so we can cover the whole alphabet during the summer months.  Also, for your reference, my boys are 3.5 yrs old.

This first week was a lot of fun. We began by decorating a cardboard box to be our explorer’s kit. The boys mainly put stickers on the box and I wrote Explorer’s Kit on two of the sides. With that done, I explained that explorers used equipment to find valuable treasure. I hid each treasure item and marked it with an X made out of tape. The treasure equipment was 1 adult Bible, 1 kid’s Bible, 2 pencils, 1 pack of crayons, 2 magnifying glasses and 2 flashlights. Now our kit was getting full so we made the last item. We made binoculars out of tape, ribbon and toilet paper tubes. They were a hit.

Next we looked at the Bible they found. I told them that God’s word is our treasure. We looked at the table of contents, looked at how it’s divided into books, chapters and verses. I printed out “God’s word is a treasure,” with each word in its own circle, cut those out, buried them in a plastic bin with popcorn kernels and gave them some cups and measuring spoons to play with. Sensory activities are always a hit and usually require some cleanup. Then I read the story of creation from Genesis chapter 1.   I try to read the bible story for that unit from the adult version one day and the kid’s version the other times. We followed that up watching the first half of What’s In the Bible vol I dvd. After that I cut out a big piece of brown paper, made a squiggly line across it, labeled the beginning with the Bible and the end with a big X. Our theme for two days was X marks the spot. We practiced writing little X all over a big X, making X out of our body parts, making cheese pieces into the shape of an X and practicing the sound of X.

 

The next section focused on the garden of Eden during the creation.   We sounded out the letter G.  We looked at seeds under the magnifying glass, soaked the seeds overnight and cut them in half before looking at them again and placed a few in a baggie wrapped in a wet paper towel. The seeds were supposed to sprout but ours molded instead. We talked about seeds making plants and that they need water and sunlight to help them grow. We watched the second half of the Vol I What’s In the bible. I had plans to do a whole lot more with the gardening theme, but I got tired and we didn’t do them and give yourself some grace if that happens to you too. We went to see a really big garden at the end of the week. We went over to visit the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. The boys enjoyed it. They ran, they got to be loud, we had a picnic, they got to smell herbs and they even learned about some of the birds that might live in a garden. We wrapped up this week by adding a garden picture next to the Bible on our treasure map.

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Tot School 32mo Twins – Y is for Yellow Yogurt Painting

The last activity of the penultimate letter in the alphabet.  I knew knowing that word would come in handy some day!  Since the crazy weather here has turned its face to winter again instead of marching forward into spring, we stayed inside and worked on painting since we haven’t done much of that lately.  I pulled out yellow paper and we talked about the word yellow beginning with the Y sound.  Next I took plain yogurt and divided it into 3 bowls.  I put in sage to make one green, paprika to make one red and curry to make the other one yellow.  I also added two drops of food coloring to each bowl.  What a great activity for all the senses.  It smelled yummy while we painted.

 

 

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This doesn’t produce the prettiest paintings, but the boys had a good time making a mess.  They drew circles, squares and I drew a few letter Ys in the yogurt too.  Just make sure your little ones don’t splat their hands in it.  I can testify, the yogurt can really fly!

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Later during the day, we did another yellow paper painting.  I had several paint chips all in different colors of yellow.  I let the boys pick out what yellow card they wanted to use.

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Then I taped a stencil of flowers onto the card and I taped both of those onto a piece of scratch paper.

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I poured out a small amount of red, blue and green Washable Crayola paint onto 3 saucers.  I gave each boy a small piece of sponge and told them to stamp to their heart’s content.  Stamp they did and had a marvelous time!  This was a messy project for my boys.  With stamping, they did the stencil, the rest of the paper, their hands, their arms, the table and even the chair.  It’s crazy how much these two boys like stamping, just like their momma.  It’s so much fun to see the differences in the two boys.  Lance smears more and likes to stamp himself  while James is much more neat on the page but gets rather wild on the table and chairs, everywhere except his paper.

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When they were done stamping, we washed up and I peeled the stencil, paper and card apart.  What was left was a cute picture of a mini garden.  They are hanging on my fridge as sort of an early mother’s day present.  I just adore pretty gardens.

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That my friends is how we got through a cold day inside when we all really wanted to be outside and playing in the sunshine.  Painting is my mercy for the day.  What kinds of things do you like to do when it’s cold or rainy?