Saturday, July 12, 2014

Deep in the Desert

For more desert ideas, check out my friend Annie's Deep in the Desert theme!

"Deep in the Desert"

The third theme I chose for my son was the desert. Here are the activities we did throughout the week. You don't do them all in one day, you space them out so throughout the week you are talking about your theme here and there, a little at a time.

Field Trips:
1. I got a Culture Pass to the Phoenix Zoo from the library! If you don't know what a Culture Pass is, check it out here. Free trip to the Zoo? Yes please!! We went and saw all the animals, but paid special attention to the desert critters. It was fun to see rattlesnakes, road runners, owls, coyotes, peccary, big horn sheep, skinks, scorpions and many other desert animals we learned about in our unit.




Not a desert animal, but too funny not to post :)

2. We were planning on going to the Desert Botanical Garden (you can get a culture pass for this too!), but ended up with company in town and no time to go. It would be a great place to explore as well!

3. This would be a good week to stop by Coyote Oaties for a treat- just because of the name, and because any excuse to visit is definitely warranted.

 Activities:
1. Cactus sponge. Cut a cheap sponge into the shape of a cactus. Put a little water in a dish and let the sponge soak it up, just like a cactus soaks up water from the ground! We did it with regular water, then dyed it with food coloring so we could see it soaking into the sponge better.


























2. Turn a cucumber into a cactus using toothpicks! This actually held his attention for quite awhile.




3. Desert sand sensory bin. I bought some decorator sand and desert animals at Hobby Lobby. This has been a favorite activity this week!



Food:
There is a lot on Pinterest, we did a few basic activities. For one, we ate the cucumber that we turned into a cactus! We also tried some nopales (prickly pear leaf). You can sometimes find them at local grocery stores. Use a veggie peeler to peel off the remaining pricker, and then we just cut it up and ate it raw! I've heard it tastes better cooked, but my son LOVED it raw. He thought it was cool that it was so slimy. And its cool to "eat a cactus" too :)


Songs:
Check out these websites for some desert song ideas!
Desert Songs
More Desert Songs

Books:
Go to your local library and check out all the desert books they have. Some are stories and some are more education. Dig, Wait, Listen, Cactus Hotel and The Seed and the Giant Saguaro were the biggest hits this week, but they were all great!


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Movies:
We didn't watch it, but The Lion King would be great for this unit. We did watch Planet Earth- there is a whole episode on Deserts. We watched just the part similar to the Sonoran Desert. Paul was so excited to see "the bat is drinking nectar from the saguaro flower!" after reading about it in our books.


This was such a fun way to talk about our state, and how we live in a desert. It was fun for me to learn more "desert" culture, as I didn't grow up around here! I never knew so much about saguaros, javalina, and road runners!!! Hope you have a blast!

Friday, July 11, 2014

On The Go

My friend Annie (check out her amazing blog here!) does fun themed weeks with her kids to help keep them busy and engaged during the summer. I have started doing them with my son and it has been a huge success! He has learned so much from each unit and I realized it has been an incredible time of language growth for him. So, what better thing to do than pass that along to all my speech kiddo's parents, and anyone else that could benefit?? It has been a fun time to bond with my son as well, and I have really enjoyed all the activities- probably more than my son has. :) Our outings have been what we have locally in Glendale/Phoenix. It may be too far for some of you to see the same things we did. But use these posts as a template and research your own places to see in your town. Pinterest is also a great place to find additional crafts, songs, activities, food, you name it! Add to my themes to make them fit your children's interests and needs. Make up your own themes. The opportunities are endless! I want to take this opportunity to thank Annie for introducing me to this whole concept, and seriously, check out her blog. She is amazing!


"On The Go"

The second theme I chose for my son was all about cars and trucks. He is into everything with wheels. Here are the activities we did throughout the week. You don't do them all in one day, you space them out so throughout the week you are talking about your theme here and there, a little at a time.

Field Trips:
1. We drove by the construction site by our library to see what vehicles we could find working and what they were doing

2. We did a truck scavenger hunt. I made this paper for him of all the different kinds of vehicles we could see, the ones I included were:
fire truck
green taxi
police car
city bus
school bus
garbage truck
pickup truck
semi truck
digger

As we were out, we saw these other vehicles that could have been on the list, too!
tow truck
car transporter
delivery van
motorcycle
dump truck
cement truck
ambulance
cherry picker truck
mail truck

You could also do a scavenger hunt focusing on colors, and have them search for a blue car, red car, silver car, etc. You decide what goes on your paper- whatever your child likes and you have a high possibility of seeing!

I put this paper on a clipboard and gave Paul a colored pencil so he could mark off each vehicle as we saw it. He was REALLY excited about it and loved "checking off" each one as we passed it. We ended up at a local cookie shop, because every good scavenger hunt has a treat at the end!

 Checking his list, telling me that the cookie was his favorite thing on our scavenger hunt.

 Waiting for the cookie shop to open. Coyote Oaties in downtown Glendale is AMAZING if you haven't been! All natural and no preservatives, its the "healthiest" cookie out there ;)




Activities:
1. Using car and truck shaped cookie cutters to make play doh vehicles

2. Making the awesome shape puzzles I found on Pinterest- we didn't do this one, but did one similar. 
Build a Truck! Fun way to review SHAPES with preschoolers. Truck activity for kids!

3. Fill a container full of dry beans or rice to drive construction trucks in. This one has provided HOURS of entertainment!


Food:
There is a lot on Pinterest, we just did a few things though. We did a hotdog car with zucchini wheels (toothpick to hold them on), and apple grape cars like these. 







But I liked these ideas too:
stop light fruit for transportation partyfunfoodfriday91 by kirstenreese, via Flickr  Luke would get such a kick!

Teddy car snack


Songs:
1. Wheels on the Bus
2. Drive My Car - Laurie Berkner
3. Drivin in my Car - Ralph Covert

Books:
We (ok, I) had a blast picking out books from the library. There are so many! We ended up getting a ton, and the ones listed below are some of our favorite vehicle books. Construction Kitties, Dig Scoop Kaboom and The Grumpy Dump Truck were the biggest hits, but they were all great!
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Movies:
Paul isn't really into movies much. But he does like Disney's Cars, and we borrowed a few kid documentaries on garbage trucks, construction sites, etc. from the library. There are also a few on Netflix, and he loves Mighty Machines (also on Netflix). These documentaries are his favorite:


Well there you have it! Let me know if you have any questions- and please let me know if you have any other ideas I could add to my theme next year!!


City Tour - Summer Language Activities

My friend Annie (check out her amazing blog here!) does fun themed weeks with her kids to help keep them busy and engaged during the summer. I have started doing them with my son and it has been a huge success! He has learned so much from each unit and I realized it has been an incredible time of language growth for him. So, what better thing to do than pass that along to all my speech kiddo's parents, and anyone else that could benefit?? It has been a fun time to bond with my son as well, and I have really enjoyed all the activities- probably more than my son has. :) Our outings have been what we have locally in Glendale/Phoenix. It may be too far for some of you to see the same things we did. But use these posts as a template and research your own places to see in your town. Pinterest is also a great place to find additional crafts, songs, activities, food, you name it! Add to my themes to make them fit your children's interests and needs. Make up your own themes. The opportunities are endless! I want to take this opportunity to thank Annie for introducing me to this whole concept, and seriously, check out her blog. She is amazing!


"City Tour 2014"

The first theme my friend always does is a "City Tour." There are so many places to explore in our town, many we don't even know exist even though we pass by them all the time. Take the time to explore your city- this was a fun filled day and completely free (except for the treat at the end)!!! Here is what we did:


My son used this checklist to check off each place after we visited.

Fire station- check!

1. Historic Glendale Fire Station 157
It was need to see a fire station with the old fashioned huge glass doors. We could see a fire truck inside but there wasn't much activity other than that. Many fire stations will let you schedule a free tour, so that is always something to look into if you're interested! We took a good look at the cool relief statue out front of the fire station. 

The fountains weren't on, which was a bummer, but this is a really cool spot to visit! 


3. "Old Friends" Statue in Glendale City Center
My son talked about this statue for days afterwards. It seems so simple, but it is fun to appreciate art and it leaves an impression on our kiddos!!


4. Mosaic Walk 
This was a really fun walk for us! It has 59 images imbedded in the sidewalk. My son loved discovering the pictures and describing what was in them. What a great language opportunity!





5. Pratts Pet Store
What a fun pet store!! Lots of reptiles, birds, chicks, and rodents. There are goats and pigs out back, depending on the time of year I'm told. We had a blast!


The "parrot" was his favorite

6. La Purisima Bakery 
We tried out this amazing Mexican bakery. Their burritos, dessert flautas and warm tortillas are to die for!
Too busy chewing to smile

What are you waiting for?? Go check out local businesses and sites in your town. There is so much to discover!