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.

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!

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 :)

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

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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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!

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