Summer activities – Visit the Zoo

Most kids would enjoy a trip to the zoo.

Because the winter here is quite long and harsh. I find the best time to visit a zoo is no doubt during the summer. Most special and seasonal exhibits are opened from mid-June through mid September and so you will get to see more animals during this period than you normal would in other months.

Visiting a zoo can be fun and educational. The children can learn about animals, have fun watching them, and sometimes even feed and pat some animals.

Here are some things/tips you can do to make your trip to the zoo more enjoyable.

1. Most zoos will have some educational activities for the kids so check the Zoo website for daily schedules, exhibition guides, educational programs and special events prior to the trip. This will help you decide which exhibit to go and avoid wasting time upon arrival.

2. For older children, you may want to print out some zoo-related activity sheets for them to bring along, give them some papers to jot down the things they learn about the animals or even a scrapebook to draw.

Here’s what the girl did during our recent trip to the zoo. She made her own journal and drew pictures of the animals she saw at the zoo. πŸ™‚

3. Speak with a Zookeeper, whenever possible.
I find that children learn more when they get a chance to speak to someone who know best about the animals. So, do encourage your kids to ask questions and talk to the zookeeper.

4. Take some time to read the fact sheets of the animals with the children. That’s another way they can learn more about the animals.

5. Allow some play time at the playground for young children. This will make them happy. πŸ™‚

6. Bring lunch and snack from home.
You know how picky young children are. The food selection at the park cafes are usually limited and the only way you can be sure that the kids would enjoy their food, is to pack your own food. The children would love the idea of picnicking. If possible, pack some special treats for them to make the picnicking exprience even better.

My children enjoying a cup of homemade strawberry yogurt ice and fresh strawberries for snack.

7. Zoo admission fee can be quite expensive. So, check out your local library for free or discounted Zoo/Museum passes. You can save a lot by planning and reserving your pass ahead of time.

8. Lastly, but most importantly – Slow down and take your time to enjoy your time at the zoo. There’s always something happening at the zoo. It is only when you slow down that you can see and appreciate the beautiful park and the animals.

Grass Growing Project: Trimming time!

It’s the 15th day and the girl couldn’t wait any longer, she decided to give her grass a “haircut” and complete her science project. πŸ™‚

grass growing project

Of course, before she could trim them, she had to measure the grass length for the last time and record the measurement on her journal. This is part of the everyday math concepts that I wanted her to know i.e. collecting, recording and representing data. We also talked briefly about the life cycle of the grass. Just something simple like the grass needs sunlight, water and food (nutrients) to grow and what happen after they wither.

grass growing project journal

Besides taking down the grass length measurements, I also asked her to observe and draw a picture of the grass and to label the parts of the grass. Then, we spent some time talking about her pictures and her observations. It was really interesting to hear what she knows and the questions she had about them. πŸ™‚

I think this is a really good hands-on home learning activity. It is fun and very educational. I highly recommend you to do it with your child. Now that we have concluded this project, I am thinking of doing another one with flowering plant or maybe start a vegetable garden with them! Hmm… should I?

Interesting online resources about plants –
1. Birmingham Grid for Learning – Life Cycle of a Plants (Link)
I really like this interactive site. Besides, parts of a plant & flower, children can learn from this site about seeds dispersal too! You should really check this out!!

2. An Educator’s Reference Desk – From Seed to Plant lesson plans (Link)

3. Think Quest – How Plants Grow (Link)

Related posts:
Follow our Grass Growing Project here. (Link)

Grass Growing Project : Sprouted!

Something magical happened overnight! The kids were very excited when they spotted the grass seedlings yesterday morning!

grass growing project
(Grass @ Day 7.)

It is truly amazing to see how nature works and how fast grass grow. With just a little soil, water and plenty of sunshine, grass seeds started to germinate @ Day 7 after we planted them. This morning, we also have a surprise when we went to check the grass out. They seem to grow an inch taller than yesterday!

Anyway, the girl and I have started taking the measurement of the grass. I have promised to let her give them a haircut when the grass is long enough! Well, we’ll see how long it takes for that day to happen! πŸ™‚

garlic & ginger
(Garlic in the big round pot, and ginger is in the small one.)

By the way, inspired by my friend who is into organic gardening, I also planted some garlic and ginger. Hopefully, they will do well in pots. πŸ™‚

Related posts:
Follow our Grass Growing Project here. (Link)

Spring Craft : Egg Carton tulips

Woo Hoo! The weather is finally warming up! To welcome Spring, the kids and I made this very easy egg carton tulips craft. πŸ™‚

egg carton tulips

Materials used :
Egg carton
pipe cleaners
disposable chopsticks/ twigs – to support the stem

All you need to do is to cut out the egg carton cups (which would be the flower), paint them and then string through a pipe cleaners at the base of each cup. If the pipe cleaner is not strong enough to hold the flower, insert a chopsticks or twigs to the cup, then twirl the pipe cleaner around it.

Very easy, right?

I briefly searched for some other egg carton crafts to do with the kids this weekend (as DH has been away for the past 8 days already, so need to entertain them myself :() and these caught my eyes…

1. Egg Carton Wreath from Canadian Family site (Link)

Egg Carton Wreath

Egg Carton Wreath

2. Egg Carton flowers by Super Cozy (Link)
egg carton flowers craft

3. Of course, we won’t be making this, but this is too pretty and I just have to share it with u! Egg Carton pendant lights (Link)

Egg Carton flower lights

Related Post:
Follow our Grass Growing Project here. (Link)

A is for Apple : Apple stamping art

The top one is done by the boy and the bottom one is by the girl.

Materials used:
Apple – cut into halves
Tempera paint – Red, Green and Brown.

What we supposed to achieve from this art project:
For the boy:
– Learn the colors – Red and Green. To actually know how to say the colors, and not by any code names like James (red) and Percy (Green).
– Alphabet introduction: A

For the girl:
– Learn about the parts of an apple.
Quiz on apple parts

PS: After reading this entry, DH came by to tell me that he loves both art pieces and he thinks the boy’s piece would fetch a higher price because it is an abstract art. MUAHAHAA…rom

Related posts:
See our other Preschool – Alphabet activities here (Link)

Life cycle of a Lime Butterfly

When our woolly caterpillars didn’t emerge out of their cocoons after 3 long weeks, we knew they didn’t make it to the moth stage. The girl was a little disappointed but she didn’t have much time to think about it since we had to prepare for a long trip back to Singapore! To her surprise, as soon as we touched down and arrived at her grandparents’ house, there were a few caterpillars waiting for her in a plastic terrarium!

This time, we were really lucky. We had seen 7 butterflies (or is it more than 7?) emerged and let go during our stay in Singapore. The children were very excited to see the amazing transformation of the caterpillars right before their eyes. (Actually, I was as excited as them too! :P) Every morning, the children would check on the status of the caterpillars to see how much they had grown and if they had turned into a chrysalis. And when the butterfly hatched, the children and their cousins would gather around to say ‘bye bye’ to the butterfly before letting it go. It was truly a delightful experience and I hope we will be able to do something similar next spring right here in our own house too. πŸ™‚

Here comes more pictures!
Presenting our very own… ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’!

In the light of the moon a little egg lay on a leaf.
caterpillar egg

One Sunday morning the warm sun came up and – pop!- out of the egg came a tiny
and very hungry caterpillar. He started to look for some food.

On Monday Everyday he ate through one apple green lime leaf. But he was still hungry. After many days… he wasnΒ΄t hungry any more – and he wasnΒ΄t a little caterpillar any more. He was a big, fat caterpillar!

He built a small house, called a cocoon, around himself. He stayed inside for more than two weeks.
lime butterfly cocoon

Then he nibbled a hole in the cocoon, pushed his way out and …
lime butterfly
he was a beautiful lime butterfly!

And because we love our butterfly and we would like to let nature take its course, we had to let it go!

Bye bye, butterfly! (See note on pix to spot the butterfly.)

two cocoons but no moth

Our 2nd woolly caterpillar finally spun into a cocoon on 17 May 09. We are still waiting patiently for them to emerge into moth stage, but I have this feeling that it is not going to happen. The first cocoon was accidentally knocked off from the lid where it was attached. According to my mom who has reared some butterflies before, if the cocoon is not hanging, the moth will die even if it did emerge from the case. Oh well… I have already prepared the girl for this and she seems cool about it.

At school, the girl’s teacher got two caterpillars and both already turned into a butterfly and a moth. That’s also one of the reason why I think ours will not make it to the final stage because our first cocoon was found around the same time. Anyway, the girl was really excited because she was the first person to spot the moth that had just emerge from its chrysalis. It is beautiful! πŸ™‚

Updates on our woolly bear caterpillar – the fuzzy cocoon!!

Exciting news to share…
One of our woolly bear caterpillars has spun into a fuzzy cocoon!
(Picture coming soon…)

We read that the transformation would take about 2 weeks for the moth to emerge from the cocoon. We hope we will be able to see the moth soon. πŸ™‚

Other related posts:

A companion for maomao
Updates on our woolly bear and teaching responsibility
Woolly Bear Caterpillar
not moving
Go, Maomao, Go!

simple Solar System mobile craft 2

While doing a disk cleanup on my computer, I came across some pictures of the simple solar system mobile craft that I did with the girl last summer. It was actually a continuation of this solar system craft project. I finally found a frugal way of stringing the foam balls to make them into a mobile using recycled materials.

What you will need for making the mobile:
recycled coffee stirrer – like this straw kind
recycled circular foams or you can make it from scratch using hard cardboard
index paper – for labeling the planets
foam balls in assorted sizes – see how we made these planets here.

Just cut the coffee stirrer to size and poke them thru the planets foam balls.
Cut the yarn to desired length and string them thru the stirrer.
Make an incision on the circular foam or cardboard and tie the planet foam balls to the cardboard. Space them according to your preference (or like what we did, we space the planets according their distance to the Sun.)
Lastly, if you like, you can attached labels on the yarn to name the planets.

A companion for Maomao

Introducing our new addition – Yangyang, the crawl-very-fast woolly bear caterpillar!

The girl found Yangyang while raking the leaves in our yard with DH. She was super excited about her find and quickly asked for our permission to keep this caterpillar with her Maomao. Of course, we had to agree. With the new addition, I think the chances of seeing the caterpillar emerge into moth stage will be higher now. Wish us luck! πŸ™‚

Other related posts:

Updates on our woolly bear and teaching responsibility
Woolly Bear Caterpillar
not moving
Go, Maomao, Go!