Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nurturing Acorns--Animals in Winter

Okay, so these tracks are from underneath the bird feeder at our house. The dark-eyed juncos love hanging out down there! We knew it would be bitter cold today so made an executive decision to stay inside for Nurturing Acorns today. We still had plenty of nature play!

I snapped a picture of these tracks on the sidewalk to Woodlawn Nature Center as we walked in to share with the children later.

We spent some time with letters and animals, practicing fine motor skills with clothespins and dry erase markers.

We also had track stamps and handouts of various animal tracks that we might see out and about.

For story time, we sat by the wildlife viewing area. This is the BUSIEST I have ever seen it! There were many squirrels, a woodpecker, dark-eyed juncos, and many other birds. They do seem to fly away as we approach, but we were able to see a flurry of activity! I'm glad the suet, black oil sunflower seeds, and thistle (thanks whoever put the thistle out!) have been making a difference!

Truly a winter wonderland!

We read The Mitten by Jan Brett and Tracks in the Snow . We put all the different animals in our woolen mitten. Notice the arm(s) on my leg . . . my third child has a hard time letting mom be the teacher sometimes. 

Since we were staying inside, we decided to have some active play! We had a snow ball fight with crumpled up newspapers.

We also pulled out our parachute and sent the snow balls flying! We practiced counting and shaking the parachute. What fun and enthusiasm!

We also did a little snowflake freeze dance, making sharp angles with our bodies like snowflakes. For snack, we had woodland animal crackers on peanut butter logs with a little coconut snow. I had just mentioned to one of the other coordinators that we should start a business making woodland animal crackers. Imagine how happy I was when I found these little critters at Meijer! They were a little more expensive than the standard animal crackers, but fit so well with our theme and were a bit more nutritious. I truly am in love with these and will find many more ways to use them.

We spent time making animal tracks in our "snow" playdough. No, my child wasn't trying to hoard the Safari Ltd North American Wildlife Toob animals. Never.

We also traced mittens onto bags with animals from our story inside.

One of the boys even made a snowman! Reminds me of our balancing rocks!

Some other good title selections . . .

We went on an winter animal puppet walk . . . okay there are no dinosaurs out in the winter NOW, but maybe in the past? We found taxidermy, live, and other examples of all the puppets on our walk in the museum. The turtle quickly shut himself up inside, saying please don't bother me. These Folkmanis puppets are excellent quality. We were fortunate to have a donation to buy several puppets. Looking forward to a puppet stage soon, too.

One more week bringing kids a little closer to nature!