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Learning About Wild Safari Animals - Mother Goose Time Curriculum

Safari Animal week was not all about lions!  We also learned about 4 other animals through a wide variety of crafts, games and activities provided by the Mother Goose Time Curriculum.  We actually did the right activities on the right days this week, which is pretty impressive for us!

Elephant - Day Seven:
We started out our day with a Circle Time activity focused on "Ee".  I taped up the Phonic Photo Cards to opposite sides of the room (this is the clean side pictured here :) ) and then he ran between them slapping them and saying "E!".  This was intended as a follow the leader activity, but I was holding the baby so I was more of a manager than a participant.  

I told him how baby elephants hold onto their mommy's tails like he holds my hand.  Then I stuck a sock in my pocket and he followed me around the room, holding onto my "tail".  The actual point of this activity was to learn about "E" but since I didn't want to make a paper "E" that is bigger than myself I skipped that part.  Mother Goose Time has a wide variety of activities to do everyday, and the ability to change them up as you need/want is awesome.

Our Sight Word Book for the month was "Can It Fit?".  The words he worked on were jumps, in, out, and of.  Instead of just looking at it once, we read it every day this month, and he can read it pretty well now, although I am 100% certain he just memorized it and isn't really reading it.  I kind of wish that the sight word pointers were not all different colors, because he just learned which color was which word.  If they were all the same color he would focus more on the letters.

We read "A Baby Elephant in the Wild" which was about a baby elephant named Liza.  He really liked this book, and despite only reading it once (we read most of the others a few times, but this one was long) anytime he sees a baby elephant he says "IT'S LIZA!  We also used the book for playing Feed the Elephants.  I set out a pile of letter leaves and a bowl.  He randomly picked one.  If it was lowercase he fed it to the baby elephant, uppercase he fed it to the mommy elephant, not an e he put it in the bowl and if it had ants on it he put it in a box.  I explained that elephants eat leaves but are afraid of ants getting in their trunks.  When we started this activity he was having SOOOO much fun, but about halfway through he got pretty bored and was highly irritated when he drew an "E" and had to go feed the elephants, and tried to get another one.  Preferably with ants on it, because he found those to be hilarious!  Since Little Guy is the only kid in my "class" I really need to remember to adjust the activities to scale so he doesn't get burnt out and bored.  I don't like to let him quit in the middle, but I need to make sure that the end isn't so far away!

The last activity was Digging Tusks, which I really skimped on.  It was raining outside, and although the kids all have rain gear, Bitty Baby and I don't.  So I gave him a stick, told him a little about why elephants have tusks and then let him dig in the dirt for like 30 seconds before we went back inside.

Rhino - Day Eight:

The Rhino Horn craft project was DEFINITELY in his top three craft projects to date.  The other two would be the violin and binoculars.  Sadly for him, he left it at Michael's mom's house the night he made it and it is probably in the trash by now.  

We played Wild Animal Match with this month's set of Vocabulary Builder Cards and talked about what animals have horns.  Then we were supposed to "write" to Mr. Rhino, but all we got was "Dear Mr. Rhino, Hi!  I like your horn.  What is your name?  My name is (redacted)." and that was mostly just copying me.  Then I taped some of the vocabulary builder cards around the room.  I spun the Wild Animal Spinner and he moved like that animal around the room until he found it.  He really enjoyed playing, but the animals on the cards did not entirely match the animals on the spinner, so we both got a little confused a couple times.  

Rhino Charge was fun.  I told him how rhinos are aggressive and charge when they are angry, then we build some towers and charged them like rhinos.  Then I hid the provided puzzle pieces under some cups.  Well I intended to hide them, but the pieces were to big so he could see them, my spacial skills are a bit lacking I guess.  Then he charged the cups until we "found" all the pieces.  Working together we put together the puzzle.  

Watering Hole was a game much like Parcheesi.  He took turns really well, but still needs a lot of instruction on where to move his pawn (or Safari Counter in this case) on his turn.  He also got to do one of his favorite things ever, which is play with his Safari Counters in a "watering hole" (a bowl of water).

Zebra - Day Nine:
Apparently I didn't take any pictures on Zebra day, so, nothing to look at.  Sorry.  We also only did half of the activities because I didn't have masking tape or craft sticks.  Plus my mom came over this day, so we wouldn't have finished anyways.  This is why I like to go through my Teacher Guide and mark which things I want to do each day so I can plan for some light days if we have other things to do.

Anyways.  We did Wild Patterns (each month Mother Goose Time sends a new set of pattern cards) and talked about which animals have skin and which have fur.  We also got Wild Animal Fact Cards and learned a few things about different animals.  Including snakes *shudder*.  Then we continued the ABCD pattern of animal prints.  At first the ABCD pattern was to hard for Little Guy, but by the end of the month, he was pretty much a pro at "lion, elephant, giraffe, zebra" from our calendar time.  I don't know if it will transfer to other ABCD patterns, but its a good start.

We also did Zebra Stripes Art, which was fun because instead of using white paper, we used white chalk on black paper.  I wish I had a picture, but I didn't take one I guess...

Giraffe - Day Ten:

Giraffe Spots game was fun.  We talked about how all giraffes have different patterns, just like zebras have different stripes and people have different finger prints.  Then we played a game where we put foam (I just wanted to spell it phome.  Yes, I caught it before autocorrect did LOL) spots on a giraffe picture.  We drew a card with a number on it, then counted out that many foam ovals (shape of the month!) and put them on the poster.  Sometimes he did well, sometimes he didn't, but its all practice.  He gets ahead of himself with the rote counting, and then messes up.  
Then we did Giraffe Portrait.  Our poor giraffe didn't have eyes because somehow the eye stickers ended up at the bottom of the box and were only found on the last day, long after the giraffe portrait was gone (I think my mom took it home with her).  Anyways, we traced his foot (which is why my mom wanted it) for the giraffe head, and then used brown paint to add spots.  Since Little Guy LOVES to paint, he was very into this craft.  Then I put down a line of glue and he added a yarn mane.
Letter Leaves was the last activity of the day and the week.  I was smart this time and learned from Feed the Elephant.  Rather than taping up ALL the letters like you would in a class of 10 kids, I just taped up a dozen or so to avoid burnout, but not teaching him to be a quitter.  We talked about what giraffes like to eat, then I put the Phonics Photo Cards in my pocket*.  You were supposed to use a paper bag, but I don't have any little paper bags and a giant grocery one seemed like overkill.  I told him that giraffes have long necks to eat leaves from the tops of trees.  Then I taped up the leaves as high as I could with him still able to reach them.  He took a photo card out of my pocket then took down a matching letter leaf.  He did excellent and finished with no complaints or boredom!

Little Guy and I are given Mother Goose Time Curriculum to use free of charge in exchange for sharing the educational and fun preschool activities, games and crafts they provide for us to use.  All opinions are my own.

*Want to know a secret?  It was my bathrobe pocket.  Despite the fact that Little Guy is dressed right after breakfast almost everyday, I usually am in my pajamas until I realize that the girls and Michael will be home soon and I should probably not be in my pajamas...  Which means I put on yoga pants.


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