Arctic play

Today, there is so much snow outside, we can’t go out due to C. having very strong sniffles still. So we had a spontaneous Arctic study.

I picked up North: The Amazing Story of Arctic Migration by Nick Dawson, illustrated Patrick Benson (affiliated link to book depository) at the library the other day

North picture book

and it proved to be just the right thing for little C. who’s fascinated with Arctic animals at the moment. D. read about the voyage of Pytheas  to the northern seas in Into the Unknown by Stewart Ross, illustrated by Stephen Biesty  (affiliated link to book depository).

into the unknown

We looked at the map of Arctic and Antarctic in our Maps book. We also read in Russian about types of movable houses nomadic people of Polar Regions make, also about igloos (“Дома мира” Ольги Колпаковой- Серия Настя и Никита).

After that C. drew a picture of whales migrating to the Arctic Ocean.

arctic migration drawing

In the end of the day kids created a lovely play scene on the floor- as always nothing more than a blanket and colorful pebbles in addition to our stash of Schleich animals. Well, actually we did use old towels to create icebergs and C. insisted that we have Antarctic too, a couple of magical creatures joined the party and Lego Flynn Rider was on his way to shore (but he was careful to avoid a hungry orca)

Arctic children play

We made some ice to see if our animals can ride on the iceberg. We kind of failed here, because our iceberg was only half frozen, still kids had tons of fun playing with water

drifting :)

drifting 🙂

the hungry orca

the hungry orca

That was our spontaneous Arctic Day (it’s quite cold outside too, if the weather keeps we might be lucky enough to try and build a snow fort tomorrow).

Interesting posts on the subject I came across:

Kids Dioramas and Small World Play at Artful Parent

Simple Ice Experiment

ETA: Movies to watch

Arctic Tale Trailer

To The Arctic Trailer


Bird walk

Last Sunday we went birding for the very first time. Local Audubon Society does monthly walks in different locations in Denver Metro Area and most of the events are free or low cost. It was a wonderful 3,5 mile walk and me and children learned a lot about spotting, identifying and recording our sighting from Master Birders. We will absolutely be back for another walk at the first opportunity. Find an Audubon Society near you via their website 

There is and excellent book list with activities on Cornell Lab of Ornithology page. We are only just starting our adventure in bird watching, but the simplest activities are easily implemented , the feeder can be built from simple materials at hand such as milk carton or bottle, simply watching birds in one’s own backyard and enter sightings into e-bird database

Some pictures from our outing:

will we be lucky today?

will we be lucky today?

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September week 2

This post may contain links to the sites I’m affiliated with, should you choose to make a purchase following a link, I may receive small commission at no extra cost to you.

We had another good and busy week, posting a little bit late.

Learning at home:

We did our best with planned  lessons and continue to tackle D’s violin (ugh, not easy, but he persists). Kids read a lot and D. started writing poetry again.

Favorite moment: Watching D. struggle with violin, sometimes through tears of frustration, and still not giving up. Also, this week I realized that the day we are most tired are in the end the best. Because it is good tired, from doing a lot, and doing it together.

Learning outside of home:

Kids had a great time in co-op on Friday, and we had our first field trip of school year. With D’s Colorado History class we visited Manitou Cliff Dwellings. It was very fascinating and educational. Now, this is reconstruction and people did not actually live THERE, but it is just like the ruins that were moved on this site and it’s 100% hands on. Kids were able to crawl through the caves and imagine themselves living there. The best pat of the trip to my kids?- The bat hanging from the ceiling in one of the caves 😀

children were able to go into the caves (with adult supervision!) and explore

children were able to go into the caves (with adult supervision!) and explore

Best memory: Driving through rain and fog only to have sun come out in the middle of our field trip, it turned out to be such a gorgeous day! Also little C. was not carsick both ways for the first time in her life (please, please, let her outgrow it finally)

gorgeous views

gorgeous views

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Ocean is a fascinating place, we try to return to this topic often, as kiddos have new questions all the time.

This year a trip to Denver Aquarium prompted us to look at the Great Blue once again. Now, Denver Aquarium is a very nice, yet very pricey place, so I recommend getting a membership, if you plan to return the same year,  this way it pays for itself in about two visits (especially if one uses guest tickets that come with membership). The exhibits are very nice and there is a Mermaid show that little ones especially enjoy!


say hi

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Read and make: Nightlife

This post may contain links to sites I’m affiliated with, should you choose to make a purchase following a link, I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

April 17 was International Bat Appreciation Day. I had big plans, but in the end had to improvise due to us being terribly snowed in and unable to go to the library.

We read a couple of books on nightlife that were at home:

I love the nightlife! by Tish Rabe (Cat in the Hat series), a very nice book for a preschooler, it introduces three nocturnal animals and their good sense of sight, hearing and smell. Favorite character and rhymes make it easy to remember.

[click on image for link to Alibris]

Second book we read   Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman, illustrated by Rick Allen (published in 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, Newbery Honor 2011). This is truly wonderful book of poems on night critters. each poem is accompanied by a note on an animal. Illustrations in dark, soothing colors are absolutely gorgeous .

[click on image for link to Alibris]

We watched video about bats on National Geographic kids page, we looked up images of cute and scary looking bats. Kids aww-ed at baby fox bats and laughed at some pictures, such as this one:


We did a little art project too:

First we picked up a large sheet of paper and kids drew night time background, including tree branch and grass. Then we folded some origami leaves (using this tutorial) and a couple of bats (using this video). We are a bit origami challenged as you can tell 😀  We glued leaves and bats on the picture, added an origami fox. D. then drew a snail, a hedgehog and raccoon’s behind since all of the racoons wouldn’t fit and glued them on as well. Added some tissue paper grass for additional effect. Kids asked to frame this picture and this ikea frame purchased on sale ages ago came in handy.


Learning about Jane Goodall

This post may contain links to sites I’m affiliated with, should you choose to make a purchase following a link I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.

Wednesday, April 3 was Dr. Jane Goodall’s birthday. We took this as an opportunity to learn more about this amazing woman and her work.

Both kids are fascinated with animals and D. ,especially takes issue of endangered animals close to heart.

We read Me…Jane by  Patrick McDonnell (published in 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Caldecott Honor of 2012), which is probably kids’ favorite picture book so far, especially C.’s, she identifies a lot with little Jane. We read the book and talked a lot about wonders that surround us, listened to each other  heartbeats. We also talked about dreams that we have and how we should follow them the best way we can.

Then we read  The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter ( published in 2011 by Schwartz & Wade) which gave more details on Jane’s life and included a few quotes by Jane. Kids were very impressed by the extent of Dr. Goodall’s work.


Activities we did:

Kids were given a task to go and watch animals we have at home (cats and little shrimp D. is raising in a cup of water) and document their observations. C. tried few minutes but in the end she just wanted to play,  D. did a very good job, although he couldn’t help poking the cat to wake him up and see what happens. In the afternoon they also went out and observed horses at the farm near our house and some prairie dogs that run around.


Second task was to think carefully about things they love and are interested in and create an art journal page. I separated a large sheet of paper into a few sections for C. and did the same in D.’s art journal. Kids then set to draw. D. used watercolor pencils for his art journal

D.'s art journal

D.’s art journal

C.'s work

C.’s work

A couple of days ago we watched  Chimpanzee (2012)a wonderful movie from Disneynature. The movie is very good, educational, touching and although sometimes sad, it was ultimately optimistic and life affirming.