Sunday, May 22, 2011

Summer Scholar Sunday #3

Each week, I will feature an activity found in the Sun Scholars Summer Program and share some highlights from our Summer Scholar Families.  We'd love to have you follow along.  If you like what you see, and would like to learn more about my Sun Scholar Summer Program, click HERE.

Miniature Terrarium
Subjects:    Science
Time:         10+ mins
Supplies:       Small Jar, a variety of natural items, such as moss, pine cones, tree bark, seed pods, etc.

this is from Week 5 - The Great Outdoors of the Sun Scholar Summer Program

Have your child create their own miniature terrarium with items they collect on a nature hike.  Take some time to explore the outdoors for items they can include in this project.


Creating a Miniature Terrarium
·         Clean and dry your jar and lid.
·         Spread out your collected items on the table in front of you.
·         Place the moss in the lid.
·         Have your child select other collected items and arrange them on top of the moss.  You can “burry” the roots of small plants and flowers in the moss to encourage them to grow.
·         Dampen the arrangement by sprinkling or spraying with water.
·         Gently place the jar over top of the arrangement and screw into place.
·         Find a safe place to keep your terrarium for all to enjoy.


Note:  I found these great little jars (in the photos) at Michael's for $1 a piece.  I thought they added some nice character, but you could just as easily grab something from your recycling bucket.


We didn't find any brightly colored berries to throw in this time, but the kids really enjoyed this project.  From our picnic, nature hunt at the park, to the building of their terrariums.  A great project for the kids!

What have the Summer Scholar Families been up to?

This week our family chose Week 3 - Animal Fun. The activities we did were:
Story Time
Learning About Animals
Newspaper Math
Movie Party Planning
Movie Invitations
Movie Snacks
Movie Review
Lost Pet Poster
Learning About More Animals

For Story Time, the kids chose books about wolves and mammals. We also got a bird watching book to identify the birds in our backyard. The kids enjoyed learning new facts about their favorite animals and creating their animal fact sheets afterward. We had a very stormy, rainy week, so we didn't see many birds. We'll continue this next week with nicer weather.

We had a great time with the newspaper math. It was fun to see what kind of menus my kids would put together. It was also good for my older kids to see how much a meal can cost. The younger boys enjoyed trying to find the numbers in the paper.

Our family LOVES movie parties, so we had a great time planning our animal themed one. We decided to watch Bolt. We did animal themed
snacks: Puppy Chow, Gummy Bears, Swedish Fish, Pigeon Feed (popcorn), etc. They made puppy beds on the floor and convinced me to serve their drinks in bowls so they could lick it up like puppies.

We had a great time with animal week! There were so many activities in this week that we weren't able to squeeze in, so we will have another animal themed week soon.

Many friends and family have asked how the Sun Scholar program has been going. So far, we all love it. My kids are still in school right now, but as soon as I pick them up, they ask what Sun Scholar activities they get to do today. In fact, it has been hard to get them to do their regular homework first. We have all loved the activities so far and can't wait to enjoy the rest of the them. 

Mailmania was our topic this week:

Address book:  The first assignment the kids completed was adding another "person" to their address book.  Zachary added his "Bubby", aka grandma.  One thing that surprised me was that he never knew her "real name" then added a picture to it and put it into his address book!  We talked how important it was to have all the correct spelling and zip codes on the address so that the mail would get to her.

Mail Sorting: on Monday, we received quite a lot of mail from all around the US, which worked out great for our 1st assignment this week!  1 First I laid all the mail out on the table and read to them the states they came from (Printed out the map of the US that is provided with the program). Then the children found that state and marked it with an X.  After going through all the mail I asked a few questions:  What piece of mail came the furthest?  Closest?  Any of the mail come from states that border us?  We had 1 piece from CA and several others from out in the west (we are east coast).   

Graphing our mail - I printed out the graphing sheet provided and the kids graphed the TYPE of mail that was received.  Magazines, junk mail, bills, notes & cards etc.  This was fun for them to see how much JUNK we

BONUS IDEA: I had for my preschooler was to take the envelopes (we had all sizes) and put them into order according to their size.  She had fun with this one!

- after a quick lesson on what stamps are, what they mean and how they are used, the children made their own stamps. (We did not use the printable sheet provided as I was out of ink that day in the printer so we made our own).  Molly made a flower and put $ 10 as the postage!  Zachary made a Lego Man (of course) and put $ .20 on were very proud of them!

They loved this unit and I can see spending another week on it for sure!

The kids favorite activity this week was the ABC Scavenger Hunt

Our daughter loved finding all the letters of the alphabet on the back of cereal boxes. When she was done, she had moved on to cracker boxes. When I poured the cereal this morning, she asked if she could try finding the letters on the milk carton. 


Just as we had sat down to work on this activity, a neighborhood friend knocked on the door to see if our son could play. Instead of canceling the activity, I sent our son and his friend on the scavenger hunt around our block, to find objects, signs and words starting with each letter of the alphabet. They not only played together, but learned together, and had a great time creatively finding ways to fill in Q and Z.

I am continually amazed at the versatility of this program. The age of the child does not matter. The activities have been so well chosen and thought out, that they can (with little stress and effort on my part) be adapted to children of all ages.

The activity this week also reemphasized to our children that learning is everywhere, in everything. And that learning is fun. 

This has been a crazy week and I'm so thankful for the Sun Scholar Summer Program.  I had sick kids this week, it was so nice to pull out an activity for the kids and have it be worth the extra effort.  Our activities were from week 3, Animal Fun.

Learning about Animals.  I'm glad that I had reserved a bunch of books about animals last week.  We sick littles, they loved cuddling on the couch reading about different animals.  I was amazed all the different books our library had on animals, books I've never really borrowed before.


Newspaper Math.  This was a huge hit.  We did this twice.  The first time I had the kids cut out what they wanted and the price. Giving us a chance to talk about value.  I also used this opportunity to make a shopping list for what I wanted at the store.  When I did go shopping, the kids were excited to hold my "list" and help me find what I needed.  The second time we looked for numbers and it was fun to have the kids help each other.  If one couldn't find an 8, another would give him one from his page.

Squishy bag Fun.  I was more excited about this then the kids, but it turned out fun.  We put in different colors allowing the kids to mix the colors and knowing whose bag belonged to which kid.  I didn't use duct tape, and my son squished his out of the bag. :(  Live and learn.

Bird Feeders/Bird Watching.  My kids loved, LOVED this.  I didn't have birdseed so instead used cheerios.  My birds (kids) loved eating the treats as we prepared the bird feeders.  We hung them on a tree outside our front window and every time one kid pass the window he/she had to look out for birds.  If one kid looked out the window for birds, they all had to come running.  It was soo exciting when the birds did come and eat our trees.  There was cheers all over the house. :)

Things to know about me.  I really enjoyed sitting down with each child and talking to them all about themselves.  It was funny to hear what they thought my name was, to see the world in the kids eyes.

Sun Scholars

Thanks to the Summer Scholar Families for sharing with us.
We'll see you back next Sunday for more Summer Scholar fun!

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