Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Tot School: Pinecones, Pine Trees, and Lumberjacks: OH MY!

The Pineywoods of East Texas.
That's what we call home.
Monday was the day after Christmas and it was a beautiful warm morning.  Time to get out and go exploring! We have some gorgeous trails and gardens not far from home called the
Mize Azalea Gardens which we have yet to explore!  It was the perfect place to talk about the the tall pines that tower over all the rest of the trees, pick up and inspect pine cones, and talk about lumberjacks who cut down the dead pines and other trees. Here's a quick clip of our morning:

Lately it's been so warm here! Our Winter in the Woods unit has been tons of fun but our weather has proved to be challenging in going along with all the wintery activities!  Last week we studied the Woodland. I combined Snowflake, Icicles, and Snowman to have a Snow Day in Texas even though we will most likely not see snow. I was planning on skipping the lessons over the Pine Tree and Pinecones since they are everywhere around here.
However, when I looked at the Winter Gear week (nothing we wear really here besides a coat sometimes) and the Winter Living week (nothing really around here except for Lumberjack *perfect* and quilts), I realized I should combine a few days to make a week long investigation!
Combining Pine Trees, Pinecones, and Lumberjacks would be our week!

After our excursion outdoors, we came home for some more investigation.  Pinecones are perfect bird feeders and our Mother Goose Time curriculum came with all the things to make one!  All we had to supply was the peanut butter, which we used to make lunch as well.

After making our pinecone bird feeder, we placed it outside on a hook where we could watch it from our dining room window as we ate peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for lunch.  A blue jay has been visiting the area, and I am hoping we can get a closer view of him with our luring bird feeder.  We shall see...

Update:  Check out what came to our bird feeder all week long! 
Make these with your kids! It's so worth it!  I guess the squirrel caught wind of what was going on and he even came by the window trying to get some bird seed! Lots of animal watching :) 

I usually read to Sweet Pea after lunch and then put her down for a nap, so we sat down to read our monthly book that was supplied by Mother Goose Time, called Timber! 
Mother Goose Time also sends a puzzle with one of the daily bags that goes with the monthly book and we worked on ours after reading the story.

Our monthly CD has a song on it that sings this story!  When I started reading it to Sweet Pea, she remembered the song and went and hit the play button on our CD player.  She doesn't forget a thing...unlike her momma!

We counted trees and looked for the matching animals in the story on our puzzle.  We talked about how the lumberjack was cutting down the animal's homes, and Sweet Pea looked really concerned.
I really love how the story shows the Lumberjack realizing what he has done and planting more trees to replace those he cut.

"Who's house did he chop down here in our story?  Can you find that animal in our puzzle?  What animal is that?  Can you make it's sound?" 

After reading the story, Sweet Pea took apart the puzzle and we did it together.  
We get one each month and they always reflect an image from the monthly book we receive.
In fact, this month's puzzle is my favorite of all the ones we have received so far.  I love how it goes with the story so well and can be used along with the book. 
The best part is the outside frame. 
When we work on these, I point to a little clue on the outside frame and ask Sweet Pea if can find something that matches.

"Look! What's this?  What color do you see?  Can you find a puzzle piece with a little red bird?"

"Oh look! An owl, but he is missing his belly! Can you find the owl's tummy?"
She studied hard looking for his tummy as you can see below.

Found it!

Pushing that last piece in and the look of achievement is so worth it!

Whew! Busy morning! 
And I forgot to mention... just a few days ago my neighbor had some lumberjacks come out and cut down a dead Pine tree in his yard.  Sweet Pea and I got to see some real live lumberjacks in action!
They took down this tall Pine and ground down the stump in less than 4 hours!


How perfect is that?! 
To have Lumberjacks as one of our days and to see real life lumberjacks taking down a tree?!
Yep.... pretty perfect.

Now to wind down and get ready for January's unit on Baby Animals!

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