Let’s Go to the Beach!

We are in the dog days of summer, and it is HOT here! This is great weather to spend a day at the beach, splashing around in the water, collecting sea shells and making sandcastles. Is it too hot for you outside? Bring the beach inside with this simple sensory table idea.

20160606_103330

Here is what you need to create a beach themed sensory table:

Water – I used some blue and silver glitter watercolor to make the water sparkle

Seashells

Sea Animals – Realistic looking fish and other animals would be ideal, but I couldn’t find any, so I used our sea animal counters.

I also cut some seaweed shapes and starfish out of foam. These foam shapes can stick to the walls of the sensory table to make the whole table more interactive 🙂

20160606_103343

The only thing that’s missing is the sand! If you had a sensory table with two separate sections, adding sand would be awesome! What else would you add to create a beach at home?

 

 

Gone Fishin’

One of my favorite summer themes is my Fishing unit.

Every summer, my family goes “Up North” for a week. We spend the week on the lake, swimming, boating, tubing and of course fishing. Ever since I was little, I remember my Dad, Grandpa and Uncle taking the boat out every evening to go fishing. Once my brother got older, he joined them as well. When I was a teenager, my cousin and I would tag along sometimes. Now that I’m older, and my Grandpa and Uncle have passed away, I have taken the seat next to my Dad on the boat. I look forward to spending a week every year, in the middle of the Chequamegon – Nicolet National Forest, with no TV and little cell phone reception, spending time with my family.

512.JPG

The above picture is of my Grandpa and I, both with our mounted Walleye that were caught on Gordon Lake (caught in different years of course). Since fishing means so much to me, I love teaching my kiddos about it as well!

I compiled photos of Wisconsin fish, and created a fish matching game for the kids to play. There’s pictures of Northern, Walleye, Muskies, Sturgeon, Bullheads, Crappies, Bass and Bluegill. This game is available during free choice time.

Tonight, I want to share with you a fun little art project, using fishing lures – NO hooks! I found some of my favorite lures for catching those Walleye- Mister Twisters, along with a crayfish lure and some others. I attached string to a few lures to make them look and feel like they were on a fishing line, but easier for the kiddos to handle than actual fishing line.

20160707_105951.jpg

I put out paint in various colors. The kiddos dipped the lures into the paint, and then onto their paper. The stringed lures were a little harder for them to handle, but maneuvering the string did assist them in using their hand – eye coordination.

The result was a colorful piece of art with lines, squiggles, and some claw marks 🙂

 

Speaking of my week Up North, I will be there next week, enjoying my time on the lake. Stay tuned for another post in a few weeks!

 

Homemade Ice Cream and Other Dairy Goodies

I’m getting this post out a little later than I originally wanted, but here it is 🙂

To finish off June Dairy Month and our Farm theme, we made homemade ice cream with the kiddos. I found this recipe online that did not require an ice cream maker – http://www.kevinandamanda.com/easy-homemade-ice-cream-without-a-machine/

The recipe only requires TWO ingredients (talk about an easy recipe to make with kids!): heavy whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk. The possibilities are endless on what type of ice cream you want to make as you can add whatever other ingredients you want! We added mashed up fresh raspberries and chocolate chips to ours, plus a little splash of vanilla extract.

Homemade Ice Cream Without an Ice Cream Maker

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk

Any added flavorings – we added a container of raspberries, some chocolate chips and a little bit of vanilla extract

In a small bowl, mix together sweetened condensed milk and any added flavorings.

In another bowl, using a stand or hand mixer, whip the cream until stiff peaks form. Hint: freezing the bowl before mixing will make the peaks form faster 🙂

20160623_111541

Fold the cream into the sweetened condensed milk mixture. Freeze until firm.

Here is what our two year olds were able to help with:

  • Mashing up raspberries with a fork
  • Helping twist the can opener
  • Pouring whipping cream and sweetened condensed milk into the bowl
  • Mixing ingredients together
  • Eating our finished ice cream, of course 🙂

I thought the ice cream tasted good, but you could really taste the sweetened condensed milk. If we make it again next year, I would add a little less milk.

20160624_121508

 

Other Dairy Activities

Throughout the last two weeks, we did a few other dairy related activities that I thought I would share.

Taste Testing

One day we taste tested a variety of different dairy products. Whenever we do taste testing, we make a graph with a “:)” if they liked the product or a “:(” if they did not like it. Besides for getting to try various foods, this is a great math activity. Together we count how many likes and dislikes there were for each food, and also compare which foods were liked the best or least. Here is a list of products you could try: sour cream, cream cheese, various types of block cheeses, yogurt, milk, whipped cream, butter.

Making Butter

This is a fun project to do with kids. They get to experience the different properties of a substance, get to watch the cream turn from a liquid to a solid form right before their eyes and also get to taste test what they created. All you need is one or two containers that seal TIGHT and some heavy cream. Pour the cream into one or two containers, seal them tightly and let the kiddos shake away! Eventually you will get a whipped cream like texture, and then butter will form. Pour our the extra liquid and enjoy 🙂 Again, if you freeze the containers beforehand, the process goes a little quicker. We ate our homemade butter at lunch time on bread. Yum!