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$12.00A dark sky alight with stars ….. Planets viewed through amazing telescopes ….. Is there really life on Mars? …… The idea of what outer space holds is intriguing to many of us. Children are too young to grasp the entire concept of space – solar systems, galaxies and our Universe…. For that matter, many of us are confused!! Here is a great explanation of the difference from NASA. The following is excerpts from https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/news-display.cfm?News_ID=573 Our Solar System consists of our star, the Sun, and its orbiting planets (including Earth), along with numerous moons, asteroids, comet material, rocks, and dust. Our Sun is just one star among the hundreds of billions of stars in our Milky Way Galaxy. The universe is all of the galaxies – billions of them! NASA’s telescopes allow us to study galaxies beyond our own in exquisite detail, and to explore the most distant reaches of the observable universe. In this Unit, children learn about space through these hands-on activities: • Create a picture of planets and orbits using various painting techniques • Use rockets for a trio of mathematical activities • Pretend to ‘walk on the moon’ like an astronaut There are so many things to do in the great outdoors. Invite the children to come up with other ideas to incorporate into your planning all year long. Think about this (again from https://nightsky.jpl.nasa.gov/news-display.cfm?News_ID=573) You are one of the billions of people on our Earth. Our Earth orbits the Sun in our Solar System. Our Sun is one star among the billions in the Milky Way Galaxy. Our Milky Way Galaxy is one among the billions of galaxies in our Universe. You are unique in the Universe!‘Elmer’ (the Patchwork Elephant) Book by David McKee Playing with your best friend ….. Wearing the ‘cool’ shoes ….. Being on a team…… Fitting in and being part of a group is really important as we grow from children through adolescence. ‘Elmer (the Patchwork Elephant)’ just wants to be part of his group too. This story helps children understand that we are all unique and special, and this is wonderful! Children discover that we do not all have to be alike in order to be a group. And, that it is the talents and uniqueness each of us bring to the group that helps make the group strong. Seeing differences and similarities as strengths, children learn to value each and every member of the group. Elmer learns that his colorful appearance helps make him unique and special. Activities in this Unit help children: • See that their name can be unique by making a Name Card • Make ‘trumpeting’ sounds with their very own trunk trumpet • Learn about camouflage and how it can help us be more invisible David McKee has written many books with Elmer as the main character. We all can learn a lot through Elmer’s trials, tribulations, and escapades.$12.00Fresh fallen snow ….. Footprints made by who?….. Tracks leading where? ….. Tracks in the snow (or mud) are fascinating to follow, seeing who made them and where they lead. Seeing and following animal tracks can provide a wealth of information and engaging learning activities for children (and adults!). Through following animal tracks, we can see where they live, where they hunt for or find food, and how they care for their young. Animal tracks can provide the opportunity for children to develop scientific observation and higher level thinking skills. Animal tracking is fun and engaging. Through hands-on activities, children: • Learn how to visually differentiate between different shapes of tracks • Use their own footprint as a tool for measuring • Create a clay tile of animal tracks Finding animal tracks can be done in any season with mud and snow. At the river bed, on a sandy road or the snow around the base of a tree, animals are leaving a footprint to their presence.$12.00Frosty noses….. Snowflakes falling softly….. Hot chocolate and marshmallows ….. Winter is a season that can be filled with joy as it heralds many fun outdoor activities – as long as we are dressed for the weather! Hats, mittens, boots and warm coats are a must! Through active outdoor play, children are able to use their large muscles when exploring all of the changes they see in the environment. They are also able to use a lot of energy and exercise those large muscles! Then come inside and warm up inside with a mug of hot chocolate or apple cider. Through these hands-on activities, children are able to explore winter when they: • Use real mittens to create a special mitten painting • Create words out of snowflake letters • Play a game to understand how animals hibernate, migrate or adapt Every year, we go through many seasons. Helping children to understand what happens in each season helps them to find the ‘joy of the season’!‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’ Book by Laura Joffe Numeroff Milk and cookies ….. Scissors and tape ….. Crayons and paper…… We all have memories of these items, which are critical parts of the book ‘If You Give A Mouse A Cookie’. The story line of this book is so typical of many of us – we do one thing and it triggers another activity or memory! (How many of you go to put laundry in and end up doing something entirely different when you get to the laundry room!) One key literacy skill that is developed through this book is the ability to remember and sequence the order of activities. This is an important school readiness task. There are a lot of fun, learning activities that can be developed based on this book. Through hands-on activities, children: • Participate in a reenactment of the story, based on the sequence of events • Practice counting skills with the ‘Cookie Count’ game • Experiment with different ways to paint, using different painting tools • Improve scissor skills when cutting grass ‘hair’ This book is the first in the ‘If You Give…’ series by Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond. Children will delight in the antics of Mouse as things they might also do!$12.00The creak of leather from a saddle….. The snort and whinny of a horse….. Clip-clop and giddy-up…… These are sounds that are very familiar to those that have been around horses. Current day rodeos evolved out of the activities and chores from old-time cowboys that worked on cattle ranches in the West. Rodeo cowboys and cowgirls are some of the toughest and most graceful athletes there are in the competition world. It takes hours of practice, the mental and physical toughness to experience pain and defeat, and a competitive spirit. Young children love to learn about the many different things in their world. Through hands-on activities, they: • Develop a larger, working vocabulary through books, discussions, finger plays and songs • Practice counting skills through a ‘horseshoe’ game • Make a vest, chaps, bandana and hat – just like the rodeo cowboys! • Taste a yummy cowboy stew, made to their liking Rodeos are fun for everyone, and are held throughout the country.$12.00‘I Like Me’ Unit Book by Nancy Carlson I am unique ….. I am special ….. I am different, but I am the same …… These are things that are true for each and every one of us. The understanding of ‘self’ is central to how everyone sees and interacts with their world. Educators and parents know that an infant’s first awareness is of themselves and their needs. As they become toddlers and preschoolers, they become more comfortable in expanding their explorations to what is in their world. Supporting young children in developing a positive self-concept and self-esteem will help children feel confident in their ability to explore and conquer everything in their world! Through hands-on activities, children: • Practice writing words to describe their abilities and likes • Use their visual discrepancy skills to match different wallpaper patterns • Create a chart to explore similarities and differences in their group • Make a ‘Me!’ paper bag puppet Using I Like Me by Nancy Carlson as the book for this Repetitive Reading Unit is a great way for children to see all of the wonderful things to celebrate about themselves.$12.00The fun of using blankets to create a fort in the backyard….. Finding an old toy and using it to rocket off to outer space….. Turning paper and paint into a dragon, dinosaur or diner….. Many of us remember the fun of using whatever materials we had at hand to turn them into a magical land of make-believe with our imaginations. Children use their imagination and pretend play to discover and learn about their world. This is important for cognitive development. Through imagination and pretend play, children are ‘trying out’ things they have seen or heard in their everyday life. This helps them develop skills in higher level thinking, problem-solving, analysis, and to understand the connection between people, places, and events. Imagination is key to inventing, creating, and implementing new ideas. Through exploration, children learn to distinguish between fantasy and reality. This Unit can help you provide an environment rich in imaginative play so that children: • Follow their ideas using a crayon as their tool for creation • Explore the world using a box • Build a unique robot from a collection of ‘junk and stuff’ When children use their imaginations, they can own the world. This is a great place to be!$12.00The rumble of a garbage truck….. Dogs barking in the night….. Fireworks in celebration of the 4th of July…… Our world is full of different sounds – loud, soft and in between. Noise can be found all around us. We hear different things every day, from birds singing in the morning (early!) to the sounds of people coming home from work in the evening. Teaching young children to listen to and recognize the various sounds in their world is a skill that can help them stay safe as they grow up and go out into the greater world. This awareness of sounds not only helps keep us safe, but it also enriches our world. In this Unit, children explore sound and noise through hands-on activities by: • Taking a neighborhood ‘noise’ walk • Experimenting with sound using boxes, cans and tubs as drums • Building a wooden tower … until it comes crashing down • Making a noise maker for different celebrations Take the time to really listen and hear all of the beautiful sounds in our world.‘Olivia Forms A Band’ Unit Book by Ian Falconer Marching bands and parades ….. Picnic on a blanket under the stars ….. Fireworks on the 4th of July …… Summer memories usually include at least one of these happenings! Olivia wants to be sure that her memory of the 4th of July includes a marching band …. even if she is the one providing it!! Not only is this book about a common summer event many of us attend, it also shows how determination and problem solving can make things happen. Through this book, children can see how Olive solved her problem, hopefully encouraging them to find solutions to solve problems that they encounter. Music is a huge part of summer. There are a lot of fun learning activities that include music on all levels. Through hands-on activities, children: • Create their own ‘one-man’ band in a math game • Explore the different tones of ‘musical glasses’ • Move their bodies to music using scarves, ribbons and paper plate ‘skates’ Olivia is a well-loved children’s literary character. Children will delight in her ability to create her own ‘music’.$12.00Chocolate, vanilla and strawberry piled up high ….. Dripping down the side of the cone ….. A cool treat on a hot summer’s day ….. Ice cream can bring a smile to most faces, and it is a great antidote for the blues! Almost everyone loves ice cream! Not only is ice cream great to eat, a lot of knowledge can be acquired by exploring the science behind how ice cream is made, and the social systems aspect of where the raw ingredients come from. Children will also have fun making an ‘ice cream sundae’ from art materials. Through hands-on activities, children will use all of their senses to explore ice cream: • Participate in a flannel board story of Five Ice Cream Cones • Create a group mural after listening to the story Milk to Ice Cream by Julie Murray • Sculpt an ‘ice cream sundae’ using air dry clay and puffy paint • Make Kick the Can ice cream Children will love exploring how they can make ice cream on paper, use cones and scoops of ice cream in a game, and make a yummy-to-eat ice cream treat!‘Marshmallow Kisses’ Unit Book by Linda Crotta Brennan Picnics and lemonade ….. Blanket forts ….. Beach balls and sand castles …… ‘Marshmallow Kisses’ brings these great summer memories back to us! Infants, toddlers and preschool children are all developing memories of the events and activities they experience every day. This memory development helps in their cognitive growth and development. As children develop memories, they become more conscious of things around them, helping them to acquire knowledge of their world, and to become who they are. “When you put together all these different modes of remembering -- intellectual, practical, and autobiographical -- the awesome role that memory plays in our lives becomes apparent. We are who we are largely because of what we can remember.” http://www.parenting.com/article/developing-your-childs-memory Reading this book can help create and trigger memories, as do the activities included in the Unit. Through hands-on activities, children: • Create stories of their summer memories • Use common summer items to practice counting sets and complete easy numerical equations • Make Styrofoam prints of summer memories The early years in a child’s life are the perfect years for creating lasting memories!