Hula Hoop Spiders

There are several ways for your little one to practice their fine motor skills. For this activity, your little one used their pincer grasp to help them understand how a spider web works!

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Before starting this activity, your little one learned about how a spider builds a web! If you’ve ever seen a new home being built, you know that the workers use wooden boards to frame the house. Instead of boards, spiders produce silk threads to build their webs.

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The silk is produced in silk glands with the help of the spider’s spinnerets. Spinnerets are special organs that allow the spider to decide what type of thread it needs for the web. The silk threads can be thick or thin, dry or sticky, beaded or smooth. The threads a spider uses to construct its web begin as liquid, but they dry quickly in the air.

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Using string, sticks and play dough, we created our own webs, and then your little ones attached spiders to a web that Miss Carrie made using string and a hula hoop!

Festooning Kids

A lacework of bees hanging together, leg-to-leg, between the frames of comb is called a “festoon” and the behavior is called “festooning.” The bees hang in sheets within the hive. A festoon is often only one layer thick, and the design is open and airy. Beekeepers have lots of explanations for this behavior. Some say the structure acts like a scaffolding from which the bees build comb, and some say bees can only produce wax from the festooning position. Scientists, however, are much less confident about the function of festooning. Most agree that there is no known function. To help you little ones learn about this concept, we created our own wall of bees!

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Spider Web Habitats

Your little one participated in yet another fun sensory activity! Using styrofoam as our base, white web material, sticks, and plastic bugs, your little one created their very own spider habitat!
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We began this activity with a discussion and review of the spiders and other bugs that we have been learning about. We then talked about where these creatures lived.
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Our discussion concluded with a review of the new vocabulary that we have been learning, such as insect, web, arachnid, antenna, web, and silk.  
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Your little arachnid enthusiast then happily constructed the perfect living space for his spider friends.
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After a while, everyone wanted to add insects to the webs so that their spiders could eat!!
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This was the definite favorite for the week, as your little one applied their understanding of various vocabulary and scientific concepts.
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Colander Counting

Using a colander and black pipe cleaners, we made our very own bees. With their fingers, each child laced the pipe cleaners through the colander’s holes.

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This activity developed your little one’s fine motor skills, improved hand eye coordination and concentration, and most importantly, kept your little one happily amused! They were also directed to place a predetermined amount of pipe cleaners through each hole.

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The number we have been focusing on this week is eight, and so each child practiced counting from one to eight and from eight back down to one, placing one pipe cleaner in the colander at a time, and counting aloud as they did so.

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Pollen Water Transfer

When honey bees seek out nectar and pollen to make honey with, they visit many different types of flowers, including clover, dandelions, goldenrod, fruit trees, and milkweed. Once at the flower, the worker bee drinks as much nectar as she can hold. When she gets back to the hive, she passes the nectar on to another worker. This worker holds the nectar on her tongue until the water evaporates (leaves the nectar to go back into the air).

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She is left with honey on her tongue, which is stored in the hive. To help your little ones understand how this works, we used turkey basters, real flowers, and yellow water to move “nectar” from our “flowers” to a beehive created out of chalk and yellow tape. The purpose of this activity was to suck up the yellow water from the flowers, and use it to make the chalk disappear!

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This activity incorporated several developmental tasks. It enabled your little one to formulate ideas based on quantity and space. It also helped your little ones understand how bees obtain pollen from flowers that they take back to their hives. Lastly, by transferring the liquid among the different compartments, your little was given the opportunity to estimate how much should be poured onto our chalk beehive to make the hexagons disappear.

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Counting Jars

Early math is not about the rote learning of discrete facts like how much 5 + 7 equals. Rather, it’s about children actively making sense of the world around them. Unlike drills or worksheets with one correct answer, open-ended, playful exploration encourages children to solve problems in real situations. Because the situations are meaningful, children can gain a deeper understanding of number, quantity, size, patterning, and data management.

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For example, it is easier to understand what six means when applied to a real-life task such as finding six beads to string on a necklace or placing one cracker on each of six plates. It is for this reason that we used baby jars, the color yellow, and numbers to practice our counting, adding, and subtracting. To fit this into our bug theme, we used baby jars painted yellow, and numbered 1-5.

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These symbolized a beehive that your little ones made by stacking them on top of each other. They started by stacking the jars in no particular order. Once they mastered this task, they stacked them (while counting out loud) with the number one on the bottom and the number five on the top. Then they stacked them with the number five on the bottom and the number five on the top. Next, they practiced adding and subtracting different jars and counting them.

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Hexagon Hives

Beehives are made of walls, each of the same size, enclosing small hexagonal cells where honey and pollen is stored and bees are raised.

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To help your little ones understand the hexagon shape, we created a variety of “hexagon” structures and “hexagon” art.

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We first used yellow tape that we filled in with hexagons, triangles and squares.

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We then used paper hexagons to create our own beehives. An awareness of shapes and spatial sense will help your child get ready to learn about geometry.