Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Non-bugs!

Today, for the last day of our 'Bugs' curriculum, we covered 'The Non-bugs,' better known as SPIDERS!  This is a fun topic, with so many project ideas, which can be later applied to Halloween activities, so keep us in mind when that time rolls around again!  Before the rundown, here are a few spider facts:

Fact #1:  A spider egg contains as much DNA as four humans combined!  And that's just one of the unborn spiders; the entire egg sac outnumbers the population of India!
Fact #2:  Because they are so small, spiderlings could be easy prey for other insects.  Luckily, spiders are born with almost no color, making them nearly invisible in the air.
Fact #3:  Spider silk was used for socks in the 1700s, and gloves, too.  A Frenchman, Bon De Saint-Hilaire, showed it was possible to make fabric from spider silk.  He would collect spider cocoons, then boil, wash, dry, and comb them to collect the thread.  Today, this method would never be profitable ... 1.3 million spider cocoons would yield only about 2 pounds of silk.

Today's photos:

The materials for our marble painting spider web ... a round piece of paper (we chose blue), a marble, white paint, a dish to roll your marble in (clean tin pie plates work great!), a plastic spider, and glue.
 After placing your round piece of paper in your shallow dish, dip your marble in the white paint, then drop it into the dish.  Slowly, tip the dish in different directions to get your wet marble rolling.
 Once your marble has made several trips, glue your spider to its 'web' and let dry.
 Next, we did her favorite activity of the day ... the 'Transparent Tape Spider Web!'  Here's what you need:  clear tape, a toy spider, and cotton balls for 'flies.'
 Place strips of tape, in a spider web pattern, at the top of a doorway as shown.
 Add your spider to your tape web.
 Then, the fun part: Throw your cotton ball 'flies' towards the sticky side of your web!
'Soup's on, Little Spider!'
 The materials for our 'Cute Crawler' bracelet ... five black pipe cleaners, glue, google eyes, and foam shapes, one black piece cut into the shape of a spider's body and head, and one small red piece cut into the shape of an hourglass.  (I'm sure by now you can guess that this will be a black widow.  Be sure to have the conversation with your child that these spiders are normally NEVER to be touched!)
 Bend your pipe cleaners around the neck of your spider, making eight legs and two extra pieces to wrap around your child's arm for a bracelet.  Next, glue on the google eyes and red hourglass to add features to your spider.  Finally, twist your two extra pipe cleaner pieces around the wrist to wear!  So fashionable!  :)
 Our spider hat made with construction paper pieces (eight legs and two large pieces for the base of the hat), tape, google eyes, and glue!
Our 'Apple Spider' snack!  
YUM, the caramel web is delicious!
 Next, I worked on our spider breads to go with dinner.  I got this idea years ago from one of those thin, paperback recipe books that you see at the registers at the grocery store.  It was in a Halloween edition, and though I've since misplaced it, I still remember how to do this.  You need a can of breadsticks (I used Pillsbury), some cooking spray, tin foil, and black olives.  One 12-count can will make 5 spiders, plus a bit extra in case you mess up a leg.  One breadstick makes the body of your spider.  Simply roll out, then wrap in a spiral, as shown below.  (It is probably easier to go ahead and make your five bodies, then work on the legs.  You can see four bodies in the bottom picture and a few legs, which I will tell you how to make now.)  For the legs, a pair of good kitchen shears works best.  With the remaining breadsticks, cut each in half, then each half needs to be cut into three equal long strips, meaning one breadstick will give you six legs.  (Work as quickly as you can because the longer the breadsticks are out, the tackier they get, making them harder to work with.)   
Roll some strips of tinfoil and place on your pan to serve as support for your spiders' legs.  Lightly spray the pan and strips of tin foil with cooking spray before arranging your spiders to prevent them from sticking during the baking process.  Once sprayed, arrange your spiders as shown, with four legs on each side, topped with a spiral base, and two olive slices for 'eyes.'  I can get four on per pan. 
 Bake according to the instructions on your breadsticks can, but watch your spiders closely so they don't get too dark.  I usually need to turn my pan halfway through the cooking time.
 All done and ready to eat!
 The materials for our spaghetti noodles 'Spider Webs' ... wax paper, a shallow dish, glue, a plastic spider, and about a cup of spaghetti noodles, cooked and cooled.  (The bonus to this project is when I cooked the noodles, I made much more, and with my spider breads, all I have to do for dinner tonight is brown some ground beef and heat up some sauce for spaghetti with spider breads!) 
 Lay out a large sheet of wax paper, then pour some glue in your shallow dish.  Let your child roll their noodles in the glue and rub off any extra before placing in a spider web pattern on the wax paper.
 Once the noodles are laid out in the pattern you want, add some glue to the center, attach your plastic spider, and let dry.  Once dry, carefully peel your web from the wax paper!
 Here, we are checking on the flowers that we pressed last week. 
 They turned out so good!
 Then, we adhered them to paper to use for cards for Mother's Day next month!

Today's rundown:
Letter 'Z':
1. We practiced writing big letter 'Z' and little letter 'z,' both on paper and in the sugar tray.
1. We read Spiders are Not Insects by Allan Fowler.
2. We read Spider's Lunch: All About Garden Spiders by Joanna Cole.
3. We read Eight Legs Up by David Kirk.
4. We read The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle.
5. We read Sophie's Masterpiece by Eileen Spinelli.
6. We read Spiders by Monica Hughes.
7. We read Mighty Spiders! by Fay Robinson.
8. We watched the Diary of a Spider and More Cute Critter Stories DVD that we borrowed from Netflix.
9. We put together our 3D puzzle spider and scorpion models.
10. We painted her two spider and tarantula Magic Paint Posters.
11. We made the 'Cute Crawler' (pipe cleaner spider) as seen in one of my many magazine cut-outs.
12. For dinner, we made spider breads.  (We did this back in October for Halloween, too.)
13. We made the spider web (marble painting craft) as seen at
14. For snack, we made the 'Apple Spiders' as seen at
15. We made the spider hat as seen at
16. We read 'The Weavers' from Shel Silverstein's Falling Up, page 119.
17. We did the 'Transparent Tape Spider Web' as seen at, but we first we added a large spider to ours.
18. We colored a tarantula coloring page and completed the bug matching worksheet from the same coloring book.
19. We read the following poems from Bugs: Poems About Creeping Things by David L. Harrison: 'Spiderwebs' (page 9), 'A Tick’s Friends' (page 10), 'Scorpion' (page 14), and 'Spider' (page 33).
20. We did the 'Spider Webs' activity found in our The Everything Toddler Activities Book, page 231, using cooked spaghetti.
1. We checked on the flowers that we pressed last week. Then, we adhered them to paper to make cards for Grandma for Mother's Day.

 A I stated in earlier posts, today will wrap up our homeschooling week, as we will be in Atlanta tomorrow so that Maggie can visit her grandparents. Happy (early) April Fool's Day to everyone!  We wish you a wonderful weekend!  See you next week!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Flutter by, Butterfly!

For those of you just tuning in, if you are anti-craft, this is not the blog for you.  We LOVE crafts and today was a particularly fine example of that.

I'm sad to say that this morning started out horribly.  I almost lost my mind!  To save myself time, I always give you the rundown of our day (seen at the bottom of each post) by cutting and pasting from our curriculum, which I keep saved on my Microsoft Works Word Processor.  Needless to say, this is the same place that I have all of my project ideas for the remainder of the year, that is, through August 2011!  Well, this morning, I tried to open it and it said that the file had been corrupted.  (This is the point where you should visualize my heart detaching itself and making its way at lightening speed up into my throat.)  I did manage to retrieve them (not without severe damage to the layout) after over an hour of tedium, but it put me in a state and now, tonight, I have a lot of work ahead of me to get it all back together.  Lesson learned:  SAVE YOUR WORD FILES AS TEXT FILES, TOO!  And, I fully intend to start making back-up discs.  I cannot even fathom the amount of hours put into that curriculum, and it was almost all gone this morning.  Ok ... moving on ...

Today, we studied BUTTERFLIES!!!

Your bug facts for the day:
Fact #1:  Caterpillars have more than 1,000 muscles.
Fact #2:  Caterpillars get most of their body color from the food that they eat.
Fact #3:  A butterfly emerges from a chrysalis and a moth emerges from a cocoon. 
Fact #4:  Butterflies can see red, green, and yellow.
Fact #5:  Moths find their way in the dark by the stars in the sky.

Our photos from today:

Showing off her tornado craft that she made at Preschool Adventures ...
 Our 'Butterfly Bounty' snack ...
 Making the sign for butterfly ...
 After reading about luna moths in our Pocket Guide, I caught her sharing what we read with 'Little Fella!'  (I hope he's taking notes!  I did learn that he won't emerge until LATE Spring!  Sheesh!  He's been sitting there since November!  But, I won't complain too much ... we also read today that some butterflies don't emerge for up to two years!)
 Our pom-pom caterpillar, drying ...
 The materials for our 'Butterfly Life Cycle' project ...
 Using a Q-tip to dip in the glue makes it much less messy!
 Going over the steps of a butterfly's life cycle ...
 (For the pasta shapes we used in this project, see below.)
Tissue paper butterflies ...
 To make a 'Paint Butterfly,' first, you fold your paper in half.  After it's reopened, squeeze a few dots of paint (in your desired colors) on only one half of the paper, to either the right or left of the folded line.
 Then, you fold your paper in half again, and use the palm of your hand to spread the paint between the two sides.  Open it up, add eyes and your antennae with a marker, and you have a butterfly!
 For our next craft, our 'Footprint Butterflies,' we started out by drawing our butterfly's center and getting naked from the knees down.  :)
 Then, we painted the bottoms of her feet!
 Press each painted foot, toes pointed out, firmly on each side of your butterfly's center, and you have a 'Footprint Butterfly!'  (No, we did not do this with two painted feet.  We did one foot, cleaned it, then did the other!  I think any other way would have been recipe for disaster!)  :)
 And, here, Maggie is demonstrating how we will make her 'Handprint Butterfly.'  (She made the butterfly's center this time.  I think it's so much cuter!) 
 Painting her hand ...
 One down, one to go!
 Ta-da!  :)
 Later, we role-played the life cycle of a butterfly.  Here, she is a caterpillar in her chrysalis.
 Then, out pops a beautiful butterfly!  (Susan, recognize the blanket?  It is her favorite!)  :)

Today, we:
1. We attended Preschool Adventures at North Columbus Library where we learned about weather and storms (including the reading of Farmer Brown Goes Round and Round by Teri Sloat and Storm is Coming by Heather Tekavec, and the making of a tornado craft).
Letter 'Z':
1. We made the 'Z' page of our letter book.
1. We read The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle.
2. We read The Ugly Caterpillar by Carl Sommer.
3. We read The Case of the Missing Caterpillar by Sam Godwin.
4. We read Waiting for Wings by Lois Ehlert.
5. We read My, Oh My -- a Butterfly! by Tish Rabe.
6. We read Butterfly Birthday by Harriet Ziefert.
7. We read Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell.
8. We read The Beautiful Butterfly by Judy Sierra.
9. We read A Luna Moth's Life by John Himmelman.
10. We read page 29 out of our Kindermusik Fiddle-Dee-Dee book, about butterflies, and made the American Sign Language sign for butterfly, as instructed.
11. We read the following poems from Bugs: Poems About Creeping Things by David L. Harrison: 'Caterpillar' (page 32), and 'Moth' (page 43).
12. We looked through our Pocket Guide to Butterflies and Moths by Elizabeth Balmer, and found Little Fella's species (Actias luna) to read more about him.
13. We made a pom-pom caterpillar out of small pom-poms and pieces of black string for the antennae.
14. We painted three Magic Paint Posters of a moth, butterfly, and caterpillar.
15. We ate a 'Butterfly Bounty' snack (as seen in a cut-out from a former issue of Family Fun magazine), made of snack mix in a ziploc bag, fastened in the center with a clothespin.
16. We made tissue paper butterflies, as seen in an Oriental Trading Company catalog.
17. We made the paint butterflies as seen at
18. We made handprint butterflies, using our handprints for the butterfly's wings.
19. We made footprint butterflies as seen in our The Everything Toddlers Activity Book, page 145.
20. We illustrated the butterfly life cycle on a large paper leaf with pasta shapes (orzo for the eggs, rotini for the caterpillars, medium shells for the chrysalis, and farfalle bowties for the butterflies), as seen in our Great Teacher Projects book, by Laura Mayne, page 35.
21. We sang the 'I'm a Butterfly' song, which goes through a butterfly's life cycle, as seen in our Great Teacher Projects book, by Laura Mayne, page 35.  (If you would like the lyrics to the same, leave a comment!)
22. We role-played the life cycle of a butterfly.  She crawled around like a caterpillar, then used a blanket to curl up in her 'chrysalis.'  After metamorphosis, she 'emerged' and began flapping her 'wings' like a butterfly.

Whew!  It was a busy day, and without help from my corrupted curriculum files, I am not ashamed to admit I'm glad it's over.  Tomorrow is a new day, though, and we will be studying the non-bugs, also known as spiders!  Check back with us!