Saturday, 30 June 2012

The Solar System Part 1

On the first day of L's summer holidays we sat down together and made a list of all of the things she'd like to learn about and do this summer.  One of the first things on the list was the Solar System.  The first thing we did was to get some books out of the library.  We found several but the one that was the most useful was Starting With Space: The Planets by Cynthia Pratt Nicolson.  Not only did this book have lots of information at L's level but it also has lots of experiments or "try its". 

This time around instead of preparing all of the materials for L before hand we worked on them together.  After reading the books together we made some three part cards of the planets.  We found pictures on Google Images and then wrote some facts about each planet on the back.
Next we made some felt planets to go with the cards.  I got the idea for from Counting Coconuts.  Instead of sewing though we just glue guned them together and they took no time at all.  L also helped with the tracing, colors, sizes and cutting out.

 Here's L reading some info about each planet and then matching the card and the felt planet.
 Here's the finished product.

 One of the "try its" in the book was to measure the distance between the planets.  It talked about how scientists use Astronomical Units and one AU is the distance from the Sun to Earth.  L measured with her foot.  Mercury at the instep of her foot(heel against the sun), Venus at the joint of her big toe and Earth at the tip of her big toe.  Mars 1 1/2 steps from the sun, Jupiter 5 steps, Saturn 9 1/2 steps, Uranus19 steps and Neptune 30 steps.  Wow no wonder Neptune is the coldest planet!!

Another "try it" was to compare the size of the planets.  We just used a big yellow box for the sun.  A pea for Mercury, two plums for Venus and Earth, a raspberry for Mars(which I now see is in the wrong spot!), I calls for a watermelon for Jupiter but we didn't have one so we used L's ball.  A cantaloup for Saturn and two nectarines for Uranus and Neptune.  This was very helpful in realising how drastically different the planets are in size.
We are both loving learning about the Solar System and I'm learning just as much a L!!  Stay tuned for more....

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Octahedron mobile

This is the second mobile to in the Montessori series.  It is supporsed to be introduced between 5 and 8 weeks.  Baby J has two "work" areas in the house.  One in his bedroom and one in our living room.  This mobile is in our living room tied to the light fixture. I have to say this was my favourite mobile to make, probably because it's the easiest!  There is a full tutorial over at Little Red Farm.  Instead of using metalic paper I used Dollar Store gift bags which were way more economical.

As for Baby J he's not really that into this mobile.  He likes to lie with his head turned to the side all of the time so misses the mobile all together!  It's much better in his bedroom where the Munari mobile is because he can look at it in the mirror beside his bed with his head turned.  Maybe as he gets a little older he will be more inclined to look up.

Update  a week later and little Baby J is totally digging this mobile.  I lay him under it in the evening when the sun is shining on it and he just watches and smiles.  He loves it and I love watching him!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Fairy House Adventure

Like most little girls her age L is really into fairies.  She got the Fairy Houses books from this website which are wonderful and also the Kristen's Fairy House DVD for her birthday.   These books demonstrate how to make your own fairy house with the rules being you can only use things from nature and nothing living.

We are super lucky to live very close to an ocean front garden property that has been turned into a beautiful park.  You can visit any time but they also put on wonderful events for children.  At Easter time they had a rabbit hunt in their gardens and at Christmas they have a magical woodland light display.
We couldn't believe our eyes when the other day we saw a poster advertising a fairy house weekend there in honour of International Fairy Day.  Here are some pics of just a few of the houses.  There were thirty in all! All hidden in the woods and gardens.  L was literally quivering with excitement!

These have given us so much inspiration to make our own houses this summer.
I even managed to catch a picture of my little fairy.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Munari Mobile

This time round with Baby J I wanted to try the full Montessori experience right from the beginning.  One part I was truly excited about was the series of visual infant mobiles.  You can read more about them here.  I really enjoyed making them all and it gave me something productive to do while I was pregnant.  The first one in the series is the Munari mobile.  It consists of black and white geometric shapes and a clear ball at the top.  It was tricky to make and even trickier to hang but the results are stunning!
(Warning do not try to hang this mobile when you are 38 weeks pregnant.  I was sooo frustrated, uncomfortable and sweating like a pig!)
If you would like to make this amazing mobile you can find the tutorial at the Little Red Farm blog.

Here is a picture of Baby J at only four days old and already the mobile has caught his attention.  Now at 7 weeks he loves to look at it.  About a week ago L was playing in his room and knocked it all down so I took it down.  That night he was looking at where it was supposed to be for a long time.  A few  days later I hung it back up and put him on his floor bed.  He was all smiles!

At the moment I have a mattress next to Baby J's floor bed that I sleep on at night for ease of nursing.  I slide him on to my bed to nurse and then slide him back when he's done(post to come about that).  I have a little night light that I keep on all night.  I have to admit that while he is nursing I just lie there and am mesmerised by the mobile.
Munari mobile...not just for infants!
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