Science Sunday: How far does a kangaroo jump

So, if you read my post yesterday you can see we started reading about animals in Australia.  Well, my kids are absolutely enthralled with the kangaroo.  They want to pretend they’re kangaroos, and they want to find out all they can.  And who am I to stop a desire like that.
So, we read a couple of books: A Kangaroo’s World, and A Kangaroo Joey Grows Up.  Both of which I highly recommend (hopefully I linked to the right Kangaroo Joey Grows Up, I didn’t know there were so many books with that title).  I tried to find some youtube videos of kangaroos, but my search accidentally led to a rather drunk naked guy trying to jump like a kangaroo.  Thankfully that was too dark to really see anything, and also thankfully I didn’t have the kids with me when I started that one.  So, lesson learned always make sure you know what the video you’re showing is.
Now, on to our experiment.  We were intrigued by how far a kangaroo could jump and how could we jump.  So first we made a hypothesis, “that means an idea you can test” (thank you Dinosaur Train for teaching my kids about this, now they don’t really use the word right, but that’s not your fault).
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First we drew a line to show where we thought we could jump.  Ummm, my kids think they can jump amazingly far.  You can see Superman over there at the end of our driveway.  He was convinced he could somehow magically jump into two places.  Batman thought he would jump the entire length of that line.  Princess is somewhere halfway to the next neighbor in her hypothesis.
Well, we lined up next to our starting line and everyone jumped.
045 Here they are all lined up to try jumping again.  As you can see no one was correct in their hypothesis.  I was the closest and I fell short as well.
So, next we tried a running jump.  That didn’t work out so well.  I tried to show them what to do for a running jump, but you’ll see in the video.  They really treated it more as a race.  So after one more thing we changed it just a straight racing game.

Here’s our final thing we did for this little experiment/learning activity.  We compared the relative jumping distances.  Princess jumped the shortest, then Batman and Superman next, then Mommy, and then a kangaroo’s jumping distance way out there (according to the book we read kangaroos can jump up to 30 feet).
048 They’re standing order is Superman at the kid’s distance, Batman where Mommy jumped, and Princess way out there to where a kangaroo would jump.

So, how about you guys, what did you do this week?

We read lots of random books recently, here’s the few I remember

A Kangaroo Joey Grows Up and a Koala Joey Grows Up– In case you can’t tell we’re starting a unit on zoo animals, and because I’m also reviewing a product about Australia I decided to go ahead and start with the Australian animals.  These were really popular and the kids loved reading about them.  Afterwards they were able to tell me a fair bit about the animals.

A Koala’s World and A Kangaroo’s World– I actually think it works really well to have both of these books together.  First we’d read “A Kangaroo Joey Grows Up,” and see the actual pictures from inside an animal preserve.  Then we’d read this one, which had collage pictures, but it also went into some details that weren’t in the other books.  For instance my boys are fascinated by the natural predators of each animal, so they always want to know what hunts them.  We learned that dingoes, foxes, and eagles are the enemies of kangaroos.  So, all in all it’s a really interesting pairing of books.

Legend of the Indian Paintbrush– this is another one that I always remember teaching in conjunction with the Legend of the Bluebonnet.  My kids enjoyed it, but didn’t quite feel the connection they did with the Bluebonnet book.  They did enjoy the stART activity we did with it though…….

Sing Along Song– I won this in a giveaway at Teaching With Picture Books, actually I picked this specifically because Princess sings all day long, and thought she’d love it.  It’s an adorable book about a boy who sings through the day, and if I could figure out a good art activity I’d use it for stART, but all I can think of is the songs to sing.  I highly recommend this one.

Kingfisher Picture Atlas– I check this out from the library while trying to find books about Australia, which were all checked out quite sadly.  But, I LOVE this.  It’s a nice amount of information for little kids without getting overwhelming.  It looks like when I was looking this up in Amazon that they have a large amount of books in this series of all sorts.  So, it could be interesting to get sometime.

How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night– my kids always love this one.  And I think we randomly read it this week, that or they’re just remembering the “up and demand a piggy-back ride” line from the book.  They’ve been jumping on my back all week doing that.

To see what other kids are reading head over to Mouse Grows Mouse Learns

Preschool Corner: Valentine Math


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Materials needed: box of conversation hearts, ten frame (basically a grid with two columns of five rows, you can see it in the picture above), you could use the printout, but my printer wasn’t working, so I’ll save mine for next year.

Valentine Chart

Most of you have probably already done this, or are aware of this activity.  Back when I was teaching we did a more complicated version in my first and second grade classrooms.  But, here’s the simple version.  And like I said my printer wouldn’t work that morning, so we just used some 10 frames.
0201.  Give each child their box of candies and let them dump them out.  Ideally they haven’t dumped them out and poured them into one big bowl before you’ve done this.  Oh wait, that’s just what my kids did.
2.  Have them choose which one they think they have the most of.  In this pictures Superman guessed he had the most of blue.  Now, in reality I think he did this because he likes blue best, but hey who am I to spoil his predicting fun.
027 3.  Now take each color one by one and put one in a square to count how many you have.  It’s always amazing to see the disparity of colors when you just randomly grab some.  I think Superman and Batman both had one purple and then Princess had 12.  It was kind of funny.

029 4.  Next we estimated which jar could fit the most hearts.  I had two different types of baby food jars, some of the glass ones and some of the plastic.  We discovered the plastic jar held more.

And finally came the best part of this math experiment.  We tested which ones turned our tongues different colors.
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As you might guess that was their favorite part of the whole activity.  And wow is that an unattractive picture of me.  Seriously.  They were rather disappointed that most of them didn’t really change the color of their tongue.
And, just for the sake of it, we did do a few other things this week.
We’ve learned a lot about Texas
We made some rocket cars.
We dealt with grief.  Okay, that one should be present tense, and it also brings up all sorts of difficult questions about death.  The link is to the questions about my Dad’s death, but I’m not quite up to posting about their questions about Uncle Sam’s death.
So, it’s been busy here for the past few weeks.  It’s funny it really didn’t seem in the midst of all this that we really did all that much, but when I look back over, we actually did.
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Oh, and here’s the wonderful thing Princess figured out how to do……  There’s 10 pictures of me wincing as she brushes my hair.
For people who might have been more productive in one week than I was in three weeks head on over to Homeschool Creations for more ideas.
Linking over to Joyful Learner’s Math Week

Our further adventures in Texas

So with the memorial service and all we didn’t really do super a lot last week.  I made attempts, but there was lots of interruptions, and I wasn’t really up for super much.  So, here’s one of two educational activities that I did last week.  Okay, I did a little more, but this is one of two that I actually am going to bother to write a post about.
pecos bill
First we read Pecos Bill (click on the picture to get to the Amazon page) by Steven Kellog, and I both liked and disliked it.  On the one hand it had some great details that I didn’t remember from other stories, but on the other hand it ends with a happy ending.  In the traditional version he doesn’t get Sluefoot Sue back……  However my kids loved this book.  That’s our kind of sort of stART activity for the week.  But, before I get to that.
After reading the book we watched the movie:

After watching that I had the kids tell me what was different from the movie and the book.  Mainly they were disappointed that in the movie he didn’t make a lasso out of a snake.  Then I had Superman retell the story for me.  I’m going to start working on them retelling the story with as little prompting as possible.  My plan is for each kid to retell one story a week.

He fell out of the horsey. He got ______ by coyotes. Then he got wrapped up by a rattlesnake. Then he got all the bad stuff out of the rattlesnake. Then he was attacked by a big monster, and he wrestled it. And then he had a snake for his lasso and then he had a monster for his horsey.
He found a horse named Bolt. He ride him. And then he died.
He met a girl. I don’t know her name. The girl wanted to love him. He loved the girl. She wanted to ride his horsey he was riding. Her bounced a lot. Too many. She bounced to the moon. She bounced a million how she stayed.
Bill tried to catch her too. He didn’t catch her cause her went to the moon.

And that is Pecos Bill as retold by Superman, he got most of the details right.  It’s really rather amusing.
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Oh, and so I know who is who in the future: Batman, Superman, Princess (she’s kind of obvious.
We made lassoes.  Huh, so you do spell the plural with an “e.”  In retrospect, this may not have been the best of plans…..  Because this is what the boys eventually did.  And then they spent the next several days going around lassoing each other and anything they could try to get caught.
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Now, the other book I had planned to read to them is “Hecor’s First Flight,” which is apparently so rare that Amazon hasn’t heard of it, or I’m totally not remembering the name of the book, but it has heard of the sequel.   Hmmm, it doesn’t even have the book listed with the other books by the author, so maybe it’s just not in print anymore.

Back to the point.  This book is about the “Mexican Free-Tailed Bat,” which is one of the symbols of Texas, along with the armadillo, longhorn, monarch butterfly, and a whole slew of others.  I’m kind of wondering if every state creates this many symbols.  Well, I never found my copy of the book.  I’m beginning to think there’s a book eating monster in my house that eats the books just as I want to use them.  I distinctly remember seeing it upstairs on a table a week before I planned to use it and thinking I should grab it, but I didn’t for some reason.

Since I didn’t have the book, instead I printed off all of the different symbols of Texas and let them happily color the pictures.  If you’d like to use the same images I did go here.  It’s a link to the Texas Parks and Wildlife department, and it has some great pictures to color.  I shrunk them down so I could use a little bit of everybody’s pictures for our lapbook.

Now, if you want a much cooler project, head over to Superheroes and Princesses, where she did texture and put A LOT more thought into her armadillo project.

And if you want teaching guides for any of the __ is for books head to this link.

For more great geography ideas head over to Children Grow, Children Explore, Children Learn.  And hopefully I’ll remember to get the graphic for her linky.


For more great stART ideas head over to A Mommy’s Adventures.   Cool, I finally actually figured out how to make it automatically hyperlink stuff.  AWESOME!

Dealing with grief

tear soup

As most of you know who have been following my blog for the last few weeks, I have a good friend who just died.  He’s the sort of person who was more family than friend, he’s just been a part of my life that long.  And, for anyone who might be dealing with grief or wants recommendations on what to say to your kids in this time, here’s what’s been helping me.
Get a copy of the book Tear Soup, it’s a book on dealing with loss.  I like it because you can read it to your kids to explain why you’re crying so much, but it is more intended for adults.  Back when my Dad died I read this book more times than I can count because there were a lot of hurt feelings between me and my Dad’s family.  Most of it was over disagreements over silly details and I’m sure everyone meant well, but it ended with me feeling rather like a wet rag.
This book does a good job of talking about how grief is not just crying.  It’s also laughing at the crazy things you used to do together.  How the two of you would sit there and croon cheese at each other and discuss the relative merits of different types of cheese.
And sometimes you need to take a break from grieving, that doesn’t mean you are amazingly better, but you need a distraction, so you go to a Chuck E Cheese party with your kids.
On the subject  of kids, they’re understanding will completely depend on their age.  My oldest are about to turn five, and we’ve talked about death before when they asked about my Dad.  They’re dealing with it in their own way.  Some of it is in needing extra cuddles, some of it is in acting out more to get more attention.  And some of it is in the awkward manner of asking lots of questions I don’t have answers for.  They’re also incorporating death into their creative play.  Now, when they play house or the like Jeff and I are dead.  It’s somewhat disturbing because Jeff went to heaven, but I’m a ghost, but that’s them working it through.
For me the main thing to understand is this takes time.  You can’t microwave Tear Soup, it needs to be made in a slow-cooker for several weeks, and sometimes even for months.  You have to do it on your own terms, everyone has their own way of dealing with death or a loss.  When I had a miscarriage before the boys were born I was desperate to never be left alone for the first few weeks, but I didn’t want to talk about the miscarriage.  I just wanted someone with me.
With this, I don’t know.  It’s a little like having a scab, and you poke it every now and then to see if it still hurts.  I can mostly deal and carry on as long as I’m not thinking too much about it.  But, there’s still things that I break down at.  I sat and bawled through small group last week, but was relatively controlled at the memorial service until someone asked how I was holding up.
I know this was a rambling post that may or may not help anyone, but I wanted to share it in case it would help someone.
Oh, and for a book aimed specifically at kids get Nana Upstairs, Nana Downstairs by Tomie DePoala.  It’s a children’s book about death.  I actually have a whole list of books to help kids with this subject from when I was teaching, but it’s in my copy of Tear Soup, which I’ve loaned out to a friend, and that’s the only one I can think of offhand.
Well, if you’d like more great tips head over to We are THAT family for Works for Me Wednesday.

Interview with Superman

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What is your name: Superman
When is your birthday: March fourth 
How old are you: 4, I like little bit of things Mom, so you should ask little bit of things to me 
Who is your Mama: Ticia
What does your Mama do:can you ask me little bit of questions, cause I like little bit of things? spell names 
Who is your Daddy: Daddy
What does your Daddy do: work 
What is your favorite color: blue
What is your favorite song: ummmm, Diego (starts singing Diego over and over again) 
What do you want to do when your grow up: ummm, a Daddy 
Where do you want to live when you grow up: ummm, right in our house 
What is your favorite food: Daddy soup from I don’t know (Zuppa Tuscana at Olive Garden), from Olive Grape.  That’s all the things I like, I got two more things I like Mom.  And then that’s all.   No three more things I like.  I like Legos and Batman toys and white milk.  That’s all the things I like.
What is your least favorite food: I don’t like.  I like ‘tatoes.  I don’t like green beans.  I don’t like spicy food. 
What is your favorite animal: giraffes.  I’m tired of saying things.  And then I can’t.  I WANT TO STOP! 
What do Mama and Daddy do after you go to bed: they sleep 
Who does our family love the most: ummm….. their kids 
Where do we go to church: to church
Why do we go to church: cause we ‘posed to 
What is your favorite movie: umm…  Diego 
What is your favorite Ice Cream Flavor: umm.. chocolate 
Where do you like to eat: at our house 
Who is your favorite person: Drake and my Daddy (waaahhhh, no one likes me)
Can I be done?  (and then he storms off, turns around) and says “I’m done!”
So, I guess we’re done.

Interview with Batman

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What is your name: Batman
When is your birthday: March teenth, I can’t  (and that’s when he just stopped talking and stared at me)
How old are you: four right now, now I 5? No, that’s soon 
Who is your Mama: Ticia
What does your Mama do: call guys. You know, doing this with the both boys on my lap is kind of hard because Superman is answering these questions too 
Who is your Daddy: Jeffy
What does your Daddy do: call people, this is really funny because we’re really not on the phone that much 
What is your favorite color: green
What is your favorite song: space guys 
What do you want to do when your grow up: a teacher, I want to be a teacher once I grow up (this is repeated several times that get louder as he goes)
Where do you want to live when you grow up: somewhere way far 
What is your favorite food: fruit and sandwich 
What is your least favorite food: spicy food 
What is your favorite animal: lion, daddy lion is my favorite animal 
What do Mama and Daddy do after you go to bed: they go to sleep 
Who does our family love the most: God 
Where do we go to church: at our classroom 
Why do we go to church: cause that where we learn, cause we learn there, cause we learn there (and let me tell you right now they love to apply their lesson “God wants us to share” to everyone else) 
What is your favorite movie: Space Guys (Clone Wars) 
What is your favorite Ice Cream Flavor: brown (chocolate) 
Where do you like to eat: at Chik Fil A 
Who is your favorite person: Superman and my Daddy, those are my favorite things legos and toys, I don’t want to do this anymore
And at that point I didn’t want to push him any further, so we didn’t finish the interview
Stay tuned, coming soon is an interview with Superman…….  That should be enlightening.

Interview with Princess

Virginia over at Roger’s Family Blog posted an interview/questionnaire that her 4 year old son Caleb did, and then I saw it over on Refined Metals Academy, and now I’m doing it with Princess.  I’ll probably eventually do it with the other two, but she’s happily sitting on my lap right now.
010in the bathroom in Ikea, she thought the whole idea of the little chair to keep kids off the ground hilarious!

What is your name: Batman and you call me Princess (insert her actual name on that last one, she insists now that boys must call her Batman)
When is your birthday: Ummmm(at this point she’s trying to take off my necklace), I think um…. what my birthday on Mom? “November 20”
How old are you: Ummm, I fall off. 3.  I’m still 3.
Who is your Mama: Ticia 
What does your Mama do: Paint people
Who is your Daddy: Jeffy
What does your Daddy do: paint people too, and buckle me 
What is your favorite color: pink
What is your favorite song: Hmmm…. My favorite song is Aurora sings
What do you want to do when your grow up: ummm, I want to be ummmm…. a big kid and
Where do you want to live when you grow up: in our house, at our house Mom
What is your favorite food: cheese roll ups (can you tell she likes Taco Bell?)
What is your least favorite food: Food I don’t like is ummm, hmmm…. I think food I doesn’t like is red noodles.  I don’t like those (spaghetti with marinara sauce)
What is your favorite animal: horsies is
What do Mama and Daddy do after you go to bed: read me a story, they talk to us from downstairs
Who does our family love the most: God 
Where do we go to church: Huh, maybe we go to church right it’s way from our house
Why do we go to church: Cause um you said us go to church every day (I’m not sure how we do that)
What is your favorite movie: Aurora’s (Sleeping Beauty, which she doesn’t actually sit down and watch)
What is your favorite Ice Cream Flavor: My favorite ice cream is is is ummm hmmmm green ice cream (mint chocolate chip)
Where do you like to eat: at Taco Bell
Who is your favorite person: Daddy (that should make Jeff’s day)
Who is your best friend: Reagan
What is your favorite book: Ummmm, uh uh uh, hmmm Aurora is (we have about six different books with Sleeping Beauty in it)
Who is your brother: Batman and Superman and they do funny things, eat sandwiches and I don’t know and what else they
Where did your brother come from: ummmm, Aurora’s on my phone, Mom I get to hold it (she really likes the fax phone on the printer), that’s your glasses
What is your favorite thing to do: I like to fight bad guys on your computer Mom

Science Sunday: Propulsion

Because propulsion sounds a lot more scientific than balloon racers.  I bought these balloon racers from Oriental Trading Co.  And we played with them and explored the science behind them.

They already knew instinctually that these would move, but it was the why I was trying to get at.  It was really interesting seeing them try and put this together.  At first Superman was trying to say it was nothing that made it move.  But we talked about how that didn’t make sense because they had noticed if the balloon was more full it went further.  So, what is in the balloon that makes it go?  I pointed out how I blew into it to make the balloon bigger and suddenly Superman made the connection, “It’s AIR!”  So we talked about how air can move stuff sometimes.  All in all it was a fun quick science lesson to do while dinner cooked.
We also learned that if you over-inflate the balloons they pop, and that if you blow them up too often they pop.  We went through a lot of balloons.
Oh, and lest you think my kids always get along and we have a perfect house…..

Well, it’s not too surprising we didn’t do anything super exciting and well planned out with everything going on.  Life is slowly getting back to normal in our house.  We’re fielding a lot of questions about death and life and those types of things, but not too surprising considering these past few weeks.
I halfway want to have everything back to normal, but I also recognize it’s not going to be normal for a while, and that’s okay.  Healing is a slow process and I need to remember this.

For more about Science Sunday and participating go here.