San Diego Zoo part 2

As promised cute kids at a zoo.  And a cute baby.
My friend we went to visit is in the process of adopting her little girl.  She’s not allowed to put any pictures out on the web, but said it’s okay if her face is blocked out somehow.  So, I went through and put circles or what have you on her face.

Princess was convinced she needed to help baby Tigger and had so much fun coming over and reassuring the baby no one could get her.


Meanwhile, my kids continued their love affair with all things animal statue.



That bird statue is supposedly of a 6 foot tall bird that is not extinct.  It may have been taller, I’m not remembering it super clearly what they were saying, because it was rather hard to believe.  Of course, people also didn’t really believe in the platypus until a live sample was brought back.


At least this zoo understood kids are dying to climb on these statues, and didn’t try to discourage it.  We’ve been to some where they get all bent out of shape.  All I think when my kids get yelled at is: 1.  Don’t put it where kids can get to it easily, my kids leave statues alone that are roped off, and 2.  It’s highly unlikely that kids climbing on the statue will hurt it.  At least here they understood kids will climb on it, and set it up that way (notice the nice soft rubber for the kids to land on when they fall off).
Smart zoo people.
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And we had to try out all of the different masks.  The ones that cracked me up was the “Alien visitation theory scientist,” for all of the different theories and scientists for why the dinosaurs died out, so they hav444e that, but not a flood one?
I had a couple of hams all day long.  They enjoyed showing off for the camera.  Here they’re showing off on a pile of fossils.

Picture below is what the fossils are supposed to be of, the La Brea Tar Pits.

You have no clue how many tries it took to get both of them poking their head up at the same time.

471And headed home, poor Tigger was so tired out and ready to be home she cried the whole way back, almost an hour and a half and nothing would console her.  My kids had a solution for that.

Science Sunday: San Diego Zoo

305I’m doing this as a two part post.  Today will be the zoo, and the fun learning aspects of it.  Tomorrow will be cute fun pictures, because what’s a zoo without fun pictures of your kids.

The San Diego Zoo is a bit intimidating.  There’s like a million people there, and buses driving all over, so it’s sometimes a little scary figuring out where to go.  So we went for the wander around approach.

We had fun looking at the animals and figuring out where they lived.  For instance the kookaburra lives in Australia, and its call is used to discourage other birds from coming to places (I know they’ve used it in Texas).

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We spent a lot of time studying the meerkats.  There are all sorts of tunnels all throughout their enclosure that they’ve dug, and we were trying to figure out how the holes get filled back in.  I was wondering if they had someone doing that as their job, and Jeff theorized it probably just collapses from the weight of the dirt above.  Then I realized his theory made so much more sense.
The kids were excited to see Ring-tailed Lemurs because they see them all the time on “Penguins of Madagascar,” (actually I don’t think these are that particular breed, but a similar one), we were intrigued to see the different fruits and what have you that were left on the cage floor for them to eat (I’d show you the picture, but I was only able to get the monkey’s but, and that’s not so fun to look at).

One of my complaints about the zoo, is they set it up in the most realistic way possible, which meant you often couldn’t see the animals because of the way the cages were set up.  So, a lot of the animals turned into a hunt and peck to find them.  I think it took us a few minutes to find this wallaby (I think it’s a wallaby picture).
This rather intrigues me because these are baby flamingoes (the gray birds).  They turn pink because of the shrimp they eat, and these haven’t eaten enough yet.  I wonder if you fed an adult flamingo a different diet would it change color?  In theory it should.
Also, it was intriguing to see the island full of flamingo nests.  They’re about 2 feet tall and cone shaped.  It was so interesting to see.

We spent a long time discussing why many of the camels in the zoo had their humps laying over to the side like in this picture, and after looking at several different websites I found this one, which said basically it needs more food or water.  If it’s well fed and has enough both of the humps will be plumb and standing up.

I had this great video of one of the elephant caretakers explaining what she was doing, but you can’t really hear what she’s saying.  Basically one of the elephants (obviously that’s not a picture of the REAL elephant) had injured it’s leg, and she was waiting for him to come over so she could feed him a pail of bran and IB-profin to help with his pain and swelling.  The funny part is one of the other elephants in the enclosure knew it was there and kept trying to steal the pail from her, so she kept almost getting knocked over and then having to move the pail.

Oh, and something I wanted to make sure to mention.  In case you weren’t aware most zoos and museums on their websites have lesson plans to make your visits better, including suggestions of things to do before, during, and after your trip.  I didn’t really get to look at the San Diego Zoo’s site, but I know the Waco Zoo has a bunch of cool scavenger hunt things to do.  Just thought I’d let you know.

And now that you’ve read my wall of text, what’d you guys do?  I’m going to try my best to make it to everyone’s posts from the past few weeks now that I’m home, no guarantees I’ll make it this week, but I’m going to try………

Stay tuned tomorrow for cute pictures of the zoo, including an incredibly cute baby, who you won’t really get to see……

Science Sunday:

This was one of those “so proud of my kids” moments.  We went to the zoo with some friends from church.


Sigh, and this will be one of the few pictures of Princess with her shorts on.  After they got “dirty” she refused to wear them.  Stubborn, stubborn girl.  I have no clue where she got it.






That, is obviously not what I was proud of.  No, I was proud of how much they’ve remembered about the different animals we’ve read about.  They could tell you about how some of them were omnivores, and others were carnivores or herbivores.  It was so great.




There are so many great things you can learn from zoos.  There’s the random informational facts like on the sign next to us.  There’s talking about where an animal lives, and what it might need to survive.  Comparing animals.




And, if you’re lucky your zoo will have a playscape like this.  It gives the kids a chance to see what it’s like to be a monkey.  I still remember going to a zoo that let us climb around like prairie dogs and peek out of holes.


I’m sure you all knew this was a wonderful learning experience, but maybe you’d forgotten, and now you’ll remember it.

What’d you do for science this week?  I’d love to see what you did, and don’t forget to link back here.

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).
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

Austin Zoo

So, last week one part of our super busy week was going to the Austin Zoo. The kids had a blast! It’s not my favorite zoo, but it was fun to go to.

Superman petting the goat

Batman trying to pet the rooster. It didn’t work so well.

Princess and Batman looking at snakes.

Funny story on the peacock. They were wandering all over the zoo, and my kids were having fun trying to catch them. At one point they had gotten one cornered by the bear cage. The next thing I knew the peacock had jumped up onto the top of the fence and into the bear cage. Then it proceeds to march over to the bear and is in within about 15 feet of it. All of the adults are thinking, do we need to distract the kids from the soon to be bloody happenings, but no, the bird just wandered around for a while enjoying the kid free area.

So, all in all, we had a blast at the zoo. It’s not your traditional zoo where you’ll see all the exotic animals. This is a rescue zoo, so you’ll see lots of big cats and monkeys because people keep thinking they make good pets. Then it grows up and they realize it’s a wild animal….. The sad part is the cages are hard to see the animals through. But, my kids were happy they found a “baby jaguar.”

Zebras, giraffes, leopards, and a whole bunch more

This started out as just giraffes and zebras. Remember how last time I said to get a piece of cardboard or foam board, just something stiff and cover it in glue or foam sitckers? Well, here’s what we did:

Grab some animal pictures. We started with zebras. Peel all the paper off your crayons.

Place your picture over the texture board and rub the side of the crayon over the board, and it makes really neat textures.


As you can see, it turned out really cool, but it’s a bit over my kids skill level. They didn’t enjoy it as much as I thought they would. They just wanted to color their pictures and have me write the name of each animal on their pictures. So, recognizing that I needed to change my plans we did. So, I let them have a blast coloring with markers and crayons, and when they were done we put it in their sticker books in alphabetical order. They loved doing that.

Oh well, not all ideas can work like you want them to. Okay, this is my last post for the day, I wasn’t really planning to write all of these today, but I wanted to get these linked up to the other places…..

So, for more great “we Made it” activities, go to Ramblings of a Crazy Woman.

Tot School: Zoo week 2

Tot School

Princess and I continued on talking about zoo animals. How they move, where they live what makes them different, oh and counting them.

We read a book from ReadingA-Z Animals Can Move and did the worksheets with it. She did not like this one, even though she knows how different animals moved she didn’t like having to glue them in certain columns.

She sorted seeds again, which is still popular, and also played with the zoo animals. I think these have so much appeal because she can only play with these animals when she’s doing school. Otherwise I keep it put away.

She found animals in the rice. I put animal stickers on cardstock and laminated them. I put the same stickers on an index card, so she would know when she’d found them all. This is very messy because the rice gets out and everywhere. I haven’t figured out how to solve that problem. Other than that it was very popular.

Here she is matching the stickers to the index card stickers. Everyone loved this activity.

We counted monkeys. This is from Carisa’s 5 Little Monkeys Tot Book. I’m actually using a couple of different parts from lots of her lap books these next few weeks.

And we made elephants, for more details click here.

We played the Brown Bear, Panda Bear game (I highly recommend it, lots of fun).

And for some Tot School in REAL life we went to the grocery store and looked at the lobsters and crabs.

Elephants or as Batman says "Funtes"

Or at least that’s the nearest approximation I can spell of it.

I had originally planned to make lots and lots of animals this week, but then it seemed like I had every meeting and scheduled thing in the world going on, so we made elephants.

So, again I went to the Jan Brett mural site. There I printed off the elephants.

1. Let your kids color the elephants.

2. Have them tear up gray and black and white paper into little pieces. After I had this done I figured out to tear the paper in to smaller strips to begin with. Oh well, live and learn. Otherwise they lose patience and interest in tearing up the paper.

3. Next take your box of scraps and let your kids glue them onto the elephants. This makes the elephant look all wrinkled like they do in real life. Or, that’s the theory.

4. Save any you have left over, because I think these would work wonderfully to make the penguins as well, that or monkeys. I think black and white monkeys would be fun. Also tearing practice is a great fine motor skill.

As a preview of an object to get ready for other animals, make a texture board. Here’s what I did:

1. Get a piece of cardboard or foam core board or maybe the side of a cereal box. Cut them out to about half the size of a sheet of paper.

2. Find a bunch of foam stickers, something that is slightly raised. I used lots and lots of circles and a few numbers. This is to make the texture of the giraffe.

3. For the second one take a bottle of glue and make squiggly lines all up and down the board in the same direction. This will produce the stripes on the zebra.

You can also purchase texture boards, but I wanted to try these. Now rub the side of a crayon on a piece of paper while on top of the board, and it’ll look really cool.

For more great Kid Friendly Activities go here.

Preschool: Zoo and Children’s Museum

I actually did some different activities with the boys than with the girl this week.

So, here’s what all we did:

Well, we went to the Children’s Museum. I love that place.

We also got lucky enough to do a whole bunch of fun crafts at the library, I posted lots about that yesterday. I did learn that I need to get some sort of lacing beads or soemthing for my kids. I have an idea brewing in my head for that.

So far it’s all the same, but here’s where it gets different. I’m working on reading and sight words with the boys. So we played some games. When had its freebie day I downloaded anything remotely related to zoo animals and its corresponding worksheets and scanned the lesson plans for it. So, I noticed on “What has these feet?” they talked about playing sight word games, and I realized my boys would love that.

So on index cards I wrote has, these, and what. I made two copies so they could play memory and later “Go Fish.” But for this week we just went through those cards and it was wildly popular. We also matched up pictures of feet to animals. I don’t have pictures of any of this because I didn’t think of it at the time.

We made lions, which was another very popular activity. I’m tyring to think how to shrink the activity and make it into a lapbook, but we’ll see…..

All in all, not that exciting of a week for activities, but I’m working through my ideas and trying to organize it better.