K4: Exploring the Five Senses

Friday, May 31, 2013

Since it was a holiday week, we took it easy and had fun with lots of reading and hands on activities.  We did work on her basic K4 work (I just didn't catch her in action),  but I did catch her playing a few games and reading to her sister. :-)

She loves this number identification activity.  I write about 20 numbers on a dry erase board (in no particular order) and she has to name the number and then gets to erase.  

Her words this week were get and new.  Here she was given some letter tiles in a pile and had to spell them from memory and tell me the word. 

Then, we played Busytown Eye Found It!

It's always sweet when I catch the girls like this.
 photo Abbyreadingtosummer_zps632e3a1f.jpg

Now...to the five senses!  We explored our sense of smell by using a variety of finds from the pantry.

We used peanut butter, cinnamon, almond extract, molasses, thyme, vanilla extract, nutmeg, cumin, orange extract and coconut oil.

Then, we tried our sense of taste.  I set out some sugar, kosher salt, dark chocolate cocoa powder and lemon juice.

 Naturally, the sugar seemed to go over well and salt wasn't too bad. 

But, the lemon juice and cocoa powder...not so much.  :-)

We took a listening walk through the woods and heard many different creatures like: birds, grasshoppers, bees, wind and dogs.  Abby made some interesting finds and collected several treasures.

To explore our sense of touch, we made Gak!  Click here to read my full post on how to make it.  In less than 5 minutes you will have a fun creation that will provide HOURS of fun.  Abby has been playing with it all week!

Abby also played our Touch and Feel Sensory Bag Guessing Game.  To see how we played, click here.

For more activities to help explore the five senses, check out my Pinterest board.

Touch & Feel Sensory Bag Guessing Game

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

There are many ways to help kids explore the five senses.  This fun sensory bag game will help children use their sense of touch along with helping to provoke their thought process.

What You Will Need

Brown Paper Bags
Items with varying textures, sizes, etc
Blindfold (totally optional and just for fun)

What's Next

Number each bag (I did this mainly for myself to keep track of the items) and fill with various items. 

Let your child explore each bag and guess what's inside.

You can help little ones by asking descriptive questions about the item (hard, soft, rough, cold, long, short) to provoke their thought process.

When they are done, check their guesses to the actual item to see if they were correct.  On the other hand, your child (like mine) could just rip off their blindfold suddenly EACH TIME to see if they were right. ;-)  For older kids, they could pencil in their guesses next to each number on a sheet of paper to compare when finished.

Trying to figure out what to use inside your sensory bags?  We used cotton balls, Q-tips, a banana, toy giraffe, frozen ice pack, toy keys, a brush, a cup, ponytail holder, and a stuffed animal.

Looking for more sensory ideas?  


Quick and Easy Gak!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Anyone remember Gak! growing up?  It was gooey, squishy, slimy and a blast to play with!

This super easy recipe will have your kids and you playing in no time.  Ready, here goes!


1 bottle of glue (we used Rose Art Washable Glue or Elmer's would work, too)
1/2 teaspoon Borax (found in the laundry detergent aisle )
1/4 cup warm water
Food Coloring (we used bright neon coloring)
Glitter (optional)
 **You may need to double if more than 1 child**


Empty entire bottle of glue into a bowl.

Fill the empty glue bottle with warm water and add to the bowl of glue.

Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of Borax in 1/4 cup of warm water and set aside.  (We initially were going to make 2 batches hence the 1 tsp. and 1/2 cup measures, but Abby decided she just wanted a blue batch.)

Next, add the desired amount of food coloring and stir mixture.

Slowly, add the Borax mixture to the glue mixture and stir.

You will notice the texture begins to become stringy and thick, eventually resembling gelatin.  At this point, you will want to knead the Gak with your hands.

We added a dusting of pink glitter and it was ready for play!

For more creative play, add alphabet and shape cutters and watch your kids enjoy HOURS of FUN! 

Ever tried Sidewalk Paint?  It's easy and inexpensive!

K4- RRSK: Letter Q and Butterflies

Friday, May 24, 2013

We had a pretty exciting week learning about caterpillars and butterflies!  Here's a look at we did.

RRRSK header copy
We are essentially picking up where Raising Rock Stars Preschool left off with Raising Rock Stars Kindergarten. We are reviewing the Bible verses she learned before, but using more challenging activities.

Letter: Q
Bible Verse: Quench not the spirit.
1 Thessalonians 5:19

We talked about what the word "quench" means and discussed sinful things that we do that ultimately quench the Holy Spirit.  Then, we discussed how God can help us overpower the urge to do or think sinful things. 

Abby worked on tracing and locating beginning sounds with this weeks letter Q.

You can learn more about the K4 Curriculum here, which we are currently using as our base

She did an activity in her Kumon Cutting book.  We only have a few more lessons to go!

Abby has been working with equality for several weeks now.  It's been mainly review for her, but this week was a bit more challenging.  This time, she had to add the two numbers in the first column and get the sum before choosing whether the numbers were greater than, less than or equal to.  We did an example on the dry erase board and she declared she could do it ALL BY HERSELF.  And, she did!

We also continued to practice with counting by 5's, 10's and from 1 to 100.  I gathered up my large stack of number cards and mixed them up.  We went through the whole stack, which is ALOT of numbers for a little kid.  She decided halfway through she wanted to play a game, which made it so much fun for her.

She found a little calculator and pretended it was a cell phone.  Then, she decided to "call" everyone she knew and tell them the numbers. :-)

About two weeks ago, our live caterpillars arrived.  We've spent that time closely observing and learning how caterpillars change into butterflies.  Mid week, our butterflies emerged and Abby was able to hold and release each one.  She was ecstatic!

You can read and see each stage captured in my detailed post here.  It really is an incredible process!

We read LOTS of books about caterpillars and butterflies.  One of her favorites is The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  After reading and watching several animated versions of the book, we created our own butterfly inspired by Eric Carle's work.

Abby loves to paint!  This is a simple activity that allows your creative side to come out, while also making a beautiful piece of artwork.  Have I mentioned how simple it is?!

And, the finished product.  Want to make your own? You can click the picture for a direct link to my post with supply list and instructions. 

From Caterpillar to Butterfly: An Inside Look

Thursday, May 23, 2013

God has created some amazing creatures! We have been learning about one of them, the butterfly, namely the Painted Lady Butterfly.  The Painted Lady Butterfly is very common throughout North America and goes through 4 life cycle stages: egg, larva (caterpillar), pupa (chrysalis) & the adult Butterfly.

Stage One: Egg

The female butterfly will lay several eggs on a leaf.  Like most butterflies, the Painted Lady Butterfly tends to lay her eggs on plants the future caterpillar will enjoy, like thistle.  This stage will last about 3 to 5 days.

Stage Two: Larva (Caterpillar)

Once the caterpillar hatches from the egg, it will eat the outer egg shell, which is high in protein.  The caterpillar will continue to feast on many leaves, growing quickly.  The caterpillar will go through 4 instars, or 4 molts.  The skin does not grow with the caterpillar and they will shed (molt) their bristly skin as they continue to grow.  Caterpillars also have spinnerets that produce silk,  found right under the mouth.  The silk helps them balance while moving and climbing.  As the pre-pupal stage nears, more and more silk will appear. This larva stage will last between 5 to 10 days.

We purchased our larva from Insect Lore.

 Stage Three: Pupa (Chrysalis)

Once fully grown, the caterpillar will be around 2 inches long and ready for the next stage.  Finding a safe place, the caterpillar will make a silk pad from the spinneret to attach to.  It will then hang upside down, curling into a "J" shape.  It will hang this way for about 24 hours.

Soon, the skin will actually split open from head to abdomen revealing the chrysalis.  The chrysalis is hard, shiny and brownish-green with gold dots.  This is the final molt.  I caught this on camera last year and it was amazing!  You can click here to read that post and see the metamorphosis as it happened.

While inside the chrysalis, the body completely liquefies and begins rearranging into a butterfly.  It's really an incredible process!  If you look closely at the chrysalis you will see the butterfly wings inside.  This stage lasts around 7-10 days.

Stage Four: Butterfly

Towards the end of the metamorphosis, the chrysalis will become dark and transparent.

The chrysalis will begin to split open and a butterfly will emerge.  The wings will be soft and shriveled.  The butterfly will usually rest on the remnants of the chrysalis, in our case, the side of the mesh pavilion.  The wings slowly begin to unfold and a red liquid, known as meconium, (tissue remains from the metamorphosis) will drip off as the butterfly waits for the wings to dry.

Butterflies use a straw like projection, called a proboscis, to sip nectar from flowers.  The proboscis is normally coiled up in flight, but in the picture below, it is uncoiled as it sips sugar water.  We soaked a cotton ball with a simple mixture of 4 parts water, 1 part sugar which was boiled and cooled.

When our butterflies were ready, we released them. 

Abby got to gently hold and release each of her 5 butterflies.

One particular butterfly loved her dress.  She walked around the yard several minutes before the butterfly flew away.

 It was such a great, hands-on experience for Abby.  She loved every minute and learned so much!