Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Camping Week at Laurie's Little Sprouts

To celebrate the end of school and the return of our old, school-age friends to Laurie's Little Sprouts Daycare, the kids and I decided to have a "Camping Week". A couple weeks before, I asked the kids what camping week would "look" like and we generated a list including but no limited to tents, bugs, fishing, flashlights, campfires, s'mores and ghost stories (we skipped that part for the little ones).

It's amazing how fun setting up a tent is for kids. I even let the kids help and they did a great job of putting the poles together and helping in "raising the roof". Not an easy feat with this big tent.

Camping coloring pages and worksheets (camping vocabulary, word search, crossword puzzles) for here.

BUGS and Trail Mix
We inspected bugs with a magnify glass and made trail mix. In our trail mix we added pretzels, chow mien noodles, mini chocolate chips, mini marshmallows, raisins, tropical fruit mix (bananas, pineapples, etc) and shredded coconut. As we were adding the ingredients there were a few, "Ew, I don't like such and such." With all the varied dislikes, I was wondering if our trail mix would be eaten. Guess what? Every kid had seconds and some had thirds. Most surprising....almost everyone asked for more coconut! Our trail mix activity turned out to be successful in getting the kids to try something new (not always an easy task). Some of the kids poked their pretzel sticks into the marshmallows and exclaimed, "Look, we're roasting marshmallows!" Sometimes it's good to let kids play with their food. ;)

In the afternoon, when the temperatures soared well above 90, we filled a couple five gallon pails with water and brought out the squirt guns. Our water play kept us cool and it kept the kids entertained for over an hour. Even I got wet.

Solar Ovens

I found two boxes that closed tightly and painted them black.

  I lined each box with aluminum foil - shiny side out. Cut a flap on top and stapled a page protector on the opening to make a "window". Unfortunately the temperature in the inside of the box never got above 130 degrees. Which meant that our brownies were still raw after baking for 5 hours. We ate s'mores instead.

Unsuccessful but fun experiment. The kids did learn that SOLAR refers to the sun while LUNAR refers to the moon! We also talked about the reason we used black paint instead of white. We also talked about temperature as I told the kids that brownies SHOULD bake at 350 degrees. We made predictions on if we'd be enjoying brownies before everyone went home. I guess our success today can be measured by fun and learning...but I'd still like a brownie.

Insects, Arachnids and Fishing

For snack we went "fishing". Pretzel sticks became our fishing rods, Peel and Pull Licorice for the fishing line and of course we used gummy worms for our bait. The kids had a blast with this snack project.   We studied insects in our Stratton House "Discovering Insects" Learning Kit. In the first lesson  we discussed the difference between insects and spiders. We also counted the wings (or noticed the absence of wings) on the plastic bugs that came with the kit. The lessons that accompanied the learning kit are a bit advanced for the preschoolers but I condensed and simplified the information and they LOVED looking at the plastic bugs.


Our butterfly kit came just in time! Yes, I could have taken a walk in the fields to find my own caterpillars but mail order is just so much easier.....sometimes I opt for easy.

Besides the thought watching THIRTY painted lady butterflies flying away on our "release" day is pretty cool.

The kids had fun transferring the caterpillars, and their food, to their individual homes.
Caterpillars and Food


Cooking banana boats

 During rest time, the kids watched Yogi Bear and I prepared the coals in the fire pit. I sliced the bananas length-wise, leaving the peel intact. When the movie was over, the kids stuffed the slits in the bananas with mini marshmallows and mini chocolate chips. I wrapped each banana in foil and placed on the hot coals. After a few minutes I flipped the bananas and cooked for another 3-5 minutes. Yummy.

It was a fun week and now this daycare mama is ready for a hammock, a good book and a nap!

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