Sunday, June 17, 2012

Tot School: Birds

Tot School
~ Peeper is 43.5 months old ~

A Note To My Regular Readers: I may be repeating some photos or stories that I've already published, but I want to put all our learning activities in the one post that's part of the Tot School link-up.

Tot Schoolers: Welcome! If you enjoy this post, please feel free to stay for a while, and have a look around. I'll give you a fair warning that much of my blog is PG-13, but my Tot School link-up posts will always be G-Rated.

Our third unit study was about birds. I guess we've been a bit distracted (or tired, or lazy) lately, because we didn't put as much time into this one as we have the past couple. We did do several quicky activities, and most of the printed activities in her notebook, but we didn't read very many of the books, and there were several days that we didn't touch it at all.

Here are the books that I checked out. Those marked with an asterisk are the ones that we actually read:
As with the first two units, I put together a "Bird Notebook" containing a variety of printed activities.

I had several cards and pages of photos of different kids of birds, but Peeper wasn't especially into that. However, when I showed her the kookaburra, and started singing the song, she immediately began to act it out.

This is what she does. As soon as she hears a new song, reads a new story or learns a new fact, she acts it out. It's really kind of amazing to watch.

I didn't get any photos of her working on the materials in the book, but we started by coloring a robin, and then identifying the various parts of a bird. That page had several drawings with different parts highlighted in red. Right off the bat, she was able to identify all but two: the nostrils and the remiges.

"What are remiges?" you ask? So did I!

So, I whipped out my phone and googled it and Peeper and I both learned that a long wing feather is called a remex and the plural of that word is remiges. (Rim-uh-zhees)

I also used several pages from Homeschool Creation's Bird Printables, including worksheets on Patterning (which she still totally does not get), More Less or Equal which she actually did pretty well with, when I helped her to count the objects in each set, Follow the Directions and Find the Right Picture ("circle the bird that is next to the tree"), which we did without writing - again, one of her toys "helped" by "showing" me the answer, and Say and Clap, which is about identifying syllables by clapping as you say each one.

She totally rocked the Say and Clap. I only had to do a few examples, and she had it. She can pretty solidly "clap out" one, two and three syllable words, and can sometimes do four, but it starts to falling apart at that point.

I also had some materials in her notebooks from Homeschool Creations Bird Preschool Pack, including Beginning Letters, How Many Leaves, and Rhyming Words, but I don't think we ever got to any of those.

Our first project was to make a toilet paper roll robin, using a printable from DLTK's Growing Together. It turns out they also have a hummingbird printable. I should have done that one, too.

We refilled our bird feeder.

And made another one, out of a milk jug. Obviously, I did most of the work, but Peeper helped to decorate it.

Can I blame the misspelling of "Bon Appetit" on Peeper?

Later, we read about hummingbirds and filled up our feeder. This is the only photo I got. Thrilling, huh?

We haven't seen anybody but ants at the hummingbird feeder yet, but I know I've seen a few in past years, eating from the hibiscus (which won't bloom for a few weeks), so I've got high hopes that if we can keep the feeder clean and filled, we'll get some eventually.

I was planning to make a peanut butter and birdseed feeder, but hadn't gotten around to it, when we went to the farmer's market last week and guess what the kid's craft was? Hooray!

This guy was very interested in the regular feeder. I'm guessing that he's an adolescent cardinal, just starting to turn red. Does anyone know?

Peeper was playing with a chip clip one day, and was very proud about getting it clipped onto a piece of paper, so I gave her a couple of clothes pins to play with, and she was able to repeat that trick using them.

My plan was for her to use the clothes pin in the role of a bird's beak, to pick up "worms," "bugs," and "berries" and feed them to her baby bird.

She was struggling with the clothespin, though, and decided that she wanted me to do the actual picking up of the "bird food." So much for that fine motor strengthening exercise.

Here are the worms, bugs and berries . . .

. . . and here's the baby bird.

He's of a rare species that eats through the top of its head.

He ate lots and lots of berries . . .

. . . and then he pooped them all out!

Mama Bear wanted some berry porridge, too.

Some of our non-bird-related activities included:

"Reading" these flashcards with Mommy

Strawberry picking

Children's museum

Experiments in fluid dynamics

Sorting bears (I walked in the room to find her doing this.)

Picking blueberries and cherries

This is a fruit from an iris flower. We saw it by the mailbox and decided to check it out.

How's our sunflower house doing? I need to get out there and take a current photo, but these are from just a few days after we planted it.

What's up with the bean seeds?

The one in the jar got a lot bigger than that, but I didn't get any more photos before it shriveled up and died. It was definitely the best grower of the bunch, though. Peeper's hypothesis was right.

Next on our agenda: Bugs!


  1. I believe that little guy is a house finch.

  2. Neat bird projects. Regarding the coloration of cardinals, the males are bright red and the females are the dull colored ones.

  3. Warning! About the iris (and many other flowers), they are poisonous and toxic to humans. Make sure Peeper knows not to eat them.

    Read this...

  4. I'm familiar with adult cardinals, but not young ones, so I was guessing it was a young male that was just turning red.

    (I have no idea if that happens or not, but he looked half red :-))

    I've now seen photos of young ones, and they have the "crest" too, which this guy didn't, so it's not a cardinal.

    I will take your word for it that he's a house finch, because I certainly don't know!

    As to the iris, I made it very clear that it wasn't to eat. In fact, when Peeper asked to put it in a ziplock for later, she said, "Will Mommy know it's not to eat?"


What say you?