Bats!

Our theme this week has been Bats and Baseball.

One of their bats hanging from their birthday banner

While we’ve also been doing baseball activities and the letter B, for now here are our bat activities.  We have made bats, learned bat facts, sang songs, and will soon be going to watch bats.  Apparently our zoo got the memo because they are having Bat Day this Saturday and next week we are going to a museum program under a bridge to look at bats.  We also walked around the room flapping our arms and pretending to be bats quite a bit this week and since many bats eat insects we played our Swat the Bug game (I love getting more use out of activities).  Maybe we have learned too much about bats–last night when going to sleep Mia kept insisting a bat was flying around her room eating insects.

Hanging Bats

My sister came up with this craft and it is adorable!  She really wanted the girls to make a bat that could hang upside down and hopefully we did it justice.

Supplies: toliet paper or 1/2 a paper towel roll, Styrofoam ball, construction paper, googly eyes, pipe cleaner, paint, hot glue gun,

I had the girls paint the ball and cardboard roll separately.  Then we glued all the pieces together once they were dry.  My plan was actually to paint them black and then cover all of it with glitter paint, but I’m trying to not buy more craft supplies and we didn’t have black paint.  So we went with brown paint and the girls liked playing with them so we never got around to sparkles.

Hand and Feet Bats

We definitely need to do more hand/footprint crafts because the girls thought tracing their hands and feet was hilarious.  We made these to remember two of our main bat facts that involve bats’s hands and feet: bats hang by their feet and their hands (and arms) make their wings.

Bat Calling

To call bats, have everyone lay down in a circle.  Go around the circle taking turns clapping.  The first time you clap once and then each person in the circle claps once.  The next time, two, etc.  Go up to about 10 and then come down again.  It should cause bats to fly down around you.  Now when the girls did this it didn’t work at all but they just clapped a whole bunch.  🙂  But when my Girl Scout troop did this years ago it really did work.

Echolocation Game

To learn that bats use sound in order to “see,” blind fold the little ones.  Stand a little ways away and shake a rattle or other instrument.  Have the kids come to the sound of the rattle.  Depending on the age you can decide how far to stand.

Bat Music

When we trying the echolocation game, the girls decided that everyone needed a rattle which quickly devolved into a jam session.  They played their instruments while I sang our bat songs over and over.  When I tried to stop singing, Zoe handed me a microphone and told me to keep singing.  🙂

Bats Are Sleeping (Tune:Frere Jacques)
Bats are sleeping, bats are sleeping
Upside down, Upside down,
Sleeping in the morning sun, Waiting for the night to come
Then they’ll fly around, then they’ll fly around

The other song the girls loved was one of my Girl Scout camp songs.

Bats Eat Bugs
Bats eat bugs, they don’t eat people
Bats eat bugs, they don’t fly in your hair
Bats eat bugs, they eat insects for dinner
That’s why they’re flying up there.

For the most part we just sang the bat chorus but the rest of the song is great too, encouraging comfort in the wilderness.  You can find the complete lyrics here.

Felt Board Story

It’s been awhile since we’ve done the felt board but it was fun to break it out again and the girls seemed to really enjoy playing with it again.  For a print out of all the songs and poems, click here: Bats Songs/Poems

Five Bats

Five black bats ready to soar
One stayed behind, now theer are four.
Four black bats hanging from a tree;
One fell down, now there are three.
Three black bats wondering what to do,
One flew away and now there are two.
Two black bats sitting in the sun
One fell asleep leaving only one.
One lonesome bat, with no place to go,
Went hiding in a cave, Now there are zero.

Little Bats
1 little bat was trying to behave.
He hung upside down from his feet in a cave.
Another bat flew in, and said, “How do you do?”
The second joined the first, and then there were 2!

2 little bats were trying to behave.
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave.
To help pass the time, they sang “Do re me”
Another bat joined the song, and then there were 3.

3 little bats were trying to behave
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave
From their cave perch, they looked down at the floor,
A new bat joined the game, and then there were 4.

4 little bats were trying to behave.
They hung upside down from their feet in a cave.
One little bat zoomed inside and did a dive.
He stayed to take a rest, and with him there were 5.

Snow! Snow! Snow!

I wanted to do something for the winter season but we were so busy getting ready for Christmas during December that I wasn’t able to until now.  Sure it’s been in the 60s at times this past week, but talking about snow helped us feel a little wintery (which can be hard in the desert).  Here are some of the crafts, songs, and other activities we did this past week.

Skills: Color recognition, math concepts, letter recognition, counting, fine motor skills, art, music
Prep: medium (cutting out pieces, making felt board pieces)

Hey Mr. Snowman

Supplies: Construction paper (black, red, brown, blue, green, yellow), White cardstock or thicker paper (I was out of cardstock so I used paper plates)

These snowmen came out so cute!  I got the poem and idea from a storytime blog, MiSS ALiSON iS BLOGGiNG.  Before we started, we compared the circle sizes, choosing the big, little, and medium circles.  Then we glued them together to make the snowman.  I had all the pieces cut out ahead of time so that we could glue them on as we went through the poem.  You can find templates for the pieces here.

I went walking through a winter wonderland
and spied a frosty snowman who needed a hand.

Hey, Mr. Snowman, what do you need?
“I need BLACK EYES. Put them on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, what do you see?
“I see an ORANGE CARROT. Put it on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, now what do you see?
“I see a BLACK TOP HAT. Put it on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, now what do you see?
“I see some BROWN STICKS. Put them on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, now what do you see?
“I see a GREEN SCARF. Put it on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, now what do you see?
“I see some PINK MITTENS. Put them on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, now what do you see?
“I see some BLUE BUTTONS. Put them on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, now what do you see?
“I see some YELLOW BOOTS. Put them on me.”

Hey, Mr. Snowman, now what do you see?
“I see the coolest snowman ever. Me!”

Dance Like Snowflakes

Something to the tune of “Frere Jacques” is perfect for us since since my girls are really into repeating songs–we sing a line and they sing it back.  The girls actually loved this song and kept singing it when Ed came home.

Dancing snowflakes, Dancing snowflakes,
In the air, In the air.
Whirling, twirling snowflakes, Whirling, twirling snowflakes,
In the air. In the air.

(Source: http://www.hummingbirded.com/winter-snow.html)

In addition to learning this song, we also played instruments and danced to Christmas songs about snow (“Frosty the Snowman,” “Jingle Bells,” “Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!”).

S is for Snow


Supplies: Cardstock (light colored), white paint, Q-tips

We focused on the letter S this week for snow.  I cut out large S’s from light blue cardstock (I actually used my cricut to them) and then the girls painted “snow” on them.  The plan was to use Q-tips to make dots of snow, but two-year-olds don’t always follow plans.  Apparently a blizzard hit because after a few dots with the Q-tip, they moved on to finger painting the entire S.  🙂

We also colored worksheets on S is for Snow that I found here

Snowman Felt Board Stories

I thought these snowmen were adorable and can’t wait to use them  from this one were so cute.  I found the poem along with the template for making the snowmen here, courtesy of A Child’s Place.

5 Little Snowmen

Five little snowmen made of snow,
Five little snowmen in a row.
Out came the sun and shone all day.
And one little snowman melted away.
Continue for 4, 3, 2, 1

5 Little Snowmen

Five little snowmen knocking at the door,
One melts away and then there were four.
Four little snowmen climbing a tree,
One melts away and then there were three.
Three little snowmen looking for something to do,
One melts away and then there were two.
Two little snowmen are now having fun,
One melts away and then there was one.
One little snowman all by himself,
He melts away and now there are none.

Snow Treats

We also had some special snacks to go with our snow theme.  We made snow cones–we happen to have a little snow cone maker that we bought a few years ago and used for the first time.  We also had melted snowman cookies, my new cookie of the winter season.  Here is the recipe for them. 

To make life easier, you can find all the poems and songs here.

And of course, I had to include a picture of the girls enjoying real snow…

 

 

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree

The girls love Christmas trees so much this holiday season that I decided to do a little mini-theme on them, inspired by the classic Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree by Robert E. Barry.  In the story wealthy Mr. Willowby gets a huge tree that doesn’t fit in his house so he cuts off the top.  The top is passed along where once again it is too big and the top gets chopped.  Mr. Willowby ends up providing many with a Christmas tree, including the maid, the bears, and the mice.

We did felt board stories, learned about the life cycle of a tree, sang songs, and even made our own little trees, all leading up to decorating our family Christmas tree. We actually spread the everything out over two days, setting up the tree the first day and actually decorating it the second after all of our activities..

Skills: counting, science, math concepts (classification),fine motor, art, music, letter recognition
Prep: medium (if you have the supplies it really is a low prep time)

 Felt Board Christmas Trees

Supplies: felt board, green felt (I used two pieces of green felt from the craft store)

I cut out 10 fir trees out of green felt with the trees starting small and getting progressively bigger. I then layered the trees on the felt board to make one big tree.  As we read the following poem, we would take a tree off of the big one and add it to the board so that the number of trees would grow out of the bits of one tree just like in Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree.

One Christmas tree big and strong
Two Christmas trees, one short, one long

There are three trees so cute and green
One big, one small, one in between

Counting trees, one, two, three, four
I wonder if I’ll see some more

On the board now there are five
Those trees are doing a Christmas jive

All different trees are in the mix
So now our trees will number six

If I add yet another tree
Then seven trees stand before me

Oh wow isn’t it so great
All our trees add up to eight

In front of me I see a line
Of Christmas trees that number nine

A forest now we do see
A forest full of ten fir trees

While the trees were all out we looked at which one were bigger and smaller and counted them again on the board.  Then we sang the following song based on 10 Little Indians:

One merry, two merry, three merry Christmas trees, Four merry, five merry, six merry Christmas trees, Seven merry, eight merry, nine merry Christmas trees, Ten merry Christmas trees there.

Ten merry, nine merry, eight merry Christmas trees, Seven merry, six merry, five merry Christmas trees, Four merry, three merry, two merry Christmas trees, One merry Christmas tree there.

Life Cycle of a Fir Tree

Ahead of time, I printed out pictures of the different stages for a fir tree–seeds, sprouting, seedling, full grown, pine cone–and mounted them on construction paper.  The girls and I went through each card talking about what a tree was doing, really focusing on seeds and pine cones.  The second day we actually pretended to be trees, starting curled up in a ball as a seed and then growing big and tall.  It was a little silly but the girls thought it was funny.

Tree Cycle Pictures #1                       Tree Cycle Pictures #2

Pine Cone Christmas Trees



Supplies: Pine cones, green paint, pom pom balls, glitter, glue

We also made our own little Christmas trees out of pine cones (I remember doing this myself when I was little).  First the girls painted the pine cones green, next sprinkled them with glitter, and then glued pom poms on as ornaments.

As we live in the desert, pine cones are hard to come by.  I just picked some up at Michael’s.  They are the scented ones but that just added some extra Christmas cheer to the house. 

Other Activities

When starting our activities we talked about where Christmas trees first started, looking at Germany on the map.  If you don’t have a globe or map, you can find great maps here. We also colored sheets on T is for Tree and practiced the letter T using some of the worksheets found here.  And we sang the song “Oh Christmas Tree.”  To round off our theme, we cut our peanut butter sandwiches in the shape of a Christmas tree with a cookie cutter.

Finally, we were ready to decorate the tree!

 

Christmas Colors Felt Board Story

I came up with this felt board activity based on the classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.  It follows the same rhythm but uses colors and images from the holiday season.

Skills: Color recognition, language development
Prep: Medium (drawing/decorating the pieces did take some time, but if you use solid pieces of felt it goes much quicker)

 

White Snowman, White Snowman, what do you see?
I see a green tree looking at me.

Green Tree, Green Tree, what do you see?
I see a red hat looking at me.

Red Hat, Red Hat, what do you see?
I see a blue present looking at me.

Blue Present, Blue Present, what do you see?
I see a yellow star looking at me.

Yellow Star, Yellow Star, what do you see?
I see a purple stocking looking at me.

Purple Stocking, Purple Stocking, what do you see?
I see a brown reindeer looking at me.

Brown Reindeer, Brown Reindeer, what do you see?
I see an orange light looking at me.

Orange Light, Orange Light, what do you see?
I see _(Child’s Name)_ looking at me.

_(Child’s Name)_, _(Child’s Name)_, what do you see?
I see a white snowman, a green tree, a red hat, a blue present, a yellow star, a purple stocking, a brown reindeer, and an orange light looking at me.

Like most of our felt board activities, the first time we did this, I recited the poem and placed the pieces on the board.  When we went through it a second time, I tried to get the girls to say it with me as we pulled out pieces and put them on the board.

Ed drew the images for me, which I have included below.  You can cut silhouettes from colored felt or draw/trace images on  pellon to color in with oil pastel crayons.

Tree and Reindeer Images
Snowman and Stocking Images
Present and Hat Images
Star and Light Images

 

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