Thursday, June 30, 2011

You are on the Map - Smart Summer Challenge - Week 1

Every Friday starting on July 1st through the middle of August, there's a Smart Summer Challenge going on at Pink and Green Mama,  Naturally Educational, and Teach Mama.  The goal is to do daily educational (yet fun) activities with your children. 

As the challenge says, "The learning activity can be as simple as reading a book, or doing a simple science experiment, or as involved as packing up the crew and visiting a museum or hiking your local park. It's as involved as you want it to be, and our focus is to help parents realize the important role they play in helping their kids avoid the summer learning slump."

They have daily suggestions for ideas if you need inspiration, and each ties into a weekly theme.  This week, the theme was "You are on the Map." 

During the past week we did the following activities:
Sunday - Did 4-H projects for the county fair.  Both the girls finished their embroidery projects - Olivia made an embroidered pillowcase and wall hanging; and Sophia made an embroidered stuffed dog.
Olivia's embroidered elephant.

Olivia embroidered the first letter of her name
as well as flowers, leaves, and vines.

At 8 and 10 years old respectively they've been doing embroidery for a few years now and enjoy it.

Today's map location:  home (to do the project).  Embroidery, itself, though is believed to have originated in the Orient and Middle East at about the same time. Chinese embroidery dates back to at least 6,000 BC. (Source)

Monday - Olivia learned to do papercutting with an exacto knife for one of her 4-H projects.  This was a challenging project because the knife has to be held a certain way in order for it to cut properly.  After cutting the image of the horse, she layered black and blue paper behind the cut-out sections to create the picture.

This is the paper cutting that Olivia made. 
She cut the image out of white paper with a knife and
then punched holes with a paper punch along the top and bottom.
She put black paper behind the horse and
then blue paper behind the entire picture.

Sophia spent the majority of the day preparing food for her 4-H demonstration about using herbs in cooking/baking, medicines, and personal care products.

Sophia doing a 4-H demonstration about herbs.
She showed how to make cucumber-basil-ginger herbal water,
sage tea, and lavender spray. In addition to these items,
the club members and parents could sample
chocolate chip mint cookies and iced mint tea.
All the herbs used were from our garden.
Both the girls did a demonstration in front of about a dozen people on Monday night. 

Olivia loves to do puzzles, so she did a demonstration titled
"How to Eat a Puzzle."
She showed the 4-H members and parents how to make
a puzzle sandwich, and then
invited them to eat their first puzzle piece. 

Puzzle sandwich that Olivia and I made together.

They will do the same demonstration at the County Fair on July 13th.

We also visited two farms where 4-H members live.  One had rabbits, horses, dogs, and cats.  The 4-H member focused on sharing information about her rabbits and showing them at the fair.

The girls listening to a presentation about rabbits.
Rabbits are on their list of animals they'd love to have.

The other place we visited was a dairy farm.  The girls both learned a lot about raising and showing dairy cows; and now want to do the dairy project. 
Olivia is taking a look at a three-year old cow.

They would start out with a spring calf to show next year (one that is born in March-May 2012; and show it in July 2012).

This is the size calf that the girls would work with:
about 100 or so pounds.  Not the huge 1,500+ pound ones.

Today's map location:  three different rural towns in Minnesota (including home).  Olivia's paper cutting projects has ties to China.  More information about paper cutting is HERE. 4-H began in 1902 in Clark County, Ohio.  More information about 4-H is HERE.

Tuesday - The girls enjoyed having two friends over.  They introduced them to Bailey and Hoss (the pony and miniature horse), played a game, climbed trees, had a picnic in the fort, and searched for and found lots of frogs and toads. 

In the afternoon and evening, we spent time reading.  One of the books we read was Arabian Nights: Three Tales by Deborah Nourse Lattimore.

Today's map location:  Today was spent at home.  One of the stories we read takes place in ancient Cathay (known today as China). The other stories were set in fictional locations.

Wednesday - We picked strawberries at a nearby patch and learned about strawberries.

Sophia holding some strawberries that she picked.

We also went to a buffalo farm and were so excited to see lots of young ones in the pasture.

Buffalo in the pasture.

In the late afternoon, we had a backyard picnic while enjoying the sounds of nature.  The strawberries and picnic tied into our on-going nature study that we do (we try to do at least one nature study per week using the Handbook of Nature Study).

Having a picnic on the deck.

Today's map location:  two small towns in Minnesota (one for the patch and picnic; and the other for the buffalo farm.

In addition, we can add Brittany, France (where the garden strawberry was first bred) to the places we "visited" this week.  The garden strawberry is a cross between two varieties - one from North America and the othe from Chili.  The former is noted for its flavor while the latter was noted for its larger size.

For the American bison (also known as the American buffalo), the location is North America.  At one time, their range was roughly a triangle between the Great Bear Lake in Canada's far northwest, south to the Mexican states of Durango and Nuevo León, and east along the western boundary of the Appalachian Mountains. Due to commercial hunting and slaughter in the 19th century, the bison nearly went extinct. Today, buffalo can be found in reserves, on farms, and a few national parks.
Thursday - Sophia had a harp lesson in the morning; we went to the library to return some books and check out more books; and learned about Vietnam a bit in the afternoon.  We are finishing up our multi-year around-the-world geography study. 

Some of the postage stamps from Vietnam that
Sophia has in her geography book.

We skipped ahead from U to W back when Prince William and Princess Catherine were married (since Prince William's mother was from Wales)...and then continued on with X, Y, and Z (Mexico - since no countries in the world start with the letter X; Yemen; and Zambia). 

Realized we didn't do we began learning about Vietnam today. 
Today's map location:  two cities and one rural town in Minnesota for the harp lesson, library, and at-home study.  We also learned about Vietnam we "traveled" back to the east.


Ticia said...

I did that exact same elephant embroidery a few years ago. That pattern is just so cute!

RedTedArt said...

Oh my what a fabulous week! LOVE the embroidered elephant and LOVE those puzzle sandwiches.. how fun! The horse is beautiful too!

Thank you for linking to Kids Get Crafty!


pink and green mama MaryLea said...

Hooray for Summer and 4-H projects!! Love that embroidery. My 8 year old "E" learned embroidery this week too!!

Thanks for sharing your Smart Summer Projects!

pink and green mama

Michelle Breum said...

There's lots of learning at your house this summer. I love the puzzle sandwiches. I just joined the Summer Challenge.
Great Post!

Kimberlee said...

What a neat summer idea. Love that your girls are learning needlepoint, and looks like they will be well prepared for their demonstrations.

Jill said...

As always - you amaze me with how much you manage to do with your girls - and all of it sounds so interesting and fun!
Thanks for the inspiration!

Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
Hope you have a great week!
Jill @ Creating my way to Success