Little House in the Big Woods & Pioneer Unit


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For the last few weeks, every day during lunch, I've been reading, Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  Growing up I remember watching the TV series, but I had never actually read any of the books.  Boy, was I missing out!  (I'm seriously tempted to buy the entire set for Princess for Christmas, just so we can read them together.)  When we finished the book today, I had to make sure the kiddos didn't see me tearing up.  I'm not sure whether my sadness for the end of the book, was because I enjoyed reading it to them so much, and watching them play afterwards, acting out specific things, or if it was because the time in history when this book takes place, is one of my very favorites. I loved reading about it every day, and now we're moving on.

I wish I had read the entire book through before I had put this unit together.  I could have put together so many more activities.  Hopefully we'll have another unit in future years for Sunshine.  I was running behind this week.  Not even all the activities here were on the shelves the first and second days of learning time.  The kiddos didn't care.  They were so excited about new activities in general.  There are many times when they helped me create new activities based on what they wanted to learn more about, and questions they had.  Here are the activities we did do this week!

Language:  
Cinnamon Spiced Play Dough Spelling
The kiddos will use the cookie cutter letters to create the words on their spelling list.  All animals are those mentioned in the book, or those encountered and/or used by pioneers.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Little House in the Big Woods & Pioneer Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link located at the bottom of the post.

My Phonetic Words Book
This activity is not necessarily related to Little House in the Big Woods or pioneers, however it's simplicity resembles how I feel about those times.  The kiddos complete the pages in the book, circling the picture of the word shown on each page, and then practice writing it themselves.  Surprisingly all of the kiddos have tried and enjoyed this activity, even those who usually despise writing activities.  I think it's simplicity makes it less intimidating, and therefore popular.

Source: Anastasia from Montessori Nature created this printable. For your copy, click HERE.  (This printable is not free.)

Math:
Button Addition
We were given a gallon size bag of buttons from a friend a while back.  I love when we have opportunities to use them.  The kiddos will answer problems on the cards using large buttons as counters, if needed, and small buttons as markers.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Little House in the Big Woods & Pioneer Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link located at the bottom of the post.

The Town Store Money Activity
The kiddos will practice purchasing items of the times from the general store.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Little House in the Big Woods & Pioneer Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link located at the bottom of the post.

Science & Culture:
Animal Tracks Match Up/Memory Game
This activity was a big hit. The kiddos studied animal tracks, matching them up with each animal card.  Bulldozer asked for a magnifying glass to be added to the activity.  Another day he asked me to play memory with him.  No matter what way you use the cards, it's a great learning process.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Little House in the Big Woods & Pioneer Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link located at the bottom of the post.

The Oregon Trail
This activity is not specific to Little House in the Big Woods, but is related to the pioneers in general.  The kiddos will read the map and put the puzzle pieces in order from first state to last that the pioneers traveled.  It's been a great activity for so many reasons.

Source: I created the printable for this activity as part of my Little House in the Big Woods & Pioneer Unit Printable Pack 1. For your free copy, click on the link located at the bottom of the post.

World Continent Cards
Pioneers have come from all over the world.  When they came, they brought their heritage and culture with them.  I love how this activity helped me teach that to the kiddos.  The kiddos sorted the picture cards by continent. The control is the frame on the pictures. Frames match the continent they belong to.  Dinomite has done this activity every day this week.  He just can't get enough of it.

Source: Anastasia from Montessori Nature created this printable.  For your copy, click HERE.  (This printable is not free.)

Music:
The kiddos continue with their piano lessons.  We've also been learning some of the songs from the book Little House in the Big Woods.  Finally, we've learned all about the fiddle, listening to it's music etc.

Art:
Tin Hole Punching
I was super nervous about introducing the kiddos to this activity, worrying that they wouldn't have enough hand-eye coordination to pull it off, or that they wouldn't have enough strength in their arms and hands to punch holes through the tin pie plates.  I was pleasantly surprised.  The kiddos did AWESOME!  Each day they've worked on their tin hole punch pictures, adding new designs etc.

The kiddos drew a design on their pie plate with an erasable marker, then they started hammering.  Make sure you have a very thick piece of unwanted wood/cutting board, under the tin before you kiddo stars hammering. Otherwise you will ruin whatever surface is underneath the pie plate.

I'm not quite sure if the kiddos completely understand the concept of punching holes where they drew their lines, but I guess that really doesn't matter. They're still creating amazing pieces of art all on their own that look fabulous when the lights are off and a flashlight shines through the back of them.

If your kiddo is smaller, you can use a disposable pie plate, which would be much easier to poke holes through.  Beware! This is a very loud activity.

Physical Education:
We continue with our Fun Family Physical Fitness ideas.  Dinomite is also taking swimming lessons.  I also introduced the kiddos to square dancing through videos.

Practical Life/Sensorial:
Sewing
The kiddos have graduated from lacing cards to sewing activities.  Again, I'm pleasantly surprised about how well they're doing.  They work on their little circle sewing project each day.  I do see more sewing projects in our future, which means, Mommy needs to learn how to sew better herself. Lol.

Making Bread
This week we've had so much fun in the kitchen.  (We're actually still not finished as cinnamon rolls are last on the list of things to make for tomorrow.  They were Bulldozer's choice.)  Dinomite helped Mommy bake this delicious bread that even Sunshine can eat!

Making Johnnycake
Princess was supposed to help Mommy back johnnycake, but she decided she didn't want to, so I made it myself.  Everyone but Sunshine who can't because of food allergies, has enjoyed the bread.

Spreading Butter
All of the kiddos have practiced spreading butter on various types of breads throughout the week. We've also added honey, maple syrup, etc.

Stringing Buttons
Originally this activity was part of our addition activity but Bulldozer enjoyed the process of stringing beads so much, that I decided to make it a separate activity.  All of the kiddos have enjoyed it.

Spooning Dried Beans
The kiddos will transfer dried beans using the spoon provided.  All of the kiddos choose this activity on a regular basis, but it's definitely not a favorite as it proves to be difficult for them.  I think it's the shape of the spoon.

Little House in the Big Woods & Pioneer Invitation to Play
I hesitated putting this activity on our shelves this week.  At times invitations to play tend to dominate our learning time and I worry that the kiddos aren't covering the material they're supposed to, or developing skills they need to.  This week Bulldozer and Dinomite were practically begging for one on the shelves.

I watched them today as they each took turns playing and realized they learn more from invitations to play than many of the other activities on our shelves.  They're practicing fine motor skills. They're developing coordination and muscle strength, as they practice rolling out the pumpkin pie spiced play dough.  They're reviewing their animals and learning about their habitats, as they recreate scenes from the book we've been reading.  They're working on their engineer skills as they're trying to build forts and homes out of popsicle sticks.  And what better way for the kiddos to learn about the pioneers than to be given the materials to act out just what their lives would have been like? I've decided not to worry about having invitations to play on our shelves anymore.  When all was said and done, this activity was the popular thing for about an hour, and then the kiddos put it away and moved on to something else.

For those interested in the printable pack, click on the link below:


As part of this unit, we also studied our religious heritage and the pioneers who made the trek out west to the Salt Lake Valley. The kiddos watched some fabulous movies about the realities and hardships of the trail and journey.

Next week we'll be moving on to our Shark Unit in preparation for Dinomite's favorite TV event:  Shark Week!  Not that we have TV to watch any of it, but he thoroughly enjoys watching what's made available online.

6 comments:

  1. This is so cute! I think we'll be reading these books soon, so I'm pinning this for later.

    Stopping by from the Thoughtful Spot Blog Hop :)

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  2. This is great! Thanks for sharing!

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  3. Wow Renae - unbelievable unit! So many fun and unique ideas. Thanks for sharing with the Love to Learn Linky. I will also be sharing on FB next week. Best, Sue

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  4. What a wonderful unit! I love that you include sewing and cooking!! Thanks for sharing at Sharing Saturday!

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  5. I found your post on Pinterest! I was impressed by your about page. What a heart God has given you for children! We'd love it if you'd link up your literacy-related posts with us at Literacy Musing Mondays #LMMLinkup. http://www.foreverjoyful.net/?p=731

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