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The World Around Me: My Country

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You'll notice some repeats in this week's activities.  Partly on purpose, because we're focusing on our country, but also because I just didn't get around to creating others.  My husband started a new job last week.  Sunshine started some new therapies. Some extra curricular activities have started up.  Needless to say I'm exhausted.

However, with that said, there are definitely a few new activities on the shelves that the kids have gone crazy over. Who would have thought?  Here's what we've been doing!

Letter Recognition
This is a repeat of last week.  Only Princess touched it.  I'm hoping it will get more use this time around.

Source:  I found this idea at Smart School House.

United States Landmarks & Symbols
This is a repeat from the beginning of July, during our 4th of July week.
Source: I created this printable. The United States of America Symbol Nomenclature Cards are a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Boggle Jr.
My mom picked this up at a yard sale.  We don't play it as a game, but it works perfect to practice our spelling in a different way!

Rainbow Polygons
This activity is a repeat, but was actually requested by Dinomite as he's learned the "Nonagon" song we've been practicing and is very intrigued by these types of shapes right now.

Tens Boards & Beads
This is a repeat from earlier this month.  The kiddos were doing well with it until Bulldozer had a really off day. He said he would never do the activity again.  I'm hoping this week he'll try, forgetting about the past, as both he and Princess really need to understand what's being presented here.  They can both identify all of their numbers through 99, but neither can count past 30.  I was really hoping this would help them.

Sequencing the Growth of Plants
This is a repeat from April, but worked perfectly with our unit this week.

Source.  I found these cards as part of a printable packet at Homeschool Creations.

Geography & Culture:
United States of America Puzzle
This is a repeat, but again was requested by the kiddos. They are LOVING learning about the 50 states.  By the end of the year, I'm guessing they'll know them better than I do.

Parts of a Plant
These cards have been great this week.  I was super excited to find them for free.

Source:  I found these free parts of a plant cards at Montessori Materials.

The Animal Kingdom
This is one of the few new activities this week. I created it myself, and boy have the kiddos LOVED it.  Dinomite couldn't wait for learning time on Monday, just to get his hands on this. Then when it was time to end learning time, he just couldn't.  Such an animal lover that boy!

We spent an entire month learning about mammals, reptiles, amphibians, birds, and fish way back in February.  To check out those activities click on the names of the groups above.  If you would like a printable I created for any of those units, e-mail me at with the title of the post and title of the activity.

The kids learned about the five groups of animals and know them quite well.  Yet we hadn't reviewed them since.  This year, not only will we review each group, but also include mollusks, arachnids, crustaceans, insects, and echinoderms.  This is our intro activity into those new groups and how they compare to the old.  I admit, Dinomite's vast collection of animal figures came in quite handy.  However, I couldn't find his squid, which I was disappointed about.
Bulldozer and Princess will just work on matching animal figures to animal cards. Dinomite will group them accordingly.  He did a fabulous job, knowing almost every single answer the first time through.  I admit, I had to look some up and make sure to write the answers on the back.

Source: I created this printable.  The Animal Nomenclature Cards are a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

The Inside of a Flower & All It's Parts
Missing from the picture are scissors and a magnifying glass.
A dear friend just happened to bring me some beautiful flowers last week.  As the petals have started to fall, I felt inspired to use them as part of our learning time this week, and boy am I glad I did.  This was by far the most popular activity on the shelves on Monday.  The kids had an absolute blast taking apart a flower to discover all it's insides.  I placed a set of flower part cards in the tray so they could learn the names of what they were seeing.  Each day I've used a different kind of flower, so they can see the variations in the size and design of parts.

Source: I found the free flower part cards at The Helpful Garden.

Composer Nomenclature Cards
This is a new activity on our shelves this week.  Each month this year we're focusing on a new composer.  I wanted to introduce the kiddos to their names and faces, so I created these cards.
Source: I created this printable. The Composer Nomenclature Cards are a Subscriber's Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Piano Lesson 1 Continued.
We continue to practice our song of the month on the piano, as well as review our theory.  The kiddos are doing great with theory, however, they're struggling with the song. They still work at it every day by choice,so I still feel great about incorporating piano into our activities.  However it saddens me that they struggle so much due to poor fine motor skills and lack of motor planning.  I'm not familiar with the Montessori music program yet, and am unsure if I want to switch to bells, just because I feel really strongly as a musician myself, that the kiddos need to learn how to play the piano. We'll see...

Art:  The kids have been working on drawing pictures of their family and house all week long. I'll post my favorites at the end of the week.

Practical Life/Sensorial:
Yogurt Taste Testing
Dinomite and Bulldozer have extreme sensitivities when it comes to foods.  It's just part of the deal with their autism.  Of course they can't like the same things, which always makes it interesting.  Over the past couple of months the only hot dogs and chicken nuggets that Dinomite will eat have been discontinued.  Now, I wouldn't mind this if he ate any other types of proteins, but the only other one he'll touch is peanut butter.  When it comes to dairy he'll eat a little bit more of a variety, however, eating is a HUGE struggle for him everyday.  I've noticed when I've had taste tests during learning time he tastes without hesitation.  This baffles me.  After some thought, I decided to see if we might be able to widen his food repertoire through taste testing activities.  He will eat vanilla yogurt, but no other kinds. He doesn't like seeds or chunks of fruit in it at all.  Bulldozer is allergic to all berries.  He won't eat any yogurt.  I purchased six different kinds of yogurt, key lime, honey, Boston Cream Pie, peach, banana, and lemon and put out samples on a tray. Sure enough all three kiddos did some taste testing.  Bulldozer only tasted the Boston Cream Pie yogurt, which he decided he didn't like, but I'm guessing he'll attempt more as the week progresses.  Dinomite has decided he likes banana and lemon yogurts. I know this may not sound like a big deal to some, but for us, on the brink of needing to push Dinomite into food therapy, this is huge!  I wonder what I'll try out next week?

Cutting Shapes
We haven't been cutting at all lately.  I noticed Bulldozer was getting quite sloppy, using two hands to work the scissors again, so I made a shapes sheet for the kids to practice their cutting skills.

Source: I created this printable.

How to Put Batteries in a Flashlight
The kiddos love flashlights.  I figured this would be a fun practical life activity for them.  I was right!

Stringing Beads
Who knows if they'll actually touch this activity, because they really have no desire to do this type of thing, but maybe by the end of the week they will.  They're pros at stringing large beads, so I figured we'd use the small this time.

I keep forgetting to mention that we've been adding the iPad to our shelves, using different apps specifically designed for kiddos with autism each week.  When I get up the ambition and have time, I'll be sure to make a list of the apps we've used so far and enjoy.

Next week our activities will be focusing around the theme of our religion.  Since we are members of the church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, many of the activities will have to do with the history of our church. I'm super excited about this, as I have a trip to Palmyra, NY planned.  We only live 45 minutes away.  Its' been a long time since the kiddos have been there!  Hopefully the weather and budget will cooperate!

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  1. Wow! I love ALL your trays-- looks like a great week!

    1. Thank you! It was a great week. It went by too fast. :)