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Christmas Unit Week 4: Winter

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I can't tell who's more excited about the activities on the shelves this week, the kiddos or I.  It's definitely a winner unit!  Lol.  This week we're focusing on the winter season.  As part of the unit, we're learning about the Antarctica.  Antarctica is my favorite continent to study.  If I had all the money in the world, I would love to go and spend time there.  I LOVE the cold. I LOVE winter.  I LOVE snow.  Next week we start our Extreme Weather Unit with blizzards, ice storms, and avalanches.  My plan is to continue our Antarctica study too.

Here's what's on our shelves!

Salt Tray with Letter Cards
It was not my intent to have these back on our work shelves, but I have come to accept, this activity is crucial for Adam in retaining his writing abilities from day to day and week to week.  If he writes his letters in the salt tray first, and then writes them on paper, they are 150% better than if he hadn't used the salt tray.  I'm guessing this has a lot to do with his lack of motor planning skills.  To make the activity just a tiny bit different, I switched out our glittery fall/Christmas salt for pure white salt to look like snow.  The only thing I lack is more white glitter.  (The kiddos definitely noticed and requested white glitter.)

Source: Once again, the letters came from Homeschool Creations.  I'm starting to wonder if I might be Jolanthe's biggest promoter of these cards. Lol.

Spelling Words in the "Snow"
To practice spelling words this week, I decided to pull out the shaving cream.  I've never used it before with the kiddos.  I'm not a fan of the smell, especially when it's everywhere.  However, I wanted to see how they handled the smell, as a sensory experiment.  I told my husband to pick up the cheapest bottle he could find.  The smell isn't that bad.

In the past I've used whipped topping, so it was edible.  The only problem with the whipped topping is that is starts to dissolve after a while.  Still, it's a favorite.

This activity was a HUGE hit. I was unable to take pictures of the kiddos using the whipped topping, because well.... They were covered in it, and therefore I was too.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Snow Unit Spelling Words Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Snowflake Addition
I couldn't resists a snowflake addition activity.  Looking back at what the kiddos were doing last year, I'm truly amazed at how far they've come.  (Last year they were just counting snowflakes to 10.)  The kiddos will use snowflakes as counters and the glass beads as markers for each card.  Dinomite is finally starting to memorize some of his facts.  Bulldozer is finally starting to understand addition and have the concentration to complete a problem with few prompts.  Hooray!

Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Snow Printable Pack is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Snowball Subtraction
It has been a long time since a subtraction activity has been on our shelves. So long that Dinomite even said he wasn't sure if he remembered how to do it.  Thankfully he surprised himself and did fantastic, as did Princess and Bulldozer.  Bulldozer's awesomeness was a complete and very pleasant surprise. He seems to enjoy subtraction more than addition.  And since there are snowballs involved...  He said this was his favorite activity on the shelves this week.  WOW!

Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Snow Printable Pack is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Telling Time with Winter Activities
The kiddos' least favorite activities (except for Bulldozer's new found love of subtraction), are addition, subtraction, telling time, and money.  I figured this week, if I only put those four activities on our math shelves, they would be forced to practice.  So far it's working.

And the pictures on the cards... Little did I know how much pictures liven up an activity. All three kiddos went nuts over the different winter activities and ended up playing a little game with their schedule using the clocks. It was super cute.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Snow Printable Pack is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Paying for Winter Necessities
If we're going to participate in winter activities, then we need the proper attire and supplies!  Mind you none of these prices mean a thing, and are definitely inaccurate.  The kiddos will match up coin cards with money amount cards.  Dinomite seemed to struggle the most with this activity today, than any other activity on the shelves.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Snow Printable Pack is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

What's the Temperature?
Time to introduce temperature!  Dinomite seemed to understand how to read the thermometers quite well.  Princess struggled with the 5s, but did great with the 10s.  Bulldozer didn't really seem to understand at all. We'll see if he chooses the activity again.  I will say, he did understand the difference between warm and cold.  That's a start.

Source: I found these free cards at Making Learning Fun.  They recommend using clothespins to choose your answer.  I didn't have a chance to laminate our cards, so I just used counters instead.

Transportation in Antarctica
Bulldozer has an A-Z book of transportation vehicles that he reads regularly (almost every night).  A few of the vehicles in the book are used in Antarctica.  They are pretty cool.  His book was my inspiration for this activity. Dinomite and Bulldozer were both VERY excited to see this on the shelves this week.  It's been a definite conversation topic.
Source: I created the cards for this activity.

Antarctica Invitation to Play
 The kiddos really love play dough invitations to play.  Bulldozer alone can spend hours at the table with them.  Originally I had wanted to make an Antarctica sensory bin.  In the end this just seemed easier and more inviting.  Dinomite chose this activity quite quickly and went to work.  At the mention of water, I brought out the blue play dough I had made last month.  I loved his creation.  It included the water (blue), land (white), a shoreline, icebergs, glaciers, towers, etc.  He did great.  Bulldozer was not far behind him.

Animals of Antarctica
Dinomite went NUTS when he saw this activity. He was so excited.  My husband said he learned more about Antarctica looking through these cards for the first time, than he had ever known before.  I was quite pleased.  There are almost 50 cards in the collection.  I've tried to specify the different types of seals, penguins, and whales for further study midst all the other animals.  I only included the types of animals we've learned about this year.  To make sure the cards were accurate I compared three different reliable sources for the information.
Initially I had thought about the kiddos sorting cards by specific group, but instead, I wanted to give them a chance just to learn and explore, so I told them if they selected this activity off of the shelf, they could just look through the cards and/or sort them anyway they wanted.  This definitely led to some squeals of delight.

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

Sorting Types of Precipitation
I saw all of these really cute activities and crafts regarding types of precipitation, but for my kiddos, it's all in the visuals.  The kiddos will sort the picture cards by type of precipitation.
Source: I created this printable. The Types of Precipitation Printable is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Conifer Tree Match Up
I had planned to do this earlier in the month, but never found the right place to fit it in.  Going along with our theme of winter, Christmas, etc., I thought it would be fun and beneficial to learn the different types of conifer trees.  The kiddos will match up the pictures in the container with the pictures on the card.  Dinomite did a great job today with this, as he was able to read 99% of the names all by himself.  Bulldozer really liked examining the branches of each tree.

Source: I created the printable for this activity. The Conifer Tree Match Up is a Subscriber's Only Freebie. For your free copy, be sure to follow the directions at the bottom of this post.

Water Cycle Model
The kiddos aren't really into displays of cycles etc., so I tried to find a way to explain the water cycle to them in the most hands on way possible.  The first container full of dry contain balls represented evaporation, in that the cotton balls were dry.  When a cotton ball was placed into the second container (filled with water), it represented condensation.  The cotton ball was now a cloud.  Using the tongs, the cotton ball would be removed from the second container, and squeezed over the third container.  This represented precipitation.  From here the cycle would start all over again.  I loved adding the tongs to this activity, making it not only a science activity, but a practical life activity as well.

Ice Experiments
It's only natural to include an ice experiment when talking about winter, at least where we live.  This activity is very flexible depending on what you have on hand.  The kiddos are given two containers.  They choose two different ways to create an environment for their ice cubes.  Our first environments today were cold water, and air. Our second set of environments was hot water and cold water.  I'm hoping tomorrow, we'll be able to have an option of snow as an environment. If not, I have some extra ice cubes in the freezer we can use to create an ice environment.

No matter what two environments you have, the experiment goes the same.  You place an ice cube in each environment and determine which environment melts the ice cube the fastest.  I make sure to have the kiddos share their guesses before we put the ice cubes in each container.  So far this activity has been really fun.  They're learning so much.

Visual Arts:  The kiddos continue to draw in their journals daily.  I have a feeling we will be having an art appreciation week coming soon, to enhance their studies.

Music:  We continue to sing at the beginning of learning time.  All three kiddos also participate in a singing class at our church on Sundays.

Physical Education:  We continue to exercise as a family. This week I decided to try out some of our local library's kids fitness videos.  Today was super fun.

Practical Life/Sensorial:
Building a Snowman
This was one of Sunshine's gifts for Christmas, I couldn't resist adding it to our shelves.

Dressing for Winter
This was also one of Sunshine's gifts for Christmas.  The kiddos love it and this week we will practice dressing dolls for winter.

Don't Break the Ice
This game is such a great fine motor activity for little hands, from holding the hammer correctly, to "gently" knocking out cubes, to putting the cubes back together to play again.  Everyone had fun with it today.

Putting on a Coat
Dinomite and Princess are great at getting their coats on but can't zip them. Bulldozer is still unable to get his coat on.  A little practice is in order.  It's the perfect week to add the activity to the shelves.

That's it for this week.  As I mentioned before, next week we'll be studying snow storms, avalanches, and ice storms as part of our Extreme Weather Unit.

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  1. Your printables and units are always fabulous, Renae! Thanks so much for sharing more great printables and ideas! I featured your post as the Free Printable(s) of the Day at the Living Montessori Now Facebook page and on Pinterest. :)

  2. Great ideas with a range of subjects! Thank you for sharing on Mom's Library, I'll be featuring you this week at Crystal's Tiny Treasures.

  3. I love your creativity and find you to be a great inspiration... Thank you.