Saturday, March 27, 2010

Field Trip: Houston Livestock show

We took a trip to the Livestock show with some friends. The kids really loved it. Besides just getting to hang with their friends, there were plenty of fun learning opportunities.

  • They got to learn about bees, and see bees building a hive.
  • We saw a baby calf be born. Mommy got to answer lots of questions about the afterbirth hanging out of the poor mommy cow. TMI? Yeah... it was for me too.
  • The absolute favorite for Chloe and John was petting the bunnies.
  • They had newly hatched and hatching chicks.
  • We saw a milking demonstration too. It was fun and educational, but with my dairy allergy I swear just thinking about milk made me itch.

The Playdough Miracle transition activity

If you have had any experiences with "group education", or public education, then you probably know all about transition activities. A transition activity is all about mentally preparing a child to move from one activity, or frame of mind, to another. Saying grace, or washing your hands before dinner is a very common transition activity.

We have started using playdough as our transition activity into school. Yeah, can you tell we just rolled out of bed? I think the kids are still a little bleary eyed in the photos. It has worked well for us. It flips some nice switch in the kids brains for school time vs. play time. It creates a nice little bridge for us, and my youngest just L-O-V-E-S it. The one day I tried to skip it in the interests of getting school done so we could run errands, he totally called me out on it.
On the one hand, playdough is kinda messy and requires some clean up. So it does take some time. But not nearly as much time as trying to drag mentally unprepared children through a day of school.

Some other transition activities could include:
  • songs at specific times/reasons of the day.
  • visual cues: flicking lights on and off.
  • using verbal cues: after we ____, then we will ____.
  • setting timers for when activities will begin/end
  • having a written schedule on the wall for older children to look at for transition cues.