Monday, May 7, 2018

Polar bears and snow in the San Diego sun.

When your kid wants to learn about snow and polar bears, but you live in San Diego and it's sunny outside, you give it your best. We studied cold places as we basked in the San Diego sun. We made a snowman out of objects other than snow. We skied on grass in the backyard. We played "ice hockey" on our deck. We made a polar bear cave out of white sheets and pillows. It was a stretch to experience anything snow or cold weather related, but we had fun trying to be creative with it.

Our final learning experience, the cherry on top, was a trip to the San Diego Zoo to visit the polar bear exhibit, which was wonderful. 

Snow books we enjoyed:
Polar bear books we enjoyed:

Making our own snowman:
Since we didn't have snow, we used balloons to make a snowman:
"Mom, I'm dancing with my snowman!"

Snow sports:
Ice hockey: 
I froze ice in cupcake tins for playing ice hockey. The round ice was a puck, we used our soccer goal as the net, and our plastic golf clubs as the hockey stick. This was pretty fun.
Skiing on grass:
Snowman art and story telling:
We read Snowmen at Night, which is about snowmen who go on adventures. Everett created his own snow scene and snowman. First, he colored on paper with a white crayon. Then he used blue watercolor to create a sky. Next, he glued cotton balls on the paper to create snowmen. Then, he told a story about his art piece, and I wrote it down.

Activities to go with books:
We read Katy and the Big Snow, which is about a snowplow named Katy who clears out the snow from a city. We first made a city, and then we used cotton balls to make it snow on the city. Everett had a lot of fun throwing the cotton balls all over the city. Then, he got to use his backhoe to pretend he was Katy the snowplow to save the city from the snow. When he got tired of that, he used his scooper to pick up the cotton balls, and Cambria took over the tractor.
We read Snowballs, which has photographs of snowmen made out of various items found around the house. Then, Everett collected food from the kitchen and made a snowman.

We read Owl Moon, and then to practice shapes, we made a shape owl, inspired by this tutorial.  I cut the shapes out ahead of time. Everett used celery to paint on "feathers," following this tutorial. Then, Everett glued it all together.  Since the book is about going on a walk to find an owl, we played hide and seek with the owl Everett made, taking turns hiding it for each other around the house and finding it. 
Making our own snow:
We followed this tutorial for an attempt in making snow, which was one million times better than our other try.
Snow art:
Painting with snow to make a polar bear:
Inspired by this tutorial, we added glue to our snow concoction to create snow paint (so the mixture was baking soda, shaving cream, and white glue). Everett painted it on a circle to make a polar bear head, and then once it dried, added eyes, ears, and a nose.  The final product was cute, but the real fun was in making the mess. 

Painting ice:
Inspired by this post, I froze ice in cupcake tins, and then took it out for the kids to paint on with watercolors. Cambria lasted about ten seconds, but Everett had fun painting ice and his legs.
Snow math:
We did math with little snowballs (marshmallows), which just meant counting and playing with them.
When you are supposed to be counting marshmallows, but then you hide under the table to eat them. He wasn't in trouble or anything, but he looks so guilty, which makes me laugh.

Snow science:
We turned making and drinking hot chocolate into science, inspired by this tutorial. Everett made predictions about whether the small or large marshmallows would dissolve more quickly, and whether the hotter liquid or less hot liquid would cause the marshmallows to dissolve more quickly. Then, he made observations. He had a lot of fun using a thermometer, pouring, mixing, and drinking it, of course.
Snow architecture:
We read Iggy Peck Architect and made marshmallow and toothpick structures.
The Arctic vs. Antarctica:
This was one of my favorite activities we did. I bought Arctic animals and Antarctic animals and froze them in cupcake tins the night before, and then labeled the tins accordingly. First, we read North Pole South Pole, and we talked about the difference. Then, Everett had to use his tools to free the animals from the ice. 
Fun with food:
Everett always enjoys making fun things out of food to go along with whatever we are studying, so we made a snowman snack.
Polar Bear Cave:
We made a polar bear cave, read all of our polar bear books in it, and then Everett dressed up like a polar bear and just played. 
The cutest polar bear I ever did see:
Proof that I am a part of our "school" time, too:
Polar bear science:
This activity came from the book Polar Bear, which we checked out from the library. In the back, there is a science lab to learn about polar bear blubber. Fill a bowl with water and ice. Put a balloon over one finger. Put a finger in the ice water, then put the balloon finger in the ice water. Talk about which one feels colder, and how that is what it's like for polar bears with their blubber, which is about four inches thick. Then, the question is posed: How could you make your finger even less cold in the water? We talked about what else we could use around the house to keep Everett's hand warm in the water, and Everett wanted to try a towel. 
Then, he played with his arctic and antarctic animals in the icy water:
"Field trip" to the polar bear exhibit at the San Diego Zoo:
Gotta ride that polar bear:

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