Apple-Themed Skip Counting Activity

 

The start of the school year is the perfect time for some apple-themed learning activities!

This week we have been having fun with this simple apple-themed skip counting activity.

 

Apple-Themed Skip Counting Practice

 

 

To create our apple manipulatives I used some of the plastic lids we’ve collected, selecting colors that are appropriate for apples.

Don’t have a big lid collection?  You could also cut apples from cardstock.  Draw simple circle apples and your child can even help cut them out for some built-in scissor practice!

I decided to make one set of apples to practice counting by 5’s up to 100 because both of mine worked on this last year.  I simply wrote the numbers on the lids with a black permanent marker.

Of course, you could make a set to work on counting by 2’s, 10’s, or any other number as well.  And, you don’t have to go all the way to 100, or you could make your set go further.  Make the activity fit the needs of your individual child.

 

There are several activities we have done with our skip counting apples.

The first is pretty basic.

 

skip counting activity

 

The kids took turns putting the numbers in order to practice skip counting by 5.

 

Next, I set up the numbers and removed some of the apples.

They had to tell me which number should go in the empty spot.

apple themed skip counting activity

 

Finally, we used our plastic lids to practice skip counting backwards.

 

DIY skip counting game

 

Want to make it more challenging?

You can throw in some random numbers that would not be used when counting by 5’s, such as “12.”

 

Other ideas:

Add some movement to the activity by placing the “apples” around the house and have your child “pick them” in the correct order.

Use the apples to work on comparisons.  On a white board draw a greater than/less than sign and have them choose two apples to put on the white board to make the greater than/less than statement true.

 

apple themed learning activity for skip counting

 

Like this idea?

You might want to check out our other apple-themed learning activities!

Nature Study: Worm Observation

 

This summer we’ve kept up our learning adventures with a few simple backyard nature studies.

This worm observation is easy to set up and lets your scientists get hands-on with earthworms.

 

Nature Study:  worm observation

 

We started our worm observation by building our very own, very simple wormery.  You can do this with any clear, plastic container.  We chose to use some clear plastic cups we had left from a birthday party; I’ve also seen people cut 2 liter plastic soda pop bottles.  The choice is yours.

The first step to creating your wormery is to fill your container with a mixture of soils.  We lifted a few rocks we usually find worms under and used some of the dirt there, layering it with a bit of sand.  I decided to let my kids do it completely themselves as part of the learning process, so you can’t really see the layers as nicely in the picture.  But the worms did’t really seem to mind.

To encourage the worms to build their tunnels towards the edge of the cup, where we could better see them, we put a piece of cardboard tube in the center of the cup, shoveling the dirt between the cardboard tube and the cup.

Then we put some damp leaves and grass on top and stuck our clear plastic cup inside a slightly larger solid-colored cup.  If you are using a pop bottle or something else to make your wormery, you can use black construction paper to cover the outside of the container.  The idea is to make it nice and dark and cozy to encourage your worms to dig those tunnels!

studying earthworms

 

Finally, you need a few wiggly inhabitants.

Finding worms is usually easiest after a good rain.  Try looking under a few large rocks, in the flower bed, or even in the driveway if the rain has been pretty recent.  Hunting for worms is part of the fun!

Once you have several (the more you have, the better chance to see those tunnels), place them in the wormery between the cardboard tube and clear plastic cup.  Sprinkle the top of the soil with a bit of water, make sure you have the sides of the clear cup covered, and set it somewhere cool for a day or two.

 

It can be hard waiting when you’re little.  A few good books on earthworms could do just the trick!  A few of our favorites (good for preschool-aged and older) are: Garden Wigglers: Earthworms in Your Backyard, An Earthworm’s Life , and Wiggling Worms at Work.

After a couple days, it’s time to uncover the clear container and check out those tunnels!

how to make a simple wormery

 

We talked about what the worms had done.

I asked them to think about how worms help plants grow.  Kids love showing off what they know!  They couldn’t wait to remind me that we learned earthworms can help soften the soil.  And those tunnels?  They help air and water get to the plant roots easier.

earthworm observation

 

Of course, you can’t have a worm observation without handling at least one worm!    This is definitely a favorite part for my kids.

We dumped our wormery out into a plastic container to check out the worms.

Did you know, if you hold an earthworm up in the sunlight you can see through them and check out what they’ve been eating?    (Our little worm wasn’t thrilled about getting his picture taken this way so he was a bit wiggly and turned out blurry, but I love how you can see that dark trail running through his intestine.)   The kids had a great time checking out the worms this way, and we were able to talk about some basic anatomy of the worms as well.

observing earthworms

 

 

Have you ever made a wormery with the kids before?  I’d love to hear about it!

 

And, if you liked this post, you might want to check out our previous nature study posts:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rainy Day Fun: Puddle Painting

 

We have had lots of rain here these past couple weeks.  Many of the storms have been thunderstorms, keeping us indoors, but on the days we could get out, we’ve had lots of fun puddle painting!

 

Rainy Day Fun: Puddle Painting

 

Want to try it for yourself?

First you need some puddles, either provided by rain or by the garden hose.

Then, with a bit of sidewalk chalk and creativity… you have all you need for some beautiful puddle painting!

puddle painting -- fun rainy day activity

 

We have used wet sidewalk chalk to decorate the driveway before, but when you have a layer of water sitting there, the chalk swirls and blends in a beautiful display of color.

The pictures really don’t do it justice.

 

puddle painting

 

This simple activity had us busy for over an hour of much needed time outdoors this week.

 

Do you have a favorite rainy day activity?

I’d love to hear about it!

 

Like this post?

Check out our other sidewalk chalk ideas!

Nature Study: Going on a Bug Hunt!

 

Do your kids like bugs as much as mine do?

For this week’s summer nature study, we’re going on a bug hunt!

Nature Study:  Going on a Bug Hunt!

 

What’s great about this is that you don’t have to go far to go on a bug hunt.  A simple trip around the backyard will provide you with a variety of creepy crawlies to check out and explore, as long as you slow down and really look.

My daughter was thrilled to find these “rainbow beetles” shortly after we started our nature walk.  A quick peek in one of our bug books verified that they are really Japanese Beetles.

My little scientist enjoyed watching these colorful bugs for quite a while.

 

bug hunt nature study

 

Our next find was actually right on our back porch.

I loved watching my 6 year-old turn to the picture index in the back of his beetle identification book to locate its name.  I have to say it was a new one to me, but he remembered seeing its picture there before.  Kids have amazing memories!

 

identifying bugs in bug study

 

When going on a bug hunt, don’t forget to keep an eye out for evidence that bugs are around!  You might find chewed up leaves on a plant, a mound of dirt from an ant hill, or even an exoskeleton!

 

cicada found in bug hunt

 

This cicada exoskeleton led to a whole discussion of how many insects molt and change over time as they grow.  We even had to stop exploring for just a bit to find some pictures online of a cicada molting. That’s the great part of a nature study — there are always more questions that come up and you get to discover those answers together.  Sometimes those questions lead to a mini unit for us in homeschool.

 

Finally, we found several of these brown beetles during our bug hunt; they are my son’s favorites.

beetle in bug study

 

After using our magnifying glasses to get a closer look, counting their legs (6) and reviewing their body parts, he decided he had to keep a couple overnight as “pets.”

My kids are always keeping bugs as pets for short periods of time.  They used to get my good storage containers out to do so, which always made me so happy.  (Note the sarcasm in that statement.)  I have finally come up with a solution:  I poked holes in lids of several old, clear, plastic Ziplock containers.  I wrote “bugs” on the sides with permanent marker and stuck them in the lower kitchen drawer next to the good containers.  Now they grab these to use for bug homes instead.

Looking for a different alternative?  Amazon has tons of bug houses for your nature explorer to use, some even come with their own magnifying glasses.

 

Other items that you may want to take on your bug hunt:

 

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Check out our previous  Nature Study posts!