Salamanders, Food Chains and Flowers

This week we took a break from our scheduled learning.
Instead we dabbled in various things that came our way.
Although I certainly don't think I could school my kids like this all the time ( I need a schedule and a plan! ), I quite enjoy every so often takng a week and filling it with learning about things they are curious about or taking advantage of opportunities that everyday life provides.
This week was filled with lots of talk about salamanders since our eggs hatched, food chains and flowers!

First, of all, we read this book: The Salamander Room by Ann Mazer.
It's about a little boy who finds a salamander and his ideas about building a habitat for it in his room.
It lead to many good discussions about caring for our own salamanders!

We learned that salamanders are carnivorous.
Piper was none too happy about this!
She is not pleased with the idea of animals eating other animals especially if the eaten creature is an ant.
That girl of mine LOVES ants!
So when we found some tiny ants to feed to our baby salamanders a lot of discussion ensued about food chains and the necessity of them.
We watched "The Magic School Bus Gets Eaten"....


And then came up with our own food chain involving the ants and salamander nymphs.
Initially, I drew the pictures as Piper came up with answers of what eats what.
(For the record, I doubt ants live on a diet of bread, nor do bears commonly eat cats but it's what she came up with and since it is possible, we went with it!)
Next, I asked Pipe to draw her own food chain.
She drew an ant.
Then she drew herself.
"This is an ant and this is me. I love ants!"
I'm not so sure that lesson was overly successful!
But she did draw a pretty great picture and so I congratulated her on that and we moved on!

Taitum learned blue this week.

This provided a good chance to talk about how flowers 'drink' water and how it is necessary for them to grow.


As another color blue activity we bought some water beads.
The girls had such a grea time with this and Taitum especially enjoyed it, asking to play with them several times a day!

If you've never tried these with your kids, you should!
You can find them in the flower section at Walmart.
(Also, they are non toxic.)
You simply fill a container with water and pour the tiny beads in.
The girls played with them for a while at this stage and could already see them increasing in size!
Piper enjoyed trying to grab as many as she could and then counting to see how many were in her hand.

By the next day, they were quite a bit larger!
I gave the girls some tools to use for pouring and scooping and they went to town!
By the end of it there was quite the puddle on my kitchen floor but it was well worth it for all the fun they had!

Near the end of the week the sun had decided to join us so we did some 'school time' outdoors.
The girls are always excited for school but when I announce that it's going to happen outside, they are over the moon!

We started our nature journals this week, too.
This is something I've been wanting to start with them for a while now but never got around to.
I think it will be part of our summer school plan.
(Which isn't as mean as it sounds! Haha! I'll explain more later!)
Here are pictures of the girls drawing pictures of the violets they found on one of our walks.
With Piper, I also write the name of the flower under her picture and then she copies it.

With Taitum, I am mainly focusing on her being able to identify what color the flower is and find the corresponding crayon!

That was our week!
Next week we are planning on 'rowing' Corduroy!


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