Friday, May 31, 2013


As part of our spring nature study, we've been watching caterpillars become butterflies. We purchased a kit from FlutterBuys, although next year we'll give it a go with wild-caught caterpillars.

We brought home our caterpillars on May 17, and all of them had become chrysalides 11 days later. Two days after the last caterpillar had become a chrysalis, we transferred them to their mesh cage. We're now waiting anxiously for our butterflies to emerge!

May 20, 3 days

May 22, 5 days

May 25, 8 days

May 30, 13 days
Ready to be moved to their new home!

This is what was left behind in the container; very interesting!


Science: Observation and description

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Boxcar Children Stew

Our most recent read-aloud was The Boxcar Children, and we all look forward to continuing with this series. The boys have continued to incorporate the children and their adventures into their daily play. After finishing the book, we decided to make a stew for dinner, just as the children had made while living in the woods.

Although we used potatoes in place of turnips and added some rosemary and pepper to ours (and cooked it on the stove rather than over a fire pit in the middle of the forest!), it was otherwise just as the book described. It was a great opportunity to practice some kitchen skills (peeling, dicing, stirring). We also baked some biscuits to go along with our meal.

* * *

"The girls were delighted with the meat and the little vegetables. With Henry's knife they cut the meat into little pieces. Then they filled the kettle with water from the fountain and put the meat into it, with a tin plate for a cover.

Jessie cut the tops off the vegetables and washed them in the brook.

'I'll put them in after the meat has cooked awhile," she said."

* * *

Boxcar Children Stew


Olive oil
2 lbs beef chunks
1 onion, diced
2 cups beef broth
2 cups water
1/4 cup flour
4 potatoes, diced
5 carrots, chunked


Warm some olive oil over medium heat in a dutch oven or large stockpot. Cook the beef chunks and diced onion until browned. Add the beef broth, water, flour, and spices. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for one hour.

Add the potatoes and carrots. Simmer for another hour.

Serve and enjoy!


Language Arts: Reading and Viewing, Speaking and Listening
Fine Arts: Dramatization
Health: Nutrition

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Me on the Map

To help the boy get a better sense of how cities, provinces, countries, and continents fit together, we did a "Me on the Map" project.

Our project included the following categories:

1. Me - draw self-portrait
2. My house - draw house and write house number
3. My street - cut and glue paper road and houses and write street name
4. My city - use Internet to find city logo, print, paste, and write city name
5. My province - colour and paste printed province, add flag, and write province name
6. My country - colour and paste printed country, add flag, and write country name
7. My continent - colour, label, and paste printed continent and write continent name
8. My planet - colour printed globe green/blue and write Earth

We fastened the circles together using a one-inch fastener, which worked perfectly to let the circles rotate to see the layer beneath.

(With thanks to Finally in First via Pinterest!)


Social Studies: Mapping

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Farm, Zoo, Beach, Aquarium!

We took advantage of a stretch of nice weather to visit some of our favourite places.


Science: Observation

Saturday, May 4, 2013


The boy has mastered the monkey bars!


Physical Education: Skills

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


Today the boys were organizing their Schleich animal figurines into habitats. They had forest, grassland, desert, and Arctic regions.

They weren't sure where their snowy owl would fit - Arctic or forest - so we looked it up in our Animals Visual Encyclopedia. Unfortunately, this not-so-complete encyclopedia didn't include the snowy owl, so we found some information online at Canadian Geographic Kids instead.

Once the snowy owl was placed in the correct area, we continued to browse through the animal encyclopedia. We noticed that each animal description included its status regarding whether or not it was endangered. This lead us to the IUCN Red List categories and criteria. We also explored both types of threats that cause species decline and possible conservation actions that can be taken.


Science: Observation and description
Social Studies: Caring for the environment

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Dinosaur plant

The boys received a Dinosaur Plant from one of their aunts this Christmas, and they were eager to get home to see what it would do.

According to the information that came with it, the dinosaur plant is one of the longest-living plants in the world. During the Carboniferous period, it grew to over 120 feet, but it mutated and became very small during the ice age. The plant is hygroscopic; when lacking water, the plant curls in on itself to "sleep", then blows around until it finds a source of water again. It does not need to bury its roots when it does find water, and the leaves and stems can uptake water directly. The plant can sleep for up to fifty years and still spring back to life within a day when placed in water!

The plant is currently native to Mexico and Texas, in desert and semi-desert regions.

We found that the plant did indeed open very quickly when filled with water. After a couple of weeks, we let the plant dry out and, as claimed, the plant soon curled up to "sleep".

A month later, we refilled the bowl with water and watched it wake up once again:

Adding the water

Starting point

Five minutes

Ten minutes

Twenty-five minutes

One hour

The center of the plant unfurled even further over the next couple of hours. This was fun to watch and discuss.


Science: Observation

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Our favourite math-based games

Uno and Dutch Blitz



Tangrams (Magnetic Travel Tangoes are our favourite sets)

Melissa & Doug Magnetic Pattern Blocks

Cuisenaire rods


Mathematics: Numbers, patterns, shape and space

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Lego water wheel

Today the boy created a water wheel out of Lego pieces. He wanted to test it to see if it was both strong enough to withstand the force of the water and not too stiff to spin without breaking.


Science: Observation

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Fishy fishy

The boys completed their first swim class together in January. They had a great time working with their teacher and getting to know the one other child in the class.

The boy passed the level and has moved on to the next! He's enjoying learning to float and glide on his own.


Physical Education: Physical activity, skills

Monday, January 28, 2013


After yet another read-through of one of their favourite insect books, The Beautiful Beetle Book, the boys became particularly interested in click beetles. We discussed their defense mechanism in detail and looked at pictures of the beetles.

The boys then spent the next several minutes acting out the scenario. One of them pretended to be the predator while the other laid down, pretended to be dead, and then jumped up suddenly with a loud "CLICK!" before scrambling away, leaving the startled predator behind. Then they swapped roles and repeated the scenario.

The boy is very interested in the variety of ways animals and insects protect themselves, including camouflage and self-defense, so this was a fun addition to that list!


Science: Description
Fine Arts: Drama

Friday, January 11, 2013

Rainbow math

We spent a fun afternoon playing with math, exploring the various ways to make 10. We used a Ways to Make 10 Rainbow worksheet from The Littlest Scholars, and used chocolate chips to add a visual (and yummy!) dimension to the activity.

Little brother sat with us working on counting, one-to-one correspondence, and taste-testing.

Colouring the rainbow.


Visually representing the numbers with chocolate chips.

Activity complete!


Mathematics: Numbers (addition)

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Do clouds have shadows?

The question recently came up as to whether or not clouds have shadows. The boy thought that clouds would not have shadows, but his friend's mom told him that they did.

The next time we were outside, we were able to find a small cloud that was casting a shadow on a portion of the mountain, thereby confirming the information he had been given.

We talked some more about what shadows are, as well as whether or not a variety of other things would have shadows. In the end, we concluded that water vapour does indeed have a shadow even though it originally seemed to him that it shouldn't.

Naturally, shadow puppets followed the discussion!


Science: Observation, description

Friday, January 4, 2013

Lego Robotics

The boy spent two hours this afternoon at a Lego Robotics class run by Bricks 4 Kidz. He had a great time and looks forward to signing up for another class.


Mathematics: Shape and space
Science: Observation and experimentation