Tag Archive | Dollar Tree

Year of the Monkey

Well, it is that time again… Chinese New Year and our yearly revisit to all things Chinese. This year I decided to go a slightly different route and combine a look at the country with light worksheets with a monkey theme. Instead of doing a notebook like last year (which was a blast HERE), the younger ones voted for a binder like they did for Christmas, and the twins continued their special event book they also began at Christmas. The centerpiece of our unit is a lovely large map of China that Ken created and printed out for us – 9 pieces of printer paper in all. With some star stickers I lucked out and found at the Dollar Tree last year we were well on our way.

We started with the Great Wall of China. I found a video documentary on youTube and some wonderful books. We really lucked out with a series of entertaining and educational books, for the Great Wall we used  For some other helpful books!

  • 20 Fun Facts About the Great Wall of China by Therese Shea HERE
  • Great Wall of China by Elizabeth Raum HERE
  • You Wouldn’t Want to Work on the Great Wall of China HERE

One of the activities I came up with for the kids to do was make postcards based on famous landmarks in China. I basically Googled those terms and let the kids scroll through the list and images at the top of the search engine. I love it when they have that freedom to make their own choices. Granted we vetoed The Forbidden City and The Great Wall since we were covering those as a family in detail.

  • Trinity chose the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding. Their official site HERE is adorable. Trinity got her fact about the beginning point of this amazing place off Wiki HERE. It all began with 6 panda!
  • Emanuel chose Elephant Trunk Hill in Guilin. So called for its shape that mimics an elephant with its trunk in the water. We went to a travel site for amazing pictures and some great information HERE. Thanks to China Travel Guide.
  • Gavin chose Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian City. There is a lot about this Buddhist temple and some good history to cover, so he got picked to do a mini report on it as well. But for starters, we went back to the China Travel Guide HERE.
  • Zander chose Mount Sanqin in the Jiangxi Province. One of the top mountains for tourism it was chosen strictly on the amazing google search picture he found next to it HERE. We went back to our travel guide site for help with facts and numbers. Talk about and animal and plant rich mountain! HERE.

We do love our colouring pages and beyond the bounty that is Activity Village, we found some other gems… the twins love the stained glass style year of the monkey page at The Imagination Box HERE.

Sparklebox has some great stuff on their page, we specifically printed out the full list of animals and their Chinese characters HERE.

This year we spent a good week on the Forbidden City. There is so much to see and learn about, I think we could have spent a month. BUT here are the links we used:

We found two amazing books… You Wouldn’t Want to Be in the Forbidden City! by Jacqueline Morley HERE and In the Forbidden City HERE

Guangzhou is a relatively new topic for our family, but important all the same. This is the city that our dear friends and family came from. So this year I figured we needed to know more. And boy is there a lot to know! A massive place there was a wonderful official site to look through HERE. But we used so many more links, all to get a handle on the size… the lifestyle and the amazing uniqueness of a place that must be so different from anywhere we have visited ourselves.

  • Trip Advisor HERE
  • Kidz Search HERE
  • Top China Travel HERE
  • Travel China Guide HERE, HERE
  • Science Kids HERE
  • Wiki HERE
  • Connect the dots with Connect the Dots 101 HERE
  • Maps of World HERE

We covered a few cities in a relatively brief overview… Hong Kong was a rather complex concept with a few helpful links at Crayola.com for a colouring page with information of their flag HERE, Academic Exchange HERE, About Travel HERE, Travelling East HERE, Ducksters HERE, Kidz Search HERE.

One of the kids’ favourite activities this time round was to try out origami… especially once the twins figured out they could make THROWING STARS!

  • Kids Gen has videos HERE
  • Origami with Rachel Katz HERE

As something relatively new to our China unit we covered two people important to the shaping of China – Confucius and Chairman Mao. It was our first foray into this deep of a conversation for the twins and as interesting. Things like Communism and philosophy came up as did the concept of a rather brutal leadership. Here are some links!

  • Kids Philosophy Slam HERE, A China Family Adventure HERE, Biography.com HERE, My Interesting Facts HERE, Ask.com HERE,

General China sites that were helpful:

  • Science Kids HERE
  • Take a peek at language differences though I warn you there is a missing resource with Discovery Education HERE. We contacted our friends who are the true pure resource for this one.
  • Kai-Lan’s official printables thanks to Nick Jr. HERE

Of course we had to look at inventions. This was an exercise in the twins actually choosing inventions and searching for them themselves online to find out things like who, when, where… so I will just link the main ones used.

  • China Whisper had a list of top 20 HERE
  • Wiki has their own list HERE
  • Did you know toilet paper was first used by the Chinese??? Today I Found Out explains HERE

And Chinese New Year itself:

  • Asian Holidays by Faith Winchester HERE
  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! HERE

Videos:

  • Stone Soup… and other stories from the Asian Tradition HERE
  • Beijing Travel Guide DVD 2002/2004
  • Food With Friends! (Dora) HERE

Additional Books:

  • A Gift by Yong Chen HERE
  • China by Michael Dahl HERE
  • Beijing and Shanghai HERE
  • China by Christine Juarez HERE
  • China a Question and Answer Book by Nathan Olson HERE
  • Ancient Civilizations China by Valerie Bodden HERE
  • China phrasebook by Lonely Planet HERE
  • The Magical East HERE
  • D is For Dragon Dance by Ying Chang Compestine HERE
  • Wonders of the World by Colin Dibben HERE
  • Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim HERE
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Alice K. Flanagan HERE
  • The Runaway Ricecake by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

Two books I am dying to add to our collection:

  • Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing by Guo Yue HERE
  • And a family favourite… The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine HERE

To add to our unit we focused on monkeys that live in China. I won’t link all the pages we used, but I had the kids check out the list on Wiki and then we did our research online. We had the Slow Loris, Golden Snub Nosed, Black Crested Gibbon and. It is always fun to add an animal connection to a unit.

I am sure I could continue on with more and more links. We really went ALL OUT on this unit this year. But I figure I will just add those to the random resource post I plan on adding to the site later in May. I would suggest, if you have not looked into China as a homeschool or personal research project, do so! The culture, the people and the country itself is AMAZING! We are so blessed to have friends who are family who are directly from there. They have opened our eyes and our hearts to an amazing new world! 

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations..  lucky orange tree!

Our Special Snack Platter with the newest addition to our decorations.. lucky orange tree!

So… This Thing Called Spring…

April 1-3

We keep getting chills and snow but spring is finally in sight! However, as in past years, we did NOT do any sort of April Fools in our home. Moderation is not really a great skill among our boys and I really did not want to risk escalation of silly little jokes into tears and frustration in the ranks.

The month started on a Tuesday… so we had the following Saturday and Home Depot to look forward to… in fact we have a birthday party AND a sleepover to look forward to as well! Talk about starting a month with a bang! I am doubly excited about the sleepover as the boys have been asking for AGES to have someone come over and stay and all of a sudden I have two Novak boys fall into my lap. PERFECT!

We do need to celebrate a new month. How better to do so than with an educational video and fresh buttered popcorn? So Planet Dinosaur went into the PS3 and everyone settled in for a few hours of dinosaurs.101_6621

On Wednesday the kids worked on playing a game Gavin came up with – combining a Squinky gameboard with their Skylanders. It was not explained to me but everyone seemed to agree on the rules and get along REALLY well!101_6622

Thursday was a total fun day for us. We wandered a few stores to run errands including a wonderful children’s clothing consignment store that Darcy showed me where we found a play dress for Trinity and flipflops for the girls at a steal. They have a colouring contest going on right now with pictures of the fish they got for the store where you try to name it. Each of the kids did up one to send back in. My favourite name was Emanuel’s – Swish The Fish!

Dollar store booty

Dollar store booty

Brand new play dress for a steal

Brand new play dress for a steal

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We also had our weekly Sam’s Club run… with lunch there this time! 8.00 and all of us were fed… with a variety of things. Seriously EIGHT DOLLARS for SEVEN PEOPLE… the math is grand!!!10153833_10152332084481151_313307060_n

Which led to a FRUIT SALAD BAR for supper!

Which led to a FRUIT SALAD BAR for supper!

On the way home we saw the start of the last (we hope) mini blizzard. There were tons of warnings starting on the the Thursday evening until later Friday. Just a big sudden dump of snow! The kids were not impressed.

Started with rain

Started with rain

To this...

To this…

Ending like this once again

Ending like this once again

We also planted our grass for Easter egg pictures… it was a neat idea I saw on Facebook to make real grass for Easter baskets.101_6631

101_6632And that was that… time to look forward to a fun weekend that STARTS on Friday with a birthday party! And to celebrate the fact that Miss Trinity does NOT need glasses (as was figured out on Monday oops.. forgot  to relay that!).10152044_10152326262471151_776173553_n

Pinewood Derby Race!

February 8-12

Saturday marked our very first Pinewood Derby with the Scouts. And while we did not win, we did race a sweet car! In fact, Emanuel was more upset that he didn’t get the door prize he put tickets in for than loosing the car race! He really just wanted Blackout to race… and race it did! Aidan, on the other hand, won a bunch of awards! Big Andy even said that if we had sanded our wheels and greased our axles we may have won! But we really wanted to go by the book and sources were on both sides on any sort of wheel alteration.101_6120101_6123

The track

The track

The cars

The cars

We were at the races with most of the Novaks (Alex was at a friend’s place as his races are another weekend with a different troop). Food was a little pricey so Darcy and I took some of the kids and went to the dollar store across the highway for snacks.101_6124

I was so pleased to see not only Emanuel out there playing but the girls and the twins as well. So much socializing and fun to be had.101_6128

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1st badge!

1st badge!

After the races (which did seem to go on forever! We had cars only in the youngest race but had to wait for the awards which were not only at the end but after a lunch break??) we all headed over to the Novak’s for an afternoon/evening of visiting and fun. It is so nice to come over and visit there. The kids just wander off and play for hours!101_6139

101_6140Sunday was super special for us… not only did we START with Sunday School, but when the kids and Ken got back Echo and I joined them for a special field trip. But first we saw our WHITE SQUIRREL!101_6144

Then we headed over to the Chinese grocery in the city – United Noodles. That place is a wonderland for our kids. So much to see question. While it is not as large as T&T back home, it is a substantial store. They have a nice freezer section and dried foods. Not much on the fresh. We did good with some on sale items and quite a few new foods for Emanuel to try as Scouts suggested we do.

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I even grabbed myself some new tea to try. We had a hard  time finding anything post extraction Ken could handle immediately but he took great pleasure in reading labels and checking out some of the (to us) crazy combinations on the shelves.1606988_10152222398376151_658130963_n

1780885_10152222402606151_228398082_n101_6145101_6146We started the week with a fun field trip to a brand new gas station which has its grand opening. First we went through the flyer and talked about sales and how coupons work. Then we headed off with our flyer and went shopping. There was a terrific deal on donuts, free coffee, bananas that are always at 38 cents a pound! We had a blast wandering the aisles and talking about what is a good price on foods and what isn’t. Reading price tags and labels.

These were a dollar a half dozen!

These were a dollar a half dozen!

They had sandwiches and cheeseburgers at a total steal which made lunch a breeze! Of course that didn’t stop us from working on our school work. The twins have been taking turns each day reading one of our Valentines Day books to the rest. We are still having some mumbling problems but the smoothness of their reading is AMAZING compared to last year!101_6174

101_6176Emanuel of course had to record his pinewood derby experience in his journal.101_6175

The weather was rather pleasant so the boys spent some time in the snow.101_6177

The girls worked on a fun Valentines Day fingerpainting activity I found them on Facebook through Pinterest. HERE is the original idea thanks to Red Ted Art. I think they turned out sweet and both girls had a blast making them.101_6179

101_6195Miss Trinity and I had storytime together with a Valentines Day theme. Each book we are drawing a picture to go in our folder for Valentines Day. It is fun reading together.101_6180

Our sports of choice for the beginning of the week were snowboarding and the skeleton. I was totally unfamiliar with the Skeleton! But wow is it a scary sport! Hurtling head first down the hill on basically a few pieces of metal… crazy!!! So of course we had to get on the internet and learn all about them! And share the links of interest with all of you!101_6181

Skeleton:

  • The history of on Rusbob  HERE
  • 5 things to know about the sport thanks to yahoo news HERE
  • Equipment and history thanks to Olympic.org HERE
  • Our video and all that fun stuff is found on Activity Village HERE

Snowboarding:

  • History of thank to library.thinkquest HERE
  • Infoplease.com’s information HERE
  • Our video etc is of course on Activity Village HERE and later on Art for Kids put up an how to draw… you can find that on their site, link on right.

The twins had swimming lessons on Monday. It was their mid way review and it looks like things are going pretty well! They are still loving it!!101_6182

We had a visit with a fairy princess…101_6184

And another Valentine book.101_6185

We ended the evening on Tuesday with some game playing. I love it when the kids help Echo learn how to play too. They can be so patient.101_6187

Mid week was another Olympic themed day with a touch of Valentines. The kids wrote their own poem using the word OLYMPICS.101_6188

The boys headed back out into the deep deep snow! I cannot believe how much snow we have around.101_6191

Trinity did up a beautiful picture of traditional Russian children.101_6193

And we did a variety of toilet paper roll crafts (starting the day before). Each kid had the option to think on their own (Emanuel’s castle tower and Trinity’s telescope) or use the list I found on Facebook for 25 different options. You can find that list HERE thanks to Kids Activities Blogs.101_6194

And there goes the first half of our week! So much snow, fun and crafting. I am very proud of our progress!

Storytime with Daddy

Storytime with Daddy

Been rather chilly lately!

Been rather chilly lately!

Snoopy

Snoopy

Little gamers

Little gamers

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