Tag Archive | monkey

Happy Year of the Rooster!

Chinese New Year is a holiday we have tried our best to celebrate for at least 5 or 6 years now. This is all thanks to the families of our two gorgeous god daughters (Anna and Isabella). Their moms are from the same city in China (Ghangzou) and have been kind enough to help us learn how to fully embrace this holiday. I love the changing date of the celebration based on the lunar calendar and it has come to mean more than the “traditional” North American New Years to me. We do a significant amount of preparation for this holiday, cleaning, researching and shopping for food, reading out favourite themed stories (The Runaway Wok by Ying Chang Compestine). This year it was Trinity’s turn to do a full on lapbook for the season. She worked really hard on it and it shows.IMG_20170128_134718_976

We finished up our day with take out from our favourite Chinese food restaurant – The Rose Garden.

I have worksheets to share:

  • Activity Village HERE
  • Education.com collection HERE and chicken collection HERE
  • Definitely make sure you search EnchantedLearning.com for their resources HERE

Books to suggest:

  • Happy Chinese New Year, Kai-Lan! HERE
  • The Nian Monster by Andrea Wang (a new book for us!) by Andrea Wang HERE
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year by Carolyn Otto HERE
  • Chinese New Year Crafts by Karen E. Bledsoe HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Grace Jones HERE
  • Celebrating Chinese New Year by Diana Hoyt-Goldsmith HERE
  • Chinese New Year by Ann Heinrichs HERE
  • Long-Long’s New Year by Catherine Gower HERE
  • The Runaway Rice Cake by Ying Chang Compestine HERE
  • Fortune Cookie Fortunes by Grace Lin HERE
  • Red Butterfly by Deborah Noyes HERE
  • Red Kite, Blue Kite by Ji-li Jiang HERE
  • Kai-Lan’s Great Trip to China HERE20170131_140611

And a few DVD’s for you to hunt down:

  • Celebrate With Kai-Lan! HERE
  • Stone Soup (a read-along) HERE

Of course there is the lapbook Trinity used! Currclick has it for 3.00 HERE. This is put out by A Journey Through Learning Lapbooks.20170222_184327

20170222_18431020170222_184322And don’t forget our yearly video!

For our Chicken/Rooster research we had a couple books as well:

  • Chickens by Katie Dicker HERE
  • Young Chicken Farmers by Vickie Black HERE

I used this amazing designer to make this year’s Zodiac animal – the rooster. I used her last year to make a monkey as well (see my County Fair post from last here HERE). Her site is called All about Ami and you can find her rooster pattern HERE and the monkey HERE.IMG_20170128_134658_879

We also splurged this year and bought two dresses for the girls off of Amazon. They were not overly expensive and definitely not high quality, but so cute!IMG_20170128_134638_408

Of course we also picked up new shirts for the boys at Walmart. And buzzed the twins’ heads. New clothes and fresh haircuts in a clean house. And I mean CLEAN! We threw out, sorted, donated… you name it we got rid of excess. And it felt amazing. So Happy Chinese New Year All! Let’s hope the year of the Rooster is auspicious and prosperous!20170128_132722_HDR

20170128_132751_HDR

The girls love to sort through their toys and find theme friendly pieces.

The girls love to sort through their toys and find theme friendly pieces.

A Zoo Date~

What can I say, we seem to gravitate to the Como Zoo in Minnesota. And what is better than enjoying the zoo on a day where it is NOT packed and not more than mildly chilly? Why going with new homeschool friends! Nathan, Drew and Bella are so much fun. With their mom and Ken and myself we had 8 kids, no crowds, and all the time in the world. They are new to the state so it was fun to take them around and show them our favourite parts… talk about future get togethers and explorations… just generally get to know each other better. DSCF6156

IMAG2950It is such a gift to get to know some homeschool families that are local. This is the second such family that we are getting to know and love. It is wonderful to have moments where the questions are different, the experiences are common and the laughter about personal stories is shared with an understanding that they have been there too! DSCN1541

As it was the end of April when we went to the zoo it was still a breezy spring day, so many of the animals were relegated to their indoor housing. I cannot count how many times we walked into one and the kids remarked on the smell… it is funny how you see how they almost believe the animals should smell like flowers and potpourri instead of animal and musk.

Gavin took this one in case you were wondering what he was certain was the issue in the giraffe enclosure!

Gavin took this one in case you were wondering what he was certain was the issue in the giraffe enclosure!

We were able to take our time at each location and talk about things, speak with the interpreters, take pictures. It was relaxing to not have to hold the kids back but let them run and explore within a greater visual area. IMAG2939DSCF6146

DSCF6107But enough about all that… time for just a wild series of enjoyable images!!! Make sure you scroll to the end. After my favourites are the best of Gavin’s… unedited!!!!

Just the girls

Just the girls

IMAG2941

IMAG2961IMG_20160427_151225

Starfish

Starfish

PENGUINS! Emanuel demands extra time each trip to visit his all time favourite animal.

PENGUINS! Emanuel demands extra time each trip to visit his all time favourite animal.

DSCF6119

Polar Bears! There were two in the enclosure. They were just hanging out, wandering. Somehow I think the weather was somewhat warm to them, possibly quite pleasant.

Polar Bears! There were two in the enclosure. They were just hanging out, wandering. Somehow I think the weather was somewhat warm to them, possibly quite pleasant.

DSCF6123

DSCF6124

Spot the snow leopard.

Spot the snow leopard.

This female tiger is on loan from the Minnesota Zoo for breeding... she was pacing a little... we were wondering if it was man troubles... I could just see her grumbling under breath - stupid tiger thinking I would just clean his fur and be all in love.. wine me, dine me man.

This female tiger is on loan from the Minnesota Zoo for breeding… she was pacing a little… we were wondering if it was man troubles… I could just see her grumbling under breath – stupid tiger thinking I would just clean his fur and be all in love.. wine me, dine me man.

Arctic Foxes look like toys,  Echo and Nathan were in love.

Arctic Foxes look like toys, Echo and Nathan were in love.

Gorgeous bonsai

Gorgeous bonsai

Monkey House

Monkey House

P1040337

Such a stately gorilla.

Such a stately gorilla.

I wish I had taken video of this little guy... he was adorable.

I wish I had taken video of this little guy… he was adorable.

P1040336

This was the best Ken could do with the wolf... but dang super close!

This was the best Ken could do with the wolf… but dang super close!

IMG_20160427_151358And now, Gavin’s photo efforts!

Sleepy cat

P1040302

P1040309

Ostrich!

Ostrich!

This duck was a kid favourite and not even one of the exhibitions.

This duck was a kid favourite and not even one of the exhibitions.

P1040304

DSCF6154

P1040293

Sloth... Butt???

Sloth… Butt???

And a picture of me taking a picture of something.

And a picture of me taking a picture of something.

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!