Tag Archives: Theme Learning

Groundhog Day!

Since winter is in full swing where we are (and all over the U.S. for that matter) I figured I could be a little late in posting our ground-hog day activities.

This was a really fun mini-theme because the snug was able to do almost everything by herself. Obviously I helped, but you could see how fulfilling it was for her to be able to do most everything alone.

Here are the books we read.

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Groundhog Weather School by Joan Holub and Kristin Sorra- this adorable little tale features an overwhelmed groundhog trying to appease the frustration felt continually from his localized weather reports. He recruits, trains, and posts more groundhogs to help create more accurate weather reports.

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The Groundhog day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie Old- This longer more in-depth book, tells all about the seasons, why they actually change, whether groundhogs are proper advocates for changing weather conditions and how this tradition came to be.

IMG_7451Who Will See Their Shadows This Year? by Jerry Pallotta and David Biedrzycki- This fun and simple book is easy enough for the beginning reader to master. Strange things happen when other animals try to see their shadow to bring about spring.

Besides books, we had a little treat for this mini-theme. Some print offs! I really like activity village for many of our holiday activity sheets.

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Another super cute craft we saw floating around the internet was a ground-hog puppet. The puppet from Buzzmills was our favorite! Though she had some awesome clear directions, we made a modified version that the snug could do herself.

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The main shaft is a toilet paper tube. The snug measured and cute out the felt herself, though I did help with the shape of the groundhog and I hot glued everything, because hot glue burns are stupid. I get one every time I use a hot glue gun, without fail.

The snug sewed the groundhog by herself. I threaded the needle and tied the first and last knot and that was it. Definitely very cool.

Last was the food.

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That’s a groundhog pancake, by the way. Not the prettiest, but recognizable and more importantly edible.

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Next were those adorable groundhog cupcakes that have been floating around on pinterest. The original ones look amazing. Ours look more like something you’d find on pinterest fail sites. This point of the activity and the reason I love ours is because, again, the snug did this herself. She helped make everything, but frosted the cupcakes and decorated the cookies alone. (Those round things on top are ears).

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Groundhog cupcakes only a mother and child could love, right?

They were delicious by the way. Yellow cupcakes with strawberry frosting and butterscotch cookies. A mash-up of wonderful flavors. Everything was homemade, obviously.

Happy Winter!!

P.S. Did you know narwhals do have the ability to sense changes in weather??

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Veterinarian Theme!

Quite a few significant events occurred in the Snug’s life leading up to this theme. First she was born into a family whose life is mostly consumed by animals. She has seen zoos inside and out and gotten up close a giant variety of animals. Second, she went to the dentist and had an amazing time! Third, our cat Goose died, after we took him to the vet, then we had to take Freddy the snake to the vet and put him down, then being horrified that we had convinced her that you only take animals to the vet to die, we talked up vets. We told her all they did and then, the stars aligned, as they sometimes do for our themes and the Children Museum hosted a meet and greet with a local vet. We definitely made it, of course, and it helped to confirm her dreams of wanting to become a dental vet.

I figured we would ride the wave and make it into a theme. Why not? Here is what we found at the library!!

BOOKS!

Non-fiction-

A Day With a ZOO Veterinarian by James Buckley Jr. – This book highlights the work of Dr. Karl Hill at the Santa Barbara Zoo in California. You learn how Dr. Hill became a vet and why. The book talks about how he cares for some of the zoo animals and the experiences he has had being a vet. He even had to learn how to rock climb in order to help some Californian condors. He also does a ton of study and focus on the Channel Islands Foxes. Snug thought this was okay, a little bit longer then all the other books, but I thought it was very cool. It talked about all the volunteering Dr. Hill had to do, in order to gain experience and how he made sure being a vet was what he really wanted to do.

What Does A Veterinarian Do? by Felicia Lowenstein- This book wasn’t too bad, great for elementary age. The layout consists of a full picture on one side and a question/paragraph answer on the other side. The basics of what a veterinarian does is covered.

Community Helpers Veterinarians by Dee Ready- Very similar in set up to the book above, this is a more in-depth look on the life of a vet. What they wear, the tools they need, how long they need to go to school, etc. Snug and I really enjoyed this book and they had a great activity idea in the back about how you can help take care of birds. Leaving out birdseed, making a bird bath, etc.

I want to be a Vet by Dan Liebman- I really liked this book and the layout. It is perfect for early reading! With full pictures as the background the text is put in white boxes in various spots on the page, with nice large black font. This book covered a huge variety of animals vets would see and take care of and some of the challenges faced with seeing those animals. Whales and cows were good examples of the more challenging animals.

Fiction-

If I were a Veterinarian by Shelly Lyons- Snug and I really liked this book. Lots of fun illustrations and very easy to read. Simple and big, a very nice picture book.

The Tiger Has a Toothache Helping Animals at the Zoo by Patricia Lauber- From the national geographic society this vet book is a little longer and could be a non-fiction, though it doesn’t cite the actual places these events happened in.With each chapter focused on a different animal, you learn about something that happened to the animal and how it was fixed. There is a tiger with a broken tooth, a tomato frog who swallowed a rock, and a tortoise with a hurt leg who needed a skateboard to get around while his leg healed.

Olivia Becomes A Vet adapted by Alex Harvey- A learn to read book based on the Olivia television series, Olivia has big dreams of becoming a vet after Ian’s chameleon has a visit to the vet. Snug and I like Olivia a ton, but we really prefer the original books, they are more humorous and flow nicely. However, this one did fit into our theme.

Vicky the Vet by Jo  Litchfield and Felicity Brooks- Vicky the vet has a nice vet office with a receptionist, a vet tech and an incredibly busy day!!! Lots of regular patients to see, as well as a few emergencies. This book is full of vet words and examples of situations that animals could be in, i.e. reasons they would go to the vet. Snug and I enjoyed this book and it is a great place to get tons of ideas for your own pretend vet clinic.

Also, almost all of the ‘Pet Fairies’ from the Rainbow Fairy Series by Daisy Meadows.

Katie the Kitten Fairy (The pet fairies 1) by Daisy Meadows In fairyland the pets choose their owners, will the same be able to happen in non-fairy world, now that Jack Frost has stolen all of the pet fairies’ pets?

Bella the Bunny Fairy (The pet fairies 3) by Daisy Meadows- Just got this one from the library yesterday!!

Georgia the Guinea Pig Fairy (The pet fairies 3) by Daisy Meadows- Sorry we haven’t gotten to read this one yet, or locate it right now….

(Number 4 is the puppy fairy, but none of the libraries have had that one in stock, it will be on order for us shortly).

Harriet the Hamster Fairy (The pet fairies 5) by Daisy Meadows- Rachel and Kristy find more trouble then expected when they go to pet sit a friends hamster.

Molly the Goldfish Fairy (The pet fairies 6) by Daisy Meadows- When the goblins try to bargain a fishy trade between Rachel, Kristy and Molly trouble starts.

Penny the Pony Fairy (The pet fairies 7) by Daisy Meadows- haven’t gotten to this one either. Yet.

ACTIVITIES!!!

We went to our children’s museum, for the meet and greet with the vet, but also because they have a play vet clinic inside the museum. It is one of their exhibits sponsored by Banfield Pet Clinics (those are the ones inside of petsmart). This is one of her favorite areas of the museum!

They have tons of fun tools here, crates, x-rays, diagrams of the animals, etc! So much! You can talk about and identify bones in a cat or dog, or you can talk about all the different tools a vet would use and why.

You can even talk about how vets can help train dogs to roll over.

The other activities we did for this theme, besides reading tons of books, was to:

Give Chuck (our dog) a bath.

Talk about the kinds of things we need to do for Chuck, food, water, play, walks, snuggles, etc. As well as what other pets need.

Play vet at the house, so many stuff animals got treated this past week. Also there is a cute new show called Doc McStuffins on the Disney Junior Channel. Adorable!!

A dental vet at her finest!

The last big activity we did was to make dog treats- we made two different kinds of treats and they are as follows;

Spiced Apple Dog Treats

This is a Vegan Dog treat Recipe, but a really easy one. We didn’t happen to have any eggs on the day of our treat making, so we looked online and found this recipe. All you need is an apple, lemon juice, water and some cinnamon (optional).

What I liked about this recipe, is how kid friendly it was. Snug practically did all the work. First, pour 2 cups of water into the bowl.

Squeeze out 1/4 cup lemon juice.

And add that to the bowl, then stir.

The recipe says to  peel and core the apples, then slice into relatively evenly thin slices. That sounds pretty nice, but since we don’t have our composter set up yet, I am against wasting any apple peels on dog treats, we also don’t have a corer because I just can’t figure those things out. About the relatively evenly thin slices, I did my best.

Have the snug bug toss the apples in the lemon water and shake them around to coat.

Let sit for 8 minutes, shaking or turning them once or twice.

Arrange on a baking tray (recipe says to line the tray with wax paper), sprinkle with cinnamon and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. When the 20 minutes are up, turn off the oven and let the apples sit inside the closed oven for 10 more minutes.

Cool completely and let your puppy feast away. These need to be stored in the fridge and last up to one week.

Delicious!!!

The next treats we made were Peanut Butter Dog Biscuits. 

I found this recipe a while ago on bullwrinkle.com and have used it a couple of times, only this time we didn’t have any eggs, the recipe calls for 2!! Thankfully the site that I had found the apple treats on has tips for making dog treats without eggs.

For the peanut butter dog biscuits you will need.

½ cups water(add more water later if required)
½ cup oil
2 eggs (we used 1/2 cup milk instead)
3 tablespoons peanut butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups flour
½ cup cornmeal
½ cup oats

Blend the wet ingredients in a bowl. Whisk the dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Add the dry to the wet to form a ball of dough. Roll out and shape.

Bake for 20 minutes at 400 degrees. Turn off oven and allow biscuits to cool in oven until crisp. Store in airtight container.

Then feed it to your puppy dog!

That sums it up for our vet theme! Though Snug is still very much interested in becoming a dental vet. I wonder how long it will last?

Happy Themeing!