Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Oceans and Deserts and Rainforests...Oh My!

The last few weeks my son and I have been studying ecosystems, particularly oceans, deserts and rainforests (hence the title).  :)

He is only three, so the idea was more for him to become familiar with the vocabulary like ecosystem and the various plants and animals you find in each. I wanted to give him a foundation, hopefully, helping him not be a total fish-out-of-water later. Below are a few of the activities we did with each ecosystem.

The Ocean

Here is a picture of my son with the ocean he made. We discussed things like fish, plants and water, and how they all work together and have their own function in the ecosystem. The "talking" part was pretty brief. He was into the "doing." :)

We also listened to Ernest Borgnine read The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister on Storyline Online.

George played with his tugboat in the bathtub and we had a quick discussion about what would be in the water beneath the tugboat if it were in the ocean. This is simple and fun but does reiterate the ocean ecosystem.

The Desert

George is holding his desert ecosystem in this picture.
George loved coloring the scorpion, camel and snake in this ecosystem. The sand, although messy, was still a must. I didn't really get into too many interesting facts (as a teacher, that's super hard to do), because I knew I had a small window for his attention. Did you know that some camels can drink 25 gallons of water at one time? Eeeeek!! I love facts!

We read Davis Brooks' You Can Count in the Desert. This book helps expose kids to desert animals and the math can't hurt! :) We also read Rhonda Lucas Donald's Deep in the Desert. This book is perfect for George's age. He knows many of the traditional nursery rhyme songs, so he loves how the tune is the same but the words are changed to information about the desert. Fun!

One afternoon, we spent a few minutes, pretending to be snakes slithering in the desert. We also pretended to sweat and be hot during the day and shiver at night. Fun!

The Rainforest

George (and I) had a lot of fun making this rainforest ecosystem.
We used tissue paper to cover the rainforest floor with thick grass and I enjoyed the blue construction paper waterfall. Nice touch if I don't say so myself! Haha! George really liked coloring the monkey, frog, butterfly, tiger and bird. We discussed why it's called the rainforest. George thought that was funny.

We also listened to rainforest sounds. Emma liked the sounds too!

George had fun finding the rainforest animals in this hidden picture. George's nina actually sent the link to both the sounds and picture. I love how we announce our projects and help and ideas are sent our way!

All in all, these were simple, fun activities to merely introduce some ecosystem vocabulary and a few concepts. Next week, I think we'll bring it home and look at urban ecosystems. That will be fun!

If you guys have done or know of activities that would go well with ours, please share in the comments. We'd love to try them!