Saturday, October 11, 2014

D for Duck and C for Corn

We actually did our letter D, duck stuff last weekend when Ben went duck hunting. But today he made us some duck chili. And I have to say -- it was not gross. He put the meat in milk for about five days, to tame the wild game flavor. Then he slow cooked it for a few hours. Just before it was done he chopped it up and added all the chili ingredients. They all sat in the slow cooker together for another three hours. By the time we came home from a long, beautiful hike the chili was perfect and the meat was tender and tasty. Reid was digging for it in his chili. "I love duck mommy!"

Also, on our hike (which was on the lake -- yes, on the lake) we'd occasionally hear some gun shots and Reid started saying "Oh, there goes another duck." Our kid probably won't hunt much in his life, but he sure is understanding the concept! On our drive out to the lake we saw several tractors harvesting soy beans. We had plenty of time today to talk about hunting and harvesting and why both are so important in the Fall. He's been noticing the letter H when we are out and about, or whenever he sees some straight lines crossed together. If there is a straight line with a curve he talks about how those shapes make the letter D. I'm loving our ABCs of Autumn so far.

While Ben was out hunting (and freezing) we were warm and dry making some craft ducks for him, just in case he came home empty handed. He brought two ducks home to us, which was perfect because we had two for him! I'd say Nell made the pink one, but she put on about two feathers and quit. She wasn't a fan of the feather-glue combo and they kept sticking to her fingers. I'm not sure how, since she was so dainty with them. Reid on the other hand was smashing them down and had glue oozing all over the place, but not a single feather stuck to his fingers.

We also read Make Way for Ducklings, several times in fact. Reid loved it and had lots of questions about the guy helping the ducks cross the street and why it's important for us to help keep wild animals safe. He may have mentioned he likes killing them (I tried not to act shocked, since we just talked about hunting), but this led us in to a good discussion about why we keep animals safe. If we don't take care of them they won't be around when the time for hunting is seasonally and legally appropriate.

I had good intentions of adding a science element. I was going to talk to Reid about how ducks keep their wings dry (and bodies warm) by doing an experiment with cut out feathers, oil, and water. But I never got around to that. Oops. I think that would be a super fun thing to do though. In my research I learned that ducks don't actually migrate because of the cold, they can handle really cold temperatures thanks to their amazing feathers. They migrate because the snow eventually covers all their food supply. Gees, even I'm learning during this little preschool study!

We filled our letter D's with dominos, dot stickers, and duplos (which didn't work great, since Reid calls them Legos). We also did our letter d puzzle which had lots of great d words on it. We worked on the play doh mats as well.

This week marked the beginning of our harvesting words -- corn, apples, pumpkins. We started with Corn, because Reid was dying to use the candy corns we'd bought at the store. 

We filled the big C with corn cob sticks and the little c with candy corns. Then we glued cotton balls onto the little c. That gave us lots of time to talk about the curve of the letter C and how nice big C and little c are for having the same shape and look.

Next we did some Candy Corn counting. I found the sheets here. Reid has been struggling with six, seven, and often goes from six to eleven. I tried to ignore the error and instead focus on quantity. We talked a lot about how each candy corn had one more piece than the last and I let him eat all the ones on the first page that he could count correctly. 

We also made Candy Corn cookies, recipe found here, that were way too sweet for me. Which is huge. I love sugar, but the corns + white chocolate was just too sugary for me. Thankfully we took the batch into the youth at Church on Wednesday night and only came home with one or two. 

Over the course of our two letter Cc days (each letter gets about two days) we did some corn painting ideas I'd come across on pinterest. Neither worked as well as the original pins. Corn rolling was fun, but it took a ton of paint to really work and then the paper just turned kind of mushy. Reid was really excited to add white after doing blue, orange and brown. He always wants to paint with white but can't because our paper is white. Seriously, he was over the moon when I told him he could use white and it would show up. It kind of just turned the whole thing gray, but I think he had fun despite my disappointments with the activity. 

Two things: 1. check out that rolling action and 2. you can see our letter C cotton balls in the corner! 


This candy corn painting worked out fine, it just didn't look as "professional" as the original idea I saw. Sometimes I think moms do art projects with kids and then post their product, not their child's. Maybe I'm just being judgmental, but I really can't figure out how a kid under six could get the perfect "pom pom" look I thought was so cute on line. Reid's own version is pretty cute though, and he's super proud of his candy corn (it has white, after all). I actually think his favorite part was mixing up the pallet (orange, white, and yellow) remnants after we were done. We do love clothespin + cotton ball painting.

And though I always refer to the art stuff as "we", I really mean Reid. I do the dishes or something near by. I've learned when it comes to art time I don't interfere. I show Reid how to do it and then let him at it.

We didn't do a whole lot more with corn. This summer Reid helped me shuck corn, and I think doing so is great gross motor practice. I'd intended on incorporating more Indian corn activities. Like this lego stamping project and this corn sprouting idea. But our corn and apple days fell during the days Ben was out of town for a work conference and Nell got sick ... so I gave them my best and we've moved on. 

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