Mama’s week in review – letter U

Up. Upon. Under. Unique. Unicorn. Underwear. Until.

Words that start with the letter U were just not found around here this week!  We concentrated a lot on the words Up and Under (as well as using the word Underwear whenever we could!) We even taped our letter of the week Under the table (and on the wall, too!) The boys got a kick out of that and kept checking to make sure it was there! On Hubbard’s Cupboard they suggest covering the letter with Umbrella stickers while Under the table, but there was no desire to play with stickers this week.

Bible Story The Parable of the Lost Sheep was our story for the week. As always, we started Monday morning at the breakfast table reading the story from the Bible and just talking about it. Cutie Pie suggested maybe the Shepherd looked ‘high and low’ for the sheep (evidently we use that phrase a lot more than we realize!) I changed that to Up and down, so we could work the letter U in there once more. I told the boys the little I know about caring for sheep, which is that the shepherd knows each of his sheep are Unique in their features and that we are the same way! Cutie Pie especially seemed to like the fact that we are all different, or Unique, and had fun sharing how he thought he and Sweet Pea are Unique. (language/opposites, self concept)

Throughout the week Cutie Pie asked to hear the Bible story again, like usual, and so we talked about it from different angles, like what that lost sheep might have been feeling while it was lost, what the shepherd might have thought happened to the sheep, what the other sheep might have been feeling – were they worried about the lost sheep, or worried that the shepherd left them alone while he went searching for the lost sheep? (emotional development, imagination) We ended the week playing “Seek the sheep”, sort of like hide and seek, but I hid a toy sheep and the boys had to look Up and down to find it.

Language/Reading – I seldom seem to include a list of books we read for each letter. I suppose I should. This week we, of course, had several books about trains, but one the boys kept requesting, which talked about looking Up, down and all around for someone who is lost, is Where are You, Little Zack? by Judith Ross Enderle and Stephanie Gordon Tessler.

Art/Science – I tried to think of something Unique to do with the boys that began with U. I couldn’t think of anything but making puffy paint (because it goes Up from the paper) and making fingerprints (because by looking at them you can see how we’re all Unique). These activities were definitely a success!

I don’t think either of the boys quite grasp the idea of using a magnifying glass to look at tiny differences between fingerprints, but they did seem to love making them (sticking their finger on an ink pad and dabbing it all around a piece of paper) and using the magnifying glass! Cutie Pie considered this a very fun experiment!

Puffy Paint – I saw this several places this week as I was blog hopping as part of 5 Minutes for Mom’s Ultimate Blog Party. The blog I actually printed the recipe from was Making Memories with Your Kids, which is a blog I just found! Cutie Pie and Sweet Pea were both fascinated by the paint puffing up in the microwave and each made several paintings (very quickly!) to watch the puffing process take place. Cutie Pie and I talked about what made the paint puff up like that. Another successful experiment!

Anyway, this is how we did it:

Puffy Paint Ingredients:
1 Tablespoon self-rising flour (if you don’t have any, you can make it by adding 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder and 1 teaspoon of salt to all-purpose flour)
1 Tablespoon salt
4 teaspoons water
food coloring

Combine above ingredients in small containers, making whatever color paints you desire.
After using brushes, Q tips or whatever other medium you’d like to paint your pictures, heat the pictures in the microwave anywhere from 10 to 30 seconds and watch the paint puff up! (fine motor, science, art, language development, coordination, sense of touch)

Play – We also made a lot of tunnels, a carryover from last week’s letter T. We used their foam letters for these and they had fun telling me whenever a train or car went Under a letter! This was great for Cutie Pie as it served as a refresher for his alphabet! (letter recognition, fine motor, coordination, gross motor)

Other ideas we didn’t do – I had the great idea of making wool nests this week as when we talked about looking Up and down we also discussed what other animals and things a shepherd might have seen. Cutie Pie was right on it with seeing birds. In the beginning of the week he seemed really into making these, but as the week went on he didn’t seem very interested, so I’m saving that idea and will probably make wool eggs instead, closer to Easter. (fine motor, art)

Another idea I had was introducing the boys to a Ukulele. Come on, you know, the musical instrument that looks like a little guitar?  (music appreciation) Sweet Pea was once again very taken with Cutie Pie’s guitar and tried to overtake Hubby’s violin, viola and bass this week, so I thought adding something else to the mix might be a mistake!

Once again looking at what we did this past week seems like a lot. Sometimes I think I’m making learning time too rigid or structured, but then I also think about the flow of our days and weeks and am reminded that most often it is Cutie Pie asking for the Bible Stories and leading the discussions and me offering a creative activity sometime throughout the week. Everything else sort of comes up as it does in play, probably because the letter and story are already on our minds. I am really itching to get the boys outside and possibly to the zoo or one of the other places we have memberships to, simply because we’ve been stuck inside with colds/runny noses for way too long!

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