Saturday, June 18, 2011

Zigzags, Strawberries and Pine Trees

Joyful learning with sidewalk chalk. Spatial awareness? Check! Zigzag pattern? Check! Gross motor skills? Check!
admit I had some reservations when Little T's grandparents invited us up to Baguio City. I wasn't ready to go on a six to seven-hour car trip with three month-old Baby Boy! As soon as I was won over, however, I got excited planning a little study unit about our trip. It's fair to say that I was more thrilled about the learning opportunity than the promise of escape from Manila's heat. I'm happy that Little T totally enjoyed and internalized our "lessons".

MAP What's a better way to start a trip than with a map? From Google Maps, I printed a map of Luzon and pointed Quezon City and Baguio City to Little T. We then traced the path with our pointer finger, pretending that it's our car, practicing eye-hand coordination at the same time. To demonstrate how maps teach us how to reach our destinations, Little T and I made one of our own. She directed me on what to write as we walked from the kitchen to her play area upstairs: left, right, straight, up etc. She then went on a navigation adventure with the finished product until it was all wrinkled.

The tale of two maps

ZIGZAG Kennon Road, also known as Zigzag Road, provided the inspiration for our zigzag activities. First, I had Little T cut two zigzag patterns for practicing her fine motor skills. Then, I made a zigzag on the floor with masking tape and encouraged her to move with exaggeration to let her feel the pattern. The stroke of genius, I think, was the giant zigzag on the street drawn with sidewalk chalk. There we let her drive her motorized  tricycle for spatial awareness and for pretending to be going from Quezon City to Baguio City. She then tirelessly ran around and around the path that we made, practicing her gross motor skills. I can't even believe how much she's gotten from it! She couldn't wait to get on Kennon Road and  for the car to zig and zag. A few nights after we got home, she excitedly declared that the music we were listening to sounded like a zigzag! And it did, being staccato (short, sharp notes)!


TIME To prepare Little T for the long travel time, we made a graph of the places she usually goes to plus Baguio. I asked her to paste one strip of paper for one hour, two strips for two hours, and so on. I then asked her to identify the shortest and longest trips. We also tinkered with a toy clock which she set to our planned departure and arrival time.
This graph shows which trip takes the shortest and longest time 

CLOTHES TO WEAR Living in hot and humid Manila, we only get to wear thin breezy clothes most of the time. Little T has been asking when winter would be since we have been reading about it. Though Baguio is far from being wintry, it's cold enough to warrant some warmer clothes. For our trip, we simply talked about what we should wear when it's cold - sweaters, jackets, shawls (Little T's favorite), long pants,  socks - and started packing. This also became an opportunity to play our game inspired by Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear?Little T, Little T, what will you wear?

THINGS TO SEE Preparing a child increases the chances of having a successful, fun trip. It makes the child look forward to what he can see and do, taking away the fear that may come from the change in routine. For this trip, we printed pictures of and had some light discussions about what we would see in Baguio: pine trees, Igorots, zigzag road, strawberries, and mountains. I discovered that there were some things that I was not able to tell Little T about like riding a boat in Burnham Park, but it only added to her joy of exploration.

Things to see: zigzag road, pine trees, and Igorots. I read that Baguio is on top of a plateau, so we compared a plateau and a mountain. Little T concluded that a plateau is a "squashed mountain."

STRAWBERRIES Strawberry picking was one of the activities that I was determined to do in Baguio. I put the wordless Caldecott Honor book The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang in our Learning Basket and we took turns pretending to be the The Grey Lady walking along the street while a Strawberry Snatcher chased her to get her basket of strawberries. 

Little T gingerly walked between the rows of strawberry bushes and tried to pick some on her own in the field that we went to. We then looked at the jars of strawberry jams being sold and bought ourselves strawberry taho, a nice way to show Little T that the food we eat come from plants.

Putting strawberries in a basket similar to The Grey Lady's. Strawberry taho. Strawberry flower.

WEEK OF MARCH 21, 2011

The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher by Molly Bang
Kindermusik's Away We Go! music and activities about trips
Map, Baguio pictures
Toy clock
Toy car
Have a fun, magical week!

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sanne said...

"A few nights after we got home, she excitedly declared that the music we were listening to sounded like a zigzag! And it did, being staccato (short, sharp notes)!" - Good job, Little T!

I really can't believe how creative you are, Mariel! Galing! :)

Amah said...

I told you so! You can publish an activity book for children. Hats off!

Sheh said...

You and Little T are always inspiring, Mariel!