Pattern Worms & Chenille Chicks

Yesterday we went up to Oklahoma City so my daughter could receive a Poetry Award (she won 1st place in the 2015 Oklahoma Lore Youth Poetry Contest for 10th grade).

Afterwards we decided to stop at the zoo for an hour. Last time we were there, Sullivan was all about the animals. In fact, he spent 20 minutes jabbering to the gorillas. In a dramatic turn of events, he went into hysterics when we entered the ape building this time. He started screaming "No monkey!" No monkey!" when the orangutan got close to the window. So...we headed for the gift store. After placating him with a new giraffe rubber duck (he has a rubber duck obsession, at last count he had 50+, all unique and much loved, they are his go-to distraction and as toys go, relatively cheap!) I got to peruse the books and found this gem, 10 Little Hermit Crabs, for our upcoming Ocean Theme:

It's a super cute counting book with a happy ending (all 10 hermit crabs show back up on the last page!)

We've been finishing up our Spring theme in class - although our butterfly and chicken eggs arrived late this year so we'll be doing our Life Cycle unit in conjunction with Ocean and Farm instead of during the Spring theme as planned.

One of our favorite Spring activities was our Pattern Worms. These are super simple and a great quick patterning assessment!

 I cut pipe cleaners in 1/2 and then twisted one end to form a loop.

I had both clear and opaque pony beads, so the kids could choose whatever colors they wanted.
Once the beads were in place, I made a small loop at the opposite end and hit it with the glue gun to ensure the beads stayed on.When the wiggle eyes were attached, the kids were thrilled with our "worms" and loved playing with them!
 
The best thing is that everyone can be successful - whether they're still working on AB patterns or have moved on to more complicated patterns (I had a sweetie do an ABCDEFG pattern correctly!) each child was able to create a pattern worm. And, its great fine motor practice to get those slippery beads onto the pipe cleaner!

Our Sand & Water Table also got a fun Spring theme activity! I took chenille chickens and baby chick (both from Hobby Lobby's Easter aisle) and added mini eggs (also Easter) and mini birds' nests (from over by the artificial flowers and birds). Then I added some plain white paper litter (from PetSmart - it's meant for small animal cages, but its dye free & dust free so its great for the sensory table!) and some lima beans.

The lima beans had upper case letters, lower case letters and the #s 0-20 on them.
After the kids had fun playing with the chicks, invariably they wanted something to do with the lima beans! We did everything from sorting them by upper/lower case, sorting by letter/number, finding specific letters, spelling out names etc. This was a super quick bin to put together and the kids had a lot of fun with it. They did wish I had created a sorting mat for them like I did for St. Patrick's Day, so that's on my to-do list for next time I change the materials!

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