A few weeks ago I was asked "How do bunnies move?" and we started investigating
. What I thought was perhaps an interest in animals seems to have been an interest in how bodies move in general. While some of our projects (like trains) seem to follow us for months or longer, others are short and end once a question has been answered satisfactorily. This project falls in the later category. Below are the details of our mini-unit on How Bodies Move.
Books We Read
Tortoise and the Hare
We read several versions as a mini-story study. We read a version by Jerry Pinkney
that is gorgeously illustrated, a Little Golden book version from my childhood by Margo Lundell
, and another classic and beautiful version by Brian Wildsmith
. We talked about moving fast and slow and then practiced moving our bodies fast and slow in different ways (hopping, jumping, running)The Usborne Complete Book of the Human Body by Anna Claybourne
Our kids loved this book! It has fascinating information about the human body and detailed photography. This was carefully soaked in day after day.The Magic School Bus: Inside the Human Body
by Joanna Cole
This was their favorite book. We love the Magic School Bus books in general but this one really got their attention. The class and the delightful Ms. Frizzle go on an adventure inside Arnold's body.
What We Watched
After reading the Magic School Bus book about bodies our twins were delighted to learn it was an episode as well. They learned a lot from watching and reading this book. The way the information was presented seemed to make sense in their minds. The full series of the Magic School bus is on Netflix right now, but you can also find some useful videos on YouTube:The Magic School Bus: Flexes its Muscles hereBy Land, By Sea, By Air: Animal Atlas here
Moving Like Animals
Our Little Passports
theme for this month was all about animals which helpfully supported their natural interest.
*We labeled the different animals
*We found where they live around the world on our map
*We also talked about how they move and tried to imitate it with our bodies
Moving Our Bodies
Crazy Legs: The Action Game
was a great way to encourage different movements. It is a nonstop action game
that has you jumping, bending, stretching and more. This was great gross motor
exercise and a lot of fun.
Lots of pretend play also happened throughout this unit. We have some old Halloween costumes that we use for dramatic play that I pulled out for the unit. Our kids just naturally take on roles and imagine throughout the play. I don't do much to encourage this other than agreeably go along with pretending they are owls or birds or whatever it is that they are pretending.
We used chalk to draw bones and later Qtips and glue to make a model of bones. Our daughter is fascinated by the spinal cord and how it sends signals really fast. Our son is interested in joints and his drawing with chalk showed lots of bends. They weren't interested in adding muscles to their models and I didn't push.
Finally we took a field trip to the Mississippi Children's Museum
to look at their Bodies exhibit. They have a skeleton replica where they could get a closer look at the spinal cord and a skeleton riding a bike that demonstrates bones in motion.
This unit last about 2 weeks before their interest started to wane. I could tell mostly because their pretend play and other play moved in a different direction. They started building structures and laying out train tracks more and pretending to be characters from other books and movies they have watched.
During Group Time I asked whether they were ready to end this project. They agreed right away and said they wanted to learn about Skyscrapers. I was surprised that they answered so quickly, especially with a new idea, but as with most things, I rolled with their idea.
If your child wants more ideas, here are a few more about Animals and Gross Motor:
Gross Motor & Math HERE
12 Months of Nature Walks : many involve watching or looking for animals. HERE
Zoo Peekaboo : super simple animal game for infants and young toddlers. HERE
Two Authors that are great for an Animal Unit: Giles Andreae and Denise Fleming