Measuring Length

We’ve had fun measuring with rulers and measuring tape before. Today, we followed the ideas in Playful Learning.


We first used small and big Legos and found things that were of similar length. Then we used a small Lego (a little longer than 1 inch) to make our own ruler and measured our body parts. The girls first estimated lengths before measuring them. Sometimes they guessed right!


Playing around with measurements is a good way to develop skills in estimating. In fact, when we visited the aquarium last week, we noticed a large ruler on the floor indicating the length of their anaconda. We discovered that it would take 2 M’s and 2 C’s to be as long as the anaconda! The aquarium also has penguins to measure yourself against; something we always enjoy doing!


In the Style of…Georgia O’Keeffe

Following the suggestions in Playful Learning (, we studied the artist, Georgia O’Keeffe. We learned that she was from Wisconsin and that she liked to paint nature big. We loved looking at her beautiful flower paintings in a book we had checked out from the library.

Then we got out our biggest painting paper (which wasn’t very big; I think this summer we will revisit this and paint outside on a bedsheet) and some flowers for inspiration, and painted big flowers. At C’s request, I penciled in a flower for her to paint.



Culture Club: Nicaragua

Yesterday was my day to host our monthly culture club. (I did not get many pictures, because I was busy leading the group, so this post might be bland.) I gave a presentation on my birthplace, Nicaragua.

We first looked at the Nicaraguan flag and made a human replica of the flag (the kids held up different parts of the flag, like a human puzzle).

Then we worked on filling out a giant map of Nicaragua on the wall, that I had made with painter’s tape. We learned about the lakes and numerous volcanoes, some of the important cities/areas of the country, animals, and ways of getting around the country. The kids took turn sticking things on the big map. We pretended to drive in Nica style (fast and honking our horn), rowed down a river, and even weighed ourselves before getting on the airplane, in true La Costena fashion.


After the presentation, we went outside to make our own volcano erupt (the classic baking soda and vinegar chemical reaction).


Next, the children worked on a paper volcano craft.


And them we ate delicious Nicaraguan food! I so wish I had taken a picture of the spread, but there was Indio Viejo (a beef stew), Gallo Pinto (rice and beans), Arroz con Piña (pineapple rice drink), platanos (fried plantains), mangoes and pineapples, and Tres Leches (a cake). Yummy!

We had a lot of fun exploring Nicaragua with our friends. The weather cooperated by making it very hot.

Mountain Goats


Today our local wildlife division hosted a wildlife-viewing event to see mountain goats in Little Cottonwood Canyon. I guess April is the best month to see these guys in this spot. After much searching, we finally spotted two on the skyline of a cliff (probably not pictured in photo above). They had a table full of skins, antlers, skulls, and feet etc, of elk, mountain goats and other ungulates that the girls enjoyed exploring. The girls also got to stamp tracks and took home a coloring page, photo sheet and information about mountain goats. We learned that mountain goats have two toes like other ungulates and that their favorite food is willow.


(from left: pronghorn, moose, bison, and mountain goat)

Nature Study: Gorillas

Whenever we go to the zoo, we like to pick a species to observe. This time, we chose the gorilla. Though at the zoo, we only spent a few minutes observing and sketching them.

M chose to sketch the whole enclosure, with a blob indicating where one gorilla was sleeping.


For C, I first sketched one gorilla for her to color, but then she chose to sketch in some plants and the blanket the sleeping gorilla was using.


Back at home, we started making a poster about what we were learning. (The blobs of brown sticks represent the nests gorillas make to sleep in at night.)


We read about gorillas in our animal encyclopedia and from Nat Geo online, and watched a few YouTube videos. We will also check out some books from the library (and read Goodnight Gorilla, of course).

We love making crafts, so besides coloring pages, we made gorilla puppets.


Usually when we do a unit study on an animal, we do a lot more activities, crafts, songs, and books, etc. The gorilla study was last minute, and we are currently doing more involved studies of barn owls and caterpillars/butterflies.

In the Style of…Vincent van Gogh

Following the lesson outlined here, we studied the painting style of Vincent van Gogh. We learned about impressionism and how van Gogh was famous for his broad, swirling brushstrokes. We looked at his paintings in a library book. The girls attempted to paint in his style, trying their best to make sweeping brush strokes. M actually used one of his paintings as the inspiration for her painting.


(left: C3yr, “A Rainbow Garden”; right: M5yr, “The Ocean”)

  • "Living is learning and when kids are living fully and energetically and happily they are learning a lot, even if we don't always know what it is. " - John Holt
  • LipperLoppy? what???

    “LipperLoppy” is a word that my daughters invented. It is usually used as a silly adjective or noun. It's a frequent family joke and a good representation of our family's crazy joyful life.
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