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The Busy Little Squirrel

I've seen Sensory Tubs around and even tried them a couple times, but just didn't get into them. . . until I saw Carisa's post on her Fall Sensory Bin and then headed on over to see Counting Coconuts tubs ~ wow!  I was inspired and decided here on out I would create, if possible, a Sensory Tub for each book we row.

And my kids were in love with the idea! I had them help me decide what would go in the tub, but then surprised them with it.

Busy Little Squirrel Sensory Tub

We added items from animals and scenes from the book:
  • animals ~ squirrel, dog, cat, mouse, frog 
  • squirrel food ~ bird food, corn, apples, acorns, peanuts, 
  • pumpkin {mouse nibbles a pumpkin}
  • fall leaf tree with branches and a squirrel hole
  • scarecrow {this is not in the book, but I added it because we chased squirrels away from our garden all summer!} 
First they took items out of the box and sorted and divided them.

They had to share the pumpkin {both wanted it} and finally agreed to put it in the middle.

They played so well together after that and had so much fun! 

The tree became the focus for much of their play. . .

It was an oak tree, then an apple tree. . . 

I saw lots of great imagination and creative play and they asked to play with it several times a day, every day, until I took the corn out to crack for the chickens. I know this will be a fun memory for them! 

Shelling Peanuts
Fine Motor Skills Practice
Shelled Peanuts.

Then we roasted the peanuts. . . a little too much ~ I burnt them.

So I bought some dry roasted peanuts at the store to make Honey Roasted Peanuts and burnt those too.

{They were really yummy as I was testing them though! and I will have to try this again sometime ~ to make: use 1 jar roasted peanuts, 3/4 cup honey, 1/2 cup sugar and 2 tsp. coarse Kosher salt ~ melt honey and pour over peanuts, add the sugar/salt, spread on a cookie sheet and roast in the oven at 350 degrees until golden brown}.

So, I decided to make something I can't burn {something that does not require cooking} . . .

Edible Nutty Playdough
  • 1 18 oz jar creamy peanut butter
  • 6 T honey
  • 3/4 cup nonfat instant dry milk (give or take depending on consistency desired)
Nutty Playdough Acorn 

File Folder Fun:

Acorn Addition and Subtraction 
Squirrel Stash
I'm posting the following video to share a little hullabaloo that goes on in our home {to keep things real}. Honestly, I am easily overstimulated by noise and know that I am growing more patient each year. When I started homeschooling, I wasn't sure that I could do what I do! but now know that this is just one way that Father is growing me. Anyways, I am working on Squirrel Math with Malachi. Nathan gets to go the park with us for a squirrel nature study since he was the hardest worker that morning (this is normally our cleaning day) so he is trying to get Eliana dressed to go. She does not want to wear the pants he picked out (or pants at all) because she is wearing a dress. {You can see her cute outfit later in my post}.

It was not my intention to teach Malachi to sound out the words, but merely to sound out some of the word to give him clues to the words. It helped. I chose this game because he is learning how to read the numeral names in his Mathletics.

Squirrel Challenge {The Outdoor Hour}

We repeated the experiment we did last year.

Squirrel Buffet.
Little Nature Explorer

I asked the little ones some of the observation questions from Lesson 57 in the Handbook of Nature Study while we waited for the squirrels:
  • Where have you seen a squirrel? in our yard, at the park, in a tree, in a hole
  • Does the squirrel trot along or leap when running? leap
  • Does it run straight ahead or stop along the way to look around? looks around
  • When climbing a tree, does it go straight up or move around the trunk? moves around the trunk
  • How does it climb a tree? with sharp claws
  • How does it get tree to tree? by jumping
Most of the squirrels we saw were grey, like this one:

 But this one was more reddish:
Is this a red squirrel?
Their top 4 foods were:
  1. Tortilla Chip
  2. Cookie
  3. Unshelled Peanuts
  4. Black Oiled Sunflower Seeds
They ate most of the food right there, but they ran off with the peanuts ~ one at a time. Elli and I followed one and watched it bury the peanut!  

"They do not have cheek pouches, so they must carry one nut at a time. Each nut is burried separately in a hole two to three inches deep; each squirrel may bury hundreds of nuts. In winter, they dig them up when food is scarce. . . ", page 201
I thought it was interesting to know that squirrels rely on their memory to find the nuts {and often do not find them all}.

Balancing like a squirrel.

Later that week, Nathan came running into the house and told me I had to come see something.

He watched a squirrel bury something by this tree.

It was a plum!

Delightful Links:

Tot School @ 1+1+1=1 (More ideas for ages 1-3)
Preschool Corner {& 5K too!} (More ideas for ages 4-5)
Nature Explorers ~ Squirrels (Our squirrel study last year)
Squirrels and Acorns @ Along the Way (More inspirational fun)