Thursday, November 27, 2014

Read: The Salamander Room

Our co-op has been choosing various book titles, and exploring further into the themes covered in each book. Thus far, we've done "The Story of Ping", where the kids explored density and tested if objects would sink or float, and also fed the ducks at Botanic Gardens. We also read "Blueberries for Sal", and the kids had a field time dropping things into their buckets to see what sound they would make. 

I was in charge of planning the activities for "The Salamander Room". In the story, Brian finds a salamander in the woods, and brings it home. His mother asks him various questions on how he would care for his new pet, and he gives her very thoughtful answers. As he replies her, we see his room transform slowly, based on his descriptions, into a beautiful woodland scene. Trees grow, birds take flight, bullfrogs nestle in leafy corners. 

For the session, we met at the zoo, as I hoped we would be able to walk about and look at various animal habitats. However, we didn't manage to really walk much, since the craft activity took awhile! The kids all brought along a cardboard box, and were given air-dry clay (from Popular) to make their own salamanders. They filled up their box with things described in the book: pebbles, leaves, along with pictures of other animals mentioned (bullfrogs, ants, crickets, birds). I printed a sheet of pictures for the kids to cut out and paste into their "salamander rooms" if they so wished. 

Lil J's salamander room.

We continued doing up our "rooms" when we got home. So both older boys got busy painting their boxes (I helped them to draw in the trees).

Junior J's room. He spent a long time painting, and painted in blue around the trees to represent water in a swamp.
He also added in more salamanders (in blue), some birds, as well as a snapping crocodile
(you can see him peeking out on the bottom right).

I loved what they did with their boxes. It's amazing what you can come up with using a cereal box and some paints. We also experimented and learnt how to mix primary colours to get brown paint. 

Junior J also painted the forest floor. He said the white patches were mushrooms.

Since I was so busy running the activity, Junior J only got to do his salamander at home. While we were at it, Lil J made another one, and I gave my test version to Junior J. We added googly eyes to them, and filled up the rooms with more leaves and twigs. 

It was pretty fun, and these are still being played with! 

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