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Here are a few of my favorite links that I came across while teaching seasonal animal behaviors observed during the fall and winter months:

A to Z Kids Stuff| Hibernation
Flying to Survice – An online game exploring hazards of bird migration
Printable Bird Identification Cards
Winter Is All Around Us
BLAST Early Learning: Hibernation
Fall Into Winter

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Many of my lesson plans call for the use of puppets. I had to think long and hard about how to pull this off. I originally intended to use this huge, standup piece of cardboard as a “stage.” However, this entailed that I hide behind the thing and hold my hands high above my head–while I crouched down–for quite some time. After one showing, I realized that never in this life time would I try that again. (A car accident pretty much killed my ability to lookup or hold my hands over my head for any period of time without suffering excruciating pain. OUCH!) Anyway, I had relatively recently obtained a sewing machine through a friend. I am quite aware of beautiful fabric puppet theaters that are meant to hang in doorways, and I decided to try and make one myself. In fact, I found a tutorial to makes such a theater on the Crafterholic site. Of course, I would discover– only after purchasing yards of fabric–that the sewing machine did not work. I refused to be deterred, however. I sewed the whole thing up by hand! It’s lopsided, but it works and my son thinks it’s fantastic. I figure, that’s all that matters, in the grand scheme of things.

Puppet Theater

Puppet Theater

This year, my son is in on the homemade action. He spends quite a bit of time helping create some of the learning materials that we use. Here, he has created cards representing food stuffs eaten by birds. During creation, we spent quite a bit of time discussing what might happens to various insects, berries and small animals during the winter. We then determined whether or not the availability or lack thereof of certain food items or animals might promote (or not) the need to migrate.

Bird Food Cards

Bird Food Cards

Due to limited funds and time constraints, it is necessary to produce the occasional educational game without the hoopla, planning and sheer material cost that has gone into some of our other ventures. I had intended to create several learning games around September’s theme, but I needed something incredibly inexpensive yet fun. For some unknown reason–probably the hours spent ruminating on topics like “Game” and “Frugal”–I thought of some of the games that I had seen on the Price’s Right. I haven’t actually seen the show in decades, but I remember some of the more interesting moments. After further thought, I realized that I could repurpose some of the game ideas for homeschool. Hence, Buggo! was born one night.

Buggo! as the name suggests revolves around the tactics that insects use to migrate, hibernate or adapt to survive winter. Buggo! consists of a series of paper bags that each hide a beehive, map to warmer climes, leaf dens or other means employed by insects for survival. The child then pulls an insect card out of a basket and then tries to guess which bag holds the corresponding “wintering” behavior/resource. But, watch out! There are threats lurking in a few extra bags along with a coupon redeemable for a small toy. Obviously, Buggo! became a HUGE success and was requested often.

Buggo!

Buggo!

It’s been a few days! My adorable son was prescribed an asthma drug called Flovent for a chronic cough. This resulted in two weeks of unrelenting chaos. My high-energy son turned into an aggressive, raging little boy. I looked on line to discover that this drug contains a steriod, and these were very common side effects! In fact, in some instances, the side effects become so entrenched that they are long-lived and persist well after treatment with Flovent stops. Seems hardly worth it for a mild cough. My son is now off Flovent at the doctor’s advice while they mull an alternative to what may simply be a ragweed allergy.

Calm Before the Storm

Calm Before the Storm