We wound up with two weeks of animal classifications week. Well, more like a week and a half. It was sort of a busy week (or two) outside of tot school so we weren't able to devote as much time to the trays as we would like. We won't even get into the paint and glitter mess that Ethan decided to make in tot school while I wasn't looking so, really, we took the second half of the second week off. It was easier that way. Still, this was a great week (or two) and Ethan had a lot of fun! With everything we had going on, I slacked off at taking as many photos as I typically do, but I managed to remember to get all of the trays photographed. Ethan had a lot of fun applying his new animal classification knowledge and lingo throughout the week to the animals we saw outside. Because of conflicting weather, I wasn't able to take him to the nature center to identify the animals as I had planned, but we still were able to do so with our everyday animals who we see in our backyard.
Ethan loved making a worm farm and playing with his invertebrate friends. We used this tutorial for constructing our farm. I picked up a package of small pebbles from the educational store and also included a couple of bigger rocks from the front yard at the bottom of the bottle. Then, we topped that with a small bag of sand also from the educational store. We used some potting soil and then, after examining our worms and playing with them a little, put the worms in. Ethan insisted we add a banana peel on top because "that's how you compost, mommy" so we did. He loved watching the peel gradually disappear over the two weeks and the way he could see the worms building tunnels through the sides of the bottle. After the two weeks, we emptied our worm friends in my parent's yard and watched them slither away. Our worms were purchased from the bait freezer at Wal-Mart. I think they lucked out!
ANIMAL CLASSIFICATION SORTING
For this one, I set out two pails: one marked vertebrates and the other marked invertebrates. There was a container of some Toob animals for Ethan to sort as well as a pair of tongs. I also included a little cup with further classifications (fish, bird, reptile, mammal, amphibian). Once the animals were separated by vertebrate or invertebrate, he could then separate them further into their other classifications. He had fun with this one and once he figured out where all of the animals belong, he enjoyed playing with them throughout the week.
BACKBONES FOR VERTEBRATES
For this one, I printed out some coloring pages of different animals and included a cup of sliced up q-tips. Ethan got to add the backbones to the animals who had one. We went over how turtles actually do have backbones, against his first guess, and had fun recreating where each animal's backbone goes.
VERTEBRATE AND INVERTEBRATE SORTING
I found this tray at Goodwill and have been dying to use it, so this seemed like the perfect time. Ethan got to sort the animals as vertebrates or invertebrates into the proper side of the tray. He wasn't too into this tray and out of all of the trays, he liked this one the least. The actual Toob animals were a lot more fun to play with than the paper cut-outs.
WHO AM I?
For this one, I included some different cards with "clues" as to what each animal was. Ethan got to guess and then draw his guess. He loved this activity and once he finished all of the cards, he made me give him more clues for additional animals that he could draw.
ANIMAL SPELLING FINE MOTOR ACTIVITY
I found these little beads and sticks on clearance at Michael's a few weeks ago and it seemed like the perfect time to use them. I printed out some animals and wrote some letters on the beads and Ethan got to string them together to form the full word.
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