Preschool: Cactus Math and Other Desert Fun

“Momma, we live in the woods.”
This has been one of my preschooler’s recent observations, and I think it is because she’s really understanding different climates as we have been enjoying our Desert Discovery box from Mother Goose Time.  As we studied the Mojave Desert this week, we had some special fun learning about Cacti.  
Cactus Simulation
My girl had never really seen cactus besides the little tiny ones at Lowe’s.  I asked her what she thought was inside a cactus… “I don’t know.”
MGT had a great suggestion about using a sponge and bowl full of water to simulate a cactus holding water.  I found a dry as a bone sponge in my cabinet and put just a little bit of water in a plastic bowl.  I placed the sponge in the bowl and we observed what happened. 
Her eyes lit up!  “It’s changing colors!  It’s soaking up the water!”
This simple demonstration really hit home for her.  She could understand that a cactus plant soaks water up into its trunk, that it stores it there, and can hold it for a long period of time.

Squeezing the water out of our “cactus”
I really think doing that little experiment set the whole tone to our day.  
This was one of our more special learning days in just the attitude and desire to learn.
Pokey Playdough Cactus Math
She was eager to start playing Pokey Playdough Cactus Math after that demonstration.
Our MGT Teacher Guide stated:
Play Together:
  • Make a large playdough cactus. Put number cards 1-10 face down next to the playdough and toothpicks.
  • Encourage a child to draw a card and identify the number, then stick that many “spines” in the cactus.
  • Repeat
  • Challenge:  Invite child to select and add two cards, then put the total number of “spines” in the cactus.

I knew my preschooler had her number recognition down, so I chose to do the Challenge directions, but we haven’t done a whole lot of adding.  Therefore I only used number cards 1-5 for her to do her 1 digit plus 1 digit math.  This way she could use her fingers to count.
Check out her work in the video below!
I was so impressed with her adding and she was proud of herself too!
Love those lightbulb moments!
What Am I? Storybook Writing

This week we also used our Sight Words and picture cards to practice writing.  Using a dry erase board, she practiced making her letters.   She dug out a desert animal picture card out of our sandbox (cornmeal and salt because I did not have any sand), and then told me the animal’s name.
 I spelled out the animals’ names as she wrote the letters.  I was so excited to see her lowercase “e” in the word “snake.”  

Puzzles in the Sand
Each month we receive a puzzle from MGT that matches the Storybook they also send.
I hid the puzzle pieces in the sand/dirt box, and gave my girl a paintbrush to help her search for the hidden puzzle pieces.  Using the picture in our storybook as a guide, she placed her puzzle pieces where they belonged.

As our Desert Discovery month comes to a close, here are a few more pics of some rodeo fun my girl had with her daddy as I stayed home with our son and put him to bed (he had croup last week and had to miss the rodeo.) #momlife
Riding horses around the arena
Mutton Bustin’
Too excited to give a decent smile to daddy! Ha!

Check out our other Desert Discovery fun by checking out these posts:

Be sure to come back next month as we study Bees and Butterflies!
Want to see what is in the box? Check out my friend Stacy’s post here!
Make Learning Fun, Yall!

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