October 11, 2004

Car Day

The kids have been patiently waiting for "car day" during our two weeks of the letter C. As we focused so much last week on campaigning with the president's visit being the central focus we let it go. The kids however were unwilling to start D until we had our "car day." So it was today.

We began in Ciaran's bedroom on the floor going through his huge tub full of cars. We pulled them out one at a time and classified them in groups. We would start by asking "What do we use this for?" and then "What kind of car does that mean it is?" and then "What grouping or class of cars should it go with?" and so on for all the cars. We broke them into the following basic groups: service (emergency, fire, police, tow truck, mail, etc), construction (dump truck, cement mixer, lifter, etc), farm vehicles (tractor, plow, etc), recreational (motorcycles, dune buggies, rv's, sedans, etc), trucks, and racing cars. After we grouped them we drove them around and played a few games with them. I would ask them to find an orange service vehicle and then tell me what it was and what it did and then play with it the way it would be used. At one point I was a race car that broke down and they sent a police car and an ambulance and then a tow truck. It was a lot of fun.

Then we moved downstairs and I had them sort the other cars on our train table into similar groups while I prepared the next activity. Then we did "car painting" where I set out little dishes of paint and they get to drive their matchbox car through the paint and all over their paper making different designs with the wheels and the tracks the car makes. After they are through with their painting they drive their car to the car wash (bucket of hot soapy water) and through the rinse (bucket of cold water) and hand dry it (with a towel). This is always a favorite activity in our house and they both really enjoyed it. To make it more feasible and neat with Sirah they had to take turns. One person would paint with me while the other stayed downstairs with Sirah so she would not get into the paint and water.

Then they drew cars on the chalkboard while I nursed Sirah to sleep. Once she was asleep it was story time - we read several books about cars. We named different kinds of cars in the book and actually learned most of the parts that make a car run and what happens when you turn the key on. We talked about this throughout the day. Then it was lunchtime and after lunch Rhiannon did some school work while Ciaran napped. She read from her phonics bible, did math worksheets on simple subtraction and addition. She does these easily with her abacus and is even starting to do some of it in her head. She does struggle with writing the numbers neatly and sometimes writes them backwards. She also did a dot-to-dot of a car and we did several jigsaw puzzles online of a variety of cars at a great free site called JigZone. Fun for kids and parents alike as you can control the difficulty level.

After naps we headed out in the car for a car ride and then of course to the car wash. We cleaned the car inside and out and the kids pretended the car wash was under the sea like in the "Car Wash" book we read today. Sirah did NOT like the car wash and that was the only down side to the otherwise fun day - once we were outside again though she was fine. During our car ride we spent time looking at the wonderful fall leaves.

This year Minnesota fall is beautiful and lasting a bit longer than usual. Fall has always been my favorite season and this year it almost feels like I am back in the Northeast which has beautiful falls. The car day was a success.

We ended the evening with storytime at the library. Sirah ran around the library playing with the stuffed animals, climbing on the chairs, pulling books off the shelves and reading them. Ciaran listened to about half of storytime and then was off to play a computer game. Rhiannon on the other hand LOVED storytime and listened patiently to all the books even though many were designed for younger children.

All is all it was a good day and a nice transition to get us back on track after our unit study last week. We focused so much on hands on activities that I was a bit concerned for the reaction I might get today - but it went very smooth and I think car day allowed a nice transition back into work and activities.


1 comment:

  1. I am going to use this concept! What a great idea for younger children :)

    Glad to hear you are also teaching your children about the election.