Girl holding maple leaf

July Highlights: Happy Canada Day, Meeting the Summer Campers, Learning about Butterflies and Much More!

We’ve had an incredibly busy start to summer here at Discovery Child Care, meeting our new friends for summer camp, looking after our fruit and vegetable gardens and learning about some of the season’s most wonderful animals!

Looking after our gardens

The Kinders have had a very busy start to the summer! We are excited to have so many new friends in the program and have been enjoying getting to know one another. We were delighted to introduce our new friends to our Kinder Garden and to show them all of the wonderful things that are growing. 

We have been enjoying sharing the responsibility of caring for the garden as we learned that gardens need soil, sun, water and love and, since we haven’t seen much rain lately, we had our work cut out for us giving the plants the water they need to grow and be healthy. 

We were excited to taste the romaine lettuce and noticed that there are all kinds of tomatoes and peppers appearing throughout the garden. We have been sharing our garden with our Preschool friends and, together, picked the peas that were ready to enjoy for afternoon snack. The children are really proud of the work they put into growing such a delicious snack! 

We also cut some of the sweet smelling lavender to bring indoors to add to our play dough table! We decided to take our interest in growing things into the Nature Classroom where we spread fresh soil into the garden boxes before added some giant sunflower seeds that one of our families had shared with us. 

We talked about what colour they will be and we wonder how tall they may grow. We decided that, while we wait for them to sprout, we would try planting more seeds including pansies and marigold seeds we saved from last year’s garden. Each morning, we work together with the help of our Preschool friends to water the soil where we have sown the seeds, taking a good look to seed if anything is starting to grow. Nothing has come up yet but we are confident that with all of the sunshine, water and love we are giving them, our gardens will begin to grow in no time!

Meeting the summer campers!

We have had such a fun-packed and busy first two weeks with the Summer Campers!! We spent our first week playing several games together, designed to get to know one another and “break the ice”! We interviewed a friend, and introduced them to the group, made friendship necklaces and bracelets, did a “facts about me” survey, and made some pretty fantastic self-portraits! We played, “Darling if you love me”, “Broken Telephone”, “20 Questions Friend Edition”, and so many more group game experiences.

Our second week together had us exploring all things food!! We learned about where our food comes from, and the campers discussed how important it was to keep our land and our water clean and pollution free in order for us to have healthy food to eat and clean water to drink!

We got to explore our garden with Karen and harvest some yummy veggies to make a delicious salad together! We talked about what these veggies need in the garden in order to grow big and healthy for picking!! The campers picked different types of lettuce, kale, radishes, beans, and chives. We washed, dried and tossed these goodies, and then we enjoyed our feast!!

We made some delicious berry popsicle treats, ants on a log and fruit kabobs together this week and discussed how these foods were healthy for our bodies. We looked at our packed lunches, and visually charted where our foods went in the food groups. We divided into three teams for “The Great Fruit Debate”. It was so fun (and hilarious) to see what reasons the teams came up with as to why their fruit was the best. The pear team declared that their fruit was the best because they could be either hard or soft, while the grapes group argued that grapes were better because they came in cotton candy flavour. So much fun!

The highlight of the second week was our visit from Wholesome Food for Kids, and their workshop on Food Safety and Cooking. We got to do a really interesting experiment using a black light and magic lotion to show us germs on our hands. We learned that we should always wash our hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds before we cook or eat food. We then talked some more about the food groups, and about healthy food choices. We put on our gloves and hair nets and talked about why we might use those for cooking. Then the campers got to work making healthy pizzas, with whole wheat wraps, cheese and veggies. We had such a great time and learned a lot! We got our own food safety certificates and recipe cards to try at home. Thank you so much to our friends at Wholesome Food for Kids for the wonderful learning experience!

Learning about caterpillars 

We have a new friend in our Kinder room! M.B. showed up Friday morning with a caterpillar she had found in her garden to share with the class. It was crawling on a plant and we noticed it was yellow, black and white stripes. MB told us it was a monarch caterpillar! At circle, we talked about the caterpillar and the plant that it was munching on. Did you know that monarch caterpillars have 16 legs and they only eat milkweed? 

Outside, we decided to find the milkweed growing in the Nature Classroom to see if we could spot any more caterpillars or eggs. After a very close inspection, we found a lot of eaten leaves but that was about it. We did cut some of the fresh milkweed to bring in for our new friend to eat. The caterpillar has been crunching away on the milkweed for days and we have noticed that he has gotten huge! Then we noticed that it even likes to eat the flowers on the plant. After sharing the story “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carl at circle, researching monarchs in books and comparing photos to our little friend, we sat down to talk about what we know. 

We learned that the life cycle of a butterfly takes about one month from egg to butterfly with the chrysalis stage lasting for two weeks. Seeing monarchs fluttering out side has heightened our excitement about monarchs. We know that they help our gardens by pollinating our flowers, they drink nectar using a long straw like tongue and they use their feelers for smelling the air to find those flowers! Did you know that monarchs are poisonous to birds and animals? Also, they can flap their wings 5-12 times per second! We have been talking about how our fluttery friend will fly south to Mexico for the winter and even searched a map to see how far that is. He will join a flock to make this trip and we learned that this is called “migration”. 

Yesterday, we noticed that it had left the milkweed and was hanging in a “J” from the top of the butterfly habitat. We kept checking on it all day, waiting to see what would happen. When we returned to class this morning, it was gone and in its place was the green chrysalis many of us had only seen in books until now. We are anxious to see what happens but we know we have two weeks to wait before we will see our beautiful monarch butterfly.

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