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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Toddler Fun, Week 7: Letter E, Number 7, Gray and Elephants

Elephants are awe-inspiring.  They burry and mourn their dead, touching one another is important, the calf/mother relationship is tender and long-lasting, they recognize themselves... they are amazing.  I've always really liked them, and I'm so glad Aidan does too!  So, here is our elephant week - I hope you enjoy it!

Week 7

Letter: E
Number: 7
Color: Gray
Animal: Elephant


1. Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens
We have zoo memberships, so really, we spend as much time there as we can. We recently spent the morning there with some friends, and had a wonderful day! The elephants are really great, and you can look at them from out of a cave, which makes it that much more exciting for our little boy.

2. "Elephants Never Forget" Memory Matching Game

I downloaded an animal matching game here.  I printed them out, cut them out, then glued them to foam paper, cut those out, glued those to scrapbooking paper, cut them out again... and now it's a matching game.  At first, we matched them all.  Then, we started with small batches - 4, 6, etc.  We turned them all 2-at-a-time, and tried to remember where we'd seen that animal last.  I was surprised at how well he did!  I could also tell the moment his brain got too tired to focus anymore, haha.  He turned into a little monkey, climbing on the ottoman, making silly faces... you know the drill. 

3. "Safari" 

I made Aidan a safari Jeep out of a box.  He's been sitting in it to watch TV, been putting all his animals in it, pushing it around... it's been a hit! 

4. Bay & Bee
 We really love our Bay & Bee membership!  It's an indoor play space based on Montessori and Waldorf teaching methods.
This week, one of the days that we went, Aidan found a recycling truck, and an elephant, and some green "peanuts".  He reenacted a whole scene from 
Paw Patrol.  One where Rocky, the recycling pup dispenses peanuts to get the elephants to follow him.  I love how much he remembered it!!!  Also, that day they happened to have a local band come and sing, and he really enjoyed dancing!  The singer's name was Mere Woodard, and you can buy her album on iTunes.  She was REALLY great!

5. Letter E Recognizing 
 For this activity, I painted a paper towel role gray, punched two holes in it, through which I strung some string.  I tied it around Aidan's head to make a "trunk".  The game was, I'd tell him the name of the letter (E, R, or F), then he had to use the trunk to touch it.  I figured it would be a great gross-motor activity - and it WAS.  But he didn't like the trunk.  So it evolved into him jumping on the letter I said, which was just as great!


1. Elephant Waffles
For this breakfast, I used a waffle, a banana, a black berry, an apple slice, and candy eyes.  Aidan ate everything but the waffle, haha!  He's such a fruit-lover!

2. Elephants on Parade
For this tasty treat, I used half a banana, pretzel, kiwi, pineapple and animal crackers.  I went through 3 little bags of animal crackers looking for elephants, and could only find two, so I added a giraffe.  Then we read A Surprise for Giraffe and Elephant.

3. Horton Hears a Who Snack
For this snack, I used apple slices, kiwi, fruit leather and a mini white chocolate chip.  I cut the apple slices to look like a trunk, the fruit leather into circles, and then little cuts in it.  Arranged it all on the plate, and there you have it!

4. Elephant Sandwich
I found some adorable sandwich cutters on amazon, and couldn't help myself.  I made Aidan's favorite turkey and cheese sandwich, used the sandwich cutter, used black olives for eyes, and a banana and kiwi for the tree and grass.  Aidan was a big fan!


1. E is for Elephant
Every week, we've been making a letter craft, to help Aidan remember the letter. Eventually we will have the whole alphabet, which will be great!  For this one, I cut out a gray "E", an ear, a trunk, two tusks and nails.  Then we assembled it all, and voila!  I think this one specifically turned out super-duper cute!

2. Elmer "Stained Glass"
I think I enjoyed this craft more than Aidan.  I took a ziplock, and cut it along the seems.  They I took the half that didn't have anything on it.  I put that on the book cover, and traced Elmer onto it, using a sharpie.  Then, I cut some tissue paper into squares.  I brushed some white school glue on it, and then we placed the squares all over Elmer.  Aidan didn't love how the glue felt on his fingers, lol.  One the glue dried, I cut out "Elmer", and taped him to the window.

3. Tinga Tinga Coloring Pages

I found some cute coloring pages featuring the Tinga Tinga characters!

Books and Media

We Read:

1. Elmer by David McKee
This is a classic.  This book is a great one to talk about how God made each of us special, and with unique giftings.  It's about an elephant, who unlike his friends is not gray, but rather multi-colored.  He colors himself gray, so he can fit in, but ends up finding out that his color and humor is what his friends love about him.

Thi is a great book for practicing and teaching manners.  It's a little dated, but being polite is not going out of style at our house, so it's a good read for a little boy!

I found this book at our library, and it looked like fun!  It's good at teaching how to be a good friend, and we've been working on sharing, so it's great for that!

4. Little Elephant's Song by Wolfram Hanel
This is a sweet story about an elephant growing up, and finding his voice.  The illustrations are very sweet, and it's an enjoyable story!

5. Babar on Paradise Island by Laurent de Brunhoff
I've seen many of the Babar cartoons as a kid, and they are sweet stories about an anthropomorphic elephant family written by French author, Laurent de Brunhoff.  In the last few years he and his wife moved to Key West.  When we were there, we found this book, and I thought it was sweet.  It's not the greatest of his books, but I enjoyed it, and the Key West references were fun for us.

We Watched:

1. Tinga Tinga Tales
We found this show on Netflix.  It's based on African (Tanzanian and Kenyan) folk tales about how different animals received their distinctive characteristics.  The very first episode is about how elephants got their trunks.  The animation is inspired by traditional TingaTinga art.  I wasn't sure how well it would keep Aidan's attention, but he really enjoyed it!

2. The Jungle Book - The 1967 version.  It has Indian elephants in it, so it was great to talk about the similarities and differences between them and their African cousin.

3. Wild Kratts, Season 1 Episode 17, "Elephant in the Room" 

4. The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That, Season 1 Episode 27, "Be Cool/Elephant Walk"

5. Horton Hears a Who (1970) - I love a classic Dr. Seuss movie!  Again, I was surprised at how well it held Aidan's attention!  Also, I love the phrase "A person's a person, no matter how small."

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