Week 2: Buggin’ Out (Days 2-5)

Ok, so I’ve been a bit of a slacker in regards to the blog this week. I spent A LOT of time in the car this week sharing in carpooling Luke and his friend to art camp, going to and from Noah’s swim lessons, doing some fun outings with Noah, and running an epic amount of errands. I’m sure any mom out there would agree that it is FAR easier, faster, and more enjoyable to take care of errands with ONE kid in tow. Since I knew Luke would be gone this week, I purposely saved up a bunch of tasks that Noah and I could take care of. Noah is actually a GREAT shopping buddy. Although he’s almost 4, he doesn’t mind riding in shopping carts if I want to just plow through a store, he doesn’t beg for this, that, and the other thing on the shelf, he is quiet in the car, and he actually enjoys being helpful by putting items in the cart or on the conveyer belt or whatever needs to be done. He even helps me carry the bags in the house when we get home!

As you can see from this post’s title, I’m going to cover what Noah and I did for the remainder of the week since Mommy Summer School was in very brief and sporadic snippets this week.

Day 2: We didn’t do any SS activities today because this was a big errand morning, Noah had a swim lesson at 11:00, and we had a play date scheduled with an old teaching friend from Loudoun County and her two kids at 12:15. When the play date was over, we went straight to the library to pick up my new library card and check out some books and videos to go with our bug theme. From there, we had to pick up Luke and his friend from art camp. Poor Noah put his bathing suit on at 9:30am and remained in it until about 4:00pm when we finally got home! It was just easier than trying to change him into clothes then back into swim stuff then back into clothes…all on the go. Hey, it was a hot week… The only “buggy” things we accomplished today were: checking out from the library and reading The Bugliest Bug by Carol Diggory Shields (adorable story!), checking out from the library and watching a little bit of “Bug Buddies”–a Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids DVD, and going to PetSmart to purchase crickets to feed the African fat-tailed gecko that we are petsitting this week for a guy on Andy’s team at church. This last errand was a fun one to have to run on bug week, plus it’s just always a cool outing to visit the pet store and say hello to all the animals there. Living proof that there is a lizard living in my house right now:



Day 3: I was so exhausted from being in the car so much and running so many errands in the disgusting heat and humidity on Day 2, that I just craved STILL time in the cool, dark basement play area today. Noah was happy to oblige, so we played many rounds of Don’t Let the Bugs Fall and built these two bug 24-piece jigsaw puzzles several times:



Noah would just be content to always build board puzzles unless I forced him to venture out and do jigsaw puzzles. He can put board puzzles together so quickly and doesn’t do any that have the picture underneath the pieces, but somehow when I give him a jigsaw, he momentarily panics and says that he can’t do it. So we really worked today on first turning all the pieces over, secondly separating the pieces into two piles–border pieces and middle pieces, building the border first, then finishing with the middle. After doing both puzzles with him twice, I made him do each one on his own including the sorting. Hopefully he’s got it down now because I’ve got a lot of Luke’s old 24 and 48-piece jigsaw puzzles packed away that I would love to get out for him.

Today we also read a lot of bug books from the Tub of Knowledge (will post a book list from this week later), and Noah got to practice his cutting with scissors (per the request of his preschool director in preparation for his pre-K2 class this fall) as we prepared some materials for the next day.

Day 4: Since Daddy leaves for Kenya again on Sunday, he was home from work today and was thoughtful to give me the morning “off” to get in some personal space before I fly solo for the upcoming week. However, the three of us spent the afternoon together at the O. Orkin Insect Zoo which is just one of the many fascinating exhibits at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Check out some information about the zoo here. The majority of the creatures housed in the zoo are live, and I have to say that it was pretty funny to watch Noah press his face up against the glass cages in an attempt to find their inhabitants then to jump back in surprise when he realized that some enormous bug was actually right in front of his face but had just been incognito at first. We saw all kinds of neat spiders (one was as big as my two fists put together…not lying!), interesting underwater bugs, a bee hive with hundreds of live bees inside making honey, and so much more. At certain times on certain days, entomologists will bring a selection of unique bugs out into the middle of the zoo on a cart. They are all in jars initially, but the entomologists will then take them out one at a time, allow people to hold them or touch them, and will talk a little about those bugs. By the time we got to that part of the zoo, a demonstration was already mostly underway, but we did get to see a large Madagascar Hissing Cockroach, which we were already familiar with since we have one named Manny who lives in Luke’s room, and some kind of enormous grasshopper. Didn’t catch the name of that one. The other bug exhibit that is really cool at the museum is the Butterfly Pavilion which is an enclosed space that you can walk through to see tons of free-flying butterflies just flitting around the garden of exotic and tropical plants. While the museum is free, this exhibit does require paid-for tickets, but I believe on Tuesdays you can get in for free for a 15 minute increment. For those who live in the DC area, it was an easy Metro ride and about a 3-5 minute walk from the Smithsonian Metro stop to the museum steps. Great little outing!



Later that evening after dinner, Noah and I did some activities that focused on the basic math concepts of sorting, counting, and matching. These activities came from the Bug Theme portion of the Pre-Kinders website that I referred to back in the Day 1 post from this week. The Pre-Kinders site shows the students using a set of cute plastic bugs that the teacher had purchased. She includes the website if you are interested in purchasing the bugs for yourself, but I’m trying to keep this whole summer school thing as low-cost as possible, so I opted for two packages of fuzzy pom-poms from the dollar bins at Target. Also in the dollar bins, I found a package of stick-on googly eyes. So for $3 my plan was to have Noah and I make our own little bugs, but when he burned himself on hot glue after putting together only his second fuzzy bug, he was out. At least he humored me when I said, “Pretend that these pom-poms are little, fuzzy, creepy crawlies.” His initial response was, “Well, that’s just a joke,” but at least he went with it for the activities. Anyway, here’s the rundown of what we did…

Sorting “bugs” by color:


Identifying numbers and counting out “bugs” for each number:



By the way, the jar printables are from the Pre-Kinders site. These are the materials that Noah helped me color and cut that I referred to in the post from Day 1. There are more color jars than what I used, but that’s because we didn’t have orange and purple pom-pom bugs! Also, the number jars go up to 12, but we had just been focusing on numbers 1-8.

Memory Matching:


Making a Pattern:


The memory matching cards are also on the Pre-Kinders site. I printed out two sets, colored them, cut them out, and mounted them on construction paper so that Noah couldn’t see the picture through the back of the white paper.

Day 5: We played hooky to spend time with Daddy and help him get ready for Kenya! Of course all week we have continued to review the special sight words for the week, read books from the Tub of Knowledge, and just generally try to pay attention to bugs whenever we see them. For example, when I was tidying up the flower beds and trimming the bushes in front of the house, I would call Noah over from riding his bike when I would come across any kind of bug, and the two of us would just watch it for a minute or two to see how it would act, count how many legs it had, etc. In the evenings, Luke has continued to share with us about his bug art camp, read at least one Early Reader, and do the day’s work in his Summer Bridge Workbook. He was so wiped at the end of each day, that I didn’t ask him to continue keeping up with his “Diary of a Bug Artist” mini-book that we made earlier in the week. I have hopes to get him back to it, but I have a feeling he won’t want to do that once we move onto a new theme.

Extra Activities that we didn’t get to this week:

  • Discuss and draw the butterfly life cycle then act it out using movements taken from the Eric Carle Exchange website
  • Make a fruit salad using the fruits listed in The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Practice counting when purchasing the fruits from the grocery store.
  • Make marble paint spider webs as shown on the Pre-Kinders website as an art project
  • Play the Bug Grid Game as shown on the Pre-Kinders website to practice math concepts
  • Catch fireflies in a jar before bedtime

Buggin’ Out Book List:

The Pre-Kinders website has a great book list, but here is a list of the books from our Tub of Knowledge this week that I didn’t already mention in.

  • Creepy, Crawly Baby Bugs (Sandra Markle)
  • Chirping Crickets (Melvin Berger)
  • Miss Spider’s Sunny Patch Kids (David Kirk)
  • The Grouchy Ladybug (Eric Carle)
  • Big Bug Fun (Joanne Oppenheim)
  • I Can Read About Insects (Deborah Merrians)
  • Buzz! (Melvin Berger)
  • Armies of Ants (Walter Retan)
  • Backyard Insects (Millicent E. Selsam and Ronald Goor)
  • Insectlopedia (Douglas Florian)
  • The Wacky Wedding: A Book of Alphabet Antics (Pamela Duncan Edwards)
  • What is an Insect? (Lola M. Schaefer)
  • The Ladybug Blues (Linda Ripa…yes, this is Kelly Ripa’s sister!)
  • Creepy Beetles! (Fay Robinson)
  • Insects (John Grassy)
  • Bugs! (David T. Greenberg)
  • Bugs! (Christopher Nicholas)
  • The Icky Bug Alphabet Book (Jerry Pallotta)
  • How Do Flies Walk Upside Down? (Melvin and Gilda Berger)
  • Bugs (Nancy Winslow Parker and Joan Richards Wright)
  • Have You Seen Bugs? (Joanna Oppenheim)

I’ll try to keep up better with the blog in the coming week!



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