Let’s start with our book list. It is really long, because we covered SO much with this one week of stuff.
- The Bee Tree by Patricia Polacco. We got introduced to Patricia’s books this week, and The Bee Tree was the absolute favorite that got read over and over.
- Thunder Cake by Patricia Polacco. Another old-timey summer story by this author. With a recipe!
- The Listening Walk by Paul Showers. A great one to inspire your own walk through the neighborhood to experience the sounds of summer.
- Summertime in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (My First Little House Books series, adapted from the Little House books). A great intro to the Little House books!
- When I Was Young in the Mountains by Cynthia Rylant. Another book reminiscent of summers past.
- The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant. I can relate to this one – having done plenty of summer road trips as a child!
- Sweet Dreams by Lisa McCue. Cute cuddly bunnies on a warm summer night make this a favorite.
- What Makes the Seasons? by Megan Montague Cash. Not quite a favorite, but a nice factual overview of the seasons with brief text and bright illustrations.
- What Will the Weather Be? by Lynda DeWitt. Another fact-filled science book that was good for one read-through.
- Ulaq and the Northern Lights by Harriet Peck Taylor. A northern lights favorite – beautiful illustrations and a fun romp through some of the traditional stories behind the northern lights.
- Let the Lynx Come In by Jonathan London. A fantastical winter tale that incorporates the northern lights and gets my daughter’s imagination going…
- Nightlight by Jeannine Anderson, Nikki Johnson, Joy Dey. Definitely an Esmé favorite about two bears named Aurora Mae and Borealis Burl – it incorporates both northern lights and fireflies. Esmé referred to it as the “promenade” book – I guess that word grabbed her in the one sentence where it talks about the bears promenading through the forest.
- Aurora: A Tale of the Northern Lights by Mindy Dwyer. Another fantastical tale; Esmé particularly enjoyed the illustrations.
- The Blizzard’s Robe by Robert Sabuda. There seem to be no end to good books about the northern lights!
- Under the Night Sky by Amy Lundebrek. A good one if you’re wanting something a little less fantastical and more contemporary.
- Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney. An award-winning book with a great message about making the world more beautiful. Especially enjoyed because we also checked out the Scholastic DVD with this story on it.
- Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert. A favorite we’ve read before – simple and a great way to learn plant names for those kids who already know their colors… :)
- Growing Vegetable Soup by Lois Ehlert. Another colorful gardening favorite that introduces common veggies.
- Sunflower House by Eve Bunting. And another classic about planting and summer. I keep wanting to try this out ourselves…
- When Lightning Comes in a Jar by Patricia Polacco. Another of Patricia’s books – this one fits the firefly theme, and leaves Mom teary-eyed for some reason, thinking of family reunions past.
- Fireflies by Cheryl Coughlan. Simple factual nonfiction; Esmé was intrigued with it AFTER she fell in love with fireflies in other storybooks. (This is the book Mom's house key was found in by accident, after days of searching.)
- About Birds: A Guide for Children by Cathryn Sill. Lovely illustrations; very simple text for little ones.
First off, we talked about what causes seasons and summer – the tilt of the earth and all that. Esmé checked it out on our globe.
There were lots of colorful unit study pages like this one, where Esmé had to circle the season she was born in:
Or one where Esmé had to draw something our family enjoys doing in summer: jumping rope and getting freckles.
Or one where Esmé had to draw our state tree. Oregon’s is the Douglas fir. She drew the one on the left!
We put together a lapbook. Esmé cut out some of it, but Mom did most of it plus all the writing, with a little dictation help!
We studied up on the northern lights. Here is a drawing Esmé did:
And a painting – first Esmé drew with crayons, then covered it all with black watercolor.
We also studied up on fireflies. Here’s a firefly maze she worked on.
We studied up on cool summer treats and how they were invented, like popsicles (by accident at age 11)…
…and snow cones (minus cones) (by Romans)…
…and ice cream (for royalty)!
We studied about birds and made a bird puppet.
We tried making fun summer music, like with this drum Esmé made.
We did fun summer things inside, like playing games like Uno…
And writing the alphabet for fun – all by herself. She stopped when she got to N, because her Ns were just so "beautiful" she had to make them again and again.
And drawing for fun. Guess which one is the princess and which is the ugly old lady.
And we did fun summer things outside, like go to the county fair (and win a dolphin).
And practice tennis with Daddy.
And make chalk paint…
…to paint with in front of the shop.
And play in Esmé's sand pit.
And pick flowers.
And make sun prints on construction paper (after she cut the paper into a heart – freehand!)
And feed the neighbors’ horses.
We took nature walks, where Esmé got to take photos of things, like the birds we were studying…
…and she studied a different leaf every day of her choice.
And Esmé practiced peeling and cutting the ONE cucumber we salvaged from our little garden. It was very good!
THAT was summer!