Monday, March 24, 2014

E is for Elephant

I've had quite a gap since last posting, and I've actually been pondering quite a bit about what I want to do with this blog.  I have a few more posts to catch up on that I already have half put together, so after I finish that, I'll write a bit about the season ahead for me with this blog...
For now, catching up...
I already wrote a post focusing on some of the elephant theme things we did specifically focused on my little guy.  But, it was also a fun and full week for my kindergartener, so here are some highlights from the theme for him.
We took a field trip to the zoo together with another family who are our good friends.  The Central Zoo in Kathmandu (kind of fun that that rhymes, eh?) is the only zoo in Nepal.  It is quite a different experience than the zoos we have been to in America.  Unfortunately, the animals aren't terribly well cared for, and the animals that are there are not the typical zoo animals we think of, so we had to tweak a few printables we found for our own zoo scavenger hunt.  Isaiah has also learned his animals names in Nepali, so I was trying to get him to practice using those when he saw them, but I think he got a little self-conscious with most of them.  He did, however, keep repeating the phrase that our househelper taught him, which is "Hathi, mero sathi" (pronounced sort of like hottie may-ro sottie).  It means "Elephant, my friend."  :)

Isaiah is quite fond of helping little brother complete his tasks.

Another challenge of a trip to the zoo is that our kids, as foreigners, become as more of an exhibit than the animals themselves.  This is particularly hard for Isaiah, and we are trying to work on responding well and being able to communicate boundaries in a kinder way.  It is a fun but rather exhausting outing for us all.

Isaiah has been asking to write things, like putting the new month on our calendar and such.  
He also wanted to be the one to write the new sight words on our board for the week.  It's an exciting development since he generally has resisted doing much writing.

We were working a little on some basic telling time.  I made a zoo "schedule" for him, and he had to display each of the times on our wooden clock.

He also was eager to jump in on the elephant washing bin with Zeke.

Since he was showing some new eagerness for his writing, we went ahead and did his handwriting sheet for the week but put it in a sheet protector and used wet-erase markers, which somehow makes it more exciting, and I think with less resistance than pencil on paper, he does it with a bit more ease.

The boys had a great time doing the animal gross motor activity I found (though I can't find the original link now!) and the elephant motions I posted in the Tot School post.

I used this post from Adventures in Mommydom as an idea for a measuring activity.  We were basically showing how many of us it would take (in various combinations) to equal the height of Asian and African elephants. 

Unrelated to elephants in any way, we did a little math project that Isaiah really enjoyed.  My parents live in the Midwest of the USA, and they have just had snow upon snow upon snow.  For a week or so, my mom sent us emails listing out the number of inches of snow they got each time.  Isaiah used our unifix cubes to add up the number of inches altogether, and he was really excited to keep on adding more and more cubes and see it approach his height.  And, even better, when I told him that was the number, but then we went and pulled out the tape measure (since the cubes' dimensions aren't inches), and he realized the total amount actually reached OVER his head.  He was pretty excited about it!  

We love Mo Willems!  And, what more perfect books to get to pull out when we are talking about elephants than Piggie and Elephant books?!  I decided to make Piggie and Gerald paper sack puppets, and they were a HUGE hit with the boys!  Isaiah could cut most of the pieces and glue them on, but I had to do Zeke's for him, mostly.  I realized I haven't done puppets with my kids really because they kicked into some sort of mode of genuinely talking to the puppets and running off to collect things to show Gerald and Piggie and tell them an endless string of stories and facts.  At one point, Zeke looked at them and said, with his eyes wide, "You're in my books!"  Kind of caught me off guard and totally amused me to watch them interact with the puppets as actual characters!

I cannot take any credit for these puppets, as the idea came straight from Three Little Birds North, and she even had photos of her templates.  There just didn't seem to be templates available to download, so I really just looked and copied hers.  I noticed there were a lot of requests for the templates, so I thought I'd go ahead and post the ones I made if it might save someone some time!
I put them in google docs, so if you'd like to use the templates to make your own puppets, feel free.   
One tip for printing is to set your printer setting to black and white because the paper I made mine on were very lightly tinted pink and bluish gray, which most printers might try to print, and then it would be sort of a waste of colored ink...unless you want them to print out those colors.  But, probably a bit more economical to print on the black and white setting onto your own colored paper.  Oh, and these were made on A4 paper, but I think they should print out just fine on Letter size.


  1. Thank you SO much for these templates! They are awesome and my students are going to love them!!!

  2. thank you so much for sharing your templates!