What to teach at home? This wonderful theme on Life cycles!
TIRED OF WONDERING WHAT TO TEACH YOUR LITTLE ONES AT HOME? WHY DON’T YOU FOLLOW THIS WONDERFUL THEME ABOUT “LIFE CYCLES”
THIS POST GIVES YOU A THOROUGH OUTLINE ON WHAT TO TEACH EACH WEEK IN ALL AREAS OF LEARNING!
Life cycles is always a popular theme in schools with children in the Early Years (EYFS). It’s all about changes and being aware that things around us change and go through their own cycle of life. Our theme which consisted of 4 weeks featuring 4 different life cycles: plant, chicken, frog and butterfly. You can take each of our weeks learning and weave them into your homeschooling year, or like us you can do them all in 4 weeks. As usual I begin each theme with a complete overview of what we may cover. This includes our progress in Phonics and reading, maths, Qur’an, Islamic Studies. In other words we take all areas of our learning and keep going but switch it up a little with a new over arching theme. Each week was to be spent focusing on one life cycle.
WEEK 1: THE LIFE-CYCLE OF A PLANT!
We started the whole theme with the life cycle of a plant mainly because we wanted to see its real change over the weeks whilst we were still looking at other different life cycles. We went straight in with planting seeds and looking at what helps plants grow. Here are the 2 activities we did.
First up – we planted wheat grass. All you need to do is soak some wheat seeds for a few hours (this speeds up the sprouting process). Then show children the steps to planting or in our case sprouting seeds. We filled our containers with a thin layer of soil, followed by sprinkling a handful of the pre-soaked wheat. We finished by spraying the soil with water. The spraying of water should continue 3 or 4 times a day (maybe less for those in non-desert land). Basically ensure the soil is moist. After a few days you’ll start noticing roots and even some shoots. It’s amazing watching the process with the kids.
Our second Science activity also required observation but it was a matter of hours before we noticed some changes. We wanted to see how water transports through plants to help keep them alive. We simply added coloured water to a clear plastic cup and snipped a white flower from our bouquet and popped it into the cup. The flowers start colouring within a few hours. I’d suggest a 1/4 full cup and a few drops of food colouring. We followed up with as Art session, an observational drawing of our flower, of course this was also to remind ourselves of what the flower looked like before the water travelled up the stem into the petals.
We continue focusing on our phase 3 phonics this week. Our 4-5 yr olds looked at sound /ee/. As usual I begin with a powerpoint introducing the sound /ee/. We don’t do any writing on this day. We just get familiar with the sound. We look at and attempt to read words with the /ee/ sound. Here’s a little of what we did. Our 3-4 yr olds practised the sound /v/ this week and it fit in perfectly with our topic on plants.
In Numeracy, we focused on Number bonds to 10. It required a lot of practical working out and understanding and it is something we definitely will be reviewing over again. However the basic concept was understood by most of the children.
Arabic & Islamic Studies:
In Islamic Studies this month we decided to look at Allah’s name. We felt this fit in perfectly with the whole 4 month theme on life cycles. So this week we looked at Allah’s name al-khaaliq. We found the perfect craft as inspired by Gemma at Our Muslim Homeschool. We introduced Allah as the creator of all things. We then looked at how we write Allah’s name in Arabic and made a poster using nature!
WEEK 2: THE LIFE-CYCLE OF A CHICKEN!
This was a lovely week as we had arranged a trip to the farm for learning through experience. You can easily tie in a farm trip or work around this topic after a visit to the farm. We decided to arrange our trip after a few days of learning. So we started by looking through the life-cycle of a chicken in the books we had and a video of a chick hatching. To help the children remember the life-cycle of a chicken we followed up with this paper plate life cycle of a chicken craft. To prepare for our trip to the farm we also squeezed in a baking activity with the children the day before the trip.We made chocolate filled dough balls!
At the Farm Trip – we enjoyed feeding the chickens, looking at the chicks, collecting duck and quail eggs at the farm.
We looked at the /ai/ sound this week with our 4-5 yr olds and had an exciting session with our 3-4 yr olds learning all about the sound /j/ by making jelly!
Pur 3-4 yr olds practised counting amounts, ordering numbers and matching numbers to amounts. Our 4-5 yr olds enjoyed practical addition week.
Arabic & Islamic Studies:
I love to see what the girls are learning in Arabic each week. Ammarah was able to use the fab letter connectors by ilmproject to write our names. Hibah was super proud of her art work 🙂
In Islamic Studies we looked at Allah’s name – al-Musawwir – the fashioner, the one who shapes us. After introducing the name to the children we read a story about how Allah creates everything from the sea creatures to the plants to all of us too. We discussed how everything is formed in different shapes and sizes. To follow up we made our own clay pots and shaped our pots. It was a very important session where we discussed how we couldn’t actually make a bird or a plant as only Allah was the creator.
WEEK 3: THE LIFE-CYCLE OF A FROG!
In this week, we looked at the life-cycle of a frog. We started with looking through our life cycle of a frog book and a power point found on twinkl. The children then helped order the life-cycle of a frog figurines we had, looking at photographs and close ups of each stage. They also made their life cycle of a frog wheel by cutting and sticking and putting the stages and labels in the correct place using a lovely template from Twinkl. Our younger learners made paper plate frogs! One of my fave activities this week was our origami jumping frog race!
We looked at the sound /oa/ this week, it fit in perfectly as we also looked at the word toad and explained how it belongs to the family of amphibians along with frogs. Our younger learners looked at the letter Zz this week and enjoyed making their craft.
This week we introduced take-away in Numeracy. We used the theme of frogs to help us understand take-away. We made up stories of frogs jumping off lilly pads and counted out how many were left.
Arabic & Islamic Studies:
In Islamic Studies we continued with learning about Allah’s names and focused on Allah’s name al-Wahaab. Allah is the one who gives. In order to understand this we thought about how much Allah gives even to those who don’t thank him. So we made a card for our mums, the give them a card and make them happy!
In Arabic the children have been continuing learning about letter forms, how to make letters using the different forms of letters depending on where they are in the word.
WEEK 4: THE LIFE-CYCLE OF A BUTTERFLY!
Our final week of life-cycles consisted of revisiting the life-cycle of a butterfly, a project Ammarah, Hibah and I did over the summer holidays in England. For more on that click here. We began the week as usual looking at our lifecycle of a butterfly book but this time Ammarah was able to present with my help our experience of growing butterflies at home. The rest of the children looked through the pictures of our caterpillars when they arrived and how they grew so big, eventually forming into chrysalis and then transforming into butterflies.
We followed up our learning by making our butterfly life-cycle wheels using paper plates, paper butterfly folding craft, tissue paper butterfly and butterfly symmetry art.
A little look at our Phonics learning this week. We begin by introducing the sound with an action and looking at how the letters it contains: /oo/ I usually draw some pictures like below and allow the children to guess what I’ve drawn before they attempt to write the words on their own. I only help by drawing sound buttons. Then together we sound and spell the words. By the end of the week, the children attempt to write captions or sentences. We focus on finger spaces more than punctuation although I have started showing them how it should be written.
We continued take-away this week too and brought out our butterfly symmetry match puzzles as well. After a little recap of take-away using our practical methods, cubes and lego bricks, the children were able to solve their Butterfly Subtraction Puzzle which I found on Twinkl.
Arabic & Islamic Studies:
In Islamic Studies we continued with Allah’s names and looked at Allah’s name ar-Razzaaq – the provider. We talked about how Allah provides for all the creatures and plants and people in this world even when they do not ask. We celebrated the end of this theme by having a party, where all the children brought in some finger food. This also allowed us to talk about how Allah provides for us through others too. Our rizq or provision is in Allah’s hands.