Showing posts with label bugs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label bugs. Show all posts

The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants -- New Picture Book Review


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

Spring begins today here! With spring we usually see a lot of ants. Today I get to share a brand new book (released today) about ants. The book is The Wonderful Wisdom of Ants by Philip Bunting. It is recommended for ages 4 to 8. I am also including an ant craft round-up to go with the book. 

Home Is Calling: The Journey of the Monarch Butterfly -- Book Review with Craft Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Over the years we have loved learning about butterflies and especially monarchs. We grow milkweed to help keep monarchs around. Today I get to share with you a wonderful new picture book about the long journey they take every autumn. The book is Home Is Calling: The Journey of the Monarch Butterfly by Katherine Pryor and illustrated by Ellie Peterson. It is recommended for ages 4 to 7. At the end of my post is a round-up of butterfly crafts and activities including a section on monarchs! It shares more than 50 ideas!

Mrs. Spring's Garden -- Book Review & Giveaway


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I am working with The Children's Book Review and Carole P. Roman to be part of the Virtual Book Tour. All opinions are my own.

Today I get to share with you another great book from Carole P. Roman. It amazes me how she writes fun fictional books full of lessons and wisdom as well as interesting nonfiction books all for kids. I have reviewed several in the past. Today's book is perfect for Earth Day as well as spring. It is Mrs. Spring's Garden by Carole P. Roman and illustrated by Leen Rosian. 

The Natural Genius of Ants -- New Middle Grades Novel about Family, Friends, Loss, Ants & More with Ant Craft & Activity Round-Up


Disclosure: I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Summertime always brings ants. Whether you are picnicking, gardening or have them in your house, ants seem to be everywhere in the summer. Today I am going to share a new middle grade novel about family, friends, loss, and learning about forgiveness with a little biology lesson on ants sprinkled in. The book is The Natural Genius of Ants by Betty Culley. I am also sharing a round-up of ant crafts and activities to go with the book.

Picture Book Extravaganza

Disclosure: I was sent these books in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Are you ready for the holidays? I know there is a saying that says one gift they can wear, one toy gift and one book gift. The next couple of weeks I am focusing on books and trying to clear off my recommendation shelves. Today I am starting with the picture books. There are books in this grouping for the very young to the older lovers of picture books. I am  going to share them by age group as best as I can, so if you are looking for picture books for older kids, scroll down. Are you ready for our picture book extravaganza? 

Summer Animal Fun -- Summertime Fun Reviews

Disclosure: I was sent these products free of charge. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As always I am providing links to the book for your convenience.

 Summertime brings thoughts of many things--beach, heat, sunshine and animals. For me there are always new and fun things to see in nature and I like to share that with Hazel. What animals do you think about in the summer? We have so many different birds, bugs and frogs that come into our lives, so today's products are going to share those things with you. This year the town cleaned out some of the creek in our back yard and we discovered frogs around. So we will begin with Fabulous Frogs by Martin Jenkins and illustrated by Tim Hopgood.

Summertime Fun Ideas from Oriental Trading

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review. I am including links to the products for your convenience but do not receive anything if you buy from them.

So one of the things that got me going on our Summertime Fun Series is this amazing review for Oriental Trading. We picked out a variety of things to review to bring different summertime activities to you. Hope you will try some of them out.

Bug Books

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copies of these book free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own, and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today I am going to share two fun books about bugs. These books are so fun with a special time for us since Hazel's class has been focusing on bugs this year. The first book is Among a Thousand Fireflies by Helen Frost and photographs by Rick Lieder. 

Honey Bees, House Fly and Itzy Spider -- Book Reviews & Crafts

Disclosure: Candlewick Press gave me a copy of these books free of charge to review. All opinions in my review are my own and I did not receive any other compensation. As in all my reviews I am providing links for your ease, but receive no compensation.

Today we are going to share three fun books about bugs from Candlewick Press. Hazel and I enjoyed all three of these books. Some were educational and others were funny and fun or a combination of them. We also found some fun crafts to go along with each of them! I hope you check them all out. We love all of them!!

The first book is Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber and illustrated by Brian Lovelock. This story is in the written in the same way as many of the Candlewick Press books about animals. There is a story about one honey bee, a scout, and then little pieces of information on the sides. We love these books and have reviewed several (Emus, Hippos, Elephants, Big Red Kangaroo). This book shares the job of a scout bee as well as information about honey bees. It is informative and fun. It also shares the jobs of all the bees in the hive and the order the bees get each job. Then at the end it discusses the threat to honey bees and ways to help. We loved it!!

Raising Ladybugs from Larvae

Today Hazel brought her ladybugs to school to share with her friends. We raised them from larvae and she was so excited to share them. The teachers were excited too since they just started a unit on bugs. Talk about perfect timing. I thought I would share them with you as well.

Last year Hazel and I raised butterflies. I thought it would be neat for her to see the cycle of life of a butterfly. I asked Hazel this year if she wanted to do butterflies again or try ladybugs. She decided on ladybugs, so we bought the ladybug house from Lakeshore Learning with our 20% off coupon and sent away for the larvae. Now ladybugs are even easier than the butterflies. The only important thing to do is to keep the sponge in the home moist. Besides that you sit back and watch. Hazel loves using the dropper to keep the moisture up, however as the larvae and ladybugs rose to the top, I took over the job to make sure we didn't have any escape.

After adding the moisture, we poured the tube into the cage and checked out the larvae. The tube had this white paper in it, and we just kept it in with the ladybugs since the larvae were climbing all over it. The small brown powdering stuff is their food. The tube arrived on March 27th.

We sat back and watched as they grew. The little spots of things became much bigger. These pictures are from April 14th. The larvae molt at least three times before going into the pupa stage.

We kept watching for the pupa stage. It was hard to see since they did not change much and really just stuck to the sides of the home. I also did not get any clear pictures because they were stuck to the sides of the plastic home. The clearest pictures of the larvae and ladybugs came from the magnifying glass on top and the sides cannot be seen well with it. Sorry!

Then this past weekend, we discovered we had ladybugs!! Of course we have also been reading books about ladybugs while watching them. We learned a few things like ladybugs have yellow blood. Some ladybugs have spots and some do not. They come in different colors. Red is the common color we all think of but they can be orange, yellow and even pink. 

Different Species Source
The resource books we have read are pictured below. They are Ladybugs by Ann Heinrichs, Ladybug by Emery Bernhard, Grub to Ladybug by Melvin and Gilda Berger, and Lucky Ladybugs by Mary Elizabeth Salzmann. The information about ladybugs mentioned in this post I read and learned from one of these books.

All of these books include a ladybug's life cycle. There are also many free resources on line to teach the life cycle. One I sent to Hazel's teacher is on Montessori Printshop. Everything Ladybug! has a good one as well.
HarAxy ontwikkeling
Ladybug Life Cycle Source: By Pudding4brains (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
The life cycle is of course the ladybugs mate and the female lays yellow eggs on a leaf. The eggs hatch and larva comes out of each egg. The larvae change and molt at least three times. Then they go into pupa stage growing a hard shell on the outside. In a few weeks the adult ladybug breaks through the hard shell. 

Ladybugs also have a few defenses to deter predators. One is their taste. They also can release a bad smelling and tasting chemical. They also can play dead so the predator will leave them alone. 

Ladybugs are also called ladybirds or lady beetles in Europe. And although they have lady in their name there are male ladybugs and female ladybugs. Since ladybugs eat aphids (bugs that harm crops and orchards), many people consider the ladybug lucky and have throughout history. They have been used and are still used by farmers to save their crops. Many farmers found using chemical pesticides also killed ladybugs (and other helpful insects and some birds) and this did more harm than good, so they now order ladybugs to come eat the pests to their crops. In fact when orange groves in California were dying due to scale insects that showed up after the ladybugs had been killed by the insecticides, millions of ladybugs were sent from Australia to eat the scale insects and saved the oranges and trees. In the Middle Ages people were so thankful for ladybugs as well as the Virgin Mary, they were called Beetles of Our Blessed Lady. Once they were believed to have magical powers including finding a single girl a boyfriend. In early America it was considered good luck to find a ladybug in a house in the winter. Ladybugs or rather ladybirds even made it into Mother Goose Rhymes. 
Ladybird, ladybird fly away home. Your house is on fire and your children are gone.
 This was a rhyme farmers used when they burnt  the vines after the harvest. They wanted to send the beetles away from the fire so they could return the next year. It was first published around 1760.

Ladybugs are also popular characters in picture books. Some we have found and read or hope to read are:

  • The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle (June's author for Virtual Book Club for Kids)
  • Ladybug on the Move by Richard Fowler
  • Ladybug Girl by David Soman and Jacky Davis (There is a whole series)
  • What the Ladybug Heard by Julia Donaldson
  • Yoo-Hoo, Lady Bug! by Mem Fox (May's author for Virtual Book Club for Kids) (a fun search for the ladybug on each page)
  • Ladybug at Orchard Avenue by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
  • Lara Ladybug by Christine Florie
  • The Very Lazy Ladybug by Isabel Finn and Jack Tickle
So that is what we have been exploring with bugs this year. Hazel has informed me that next year she wants to go back to the butterflies and then alternate each year. She loves "hatching" bugs as she calls it.

More posts and crafts on ladybugs and bugs:

Poetry, Trees and Bees

April is National Poetry Month and last Friday, April 18th was Arbor Day. We have been doing things for both of these and today I thought I would share them. A few weeks ago Hazel got her first (and second) bee sting. I went to the library looking for books on bees. The children's librarian suggested some poetry including Unbeelievables by Douglas Florian.

This book has various poems about bees and then gives details about the information shared in the poem. It is a wonderful way for children to learn more about the positive sides of bees. We learned that male bees do not sting, only females do. The male bees or drones main purpose in life is to fertilize the queen bee's eggs. 

While in the poetry section I found a few more poetry books to check out. We really enjoyed reading Butterfly Eyes and Other Secrets of the Meadow by Joyce Sidman. There would be two poems with the question of "Who am I?" or something similar at the end and then the next pages would give details about the animals or things that were described in the poems. Hazel asked to get this one out again.
We also got a few others out that we have not read yet. They are Fold Me a Poem by Kristine O'Connell George (I wanted to try the origami with Hazel), Insectlopedia: Poems and Paintings by Douglas Florian and Seeds, Bees, Butterflies and More! Poems for Two Voices by Carole Gerber (the librarian recommended this one).

Last Thursday the craft at the library was in honor of Arbor Day on Friday. I did not take Hazel with me since she was spending the day with Nonni, but I saw what they did and knew we could do it at home. Hazel also happened to ask last week to learn more about trees, so I was actually going to the library to look for books on trees. The craft was to cut a toilet paper roll in half and glue it down as your trunk. Then use green tissue paper for the leaves and they had sequins for flowers or apples or whatever. I used buttons. I gave Hazel lots of supplies to choose from and she came up with her own version. I did mine after her, so she would not get any ideas from me.

I found some stories about trees which we have been enjoying. 

Picture a Tree by Barbara Reid, we actually did artwork with this book last summer. Mighty Tree by Dick Gackenbach is a story about four tree seeds and what happens to each tree. One tree remains and keeps spreading its seeds. One thing I did not like is the seeds looked like maple seeds and the tree looked like a pine. The Family Tree by David McPhail is a wonderful tale about a boy who saves the tree, that his ancestors left when they built their farm, from being taken down for the road. Someday a Tree by Eve Bunting is about a tree that a family loves and they discover one day that it has been poisoned. The community comes together to help them try to save the tree, but it is too late. The girl however plants some of the acorns she collected from the tree near the dying tree so someday there will be another great oak.

We also took some books out to learn about trees. We have not read them yet, but the two above I think will be best. They are Be a Friend to Trees by Patricia Lauber and Tell Me, Tree All about Trees for Kids by Gail Gibbons.

So that is what we have been up to. Have you read any good children's poetry this month or learned about trees?

Virtual Book Club for Kids: In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming

Today we are going to share our April book for Virtual Book Club for Kids. This month's author is Denise Fleming. We had not read many Denise Fleming books previously, but found them to be fun. Her books have few words but beautiful pictures. She has a wonderful website full of activities to go with her books. 

Craft Kits and More from Oriental Trading

Disclosure: I was sent these items to review free of charge from Oriental Trading. All opinions in this post are my own. I did not receive any other compensation for this review.

Spring is on its way. Yesterday it was in the mid-50's and it felt amazing you. We had to get outside even though Hazel stayed home from school because she has been sick. Of course now we have rain coming that will turn to snow. Ah, New England weather--gotta love it or hate it! Needless to say we have been a bit stir crazy and cannot wait for spring, so we decided to try some of Oriental Trading's spring craft kits.

Halloween is Coming: Wiggly Halloween DVD Review & Giveaway with Halloween Crafts

Today I am going to share with you a few of our Halloween preparations as well as a wonderful DVD from The Wiggles: Wiggly Halloween. I was sent a copy of this DVD to review here (all opinions are my own) and I get to give a copy away to one of you! Thank you NCircle Entertainment for this opportunity!

The new Wiggles entertain in this friendly Halloween DVD. Now if you have been following me for any time, you may know Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. I think it has gone way overboard and lost the fun and meaning somewhere along the way. I try my best to focus on the non-scary parts for Hazel since she is sensitive and we take her trick-or-treating to family and friends houses (sometimes not on Halloween) and around our neighborhood to a few of the neighbors we are friendly with on the very early side. The past two Halloweens Steve has been working Halloween night due to storms hitting our area, so I have had to deal with the many, many trick-or-treaters we get on my own as well as getting Hazel out trick-or-treating. I do however remember the fun of dressing up and of trick-or-treating, so I really try to get Hazel excited for this.

Candy Corn Rice Krispie Treat
That being said, I found this video a perfect show to express my views. They mentioned scary things like witches, ghosts and zombies but did them in a non-scary way. The songs are fun and entertaining. Hazel favorite part is that there is a female Wiggle now. Every time the scene changed she had to point out who Emma was. It was really cute. The songs had words changed so that they would not scare young children and the whole DVD is full of fun, music and dancing. There is definitely an effort on the part of The Wiggles to get the children watching up and moving around with their dances. I also love how they feature children in so many of their songs. This DVD is a perfect non-scary celebration of Halloween for young and/or sensitive children. I know Hazel is almost too old to be enjoying them, but since she is so sensitive this is one of the few shows that does not scare her.

Above is a picture of the candy corn rice krispie treats we made with Hazel's best friend and his mom. His mother found the recipe in a magazine, but I don't know which one. I found a similar one here. They made the rice krispie treats before we got there with brown rice krispie cereal. They chose not to dye the treats to match the candy corns. They also bought Reese's Pieces instead of M&M's since the colors matched better.

Next we are sharing some of the edible bugs we made to bring over to Hazel's friend. He is always giving her presents so she wanted to give him one. We found the idea in Family Fun Magazine this month. They are made out of things like dates, prunes, raisins and dried cranberries. We also used chow mein noodles, dried bananas, white chips and sunflower seeds. The instructions called for sliced almonds, but Hazel's friend has a severe nut allergy, so we used sunflower seeds instead for the flies.

The last idea we are sharing today is our Spider Web Jar that we saw on ShinDigz DIY section. I received the fake spider web as part of the order I got to review their products. It is really easy. You need a empty and clean jar, fake spider web and spiders (which the web often comes with) and a LED tea light. Follow the instructions on their site.

Now onto our giveaway!! Here is your chance to win your own copy of The Wiggles: Wiggly Halloween DVD from NCircle Entertainment. Please follow my Giveaway Rules and just follow the Rafflecopter for what you need to do. Good luck!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

School Vacation Week--Welcome Spring!

So on top of Monday's horrible tragedy, it is school vacation week here and spring has definitely sprung. We have not had many crafts to post since our focus has been on getting outside and at night I have been processing all that has happened (and working on her knitted farm playmat which is almost finished!!). I thought I would share a few pictures from our activities this week. (I know I still haven't done my Cinderella post this week, but am working on it!)

On Monday our day was spent going to the doctor's office--yes Hazel still has a cold and getting Hazel's dance class photo taken. A busy tiring day, but not much to show for it.

On Tuesday Hazel took a class at Drumlin Farm with her best friend from school. Now her friend's mom and I started with them, but parents were not suppose to be there. I didn't get many pictures since I explained to Hazel that moms were not allowed and she was all right with it, her friend however did not feel the same so his mom got a few pictures for me. I went off to the gift shop and then checked out the animals so I would know if we wanted to see them all later and then found a quiet place to sit and knit. The class was on cold-blooded animals so they were ponding a bit.
After their class ended we had a picnic lunch and then went to check out all the animals including the 12-day-old piglets. Hazel and her friend found a door open to an empty chicken coop, so they hopped in and his mom took a picture of them caged.
Then we did Hazel's favorite thing--the hay ride.
Then we bought farm fresh eggs and went to the gift shop. I promised Hazel she could get two gifts since she had been so good at the class without me. This class was meant to be a test run for both of them to see how they would do with each other and not us. Hazel passed and her friend did not (but he did not have a good night the night before so that might be why). While in the gift shop I bought more bird seed as well so his mom went to get the car instead of us carrying the huge bags the distance to the parking lot. (Drumlin Farm is a Mass Audubon location.)
Near the gift shop was one of the few places you can eat due to the working farm and health violations, so the kids enjoyed their M&M's from lunch while we waited.

Today was one of those wonderful spring days that got close to 70 without quite reaching it. We had to take the cats to the groomers and run a few errands, but we spent the afternoon outside. First we went to check on the flowers (see collage near top) and vegetables we planted. We watered some and noticed the English daisy looked dug up so we replanted it and gave it lots of water. Then Hazel watered her pansies. Then we headed to her garden to check on the lettuce--looks like the rabbit found it and snap peas and pansies. The basil was planted a bit too early, so we will have to get more. Oh, and Hazel watered the tomato plants that are in the garage still since it is over a month too early to plant them outside here. Then it was time to play!
Hazel took a little rest on her bench at the swingset and then went on the swings. A neighbor across the street brought her three-year-old granddaughter over since her granddaughter wanted to meet Hazel and they played for a bit. Overall it was a fun day!

For those looking to help with the horrific tragedy in Boston, CNN has a good list of ways anyone can help.