Let me start by talking about my grandios plans for this week…I had this beautiful curriculum prepared to do a week all about letter N for Noah’s Ark and lead into letter R for Rainbow next week.  With all the Rainbows for St. Patrick’s Day I thought this would be the perfect way for us to incorporate it but with a biblical twist instead. Welllll…….MK had other plans in mind. She has been completely disinterested in school ever since I started potty training RJ and got our routine thrown off. For almost 2 weeks she has not wanted to go into the “school room” (which is actually RJ’s nursery) AT ALL. And the couple times we have gone in there, we’ve only done one activity and then she was done. I was getting really discouraged because she has loved school up to this point and I certainly don’t want to force anything on her.

We took a trip to the library to pick up a bunch of books I had on reserve for our Rainbow and Easter themes. On a whim I also reserved “Blueberries for Sal.” I was planning on doing a few books following the idea of BFIAR this summer but not until we were done working our way through the Alphabet RRSP. I saw Blueberries for Sal- looked at the cover, flipped through it and thought'”my girls are not going to be interested in this”. The book is older, the pictures are just one color and not “enticing” etc. Boy, was I ever wrong! We read through the book over breakfast one morning. The girls asked me to read it again 20 minutes later. By the end of the day MK was walking around with a little tin bucket telling RJ to run along and pick her own berries. I was so shocked…I had to capitalize on this.

So I followed MK’s lead and threw my plans for the week out the window. I stayed up waaaay too late Monday night printing off printables and gathering things from around the house and put together a theme to follow the book. We read the book the next morning  while eating blueberry muffins and jumped right into the activities and went for 2 hours straight. The next day, we did the same! I was so shocked and yet so encouraged. I am such an ahead thinker and it was so against me to just scrap my ideas, but I’ve learned a lot through this week and will definitely strive to be more attentive to MK’s leading in the future!

We read the book MANY, MANY times. The girls read the book and looked through the pictures many times. They loved to study the back picture and find little details about it and match it up with the different things that we have around our home.

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The first activity after breakfast and reading was a blueberry picking race in the livingroom.

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We then counted the blueberries to see who had the most. (MK won by a tremendous lead….RJ is so into categorizing she would only pick up one particular type of blueberry. When she realized that she lost and MK got a “blueberry candy” she threw her bucket down and had a nice little hissy fit…followed by a time out in her bed to calm down.

We spent time sorting the different blueberries, dropping them in the buckets (Target store dollar bins…I LOVE these and probably have 15. They are perfect for crayons, markers and all little trinket items.) to see what type of noises each blueberry made in the pail. We used tongs to pick up the blueberries and transfer them back to their pails. Then I put them all in a little jar like we were “canning” them and the girls had fun with the jar and twisting the lid on and off.

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I pulled the rings off several of my jars that I store dried good in on the counter. The girls drew numbers and then put that many rings on their arms just like Sal did while her mother canned blueberries. RJ LOVED this (she loves anything resembling jewelry.) Then of course their dolls had to get in on the fun and put rings on their arms as well.

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We used these printables from Homeschool Creations.

Clipping the clothes pin to the correct beginning letter of each word.

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I hid all the blueberries from the printables in a bucket of rice. I then put all the numbers in a pail. They had to close their eyes and draw 2 numbers out to form the math problem and then pull that many blueberries out of the rice. Adding the rice bucket was a HUGE success! Anytime I’ve tried to do anything remotely mathematical with MK, she is turned off by it. But she always loves to play in rice so that changed her mind.

I love RJ’s face in this pic. She was trying soooo hard not to peek at the numbers.

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I let them just play in the rice for a while after the game scooping and dumping.

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Then I switched out the blueberries and put three part cards in the rice. The girls are not old enough for these cards necessarily but they like the pics and MK is getting into starting to match up words just by comparing the letters so I went ahead and gave it a try. They were not that interested except that they got to keep playing in the rice.

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Then we did some arts and crafts at the table. I drew a picture of a tin pail on a sheet of white paper and dotted the letters to their names on the pails for them to trace. Then they dipped their fingers in blue paint and dotted blueberries all over the bucket. This was their first time using finger paint on just a finger and not smearing it everywhere but they caught on quickly and the end result was very cute.

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Then I wrote their names on paper and let them dot paint their names with blue dot paint for blueberries.

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We played a lot with blue play doh. I have some wonderful playdoh accessories from when I was a child that  I just grabbed from my mom. I found one that had a mother and a child so we made little Mothers and Sals. They LOVED this and pretend played for a long time at the table with these. They acted out a majority of the story, looking for their mother, finding bears, etc.

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Then they all ate some blueberries. (I did not have a bear mold so we made chickens and sheep and pretended.)

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I had a pie picture worksheet that is intended for fractions. I put it in a sheet protector and had them draw numbers and then place that many blueberries on their pie. MK enjoyed smashing them as she counted.

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We had LOTS of pretend play. Honestly their pretend play was what spurred on the entire idea, so I just kept going with that. We used the little laminated cards as characters and acted out the story on the floor and talked about hybernation of bears (MK already knows all about this because of Curious George…I love books!)

I think in this picture Rapunzel is talking to Sal’s Mother about bears or something.

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I also pulled out their counting bears while we were talking about hybernation and just let them have some free play time with those.

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What started out as a disaster of a week turned into one of my favorite as far as school activities go. And I definitely think the girls would agree. This has also just confirmed for me that we will be doing the book themed weeks many more times in the future as they learn so many concepts just from simple stories!

We will be linking up at www.homeschoolcreations.net and www.1plus1plus1equals1.net for tot school and preschool. Jump over to those sites to find so many wonderful ideas for preschool!

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