Friday, 6 November 2015

Tree Fun and Bonfire Night Pancakes

Today we learnt some cool facts about trees.

It takes 50 leaves to grown one apple on a tree. An apple tree will grow between 10,000 and 15,000 apples in its lifetime. In the US, in colonial times, apples were called 'winter bananas' or 'melt-in-the-mouths'.

Harry Potter's wand is made from holly tree wood! Holly berries are a useful source of energy for birds in the winter, but are poisonous to humans.

We watched a cool video maple tree tapping on a family run farm in Canada.

We tried maple syrup while we watched it. Because you have to do that sort of thing.

Rowan trees have compound leaves with one leaflet at the top. In the US they are known as mountain ash. We have a rowan in our garden and the birds love its berries.

For centuries oak trees were used to build ships. Grey squirrels help with the distribution of acorns and oak growth success because they store individual acorns in numerous places, often forgetting where in the process. The acorns grow into seedlings and the oak tree from which they came has successfully reproduced. Red squirrels, however, store all their acorns in a pile, causing them to dry our and have less chance of sprouting. Conclusion: grey squirrels are better for oak trees.

This evening my two big girls had three ballet classes followed by a talent show at youth club.
 And these two littlies went with Papa (who was marshalling) to watch the fireworks.

Mummy chauffeured the ballet girls and made pancakes with maple syrup for post-firework yumminess. Pancakes after bonfire night has become a family tradition. No rest for the wicked!

Thursday, 5 November 2015

Malteser Acorns, Apple and Cinnamon Cake, Home-Grown Pumpkin Soup and Fly Agaric Conkers

Apple tasting. Especially funny faces were pulled when it came to the Bramley cooking apples. So bitter!

Noting their findings.

We made a yummy apple and cinnamon cake with our leftover apples.

Malteser acorns :)

An autumn walk to find tree seeds.

Autumn hedgehogs

Our pumpkins didn't grow as big as were we hoping but to have grown them from seed and cared for them since March was a great feeling. We made pumpkin soup with our three biggest.

The onions were SO stingy. Stingy enough for goggles.

Using conkers to make fungi... As you do :)

The children chose mushrooms from our Tracker book.

And painted conkers for mushroom heads, with play dough for stalks.

Fly Agaric, Blue-Green Slime Cap, Common Brown Fibre Cap, The Sickener (great/awful names!)

Fly Agaric and Yellow Swamp Russules, with a fantastic play-dough Sickener. 'Never imagined I would say those words.

Monday, 2 November 2015

Hibernation, Migration and Autumn

Today we started our new thematic unit: Hibernation, Migration and Autumn.

The children grew these pumpkins from seeds. They were so excited to get to finally pick them.

Their task this morning was to be inventive with their pumpkins. Here they are. They are hilarious and brilliant!!

Autumn books

The Boy organised these pumpkin life cycle cards. I printed and laminated these years ago for my eldest and they have since been a regular autumn activity.

Autumn creativity

 A cave for hibernating bears.

Including lanterns for nighttime.

 We couldn't make a bear cave without making a Pooh Bear display.

Bear stories in the bear cave.

Sourcing some bear facts.

Sssshhhh! The bears are sleeping!

Meanwhile, Ballet Girl had some extra Papa help with her maths. Love. My. Husband.

 After trampolining lessons, Monkey Girl was enrolled as a Sea Cadet after two years as a Junior. Good girl. :) I'm proud of you. 

The Boy came to watch his sister's enrollment, wearing his best beret and Royal Marine sash. Mid-way through the evening his bedtime came and went, so he requested permission to be dismissed so he could go home to bed.