My Secret to a Good Day with My Kids

Family Camp Week: Monarch Butterflies

“One bad moment doesn’t make a bad day.” My kids remind me of this all the time when I’m having a moment of overwhelm or frustration. I used to say it to them. Now they say it to me far more frequently. But, the funny thing is, for us, one good hour can make a good day.

We love the practice of “Children’s Hour.” It happens in our home around 3pm, and it takes many shapes and forms. Often, it’s reading a chapter book with cups of tea in hand. It can also be playing board games, engaging in some silly pretend play, or taking on a larger project like a Lego build. Our best days happen when we uphold this practice.

This Summer, we’ve been using a “Summer Camp at Home” curriculum for Children’s Hour. Each day, we have a little story and activity courtesty of How Wee Learn. I found this curriculum when I was looking for a great reading resource; I love the reading course! It’s fun, simple, and really worked for my kids. Summer Camp has been just as engaging.

This week, our focus is Monarch butterflies. We found some wonderful library reads to kick off the week:

  • The Monarchs of Winghaven: this is our chapter book for the week
  • Monarch Butterfly: this is a simple Science primer
  • We also took out a few “Rookie Read About Science” books on butterflies, and we learned a lot! This week, I learned Antarctica only has one native insect, and roly polys molt. The world is an amazing place, and I love curricula that allow me to unfold this amazement for my kids.

We have used the How Wee Learn storytelling chapter to learn about the fictional “Monica the Monarch” and her journey through life. Each day, we’ve interpreted the craft project to suit our needs.

Chrysalis pendants taught us about the lifecycle.
Marble painted monarchs taught us about symmetry.

Day 3, we went on a hunt for pieces of a butterfly. We learned anatomy, focusing on 4 wings, a thorax, an abdomen, a head, and antennae. We also built on the prior day’s lesson on symmetry.

I loved when my daughter asked, “Mom, are human’s symmetrical?” We broke down the letters of our names looking for a line of symmetry, and they really grasped the concept.

I loved that this project involved time in nature, movement, and crafting as well as the science lesson. I found these simple wooden bases at Target for $5 each. This allowed us to make our pieces a little more permanent with some hot glue and a little time. Of course, the leaves will eventually rot, but we have these for the week

Their final creations for a day on “anatomy.” They worked hard to find a head, body and thorax. Bonus, they learned butterfly antennae are straight with balls at the end while moths are feathery, so they looked for the right antennae shape!

We also took on a fun “cartography” day, where we went to a local park for a scavenger hunt. The whole afternoon was lovely, with a long bike ride to one of our favorite cafes in the beautiful California sunshine!

At the cafe, we read aloud from the Science primers while enjoying some jam and bread. I showed them our treasures & explained our activity. I had glued some gemstones on to pebbles to make simple treasures. We took turns, but I was the first to hide the treasures and make a map of the park for them to hunt.

They could have done this for hours. In between rounds, they played and climbed trees and waited for me to be done hiding treasures and making maps. I can’t recommend this highly enough; it hits the sweet spot of something fun for them and enjoyable for me.

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