The Traveling Spark Station:Kids learn some lion facts & crafts

by Mary Ann on April 5, 2011

lion head

Ezril’s lion, age 2

Fridays my Spark Station goes traveling. I have started working with a family each Friday, a grandma school of sorts. So my Spark Station goes traveling.

I have 3-6 children depending on the week. They range in age from 1 to 4. The challenge in working with this age group is that they need lots of help and engagement. You really have to be present. Their interest is greater if you are talking and working with them. You also have to give them fewer options and it works best to all stay together. That is what makes Family Structured Learning Time work for these ages.

Keeping that in mind I structure my traveling Spark Station to meet those needs. I thought it would be fun and helpful to make a report each Monday on what went on at Grandma School on Friday and what was in the Spark Station. I’ll update you every Monday. Now that I have parent permission, next week there will be more pictures or maybe even a video. So here goes.

We all choose a hat and then sang our welcome song so everyone would know that grandma school was starting. Then…..Roarrrrrrrrr. We talked about lions and learned some interesting facts about lions.

Africa lions books pictures

Lions books

I went to the library and got about 8 books on lions. They ranged from very simple to large adult coffee table type books. We poured over the pictures together just talking about what they observed. We learned that lions do not live in jungles. Nope. They live on the savannah where there is plenty of grass to hide in and plenty of room to run, run, run after dinner!

We also learned that a lion’s family is called a pride. We saw what the lions eat for dinner(in the wild), zebra, water buffalo and very ugly wart hogs. YUCK! We learned who the lions enemies are. They have only two enemies, other lions and man. We saw that mommy lions and daddy lions do not look the same.

We had a very cool atlas and talked about that word. We could see that Africa is a very big continent (we talked about that word) with lots of different countries in it. Did you know that you can fit the whole United States into the African continent three times!!

When the littlest ones began drifting away we moved to our project. We made a wonderful lion head craft to hang on the wall. What

paper plate lions craft picture

Look at all the different expressions!

made it so fun was seeing all the different expressions of the lions when we were done. See the directions below.

Just a side note, the 1 year old needed help with the paint. She was mostly content to watch the others. The same is true for the 2 year old. They did manage to put a bit of paint on the plate and loved sticking on the eyes.

For lunch we had lion sandwiches which the children put together. They really thought that was fun and we all made a big roarrrrrrr as we took the first bite. During the construction of lunch we reviewed facts about lions such as: “Do lions live in the jungle.” There was a resounding NO. “Do lions eat grass?” “NO.” “How do we tell the mommy lion from the daddy lion?” “The daddy has more hair around his face.” “What is that hair called?” “A mane.”

During lunch we read two stories from Africa. One was about a little girl who was supposed to watch the family goat. There was a lot of interaction with that book, “Catch that goat!!!” The other book was about a water hole on the savannah and who came to drink. Poor monkey had to wait all day! You can get pretty thirsty on the savannah while waiting for a safe time to get a drink.

How long did grandma school last. Not as long as I thought. We spent one hour; pretty typical for children under 4. Then we sang our good bye song. It was a fun morning.

It was also good to have another mom present because the 4 ½ year old is special needs and in order for her to participate she needed lots of help. That was much easier with two moms than one. It could be done with one mom but her ability to participate is greatly enhanced with two moms.

When 4 year old Oaklan’s mom came I asked him if lions live in the jungle. He rolled his eyes as if to say “Don’t you know anything”. “No”, he said “they live on the savanna!”

paper plate lion head pics

Paper plate lion head

Paper Plate Lion Craft

What You Need:

  • Paper plate
  • Yellow and brown construction paper
  • Black marker
  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Glue
  • Large wiggle eyes

What to Do:

  • Paint the center of the plate yellow.
  • Paint edges of paper plate orange. Let plate dry. (While we were constructing our lion lunch we dried the plates in the oven, set at 200 degrees)
  • Cut small triangle from black construction paper for nose.
  • Add mouth, whiskers, etc. using black marker.
  • Glue on wiggle eyes.

Using scissors, cut border of paper plate to just short of yellow circle, about 1/2″ apart all the way around and curl up for mane. (The 1 and 2 year olds needed an adult to do this but the 3-4 year olds could do some of it. It was hard on little hands so we helped them out a bit)

Leo the Lion Fun Finger Sandwich

Lion sandwich pictures

Lion sandwich

What You Need:

  • 2 slices white bread
  • Coarse shredded cheese
  • Orange pepper
  • Radish slices
  • Small carrot slices
  • Olive slices
  • Chives
  • Cucumber
  • Sandwich filling of your choice

What to Do:

  • Cut white bread slices into a large round circle. (We used wheat) Fill with desired sandwich filling.  (We chose turkey and cheese. Kids generally like that and it’s not too messy to manage. We used a cookie cutter to pre cut the bread, turkey and chicken into circles. If more of the children had been older we would have had them do those themselves.)
  • Spread cheese on plate, into a circle to form the lion’s mane.
  • Set sandwich on top of cheese. (We put the sandwich on the plate and then the children sprinkled cheese around the head.)
  • For ears, use a radish slice and small carrot slice. (We used cucumber slices)
  • Make eyes from olive slices. (We used black olives)
  • Cut a nice size nose from orange pepper, or other veggie of choice, and set in place.
  • From a cucumber slice, cut in half and then scoop out center to form the mouth.
  • Use short Chives sections for the whiskers. (We used red pepper strips)
  • Serve with Gatorade, another savannah animal. : )

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