You may not remember, but Hannah found a DVD about apple farming at our local library that she absolutely fell in love with. Well, our library also had Vrrrooommm! Dairy Farming for Kids, which is the dairy farming DVD from the same series. Needless to say, that was an essential non-fiction resource for our study! We also found a couple of non-fiction books (Milk from Cow to Carton and Cows in the Parlor: A Visit to a Dairy Farm) and several very fun picture books (The Cow that Got Her Wish, The Cows Are Going to Paris, Grady's in the Silo, The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down, The Cow Who Fell in the Canal, and The Story of Ferdinand.) If you're familiar with those picture books, you'll understand why I feel like Hannah and I trekked the globe this week!
We used the dairy farm DVD and the non-fiction books to learn about life on a dairy farm. The DVD was a hit with all of us, especially the part where a newborn baby calf was trying to stand up and walk. So cute! Hannah learned that cows have four stomachs, and that they swallow their food and then bring it back up later to chew on it. Today, as we wrap up our second unit with a farm theme, she insists that she wants to be a farmer when she grows up. Life on a farm in the country seems so simple, but it also sounds like a lot of hard work! Until this week, I have never in my life stopped to think about the fact that a dairy farm has to operate every single day of the year. Either that or come back to some very engorged and irate cows!
In addition to looking at life on a dairy farm, we also talked about how cows' milk is good for our bodies because it gives us calcium to make our bones strong, Vitamin D to help our bodies absorp the calcium, and Vitamin A so we can have healthy skin and hair. (My apologies to my soy-loving, lactose-intolerant, dairy-allergic friends! Yes, I know cow's milk isn't for everyone, but we sure do enjoy it around here!)
Our family drinks a lot of milk. I mean, a lot. Like 5 gallons a week, just for the four of us. But somehow we have never really talked with our kids about other types of dairy food. So this week we headed to Wal-Mart to purchase a little bit of everything dairy, then we waited for Greg to come home from work so we could have a dairy party for our afternoon snack!
First, he helped the girls make homemade ice cream.
While the ice cream was freezing, we put together our other dairy foods and sampled them. Here's what was on our menu:
- Chocolate teddy grahams with cream cheese t-shirts. (Everyone liked it.)
- Fruit cocktail in vanilla yogurt. (Everyone liked it.)
- Crackers with homemade butter. (The butter was made from heavy whipping cream. Millie and I loved it, which is really not surprising since we will most likely be Weight Watchers partners someday! Greg and Hannah thought it was okay.)
- Ricotta cheese. (Everyone hated it and thought it looked like it had already been eaten.)
- Flavored yogurt. (Everyone loved it.)
- Cheddar cheese cubes. (Greg, Millie, and I loved it.)
- Shredded mozzarella cheese. (Hannah and Millie liked it, but I think it had more to do with the fact that it was shredded than with the taste.)
- Whole milk. (The girls prefer this.)
- Skim milk. (Greg and I prefer this.)
Our special words for the week were "God's Word helps me grow."
For whatever reason, Hannah had so much trouble remembering her words! We talked about how God's Word does for our spirit what milk does for our body: makes it strong and healthy. Maybe it was a little too abstract for her; I'm not sure. She ended up getting them down by the end of the unit, but didn't seem too interested in the Bible part of our study this week, so I'm assuming it was because she just didn't quite "get" the words.
Overall, it was a great unit and a fun way to ease back into our school routine.