Fast and Easy Extension Activities for The Silver Balloon by Susan Bonners
More crafts, projects, and activities for The Silver Balloon by Susan Bonners from Sonlight’s HBL K program. Organized by chapter title. As always, let me know if you find any mistakes or have any extra ideas.
Chapter 1: Sail Away
As the note in the back of the book mentions, sending a helium balloon into the air is bad for the environment. However, that doesn’t mean your child can’t send part of themselves out into the world. We (when Coronavirus isn’t in season) have a travelling Yeti, who adventures around the world, visiting families with a stack of books accompanying him. He’d be glad to visit your family as well. Or, if you’d rather, your child can send off their own project to various other homeschooling families, get a penpal, or adopt a child in another country. Nursing homes often have adults who are lonely and would love to get cards and letters from young children, even if they can’t visit regularly.
Chapter 2: An Unsolved Mystery
When shopping, try to get some unusual or unique items your children might not recognize by sight. Whether it be a new type of fruit, or an unusual tool, there are a lot of “mystery gifts” you can try.
Chapter 3: Searching
Create a photo treasure hunt for your child. Go out in your yard, neighborhood, or local area you will visit later and take pictures of unusual or unique things you see. Choose things that are stationary and unlikely to move or change between now and your visit. For example, if you take pictures of certain plants, you might need to visit before they have a chance to grow much larger, or at a time of day when they might be in bloom. Then, print out the photos. Take your child to your chosen site and have them try to find where you took the picture and match them up to the real item.
Chapter 4: Hand Cancel
Try identifying a few fancy rocks in your backyard with your children. This is an easy way to get started. You might not be able to identify them all, but you can have fun figuring out one or two. If you are worried about it, you can try to identify the rocks ahead of time yourself and then have your child test them once you know what they are, letting them work with ones you’ve already identified.
Chapter 5: Roughing It
If you have a clothesline or can hang lines or ropes outside, try making your own tent. If not, explore ways to make different tents in the space you have or indoors. An Explorer tent is usually an A-frame or tarp style tent, where a rope is hung, and the tent draped over the rope, with the ends secured at a distance, creating a basic tent shape (or so I am told, I have never been a camper at heart, but it matches the tent in the picture). Build a real or fake campfire, and have smores (indoors over the stove, over a grill, or over a real campfire).
Chapter 6: No Reply
Have fun exploring what arrowheads your child might find in your area and looking at the different types. https://typology.arrowheads.com/
Chapter 7: A Telephone Call
None (I did think about a website that identifies animals by their teeth, but I found most also include skulls, and animal teeth are a little more creepy than I like to deal with).
Chapter 8: Back in Time
Find out more about Smiledon Fatalis. Keep in mind it refers to the scientific name of some animals, and then translates them, and some of the translations are “killer” and “murderer.”
Chapter 9: The Silver Balloon
You might try to find out if any museums in your area have interesting fossils you can visit.
If your child was very interested in learning more about any animals, plants, or rocks from reading this book, you might consider helping them put together a little oral presentation for family members or friends. You can record your child talking about their items and then sending the video to anyone who might like to learn more. You can even post links to it online in the Facebook groups Sonlight Chat or Sonlight Core/HBL K + Extras.