- Write the letters and ask your child to copy them.
- Let your child practice writing on a dry erase board, chalk board or Magnadoodle.
- Use special crayons and markers designed for use on windows and in the bath.
- Make Alphabet Cookies using the letters of your child's name
- Write your child's name with large letters on a piece of paper. Give your child a variety of dry pasta such as macaroni, shell pasta, wheels and alphabet pasta and a shallow dish of glue. Have him put glue on the pasta and place it along the lines of the letters of his name. Spray it with spraypaint when it is dry.
- Have your child use fingerprints to trace her written name. Give your child a variety of finger paints and have her put her fingertips in the paint. Then she can do a succession of fingerprints along the lines of her name.
- Using old magazines, go through the pictures and headlines with your child. Have him find and cut out the letters of his name. Also have him find and cut out pictures of objects that start with each letter of his name.
- Put some shaving cream or whipped cream in a shallow pan or cookie sheet. Have your child trace the letters of her name in the dish using her fingers. Use sand, salt, flour or paint for a different effect. When your child is in a bubble bath or helping you to do the dishes, have her write her name with her finger in the soap suds.
- Air Writing. Have your child write letters in the air first. These large muscle movements will help your child process what she is writing and make it more likely to stick. As she writes the letter, have her say the letter name or the directions for writing the letter. For example, for the letter T, she might say, “Start at the top, go straight down. Pick up your pencil and cross it.”
- For a non-messy alternative to finger paint, put a bit of finger-paint inside zipper bag. Remove the air, seal the bag and double the seal with some masking or duct tape. Your child can practice tracing letters on the outside of the bag, manipulating the paint with no mess or cleanup!
- Cut letters up with Play-Doh
- Write your child's name on a piece of white paper using a white crayon. Watercolor the entire paper and their name will "magically" appear on their paper!
- Line a box with plastic wrap and fill with soil ( a tissue box). Sprinkle grass seeds to spell your child's name. Keep them in a sunny spot, water, and watch them grow! Let your child trim the grass with scissors as the letters grow.
- Print letters of their name onto card stock and have your child trace or color it, cut it out, and string it onto a necklace.
- Sponge paint with the letters in your child's name. Encourage your child to say the letters as they stamp them on the paper. Repeat the letters several times during this activity. Very young children just make their first initial, older children stamp all the letters in their first name, and older children who have mastered their first names do their last names as well.
- Have children cut out the letters in their names(we used our sponge paint letters). String them to a paper plate that has been cut in half and decorated.
- Have your child cut several circles out of construction paper. On each circle, write one letter of the child's name. Mix up the circles and let your child practice spelling their names. Glue in place onto construction paper to create a caterpillar.
- Write child's name on heavy cardboard or craft foam. Write the letters of child's name on clothespins. Store clothespins in a Zip lock bag for children to practice the letter order in their names.
- Write the child's name in black marker on a piece of sentence strip and then staple a few sheets of tracing paper (cut to the same size) over top the of it. The children can see their name written in black marker under the tracing paper and can trace over it onto each sheet of paper.
- Pre-program paper with each child's name. Cut apart names and have child glue letters back in order on a sentence strip.
- Rainbow Tracing: I used my computer, set print color on grey, and printed in large print each child's name. Child traces over name several times using different colored markers or crayons.
- Toss Name Plate Game: Tune( Muffin Man.) Do you see your name on the plate, your name on the plate, your name on the plate. If you see your name on the plate - pick it up. You're great!
- Picture/Name Match: Match each child's picture to the printed name. Start with each child identifying their own name - then have them move into identifying and matching friend's names.
- Pre- programmed your child's name using the computer with print set to 200 and decorate with crayons, color, glue, glitter, pasta, cereal, stickers, etc. They turn out really nice.
- Tactile Names: Using fabric paint, paint your child's name on a felt strip. Your child can finger trace name, pencil rubbings, etc.
- Bottle Cap Names: pre-program individual bottle caps with each letter of child's name. Place in zip lock baggie with child's name written on each baggie. Child spills out contents and arranges bottle caps to spell out name.
- Have your child make either hand print, or footprint on a coloured piece of construction paper. Place a small picture of the child on the paper and write the child's name in large letters in the bottom center of the page. Then cover with clear contact paper and you have their own individual place mats.
- Name tray puzzles are good fun. Each puzzle is individually made in the name of your choice. They have easy to grip handles and are a fun way for children to learn how to spell their names. They are also a great learning aid for teaching colours, letters and developing hand-eye coordination.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
When you go to serve your treats, you’ll be listed among the teacher’s mortal enemies if you forget napkins. Bring colourful birthday napkins for serving and cleaning up crumbs, but as those flimsy napkins arn’t especially effective at wiping up icing or other sticky messes, include a roll of heavy duty paper towels as well.
Arrive just prior to the time with the treat and then stay and help serve and clean up.
- Talk to your child’s teacher about birthday party policies.
- Plan to serve individualised servings of the treat.
- Include napkins and any other plastic utensils necessary.
- Stay and help with the clean-up.
Some of the schools I have worked in have not allowed cake/treats to be brought in. Below I have some suggestions of other ways to celebrate your child's birthday at school:
- ask the students to donate a NEW book to their class as an alternative to bringing in treats to share. They sign the inside of their book with their name and birth date.
- if you're lucky enough to have a summer birthday replace cake with ice-blocks (bought/handmade) that can be eaten outside under a shady tree. A lovely way to end the day for the class.
- give the kids a pencil, rubber, small play dough pot or something school related
- Have a great big box wrapped up in 30 layers of paper with each child receiving an organic lollipop each time the music stops. Once the last layer is opened have a big birthday card for the birthday child signed by all his/her classmates. I did this in one class and the parents prepared the game at home and brought it to school all ready to go, it was great fun. I had a standard card that I used and just inserted a photo of the birthday child on the front, very quick and simple.
- stickers (always a winner!!)
- have the birthday celebration just before morning tea and arrange with the teacher to come in and make fruit kebabs with the children earlier that morning. Your child will also love the fact that you have spent the morning at school with them on their birthday!
Make cupcakes with honey or maple syrup instead of processed sugar. A basic cupcake recipe with honey includes 1 cup honey, 1 1/2 cups applesauce, 1/2 cup butter, 2 eggs, 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1 cup raisins and 3 cups whole wheat flour. Mix the dry ingredients together and the wet ingredients together, and then combine everything. Mix well and bake the cupcakes in a muffin tin at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. After the cupcakes cool, frost them with a homemade whipped cream frosting (sweeten the whipped cream with maple syrup instead of sugar while you are whipping it).
This topic has been talked about and discussed over and over in classrooms for years. Like so many things in life it depends on individual schools, classes and children. A very good friend of mine, and ex-colleague from my years teaching in New Zealand had this to say:
I've been teaching a while now he he 10 plus years and have taught both in Decile 1 and Decile 10 schools... so have seen and experienced both sides of the argument.In the Decile 1 school, there was no ban on bringing cakes to celebrate birthdays... in saying that there weren't many that did or could afford to bring in something. When they did bring something in, it was usually bags of lollies and/or a bought cake.... money that lots of those families could not afford. Those that could not afford to bring food in often felt embarrassed on their birthdays that they had nothing to share.In the Decile 10 school, cakes etc were banned. I initially thought this was WAY over the top and took away from the 'giving' 'sharing' and 'fun' side of the class... BUT I have changed my opinion and now agree that cakes/lollies etc don't belong in the class for a few reasons....
1. It became extremely competitive... parents were always trying to outdo the last cake that was brought in.. it got ridiculous! bigger, more expensive, flashier etc just got way out of hand.
2. Children were putting too much pressure on their parent sot provide something for the class on their birthday.
3. ALLERGIES!! These days on average I would have at least 4 children in a class with some type of food allergy... meant that then parents felt like they had to provide an alternative for those children.
4. Learning time!! Sharing a cake would take a good 10-15 mins of the children's learning time..
When I first moved to London in 1997 one of the first things that struck me was the amount of ready made, processed food that was available. I remember thinking at the time, why can't I just buy a freshly made sandwich anywhere?? Once I started teaching I was even more shocked (to say the least!!) at the meals served to the children at lunchtimes. A constant range of turkey twisters, fish fingers and chicken nuggets seemed never ending on the menu. Not only did this strike me as unbalanced in terms of food variety in a child's diet, but also extremely unhealthy. While I was teaching in 1995, chef Jamie Oliver attempted to improve the quality and nutritional value of school dinners throughout British schools— a goal which ultimately led to a broader campaign (called Feed Me Better) to improve school dinners throughout Britain. I remember vividly to this day watching Jamie do his Chicken Nugget Experiment at a primary school and thinking - I will never let my children eat Chicken Nuggets! (Which I have to say anyone who knows me knows this is true) I am happy to say that Jamie's effort in Britain had a huge impact on School Dinners and that there are now very strict guidelines and balanced menus in place for schools to follow. All meals are now freshly made and in many cases use organic produce. Jamie's latest attempt is to revolutionise School Dinners in the United States of America. I watched the show on Friday night and have attached a link to the Chicken Nugget Experiment that Jamie did with American students.
Take moderate portions
Try new foods yourself — but don't force your children to try them
Turn the TV off while you are eating
Limit junk food in the house
Drink water and milk instead of soda
Learn new strategies for managing stress that do not include eating
Eat fruit for dessert
Include vegetables and fruits with meals and snacks
Children who eat nutritious foods do better in school, but coming up with healthy back-to-school lunch ideas that children will actually eat can be a challenge for many parents. A healthy school lunch combines nutrient-rich foods from several food groups to supply protein, fat and carbohydrates to sustain energy and concentration for several hours. The composition of the meal makes a difference in how long it will sustain a child throughout the day. A balanced meal consisting of carbohydrate, protein and fat gives children energy and prevents a drop in blood sugar for several hours. In general, a meal including a variety of foods from several food groups will provide the most benefits to a child, educationally, nutritionally and physically. I just love the site www.lunchmatters.com.au they have excellent healthy lunchbox ideas (with pictures for the visual learner that I am!!) So get creative and have a go at making some of these lunchbox ideas for your little one. As you know I am all about letting kids cook, even more so about learning how we grow food, where it comes from, the different names given to foods, how we use our senses with food...the list is endless.
Fruit and veg seem to be a real bug bear with young children at some point in time. I'm sure you have some great tricks that you have used in recipes to disguise the vegetables!! Growing you own vegetables is a great way to get children interested in eating them, visit the local Farmer's market on a weekly basis and get your child involved in choosing a variety of healthy vegetable's. Remember to teach your child the names of vegetables and fruits.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bGYs4KS_djg&feature=related
After a recent visit to our local Farmer's Market the boys and I got busy reading Oliver's Vegetables and then painted with every possible vegetable we could!! Before the boys had afternoon tea I had prepared a surprise for them - a muffin tray full of the fruits that are in the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Get creative when you want your children to eat fruits and veg.... find a book about the food and read it to the kids while they munch on a healthy snack!
We then went to the factory so see where the milk is processed and bottled and finally put into the trucks for delivery. Again of course anything that involves large, moving vehicles in the boy's eyes is a winner. We had a lovely end to the tour with some taste testing of the very popular yogurt! (Yummy) As you know I'm all about hands-on experience for young children, and what better way for children to understand how milk gets from a cow into their ice-cream or milkshakes than experiencing it first hand. On our drive home Master 4 was very keen to go over the days events and to point out as many foods he could think of that contained milk. I knew I had the book "From Cow to Ice Cream" at home and that it was a wonderful opportunity to make home made ice-cream with the boys for afternoon tea. (and a Sunday treat!!)
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup milk or half & half
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
6 tablespoons rock salt
1 pint-size plastic food storage bag (e.g., Ziploc)
1 gallon-size plastic food storage bag
Fill the large bag half full of ice, and add the rock salt. Seal the bag.
Put milk, vanilla, and sugar into the small bag, and seal it.
Place the small bag inside the large one, and seal it again carefully.
Shake until the mixture is ice cream, which takes about 5 minutes.
Wipe off the top of the small bag, then open it carefully. Enjoy!
A 1/2 cup milk will make about 1 scoop of ice cream, so double the recipe if you want more. But don't increase the proportions more that that - a large amount might be too big for kids to pick up because the ice itself is heavy.
Add 1/2 cup shredded coconut, 1/2 bag of milk chocolate chips, and frozen/fresh strawberries.
Friday, July 23, 2010
Master 2 would give anything for me to leave him at Kinder with his big brother when we drop him off. I have to say I find myself bribing him with the chance to "paint" once we get home if he will leave! (Which I have to say is not easy, and yes he throws the wonderful 2-year-old tantrum in frustration that I'm removing him from somewhere he loves!) Like most 2 year olds Master 2 would paint all day, every day if given the chance. Below I have listed some Fun Painting Ideas that we use at home.
Koosh Ball Painting
Hang a long piece of paper on your outside fence. Place pans of paint and Koosh balls on the ground. Encourage the children to throw the Koosh balls at the paper. This makes a great design and is a lot of fun. If possible have the children do this activity
Outdoor Water Painting
On a hot summer day give your children outdoor paint brushes and buckets of water. Let them paint the fence, walls of the cubby, or anything else they think needs to be painted.
Kelly Crystal Painting
Sprinkle jelly crystals on a piece a paper. Let the children move a piece of ice over the jelly crystals. Watch as the jelly crystals turn to liquid and makes a yummy smelling picture.
Outdoor Chalk Creation
Give children pieces of chalk to draw on the sidewalk or ground. After the children have created their masterpieces give them buckets of water and paintbrushes. They can then paint over their drawings and watch them disappear.
Golf Ball Pool Painting
Cut out a large piece of paper and put it in the bottom of a plastic pool. Place golf balls dipped in different paint colors on the paper. Together the children can hold the edges of the pool and roll the golf balls around. This makes a great design when you are done.
Coloured Water Fence Painting
Hang a long piece of bulletin board paper on your outside fence. Give the children bottles of coloured water and let them squirt the paper. This is a lot of fun and a great way to see how secondary colors are made. For example spray blue and yellow water on the paper to make a beautiful green design.
Splatter Fence Painting
Hang a long piece of bulletin board paper on your outside fence. Give the children buckets of paint and paint brushes have them flick the paint onto the paper. Watch out this can get pretty messy. If you can have the children wear their bathing suits.
Fly Swatter Painting
Hang a long piece of bulletin board paper on your outside fence. Have the children place fly swatters into pans of paint and then swat the paper. This is always a favourite activity.
Sand Box Painting
Give the children spray bottles with colored water. When the children spray the sand it will change colour until they shovel it up. This always amazes the children.
Cut the inside out of a paper plate for each child. Place clear contact paper with the covering removed over the hole. Have each child stick pieces of bright tissue paper all over his contact paper. When the child is done place another piece of contact paper over the tissue paper. Hang the sun catchers from your ceiling or windows.
Lid Sun catchers
Punch a hole at the top of different sized clear lids. Allow the children to spread glue over the lid and then cover it with bright tissue paper for a stunning sun catcher. Or mix corn syrup and a lot of food coloring, paint the lids with this mixture and let dry for a rainbow sun catcher. With both of these sun catchers thread a ribbon through the hole and hang in front of your window.
Corn Meal Sun
Cut a large circle out of poster board Have the children paint it yellow with a paint and glue mixture. While the paint and glue mixture is still wet sprinkle the sun with corn meal.
Help your children paint their own paper plate yellow. After the paint has dries glue yellow crepe paper around the edges and glue sunflower seed in the center. If the children want they can attach a green stem.
Sunflower Hand prints
Use your children's hands to make a summery sunflower picture.
Paint the child hand yellow and place it on the paper. Continue to make hand prints until you have made a complete circle. Then let the child use her thumb to make brown seeds in the center. Use green paint to make a stem and some grass.
Give your children blueberries to look at, touch, smell, and taste. After the children have observed the blueberries add a little water to them and cook them in the microwave for one minute. Have the children help you mush them up. Use the blueberry juice to paint a beautiful blue blueberry picture.
On a sunny day take some chalk outside and let your children trace each others and your shadow. When the outline is complete fill the shadow in with facial features and whatever you are wearing.
Car Track/Train Track Painting
Put different coloured colours of paint on paper plates. Let your child push a small car or
train back and forth in the paint and then make tracks on the paper.
Blow up balloons and rub them on to paint (best to put paint on paper plates) then roll balloons onto paper. Children love seeing all the colours merge together.
'Substitute Brush' Ideas...
Q-tips or cotton swabs
Twigs or sticks
String or yarn
Fruit or vegetables
Body Puff Loof
Plastic lids from containers (to make circles)
Wheels from toy cars
Other Painting Tools
Old or Cheap Toys
Add Water to Thin Paint
Add Flour or Starch to Thicken Paint
Add Fake Snow
Add Whole Spices (Like Cloves or Peppercorn)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Get ready to twist, turn and s-t-r-e-t-c-h! Can you put your hand on the letter E—while placing your foot on the letter K—AND still put your ear on the letter Q? You’ve got to be super-stretchy to meet the challenge! In this silly game of physical challenges and alphabet fun, kids spin the Thing 1 and Thing 2 Tornado Tube to deal out letter-to-body-part challenges. Then it’s time to get down on the colorful, over sized Dr. Seuss alphabet mat and stretch and turn and twist to put your body and brain to the test!
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
Teaching children to behave properly starts from the very first moment they start to talk. Start with the basics such as teaching them to say thank you and please. Always remember children follow what their parents do so whenever the child hands you something say thank you and if you want them to stop doing something such as shouting say please yourself as well. Similarly, your child will follow your example and do the same.
Consistency and Repetition
Reminding them constantly of manners is an important step in their learning. If they ask for something, ask them to say please first. If you give them something and they forget to say thank you, remind them to say thank you. Always do this politely.
Parents are role model for children. If you do something, your child will follow you exactly so always show proper manners yourself such as when you sneeze say excuse me or when you yawn remember to cover your mouth.
Teaching your child phone manners is very important as well. Teach them to be polite while on the phone for example, 'Dad is unavailable at the moment. May I take any messages?' Soon you will notice business associates, friends and relatives complimenting you on your child's proper manners.
Teach the kid to make eye contact when speaking up and speak clearly. Mumbling and looking here and there is not the appropriate way. Also, being rude or misbehaving with an adult is also improper and the behavior should be punished.
Teach your children, as soon as they are old enough to understand, to greet people by name. Learning early on to look someone in the eye and say “Hello Mr. Kelly”—instead of “Hi” mumbled at the ground—is a valuable lesson for the future.
Table manners for children should be the same as they are for adults, with one exception: young children should be permitted to be excused from the table, if the meal is an extended one. Expecting a young child to sit quietly through a protracted meal when his food is gone is an unreasonable demand on his patience and ability to sit still without wiggling, fiddling, and noise making to help pass the time.
Teach your children not to interrupt. This is part of learning to respect other people's rights. It is up to you to teach your child to wait for a break in the conversation to speak. The mother who invariably stops and says, “What is it, dear?” when her daughter interrupts is helping her to establish a habit that will do her a disservice all her life.
Fair play among children is really just good sportsmanship and respect for others. It includes the practice of kindness, taking turns and sharing. One of the best ways to teach fair play is by example. Parents who take turns, treat their children with kindness and share with others will be teaching their children fair play, just by their actions.
Teaching your child to shake hands is a good way to get them used to greeting people appropriately. Practice with them. Show your child how to shake hands and exchange greetings by looking you in the eye and greeting you by name.
Children need to learn that good manners are used everywhere, not just at their grandparents. Table manners, please and thank you, polite greetings, and respectful conversation are called for at home, at friends' homes, in restaurants, at school, and even in the mall. If children learn to make good manners a habit at home, they will use them everywhere.
Monday, July 19, 2010
Maths through Play
To many adults, the words Maths and Play have absolutely nothing to do with each other. For many of us, maths was a torture, something we had to do, and something we didn’t understand and couldn’t do. Play on the other hand was something we loved. Young children are learning maths all the time through a wide variety of play experiences. From the time they are born, babies are surrounded by sense impressions. Shapes in particular are of
immediate importance: babies react instinctively to the arrangement of shapes which make up the human face. In the home, in parent and toddler groups, and pre-school settings, children have many opportunities to enjoy and learn Maths through Play. “Play is an effective vehicle for fostering Mathematical concepts and developing positive attitudes to mathematics.
Maths in the Home
Maths is everywhere in the home. With the support of parents, children can grasp many mathematical concepts through their play.
Children will begin to:
• know and understand early maths language of measurement, shapes, spaces,
positions, early numbers, order and patterns
• know the sequence of numbers
• begin to understand positional words, e.g. in, on, outside
• show an awareness of time
• be aware of shapes in their environment
• be aware of 1-to-1 correspondence
• acquire new vocabulary
• learn number rhymes and songs, e.g. one, two, buckle my shoe etc.
• be aware of conservation
When we say a child “knows her numbers” what we often mean is that she can recite the names of numbers in ascending order. This is quite useful to be able to do, but it means very little in itself. Children need to come to know what the number system really means. They can be helped to do this through play. One of the first things they have to learn is about conservation – that 3 is always 3 no matter how it is arranged or presented, whether it is the number 3, the letters for three, 3 bricks, 3 buttons on a coat or 3 Billy Goats Gruff.
Before a child can understand numbers for things that can be seen – 3 miles, 3 years old – s/he needs real objects which can be seen and handled with a chance to check that the count is right each time. Young children have many mathematical experiences in their home environment.
• they learn about money as they go shopping with parents
• become aware of numbers as they count the stairs to bed
• start to understand the concept of time as they become familiar
with the routine of their day– wash, dress, breakfast etc.
A child’s daily life offers many practical opportunities to learn about
number, shape, space, sorting and matching. For instance:
• setting places at the table – a cup for me, a cup for you
• playing with water
• steering the pram
• helping to sort the washing, matching socks, big shirt/small shirt
• tidying up – putting similar items together
• matching lids to saucepans
Here are a few ways in which you can use play to learn mathematical concepts.
Sand and Water
• Using sand can develop mathematical concepts and language,
e.g. heavy, light, empty, full, big, and little
• Conservation – how much will it hold
• Make shapes and patterns
• Provide boxes and materials of different shapes and sizes to compare weight and quantity
• Look at the differences between wet and dry as a means of looking at weights
• You can help to promote mathematical language such as – heavy, light,
empty, full, long, short, big, small in relevant contexts
• Look at your home environment to develop language, especially positional words
– small object in front of big object, behind, in, on
The use of dough can help to develop a mathematical understanding for pre-school children.
• Develops mathematical language – short, long, fat, thin
• Make shapes of different dimensions – flat shapes,3-d shapes
• Create opportunities to compare things that float with things that do not
• Simple activities like letting your child set the table for dinner can help develop counting
skills,e.g. getting out three pieces of cutlery.
• Involve your child with household activities. After washing, allow your child to sort clothes
into different colours, or different types of clothes, e.g. t-shirts and socks.
This will help to develop a child’s knowledge of shapes and colours.
Books and Rhymes
Enjoy stories and rhymes with your child that has a mathematical element, e.g. “One-two, Buckle my Shoe” This can also help to develop literacy skills by showing your child that the print reads from left to right. Let your child count out items in the books – how many animals are on the page, how many items are blue. Using rhymes can also help develop your Child's awareness of sequencing.
• Develop fine motor skills through physical activity, e.g. Sorting out a jigsaw,
• Block play or playing with toy cars can help to develop sequencing by encouraging your child
to sequence according to size, colour, use (e.g. bike, car, and truck)
• Playing with different sized blocks can help to develop an understanding of weight and
• Tidying toys away allows children to sort into different sizes and colours.
• It can also develop mathematical language – first, second, third, how many are blue, which
is largest / smallest.
By planting seeds you can help to develop your child’s understanding of time and the life cycle of plants. Watch as the plants grow and even measure your plant – develop language such as taller. Teach your child about the different times of the year to compare colours, flowers, smells.
Saturday, July 17, 2010
After a recent visit to Seaworld, Master 4 has been very interested in Polar Bears. As many of the stories we read have Polar bears living in Arctic conditions he had many questions on the trip home as to why the environment as Sea World wasn't made correctly for the Polar Bear?? Ahh the minds of a 4 year old. Needless to say this has taken us on a bit of an ice journey this weekend with some fun science based learning.
This activity allows children to create their own colourful ice sculpture by using rock salt and food coloring on a solid block of ice. The entire activity is like a mini-science lesson because it teaches kids the physical reaction of salt on ice.
It's great for teaching problem-solving and encouraging kids to be persistent. In addition, it teaches them the concept of solids transforming to liquids. It also promotes hand-eye coordination and allows kids to use their fine motor skills. And finally, it encourages language development, because children are excited by what they see happening and want to talk about it. This is an open-ended activity, so there’s really no right or wrong way to do this project. Kids will not feel anxious about whether they are “doing it right.” It’s really great for building kids’ self-esteem.
What you need:
Cardboard milk carton
- First, fill half of the cardboard milk carton with water and allow it to freeze overnight into a solid block of ice. You can do this activity outdoors or indoors, but if you do it inside, you’ll first want to cover your table with plastic. For kids around four or five years old, you can encourage their problem-solving skills by bringing the cartons of solid ice out onto a table and telling the kids, “OK, we are doing this activity, but it’s up to you to figure out how to get the ice out.” If they give up and say, “We can’t do it,” then encourage them to be persistent and work together on how they might be able to accomplish it. Two or three year-olds won’t have developed the motor skills to be able to take the ice out of the cartons by themselves, so you’ll need to assist them. Once the block of ice is out of the container, take the blocks of ice and stand it upright in a pan or plastic container (to capture the water from the ice block as it melts). Talk to your child about the chemical reaction that ice has when salt is sprinkled on it. Allow your child to sprinkle rock salt onto the top of the block of ice.
- Next, let them choose different colours to squeeze onto the tops of their block of ice with eye-droppers. The food colouring will run through the cracks that the salt makes in the ice and will create a really beautiful ice sculpture. For younger kids, handling the eye-dropper will be a challenge, so they should be shown how to use one and encouraged to keep trying until they succeed. Encourage your child to discuss what they see happening when they add food colouring to their ice sculpture. Remember that an ice sculpture is only temporary. You may want to take a digital photo of each sculpture before it melts away.
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
I read the boys The Very Greedy Bee - A greedy bee guzzles nectar and gobbles pollen, and won't share with anyone. He won't even let a tired ladybug rest on his flower. One day the bee comes upon a meadow full of juicy blossoms. He goes from flower to flower, slurping up all he can, all the while growing fatter and fatter, until he is unable to fly home. He is scared, especially when he sees two eyes glowing from the long grass, but then discovers that they are fireflies, and they offer to escort him home. At last they reach the bank of the stream, and he is assisted across by a team of ants with a big leaf. When the bee finally arrives home safely, he offers to share his best honey with his new friends and his fellow bees. A great
Make Kazoos by placing a circle of wax paper over one end of an empty toilet paper tube and securing it with a rubber band. Show your child how to use the kazoo to make buzzing sounds. Talk with your child about the sounds they can make with their kazoo. Are the sounds similar to bees buzzing?
Toast and Honey
Make toast with your child and let them put honey on it. Where possible, find honey that has a honey comb inside the jar so your child can see what a honey comb looks like.