Science journals and scavenger hunts

Our science journals for today - and hopefully a few more days. We draw our observations in here.

Our science journals for today – and hopefully a few more days. We draw our observations in here.

I really like PBS. They have great shows and their shows have great ideas. More than a few of my ideas in my 10 minute activity box are from PBS shows. I have scavenger hunts for different colors and shapes. There are leaf walk ideas, basic art lessons, and all kinds of drawing activities. Which leads me into what our lessons for today were all about.

Yes,  I know it’s just a few days after Christmas, but my kids get very over-active if we don’t have things to do. So I went through my activity box and grabbed a few activities for us to do today.

First, our light scavenger hunt. I was lucky that our DVR still had the Sid the Science Kid episode on it with the light scavenger hunt. So we watched that episode first. Then we pulled out our science journals and went on a light scavenger hunt of our own. We started upstairs and worked our way through each room. Then downstairs, then outside in the back yard and the front yard. After we went through everywhere we came back inside and opened up our science journals and drew things that gave off light.

Then we did our basic art lesson. It is pretty stormy outside so we worked on

Our art lesson. We ended up with a rain cloud and some rain, with lightening. I let the kids choose their colors and paper without my influence. So we have a green cloud in this picture.

Our art lesson. We ended up with a rain cloud and some rain, with lightening. I let the kids choose their colors and paper without my influence. So we have a green cloud in this picture.

short lines, zig zags, and small curves. We first drew small short lines on the paper, then small bumps, then zig zags. We flipped the paper over and drew a cloud (with the small curved lines linked together). Then small short lines – for the rain. And zig zags that go from the clouds to the ground. It was a lot of fun to draw, and it helps the kids focus on learning about the shapes of things, so when they really want to draw, they can try.

What else did we do today? Connect Four is a big hit in our house. We play all the time these days. The two kids play together, and it is quite funny to watch. No one ever wins, and they just put all the pieces in and then dump them off. We also play with some remote controlled cars – a Lightening McQueen is a favorite. We have a ride-on pony in the house now; we practiced the names of the various parts of the horse. But other than that – we are just playing and reading. But putting together a few short lessons makes me feel a little better 🙂 It also gives the kids something to do and learn.

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Toddler Tuesdays – dusting.

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It is Christmas season. Our schedule can be a bit off. We’ve been spending time doing art and cooking. Today lesson was all about special chores- dusting.

You think I’m kidding? What chores can a 4.5 and 2 year old do well? Dusting.

I invested in those Swiffer duster handles and rags. They work like a charm. The kids don’t even realize what they are doing. they rally enjoy dusting and this way it is super easy. There’s no problems with polish and rags. I simply give them the dusters and away they go.

We also practiced writing dust and spelled dust while we were working. It was fun, simple, and got a hire done.

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Arts and crafts day.

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Today was arts and crafts day. We had a wonderful friend over, so we spent the day doing arts and crafts.

One of the benefits of arts and crafts is that kids practice their motor skills. Placing beads on a string, drawing, cutting, and stickers all help kids practice fine motor skills and hand/eye coordination. When kids draw and use materials to make pictures, their creativity grows.

We did 3 projects today: Beaded candy canes, Pom Pom ornaments, and sticker trees.

Candy cane ornaments

We used pipe cleaners and pony beads. I put one bead on, then folded the pipe cleaner end over (about an inch). Then I covered the doubled over pipe cleaner with beads. Then the kids went to work putting beads on the rest. They chose and threaded their own beads. My two year old helped me put her beads on, but she chose each bead. Then we folded the top inch over and threaded it back through the beads. The kids made them into candy came shapes.

Pom Pom
ornaments

Our Pom Pom ornaments involved putting glue onto pre cut foam shapes. The kids had a blast putting the Pom poems in glue and then into the foam.

Sticker trees

I had a ton of leftover stickers from last year. So I pulled them all out. The kids put them all over their trees.

This was great fun to do and watch. As an added bonus, I have a bunch of new Christmas decorations in my house.

Toddler Tuesday: Ornaments and the letter A

These are what the Target ornaments looked like. Ours were a little smaller, but more fun to make.

These are what the Target ornaments looked like. Ours were a little smaller, but more fun to make.

I’m always looking for fun and different art projects to do with my kids. I decided that today’s lesson would be introducing Abby to scissors. Halfway through, I did consider that I might have lost my mind. But at the time I was planning it seemed like a good idea.

In order to make these ornaments you need tinsel or ribbon of some sort and empty plastic ornaments. I had the empty plastic ornaments form Oriental Trading company. They are durable and split in half.  So I pulled the ornaments out and we started on our project.

Abby and Nicholas had to cut off pieces of tinsel that they wanted in each ornament. Then they put the tinsel in the ornament and I helped them close it. They were responsible for getting the hook through the top and putting it on the tree. I did have to help Abby with the hook, but Nicholas did all his on his own.

This art project served a few purposed. First, it introduced scissors to Abby. She hasn’t really used them before, so this was her way to see that they cut. Second, it involved making choices of how much and what color tinsel went into the ornaments. We named colors and estimated lengths as we went through the project.

To make it more fun for Nicholas he measured each piece of tinsel he cut. This is one of the adaptations I made to the project so he gets a better sense of how long a foot is.

It was a great project for us. Our tree is bigger this year and the bottom lacks decorations because only breakable ornaments can go on the bottom. This way my tree got more decorations and the kids got to make something for the tree. It was a lot of fun to watch them finish an ornament and run into the room with the tree to put them on.

In addition to the art project we are starting to really work on our letters. I printed off the Starfall letter A sheet. We colored the letter A and named all the words we could think of that started with A.

Just as a side note – I do spend over 45 minutes a day reading with my kids outside of lessons. Reading is one of the best things parents can do to help their children with school and learning. Whether you are reading a book for fun or a book for learning, reading together should be a fun and pleasurable experience. We read together all the time. It is one of our favorite activities. I can’t wait to see it pay off for both of my children.

 

 

Updated Amazon store.

Do you want to see the things we are using in our homeschool life?

Click on the link below and you can see (and buy) the items we are using.

The Wunderful Homeschool Amazon store.

Helping readers.

Do you have a new, emerging, or just a general reader in the house? Are you looking for new and interesting ways to get them engaged in reading?

Barnes and Noble, in partnership with, Tikatok, puts out some free resources for parents to use. These are free downloads that show how reading can be used across different curriculum areas. These resources also have ideas for making reading more fun and encouraging readers.

Here’s the link to the program:

http://www.tikatok.com/writing

Toddler Tuesdays: Sorting and relative size.

Sorting rocks by shape and color teaches kids colors and relative size.

Sorting rocks by shape and color teaches kids colors and relative size.

As you know, Tuesdays I focus the lesson on Abby. I tend to make Nicholas, my older one, help me with the lesson. I give directions and then he repeats them. I ask her to do a task, and when she does it wrong he helps her fix it – talking to her the whole way. Nicholas is quite the natural teacher when it comes to his younger sister.

Abby wanted to play with her rocks. Nothing but her colored rocks would do. So I created a random lesson on the spur of the moment to make sure she could play with her rocks.

First we sorted the rocks by color. She has pink, purple, blue, clear, green, and some turquoise rocks. She used one of their muffin tins from the play kitchen and sorted them by color. I had to ask her, quite a bit, if she was sure those colors matched. But she eventually did it.

Then we counted the rocks in the whole muffin tin. I had her sort them into groups of two and we counted to two – over and over. In German because we only do counting in German these days.

We repeated the color exercise but in German. At this point Nicholas was really helping. He has no problem speaking in German when it comes to his colors. He even knows the word for rock (der Fels/die Felsen).

Lastly, we lined up the rocks on the floor from smallest to largest. This took a lot of coaching. I had to take the rocks away and put one down. Then I asked her if the next one was larger or smaller – and made her put it in the right spot. The next rock went through the same comparison activity. She really got into it by the end of the whole exercise. Then we redid it again – in German (how did you guess?). Nicholas loves to say “big” or “bigger one” in German (gross/grossen).

So that was our Tuesday fun.

Drawing lessons.

We have been practicing drawing as part of our art lessons. Christmas trees have been the big piece during the Christmas season. But I also found this wonderful set of FREE drawing lessons for kids.

It is called “Drawing 1A for Younger Children.”  It is a series of blocks that starts with various art forms to draw. They are not clearly defined shapes, but they resemble shapes and patterns kids might need to draw in the future. We do the first block and then we play a guessing game about what we just drew. I make sure to ask Nicholas the following questions:

1. Can you tell me what you drew?

2. What do you think (whatever he tells you he drew) is doing in the picture?

3. How do is (whatever is in the picture) spelled?

4. Do we know any words that rhyme with (whatever is in the picture)?

I also include Abby in the lesson. She really likes art. While her drawings aren’t defined yet, the interaction and the doing is the fun part. She sits, quite well, and waits for her turn to answer the questions. Of course, every drawing for her is Minnie Mouse or Daisy Duck.

I also do the drawings. It is fun for me to do the same work as the kids occasionally. Plus, Nicholas really likes being able to critique my work and tell me where the circles should have gone. It is a good opportunity for him to practice comparing and contrasting (my drawings to the drawing that it is supposed to be). Also, it changes up things during our lessons. I’m really enjoying doing these art lessons.

 

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