Pages

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's Playtime: July 4th Edition



Here in the U.S.A. we are preparing for the biggest of National celebrations; our country's birthday on the 4th of July.  Children can't wait for the fireworks, adults can't wait for the BBQ (and beer).  It's a time for friends to share together and kids to be kids.

 In honor of July 4th, I am sharing several ideas found on last weeks It's Playtime.  I'm including food, fun, and fireworks...all the elements to a great 4th of July!

Jelly Fish Jelly shared these beautiful patriotic Jelly Cups with us.  Don't be surprised to find out she actually made these for Australia Day!  Lucky for us, they have the same national colors plus stars and stripes.  Your friends will never know the difference (unless you tell them).  

This beautiful Patriotic Star Garland came from Adventures of the Smith Family.  They used salad-spinner art to create the unique designs on the stars!  What a beautiful decoration for any 4th of July BBQ.  

Kids love Fourth of July Fireworks so why not make your own?  That's what I Heart Crafty Things did using glue and glitter.  They will sparkle and shine almost as well as the real thing!  

From an older It's Playtime post by Putti Prapancha, these fireworks were made by Painting with Cut Straws!  Adding some glitter would really make these pop.  

One of our own hostesses, Jamie from hands on: as we grow, recently shared this great holiday idea.  Jamie and her son created Coffee Filter Streamers using salad-spinner art and a clothespin.  These streamers would look great waving at a 4th of July parade!

If you were featured this week, don't forget to grab your "featured" button!



Now, on to this weeks play date! 
It's Playtime is a community and Thursday link-up hosted by:

* Rachele : Messy Kids (That's me!)
* Anna : The Imagination Tree
* Rachel : Quirky Momma
* Jamie : hands on : as we grow
* Jenny : Let the Children Play

How to Play :
* Link up a post about a playful learning experience enjoyed by kids.
* Give us love and pop a button into your post/blog. Invite your readers to the weekly play date!


* Stop by one of our blogs every Thursday and add your link about play. Your link will show up on each of the blogs in the It's Playtime community.
* Each week the playtime hosts will choose favorite posts to feature. (By linking you are giving us permission to use an image and link to you, if featured.)
* Be sure to visit some of the links that catch your eye. Commenting on posts that you find interesting or inspiring is a wonderful way to develop your own playful community.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Child Led Learning: Reading and Writing

My daughter is 8 so my almost 4-year-old is familiar with the idea of homework.  Last week he came to me saying, "Mom I want to do my homework."  "Homework?" I asked.  "I want to write letters.  I want the blue sheet, " He told me.  The blue sheet?  Blue sheet?  What was he talking about?  After printing some worksheets with his name on them for letter practice and much frustration from him that it wasn't the "blue sheet", my daughter finally figured he was talking about the blue letter stencil we have.  So we sat down together to practice writing letters.  

My son knows most of his letters.  Between books, educational TV, and the LeapFrog letter magnets (Best learning toy ever!  I've had it since my daughter was a baby and it's given both children hours of letter learning fun!) we have, he has learned them well over the years.  His interest now is in writing letters and learning their sounds.    
I don't like this particular stencil but Michael loves it.  The letters are small and it doesn't really teach how to write proper letters.  But as a child-led activity, it's good fine-motor skill practice.  We started with a pencil because, well, that's all that works with this stencil.
We practiced holding the pencil together so he could feel how to form the letters using the stencil.  
Once Michael understood how to write using the stencil, he moved on to asking questions about letter sounds as he wrote each letter.  "How do you write ta-ta-ta 'F'?  How do you write ga-ga-ga 'O'?"  I gently corrected each sound with him as he wrote.  Sometimes he repeated me, sometimes he didn't.  At least he heard.  Eventually he began asking me about nonsense sounds/letters and we laughed but it was obvious he was ready to move on.  He then showed interest in writing his name with the worksheet I printed online. 
We started with pencil.  I showed Michael what to do with the first letter then he tried it on his own.
Then he tried crayon, which is easier for little hands.  Orange is Michael's favorite color.
  Michael thought he'd try writing with glue.  He quickly realized it wasn't easy.
 Then he tried glitter glue which was a little easier.  
Michael's completed worksheet.

Fine motor skills, letter practice, name practice, and letter sounds, all rolled into one...and all led by a 4-year-old!  I didn't push, prod, or nag.  Young children should be encouraged, but if you push a child to do something, before they are ready and willing, you risk the chance of creating a child who struggles with learning.  Something I don't want with my kids.

Other child-led letter/reading activities we do:

  • While driving my son will spot an item then ask me what letter it starts with (for instance "tree" or "sign").  We then try to think of other words that begin with that letter. 
  • Magnet letters- Michael has access to cheap-o magnet letters and an old cookie sheet.  The LeapFrog magnet letters recites the name and the sound(s) of the letters.  It also sings the "ABC" song.  Those are on my fridge.  
  • Michael loves to "read" signs, DVD covers, book titles, etc.  He often tells me what it says.  I then take my finger and point to the words and gently read the true words to him like, "oh, you mean right here where it says, 'blah, blah, blah.'"  He will either argue with me or agree with me.  If he argues, I just say, "oh, ok then".  He thinks he's reading and I want to encourage that.  If I argue all the time with him, he'll stop, then I'll have a bigger problem on my hands then him pretend reading the wrong thing!  
  • Free drawing is also a prewriting skill.  Michael is always welcome to grab scratch paper and his crayons, markers, or pencils and draw.  
  • Of course we read, read, read together.  My children and I love to read together.  And of course I get tired of reading the same books over and over, but I do it, because that's how we learn; through repetition.  
Do you have other reading/writing ideas to share?  Please feel free to leave me a comment below!  I'd love to hear from you.
        

Thursday, June 23, 2011

How Painting with Crabs Became Eric Carle Inspired Art


The other night we had stuffed crabs for dinner.  Michael was fascinated with the shells and asked to keep them.  At first I said "no", but then the teacher in me poked her head out and said, "Why not?  I'm sure we can paint or something with those!"  So I washed them.  My plan was to make crab prints by painting the shells and pressing them onto paper.  We'd recently read, A House for Hermit Crab in preparation for Eric Carle's birthday, and I really wanted to do something with crabs, or ocean, or something to honor him.  Even though these crabs were NOT hermit crabs, I figured we were on the right track.  

My kids had other plans.  We started by making crab prints, but as is the nature of children, their art took another turn.  And although not what I planned, I feel the kids, especially my daughter, did manage to capture the spirit of Eric Carle through her use of color and the blending of them.

 
The kids started by painting the crab shells.
Then they pressed them onto the paper.  Ariel said she was creating a beach scene.
Michael quickly became bored with the crab and moved onto painting with his hands.
Ariel used a brush to work on her waves.  She added more colors and began blending them together.  "Now it's like Eric Carle," She said.
Copying his sister, Michael began blending his colors too!  
 Ariel gently sprinkled paint over her picture,
and added some handprints like her brother.
Michael and Ariel's paintings completed.  
In the end, the crabs became a work of art on their own!  

While Ariel was working on her painting she said, "Now it's like Eric Carle."  I asked her, "In what way?"  She explained, "He puts all these colors into his pictures.  When he does water, he puts purple, green, and blue, and those are the colors I put into my water.  But the thing that made it like his was me blending the colors."  So then I asked her what book inspired her to paint the picture she had.  "The Grouchy Ladybug, when he picks a fight with the whale, the colors in the waves inspired me" is what she told me.

Some of our favorite Eric Carle books:
      



An Amazing Child is hosting a celebration for Eric Carle's Birthday!  Check out other great ideas below!


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

It's Playtime: Easy Experiments



I love science!  I don't do nearly enough science activities with my children.  We've watched tadpoles change....
and read about bugs and spiders.  I've made oil and water sensory bottles...
and we've grown plants, but that's really the extent of our science time.  It's not bad, but there is so much more out there that can be done!  On last week's It's Playtime, some great experiments were posted which I hope will push me to do more...and you too!  

There are so many fabulous science experiments with eggs!  Over at Sun Scholars, they made Rubber Eggs.  This simple science activity involves 3 household items and will give you a weeks worth of observation and hypothesizing.  Kids love to "wonder" what will happen!     

  Kids love bouncy balls!  Why not Make-Your-Own!  Come Together Kids posted about the fun they had creating their own bouncy balls, along with the recipe.  A perfect summer time activity! 

 Logan and Kalia's Blog posted several Fun things to do with glow sticks.  My favorite activity involved adding them in the bath.  I have a bunch of glow sticks laying around; why I haven't I thought of that?  A cool experiment for my list!  

  Toddlers need science too!  Gratefully Growing in Grace attempted to make toys fly using planes and fulcrums.  Of course, my son, being an energetic boy, would immediately jump on the plane launching his stuffed animal high into the air.  An experiment I'd love to do, but need strong materials for.  As for the little lady above, she seems perfectly content simply pushing on the plane to launch her animals.  

If you were featured this week, don't forget to grab your "featured" button!




Now, on to this weeks play date! 
It's Playtime is a community and Thursday link-up hosted by:

* Rachele : Messy Kids (That's me!)
* Anna : The Imagination Tree
* Rachel : Quirky Momma
* Jamie : hands on : as we grow
* Jenny : Let the Children Play

How to Play :
* Link up a post about a playful learning experience enjoyed by kids.
* Give us love and pop a button into your post/blog. Invite your readers to the weekly play date!


* Stop by one of our blogs every Thursday and add your link about play. Your link will show up on each of the blogs in the It's Playtime community.
* Each week the playtime hosts will choose favorite posts to feature. (By linking you are giving us permission to use an image and link to you, if featured.)
* Be sure to visit some of the links that catch your eye. Commenting on posts that you find interesting or inspiring is a wonderful way to develop your own playful community.

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...