Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Bringing Nature Inside


I have been busy making resources for my classroom this week and really wanted a 'Nature based theme'. I am making a wall hanging out of tree branches and rope as a tool to display the children's work, in particular samples of their writing and drawing. While I was out walking through the bushes looking for some lovely branches with my children, I couldn't believe the number of gumnuts on the ground - A natural resource too good to step over! I have used gumnuts in the past (you may remember A Little More Nature on Tuesday). As I want to combine an environment rich in print and natural resources, I thought these would be perfect.

I used an acrylic white paint to roughly paint a circle and then a permanent marker to write the letters of the alphabet. I made extra letters so they could make their names. The gumnut letters will be stored at the writing station for the children to explore.

The letters made out of twigs and branches will hang on the new grid I am making. 

Tree branch letters - another resource for the children to explore at the writing station.

I used a permanent marker on freshly cut tree branches. These are not only lovely to hold but also smell beautiful.

I still haven't made the wall hanging - very typical of me. I get soo excited by one project and then get more excited my other things along the way. It will get done though, as school finally starts next week after the most glorious Summer holiday. 

Thanks for all your lovely comments and feedback. See you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Inexpensive Holiday Fun

This is the sixth week of Summer school holidays and as it has been very hot! My kids have spent HOURS and HOURS in the pool. My youngest thought it would be great to freeze some sea creatures that he bought at the $2 shop and also made some frozen boats to play with in the pool.

As each sea creature thawed, it sunk to the bottom and he had fun diving down to retrieve them.

Creative Weaving

Weaving on garden trellis

We had this roll of gardening trellis in the garage and my daughter thought she would make a heart in preparation for Valentines Day.

You can cut the trellis using scissors into any shape you can imagine!

As I am an avid crafter, we always have a huge supply of craft materials. Here we used wool, tulle, material, ribbon, lace, felt and feathers. We chose shades of pinks and reds, as we were making a heart. She was very creative as she experimented with different ways to attach the materials and didn't only use the traditional method of over and under.

Squares are most suitable for young children to manage. This is an excellent fine motor activity and can be extended to introduce pattern as well. When I have done this activity in the past with my class of three year olds, it has promoted a lot of new language. On the whole, it is a fabulous learning experience for all ages.

Weaving by three year olds!

Happy weaving!!

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Maths Fun on Tuesday

This week we continued on the challenge of making games to keep us entertained in the school holidays.

We began with a simple die made from an old, clean custard carton.

After cutting the carton to have equal sides, we covered it in plain white paper. My daughter used circle stickers to make the sides of the die and then we laminated them.

A fun game that we all played.

An empty donut container was used for some simple counting and number recognition fun. By using tongs and chopsticks you can incorporate fine motor skills as well as maths concepts. All of the materials were things we had lying around at home and the activities were endless. 
I made the numbers out of cellophane scraps and laminated them, but didn't stick them in the container so that we weren't limited in our activities. Being cellophane and plastic, it will make a perfect resource for the light table.

Throw the die and use the tongs to put the correct number of objects in the container.

We made the numbers out of straws and pipe cleaners and put them in the corresponding containers.  

More complicated maths challenges.

Have a wonderful week and see you next Tuesday!

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Play on Tuesday

I was dying to have a go at using some chalkboard paint these holidays. I really wanted to paint some blocks for school, that the children could create houses and people. I am always looking for ways to enhance play in the block area and thought that this would promote fine motor skills, language, problem solving and creativity to name just a few benefits. The only blocks we had at home were far too small for little fingers, so I used a wood glue to stick them together - Problem solved!

After gluing them together I gave them a coat of chalkboard paint. (While this was drying, I had a go at painting on glass and plastic which will feature in another post.)

My son had fun decorating!

We made some signs out of craft wood and pegs.

Our spectacular peg car.

Thanks for the inspiration, Strong Start

The finished product!

Last weeks post featured the "Holiday Idea Box" which has been a huge hit in our house and my kids can't wait to choose a peg every couple of days. We have had fun swimming together, cooking together and below is our 'crafting together' project.

After lots of brainstorming we decided to make a family game of checkers. We used a piece of rubber backed fabric (any plain fabric would be fine) and milk and orange juice lids, that I constantly collect, to produce this game with no cost at all.

Before you begin drawing up your grid you need to know the size of your checker pieces. You could just cut cardboard circles, use buttons or recycled lids like we did. I cut an old kitchen sponge , smaller than the squares because it expands as you push down. My oldest son printed the grid with fabric paint (but any paint would be fine) . You need 8x8 squares for a full grid.

Fortunately we had enough lids to have two matching sets. The orange set were super heros and the green were monsters. We used a permanent marker to ensure they didn't smudge.

For such a simple game our family has played it and played it over the last week and really enjoyed spending time together!

I love reading your comments and feedback, so thanks for following the blog and a big thanks for all your kind words.

See you next Tuesday...

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Happy New Tuesday!

Happy New Year!! I wish you a really wonderful year ahead with lots of time to play, laugh and enjoy time spent with your loved ones.

As today is the first day of the year and the start of our relaxing holiday, we brainstormed ideas that our family can do around the home for the month of January while enjoying the summer break. It was easy to come up with ideas but we stuck to 15 so we can have some pyjama days in between.

Brainstorming our ideas.

Making our holiday idea box. (Now that I have started my Christmas perfume)

We covered the box with coloured paper and my son decorated it.

On one side of the peg we decorated with markers and coloured paper and on the other I wrote our ideas.

We put the pegs around the holiday box and our aim is to select a peg every couple of days and complete the activity. Once done the peg goes inside the box. We did pretty simple activities that cost nothing. Can't wait to start!

Using our empty chocolate boxes for a fun holiday activity.

After consuming a lot of chocolates over Christmas, we decided to use the plastic inserts and make some chocolate playdough to play with. I love playdough because there are soo many benefits from developing fine motor skills and imaginative skills, it has no age limits. The playdough can be put in ziplock bags and kept in the fridge.

We split one quantity of playdough into three parts and varied the amount of cocoa powder in each to change the density of the colour. The smell was DELICIOUS!

The chocolate shop, with some very expensive chocolates...

The playdough recipe we use:

-2 cups of plain flour
-4 tablespoons of cream of tartar
-1 cup of salt
-2 tablespoons of cooking oil
-2 cups of boiling water

Put it all in a bowl and mix and once it has cooled down knead it! If you want to add colour, you can do it at the end, like I did or put it in at the beginning.

We make playdough every single week at school and this is one of the easiest recipes.

Happy 2013!!