Friday, April 26, 2013

Our Week of Everyday Objects for Learning

I'm finding the age four to be the biggest challenge yet. Gauging from the posts in the 2009 birth club I'm not alone. Very opinionated, and exploring new boundaries. Yet full of life. Exuberance. Which makes playing together more enjoyable than ever before.

We had quite a week!

Sidewalk Chalk Learning

T practiced drawing a path on our sidewalk and drive.

Then he walked on it
Also using sidewalk we did some letter practice. We wrote whatever letters he wanted. Then he told me a word that began with the letter. Together we drew it. He was so pleased with the drawings! Yesterday he showed it off to a good friend visiting from out of state.

Size Comparison- Equal Vs Unequal

Our math focus is on equal vs unequal. We compared a few different objects on different days. He also is enjoying using his new pencils and sharpener. Perhaps too much? They're getting constantly sharpened!
Comparing coins and pattern blocks. Are the two coins equal or unequal? Are the diamonds equal or unequal?

How about the pencils?

On Thursday we continued this math game using objects found in our rooms.
The boxes that store F's socks and hair bows? Are they equal, or unequal? He did a lot of observing here, checking out their depth, width, height...

How about a pair of socks? What makes them equal?

Prefolds! I got out two sizes of prefolds. They were the same across but their length was different. Equal or unequal? Depends, huh?!
Then he rectified the situation to make them equal in length by grabbing a longer diaper from the changing table cabinet.

These crayons are the same size but a different color. Are they equal or unequal? (He decided since they were the same length, they were equal.)

Fine and Gross Motor Skills

T loves the Lauri Fit-A-Space shape set we own. Lots of little puzzles, plus something to use as a template for tracing. This week he got a lot of practice with shapes- drawing, identifying- using his set.

Here is T's list of things you can do on a rainy day 
(recorded by me on my phone)

On nice days we've been enjoying playing with our outdoor toys this week. T especially is enjoying playing catching games and T-ball with me. He likes taking turns hitting the ball and chasing the batter. 

Learning With Food

Flowering Baby Curriculum level 4 (out of 5) had us do a few food-based activities this week.

In one we did "M&M Math" as T dubbed it. He loved it so much he's been asking for "More M&M math, Mama!" daily. First he sorted the colors into piles from the bag. Then he had to identify which had the most, and which the least. He also counted them. We didn't eat all of them much to his disappointment though he did get to enjoy a few (and then brush his teeth!).

The next activity had him again working with least, greatest, and introduced the concept of dozen.  Flowering Baby suggested I put a snack in an egg carton and have him write numbers from 1-12 in the carton. We decided to make candied walnuts (used most of them for a fruit salad later rather than this activity).

 First, using a marker, he wrote numbers from 1-12 in each slot. Then he put that number of nuts in each spot. Finally I told him that 12 is one dozen. He filled one dozen spaces with nuts. Plus, in space 12 he put one dozen nuts.

Our other food activity also led to last night's meal (a vegetable curry and a fruit salad fyi).

You can see the variety of fruits and vegetables we used. He got to look at them through the magnifying glass uncut...
and cut.

Then he painted the sliced fruit (I just removed a piece from each fruit to do this rather than wasting the entire piece of food!) and pressed it on paper.
 I wrote beside each printing what kind of fruit or vegetable it was. In the end we had a lovely piece of artwork which is now hanging on the fridge.

We ended the morning with fresh, personal-sized veggie pizzas. Yum!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Race Car Math & Some New Favorite Games

T and I are really getting back into the swing of things now that F is 11 weeks old! We're figuring out a new rhythm to our day. Often I'll wear F while playing with T. We've even managed a few excursions lately! Shopping is getting easier too.
 Here are some of our latest activities.


This was an activity from the free MEP Math Reception online. He had to tear a piece of brown paper into a bear shape. I was so surprised (and pleased!) at the result!

You can even take preschool homeschooling on the road! Flowering Baby level 4 (ages 3-4) had us play "I spy shapes". We did it away from home. It was a cool day. We were going to meet friends at the nature center in town. When I got there I got a text from our friends saying they were just leaving their house! So we waited, parked; while I nursed F in the back seat T and played "I spy shapes" until they arrived.
He spied a red rectangle- on the lock.
Circles on his car seat.
A square near the back window (he's sticking his finger through it)

 Another activity Flowering Baby level 4 had us do was turn squares into triangles and back again.

We used some napkins & a tissue.

Our Toppletree game pieces were perfect for practising counting by 2s. In fact, we played Toppletree while we practised. Whenever the "tree" got too heavy and fell over I had T count the fallen pieces. It was such fun!
You see here he'd not quite followed the game as it was directed. At least he still got the counting right.

I bought "Making Math Meaningful K" which is so far all hands on fun and games. 

In this activity, T dropped a pencil that had been held vertically. He then drew a picture showing how it fell on its side.

T worked on "equal" and "unequal" using forks, wiki sticks, and pipe cleaners.

Here's a fun one. I made two unequal balls of play dough.

First, T had to tell me if they were the same size or different. Then, he had to adjust them to make them the same.

Finally I took one of the balls and changed the shape into a snake.

Who can resist play dough?

Not nearly as far as playing with race cars though. We had a blast!
Using pipe cleaners we made a track. He had to guess which would make it to the end first if released at the same time. Would one beat the other? Would they get to the end at the same time? Then we mixed things up by moving the track's position so one car started at a different place than the other (although both tracks had the same length. 
We played this again and again and again.

We are really enjoying the complete original Thomas the Tank Engine stories by Rev Awdry!

"Come on everybody, let's go down, down, down, down!" Doing a Callirobics exercise practicing long-short-long-short strokes. I love Callirobics. It's a great way to work on relaxing your grip, as well as the strokes.

Matching t: truck, tea, toothpaste

I then wrote the words down.
He traced them, and together we worked on copying them.

Writing practice "farm"

Here is T practising reading some CVC sentences.

Playing a rhyme matching game.
This is a fun shopping cart game. The winner is the person who finds all the items on their list first. I can't count the number of times we've played it.

T's absolute favorite activity this week was when he became an "author". He was so excited! His book is now the most requested read piece in the house. Flowering Baby had us read Harold and the Purple Crayon this week. Then it had him write and illustrate his own story. I suggested he use a different color, but he stuck with purple. T and the Purple Crayon. Written and illustrated by T. Well, he dictated it, and I wrote it down as he said it to me.

Misc. Activities

We learned a little about our cardiovascular system. He found his pulse. Wow, did he find that fascinating! He won't let me return that particular book to the library yet.

A bit of geography studies overlaps with math/logic while working on a continents puzzle.

Playing "I Spy Purple!"

Melting ice experiment. How long will it take?

About an hour. There was a tiny chip left. Melted a couple minutes later.

Practical life skills practice. We're working on dressing. I got out one of my old Cabbage Patch Kids dolls, and a newborn sleeper F grew out of. It's perfect for him to practice dressing. Buttons and snaps especially!

We made it back to the nature center. T just loves the giant "keys" they have for kids. You insert it in a slot and it makes noise. Bug zapper zapping. Woodpecker pecking. Even starts water running! He still isn't showing any interest in the signs. Right now it's just a fun place to play!Last week was quite warm. One particularly warm day we returned to the zoo! It'd been several months since we last visited, and I could tell T wanted to spend the whole day there. He particularly enjoyed the desert exhibit and the aviary. I bought a year pass, so now we'll be frequenting the zoo. Fun times ahead!