Indoor Camping

The weather has been horrible here so we decided to start our camping season indoors.

Indoor camping

Smores were prepped with chocolate covered biscuits and leftover peeps.

Indoor camping

30 seconds later the peeps were giant! This caused lots of excitement.

Indoor camping

We pretended to roast our marshmallows and ate our smores.

Indoor camping

The fire was made from blocks and a flashlight. These blocks would give even more light:

Junior Rainbow Blocks

The teepee was set up with sleeping bags inside.

Indoor camping

The flowers hunkered down for the night, after a story around the campfire.

Indoor camping

How do you make your indoor camping experiences fun?

Letter Signs with Mosaics

Rose is gaining an interest in letters and working with the letters of her name seems to be the most logical place to focus.

Drawing letters on card with markers, gave the flowers a starting point and I showed them how to find colours and  keep a pile ready to stick. The rest was up to them.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

I demonstrated how to add glue to a small section and focus on that area before the glue dried.  We used glue sticks for ease of clean up but white school glue may have stuck even better. Rose enjoyed working on large areas.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

While Daisy focused on a smaller area and worked with order.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

“Look what I have done!”.

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Losing patience and deciding to randomly glue and stick for the background. Playing with the mosaic squares was a highlight.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

When the girls were happy with the final product, we sealed the full piece of card with podge. Name letters signs which now adore the bedroom doors.

Letter Signs with Mosaics

I couldn’t resist making my own, one for Freddy and the bathroom. It was very relaxing!

Letter Signs with Mosaics

The mosaic squares we used are coloured on both sides and made from heavy card. This made them quite easy to sort, lift and stick. Have fun creating!

Welcoming Freddy

I have been slack with blogs posts but with very good reason…

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Frederick Rowan (aka Freddy) joined us on April 2nd.

He is a joy to us all and much loved.

Fred and the flowers

The flowers love him to pieces.

Thanks to Carolyn of CueLife Photography for the wonderful photos of our beautiful boy. A photo shoot with our newborn and his two big sisters was made stress free by this talented photographer!

Just one more gorgeous pic:

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Why light play?

Light tables and light play ideas are as popular as ever! With great new products and ideas the options are endless. I have been asked what to do with the light table or panel and my answer is always “The options are endless!”

Light tables/panels/pads can be used:

  • to explore materials for opacity, transparency, translucency (science)
  • to add an extra sensory experience (make regular activities that little bit brighter)
  • to enhance art (painting, drawing, tracing, printing, colour mixing)
  • to enhance language activities (using letters to make cvc words, practice sight words, recognize names)
  • to enhance math activities (sorting, counting, shape exploration)
  • exploring and observing anything (science experiments, nature, mirrors)

We got the opportunity to play with this great Ultra Bright LED Light Panel from Quality Classrooms. It is beautifully bright without being too much. Light weight and portable means you can quickly set it up anywhere in the classroom. If you don’t want to invest in a large light table, a light panel or pad is a great option. It measures 18-3/4″ x 14″ x 1/2″ which is good size for little hands and bevelled edge makes the light seem almost magical.

Why light play?

I set out Light Table Numbers and gems from the Manipulative Kit for the Light Table and let Daisy play.

Why light play?

She organised the numbers in order and sorted the gems by colour.

Why light play?

Rose was also excited to play!

Why light play?

She was more content to enjoy the feel of the gems and the colour, letting them slip through her fingers and drop gently onto the light panel.

Why light play?Remembering to use the light table for variety of structured and unstructured activities is important. It never fails to add to the activity.

Here are some past activities where the light table has added dimensions:

Light table colour bags to practice letter formation.

Sorting fruit by colour and working on that pincer grip.

Sorting Fruit

Counting with transparent chips and sorting by colour.

Open-ended play, with the First Look Light Table Kit

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For more ideas check out our Pinterest board here.

Playing with the World Map Floor Puzzle

We refer to our laminated wall map at least a couple of times a week and have completed activities using it including Where does our food come from?

Where does our food come from?

We find having a map close to the dining table means we can refer to a country or town named in the news or general discussion. This helps Daisy in particular, locate an area in the world and often helps us increase our geographical knowledge.

We have noticed that locating the continents are still a struggle so an activity that focuses just on continents was needed.

Playing with the World Map Floor PuzzleRose loves puzzles and will sit for an hour doing puzzle after puzzle. Referring to the box for help is a new concept to her and she enjoyed matching puzzle pieces to the picture on the front of the box.

Playing with the World Map Floor PuzzleLearning to complete the outside of the puzzle first, is a reminder I often give when I can see frustration beginning. This puzzle is aimed at age 6+ but with Daisy`s help Rose was able to participate too.

Playing with the World Map Floor PuzzleStanding on the world!

When the puzzle was built we identified each continent and talked about some characteristics and countries within the continents.

World Map Floor Puzzle

The World Map Floor Puzzle has 33 pieces and covers 2 x 3 feet when assembled. It is made of sturdy card, is easy to clean and includes an illustration:

World Map

I can see this being copied and used as Daisy’s geographical knowledge develops. The puzzle is available from Quality Classrooms and another option is the Canada Map Floor Puzzle if you want to focus more locally.

What ways do you teach geographical knowledge and understanding?

Lego and Duplo

So I have great memories of playing with Lego as a child and it always involved building something for people to use. A structure alone was never enough, it had to be usable by people. My children are similar, most things they build have a use for the people whether they are Duplo people or Lego people or random ‘small world play’ people.

We only got Lego in the house on Daisy’s 6th birthday, nearly a year ago. Yes, I know this is a crime to some people, especially parents with boys but she had not shown any interest in Lego before that. Things have changed now. Rose received lots of Duplo at Christmas time and both the Duplo and Lego have prime position in our living room.

Lego and Duplo

Here Rose is making a hotel for her Duplo people.

I did start to wonder what all the fuss was with Lego and Duplo and did a little research. Here is what I found out:

Benefits of playing with Lego and Duplo

  • Creativity: the most obvious choice for me, hours and hours of open ended play with only the imagination as the limit.
  • Planning and Problem solving skills: these are developed as children realise a plan in their heads and work towards making it a reality
  • Math skills: sorting bricks, finding the correct size brick, thinking in 3D, patterning and proportions, measuring and counting are all part of Lego play.
  • Fine motor skills: building and separating bricks takes great dexterity as anyone who has played with Lego knows. (I do want to get my hands on a brick separator!)
  • Ability to follow directions: if you use the kits and instructions (we don’t tend to)

While I understand the appeal of individual kits with set instructions to build a certain project, I prefer the open endedness of these type of kits:

Lego Explore Basic Bulk

The Lego Duplo Explore Basic Bulk

Lego Brick Set

Lego Brick Set

You can then add base plates and themes kits if you want.

Lego and Duplo

A house, complete with chairs, plants and windows.

Lego and Duplo

Look, a hippo!

Lego and Duplo

This impressive construction is a movie theater Uncle Andy helped build. It was played with for weeks!

The play is never ending as are the opportunities to tie play into current learning themes!

I am a re-enthused  Lego and Duplo fan!

Read more:

 

More fun with Heart Mosiacs

We used these great hearts to make valentines for friends (click on the image for more details):

Playing with Heart Mosaics

The hearts we used for valentines, barely made a dint in the bag so we pulled them out again to create some art for the baby room and to mail to Boma.

More fun with heart mosiacsRose enjoyed drawing around her hand.

More fun with heart mosiacsAnd gluing was definitely a hit.

More fun with heart mosiacs

Resulting a lovely bright, tree collage.

More fun with heart mosiacsDaisy spent a bit more time colouring her hand and adding detail to her tree by hand.

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She was equally proud of her tree and owl collage which incorporated hearts.

While they created I did too:

More fun with heart mosiacsUsing their hands as tree trunks, Rose helped find green hearts and glue them on. Now little brother, when he arrives, has his sisters art on his wall.

What do you do with your left over hearts and valentine’s decorations?